Friday, December 23, 2005

Little Earthquakes

Impact of Menstruation on School Attendance: The Girls Drop Out for a Week or So

The hygiene issues at African schools prove troublesome for girls entering (and throughout, of course) puberty. The article, focusing on Ethiopia, talks about the lack of water and latrines.

"Researchers throughout sub-Saharan Africa have documented that lack of sanitary pads, a clean, girls-only latrine and water for washing hands drives a significant number of girls from school. The United Nations Children's Fund, for example, estimates that one in 10 school-age African girls either skips school during menstruation or drops out entirely because of lack of sanitation."

That's an awfully high number if it's accurate....

Breakdown of the African Family due to AIDS, War Leads to Homeless Children in Urban Centers

"Africa once prided itself on its traditional systems of extended family, which sheltered children even in dire circumstances. But over the past 25 years, a variety of problems -- including drought, wars, AIDS and economic collapse -- have broken families apart and left hundreds of thousands of children to survive on their own.

The problem first became noticeable in the 1980s, when coffee prices crashed and Western subsidies undercut other export crops such as corn and cotton, according to studies by Street Child Africa, a British organization. Many children in large rural families were asked to go out and earn money or simply left home." [emphasis mine]

A large focus in this piece is the glue-sniffing so prominent amongst the youngsters the reporter followed in Khartoum, Sudan.

Trade with Africa: Most Farming is Subsistence, so What Will be Sold?

Mugasi makes a plug for agricultural modernization:

"Due to high subsidies, farmers from the rich nations are able to export to the world market at prices below the actual production costs, so farmers without support are thrown out of the market. It is unfair playing ground that casts serious doubt about the rich nations’ commitment to end poverty. Analysts say that ending farm subsidies and all forms of domestic support by the rich nations would increase competitiveness and thereby boost world trade by $280b, theoretically to the benefit of poor countries.

However, for this thinking to hold, a number of questions must be answered. If the developed countries opened their markets wide today, what would African countries have to export?"

Well, there's that...

We need to start framing this conversation in terms of human capital. Africa needs to flip economic trade by looking very carefully at India's success.

Obre Los Ojos: Verdict Expected Soon in Tourist Slaying in Ugandan Gorilla Preserve
(Keep an Eye on the "Liberation Army of Rwanda" i.e. Rwandan Genocidaires)

"A judge said Wednesday he would rule Jan. 9 in the trial of a Rwandan rebel accused of killing eight foreigners, including two Americans, and their guide in a famed Ugandan gorilla reserve.

Rwandan rebels hacked and bludgeoned the tourists from the United States, Britain and New Zealand in a remote rain forest near Uganda's borders with Congo and Rwanda. The rebels said they were targeting English-speaking people in a bid to weaken U.S. and British support for the Rwandan government.

...Bizimana is a former member of the Rwandan army, which played a key role in the country's 1994 genocide. He was first arrested in 1999 in Uganda and was detained until 2001 on suspicion that he was involved in the killing of the tourists, his defense lawyer said.

He was then deployed with Ugandan troops who were backing rebels operating in eastern Congo. He worked with the army until Uganda withdrew its soldiers from Congo in 2003.

...The victims were Rob Haubner and his wife, Susan Miller, of Portland, Ore.; Rhonda Avis, 27, and Michelle Strathern, 26, of New Zealand; Martin Friend, 24, Steven Robert, 27, and Mark Lindgren, 23, of Britain; Joanne Cotton, a driver for the London-based outfitter that organized the trip; and Ugandan guide Ross Wagaba.

...[other rebels were] members of the Liberation Army of Rwanda, formed in 1996 in refugee camps in neighboring Zaire, which is now Congo, by members of the former Rwandan army and the extremist Hutu militia known as Interahamwe." [emphasis mine]


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