Does Anything Good Happen in Africa? – Part II

It’s true that much of the news from the continent of Africa is negative. In a previous experiment, I challenged a class of geography students to find good news stories coming from that great continent. There were many, but not on the scale that come form other continents.

In her TED talk, Chimamanda Adichie tells of the danger involved in only having one view of a place and its people.

This year I challenged a new group of students to find good news stories from Africa. This is what they found….

Story 1 found by A-SM

Obama presents plan to help disarm LRA in Uganda

Friday, 26 November 2010

This story is good because it shows that the problems are being combatted.  It also shows that developed countries feel that it is important to help African communities so that they can later make economic and political links.

Story 2 found by TB

Uganda: First Major Malaria Vaccine works In Trial

The company GlaxoSmithKline have invented the first major vaccine for malaria, in a clinic the vaccine reduced the chance of catching the disease by 50% and looks to be the first way to stop the chance of the disease.

Data was released showing results that “researchers who analysed data from the first 6,000 children found that after 12 months of follow-up, three doses of RTS,S reduced the risk of children experiencing clinical malaria and severe malaria by 56% and 47%, respectively”.

Article: http://allafrica.com/stories/201110270713.html#

Story 3 found by HS

A dependable two-way relationship?

http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/earthrise/2011/10/20111018103923501556.html

In the past, the Maasai people and the local population of lions of Kenya have been bitter enemies, but recently, figures have shown lion population figures falling from 120,000 twenty years ago to 25,000 today. But interestingly, there has been a rise in numbers in South Kenya in the Chuylu Hills as the local Maasai tribesmen have created a symbiotic relationship. It is Maasai tradition for a young man who wants to pass into manhood to go out into the bush and kill a lion. This tradition had led to the decline in numbers but this was not the only reason for the hunting and killing of lions. Ever since the Maasai people have shared their territory with prides of lions, there has always existed a threat of the lions attacking the tribesmens’ precious cattle herds. Nowadays, the locals have realised the diminishing numbers and have acted, setting up a Trust to compensate Maasai herders who have lost cattle to lions. This prevents the unnecessary killing of the predators, effectively stopping the decline of the population in the area. This heart-warming story of new-found friendship surely is good news to come out of Africa.

 

Is uneven development in China causing resentment?

The story of China’s growth and change over recent decades is powerful evidence of how industrial development and Globalisation can combine to create rapid change. However, far from everyone in China is feeling the benefit of the changes that have happened and continue to happen. This article reveals how millions of rural Chinese people feel left behind.

 

 

How does the media affect our view of the World? aka Does anything good happen in Africa?

The following post is the result of a ten minute challenge to find good news about Africa. Often the continent of Africa is portrayed as being one place, rather than 62 territories and the news is often very negative.

During the challenge, which took place on 29/9/10 between 11:35 and 11:45, a group of 12 students were able to find stories on the following which we considered to be positive:

– The appointment of the first female taxi drivers in Cairo.

– The record for the world’s largest T-Shirt has been broken in South Africa.

– SASOL, a South African company has made the world’s first flight on exclusively synthetic jet fuel.

– A computer model has been developed in Kenya that can predict outbreaks of malaria in East Africa.

– Two species of frog previously though to be extinct have been found alive in West Africa.

Given the amount of good news coming from other continents, it was felt that this does not constitute much in the way of good news. We decided to do further research into good news from Africa……

The first thing we found were two specialist websites which seemed to share our dismay about the lack of attention paid to good news from Africa, they are; Good News Africa http://www.goodnewsafrica.net/ and Africa – The Good News http://www.africagoodnews.com/.

among the stories we found interesting were:

Zimbabwe: Tourism Sector Scoops International Award

Zimbabwe has received an award declaring it as Africa’s fourth best tourist destination in Guilin International Tourism Fair in China. This award has come as Zimbabwe has put more money into marketing and portraying there country as a nice place to go globally, sometimes even through celebrities on TV programmes.

This shows that some parts of Africa are becoming desirable and also shows that countries such as Zimbabwe are attempting to re-structure their economy via stable business such as tourism. The award is said to have been derived from the efforts of celebrity host programme ‘ZTA’ and global recognition is being attained for example at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, Mr Chagonda stated that Zimbabwe’s exhibition hall was filled with many potential investors. Zimbabwe is finally making an impact internationally. http://www.africagoodnews.com/travel-and-tourism/zimbabwe-tourism-sector-scoops-international-award.html

UN ends sanctions on Sierra Leone

http://www.africagoodnews.com/international-relations/sierra-leone-foreign-minister-hails-end-to-un-sanctions.html

This article is about the UN ending their sanctions on Sierra Leone after an arms embargo was placed on the country after its 11 year civil war. The 15 member UN Security Council voted unanimously in favour of dropping the sanctions showing Sierra Leone is moving away from its bloody past and will be able to focus more on development. This is evidently the best news for Africa in recent months as it is leaving behind its image of cruelty and bloodshed which has held it back for so long. Finally the world can accept that it is no longer a threat militarily and it shows the country itself is progressing in the right direction. A very poor country that is in desperate need of an improved tourism industry and being able to banish its tainted image of the past. Allowing the people to live in peace and happiness . And now the government can focus on improving the quality of life and GDP. This country is in dire need of your support and it is down to you to change the image of not just Sierra Leone but Africa.

Computer model can help predict malaria outbreaks

On the ‘africagoodnews’ website, for me the most capturing article was the malaria article concerning a new computer model that predicts disease outbreaks in a region 90 days in advance. I found it most interesting due to the relevance of it in reference to the world and its troubles; a major problem in our world is that of deaths by malaria. With this computer model one can predict and so have 90 days to prepare for the supposed outbreak of malaria. This could save thousands if not millions of lives. Visually, this article was most captivating as it is the main and first article of the website and this also implies that it is generally thought to be the most important and interesting.

 http://www.africagoodnews.com/innovation/climate-model-gives-early-warning-of-malaria-outbreaks.html

Interestingly, about 8 months after our initial investigation, DFID launched a website of positive news about Africa, asking us to See Africa Differently.

A hidden killer: how does illegal alcohol affect the developing world?

Many cultures have an age old tradition of brewing or distilling their own alcoholic beverages. In the developed world, this has largely been replaced by commercial operations, which are monitored and regulated, however, in parts of the developing world, alongside a legitimate and well regulated commercial sector, there is also a large informal and usually illegal sector.

Without the equipment needed to create the alcohol safely, the products made are often dangerous and can have tragic consequences, ranging from the loss of sight and organ damage, to death. People are drawn to these products because they often cannot afford the commercial alcohol.

In April 2010 in Uganda, scores were killed by illegal banana gin: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8640731.stm

Can road building help India’s economy develop?

As anyone who has travelled on them can attest, travelling on India’s roads can be an interesting experience. India is beginning to emerge as a powerful economy, but for a long time, poor infrastructure has held back progress. At the beginning of 2010, the Indian government announced the expansion of investment in infrastructure, to $1 trillion.

This includes an ambitious road building plan:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8635419.stm

Who was Norman Borlaug?

Norman Borlaug, who died in 2009, was known as the father of the Green Revolution, a revolution in agricultural technology which enabled much higher crop yields in many parts of the developing world in the decades following World War II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Revolution). The revolution largely revolved around developing higher yielding strains of common crops such as rice and wheat and this is what Borlaug was a specialist in.

There is more about Norman Borlaug here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Borlaug

His obituary can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/science-obituaries/6183951/Norman-Borlaug.html and here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8253005.stm

How does appropriate technology change lives in the developing world? The story of life saving stoves in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Too often in the past, the West has tried to apply western technology to the problems of the developing world. Whilst this sometimes works, more often, the results have been a waste of money, as local people lack the skills and parts to repair expensive items when they go wrong. They cannot afford to buy replacement units for those which wear out or break.

Appropriate technology is designed with special consideration to the environmental, ethical, cultural, social, political, and economical aspects of the community it is intended for (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appropriate_technology).

An example of this is the use of fuel efficient stoves in the DRC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8580967.stm

These cut the amount of fuel needed, give work and security to women who make fuel from waste, and reduce deforestation for fuel and reduce the amount of time women have to spent collecting wood, during which time they are vulnerable to attack. Check the link above for details.