The endeavours of women in the drylands to provide healthy fresh food for their children

 

Originally published at:

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2007/03/08/one-world-new-zealandalgeria-un-monde-unique-la-nouvelle-zelandealgerie/

One world: New Zealand/Algeria – Un monde unique: La Nouvelle Zélande/Algérie

MESSAGE FROM THE ANTIPODS

I just received this nice message from Jenny LITCHFIELD (New Zealand, 2007):

Dear Willem,

That’s very kind of you to write. Thank you. Your Desertification link has been added to my blog. Your project reports are fascinating to read. I had no idea such work existed in this arid region – perhaps, unfortunately, that’s a reflection of how remote New Zealand is. The impression I get is that essentially we want the same things for our families and loved ones. My heart goes out to the women in Algeria and I admire their endeavours to provide healthy fresh food for their children with your support. My gardening messages are informed by practical gardening experiences, personal observations, knowledge passed on from older people I have known, intuition, a strong sense of ecological values, reflection and lots of reading. I love to engage children in the environment in naturally occurring ways. I am a specialist teacher of learning and behaviour in secondary schools and understand only too well the basic human needs of children and youth must be met in order that they might learn in ways that have meaning to them and in ways that are relevant to their lives. Kind regards, Jenny.

P1000675
2007-01 – Boumerdès (Algeria). A school where love for nature and the right ecological principles is visible all over the premises. Here we start a school garden for vegetable production. Photo WVC P1000675 copy 1.jpg – Boumerdès (Algérie). Une école où l’amour pour la nature et les bons principes écologiques est visible partout. Ici nous construisons un jardin potager de l’école.
P1000677
2007-01 – Girls and boys in the Boulerdès school (Algeria) already made a collection of medicinal plants. – Photo WVC P1000677 copy 1.jpg – Filles et garçons soignent déjà leur collection de plantes médicinales

—————-

Well Jenny, that’s the way I love to cooperate with likeminded people from all over the world. It shows how close our minds are, right across oceans and frontiers, as if New Zealand and Algeria are neigbours of Belgium. Our minds should never be divided by political or religious barriers. We should never hesitate to help people living in conditions much worse than ours. Development cooperation is one of the nicest things on earth: we are able to share our experience and expertise with the people in the developing world to make their standards of living better too. And gardening is one of the nicest and most practical fields . Let us not be selfish ! Sharing our knowledge and transferring our cost-effective and affordable technologies should be considered as one of the important step towards effective development aid. Therefore, let us try to translate our experience into simple and practical methods, easily applicable in the developing world, where human beings are counting upon our contributions. Sincere thanks, Willem.

RESUME FRANCAIS

Voici un message de Jenny LITCHFIELD (Nouvelle Zélande). Elle trouve les rapports sur nos projets dans les régions arides fascinants. En fait, nous voulons tous et toutes la même chose pour nos familles et ceux qui nous sont chers. Le coeur de Jenny bat pour les femmes de l’Algérie et les efforts qu’elles produisent pour obtenir une nourriture saine pour leurs familles, avec l’aide de l’UNICEF. Professeur à l’enseignement secondaire, Jenny comprend très bien les besoins de base des enfants.

C’est bien de ce trouver à la même longeur d’ondes!

Are we killing the earth?

 

 

Population, agriculture and energy: Are we killing the earth?

What is the future of earth?futureearth

As the world’s population grows, the already depleted natural resources are reduced further. As citizens of the planet, we are the only ones who can change how we live in order to make the way we live sustainable. Continuing to consume like we are does not seem sustainable without new innovations being created.

In the 1960s the planet reached what the scientists said was the max capacity of human beings at 3 billion. We were told this was the optimal number of people for earth to sustain. We are now at 7.4 billion with projections of around 8.9 billion by 2050. In order for this enormous population to survive, we had to adapt. What is known as the Green Revolution occurred.

greenrevolution

We began monoculture, created fertilizer and pesticides, dwarf crops, irrigation and genetically modified crops in order to produce enough food to feed the world. These practices have impacted the earth negatively in a number of ways. Water systems have been affected by either being diverted or polluted by agriculture. In addition, farms on such a scale have diminished biodiversity and have damaged ecosystems. Agriculture is just one aspect of the consumption that occurs around the globe. Since food is kind of important to us, how we grow that food should be as well.

Food is not the only resource we are consuming. Energy consumption is another issue as standards of living in nations around the globe continue to rise. This energy currently comes mostly from a nonrenewable source: fossil fuels.

Read the full story: Restore our Planet

Aquaculture Efficiency in Egypt

Photo credit: Google

Tilapia fish farm Costa Rica

 

Switzerland Launches Project to Boost Aquaculture Efficiency in Egypt

The Embassy of Switzerland’s Office for International Cooperation, in collaboration with WorldFish and CARE International, has launched the Sustainable Transformation of Egypt’s Aquaculture Market System (STREAMS) project aimed at boosting production of inexpensive, nutritious and safe fish from sustainable aquaculture systems in Egypt.

STREAMS will increase the participation of Egypt’s underprivileged socioeconomic segments in the country’s fast-growing aquaculture sector while also making fish more affordable and accessible. Increased availability and consumption of fish can reduce Egypt’s high rates of childhood stunting, undernutrition and obesity.

The three-year STREAMS project will assist fish farmers, fish traders and retailers across seven Egyptian governorates: Kafr El Sheikh, Beheira, Sharkia, Fayoum, Port Said, Minya and Beni Suef. The funding allocated for this project is 2 million Swiss Francs.

STREAMS will focus on three goals. The first is to train fish farmers on improved management practices in existing fish farming zones and increase access to the Abbassa improved strain of Nile tilapia, a faster growing variety of the main fish species stocked in Egyptian fish farms. The second is to promote aquaculture practices in geographical areas that are not yet engaged in this sector with a focus on small-scale and integrated systems. The third is to enhance marketing systems for aquaculture products through support for retailers, the provision of market information and the establishment of a certification scheme for farmed Egyptian tilapia.

Read the full article: World Fish Center

Constantly monitoring the growth of irrigation

Photo credit: IWMI

Irrigated Area Map Asia(2000-2010) and Africa(2010). Source: IWMI Water Data Portal

 

Irrigated Africa and Asia

New map is most detailed to date

See: http://waterdata.iwmi.org/applications/irri_area/

Irrigation has long been accepted as a vital step towards more productive food systems. However its use globally is patchy. In Africa, for instance, only about 5% of agriculture is irrigated. For a continent where much rainfall is highly seasonal, this remains a huge barrier to improved food security and better incomes for farmers. But change is afoot. Slowly but surely more and more of Africa is becoming irrigated.

It important to keep track of these changes as they will alter landscapes and affect the natural systems that support agriculture. Only by constantly monitoring the growth of irrigation, can sustainability and ecosystem health can be assured.

For policy makers, finding out just how much irrigation is going on, and exactly where this is happening is essential. If the trends can be accurately mapped and measured, then more informed investment decisions can be taken and water supply can be maintained for the long term.

Read the full article: IWMI

Almost a decade later: Going for Growth – Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa

 

Photo credit : Google

The T17 mine run by KML, a subsidiary of Glencore in Kolwezi. Between August, 2010 and February, 2011, more than 10 000 artisan miners were chased away from the sites where the company settled down. –http://app-cdn.acwupload.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/DRC_mining_Gwenn.jpg

Originally published at:

https://desertification.wordpress.com/2007/02/21/my-views-on-going-for-growth-science-technology-and-innovation-in-africa/

In 10 years time, it should have changed, but …

Back in 2007, I have read with interest the following text published in Development Gateway’sdgCommunities :

Going for Growth: Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa

Overview:

This collection of essays by key experts in the field of international development looks at the role of science, technology and innovation in encouraging a risk-taking, problem solving approach to development cooperation in Africa. This year has seen an unprecedented determination by the world’s richest nations to engage with the development of the poorest. The report of the Commission for Africa, chaired by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Our Common Interest, set out the themes that dominated the G8’s discussions at Gleneagles over the summer, while a mass movement, in the form of the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign, affirmed that the political agenda was matched by a widespread public demand for action. Central to this transformative agenda will be the role of science, technology and innovation, both as a driver of economic growth within the developing countries and as a core element in nurturing managerial and governance competencies.

Calestous Juma, ed. The Smith Institute, London, November 2005.
Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
ISBN: 1 902488 97 0
Document Length: 129 pp.

For more information about this publication please contact:
info@smith-institute.org.uk.

Contributor: John Daly – Published Date: February 7, 2007

Going for Growth in Action: Smith Institute Report’s Ideas Applied to Africa’s Mining Industry

Science, Technology, and Globalization Project Director Calestous Juma has sparked a serious debate about education, entrepreneurship, and Africa’s mining industry in Dr. Chris Hinde’s “Comment” column which appears in Mining Magazine. Juma is the editor of Going for Growth: Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa (.pdf), a collection of essays published by the Smith Institute, a British think tank. “Going for Growth” emphasizes building Africa’s capacity to solve its own problems.

———–

Juma starts his essay with “Most African economies have historically been associated with natural resources and raw materials. There is growing recognition, however, that a transition into modern economies will involve considerable investment and use of new knowledge.

He has since called for the mining industry to fund and lend expertise to a school of entrepreneurship that would raise scientific literacy — and be located in the African country that makes the best case for hosting it. The school would have places for approximately 100 students per year and would serve as a model for similar centers of learning all over Africa. See “African Lessons” (.pdf) by Dr. Chris Hinde in Mining Magazine (February 2006) for the complete interview.

A later issue of Mining Magazine continued the discussion, focusing on the need for the proposed schools to teach how both the international risk-capital markets operate and mining ventures are financed. African mining operators and investors must be trained on how and where to obtain capital. See “Money Matters” (.pdf) by Dr. Chris Hinde in Mining Magazine (June 2006).

On June 22, 2006, Professor Calestous Juma resumed the discussion by addressing the Human Rights & Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C. The Roundtable is comprised of representatives of the extractive industry (oil & mining companies), human rights organizations, and development agencies. They meet regularly in invitation-only, confidential sessions to discuss issues of common cause and concern — specifically the promotion of the rule of law and open societies. Over the last few years the group has focused increasingly on community and economic development projects and issues surrounding community engagement.

This session, entitled “Bain or Blessing: Can the Extractive Industry Help Reinvent African Economies?”, focused on how resources can be utilized to “extract growth” for Africa, as well as other developing countries. Professor Juma discussed how the extractive industry, which is becoming dominant in many African economies, can be used as an engine of sustainable growth, breaking the widely held view that natural resource extraction is associated with corruption and environmental non sustainability. The Roundtable explored the direct links between community/development activities, including corporate partnerships with international donor agencies and the larger strategy of economic development. As companies invest to increase the local content of their work and managerial force, they are promoting (and could further promote) higher technologies in the fields of business, communications, engineering, and the environment.

1987-07-(01) Field-preparation
Drought problems on Cabo Verde’s island of Santiago. Soil conditioning project with TerraCottem (University of Ghent, Belgium). Vegetable production on slopes. Photo Valeer ROS 1987-07-(01) Field-preparation.jpg.

MY VIEWS ON “GOING FOR GROWTH IN ACTION” (Willem Van Cotthem)

What an interesting text about “the role of science, technology and innovation in encouraging a risk-taking, problem solving approach to development cooperation in Africa”!. This is what we were looking for since long: “a problem solving approach development cooperation in Africa”, and all other developing regions of course, in particular when entering a period of “an unprecedented determination by the world’s richest nations to engage with the development of the poorest” (Make Poverty History campaign).

It sounds like a dream-come-true when we read:

Central to this transformative agenda will be the role of science, technology and innovation, both as a driver of economic growth within the developing countries and as a core element in nurturing managerial and governance competencies”.

Let us go a bit deeper into the “serious debate” about education, entrepreneurship, and Africa’s mining industry, sparked by Director Calestous Juma (see above) when he starts his essay with …

Most African economies have historically been associated with natural resources and raw materials. There is growing recognition, however, that a transition into modern economies will involve considerable investment and use of new knowledge.

We learn that Juma “has since called for the mining industry to fund and lend expertise to a school of entrepreneurship that would raise scientific literacy — and be located in the African country that makes the best case for hosting it. The school would have places for approximately 100 students per year and would serve as a model for similar centers of learning all over Africa. 

That is the turning point where I am not following anymore the heartbeat of the “serious debate”. Looking for “a problem solving approach development cooperation in Africa”, a continent where drought, desertification, hunger, poor public health and poverty are the main obstacles for a swift development, shall we now turn to funding and lending expertise to schools of entrepreneurship that would raise scientific literacy?

I would rather think that transfer of Science, Technology and Innovation should first concentrate on funding and lending expertise in agriculture, horticulture and health sciences, used as drivers for sustainable economic growth and as “as a core element in nurturing managerial and governance competencies” in those basic fields mentioned above.

I can never believe that it will be possible to educate good entrepreneurs in schools of excellence (100 students a year!), as long as the stomachs of those students will be empty or only partly filled. But maybe we are not speaking about the same students, members of the poor rural communities?

Let us not put the horses before the carriage of the rural population!

If we really want to focus “on community and economic development projects and issues surrounding community engagement”, it will be necessary to first solve the problems of the community’s primary needs, like food and health care, before spending mountains of financial resources on creating “top managers for the mining industry”.

Instead of discussing “…how the extractive industry, which is becoming dominant in many African economies, can be used as an engine of sustainable growth, breaking the widely held view that natural resource extraction is associated with corruption and environmental non sustainability”, it would be better to discuss possibilities to create first an engine for sustainable growth in agriculture and public health, where environmental sustainability can be the crux of the matter.

If it is really true that “… companies invest to increase the local content of their work and managerial force, they are promoting (and could further promote) higher technologies in the fields of business, communications, engineering, and the environment”, I would rather invite those companies to promote higher technologies in the fields of agricultural and environmental engineering, without thinking too much at “extracting or mining natural resources”, because that almost never happens with the clean objective to improve the daily life of the local people.

Am I still preaching in the desert?

Dr. Willem Van Cotthem, February 2016.

Europe’s eleven soil threats

Photo credit: Science Daily

In Norway, erosion caused by flooding and landslides, is a major soil threat. Here we see erosion in Trøgstad in the South-East of Norway.
Credit: Line Thomsen

European soil threats: What, where and why?

Source:NIBIO – Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research

Summary:

Over sixty soil experts have gone together and provided an up to date overview of European soil threats. The extensive report, which among other things provides information on the geographical spread of eleven soil threats, also addresses what kind of effect these threats may have on soil functions and ecosystem services, and why they occur.

 

Call for active participation of women in adaptation projects

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Jeremy Hartley/Panos

Gender sensitivity could aid climate change projects

Sam Otieno

“Gender-sensitive approaches can ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity.” -Jechoniah Kitala, Practical Action Consulting East Africa

Speed read

  • A study is identifying gender differences in climate change adaptation
  • Initial results show that gender is key to participatory development
  • An expert calls for active participation of women in adaptation projects

Men and women living in slums face different climate change impacts which, if overlooked, could further widen gender gaps in participatory development, says the preliminary findings of a continuing study.

The study is identifying factors that influence men and women in participating in climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives.

The preliminary results of the study were released last month (19 January) at a workshop organised by Practical Action Consulting East Africa in partnership with Institute of Development Studies, and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, both based in the United Kingdom.

According to Jechoniah Kitala, the principal project manager, Practical Action Consulting East Africa, which is conducting the study, the preliminary findings indicate that ignoring gender differences in climate change adaptation projects could widen gender gaps and hinder participatory development.

The study being conducted in Kisumu, Kenya began on August 2015 and is to end next month (March). It involves 128 participants, including key informants and opinion leaders at the county and community levels.

Read the full article: SciDevNet