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Archive for October 6th, 2010

Changes in Norway’s diplomatic presence abroad

Posted by African Press International on October 6, 2010


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will increase its diplomatic presence in a number of countries in 2011, for example in Brazil, India, Indonesia, China and Russia. In order to free resources for these new missions, five missions will be closed, and there will be staff reductions at some other missions next year.

�We are seeing a shift in economic and political power towards the south and the east, and especially towards Asia, which is gaining a more prominent role. This is having consequences for Norwegian interests. I have therefore decided to increase Norway’s diplomatic presence in these regions.

�In order to give priority to these new missions, we are also making changes in other countries. I believe this will enable us to promote Norwegian interests more effectively in a changing world and to make more efficient use of the foreign service�s resources. The changes that are now being made are part of an ongoing process that will be continued in 2012�2013.

�Over the last few years, the Ministry has examined, in collaboration with national and international expertise, the opportunities and challenges a globalised world represents for Norway. The changes we are now making are a result of this work. We must consider on an ongoing basis where our diplomatic resources and presence are most needed,� said Mr St�re.

In the course of 2011, the Ministry will make the following changes to Norway�s diplomatic presence abroad.
Five missions will be closed: Abidjan (C�te d�Ivoire), Bogot� (Colombia), Dili (East Timor), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Managua (Nicaragua). Norwegian interests in these countries will be taken care of by other missions in the regions concerned. In the case of West Africa, the possibility of establishing a new mission in Accra (Ghana) is being considered.

Norway will continue to have a presence in Antananarivo (Madagascar), but will reduce the staff at the embassy and make it into an embassy office connected to another mission in the region. The Embassy in Brussels with responsibility for relations with Belgium will be maintained but with a reduced staff. There will also be staff reductions at other missions, for example in the other Nordic countries and other European countries. The arrangement with an Oslo-based Ambassador for the Caribbean will be discontinued, and responsibility for these countries will be transferred to the Embassy in Havana (Cuba).
These changes to Norway�s diplomatic presence abroad will be implemented in the course of 2011.
source.MFA,
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THE LIES TOLD TO BLACK PEOPLE TO MAINTAIN WHITE DOMINANCE

Posted by African Press International on October 6, 2010

By F. Jones

Many African Americans now holds the opinion that in the face of greater gained opportunities that many within their race became their own worst enemies. It is not uncommon to hear these negative sentiments about their own race now echoed by many African Americans themselvesthey that consider themselves as being exceptions to this norm. This perception often engenders profound feelings of immense humiliation, racial self contempt, and disunity among many African Americans in the 21st-century. But are these self contemptuous views among so many African Americans correct?

And if so how have African Americans, the racial group that demonstrated an unprecedented degree of Black racial pride and unity during the 1960’s civil rights movement now become living contradictions of their former selves? The common response, when presented with this daunting question is to take the position that the core problem lies with something to do with Black people themselves. Although tragically many Blacks themselves have also come to accept this viewpoint, the emerging evidence does not support this premise. Such assertions are racist and totally not consistent with the history of African Americans.

While perhaps difficult to believe today, Black unity (Umoja) was historically, the cornerstone of the African American community and a crucial factor in their survival for more than four-hundred years of White racial oppression. Black unity was the most significant factor in the success of the 1960’s civil right movement. The remarkable degree of unity among African Americans then was made evident by the brilliant organization and mobilizations of mass bus boycotts, marches, freedom riders, and sit ins that were peacefully conducted through the unified protest of civil disobedience. The degree of unity and organization demonstrated among African Americans then was extraordinary and arguably remains unrivaled by any other group in the history of America. So what then is the reason for the unprecedented racial self contempt and disunity among many African Americans today?

The present unprecedented feelings of racial self contempt among so many African Americans are neither a baffling phenomenon, nor the result of some innateracial deficiency. It is instead the result of a deliberate governmentally deployed mass manipulating social engineering program. White Americas methods of institutionalized racism has been secretly modified into a more sophisticated and stealthy design. Today to control and produce conformity among the masses, the U.S. government commonly disseminates propaganda domestically among its own citizens. To domestically defend its position of white dominance that was lessened by civil rights gains made by the civil rights strategies and efforts of African Americans, the U.S. Government secretly deployed these same mass propaganda mass programs against its entire Black population. Through the usage of mass psychological manipulation programs Black people in the United States are seeing themselves through lenses that have been secretly and deliberately assigned to them by white mass manipulation experts. This psychological manipulation program uses negative propaganda to adversely manipulate and shapes the minds and collective perceptions of Americas Black population. Through totally white controlled outlets it conditions African Americans to admire whites and despise themselves by subjecting them to seeing only the fraudulent worst in themselves.

The mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes of its recipients. Most African Americans that frustratingly and shamefully complain about the national disparities among their group are, for the most part, responding to negative statistics and depictions given about their race totally comprised by white controlled sources and media outlets. African Americans own negative personal interactions among their group merely then act as a confirmation of what is being implied through this program.

Because the previous blatant methods used in past for ensuring that white dominance be continued in the U.S. had become morally and socially unacceptable, the U.S. government secretly implemented this more sophisticated and stealthy system. For several decades covert agencies within the U.S. Government have secretly disseminated false deplorably racially devaluing statistics and propaganda about its Black population. Its constant deplorable depiction of African Americans is a very carefully and deliberately designed massive media manipulation program that subjects African Americans to seeing only the fraudulent worst in themselves in. The motto of this method of psychological manipulation is to divide and conquer and it works by affecting the unconscious mind through deception. It uses the psychology of deceit to adversely affect African Americans in terms of their perceptions and behavior. Its fraudulent information is designed to deliberately adversely manipulate and shape the minds and collective consciousness of its African American population. It is designed to corrupt African Americans sense of racial unity and cohesion, mold the character of self-hatred, engender self-doubt, self-loathing, and distrust among their group while insinuating that Blacks admire, respect, and trust only Whites. Thus fostering a massive setting for where of which African Americans are more easily divided, exploited and ultimately suppressed. This present system uses the national media’s proven ability to mass manipulate the perceptions of the public by the usage of propaganda. This process merges the often harsh individual realities of many black people with what is misleadingly deplorably depicted of them, therefore solidifying the thoughts within their psyche that it is they that are now their own worst enemies. Its unrelenting daily assault on the Black psyche also drills the message that Blacks are powerless, of lesser moral, and intelligence and that they need whites to govern over their lives. It totally detaches African Americans from their sense of power and reality.

When most people hear the term of psychological manipulation they usually think in terms of the classic “conspiracy theory” that refers to overt mind control such as mind altering drugs with carefully hypnotic programming. However, the real and true danger is this well proven method of affecting the unconscious mind by using deception, and psychological manipulation. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that uses the psychology of deceit to adversely affect targeted groups in terms of their perceptions and behavior. This massive manipulation program is being done to African Americans through an immense campaign of false derogatory media reports and statistics. These fraudulent data are created by U.S. governmental agencies and then leaked to its collaborators in the news media, which either knowingly or unknowingly carry the stories as their own. These false information about African Americans are then disseminated unrelentingly everywhere; it is deliberately perpetuated through news releases in magazine articles, radio, television, press releases, documentaries, and false census reports. However, the weapon is not in how the message is carried, but is instead within the messages that it carries and how these messages perpetuate and frame the myth of Whites racial, moral, and ethical superiority over its Black population. The ultimate goal of this psychosocial treatment of African Americans is to destroy the Black unity and cohesion that was a crucial factor of the survival of African Americans through more than four hundred years of white racial oppression. Logic dictates that given that unity and cohesion among African Americans was responsible for the demise of White Americas past blatant system of institutionalized racism, then destroying this unity would be an essential objective of this psychological manipulation program. This modern method of deploying white racism is far more sophisticated and stealthier than those blatant methods used in the past. Moreover, it is directly attributed to the intensification of internalized self hatred, and profound disunity presently among many African Americans. All African Americans have experienced the burden of this applied psychological conditioning, some more severely than others have. To the detriment of many African Americans it has been extremely effective. It has successfully conditioned many African Americans to not only accept the white dominance over their lives but to also prefer it. It also engenders an aberration of internalized self contempt among many African Americans that pulverizes Black unity and halts Black upward mobility. This psychosocial program is in fact so fundamentally detrimental to the Black human condition and psyche that it may even affect the extent to which many African Americans realize their full human potential. No group can be preconditioned to see only the worst in themselves and not exhibit some degree of negative psychological impact.

This massive psychosocial program is at the root of both the profound division and self hatred now afflicting so many Black Americans and is at the heart of internalized feelings of superiority that many whites possess. And while many African Americans have successfully navigated through this psychologically mortifying mine field and have gone on to lead successful, productive lives, for far too many this immense devaluation can seem inescapable and tragically, over time, many begin to subconsciously accept the negative portrayals of themselves.

IT IS ALSO GARNERS SOCIAL CONSENT FOR THE MISTREATMENT OF AFRICAN AMERICANS

Not only does this psycho-social program negatively impacts Blacks self perceptions, but it also conveniently provides a more socially acceptable means of ensuring that the masses of African Americans remains the most racially devalued and most economically exploited group in America. Its deplorable depictions of African Americans are also used to engender national consent that justifies their mistreatment. Its deplorable depictions of Africans Americans are also designed to create a shift of victimization in behalf of whites while lessoning pressures for social changes in behalf of Blacks. Thus creating a consensual national setting that facilitates the easier exploitation and suppression of African Americans. This is in fact a common practice used throughout modern western history. When groups in power want to suppress or to exploit its minority group they do so by portraying that group as a fearsome enemy or a major problem of the society through lies and manufactured news items. This same type of propaganda technique was also used by Adolph Hitler to facilitate a national consensual setting that allowed his heinous mistreatment of the Jews. Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels portrayed them as a fearsome enemy of German society through lies and manufactured news items. These negative imageries were used to justify their annihilation. This tradition continues today in the case of African Americans. The U.S. medias constant deplorable depictions of Black Americans is deliberately designed to produce prejudice distorted and acrimonious beliefs about African Americans that makes the others insensitive to their plight, tranquilizes efforts on their behalf, and makes any serious criticism of White racism in the U.S. almost impossible today. This also creates false justifications for the legal systems mistreatment of African Americans wherein they are disproportionately incarcerated, given stiffer sentences, and are more likely than other racial groups to be treated brutally, beaten, and fired upon by police officers while they are unarmed. These injustices now goes ignored because the perception has subconsciously become that its more often justified. When contempt of Blacks is made to appear to be justifiable, it is the fiercest and most effective type of racism because its witnesses, bystanders, and even world audiences will sit by idly allowing African Americans to be brutally mistreated under the belief that it is justified. This is what Americas renowned propaganda expert Dr. Edward Bernays referred to as socially engineered consent.
The effects of this social program are also manifested in ideas, education, governmental policies, economic stratification, social segregation, housing markets, hiring and promotion practices, psychological issues, and minority access to a variety of social services and opportunity. It also affects attitudes that when enacted through governmental policies, laws, and other legislation actions, serve to ensure that African Americans will not advance. Some studies have shown that this social program has engendered increasingly acrimonious beliefs and prejudiced perceptions about and against African Americans that are arguably now stronger today than they were after emancipation. It was this psychological conditioning program that ended the Black revolutionary movement of the nineteen sixties and that stripped African Americans of the national and global support that was acquired during that eras civil rights struggles.

End

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KISUMU WATER WOES TO END, KIWASCO PLEDGES.

Posted by African Press International on October 6, 2010

By Dickens Wasonga.

Chairman and MD.

Kisumu city has over the years faced perennial water shortage but it appears the problem is about to be fixed once and for all thanks to the current vibrant management at Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company formed in the year 2003.

The water company under the stewardship of Engineer David Onyango has in the recent past made great progress in supply of water and improvement of customer operations.
According to the MD , KIWASCO has put steps in place to ensure Kisumu residents get timely and adequate water supply by the end of this year
Emergency works and expansion project which has been ongoing at the Dunga Water Treatment plant where a new treatment facility is being constructed is near completion and is due for commissioning by December.
When complete, the new treatment facility will see water supply to the over a half a million residents of the lake side city doubled to about 46,000m3. KIWASCO has two water treatment plants both of which supply about 21,000m3 per day against a demand of about 46,000m3. Dunga Treatment Plant has a capacity of 20,000m3 while that of Kajulu is 1300m3. Dunga treatment plant which was built in 1922 is the biggest and the main water treatment facility in the city . It has had only two rehabilitations , in 1938 and the last one was in 1968. KIWASCO’s distribution system within the city is also set to undergo a major rehabilitation including the sewerage treatment which will boost their capacities to cope with the ever growing population of the town.
Initially the water company could barely supply water adequately to all the estates because its original supply system was designed for a small population back then and it was forced to introduce rationing of the commodity.Estates like Migosi which never had water in the past can now receive water. The company faced numerous challenges including poor quality of water, poor supply, burst and leaking pipes.

Others included overflowing sewers and discharge of raw waste into Lake Victoria , irregular billing, poor communication and customer relationships,and massive water theft. In fact KIWASCO still loses up to 80 per cent of its water to theft . As a result the company suffered low revenue collection and a dented corporate image. To counter this KIWASCO has embark on rigorous reforms, a process which is already bearing fruits. According to the MD, the company has managed to streamline its activities right from the Board level, Management and down to Operations level. In its Short and Long Term Action Plan KIWASCO is also introducing customer-focused innovations which are bound to improve the quality and efficiency of services to its customers. To address problems of bill repayment and shorten the long queues at the Head office, KIWASCO recently introduced a new bill payment option that will now enable customers to settle their bills through M-Pesa.

Customers can also interrogate their accounts through SMS and know their balances. ”We are delighted to offer our customers the easiest and most convenient methods to query and settle their bills. With the introduction of our M-Pesa bill payment services, all domestic customers now need not queue at the head office to pay their bills but do it from any part of the country.” said Eng. Onyango
It has also introduced a pre-paid water metering system to the informal settlement of Nyalenda in a move to improve access to water and revenue collection. The pilot project scheduled to run for six months in Nyalenda is being implemented by a Namibian based company ,TagMeter Namibia and will provide an opportunity for KIWASCO and residents of Kisumu city to assess the suitability of implementing such systems to water distribution management. KIWASCO has also acquired 31 motor cycles for meter readers and its maintenance staff .

The company Chairman Israel Agina and Eng. Onyango launched the new motorcycles last week in a colorful ceremony at the Kibuye KIWASCO Plant. Mr. Agina said that the mobility of meter readers is the very backbone of the firm given that it is its primary source of revenue. He noted that customer base has been growing at a steady rate and that this is expected to rise even higher after the completion of the expansion works at Dunga water treatment plant. During the launching ceremony the Managing Director said the motor cycles would help in improving billing and revenue collection which will in turn trickle down to the customer in terms of improved and reliable services. we are committed providing reliable, quality and affordable water and sewerage services in an efficient, viable, and environmentally friendly manner. We willcontinue to improve our efficiency in all sections of our operations and ensure our customers are satisfied.

To widen its scope of supply, KIWASCO has embarked on Re-activation of dormant accounts, where they reach out to customers who were disconnected due to huge bills and allow them to reconnect and continue to enjoy water supply Daily contact with key customers on water situation to monitor supply reliability and quality of water is also done currently.
We established that plans are also at advanced stages to introduce a customer call center ensure that customers complaints are fully addressed in time. A recent customers survey conducted in October 2009 majority of customers said there is an improvement in supply and reliability of water and sanitation services in the city. KIWASCO has now also revamped treatment of waste water prior to discharge, at Kisat plant has been revamped after it stalled a few years ago and today the waste treatment process is active.

”The sewerage infrastructure in Kisumu is very old and has largely remained the same over the years despite the rapid population growth which has since grown to over double the capacity that can comfortably be served by the sewer network”Observed the MD When the sewer network was constructed it was intended to serve a smaller population compared to the current population of over 500,000 residents yet the sewerage system has not undergone major expansions to keep pace with the population growth. For several years, the biggest challenge to KIWASCO has been water loss but thanks to a team of dedicate staff, it has managed to reduce the amount of water being lost to theft and leakages from an all time high of 70% to now about 49%. and efforts to drive this figure further down by the end of this year are in place.

However water theft through illegal connections and vandalism of the supply systems is still a big setback for the water company. Onyango said surveillance has been stepped up and with the help of members of the public , several arrests have been made and scores prosecuted.
”Apart from denying Kisumu residents their right to access to adequate water supply, KIWASCO also looses over 49% of the daily water supply to such illegal water connections. Such connections frustrate our efforts and mandate to supply clean and reliable water” He said KIWASCO realizes that employees are the most valued assets of the company and therefore the company constantly looks for better ways to uphold and improve staff welfare. With effect from October 1, 2010 KIWASCO entered into a new medical scheme cover for its employees with Madison insurance in an effort to improve healthcare for staff. This unlike earlier ones will cover both inpatient and outpatient cases.

ENDS.

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This woman and her family have gone a year without a trace of a 20-year-old family member who was at the Conakry stadium on 28 September 2009

Posted by African Press International on October 6, 2010

GUINEA: An uneasy nation says “never again”

Photo: IC/IRIN
This woman and her family have gone a year without a trace of a 20-year-old family member who was at the Conakry stadium on 28 September 2009

DAKAR, 1 October 2010 (IRIN) – On the eve of their Independence Day Guineans are uneasy as tensions threaten a political transition many had hoped would end decades of repressive rule.

Concern over delays to a second-round presidential election merged this week with pain and anger stoked by the anniversary of the 28 September 2009 military crackdown on demonstrators in the capital Conakry, in which hundreds were killed, wounded or raped.

Victims of the massacre of pro-democracy supporters in a Conakry stadium have been appealing to Guineans to say no to impunity, and to guard against the transition degenerating into political violence.

Impunity is poisoning this country, said Abdoul Karim Barry, who was injured in the crackdown, but we youth will fight [against impunity] to the end. We are determined.

Victims associations are calling for perpetrators to be brought to justice, victims compensated and social stability restored. Nothing justifies government violence against the people Guineans blood must never again be shed, the groups said in a declaration on the anniversary.

The groups used the occasion to appeal to political leaders and all citizens to safeguard social stability in the election process. Several people died in recent clashes between supporters of the two second-round candidates, Alpha Cond and Cellou Dalein Diallo.

WithConakry being decorated for IndependenceDay andall eyes on Guineas political transition, victims group member El Hadj Boussiriou Diallo said survivors were determined to keep the spotlight on the 28 Septemberevent and ensure fellow Guineans did not die in vain.

The anniversary aroused renewed anger, he told IRIN. So much remains to be done to eliminate impunity We cannot continue to have Guineans massacred [with no consequences].

A 25-year-old woman told IRIN she is still in pain from the day, a year ago, when soldiers forced a pistol into her vagina. She joined scores of other women on 28 September to commemorate the victims. To this day I am in pain and reproached by everyone around me. I just want out of this country.

Justice?


Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN
People waiting to vote in Conakry’s Hamdallaye neighbourhood. Guineans were cautiously optimistic the first round of voting 27 June 2010, but now uncertainty reigns

Guineans and human rights experts say some steps have been encouraging, namely the appointment of judges to hear testimonies about the crackdown. But they say theevent merits more attention by the government and international community, as it remains to be seen how far the domestic legal process will go.

The International Criminal Court examined the stadium massacre and has said it could open an investigation if national authorities do not do enough.

For now we give the Guinean judges the benefit of the doubt until we know more about their work, Mamadi Kaba, Guinea head of the pan-African human rights organization RADDHO, told IRIN.

Kaba said the new president must make justice in the 28 September case a top priority.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a communiqu laments that none of those responsible for the killings have been brought to trial.

The lack of accountability for all categories of crime is chronic in Guinea, Corinne Dufka, HRW senior West Africa researcher, told IRIN. This creates an ambiance where potential perpetrators are emboldened.

She said the 28 September 2009 events should be higher on the international and Guinean agenda. Everyone has been focused on the elections. While that process is also critical to the rights of Guineans, we must remember that a continued lack of accountability not only hits Guineans human rights, but also undermines the countrys development, depriving people of health and education.

np/cb source.irinnews

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WFP’s online game, Food Force, aims to teach users about food insecurity and its operations

Posted by African Press International on October 6, 2010

GLOBAL: Serious fun – how to reach young donors

Photo: WFP
WFP’s online game, Food Force, aims to teach users about food insecurity and its operations

DAKAR, 30 September 2010 (IRIN) – Older givers have the deepest pockets when it comes to donating to humanitarian and development non-profits, according to several NGOs IRIN spoke to; but many NGOs face an aging supporter base, and are increasingly targeting children, youths and young adults through social networking and video games.

NGO Action Against Hunger Frances (ACF) most generous individual donors are 65-70, according to Nicolas Trombert, acting head of donor relations at the Paris headquarters; British Red Cross supporters fall into a similar bracket; while Save the Childrens are over 50, said Jeremie Bodin, head of emergency fundraising for the NGO.

Older givers are vital to keeping organizations going, and are often more in tune with humanitarian realities, said Mdecins sans Frontires (MSF) UK fundraising head, James Kliffen. Many of our oldest [UK] supporters have experienced war first-hand There is much less effort required to explain what we do, he told IRIN.

Nonetheless, there is no denying youths are the givers of tomorrow. Bodin told IRIN: Were trying to attract younger givers – young professionals in the 25-30 age range – theyre working and often dont have kids yet; and wed like to go even younger, so that when people are ready to make a donation, theyll think of Save the Children.

With children, youths and young adults, it is not all about money, said MSF UKs fundraising events manager and support development officer Joanna Davies. Its not so much about fundraising [with youths], its about raising awareness and obviously that becomes fundraising at a later date.

Gigs, twitter, YouTube

Aid agencies IRIN spoke to – the World Food Programme (WFP), Save the Children, ACF, Oxfam and MSF-UK – mentioned some traditional methods of reaching out to children and youths: talking at schools; developing learning tools for teachers; setting up university student societies; disseminating messagesat music festivals; street marketing; and running events, among many others.

Events range from student gigs to the more gruelling: ACFs UK chapter is currently organizing a twin peaks challenge in November, where fundraisers are sponsored to run up 67 floors of two buildings in London.

As the online world expands, all said they are using social networking tools Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get a younger audience involved in humanitarian issues. We have to use the tools they do, to communicate, said Bodin.

Online games can reach millions in one fell swoop: Indian e-learning company ZMQ created simple social impact mobile phone games on themes like HIV/AIDS and the impact of climate change, sending them out to 64 million people, said Asi Burak, co-president of the NGO Games for Change, which brings together people from government, philanthropy, civil society, academia, and the game industry to explore how digital games can catalyse social change.

Gaming

Through serious games, aid agencies can raise awareness of humanitarian and development issues; build constituencies; and raise money, said Burak, but they work best when this objective is clearly spelt out in the design stage. Identifying the specific audience within the narrowest possible age range; and spelling out the context, are also key, he said.

Users learn through role-play and by confronting the consequences of their actions, said Burak. In Dying for Darfur, users choose a member of a Darfurian family and have them complete tasks, such as fetching water, without being killed or kidnapped by militia. The online Flash game has been played millions of times since its 2006 release.


Photo: WFP
A screenshot of the game in progress

WFP was an early innovator, creating what some have called the first humanitarian game, Food Force in 2005, to raise awareness about hunger and global food security and its operations.

The organization is now teaming up with gaming company Zynga – creator of Facebooks Farmville – to try to raise money for its global school-feeding programmes. Gamers – there are a potential 215 million of them, according to WFP – will click on a We Feedback icon to find out how many WFP school meals the value of their favourite menu item – say a chicken Caesar salad – would buy; and then choose to donate or not.

Zynga already helped WFP raise US$1.5 million following the Haiti earthquake, by getting players of Fishville, YoVille, FarmVille and Caf World to buy WFP-themed items.

Games arent the right tool for everything, said Burak. They dont need to replace other media, but should complement it… Like everything, they are a great tool if used correctly.

Some fear a game is the wrong medium to transmit complex messages such as abduction, conflict, or the refugee experience, but Burak said they can be more effective. He cites Peacemaker, which he designed to raise awareness of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Gamers take the role of a leader, and then have to negotiate with eight different groups… Users said it helped them understand the complexity of the situation much better than the isolated events they hear about in the news.

aj/bp/cb source. http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Children standing next to a rice field in Casamance, southern Senegal

Posted by African Press International on October 6, 2010

WEST AFRICA: Growing food for nutrition

Children standing next to a rice field in Casamance, southern Senegal (file photo)

GRAND BASSAM, 27 September 2010 (IRIN) – Animal production that is nutrition. The statement by Victoria Tsekpo of Ghanas Food and Agriculture Ministry summed upone of the themesthat emerged atanutrition forum of the Economic Community of West African States helping nutrition find its place in the agriculture sector.

Health, nutrition and agriculture experts from the 15 ECOWAS countries said nutrition usually gains attention only in the context of crisis and emergency response, but it should be integral to agricultural and development programmes if countries are to pre-empt child malnutrition.

“Today everyone agrees that the health, nutrition and agriculture sectors must work together, but … they do not understand one another,” said Ismael Thiam, nutrition officer of the ECOWAS West African Health Organization. “Their policies are developed separately, their data collection efforts are separate.”

“What the agriculture sector collects is not what is needed to know the nutritional implications; availability of food has nothing to do with [the biological composition and benefits].”

The agriculture and health sectors know what needs to be done, but in most cases themechanisms are not in place for countries to ensure sound nutrition for their populations and prevent crises, Thiam told IRIN.

“We have to stop taking malnutrition as a problem that calls for an emergency response – it must be integrated into development,” said Mamady Daffe, head of the nutrition unit in Guinea’s Health Ministry.

“In all food security programmes there must be a nutrition component,” he told IRIN. “Agricultural production must be about quality as well as quantity. If we’re focused only on quantity, we’ll always fall into problems of malnutrition either obesity or under-nutrition.”

Participants said the agriculture sector focused on maximum production without adequate attention to the nutritive quality of what farmers were producing.

“The first step is for agriculture technicians to have a clear understanding of nutrition,” said Narcisse Litaaba-Akila of Togo’s Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Ministry.


Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN
Women working in a community garden in Korhogo, Cte d’Ivoire (file photo)

He told IRIN the ministry worked with a government nutrition expert in developing its food security programme. “But still, in a document of more than 100 pages, only about one and a half pages cover nutrition. Why this imbalance? It points to a remaining problem of understanding the role of nutrition.”

In many government ministries nutritionis not given due attention because policy-makers are not aware of its importance, said Victoria Lebbie, who heads the women in agriculture and nutrition unit in Sierra Leone’s Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Ministry.

“To them it’s just cooking,” she told IRIN. “But nutrition is not only cooking – it goes beyond that. It’s agriculture; it’s all about production, processing, preservation, utilisation.”

Use what’s already in place

Nutrition and food security experts at the forum said agricultural cooperatives offered an effective vehicle for infusing nutrition information into crop production as well as household eating habits a low-cost education method with huge potential returns.

“If we want nutrition messages to be imbibed we have to use groups at the local level,” said Bernadette Mordi-Onota of Nigeria’s national food security programme in the Agriculture Ministry.

“In most countries, as in Nigeria for instance, we have a lot of [agriculture] groups livestock groups, poultry groups, fisheries groups, and women’s groups that are well-formed and they are involved in a lot of agricultural activities,” she told IRIN.

“Women do most of the agricultural production, processing, storage and utilization. So if … [they] are taught about nutrition … we will be able to combat malnutrition.”

np/he source.irinnews

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