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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘east africa

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Big Picture shares photos of the South Sudanese refugee exodus into Uganda.
  • blogTO shares an ad for a condo rental on Dovercourt Road near me, only $1800 a month.
  • Centauri Dreams reports on the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Crooked Timber uses the paradigm of Jane Jacobs’ challenge to expert in the context of Brexit.
  • The LRB Blog reports on the fishers of Senegal and their involvement in that country’s history of emigration.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares an image comparing Saturn’s smaller moons.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy comes out in support of taking down Confederate monuments.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Chechens are coming out ahead of Daghestanis in the North Caucasus’ religious hierarchies, and argues that Putin cannot risk letting Ukraine become a model for Russia.
  • Arnold Zwicky looks at various bowdlerizations of Philip Larkin’s famous quote about what parents do to their children.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Dangerous Minds notes a remarkable Japanese magazine featuring photos of rock stars from the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the death of drag legend Lady Chablis.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the exceptional skepticism of some with the idea of a guaranteed minimum income in Kenya.
  • The NYRB Daily interviews Chinese documentary filmmaker Ai Xiaoming, who despairs for the future of civil society in her country.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer contrasts race and politics in the states of Alabama and Mississippi.
  • Registan notes the orderly succession of power in post-Karimov Uzbekistan.
  • Torontoist notes that the TTC can be a nightmare for women.

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Bloomberg looks at the restarting of northern Alberta oil, looks at the deterioration in Sino-Taiwanese relations, reports on how Norway is using oil money to buffer its economic shocks, and suggests low ECB rates might contribute to a property boom in Germany.
  • Bloomberg View notes the idea of a third party in the US, one on the right to counter Trump, will go nowhere.
  • The CBC notes the settlement of a residential school case in Newfoundland and Labrador and predicts a terrible fire season.
  • The Globe and Mail‘ Kate Taylor considers Canadian content rules in the 21st century.
  • The Inter Press Service notes that planned Kenyan closures of Somali refugee camps will have terrible results.
  • National Geographic looks at the scourge that is Pablo Escobar’s herd of hippos in Colombia.
  • The National Post notes VIA Rail’s existential need for more funding and reports on Jean Chrétien’s support of decriminalizing marijuana.
  • Open Democracy looks at controversies over Victory Day in Georgia, and notes the general impoverishment of Venezuela.
  • Vice looks at new, accurate dinosaur toys, feathers and all.
  • Wired explains why Israel alone of America’s clients can customize F-35s.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes evidence that Kardashev Type III civilizations do not exist.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the new Kenya-Somalia border war, suggests the United Arab Emirates will be building a mountain to try to trigger rain, and notes that the new French-built submarines of Australia will come with American tech parts.
  • Language Log looks at the changing meaning of “feel”.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests Russian power might be on an upswing and looks at European Union proposals to fine countries which do not accept refugees.
  • The NYRB Daily notes the controversy surrounding Poland’s Second World War museum at Gdansk.
  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at robotic activity around the solar system.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer considers the question of whether or not Napoleonic rule did kickstart growth in western Germany.
  • Savage Minds continues the discussion of decolonizing anthropology.
  • Torontoist notes a protest tomorrow by Ontario parents unhappy that the provincial government will not cover enough of an effective autism program.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at class divisions in Russia and notes a proposal to divert water from Siberian rivers to China.

[LINK] “Kitchen Gardens are Victory Gardens in Boosting Nutrition and Incomes in Western Kenya”

Justus Wanzala, writing for the Inter Press Service, looks at the kitchen gardens of Kenya.

Busia County in western Kenya is home to an array of indigenous vegetables. But for decades there has been a shift in popular taste leading to leading to little interest in what is indigenously grown. This relegated the vegetables to the periphery with most farmers cultivating kale and cabbages among other more exotic varieties.

However, but this has been changing courtesy of awareness created by nutritionists and the emergence of kitchen gardens. A kitchen garden is an area in a homestead where leafy vegetables, fruit or herbs are grown.

Subsistence farming is the mainstay of communities in Busia County with an average acreage being two hectares. Thanks to a local a local community-based organisation (CBO), Sustainable Income Generating Investment (SINGI), and its partners, the concept of kitchen gardens is in vogue having a huge impact on nutrition and food security in the county.

SINGI works with over 50 farmer groups in the county with members running up to hundreds. Women however dominate the membership. Buoyed rains that come two seasons each year, with some farmers being able to practice irrigation, most households are able to maintain their kitchen gardens throughout the year.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 7, 2016 at 10:17 pm

[LINK] “Solar Kiosks Help Light up Rural Kenya”

Justus Wanzala at the Inter Press Service writes about how solar power hubs are helping boost local economies in Kenya.

This market centre in the arid Lake Magadi region, Kajiado of Southern Kenya is with no grid electricity. The area is inhabited by the pastoralist Maasai community. With climate change affecting their pastoral way of life, the community is increasingly adopting a more sedentary life but without amenities.

The centre is hot and dusty. Much as the area enjoys bright sunshine during the day, the situation changes to pitch dark after sunset. But in the last two years, the market centre is witnessing a transformation. It is becoming a beehive of activity.

This is courtesy of Solar Kiosk Kenya Ltd. that installed a retail kiosk, called the SOLARKIOSK E-HUBB. The E-HUBB, designed by GRAFT (partners and co-founders of SOLARKIOSK AG, the Berlin-based mother company), is a modular solar-powered structure that can be easily implemented in remote communities.

The E-HUBB outlet enables and empowers local entrepreneurship and the sustainable development of Base-of-the-Pyramid (BOP) communities by selling essential food ingredients, vital energy services, solar and clean energy products and connectivity solutions. By the end of 2015, SOLARKIOSK will have implemented over 100 E-HUBBs on three continents.

A SOLARKIOSK E-HUBB is a solar-powered autonomous business hub. It uses solar power to generate electricity for rural off-grid communities for various uses. It is a decentralised, easy to maintain source of energy. Kiosk operators are able to use the power during the day and continue operating late into the night.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 8, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Economics

Tagged with , , , ,

[LINK] “For Tanzania’s coffee farmers, climate change is a buzzkill”

Al Jazeera America’s Tom A. Peter looks at how climate change is undermining the coffee industry of Tanzania.

For the last 20 years, Fredrick Damien has watched as his coffee trees have produced fewer and fewer beans. Back in the 1990s, his half-acre farm at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro turned out as many as 330 pounds of coffee a season, but now he’s happy to harvest 200 pounds of beans. He’s tried planting other crops to make up for the shortfall, but in this region coffee is the only viable cash crop.

“I’m trying to put more effort into growing bananas, but I’m mostly just asking God for a miracle,” he says.

The culprit cutting into Damien’s bottom line is one that he only vaguely understands and that has no easy solution: climate change. Over the last 60 years, rising nighttime temperatures have taken a toll on coffee production in this remote corner of Africa, reducing yields by roughly half. Countries throughout East Africa and other coffee growing regions around the world are likewise expected to experience reduced yields if current trends continue. As the world feels the effects of global warming more acutely, coffee farmers, the vast majority of whom live on razor thin margins, are likely to be among the hardest hit.

“We are feeling very worried because we don’t have any other alternatives [to generate income] like mining. We just have coffee. If the weather keeps changing we will have nothing else to do,” says Mary Faustimi, general secretary of the Mamsera Agriculture Marketing Co-operative Society, in the Kilimanjaro region. “We’ve tried to mitigate the effects of climate change. We’ve stopped cutting down trees, and we’ve done what we can, but it’s frustrating because now it depends on other people.”

Written by Randy McDonald

August 17, 2015 at 10:00 pm