13 April 2023

Ethiopia/Girls: Despite progress (decrease in child marriage & teenage pregnancy; improved access to SRH services; better school attendance rates), a lot remains to be done as “inequalities and entrenched patriarchal norms remain”. The article’s authors looked into the effects of a national community health programme aiming to increase availability of basic health services and to promote healthy lifestyles. Apparently and despite a focus on disease prevention and health promotion, the programme’s community outreach activities, and especially its household visits (local health extension workers are mostly young women) also substantially “reduce(d) rates of child marriage, early pregnancy and school dropout”: child marriage -70%, early pregnancy -75%, school enrolment +63%. The work is by no means finished. Entirely untapped lies the area of adolescent girls’ sexual and reproductive health rights.

Senegal/Girls: Two years of research by the African Population and Health Research Center on girls’ education and wellbeing in the country found that financial reasons are still the main drivers for girls’ high school drop-out rates: only one third make it into secondary school. Furthermore, boys still get preferential treatment. And there is child marriage, often used to prevent pre-marriage pregnancies. Lack of education of girls/women has numerous disadvantages, an important one being that, as they are mostly the primary caregivers, “(e)ducated women are better placed to address some of the health challenges facing their children and their communities.”

Ethiopia: Is press freedom eroding further? Unconfirmed reports say that prominent Ethiopian freelance journalist Dawit Begashaw was “abducted by security forces” yesterday (Wednesday) evening and that another journalist, Meskerem Abera, had been arrested last weekend.
BBC Africa Live 13 April 2023. 8:47

Mali: After months of fighting, Islamic State-affiliated jihadists have on Monday night taken over Tidermene village north of regional capital Ménaka.
BBC Africa Live 13 April 2023. 6:29

Sudan: The army accuses Hemeti’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) of “mobilising troops in cities across the country”, thus “clearly breaking the law” and nourishing fears that a confrontation may be imminent.
BBC Africa Live 13 April 2023. 4:32

South Africa: Research shows that loss of livestock (mostly goat and sheep) caused by predators (mostly caracals and jackals) can be prevented much more efficiently by herding instead of killing the predators.

South Africa: The country suffers from great “food injustice” – a violation of the constitutional right to food. 27% of children under 5 are stunted. “Black-headed households are seven times more likely than white-headed households to have inadequate access to food.” Food injustice has to some extent been addressed on the symptom-, but not on the root cause-level. Despite the attainment of freedom, the injustices of the colonial system continue to plague the country. In indigenous food systems, food was not a good like any other. True. But how do you get out of capitalism?

Tanzania: When vice-president Philip Mpango toured Mwanza region (north) yesterday Wednesday, police closed roads for 4 hours despite his having warned “the inspector general of police against long closure of roads”. He has now “ordered police to close roads for only a few minutes and not for hours when clearing VIPs to pass.”
BBC Africa Live 13 April 2023. 10:38

Algeria: A new law further restricts press freedom. Journalists can now be forced to reveal their sources. Funding from abroad is prohibited and dual-nationals may no longer own press or broadcasting companies.
BBC Africa Live 13 April 2023. 17:35

12 April 2023

Terrorism: 70% of terrorist groups do not live to see their first birthday. According to the authors’ research, terrorist attacks are more likely to turn into full-scale civil war “when the state uses repression to stop the terror group and when the group diversifies its attack tactics” and it is less likely to do so “if the state responds with higher spending on health, education and social welfare.”

Kenya/GB: Currently, a soldier of the former colonial power “cannot be tried under Kenyan law for murder”. The crimes British troops training in Kenya committed there – including the murder of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru in 2012 – remain unpunished. Parliament has now approved an amendment to the defence agreement with London changing that.
BBC Africa Live 12 April 2023. 17:02

Mozambique: There have always been queens in Africa even though they are rather rare due to the generally patriarchal societies. Abibi Achivangila, Queen of Niassa, died on Easter Monday aged 96. She was “the fifth in a dynasty of female monarchs dating back several hundred years”, the first one, Queen Achivangila, defied her husband, the Niassa king who had sold people into slavery to the Dutch – she hid them in Majune district (north-west of the country) and their descendants still live there today.
BBC Africa Live 11 April 2023. 18:00