17 March 2021

Egypt: According to a Human Rights Watch report, the Egyptian army had destroyed at least 12,350 buildings (mostly homes) over the last seven years – this may amount to war crimes. The army also razed, ruined, and closed off approximately 6,000 hectares of farmland. The report alleges that “most of the demolitions happened without a formal designation of affected areas, without specific reasons, and without a fair compensation process”.
BBC Africa Live 17 March 2021. 15:51

Kenya/FGC: Should adult women have the right to undergo female genital cutting? A Kenyan doctor in 2017 petitioned that banning the practice was unconstitutional. The High Court of Kenya has today upheld the ban, ruling that “one cannot choose harm on (oneself)”.
Anti-FGC activists had feared a major setback for their efforts if the Court had ruled differently.
BBC Africa Live 17 March 2021. 5:31
and BBC Africa Live 17 March 2021. 17:20

16 March 2021

Nigeria: Why are children prime targets of violent extremism? Based on his research, the author finds five reasons: They are a good source of ransom and can be used to negotiate for release of imprisoned members of the kidnapping groups. They attract attention locally and internationally and show off the strength of the kidnappers. They can be used for military operations (e.g. human shields, suicide bombings). Attacks on school fit ideology of going against western education. Girls can be exploited sexually.

Nigeria: The UN have launched a USD1bn appeal to assist people in the north of the country (first and foremost Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States) where more than 30,000 have died and millions have been displaced over the past 11 years.
BBC Africa Live 16 March 2021. 12:20

Congo-Kinshasa: Abortion is common despite restrictive laws, limited medical resources, high costs and stigmatisation. “An estimated 88% of abortions in Middle Africa are unsafe.” While “initial reactions towards induced abortion were overwhelmingly negative”, but – as forum group discussions showed – stigma can be overcome, by discussing the reasons for abortion, thus provoking empathy.

Ghana/climate change: Sub-Saharan Africa is affected above-average by climate change, in great part because of its dependence on agriculture, its reliance on rains and its poverty.
Ghana’s middle-belt, the Brong-Ahafo Region, has long attracted migrants from Upper West Region because of its favourable conditions for agriculture. But with climate change and lessening rains, conditions are no longer what they once were.

Lesotho/climate change: Climate change increases the likelihood of extreme weather events. “We found that due to human-induced climate change, the likelihood of a drought as bad as 2007 or worse (…) increased by a factor of five”. Furthermore, the authors estimate that climate change has decreased the number of self-sufficient farming households in Lesotho by 50% and household purchasing power by 37%. “(C)limate change exacerbated an already vulnerable food situation of the country. Agriculture production has been declining for years due to soil erosion, poor land-use practices and decreasing soil fertility. Hence, climate change may push Lesotho’s already precarious food security over the edge and make it unsustainable during drought years.”