Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scholarship applications for Women Deliver’s next global conference–May 28 to 30, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia– available for applicants under 30

Scholarship applications for Women Deliver’s next global conference–May 28 to 30, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia–are now available for applicants under 30 (as of May 2013) here.

If you will be aged 30-years-old or older (as of May 2013), you will be offered a separate application that will be available on March 26th, 2012.

Deadline for all scholarships to be received is April 15, 2012 (12pm EST), with no exceptions.

The groundbreaking Women Deliver conferences in 2007 and 2010 were the largest of the decade to focus on the health and empowerment of girls and women. In 2010, we convened more than 3,400 people from 146 countries in Washington, DC, including 75 parliamentarians and government ministers, five UN agency heads, the UN Secretary-General and more than 250 global media outlets. Our third global conference will be even bigger and better, with more than 5,000 public and private sector participants expected from around the world. Our goal is to mobilize action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women everywhere.

In order to maximize participation from those traditionally under-represented, namely young people and those from the Global South, we will be offering full conference support to a select number of participants. This support includes conference registration, round-trip economy class airfare, hotel accommodations, and a fixed stipend for visa fees and other incidentals. Scholarship winners must:

- Attend the conference in its entirety.
- Be able to communicate in English, both orally and in writing. We will have translation available at plenary sessions, but this will not be - possible for all breakout sessions.
- Have regular access to email, as that will be our way of communicating with you about deadlines, registration, hotel and travel arrangements.
- Possess an interest in global development issues.
- Conduct themselves in a professional manner.

Please note:
- Your participation will require you to respond to our emails in a timely way. Failure to do so will result in your space being forfeit.
- We are only able to offer economy-class airfare from your point of origin to Kuala Lumpur and returning from Kuala Lumpur to your point of origin, and hotel accommodations during the length of the conference only. Any modifications or extensions will be at your own expense.
- For information on visa requirements, please click here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

De-fragmenting Africa- World Bank Report

A new report from the World Bank highlights wide-spread opportunities for African countries to trade goods, services and investments across borders.

  • The African market remains highly fragmented; preventing enormous opportunities for cross-border trade from being exploited and in turn generating new jobs.
  • Effective regional integration is more than simply removing tariffs—it is about addressing the barriers that undermine the daily operations of ordinary producers and traders of both goods and services.
  • The incidence of barriers to regional trade fall most heavily, and disproportionately, on the poor and on women, and is preventing them from earning a living in activities where they have a comparative advantage—catering for smaller, local markets across the border.
  • Action is required at both the supra-national and national levels. Regional communities can provide the framework for reform but responsibility for implementation lies with each member country.
  • The donor community can help countries understand the political economy resistance that lies behind the fact that despite public pledges for integration, actual barriers to trade remain in place.

Full Report

Read More Here,,contentMDK:23092452~pagePK:146736~piPK:226340~theSitePK:258644,00.html

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Innovating Africa: Verone Mankou Creator of Africa's First Tablet Computer

Verone Mankou. 26 years old inventor from the Congo-Brazaville is the genius creator behind the Way-C tablet computer. The tablet is called the Way-C - "the light of the stars" in a dialect of northern Congo.

Currently you can only purchase the Way-C from Airtel Congo stores in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, a private mobile telephone company which is a subsidiary of the Indian group Bharti.
The Way-C will cost you US $299!

Read More Here VMK Official Website

Isn't it about time Africa started to manufacture its own ARV treatment for HIV/AIDS?

The UN has warned against the high dependency by African countries on external sources for HIV and Aids funding.The organisation’s agency mandated to tackle the disease, UNAids, described the continent’s over-reliance on donor aid as unsustainable.

"African governments invest less on HIV/Aids than expected. For the continent as a whole, about five per cent of health budgets are allocated to the scourge, despite its causing a median of more than seven per cent of the overall burden of disease across countries," stated part of a brief posted on the agency’s website early this week.

The brief, titled Aids Dependency Crisis: Sourcing African Solutions, reveals that two-thirds of all HIV and Aids expenditure in Africa comes from external sources.

International support for the disease in the continent dropped by 13 per cent between 2009 and 2010 from $8.7 billion to $7.6 billion (Sh667 billion to Sh583 billion).The cut in funding, the first time in its ten-year history, was attributed to the global economic crisis. About Sh900 billion will be needed annually by 2015 to prevent new HIV infections and scale up treatment in Africa. Additionally, Sh307 billion more than the current expenditure is needed to effectively fight the disease.

The agency also noted that procurement of anti-retroviral drugs was highly dependent on external funding. In 27 countries for which accurate data was available, 84 per cent of expenditure for ARV therapy originated from international sources.

In Kenya, where it is estimated that 1.5 million people are infected with HIV, development partners support 85 per cent of the HIV budget. Over 400,000 people are receiving ARVs while another 600,000 require the drugs but cannot access them.Among the measures mooted by UNAids to help reduce over-dependence on donor support is development of a common drug regulatory authority that would ensure access to quality, life-saving medicines.

"Investing in local manufacturing and simplifying market access to drugs across the continent will boost the economy, reduce costs and ultimately save lives and money,"

Read More Here

Image from

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dear Optimist, Pessimist and Realist....

While you guys were busy arguing about the glass of water, I drank it!!!!


The Opportunist

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dalumuzi Mhlanga- Leading Zimbabwe Youths

Dalumuzi Mhlanga is an undergraduate student at Harvard University and founder of Lead Us Today, a non-profit organization in Zimbabwe whose mission is to inspire, mobilize and empower young people to work together beyond socioeconomic barriers so that they can lead community development efforts. He did his high school at Mzingwane High School in Zimbabwe and later attended Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa in Swaziland. He is passionate about African history and how it has shaped the way in which countries on the continent approach a globalizing world. He hopes to continue working with young people and building their capacity to lead and make a difference as they Lead Us Today. In his free time, he enjoys chatting with people, laughing with people and dancing alone.

Read More Here

Kenya: Livestock Insurance - A Chance to Outsmart Drought?

By Jeff Haskins and Neil Palmer

...The fact that the food crisis in the Horn was the result of a livestock crisis has been well documented. The area is a major pastoralist zone. When vegetation for grazing began to dry-up and livestock started to die, the knock-on effects on farmer livelihoods became strikingly clear.

Some observers balk at the idea of a financial institution selling insurance to already cash-strapped smallholder farmers to protect them against the risk of drought. The 650 livestock keepers in Marsabit, who are delighted to be receiving their first payouts, might give critics pause.

Sake Dabasso Halake stands proudly in front of Equity Bank's Marsabit branch. She smiles, clutching an envelope filled with 16,000 Kenyan shillings that she just received. It was her insurance payout for the 10 cows she lost during the drought.

The Index-Based Livestock Insurance scheme is run by a consortium, including the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), its sister-organization, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia and a number of partners, including the UK Department for International Development. The initiative is an example of a market-based, climate-smart innovation that could gain much wider currency in Africa and beyond. It has completed its second year.

At a time when global attention for the worst drought in half a century has waned, nearly all of the farmers involved with the scheme were compensated. Researchers estimate that anywhere between 20-30 percent of livestock in Marsabit has been lost.

In a district where food aid makes up 15 percent of the economy, ILRI estimates that the trade in livestock is responsible for about 65 percent of the money coming into households. While the new insurance product won't be able to cover the total loss, it does offer participating farmers and herders an opportunity to recoup some of their losses.

The program uses information technology to operate. What triggers a payout is not how many livestock die, but whether satellite images confirm that forage availability in the region's range lands has dropped below a certain level. When this happens, farmers who took out insurance get paid. Using satellites to track forage cover gets around all kinds of problems, such as claims being made for animals that have died of disease or neglect, rather than drought.

The project highlights the increasingly important role of Kenyan scientists and private institutions in developing effective initiatives for Kenya and its people. Civil society organizations, including a people-to-people effort called Kenyans4Kenya that sprung up to collect food and money in response to the famine.

"Kenyans are stepping up for Kenya, not just in response to the region's humanitarian emergency like the Kenyans4Kenya campaign, but also in developing long-term solutions that manage risk and reduce vulnerability," said Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI.

Global research and innovation partnerships with Cornell University, the University of California-Davis, Syracuse University and other partners also played an important role.

"None of this would have been possible without new innovations in index-based insurance products that make it more efficient to insure livestock, predict their mortality, and deliver timely payouts to participating herders," said Smith.

"The global community is questioning the role of agricultural research in delivering real impact on the ground," he said. "Research can't do it alone. But this project is proof that public research combined with local knowledge and private sector partnerships can provide solutions to problems that were cast off long ago as too complex or too costly to address."

At a recent meeting in nearby Dirib Gombo village, where some of the farmers received their payouts, others were unconvinced about the insurance scheme. Inevitably, some were frustrated that they had taken out insurance in the year the scheme was launched, and despite losing animals, had received no payout because the forage threshold was never breached. They decided not to renew their policies -- and then the drought hit.

The experience of the insurance scheme shows that no one intervention addresses all problems. As successful as it has been for many who lost animals and livelihoods, others would have needed additional help.

Back in Ginda Village, the cruel irony is that even if farmer Haro Sora had taken out livestock insurance, he probably wouldn't have received a payout for many of the dead animals that were seen scattered around.

Already weakened by months of near-starvation, the animals were unable to endure the colder weather that followed the long-awaited return of the rains. They died from hypothermia, with green shoots springing up around them.

Jeff Haskins is director of the Nairobi office of Burness Communications, and Neil Palmer is with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

Read More Here
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