Bernard, a 14-year-old student in Ntam Carrefour in South East Cameroon would like to be someone special in life. Maybe a teacher, a soldier, or a police officer. The dreams of the ethnic Baka children of the region like Bernard are unlikely to be realised. Many of their parents don’t see the benefits of modern education, as what is important to them is the present. “The past and the future does not matter,” says David Angoula, a Baka parent whose two sons left school to pursue this traditional role of hunter-gatherer.
In the first half of 2016 alone, there were 54 femicides and 118 attempted femicides in Peru, according to the nation’s Women’s Ministry. The statistics also indicate that on average 16 people are raped every day. Following the lenient one-year suspended sentence for the rape and attempted femicide by the ex-boyfriend of Arlette Contreras, Peruvians took to the streets in numbers to protest against the rising culture of violence against women.
Globally, an estimated 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation (FGM). In Africa, FGM is practiced in at least 26 of 43 African countries, with prevalence rates ranging from 98 percent in Somalia to 5 percent in Zaire. But after years of wrangling and debates among African leaders, the movement to end the practice is gaining real momentum on the continent.
Since 8 July, there have been deadly clashes between protestors and government forces in the Himalayan region of Kashmir. Pellet guns were introduced in Kashmir as a “non-lethal” alternative to bullets after security forces killed nearly 200 people during demonstrations against Indian rule from 2008 to 2010. But there is increasing evidence that these pellets cause severe harm to those shot.
Despite their large presence and strong influence in the region, the native peoples of Latin America still represent one of the most disadvantaged population groups. Access to education – the most powerful instrument in the struggle against exclusion and discrimination – is still elusive for these groups. IPS investigates.
Madagascar is facing the worst drought in 35 years and many farms have been devastated. But for Mirantsoa Faniry Rakotomalala, a farmer in the south of the island, the story is different. Thanks to a U.N. programme to promote climate-smart agriculture, her farm is thriving. IPS reports on a project that’s using simple techniques to ensure that people in the region have enough produce to eat and sell.
The displacement of rural populations due to erratic and extreme weather, a fallout of climate change, has become a frightening reality for millions of people across India. Cyclones, landslides, mass flooding and droughts have destroyed many fishing and farming communities, forcing communities to leave their parched fields for India’s cities in search of work. With climate change only set to worsen in the coming years, how can India adapt to and tackle its impact? IPS investigates.
For students in the remote village of Coalaca in western Honduras, an education isn’t the only benefit they get from attending school. It’s also an opportunity for them to enjoy a nutritious meal. IPS reports on a sustainable school food project that is having the dual benefit of improving student’s nutrition and giving directly support to small local farmers.
Germany is the third world power in renewable energies but the persistence of fossil fuels casts a shadow on the country’s green energy goals. IPS discovers how Germany is struggling to cut its dependence on an energy industry based on coal and lignite, a highly polluting fossil fuel. As mitigating climate change moves higher on the country’s agenda, IPS investigates the power struggle between Germany’s coal industry and renewable energy sector.
Climate change presents a serious challenge to the habitat of the world’s remaining tigers. In India, they face environmental degradation, water shortages and poaching. United Nations former chief photographer John Isaac’s short film India’s Tigers: A Threatened Species aims to raise awareness of this threatened population.
A coalition of more than 25 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has launched a global campaign to end a longstanding health and environmental hazard: the use of mercury in dentistry. They claim that dental amalgam is “vastly inferior to today’s alternative materials” but they face resistance from the medical lobby.
An ancient, nutrient-rich and versatile crop could be the solution to poverty and hunger in Latin America, which affects 34 million people. Seaweed and other algae are proving popular and easy to farm in small, fishing communities in Chile, as they are as a valuable export and a healthy addition to diets. But the marine crop is so popular that it’s potentially at risk of over farming. The Chilean government is taking steps to ensure seaweed remains a bountiful pillar of food security in the Latin American country.
Radio Meghna, a community radio station in rural Bangladesh, isn’t your average radio station. Completely run by a team of about 20 adolescent girls, its programmes aim at preventing early marriages and encourages more girls and young women onto education through the spread of a powerful tool – knowledge. IPS discovers how Radio Meghna and other education and skills development programmes are helping girls take back their futures.
Despite their extreme vulnerability, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees often do not seek the assistance they need, since revealing their sexual or gender identities can put them in grave danger. IPS learns how the UNHCR is taking steps to ensure the safety of LGBTI refugees, who face a double-edged sword: “Many in the host country discriminate against them for being a refugee, and many from their country discriminate against them for being LGBTI.”
A government crackdown on parents who don’t vaccinate their children will save thousands of lives in Uganda, which has the lowest rate of immunization in eastern Africa. A fear-mongering campaign led by the country’s triple six (666) religious cult has persuaded many parents that immunization medication will actually harm their children. But a new immunization law that threatens parents with fines and jail times is swaying public opinion, learns IPS.
While treatment for HIV and AIDS has increased, key populations including LGBT communities continue to be left behind and even excluded altogether. The persistent exclusion of LGBT communities – particular transgender groups – in HIV responses globally has also recently resurfaced at the United Nations. A number of LGBT organisations have been blocked from attending a UN on Ending AIDS in New York in June. They explain what must be done to impact change and end the disregarding of communities most affected by HIV worldwide.
Although mega dams can have devastating impacts on ecosystems and indigenous communities, many poor countries still see them as a way to fill holes in their energy supplies. IPS takes the Inga III dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as an example. It will be the biggest dam project in the world once completed but there are already concerns that it will not benefit 90% of the DRC population. Could developing wind and solar technologies be viable alternatives to mega dams?
While long-awaited new vaccines for malaria and dengue may finally be within reach, many of the world’s existing vaccines have remained unattainable for many of the people who need them most. With the vaccines market dominated by a handful of major pharmaceutical companies, many developing countries are concerned that high costs, particularly for newer vaccines, mean that their children will not be vaccinated. Children in conflict-affected areas are most at risk, IPS reports.
The prickly pear cactus used to be nothing more than an unusually shaped part of the semi-arid landscape in the northern Argentine province of Chaco. But a new women-led initiative from the U.N. has helped resourceful farmers harvest the common plant, which always thrives in the drought-prone region, is a sustainable way. Making use of its fruit and the leaves to make prickly pear fruit jam has changed the lives of local families – boosting incomes, food security and strengthening biodiversity in the region, reports IPS.
Young inventors and entrepreneurs in Kenya are coming up with sustainable and innovative solutions to make everyday tasks, such as cutting grass and cooking, easier and more cost-efficient. Leading by example are Emma Masibo and Lucy Bwire, two students in their early 20's. After their lessons were interrupted by a noisy, combustion engine-powered lawn mower, they designed a solar-powered, light-weight alternative to be used at night. Their product will now be rolled out to schools and hospitals across the country, and is inspiring a new generation of innovators.