“I entered into farming not because I was passionate about it… I wanted money and I wanted it quick,” says Beauty Manake. She just one of many women in Botswana trading in their white-collar office jobs for a more lucrative career in farming and agriculture. She now grows food and raises cattle on a 35-hectare farm/ranch situated 8km from her home village. But Beauty, like many other farmers in dry Botswana, faces significant challenges, with climate change a key factor.
Five miners who narrowly escaped death after a 41-day ordeal in a collapsed gold mine in northern Tanzania have described their experience a living hell. Gaunt and visibly dehydrated, the miners said when the mine fell in on October 5 they did not give up hope but instead they spent days ploughing through the rubble as they desperately fought for their lives. One man dies during the ordeal. IPS reports.
Doctors in rural Zambia are getting help diagnosing patients from colleagues thousands of miles away thanks to “Virtual Doctors”. The programme uses “telemedicine” software to improve local primary healthcare in rural areas where trained medical staff are scarce. It was started by former safari guide Huw Jones, now based in the UK developing the technology. IPS reports on how telemedicine is saving lives across Africa.
Women workers in the southern Indian state of Kerala are fiercely protesting for higher wages, and against the systematic exploitation of women workers and gender-based discrimination in tea plantations, which they say is fuelled by the male domination in trade union politics. IPS reports.
Tribal communities in western India are taking steps to tackle acute malnutrition in new-borns and young children. India has made efforts to address acute malnutrition in recent years but in this area 75 per cent children under 5 years of age at still are risk. The vicious cycle of chronic poverty and hunger is heightened by early marriage, learns IPS on a visit to the village Berdaballa, north of Mumbai. But a combined package of intensive counselling, easy-to-avail healthcare facilities and low cost nutrition could be the key to ending malnutrition among the tribal communities.
An estimated one-third of the population of Papua New Guinea is now suffering in from the country’s worst drought this century and experts predict El Nino’s influence will carry on through March 2016. An estimated 2.4 million people face a critical lack of food and water. There are also reports of many schools and hospitals forced to close as water shortages disrupt their operations, reports IPS.
Kurdish residents of small villages in the mountainous regions of Iraq are being forced to flee their homes due to air raids by Turkish warplanes. Many claim the shelling is “indiscriminate” and “constant”. IPS speaks to the few people who have chosen to stay behind in the village of Zergely, Iraq, once home to 200 people.
For decades, the countries of Central America have borne the heavy impact of extreme climate phenomena like hurricanes and severe drought. Now, six of them are demanding that the entire planet recognise their climate vulnerability, reports IPS.
In Sri Lanka, tens of thousands of people are still looking for their missing loved ones six years after the guns fell silent on a three decade old bloody civil conflict. IPS meets two women looking to their government – which recently pledged to investigate the thousands of missing cases – for answers and closure about the fates of their lost husbands. A Presidential Commission on Missing Persons has so far received over 20,000 complaints, including over 5,000 of missing members of government forces.
Despite the UN goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger globally, Africa's senior citizens are finding themselves cornered with destitution. While several countries in Africa have made big steps towards ensuring that the elderly population – many of whom are responsible for looking after their orphaned grandchildren - does not slide into extreme poverty, experts and the elderly say more must be done.
Over the past decade, the world’s biggest chemical and pesticide companies have more than doubled their acreage in Hawaii. But the frequent spraying of pesticides has led to a spate of complaints about health concerns from people living near the country’s corn fields, who worry they and their families are breathing in the pesticides. Many say these companies are violating federal and state laws, and that they no longer feel safe in their homes. IPS reports.
Honduras has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Latin America: one out of four adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 have given birth. Cinthia Padilla, 16, wants to change that. Four years ago, she learned how to use a computer in order to teach people in her remote village how to use technology to better their lives. Now she’s using her expertise in an online e-learning platform aimed at reducing teen pregnancies in her village and neighbouring communities.
An Urban Garden Project in the Bolivian capital of Sucre is providing fresh, healthy food and economic independence to women who have migrated to the city from rural areas carefully. Growing ecological vegetable gardens in their homes on the outskirts of Sucre brings food security to their families, the urban farmers tell IPS.
Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has raised concerns over the impact the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] could have on the availability of biologic drugs. The organisation believes TPP could lead to high, sustained drug prices by pharmaceutical companies, preventing individuals and health providers from acquiring affordable and essential medicines, including cancer and HIV/AIDS treatments.
A small fishing village on the Honduran coast is championing renewable energies, after replacing candles and dirty costly energy based on fossil fuels with hydropower from a mini-dam to have round-the-clock electric power. IPS reports.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and world famous singer Shakira has urged world leaders to invest in early childhood development. The Hips Don’t Lie singer is supporting a campaign by UNICEF that stresses the importance of the first five years in the life of a child in terms of cognitive development. “It’s a matter of putting children at the centre of the social, economic and political debate,” she said.
The U.S. is the biggest exploiter of shale gas and oil at a commercial level. In Pennsylvania, the site of the first American oil boom, 9,200 wells have been drilled, and over 16,000 permits for fracking have been granted. But activists are rallying against fracking, saying the process is highly damaging to people’s health and the environment.
After decades of centralised agriculture, small-scale farmers in Cuba are looking to scientific research into ecology for ways to improve their output. This ‘agroecological’ method of working is spreading and is starting to provide sustainable growth in Cuban agriculture.
In the Villa Inflamable shantytown in Buenos Aires, more than 1,500 families are exposed to industrial pollution in precarious homes built on top of soil contaminated with toxic waste. The children are suffering from lead poisoning, which can cause learning disabilities and other chronic health problems. Authorities are trying to resettle families – but they are not always willing to move.
On 26 September 2014, 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. According to official reports, they had commandeered several buses to travel to Iguala and hold a protest at a conference led by the mayor’s wife. During the journey local police intercepted them and a confrontation ensued. Nearly a year after the disappearance, details of what happened during and after the clash remain unclear. The government’s investigation is back to the drawing board, after a group of independent experts refuted all the official arguments.