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Corruption swallows a huge dose of water IPS 28/03/2019

About 32% of the world’s population lack access to safe drinking water. A new report has revealed that 10 per cent of water sector investment is lost to corruption. The study from Water Integrity Network (WIN) also shows the degree to which poor water governance negatively affects the world’s most vulnerable populations – specifically women, children, and the landless, reports IPS.

Farmers reap benefits of tree regeneration in Kenya IPS 28/03/2019

In the arid lands across Sub-Saharan Africa, farmers are among those worse hit by climate change. In Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, crop production has plummeted but villagers are now reaping the benefits of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), a model that encourages tree regrowth. This in turn has helped farmers more than triple their crop production, reports IPS.

Women Water Friends script a success story IPS 21/03/2019

In the drought-stricken region of Uttar Pradesh – India’s largest and most populated state, women living in “lower castes” are fighting to end the water crisis in their own villages. Dressed in blue that symbolises water, the groups have named themselves: ‘Jal Saheli’ (meaning ‘Water Friend’ in Hindi). In areas of India, those deemed lower in the caste system are last to access water and sanitation. But the women “Water Friends” are taking a stand up against this cycle of discrimination and claim their right to local water sources, reports IPS.

Rural Costa Rican families flourish in the shade IPS 21/03/2019

Families in rural Cost Rica are sowing the seeds for their own futures thanks to the Shade House programme that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is carrying out in the southeast of the country. Using an innovative canopy system, farmers can manage the quantity and quality of sunlight, the percentage of shade and the impact on the crops of rainfall so they can grow their produce all-year round. IPS investigates how this new style of farming could grow throughout the country.

Clean clothes – fashion free of slave labour in Argentina IPS 14/03/2019

In Argentina, there are now 20 brand names that guarantee that their garments are produced by workers in decent working conditions. IPS discovers how the Clean Clothes network is eradicating slave labour in the garment industry, which illegally employs some 30,000 people in sweatshops around the country.

Turkey’s crackdown on the press IPS 14/03/2019

The recent government takeover of the Feza media group – including Turkey’s largest newspaper, the Daily Zaman – has been seen as a political manoeuvre by the ruling AKP party, with the intention to silence one of the most vocal and influential newspapers in the country. The takeover is the latest in a series of crackdowns on press freedom in Turkey, which currently ranks 149 out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index, reports IPS.

Public primary boarding schools in pastoral communities IPS 07/03/2019

Millions of children from poor backgrounds have benefitted from Kenya’s free education scheme. But it’s a different story for those growing up in marginalised pastoral communities, such as Maasai children, who must travel long distances just to get to class. With boys and girls from rural communities missing out on an education, could public boarding primary schools be the answer? IPS investigates.

Mexico’s Chinampas – wetlands turned into gardens – fight extinction IPS 07/03/2019

Mexico’s Chinampas – wetlands located on a freshwater shoreline that are turned into gardens - have a long history but are under threat due to climate change, pesticides and the expanding city. The systems of growing plants on this marshy land dates back to the Aztecs, and the area is recognised as a UNESCO site. New initiatives and supporters are trying hard to keep the chinampas protected and preserved.

Faith leaders join the fight against child marriage IPS 29/02/2019

According to a 2014 UN report, one third of the world’s total child marriages (about 240 million) happen in India. Experts cite a lack of awareness and education at community level, as well as poverty, as the root cause. A new iniative is tackling the problem by getting the priest asked to conduct the marriages on their side. Priests like Virayya Shastri are now on a mission to end child marriages in their community, and educate people on the dangers of the illegal practice.

Zika epidemic offers sanitation a chance in Brazil IPS 29/02/2019

The recent surge in cases of microcephaly — a condition where a baby's head is smaller than a newborn’s – associated with the Zika virus, seems to have awoken a sense of urgency in Brazil to improve and expand basic sanitation. A lack of water storage alternative means those living in urban areas of Brazil habitually store water in pots and pans and other open containers. This can quickly become breeding for mosquitos, which spread the virus. But a new initiative seeks to tackle the problem, reports IPS.

Rice: Africa’s ticket out of poverty IPS 22/02/2019

Africa is eating more rice than other food staples, though it produces less than it needs. This is good news for the cereal’s potential to help Sub Saharan Africa out of poverty according to researchers. Rice is the second most important source of calories in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), a research organisation working to contribute to poverty alleviation and food security.

Uneducated women entrepreneurs defeat poverty IPS 22/02/2019

In Kasmir, a conflict-ridden territory in the Himalayas, many uneducated women are enthusiastically raising family incomes through micro ventures and reinvesting their earnings in their families and communities. These women also inspire other women in their localities to pursue their dreams through entrepreneurship at the grassroots level. IPS meets two women entrepreneurs successfully turning tragedy into opportunity in Kashmir.

Women’s Empowerment in Bangladesh IPS 15/02/2019

Microfinance programmes are helping tribal women in rural Bangladesh to learn the skills they need to earn a better income and provide for their families. Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) has introduced microfinance programmes, which are proving to be a revolutionary tool in lending women in Bangladesh a voice. It has helped women like Minu gain economic freedom by going from a hard life as a farm labourer to running her own dressmaking business.

Radio is all the rage in India IPS 15/02/2019

In a nation of 1.25 billion, which has 18 officially-recognised languages and 1,652 mother tongues, community radio programmes across India stations are filling in a void left behind by national and regional media. By informing listeners about issues directly affecting them, such as how farmers can pro-actively minimise the impact of climate change on their crops, the programmes are also proving to be a successful tool for social and economic development at a grassroots level.

Rabbit farming now a big hit in Zimbabwe IPS 08/02/2019

While many of us might consider rabbits as an appropriate family pet, in Zimbabwe “rabbit meat a delicacy [many] cannot do without”. Combine this with the animal’s well-known habit of rapid breeding, and rabbit farming known as cuniculture is booming in Zimbabwe, with many farmers like recognising gaps in the market for the supply of rabbit meat. IPS discovers how Zimbabwe rabbit farmers aren’t just cashing in, but also fostering answers to the country’s mounting health challenges.

Small-scale fishing is about much more than just subsistence in Chile IPS 08/02/2019

Small-scale fisheries account for over 90 percent of the world’s capture fishers and fish workers, but since large-scale fishing has hurt artisanal fisheries in countries along the Pacific coast of South America. IPS speaks to Pedro, 70, who’s been fishing off Chile’s Pacific coast for the past 50 years, to support his family. He shares his concerns about small-scale fishers being drowned out by their bigger competitors.

Bali holds Family Planning Conference amidst many unmet needs IPS 01/02/2019

In Bali – one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Asia Pacific – the rate of STDs as well as cervical cancer is ‘alarmingly high’. Many women struggling to pay for their health needs, that include sexually transmitted diseases and access to contraceptives, depend heavily on charity-run clinics. At the 4th International Conference on Family Planning, held in Bali, health experts urged for more funding to be allocated to such clinics – in order to save lives.

Response to Ethiopia’s drought: a story of success or anguish? IPS 01/02/2019

In 1984, Ethiopia’s most infamous drought contributed to the deaths of more than one million people. The country has been hit by another water shortage. While the country’s ability and means for providing emergency relief have improved since 1984, securing international funds is still a huge hurdle. Aid agencies warn significant gains made over the years in food security, education and health are now in jeopardy in parts of the country.

Beekeeping Helps Pakistan Farmers Cope with Crop Losses IPS 25/01/2019

Farmers in the rain-dependent district of Chakwal in Punjab province of Pakistan are finding relief in beekeeping as the groundnut crop suffers a blow from shifting rainfall patterns. Drought conditions in the district have worsened over last six years, making crop raising less viable and prompting migration of many farmers to nearby urban areas. But some farmers are gradually learning other trades to survive the negative impacts of climate change on agriculture in the area.

Science: Not just a western sector, it can help Africa too IPS 25/01/2019

Thanks to agricultural science research, small-scale farmers across Africa are boosting their yields using improved seed varieties and advancing food security. IPS reports on how investing in science, technology and innovation will help Africa meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improve its citizens’ livelihoods.

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