The United Nations (UN) has warned that sub-Saharan African nations will not be able to sustain their accelerated economic growth unless they eliminate hunger.
In its latest report ‘African Development Report’, the United Nations Development Programme administrator, Helen Clark, points out that many sub-Saharan economies are growing fast but the growth rates have not translated into significant hunger reduction.
The region’s growth, this year expected to be more than five percent, is accelerating faster than the rest of the world excluding China and India, adding that nearly 218 million people on the continent are undernourished and 55 million children are malnourished, a figure that is projected to rise.
To read the article titled, “Africa must stop begging for food - UN,” click here.Source:News24
The United Nations (UN) says that sub-Saharan Africa posts economic growth rates higher than the worldwide average but has the planet's greatest food security problems.
UN Development Programme administrator, Helen Clark, point out that, “Impressive GDP growth rates in Africa have not translated into the elimination of hunger and malnutrition.”
“Between 2004 and 2008 African economies grew an average of 6.5 percent a year, only slowing to 2.7 percent in 2009 in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis,” the report read.
To read the article titled, “Strong growth hasn't ended Africa's food crisis, says UN,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
ActionAid has advised Tanzania against embracing genetically modified Organism (GMO) food products in the country.
The organisation’s agriculture and food security advisor, Elias Mtinda, says that there is a need for the government to make its own decision without being influenced by bigger companies on decisions regarding the approval of the use of GMO food products.
Mtinda says multinational companies which are involved in producing GMOs seeds like the Monsanto's and Bill Gates's firms are aimed at sourcing market for their products even if such products may have adverse effects on human beings.
To read the article titled, “NGO cautions country on GMOs,” click here.Source:All Africa
In an unprecedented move, all 27 European Union (EU) development ministers championed budget support as an effective way of reducing poverty in developing countries.
The council of EU Development Ministers backed budget support, the aid modality in which money is given directly to the recipient country government, as an effective way to provide aid to developing countries.
In the same vein, Oxfam, together with several other NGOs who advocate budget support, applauded the Council's decision. Oxfam development expert, Catherine Olier, points out that, "This is the first time all member states are recognising the benefits of budget support."
To read the article titled, “EU backs aid through budget support,” click here.Source:IPS News
The Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) has announced that the South Africa shed 75 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2012.
In its quarterly labour force survey, Stats SA says this was despite growth in the agricultural sector, which gained 26 000 jobs, and in private households, which created a 33 000 jobs during this quarter.
However, it says that the number of job losses were still down on the last quarter of 2011, when the formal sector shed 107 000 jobs. The survey further found that 28 000 jobs were lost in the informal sector in the first quarter of 2012.
To read the article titled, “SA lost 75 000 jobs in first quarter of 2012,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
Freedom! There is still little to match Mel Gibson on his pony in phoney war paint trying to coax a bunch of underwear-less Scots to freedom from English tyranny…Martin Luther King comes close with his visionary dreams, but Mel has got his number with the flowing locks and big sword – not to mention the adoration of the lovely princess of France, played in that movie by Sophie Marceau…ahh, indeed, that is maybe a blog for another day. Today, I must remain serious for what is our freedom if it is not serious? Tedious? Odious? Doesn’t really matter I guess for everyone I asked about 27 April, waxed lyrical about hard-fought freedom and not slipping back to oppression and the big stage managed and government official drenched public events to celebrate and commemorate and whatever-ate the day…so I am a bit lost, which is not too difficult for someone who is dyslexic…
Well, freedom and I am not going to give you an Oxford dictionary definition here because, a): I don’t have a hard copy version of the famed dictionary and b) if I did have one, it is probably in a box with a hundred other books that I have not yet unpacked. What I can unpack though is what is swimming around in my mind about Freedom Day and why it matters, to me, to you and to people everywhere who are having their heads banged by some heavy hitting politicos and life-long monarchs with more wives than sense…
In South Africa (SA), we often look back to know where we come from, some of us lucky enough know that we come from along line of activists or freedom fighters, or bureaucrats or farmers or lazy louts, it matters not, what matters more, is where we are headed to and after 18 years, it is clear, we are on the right path – we have as a nation made the most incredible (or maybe that should be credible?) transition from an oppressed majority to a free democracy and we have done so almost peacefully (even if some of my Sandton friends behind their high walls moan that they can never be free until they can drive their Ferraris past street lights with no sense of guilt at the sight of young and old begging for a meal). That itself is a remarkable transition. The ongoing social experiment that is SA, is a blueprint for the world - it may not be a perfectly formed one, but it is one that is forming and that means we have a role to play in building that.
Going forward means looking back and now, as far forward as we are in this democracy, we must be able to look back – not just at apartheid but also upon our own governments of Madiba, Mbeki and now Zuma – if we are to know where we are not getting it right and what we need to do to make a better life for all, then our looking back must include robust assessments of what we have stuffed up and what we need to sort out. A few of the socialists I know, bemoan the death of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and how the free and global friendly market economy of SA has meant that our monks cannot even buy Ferraris, let alone sell them and as admirable as such an aspiration is, it is only a small part of where we may be missing the freedom plot. Sadly, in SA, everyone is free to buy a Ferrari and pay the same taxes to drive it on the road as the idiot on the other side of the spectrum who bought a Chana Chery…that is the free market economy for you and it is held up as an expression of freedom...
Which is thankfully not the end of freedom, for freedom is about being able to make choices for yourself about yourself and in a space where your sense of freedom is rooted not in a world class Constitution but in your very being…and where are we on that journey? With an alarmingly high adult illiteracy rate and functionally illiterate school leavers, how can we even hope to build a nation of informed people who are free to make informed choices about their lives, their communities and their country?
The process of government in SA has taken the form of officials acting for the people and people in turn being left out of the decision making process. While we have a great model of local government, the actual process for people to participate is lacking not just because officials do not always use it or people are not always aware of it but because, in this transition to democracy, we have not rid government of the fear of listening to people and acknowledging that they might have ideas too. Such a process of people and their government working together to build communities is a marker of real freedom. It means, that, we as people count, that our ideas, however malformed and lacking in the wider policy nuances matter, that they are heard, that we are heard, that we can be a part of the process and not just mere passive recipients of a good day in government.. This is pretty much one of our bigger ideological hurdles to climb in the process of ensuring that SA is not just free from apartheid, but that it is a nation that is ensuring and promoting the freedom of the people who live here.
Our world class Constitution was a start a long time ago (and now the subject of a book with a most stirring launch advert on Kaya FM), but relying on that piece of paper to fight every battle is missing the point – we should be using our Constitution not just to guard our freedoms, but to extend them to all – to that fabled better life for all.
All I want for Freedom Day, this year, is a firm commitment and serious action on matching our world class constitution with a world class education system for every child in SA – and let’s not forget adult literacy as well…for if our monks are going to be getting into their Ferraris, then let them at least be able to read the signs that people are holding up at the traffic lights…
- Rajesh Latchman is the Coordinator of the National Welfare Forum, Volunteer Convenor of GCAP South Africa, guerrilla gardener, cyclist and an unreformed recycler. He writes in his personal capacity.
Below are some of Latchman's previous articles and blogs:
- Thinking Is Overrated...
- Green Ultra Right Bombers
- An Askew View of COP17
- Global Power Shifts - Boxing People Into Corners…
- Falling Asleep in Parliament
- MDGs and the Long Road to Parliament
- Anyone Home? A perspective on the way we work
- Media Apartheid and 911: An African Perspective of the G8 and G20
- Canada: Taking the Low Road
- Halifax Initiative Coalition - The Bridge to South Korea
- A Holistic Developmental Policy Framework for South Africa
- 2010 - An Opportunity for Nation Building?.
- Participation of households in food security immensely contributes towards addressing the poverty, unemployment, under-nutrition, and other socio-economic challenges faced by South Africans and can assist in reducing the current burden on the government in terms of payment of grants.
The Integrated Food Security Strategy (IFSS) South Africa (Department of Agriculture, 2002) defines food security as the physical, social and economic access by all households at all times to adequate, safe and nutritious food and clean water to meet their dietary and food preferences for a healthy and productive life. According to Section 27 of the South African Constitution, every citizen has a right to access sufficient food and water. Bonti Ankomah (2001) explains that these definitions imply that either there will be ability by an individual to be self-sufficient in food production through own production, or there will be accessibility to markets and ability to purchase food items.
The Household Food Security (HFS) model offered by UNISA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) is an accredited NQF level 5 short learning programme. It aims at promoting small-scale and subsistence farming through equipping individuals who wish to become household food security facilitators and change agents, with skills that can be used to empower households within their communities through facilitating improved food security status, health and nutrition.
The HFS programme is at present being piloted in the Eastern Cape with the help and support of networks of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based-organisations (CBOs) and faith-based organisations (FBOs) running community development initiatives within communities. These organisations have helped in the recruiting and supporting of suitable students and have, in some instances, provided HFS programme promoters from within their own ranks. However, the model faces some challenges. One of these is that the Eastern Cape is widely spread hence it is difficult and expensive to monitor and support implementation of the model.
The impact of the model can be enhanced in both urban and rural areas, by linking it with local government’s ‘Integrated Development Plans’ (IDPs), and the programmes of the departments of; Human Settlements, Agriculture, Health, Education, and Social Development. All these departments have an element of food security in their programmes. The model could also use the Department of Health model of Community Health Care Workers who work directly in the communities, not at ward level but also supported by the clinics around them. In this case, the Department of Agriculture will be more visible and closer to the people through household food security facilitators. The municipalities should be directly involved and link this model to service delivery such as water, land and ownership issues.
- Artwel Chivhinge, Eastern Cape NGO Coalition.
The World Bank says that three out of five people in the developing world lack a proper safety net to protect them from the shockwaves caused by the global financial crisis and rising commodity prices.
Announcing a new focus on social and labour protection, World Bank president, Robert Zoellick, pointed out that in the world's poorest countries 80 percent of the population were left without assistance during tough times.
"Effective safety net coverage overcomes poverty, and promotes economic opportunity and gender equality by helping people find jobs and cope with economic shocks, and improving the health, education, and well-being of their children," explained Zoellick.
To read the article titled, “World Bank says poor countries lack assistance,” click here.Source:Mail & Guardian
The World Bank has chosen Korean-born American health expert, Jim Yong Kim, as its new president.
Kim, won the job over Nigeria's widely respected finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, with the support of Washington's allies in Western Europe, Japan and Canada.
In a statement, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was vying for the post, congratulated Kim and said she looks forward to working with him.
However, Okonjo-Iweala said that the selection process needs to be improved.
To read the article titled, “World Bank names new leader,” click here.Source:Independent Online
In my keynote address to the 2012 Serious Social Investing workshop, I noted that no singular national corporate social investment (CSI) plan or body can replace the need for well-defined strategies and the nuance of multi-faceted development.
Social investment long ago moved away from the ‘heart of giving’ to the science of strategic social investment. How we go about this on a daily basis may seem challenging at times, especially in a country with such vast needs and opportunities.
Our unemployment level is among the highest in the world, our education system is in crisis, the inequality gap is increasing and our health care system requires strengthening. This means that our most vulnerable people – those with disabilities, the aged, the orphaned, and the destitute – risk having organisations assisting them neglected by funders in favour of education and job creation.
Given these challenges, how are we to most effectively work in social investment to greatest societal benefit? After all, this is a sector of the economy that, despite an overall increase in CSI spend over the last few years, is still affected by funding constraints, whether as a result of a decline in international funding in favour of less developed countries, or inefficiencies and the poor governance and management of funding institutions such as the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.
But corporate social investment funding will always be limited in comparison to international and governmental budgets. We know that money alone is not the panacea to our social and economic development woes, yet serious questions are being posed about the real impact of individual social investments over the past decade, and the merit of possibly pooling CSI resources in favour of two or three main projects or development sectors.
This thinking comes about partly through an historical lack of transparent and robust monitoring, evaluation, and evidence-based reporting on programme outcomes. Reporting is too often confined to a short write-up in an annual report, and a few statistics on how many teachers were trained, the number of beneficiary organisations supported, or the geographical reach of funding. The emphasis in this sort of reporting tends to ‘look at me philanthropy’ rather than reflect on why some investments do or don’t yield the necessary returns, and what we can learn from this.
The risk of a pooled-resource approach is that it would negatively affect a number of sectors and thus people; whether it be support for our national heritage, promoting the arts, backing individual centres of excellence, or supporting our ailing welfare sector, which would ultimately lose out on critical funding.
Because the needs and opportunities in our country are plentiful, the choices we make need to be guided by strategic, well-intended and realistic objectives and delivery plans. There is no silver bullet for success, and our decisions need to be informed by a myriad of often competing agendas.
And we do have control over the choices we make, the way in which we go about our work, how we put into practice our purpose and our philosophical approach to social investment, and so how we contribute towards shaping our future.
So everything we do needs to be guided by a clearly thought-out strategy. We need to understand the social landscape, understand who is doing what and what interventions already exist, and then strategise about how each individual funder can clearly complement others or fill in gaps.
A well-defined strategy is also a prerequisite for identifying key indicators of success, for ensuring that interventions are carefully monitored and evaluated over a period of time, and so for providing the basis for evidence-based reporting.
This not only strengthens the case for properly managed social investment, but also supports development partners in tracking and strengthening their own work.
Just as important is whether we are able to translate our strategies into real action plans that are carefully monitored and adjusted where needed.
So our strategies may focus on supporting welfare organisations working with the destitute, or may focus on a single sector, or most often be a combination of both. There is not one ‘best way’, nor any evidence suggesting that big, high-risk investments have greater impact than targeted local-scale approaches.
Funding relationships should not only focus on beneficiary partners but also on other funders. Indeed, collaboration is essential in our working environment, but recent calls to formalise this into one national body may well stifle innovative platforms that currently exist, and so reduce efficiencies. Therefore, it’s about how we choose to go about collaborating.
We must guard against overcomplicating the process by creating new bureaucratic structures as opposed to lowering the barriers to effective collaboration and backing self-organised and self-sustaining communities of best practice that already exist.
It is our duty to ensure that our work speaks more clearly to the business imperatives of how we address the educational crisis in meaningful ways, how we support skills training resulting in employment creation, or how food gardens really do improve household security, poverty and inequality.
It is also important that we are able to articulate how our work complements the ideals of the National Development Plan and other government initiatives, in strengthening stakeholder engagement, and supporting licence-to-operate imperatives.
We must always show that our work isn’t just about being ‘the right thing to do’, but rather that ‘we are doing what is right’.
The landscape may seem daunting, the challenges great, and the choices difficult, but among all the clutter lies the magic, many opportunities, and centres of excellence, which, if supported with well-defined strategies backed by sound implementation and monitoring plans, will ensure that we write a history of South Africa that future generations will be proud of.
- Tracey Henry is chief executive officer of Tshikululu Social Investments (TSI). This article first appeared on the TSI website. It is republished here with the permission of TSI.