Rusty Radiator Awards, 2014 – SAIH

SAIH – The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund are at it again at 🙂

In their video, did you recognize any familiar stereotypes about how the African continent tends to be portrayed, and the image of the “white hero” and the “exotic other”?

Hunger and poverty is ugly, and it calls for action. However, they argue, that we need to create engagement built on knowledge, not stereotypes. We need to change the way fundraising campaigns are communicating issues of poverty and development. This is why they are awarding creative fundraising campaigns with the Golden Radiator Award, and stereotypical campaigns with the Rusty Radiator Award. An international jury has nominated seven videos, and the winners are chosen through an internet poll. What are you waiting for? Go and vote now.

Not sure how to vote? Read a little  first to get you in the mood.

Pollution in Pictures from Olonde Omondi

Olonde Omondi offers 4 more images with a hard-hitting environmental theme. Olonde Omondi has a Diploma in Graphic Design and enjoys expressing himself in a variety of styles all based on realistic interpretation of our world. Major areas of interest include cartoons and caricature, graphic art and illustration as well as painting. Art history and poetry also play substantial roles in his art.

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The Economics of Poverty – the Top 10 Books

Amy Lockwood, the Deputy Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford’s School of Medicine, has drawn up a suggested reading list for those wanting to start understanding development, aid, and poverty. Here are her suggestions:

The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good (2006)
by William Easterly

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (2006)
by Jeffrey Sachs

The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It (2007)
by Paul Collier

The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (2009)
by C.K. Prahalad

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism (2009)
by Muhammad Yunus

Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail (2009)
by Paul Polak

Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (2009)
by Dambisa Moyo

Poor Economics A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (2011)
by Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo

Development As Freedom (2000)
by Amartya Sen

Good to Great and the Social Sectors (2005)
by Jim Collins

To read the reasoning and short introductions to each, go to the original article at

AFRICA: Going rural and green

Farming needs to make money to drive growth

ADDIS ABABA, 15 October 2010 (IRIN) – As rural Africa experiences an increasingly moody climate which will erode resilience, drive up hunger and threaten economic growth, it is time countries got serious about development, participants at the seventh African Development Forum in Addis Ababa were told.

Africa’s Rural Futures (RF) programme, an initiative of the African Union’s New Partnership for Development (NEPAD) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), sets out plans to boost rural development, and is an attempt to adapt to the impact of climate change.

At the same time, organizations such as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank are backing the UN’s Green Economy Initiative, which is more focused on mitigation.

In his address, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD’s chief executive officer, called RF a “new way of thinking about development”.

But is it new? At a policy level, Lindiwe Sibanda, head of the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, a think-tank, explained: “Well, what they are talking about is integrated rural development with agriculture as the driver. It will get all the ministries to look at their sectors with a rural lens. It moves beyond the sectoral approach.”

This would do agriculture in Africa some good, she hoped. “Development of agriculture has suffered because of the sectoral approach.” Departments of transport, infrastructure and agriculture have not worked in consort in many countries, affecting food production and supply.

In a bid to revive their failing rural economies, some developed  countries have been running RF programmes for some years. WWF, which has been involved in some of these programmes, had been looking at an initiative to improve rural livelihoods with a link to improving biodiversity in Africa, when they found NEPAD.


African countries need to bring their own money to the table – then only will they be able  to decide what development path or programmes they want to implement

The RF programme is guided by the fact that 60 percent of the population in Africa is rural, though UN projections indicate that the number of urban dwellers is likely to treble over the next four decades.

“Urbanization is a part of the natural evolution of a society, but what conditions will these new urban dwellers live in – slums?” asked Estherine Lesinge-Fotabong, NEPAD’s programme implantation head.

By providing new impetus to agriculture, the RF programme also hopes to create jobs, absorb the growing population, and tackle food security and gender empowerment. Most subsistence farmers in Africa are women.


RF was launched at the Forum, but is still being fine-tuned and is currently at a “strategic document stage”. It envisages a two-year period of consultation with countries and civil society across Africa.

RF talks about developing linkages between local and regional markets, but stops short of any connections to industry. “That is its shortcoming, but the programme is still evolving,” said Mersie Ejigu, head of the Partnership for African Environmental Sustainability, an international NGO.

Ejigu, a development economist and former minister of development and planning in the Ethiopian cabinet, added: “I am not saying we need to have big investments in massive agro-based industries. It could be small-scale, home-based industries but when you are looking beyond agriculture and adding value, you have to look at processing the primary product.”


Read more
Are we heading for another crisis?
Hunger knows no borders
Farmers need a finanical umbrella
Food crisis in-depth

But money, and especially donors, decide the future of any programme in Africa, said Mamadou Cissokho, honorary president of the Network of West African Farmer and Producer Organizations. “African countries need to bring their own money to the table – then only will they be able to decide what development path or programmes they want to implement.”

This concern was also voiced by WWF’s Gabriella Richardson-Temm: “We are happy with the way this is shaping up and that Africa wants to design their own programme – but then donors, who bring in the funds, come with their own sets of conditions.”

RF could also be one of the components of the UN’s Green Economy Initiative, which is assisting governments to “green” their economies by reshaping policies to ensure growth on the basis of non-fossil fuel-based energy, backed by sustainable agriculture (with the help of investments in clean technology and public transport that runs on renewable energy). It also focuses on greening other sectors such as waste management and water services.

“You don’t want us to grow,” said a participant when UNEP’s Achim Steiner spelt out the initiative. Coal is still the cheapest source of energy in developing countries. Another said: “But Africa is already green – most of our people use biomass to produce energy.”

But you need money to access these alternative green technologies, pointed out Moussa Ould Hwedna, a technical adviser to Mauritania’s Ministry of Water and Sanitation. “Ours is a dry country and we need solar power to pump water from underground and the cost of solar energy is prohibitive.”

“We would like to adopt these technologies but developed countries should look at making it cheaper for us,” he added.

This is one of the issues at the UN climate change talks, the next round of which will take place in Mexico later this year.

jk/cb      Source: IRIN

Theme(s): Economy, Environment, Food Security, Gender Issues, Governance, Migration, Natural Disasters, Aid Policy, Urban Risk, Water & Sanitation,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

The 2nd annual Maker Faire Africa

The 2nd annual Maker Faire Africa is taking place this week in Nairobi, Kenya!

They’ve got 100+ of Africa’s most promising inventions in engineering, design and artisan crafts who will be showcasing their work. “Jua Kali” inventors and micro-entrepreneurs stand shoulder-to-shoulder with professors and artists. It’s truly a sight to behold, as anyone who took part in last year’s event in Accra, Ghana can tell you.
**When: Aug 27-28
**Where: University of Nairobi (Square outside the VC office)

If you’re in Nairobi, make sure you come by. They’ll be blogging it at both the AfriGadget and Maker Faire Africa blogs, so pop on over to both.