Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Rising Temperatures Pushing Africans Into Poverty, Hunger

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report detailing progress and pathways to liming global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Responding to the report, Mr. Apollos Nwafor, Pan Africa Director of Oxfam International said Climate change has set the african planet on fire and already millions are feeling the impacts.

“The IPCC just showed that things can get much worse. Settling for 2 degrees would be a death sentence for people in many parts of Africa. The faster governments embrace the renewable energy revolution and move to protect communities at risk, the more lives and livelihoods that will be spared.

"A hotter Africa is a hungrier Africa. Today at only 1.1 degrees of warming globally, crops and livestock across the region are being hit and hunger is rising, [i] with poor small scale women farmers, living in rural areas suffering the most. It only gets worse from here.

"To do nothing more and simply follow the commitments made in the Paris Agreement condemns the world to 3 degrees of warming. The damage to our planet and humanity would be exponentially worse and irreparable.

"None of this is inevitable. What gives us hope is that some of the poorest and lowest emitting countries are now leading the climate fight. We've moved from an era of 'you first' to 'follow me' - it's time for the rich world to do just that.

"Oxfam calls for increased, responsible and accountable climate finance from rich countries that supports small scale farmers, especially women to realize their right to food security and climate justice.

"While time is short, there is still a chance of keeping to 1.5 degrees of warming. We must reject any false solution like Large Scale Land Based Investments that means kicking small scale farmers off their land to make way for carbon farming and focus instead on stopping our use of fossil fuels, starting with an end to building new coal power stations worldwide."

Climate impacts in Africa:

Natural disasters such as droughts and floods have been thwarting development in the African continent. Fluctuations in agricultural production due to climate variations along with inefficient agricultural systems cause food insecurity, one of the most obvious indicators of poverty.  

The 2016 El Niño phenomenon, which was super charged by the effects of climate change, crippled rain-fed agricultural production and left over 40 million people foods insecure in Africa. Without urgent action to reduce global emissions, the occurrence of climate shocks and stresses in the Africa region are expected to get much worse.

 

To Connect The Unconnected With Innovations Towards Inclusive Growth

Twenty-three years ago, when former South African President Nelson Mandela spoke in Geneva at the International Telecommunication Union’s World TELECOM 1995, he underlined the importance of universal access to communication and information.

Mandela stressed the need to eliminate the divide between what he called the information-rich and the information-poor. His words were echoed by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the ITU’s Telecom World 2018, he mentioned the words inclusivity or inclusive at least 6 times in his 20-minute opening ceremony speech. 

Information and communication technology is developing at an unprecedented pace sweeping us into a digital era, where information has become a more important resource than raw materials and energy. The information economy is characterized by processing and developing data, instead of industrial production. Access to information is now essential for individuals’ development and national inclusive and sustainable growth. 

The African Union Agenda 2063 has acknowledged the importance of digital inclusivity to bring the continent on par with the rest of the world as an information society. Many African countries have embarked on their individual digital transformation journeys, by providing government services digitally and expanding access to ICT to cover more areas. 

However, there are still many people on the continent especially from rural areas which still lack basic access to information. According to the GSMA, in 2017, the number of unique mobile subscribers reached the symbolic mark of 5 billion, with 3.5 billion of them using mobile networks to access the internet.

Despite this achievement, there are still 3.8 billion people who remain offline, out of which 1.2 billion are not covered by a broadband capable network – the vast majority of this uncovered population lives in the rural areas in developing countries. Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. On average, 69 percent of the African population do not have access to internet, with many of those unconnected living in rural areas. 

A few months ago I travelled to Zambia where I visited Mushindushi, a small village 300 kilometres from Lusaka. There I heard that people usually climbed 2-story high ant hills to get network to make a call. Due to poor coverage, locals don’t usually carry their mobile phones with them including teachers at a local primary school.

Since we were planning to cover the area, I talked with one of the teachers and asked him what he was expecting the future to be with adequate network and access to Internet, he hesitated for quite a while without eventually giving me an answer.  This reminds me of a survey conducted by Facebook in 11 countries, which found that over two thirds of people who are currently offline did not know what Internet is, let alone how to benefit from this powerful tool. 

Rural coverage is an universal challenge not only for countries in Africa; deploying infrastructure in remote areas can be twice as expensive, while revenue opportunities are as much as 10 times lower, a combination that deeply affects the business case for carriers to deploy communication infrastructure. In other words, high prices of deploying infrastructure in rural areas, combined with a relatively weak demand for mobile internet services, results in a supply-demand equilibrium with low population coverage. 

Governments usually require carriers to cover specific locations in rural areas from the perspective of social development and realization of basic human rights. It is true that it is a social obligation to cover rural areas, but it is also true that there must be a sustainable commercial imperative for rural coverage. 

According to GSMA’s report titled Enabling Rural Coverage, coverage obligations that are too ambitious and disregard the realities of the market will be impossible to attain, “without creating any incentive to expand coverage”. 

To break this vicious cycle and help carriers go the last mile for rural coverage, Huawei leveraged its global R&D resources and come up with a site solution called RuralStar. With this innovation, a base station can be deployed within one week, shortened from one month, with total costs reduced by around 70%. Moreover, it uses special equipment to cut down the power consumption to about 200 watts, equivalent to the power of about five regular light bulbs. This allows it to use solar panels in areas with little or no electric power. 

For carriers, this innovation means that instead of covering a wide area including those sparsely populated places with costly base stations, operators can now flag and cost-effectively target relatively populous areas, where there is a larger user base for revenue generation; the payback period of investment in rural coverage can be shortened by up to 70% from 10 years to less than 3 years. This makes rural coverage a profitable business which in turn will benefit rural areas socially and economically. 

This transformation means dynamic economic performance stimulated by active flows of information, goods and capital; it means agricultural produce can be sold in time and at good price, and teaching materials can be available at any time in any place; it also means health workers which are usually scarce resources in rural areas can be just a phone call away. 

Innovation opens a door for the unconnected and under connected people to a world of numerous possibilities for development. With this innovation-driven connectivity comes opportunity and the potential for more inclusive growth and sustainable development.

 

Date For Kampala Parents' School 2019 Intake Interviews Set

Intake for 2019 academic year at Kampala Parents’ School is ongoing and the famous primary school has said will conduct general interviews on Saturday 20th October, 2018 at the school premises in Kampala, Nakawa Division, Lugogo bypass.

The school said it admits children from the age of two and a half years (for pre- primary) through to twelve years for lower and upper primary classes, specifically stopping with primary six. Aspiring pupils must carry birth certificates and report cards from previuos schools.

The Principle of Kampala Parents’ School, Madam Daphne Kato has encouraged parents to invest in their children by taking them to Kampala Parents so that they can be nurtured and groomed in a suitable manner which has come to be associated with the school.

“The dividends will certainly give you a big smile at the end of the day. And the country as a whole shall benefit immensely from the human resource established,” she said adding that in building a wholesome all around child, compassion, love, integrity, cleanliness and discipline must be emphasized.

“We listen to each unique child needs and those who care for them, and use this information to personalize each child’s learning. We aspire to be an exceptional, inspiring and stimulating school,” she said.

Kampala parents’ school teaches a local curriculum at an international level. It has over 200 well trained teachers and over 150 non-teaching staff members with a pupil’s population of about 3000 persons. They have made the right investment to put in place state of the art facilities that have made it one of the best performing schools in the country.

"We use the National Curriculum to structure the content of what is taught and we enrich pupil’s learning experiences by providing access to stimulating resources and valuable workshops, assemblies and extracurricular clubs and trips.

"Teaching staff have access to high quality training opportunities which place quality first teaching at the core of everything we do. Pupils are regularly assessed and feedback provided to parents informally on a daily basis and during the PTA meetings and class days throughout the course of the year.

“We believe, teachers are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth. Teachers play an important role in the trajectory of learners throughout the formal schooling experience.

Teachers at Kampala Parents’ School are well facilitated to share their knowledge and skills providing pupils with many positive experiences that will help them to become well-rounded individuals who are ready for the world.

This has made the school be an academic hub of Uganda because of the balanced curriculum offered. The administration nurtures a child’s personal growth by providing a friendly and supportive environment. Discipline at Kampala Parents’ School is a vital element in grooming pupils.

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Construction Of Shs4bn Auditor General Office In Hoima Complete

By George Busiinge  

The construction for the Shs4 billion Office of Auditor General regional office for Bunyoro has been completed and handed over to government. 

The offices are hosted at the Hoima district local government headquarters in Kasingo, Busiisi division, located two kilometers from Hoima town along Hoima - Fort Portal road.

The deputy speaker of parliament, Hon Jacob Oulanya officiated at the official opening of the magnificent structure. The completion of Bunyoro office brings that number of Auditor General regional offices to ten in the country.

In his speech, Hon Oulanya commended the office of the Auditor General for promoting transparency, accountability and value for money in the country although the corruption indices are still not where government desires them to be.

He however challenged all Ugandans to be whistleblowers by reporting corrupt officials reasoning that government is committed to improving infrastructure for better service delivery in the country.

Hon Oulanya added that government has allocated a lot of development funds in Bunyoro region such as constructing a lot of infrastructures not only for support of the oil industry in this region but also foster development in this region.

According to Auditor General Mr. John Muwanga this office has been crafted out of the Fort-Portal and Masaka region offices, It will cover the ten districts of Bunyoro like Hoima, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Kiryandongo, Masindi, Kabaale, Kibaale, Kakumiro, Buliisa and Kikuube district.

The Auditor General said the offices would strengthen timely audits and report making for better service delivery.

Fredrick Kakoraki, the Hoima deputy LC 5 chairman said they offered land to the office in order to enhance public accountability which is key in service delivery to the citizens.

Kakoraki appreciated partners from Germany Development Bank (Kfw) for supporting government of Uganda .

Constructed by Techno Three Uganda Limited and supervised by Arch Designs, the double storied building has facilities like a conference hall, modern washrooms, open offices, reception, ICT room, a solar back-up that can last for 10 days among others.

The contractor Techno Three Uganda Limited disclosed that the government has spent Shs4bn, which is a grant from Germany for the project.

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