Reminder of my Watsan days

An old Peace Corps friend posted this link on Facebook.  It reminded me of the work I did as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana.  In many parts of rural Africa it is still normal to have no access to a toilet or latrine, and it is still normal to get water from unsafe sources.  It would be great to see more attention placed on this issue, but it tends to get ignored (as are children in much of Africa).

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Children sanitation alert issued

By Matt McGrath BBC science reporter

Burmese children in the slum area of Rangoon


In 2004, diarrhoea killed 1.8m people, WaterAid says

Millions of children’s lives are being put at risk each year because aid agencies and governments make wrong choices about health care priorities.

This is the conclusion of a new report from the charity WaterAid.

It says that diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation is killing many more children than HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

The report says the global spending on HIV/Aids hugely outweighs the amounts spent on providing better sanitation.

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Suspect in Wesleyan Shooting Apprehended

Many of you have heard of the recent tragedy here at Wesleyan. A student was shot and killed yesterday by a man who  — reportedly — harrassed her in the past. Fortunately, the suspect turned himself in this evening. Hopefully, the campus will be able to heal and recover from the tragedy.

I have only been here a year, but I can tell that such incidents are far from the norm for this university community. This is generally a safe place. I hope people will be able to feel that way again soon.

Suspect In Wesleyan Slaying Turns Himself In

By DAVID OWENS | The Hartford Courant

10:35 PM EDT, May 7, 2009

MIDDLETOWN – The massive manhunt for the man accused of killing a Wesleyan University junior is over.

Stephen Morgan, Suspected In Killing Of Wesleyan Student Johanna Justin-Jinich, Turns Himself In — Courant.com.

Some good news from Darfur

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

On Thursday, the minister for humanitarian assistance, Haroun Lual Ruun, said Khartoum would allow those UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) remaining in Darfur to “expand their existing operations”.

I think what we’re hearing… is that new NGOs with new names, new logos, if necessary, can come in
John Holmes UN humanitarian chief

“We have also agreed to further improve the NGOs operating environment by easing travel and visas restrictions, by reviewing the need for individual technical agreements for NGOs,” he said.

He was speaking during a visit to Sudan by UN humanitarian chief John Holmes and US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration.

Mr Holmes said that if trust was restored between the humanitarian community and Sudanese authorities, capacity lost after the expulsions could be recovered.

“I think what we’re hearing… is that new NGOs with new names, new logos, if necessary, can come in,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Displaced Sudanese women in Darfur, March 2009

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Zuma has officially done it

So, Zuma has officially done it.  He is President of South Africa. It will be interesting to see what impact he has.  Will those who threatened to leave South Africa really leave?  Will he be successful with his populist agenda?

I was able to meet him at a lunch at UC Berkeley a little over a year ago where he — appropriately for his audience — made the argument that education would be a top priority.  Will it?

I also wonder about his impact on South Africa’s foreign policy. Mbeki had a clear agenda and goals with respect to the African region.  Will Zuma embrace the African Renaissance?  Will he improve on NEPAD, or let it falter?  Will he continue the agenda of engagement with other major developing countries, most notably India and Brazil?  I will definitely be watching!

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk

Zuma elected South African leader

Jacob Zuma


Jacob Zuma will be inaugurated on Saturday

The leader of South Africa’s African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, has been officially elected the country’s president by members of parliament.

He will be inaugurated on Saturday. The ANC won the general election in South Africa two weeks ago.

Mr Zuma’s government is expected to focus on the faltering economy, fighting crime, poverty and HIV/Aids.

He faced corruption charges, dropped on a technicality just before the polls. He always denied any wrongdoing.

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FT.com / Africa – Kenyan women call for sex boycott

Not sure how I missed this story last week–though I’ve been quite busy between the normal end-of-the-semester routines, a Varieties of Democracy conference, celebrating my wife’s passing the CT bar, and preparing for a new baby…

Kenyan women call for sex boycott

By Parselelo Kantai in Nairobi

Published: May 1 2009 02:42 | Last updated: May 1 2009 02:42

Kenyan women’s organisations have called for a national sex boycott to force feuding male politicians in the coalition government to resolve differences.

The women said they were prepared to pay prostitutes to withhold their services for a week to make the campaign more effective.

The boycott was inspired by a feud between Mwai Kibaki, the president, and Raila Odinga, the prime minister, about who runs the government agenda in parliament. The women have sent emissaries to the wives of both men to encourage them to join the boycott which reflects intensifying public anger at the pace at which the coalition government is tackling the underlying causes of last year’s post- election crisis.

Kenya was gripped by violent ethnic protests that almost pitched the country into civil war and resulted in the deaths of some 1,500 people in the aftermath of disputed elections.

The coalition government formed to end the crisis has been beset by corruption scandals and internal feuding even as 10m Kenyans are threatened by starvation.

A survey showed that more than two-thirds of Kenyans no longer have confidence in the government.

“This is a call to mass action to protest poor leadership,” said Ms Patricia Nyaundi, executive director of the women’s organisation, FIDA. “The other option was to take to the streets with placards but we would have been clobbered by the police. So this is a protest from the safety of our homes.”

The boycott recalls Greek playwright’s Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata, about a sex boycott staged by Athenian women to end the Peloponnesian war.

“Our leaders are taking us in the wrong direction. Last year this feuding ended in violence. If this were to recur, it is the women and children who would bear the brunt,” Ms Nyaundi said

Some men interviewed for an opinion poll said they would go elsewhere for sex if their partners got involved.

NGOs involved intend to provide financial support during the boycott to sex workers, estimated at 7,000 in Nairobi’s central business district alone.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

FT.com / Africa – Kenyan women call for sex boycott.