Stories from Quick Reads and Development
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a civil society think tank in Sri Lanka, has recently conducted a top line survey on “Democracy in post-war Sri Lanka 2014“. The results show that difference of opinion on the reconciliation still exists between the Tamil and the Sinhalese people after the Sri Lankan civil war.
The findings from the survey with regard to the Tamil community is very significant. Their key issues are poverty and unemployment and they feel deprived having very little say about the affairs of the country. Here is an infographic depicting their plights:
One Vibe Africa uses music and art to inspire Kenyan youths to appreciate culture and tradition and to develop their own creative potential. Their latest initiative #Africafromtheskies needs your support. Africa From the Skies is an expedition to create empowering films and media, capture culture and facilitate workshops.
The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was a commission of inquiry mandated to investigate the facts and circumstances which led to the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka. After an 18-month inquiry, the commission submitted its report to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa almost three years ago, on 15 November 2011. The Sri Lankan citizen journalism website Groundviews recently posted an infographic released by Center For Policy Alternatives, a think tank, showing the slow progress of implementing the LLRC's recommendations.
It is noteworthy how Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe in March 2013 claimed that 99% of the LLRC Action Plan had been implemented, with President Rajapaksa claiming in May 2014 that only 30% had been implemented. These discrepancies highlight the lack of clarity across the GoSL [Government of Sri Lanka] on reconciliation efforts.
From Bhutan, the land of Gross National Happiness, blogger Passang Tshering shares how people can achieve happiness in democracy. He compares democracy to love marriage and says that there are three groups of people, the lovers, the haters and the concern citizens.
The Lovers are the ones who swear by one party, and regardless of how good or bad the decision the party makes they will not move an inch into disagreement. They are like a obsessive husband who could go and hug his wife after she has thrown a hot pan on his face.
Contrary to that The Haters are the ones who turn blind eyes to all the good things a party does and suddenly becomes so loud when they see a flaw. They are like an angry husband who would slap his wife even when she gifts him a bouquet of flowers.
If we have more of these two groups of people then democracy is at risk. They could fail a country. Therefore we must strive to be and saw the seed of The Concerned Citizens in our youth. Educating and inspiring them to grow the heart that is courteous enough to acknowledge the good even if it's done by an enemy, and courageous enough to condemn even when the wrongdoer is a friend. That like a very human and loving husband.
During the current crisis of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), many reports showcased stories about patients, medical staff, vaccines and the consequences of the disease on the affected countries. But rare are the reports about the daily work of laboratory technicians and of those who care for their daily needs. In a post on buzzfeed.com entitled The Hidden Heroes Of Liberia’s Ebola Crisis, Jina Moore tells the story of these key people in fighting the Ebola virus in Liberia:
Catherine Jeejuah starts so early these days that she doesn’t know the time. It’s irrelevant. She rises when it’s dark, lights a fire, and boils rice and greens for her two kids. By about 6:30 a.m., when light begins leaking through the windows, she leaves for a nearby school.
Here, she does it all again, at a greater scale. Jeejuah, 30, and two other women, all volunteers, are cooking for 12 of the most important, but invisible, people in Liberia right now.
The dozen meals are meant for the team of technicians that tests the blood of suspected Ebola patients. They visit sick peoples’ homes and overwhelmed Ebola treatment centers, sticking needles in the veins of physically unpredictable, highly contagious people. They then drive their blood back to Liberia’s only medical lab, more than an hour from the capital of Monrovia.
If we look back the history of Bangladesh, we see examples of ancient kings and land lords who sponsored cultural activities, making literature, music and art flourish in the region. In the present era, we see affluent corporations, mostly telecom companies in Bangladesh, taking their place.
They have been going the extra mile to sponsor a wide variety of cultural pursuits, including a rural festival celebrating Fakir Lalon Shah (c. 1774–1890), a popular Bengali baul saint, mystic, songwriter, social reformer and thinker, but not always with positive reception.
Zahid Islam at the blog Alal O Dulal explains how corporations are selling the Lalon culture:
In 2007 for the first time in history, Lalon Phokir’s Dol Uthshob (Lalon's Dol Festival) was held under sponsorship, with promotion campaigns so aggressive and ill designed it disgusts me to even remember it. Since then Grameenphone and Banglalink (telecom brands) took turns in sponsoring the festivals.
He also mentions that Lalon festival is getting a modern shape under corporate banner:
The first time around, those of us who had been visiting Cheuria for many years, were shocked to find the sponsorship junks.
And the need to protect their sanctity:
There are many people and organisations, home and abroad, that feel we need to “protect” the baul way of life. I do not necessarily agree with this notion. Rather I feel our intervention is what creates most of the “problems.”
Erik Hersmann shares his experience with a new Android app that is set to revolutionise motorcycle courier services in Kenya:
This year at Pivot East I had my first look at Sendy, which does for motorcycle courier deliveries and customers in Nairobi, what Uber did for taxis and passengers in San Francisco. At its heart, Sendy is about bringing the vast and growing motorcycle courier and delivery network in Africa into the digital and networked world.
This is a big deal, because those of us who live in large African cities know just how inefficient driving a car around the traffic-plagued metropolises can be. With the bad roads, traffic and high cost of fuel, motorcycle deliveries are a natural path.
Indeed, in almost every city, from primary to tertiary throughout the continent, you’ll find thousands of motorcycle guys sitting by the side of the road, ready to courier a package or serve as a taxi.
There are about 105 cities listed in all of Madagascar. The Minister of Energy Fienena Richard recently announced that 80 cities of Madagascar are curently deprived of electricity because JIRAMA, the public company in charge of providing electricity across the territory is running short on fuel. As a result, JIRAMA has to pick and choose the cities that will receive electricity. That is close to 75% of all cities in the nation, a ratio that would be unfathomable in most countries of the world. The JIRAMA company is also plagued by the threat of a general strike from employees who demand more safety measures against angry customers. One those unhappy customers was the Malagasy president himself who threatened to sue the company after an electrical malfunction at his home. Blogger Andriamihaja in Tulear (South East of Madagascar) wrote a humorous open letter to the company picturing life without power outage in his town.
The curtain has just come down on the tenth “Positive and Winning Africa Oscars”, held at the Hilton Hotel in Yaoundé, the political capital of Cameroon. This year, the event organised by the NGO “Positive and Winning Africa” rewarded Cameroonian Clément Petsoko for his innovating healthcare projects. For a decade now, sponsor Hervé Mba and a jury made up of a dozen public figures to award prizes to African personalities whose innovative projects could help the progress of the African continent.
The Golden Oscar for Man of the Decade was presented to Clément Petsoko, PDG of the Morgan and Wilfried laboratories. The jury rewarded Petsoko for “his capacity to overcome the numerous difficulties he has faced in recent years”. As he was awarded his prize, the happy winner stated:
Je voudrais que mon prix serve d’enseignement à la jeunesse du monde qui doit intégrer dans son vécu quotidien le dicton qui selon lequel : « le pont qui mène au succès est fragile » et qu’il faille allier courage, abnégation et détermination dans l’atteinte de ses objectifs.
I want my prize to serve as a lesson to young people around the world, who should remember the saying “it's a rocky road to success,” and that achieving your aims requires courage, self-sacrifice and determination.
Meet Peter Owiti, coffee shop entrepreneur in Nairobi, Kenya:
The story of Peter Owiti, the brains behind Pete’s Coffee shop, speaks volumes of the great deal of effort that is spent when setting up a successful business. In the brief video below, Pete, who is a father of three, talks to Kuza Biashara about the challenges he encountered when he set up shop in 2004.
Peter resigned from a well-paying office job and, left with nothing other than his lifetime savings that amounted to Ksh500,000 ($6,000), he resolved to tread a path he was barely familiar with. Today, his business is valued at Ksh5,000,000 ($60,000). This admirable growth was recorded despite the scourge of Kenya’s Post Election Violence (PEV) in 2007/2008 which threatened to break his sequence of success.