FRW news in brief

    | November 4, 2013

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    1- Malaria deaths nearly double in Chad

    Deaths from malaria have nearly doubled in Chad this year. Reports claim that, out of 780,000 diagnosed cases, there have been more than 2,000 fatalities.

    The prevailing weather patterns in the region have recently changed, bringing erratic rainfall with intermittent dry spells. This may have allowed mosquitoes to breed faster, and more mosquito larvae to develop into adult insects.

    According to the UN Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, malaria is a major health problem in Chad, with a prevalence rate of nearly 30 per cent across all age groups, and 36 per cent among children younger than five years.

    Lalaina Fatratra Andriamasinoro is the head of communication at UNICEF Chad. She said, “A child suffering malaria can easily get malnourished and vice versa.” According to UNICEF, Chad also has the highest rates of malnutrition in the Sahel and West Africa region.

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    2-Mushrooms empower Zambian women

    Growing mushrooms with modern production techniques is boosting women’s incomes in Livingstone, Zambia. The women have been trained on new technologies and introduced to affordable growing sheds made from grass and other locally available materials.

    Following training organized by South Africa’s Stellenbosch University, the women have been growing high quality, white button mushrooms for sale and home consumption. The project is funded by a hotel chain and South Africa-based NGO Agribusiness for Sustainable Natural African Plant Products.

    One of the women said, “This project has started giving us food and money to look after our families and send our children to school.”

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    3-Tanzania: Power struggle over Tanzania’s Pangani River

    Smallholder farmers and herders battling over water supplies in northeastern Tanzania are now facing challenges from the state-run power company.

    Tanzania’s Electric Supply Company, or TANESCO, operates three hydroelectric power facilities in the Pangani River basin. TANESCO uses the area’s water to provide electricity to 17 per cent of the country.

    Thousands of farmers living downstream from the hydropower plants claim TANESCO is being “selfish” and does not want to share the resource with those who need it the most.

    The relationship between farmers and TANESCO has deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks, with company officials accusing farmers of using water inefficiently and not conserving as much as in the past.

    Mwamedi Jecha is a farmer from Hale village in the Pangani basin. He says, “We have lived in this area all our life … [Why do] people point an accusing finger blaming us of encroaching on water sources?”

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