Cameroon: Fair-trade future produce for vulnerable regions

The project “Fair-trade Future Produce for Vulnerable Regions” supports smallholder farmers in the conflict affected northern regions of Cameroon get economic empowerment through improved sorghum yields, better management skills and use of a fair-trade compliant supply chain to take advantage of trade opportunities with food beverage companies.

The £55,000 project supports the partnership between Guinness Cameroun S.A. and Cameroon government’s Investment Project for the Development of Agricultural Markets (PIDMA) to:

Improve the skills of fifty lead farmers so they are able to train other farmers, increase sorghum yields and implement farming of drought resistant sorghum and

Ensure farming in the regions is based on principles of fair-trade agriculture which includes fair pricing, no child labour, gender equality and opportunities for economically disadvantaged people.

Background

Agriculture constitutes the main economic activities in the Far North and North regions of Cameroon. However, these have been weakened by many factors amongst which security threats, climate change, poor farming techniques, planting low yield species, poor quality control, lack of preservation and transformation equipment and disconnection from the agribusiness chain which limits the quantity and quality of yields. All these contribute in not only making the food security situation worse but also in making farmers miss the significant business opportunities offered by food beverage industries like Guinness Cameroun S.A to increase their use of local produce (sorghum, cassava and maize) for the brewing of their products.

The Fair-trade training will ensure farming in the regions is based on principles of fair-trade agriculture which includes fair pricing, no child labour, gender equality and opportunities for economically disadvantaged people by training local cooperatives on the implementation of fair-trade policies. It will also ensure a right based approach as well as motivate farmers to use Fair-trade principles in the sorghum process. Our long term goal is to get the cooperatives certified as Fair-trade.

The project was managed on behalf of the British High Commission Yaounde by the Organisation for Gender, Civic Engagement and Youth Development (OGCEYOD) Cameroon; a non-governmental organisation in Cameroon working with youth and women in the following areas; education, employment, environment, HIV/AIDS and agriculture.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of British High Commission Yaounde.

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UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan to start second mission to the country

The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, will carry out his second mission to the country from 14 to 28 April 2016 to assess the efforts being undertaken by the Sudanese Government to comply with its international human rights obligations.

“My assessment will focus on the protection of basic fundamental rights of Sudanese people, including civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights, with particular emphasis on the situation of internally displaced persons,” noted the Independent Expert.

During his fifteen-day mission, the UN expert will continue his engagement with the Sudanese Government to assess, verify and report on the situation of human rights with a view to making recommendations on technical assistance and capacity-building for addressing human rights in the country.

“I will meet with relevant stakeholders to follow-up on the implementation of recommendations made to Sudan by all human rights mechanisms, including those made by my predecessors and those contained in my report* of September 2015 to the Human Rights Council,” Mr. Nononsi added.

The human rights expert, who visits Sudan at the invitation of the Government, will travel to Khartoum, Darfur and South Kordofan, where he will meet with Government officials, representatives of civil society organizations, students, academia, members of the diplomatic corps, and UN agencies.

On Thursday 28 April at 2:30 pm, the Independent Expert will hold a press conference at the United Nations Development Programme Office (UNDP) in Khartoum, to share with the media his preliminary observations on the visit. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Independent Expert on Sudan will present his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2016.

(*) Check the last report on Sudan by the previous Independent Expert (A/HRC/30/60), September 2015: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=172

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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Munich Security Conference Group Meeting in Addis Ababa

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) will host its first event on the African continent as part of its MSC Core Group Meeting series on 14 – 15 April 2016, at the Sheraton Hotel and at the African Union Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The joint fight against violent extremism, crisis prevention and management in Northern and Eastern Africa, as well as the security risks posed by epidemics and climate change are among the central topics of the two-day event.

The meeting will bring together around 60 senior leaders from Africa, Europe, and the US to exchange ideas in an informal setting. The MSC Core Group Meeting takes place on the occasion of the 5th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa and is organized in partnership with the governments of Germany and Ethiopia as well as the African Union Commission.

Journalists are invited to join a press briefing from 1130 – 1230 HRS and to attend the opening ceremony on April 14, from 1500 – 1530 HRS at the Sheraton Hotel. The press briefing will be addressed by MSC Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger where he will introduce the program and topics of the MSC Core Group Meeting and discuss current global and regional security issues.

Furthermore, journalists are invited to attend the opening ceremony of the second conference day on April 15, from 8.45 – 9.15 HRS at the African Union Conference Center, Small Conference Hall 4.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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The Commissioner for Political Affairs opened the 14th International Festival of Language and Culture

H.E. Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission opened the 14th International Festival of Language of Culture, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 09 April 2016, under the theme “Colours of the World”.

The International Festival was organized by the Nejashi Ethio-Turkish International Schools in collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The Festival is a platform to showcase both the rich multicultural diversity of the world, as well as the boundless talent of students coming from 65 countries across the globe to exhibit their cultural traditions through poetry, song and dance, in an expression of friendship, and hope for the future.

In her address, the Commissioner for Political Affairs indicated that “Tolerance is important and needed us to live together, listen to each other and do things together. Therefore, this forum is an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, without distinction as to race, gender, language, national, origin, religion or disability, and to combat intolerance and to take all positive measures necessary to promote tolerance in all societies, because it is not only a cherished principle, but also a necessity for peace and for the economic and social advancement of all peoples”.

Dr. Abdullahi also added that “a few days ago, some of the students participating in this festival paid me a courtesy visit in my office and I was so impressed by the colourfulness of their dress and beauty of their voices. But above all, I was happy to know that they all strive for a global peace and dialogue and they all wish for a peaceful and forbearance world free of conflicts, wars and human rights violations”.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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The Commissioner for Political Affairs opened the 14th International Festival of Language and Culture

H.E. Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission opened the 14th International Festival of Language of Culture, which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 09 April 2016, under the theme “Colours of the World”.

The International Festival was organized by the Nejashi Ethio-Turkish International Schools in collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The Festival is a platform to showcase both the rich multicultural diversity of the world, as well as the boundless talent of students coming from 65 countries across the globe to exhibit their cultural traditions through poetry, song and dance, in an expression of friendship, and hope for the future.

In her address, the Commissioner for Political Affairs indicated that “Tolerance is important and needed us to live together, listen to each other and do things together. Therefore, this forum is an opportunity for all of us to renew our commitment to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, without distinction as to race, gender, language, national, origin, religion or disability, and to combat intolerance and to take all positive measures necessary to promote tolerance in all societies, because it is not only a cherished principle, but also a necessity for peace and for the economic and social advancement of all peoples”.

Dr. Abdullahi also added that “a few days ago, some of the students participating in this festival paid me a courtesy visit in my office and I was so impressed by the colourfulness of their dress and beauty of their voices. But above all, I was happy to know that they all strive for a global peace and dialogue and they all wish for a peaceful and forbearance world free of conflicts, wars and human rights violations”.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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Planet Earth Institute and African Academy of Sciences join forces to support the development of research leaders in Africa

  • The Planet Earth Institute and the African Academy of Sciences have signed a Memorandum of Understanding
  • The Memorandum of Understanding will create a new PhD grant programme for African students, and further the expansion of the Grand Challenges programme in Mauritius

The Planet Earth Institute, an international NGO and charity working for the scientific independence of Africa, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Academy of Sciences. The Memorandum of Understanding was ratified during the PEI’s Board of Trustees meeting on Saturday 2nd April 2016.

The partnership will support the development of research leaders in Africa by creating a new PhD grant programme for African students in water, energy, agro-business and basic sciences research. 10 PhD grants will be awarded in 2016, and the PEI and the AAS will deliver the programme with the assistance of private sector partners. This will help ensure that research is industrially relevant and that researchers develop hands on experience to ensure employability.

The new partnership will also further the expansion of the Grand Challenges programme in Mauritius. Grand Challenges is a family of initiatives fostering innovation to solve key problems in global health and many other fields of development for those most in need. It seeks to establish a portfolio of projects with complementary approaches that encompass multiple types of innovation, including innovation in life, natural and physical sciences and research, and extending to product development, service delivery etc.

HE Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius and Vice Chairman and Trustee of the Planet Earth Institute:

“To ensure that all our citizens can share in the continent’s prosperity, we must not only invest in applied research that addresses current development challenges, but also basic sciences that focuses on long-term development.

I look forward to a close and productive partnership with the African Academy of Sciences. I also welcome this vital PhD programme supporting African PhD students undertaking research in areas that are essential to sustainable development on the continent.”

Dr. Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute:

“Although Africa has experienced sustained economic growth over the past decade, scientific and technological output has not kept pace. If we want to ensure that our continent has the capacity to develop solutions to its greatest development challenges, we must dramatically increase investment in scientific research.

I am delighted that the Planet Earth Institute has embarked on this important partnership with the African Academy of Sciences, given its strong advocacy for scientific excellence on the continent. We are also proud to co-deliver this PhD grant programme that supports talented African students in pursuing research that addresses key developmental priorities, as well as the Grand Challenges initiatives”.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Planet Earth Institute.

Interviews or further information

For further information on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Planet Earth Institute and the African Academy of Sciences or for interview requests with those involved, please contact:

James Knight on james@planetearthinstitute.org.uk or +(230) 5255-4461

Sarah Hambly on sarah@planetearthinstitute.org.uk or +447879 739 405

Notes to Eds

  • The Planet Earth Institute (PEI) is an international NGO and charity working for the scientific independence of Africa
  • All of our work is built around the three pathways we believe will help lead Africa to scientific independence: Higher Education, Technological Innovation and Policy and Advocacy
  • The PEI is headquartered in London, UK, with offices in Port Louis, Mauritius and Luanda, Angola

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IOM, Namibia Launch Initiative to Combat Human Trafficking

The Government of the Republic of Namibia and IOM have officially launched a three-year initiative to combat trafficking in persons. The project is funded by the United States Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The project was officially launched by Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah during the opening ceremony of a two-day inception workshop organized by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW) last week (04/04).

The event saw the Namibian Government and IOM introduce the initiative to a wider audience and highlighted current efforts to tackle human trafficking in the country. The initiative aims to contribute to the Government of Namibia and civil society efforts to coordinate anti-trafficking responses, protect victims of trafficking and prosecute traffickers.

“This important inception event marks an important milestone in the ever expanding cooperation between IOM and the Government of Namibia. The fight against one of the most heinous crimes of our time, human trafficking, calls for such coordinated efforts and collaborative approaches for joint actions,” said Yitna Getachew, IOM’s regional counter trafficking specialist for Southern Africa.

The launch was followed by a workshop which focused on creating a better understanding of trafficking in persons, its definitions, causes, consequences, including elements that differentiate trafficking from other crimes. This was to ensure a smooth roll out of the project, promote co-ordination amongst all the stakeholders and enable a well-thought out action plan for this initiative.

According to the 2015 US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report, Namibia is a country of origin and destination for children and to a lesser extent, women, trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation. Within the country, traffickers exploit Namibian children in agricultural forced labour, cattle herding, and domestic service, as well as prostitution in Windhoek and Walvis Bay.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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IOM Hands Over Rehabilitated Community Infrastructure in Bangui, CAR

Days after the inauguration of a new president, Faustin Touadéra, IOM and local people celebrated the completed rehabilitation of a social centre and a market in Bangui in the Central African Republic (CAR). The initiative was part of IOM’s European Union (EU)-funded Community Stabilization programme.

Both construction projects are located in the 5th district of Bangui – an area that has been heavily affected by intercommunal violence since 2013. Since March 2014, IOM has engaged with the community in the area to identify and prioritize community needs in order to contribute to greater community stability.

Through a series of community meetings, 12 infrastructure projects were identified, of which nine have been finalized. All the work was completed by IOM “Cash for Work” beneficiaries, who were given vocational training that also will help them to generate income in the longer term.

The rehabilitations will help vulnerable populations to access basic social services. This is one of the main objectives of the Community Stabilisation Project, which aims to strengthen social cohesion in at-risk communities through the rehabilitation of infrastructure and generating dialogue between communities and local authorities.

The rehabilitation of the social centre in Malimaka and the market in Galababa are of particular importance due to the high number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the districts. Increasing access to markets and social services will contribute to the reintegration of IDPs in their communities of origin.

“The opening of the market in Galababa, a neighbourhood which was vastly destroyed, will bring life back into the area – people will realize that it is possible to return without fear. The social centre in Malimaka accommodates over 100 children every day from different religious and ethnic groups and it inspires hope that normalcy is returning. This is the first step in the transition from conflict to stability,” said Alain Yemo, mayor of the 5th district.

Since the start of the Community Stabilization programme in March 2014, 40 infrastructure projects – including the rehabilitation of schools, medical facilities and social centres – have contributed to revitalization and a stabilization of conflict-affected communities in CAR.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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IOM Enhances Border Management Capacity in Mauritania and Mali

IOM Mauritania this week began a joint training workshop to enhance the capacity of the respective governments to secure the border between the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Republic of Mali.

The 10-day workshop is taking place in Aioun El Atrouss, in southern Mauritania, and is part of a three-part series designed to help Mauritanian and Malian police officers control borders more effectively, detect forged documents and protect victims of trafficking. Additional bilateral training events are scheduled for Bamako, Mali, and Sélibaby, Mauritania.

The Japanese-funded IOM project “Enhancing the collective capacity for managing borders and for protecting border communities between Mauritania and Mali” aims to improve the security of vulnerable border areas between the two countries by enhancing their border management capacity. It also seeks to facilitate greater bilateral cooperation between the two governments and wider engagement of the local population living in border areas.

The training will provide police officers with essential skills to investigate suspected cases of forged documents. Trainees will also learn specific skills needed to conduct interviews with victims of trafficking, while respecting their need for sensitivity, confidentiality and non-discrimination.

Bringing together security officials from both sides of the border is a key aspect of this training and offers opportunities for participants to share experiences and best practices.

“These joint training sessions will make it easier for Mauritanian and Malian police officers to collaborate in the fight against terrorism,” said Tomoko Sato, IOM Mauritania project manager. “It will help them to focus on preventing cross-border crime, such as trafficking and smuggling. And it will also help them to cooperate more effectively and share information during emergency situations or natural disasters.”

The workshop’s Mauritanian and Malian trainers recently participated in a three-week training course in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, as a part of a regional project also financed by the Government of Japan: Coordinated Border Management in Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

“Harmonization of national, bilateral and regional security efforts, such as those proposed by the G5-Sahel, are very important to increase their collective capacity to protect the territory and the people,” said Sato.

The G5-Sahel is a regional organization formed in February 2014 by Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso to strengthen regional cooperation on security and development.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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Japan Backs IOM Project to Enhance Nigerian Border Management

Japan has allocated USD 910,000 to IOM to support the Government of Nigeria in enhancing its migration management and border control capacity. The financial support comes from Japan’s 2015 Supplementary Budget.

The one-year project, which will run through February 2017, is designed to combat terrorism and other transnational crimes by enhancing land border controls through the installation of IOM’s Migrant Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) at four Nigerian border crossing points.

Nigeria faces security threats from terrorists and international organized crime groups engaged in smuggling and trafficking. While airport controls provide some measure of security, significant gaps exist at land borders.

IOM will use the Japanese funding to continue to work with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to ensure that the country’s land borders are better managed and that legitimate travel is facilitated. It will allow the NIS to check travellers against national and international watch-lists, as well as identify and register foreign nationals.

IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Enira Krdzalic said: “IOM has been supporting the activities of NIS in border management and control through an innovative and results-based strategy. With this funding, we will expand MIDAS to four land border crossing points not previously covered, bringing the total to nine, thereby contributing to reducing the incidence of irregular migration to and from Nigeria.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of International Office of Migration (IOM).

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Donors called on to support the United Nations as it reaches communities in rural Borno

UN agencies and non-governmental organisations are increasing their footprint in Nigeria’s Borno State, and the UN has now reached people struck by
crisis in rural parts of the region. Arriving in Bama town, some 76 kilometres outside Maiduguri near the Sambisa forest and largely destroyed by violence, United Nations Assistant Secretary-
General and Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, underlined, “The suffering of some 30,000 people in Bama was as acute as I have seen.”

The full extent of the agony inflicted on the people of the Lake Chad Basin as a result of the violence is still unknown, but as towns such as Bama open to aid agencies, the absolute destruction
Boko Haram has left in its wake is becoming clearer. “Inter-agency teams are currently assessing more hard-to-reach parts of the state. We are increasingly emphasizing the relief-development
nexus in a region that suffered from historical underdevelopment,” explained the recently arrived United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Ms Fatma Samoura.

“When faced with such suffering, we tend to focus on an emergency response, and in the case of Bama it is right to do so, but rarely has the need for development been greater in a crisis setting
such as that of Borno,” Lanzer explained. “Some UN development agencies stand ready to support communities under the leadership of the authorities,” he added.

Borno’s capital, Maiduguri, is a city of 1 million inhabitants who are hosting a 1.6 million people displaced by Boko Haram. There Lanzer focused his visit on the host communities, all of whom
have shown unparalleled generosity. Lanzer called on donors to back development initiatives in the region concurrently with the emergency response. “Solid waste management and livelihoods are
two of the most glaring needs in Maiduguri despite the strong efforts of the State authorities. As the rainy season approaches, a failure to manage waste will result in a public health crisis and
exacerbate human suffering; at the same time, providing the youth vocational training is the right thing to do today, and can help prevent a deeper crisis emerging tomorrow,” he added.

The international humanitarian agencies operating in Nigeria plan to provide aid to people in the North-East of Nigeria at a cost of US$248 million for 2016, yet is only 12 per cent funded. “We are
facing one of the largest and most grave crises anywhere,” Lanzer underlined, “and donors now need to provide aid agencies the resources to complement the State’s work to keep people alive and
address the root cause of the crisis.”

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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The head of the AU Observer Mission calls on observers to be impartial and objective during the Presidential Election in the Republic of Chad

The head of the AU Observer Mission has called on his team of observers to exercise professionalism in undertaking the noble task given them by the AU. He urged them to be impartial and objective during the election. “We are not judges but are here to accompany the Republic of Chad throughout the electoral process”, the former Transitional President of Mali emphasized.

Speaking at the orientation ceremony, H.E. Dioncounda Traore thanked the AU for designating him to head the observer mission to the African nation. He expressed satisfaction over the warm reception accorded the AUOEM on its arrival in the country. “It is within the context of African solidarity that the AU dispatched this mission to accompany the country in its democratic process. Lessons learned in this mission will go a long way in assisting the continental body in its quest for the full democratization of the continent”, the mission leader said the orientation ceremony of the observers.

The Observation team, which comprises of 34 observers from 23 different African Countries, arrived in Chad on 6 April 2016.

The observers will be deployed on Saturday, 9 April to 14 of the 22 regions of Chad. The team, subdivided into 15 groups, will be present throughout the process.

In order to achieve its goal of carrying out an independent professional, impartial and objective observation based on transparency, integrity, and fairness, the Mission will meet with relevant stakeholders, including various institutions in charge of elections, political parties, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and communication.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of African Union Commission (AUC).

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