Oct 16th, 2012 8:06 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
“Because this continent is not only going to feed itself, we have to feed the world”
As today is World Food Day, it is an appropriate time to recognise and appreciate the importance of Africa’s principals food producers; women farmers. Roughly 70% of small holder farmers in Africa are women, and therefore it is unsurprising that they are the principal food producers, yet Africa is a victim of substantial food insecurity.
60% of the world’s remaining arable land is in Africa, yet we are still facing major food insecurity issues. In order for Africa to feed itself, it needs to maximise its own food productivity, and women farmers are at the root of this issue. Women farmers have historically been neglected and disadvantaged in Africa, as they have struggled to get tenure to the land and gain access to security and finance. Therefore it is paramount that we invest in women farmers too push the food security agenda forward, and begin working towards the goal of feeding the world.
In this pursuit of a food secure Africa and world, we need a collective buy-in from all parties. We are beginning to see more of a focus on Public-Private Partnership as a way of moving the development agenda forward. These are partnerships between government and private sector, where both sets of parties collaborate in the pursuit of a unified goal. For these partnerships to be as effect as possible we need government to create a conducive environment where by it is attractive for private sector to engage. There is fourth P that is not often mentioned but it is extremely important, and that is ‘people’. We all need to do what is necessary to effect change. Public- Private- People Partnerships for a food secure world.
Aug 20th, 2012 11:12 AM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
As many of our readers know, last month ONE delivered its Thrive petition signed by almost 35,000 African citizens to the African Union Chair President Yayi Boni of Benin.
President Boni and Benin’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Nassirou Bako Arifari promised to take our petition to the full African Union in order to promote investments in Africa’s agriculture sector across the continent. We know that with proper investments and planning in farms and food supplies, African governments could help lift 31 million African citizens out of poverty and prevent 12 million children from suffering the effects of stunted growth due to malnutrition.
We have a great video of the petition delivery, which features ONE’s Africa Director Dr. Sipho S. Moyo, along with sporting legend Haile Gebrselassie, who delivered the petition on behalf of ONE members across the continent, and Benin’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Nassirou Bako Arifari.
Watch the video here:
This comes at a great time as we make real progress in the race against hunger. Haile Gebrselassie joined ONE, our partners, and a few of his fellow Olympians at a Hunger Summit just as the 2012 Olympics closed.
Stay tuned for more updates in our campaigns. These last 4 months of 2012 hold a lot of potential for our campaigns to increase food security and opportunity all over the continent.
Aug 8th, 2012 5:44 PM UTC
By Mzwandile Sibanda
Last week ONE partnered up with the Pan-African reality TV phenomenon Big Brother Africa for an exciting week.
As with previous Big Brother Africa seasons, the producers of the show sought out an issue, coupled with an organisation to dedicate a “task week” to, and this year it was ONE’s Thrive campaign.
To make sure we took advantage of this amazing opportunity we enlisted the help of the Nigerian music sensation 2Face Idibia to be our ambassador on the show.
He started off his week with ONE by being interview by The Times newspaper where discussed his reason for being in South Africa and the work he would be doing with ONE.
Big Brother Africa’s “task week” for the housemates begins on the Tuesday of every week, and so early in the morning Big Brother introduced the task, giving the housemates a brief about food security and the need for agriculture as a way to reduce poverty. As part of their brief housemates were told that they had to go hungry from morning to evening in solidarity with the millions of people on the continent who do not have enough to eat. They were told that the only vegetables they could use had to come from the ONE garden hey had been told to look after for the past 6 weeks. To round of the brief housemates were given ONE merchandise, and asked to help grow a new vegetable garden to show viewers how it can be done.
Towards the end of the day housemates were given a pleasant surprise, when 2Face entered the house. Unspringing housemates were thrilled to engage with him, as he spoke to them about ONE’s Thrive campaign and our work. Just before leaving , he told the housemates he did not come alone, at which point a video shout out from ONE’s co-founder Bono, was played on the TVs in the house. It was clear from their reactions that this shout out really meant something to them, with even one of the housemates saying “…man I feel like a rock star”. After this, 2Face said his good byes and left the house mates to soak in all the happenings of the day. Big Brother also introduced the housemates next task, which was to design a t-shirt that represented the Thrive Campaign and communicated the important message of the need to end hunger and famine in Africa.
2Face capped off his day with an interview with Channel O.
The day started off, the way the previous day ended with media interviews for the singer who is affectionately referred to as Tubaba. From the ONE office in Johannesburg 2Face was interviewed by Kenyan radio station Capital FM, Nigerian radio station Rhythm FM and The Guardian Nigeria. After these interviews he headed off to the Pan-African radio station Channel Africa for a series of interviews to cap off his morning of media.
In the afternoon he paid the Kliptown Youth Programme a visit, where he learnt about their fantastic work. 2Face spoke about food security and the Thrive campaign and was treated to the legendary Gumboot dance performance, and closed out his visit by helping out with the youth food programme.
Before Tubaba could call it a day, he had one more stop to make at Metro FM for the Touch Down with Touch radio show. As the two knew each other from before, Touch and Tubaba joked and laughed while still touching on the important issues 2Face was on hand to discuss, and even fielded calls in from the public.
All while 2Face was keeping busy outside the Big Brother House, inside the housemates kept themselves busy as they continued to work the garden project and their t-shirts. Throughout the day, they were treated to more surprise video shout outs of from Zolani of Freshly ground, the actor Michael Ealy and in-house DJ for the Ellen DeGeneres show Tony Okungbowa. All the shout outs were received well, but the Hollywood heartthrob Micheal Ealy made a notable impression on ladies of the house, who were clearly missing the outside world!
In the Big Brother house, housemates were treated to a morning shout out from Kenyan music sensation Nameless. They then spent the rest of the day preparing their own individual presentation on what the Thrive campaign meant to them, with a focus on creative expression of their thoughts. And in true Biggie (Big Brother) fashion, he kept the housemates entertained with more shout out from well known faces, this time with back to back shout outs from legendary rapper Nas and singer Melanie Fiona.
Outside of the house, Tubaba picked up food prepared by the Big Brother house mates that was to be delivered at a children’s home down the road from the Big Brother House in Johannesburg. After delivering the food 2Face made his return entrance into the house to watch the housemates’ as they gave some insightful and very creative presentation on what the Thrive campaign meant to them. Mr. Idibia said his final good byes and he exited the house, leaving Big Brother to draw a close to the Thrive task week.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Even though the ONE tasks were over housemates continued to tend the two gardens in the house wearing their ONE merchandise. It was fantastic to see that the Thrive campaign had really hit a cord with them, and as if to reward them Biggie had one more surprise up his sleeve. To the delight and surprise of housemates, Big Brother played a shout out from the Queen of Hip Hop Soul; Mary J Blige, where she called out all the housemates by name. The week ended with the Big Brother live eviction show, Big Brother’s most watched programme. During this, the Thrive week was recapped and was highlighted for those who may have missed week’s great moments and activities. A fitting way to cap off a fantastic and impactful week!
Jul 31st, 2012 10:57 AM UTC
By Remi Onabanjo
When Nigerian musical sensation, 2Face Idibia arrived in Johannesburg, the Big Brother Africa House wasn’t his only stop. Along with the ONE Africa team, he went into the heart of Soweto, South Africa’s largest township, to visit the Kliptown Youth Centre.
Founded in 2007, the Kliptown Youth Centre’s works to help children and adolescents in the surrounding area take control of their futures. While visiting the centre, its director and co-founder Thulani Madondo, who was recently recognized as one of the CNN Heroes 2012 gave the group a walking tour of the facilities, and briefed 2Face on the numerous programs that they offer in the centre’s ever growing library.
2Face Idibia (front right) talks to Thulani Madondo (front left) at Kliptown Youth Centre
As Thulani explained the after school tutoring program and its use of One Laptop per Child, a unique technological initiative aimed at empowering children by providing them with low powered laptops, we could hear the distinct sound of children coming in on their way back from school, all excited to take part in everything the centre has to offer.
After meeting the main youth programmers, we were treated to another facet of the Kliptown Youth Centre: the talented and enthusiastic youth Gumboots dance group. Through their phenomenal performance, it was clear that the centre doesn’t only focus on nurturing the youth academically, but also allowing them to express themselves artistically. As the visit finished off, 2Face was able to personally help out with the food program by serving hot lunches to the school children. Although simple in design, this is one of the centre’s most important programs, as it ensures that each child that comes through has access to at least one balanced meal per day.
2Face Idibia with the Kliptown Youth Centre and ONE teams
At the end of the day, all those involved in the visit were extremely moved and inspired. 2Face was especially impressed, and stated how the centre was the embodiment of a true “positive initiative”. He acknowledged the hard work that the centre is doing in order to change the lives of youth in Kliptown, and actively wondered whether this could be done in other regions on the continent.
The admirable work of Thulani and his peers shows that in Kliptown, Soweto, people are definitely hungry for change.
Join them and become part of the movement!
Jul 27th, 2012 11:19 AM UTC
By Remi Onabanjo
This week, ONE has been a recognizable presence within the Big Brother Africa house. In weeks past, we have been in the backyard, in the THRIVE garden where the housemates harvested vegetables and produced compost. But that all changed early on Tuesday morning when the contestants were told to fast an entire day, save for what they had produced in the Thrive garden. This challenge was set to symbolize the millions of Africans who suffer from hunger and malnutrition everyday while also emphasizing the usefulness of farming one’s own food.
Although the Big Brother housemates weren’t exactly ecstatic at the idea of going without food for a day, they took the task seriously. And they were duly rewarded with many personal shout-outs from ONE celebrity ambassadors, such as South African songstress Zolani Mahola, Kenyan music sensation Nameless, and even ONE’s co-founder Bono. These messages encouraged the housemates to stay hungry for change”—words that they definitely took to heart.
Taking things to the next level, Nigerian superstar 2Face Idibia made a personal visit to the house, and gave everyone the shock of their lives. Although at one point Ugandan housemate Janette got 2Face to sing her a few bars from “African Queen”, he made sure that the conversation stayed focused on the issue at hand. Right now, 31 million Africans and 12 million children can be saved from poverty and stunted growth respectively by 2015. This can be achieved by raising awareness, making smart investments in agriculture, and holding African leaders accountable, all significant aspects of ONE’s Thrive campaign. While in the house, 2Face made sure to communicate this message to the housemates and answered all of their questions about ONE and the campaign.
In the wake of 2Face’s visit, the energy and enthusiasm among the housemates was palpable. The housemates have been busy preparing food that will be hand-delivered by 2Face to a children’s home in the surrounding Johannesburg area. Their energy is also being harnessed towards designing their own ONE t-shirts, all of which are distinct, creative, and sporting inspiring messages. One of the designs will be selected, and the housemate who wins the competition will not be disappointed with the reward we have in store.
All in all, the Big Brother Africa contestants are demonstrating that it’s possible for anyone to make a difference by supporting the Thrive campaign towards the eradication of hunger and malnutrition on the continent.
They are definitely hungry for change. If you are too, join the movement by signing our petition.
Stay strong, stay committed, stay hungry for change.
Jul 25th, 2012 11:28 AM UTC
By Wangui Muchiri
Yesterday African music sensation 2Face Idibia visited the Big Brother Africa House as the housemates stood in solidarity with the hundreds of millions of Africans who go hungry every day.
Watch his message here:
Speaking at the house 2Face said:
“My brothers and sisters, we might live in different countries but we are united in the belief that that no one in Africa should go hungry, much lesssuffer famine. Not in 2012, and not in a continent as rich in natural resources, human capacity and ingenuity as Africa. Housemates, you are the future of Africa. And what you do could inspire a new generation of young Africans who, with you,will be the change we want to see. Stay strong, stay committed, stay hungry for change.”
Throughout the week 2Face and others will encourage us all to be hungry for change and support of ONEs Thrive campaign, boldly calling for progress in the fight against hunger, poverty and malnutrition on the continent. They will present the Big Brother housemates with creative challenges to promote this vital issue for the continent throughout this much-watched week.
You can join them by signing our pledge here.
This is just the start of a series of ONE activities that the Big Brother housemates will be involved in this week, so keep an eye on the ONE Africa Blog for more news.
Jul 25th, 2012 11:07 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Stephan Meyer, ONE’s expert gardener who is responsible for setting up the box garden in the Big Brother Africa house, continues his series of gardening tips.
In the previous post “Organic Box Gardening” we discussed organic gardening and what it actually means. We mentioned that an important step in successful organic gardening is “feeding your soil”.
The ONE garden in the Big Brother house
This week we will teach you how to make your own compost pile from scratch. You don’t have to be a professional gardener to do this, all you need is perseverance. The more effort you put in, the faster you see results.
A lot of professionals will tell you that you need brown composting matter for Carbon and green composting matter for Nitrogen. They will also say that the composition ratio between brown and green should be 30:1. You might ask yourself, “does that mean I need to cut down a tree to make compost?” The answer is simply no.
Brown composting materials are woody materials that are high in carbon, such as; peat, moss, sawdust hay and straw. While green composting materials are high in nitrogen, such as; garden refuse, food scraps, and manure.
The most readily available of both green and brown matter is grass clippings. By layering grass clipping you can make your own compost within 2 to 4 weeks. Easy enough isn’t it?
Advantages of express composting are:
Like anything, there will be disadvantages. The disadvantage here is that a lot of time and effort is needed because the heap of matter takes a year to decompose.
Plants in the ONE garden
How to make “Express compost”
Any material can be used for making compost, but but some items are best avoided. For example meat, dairy and cooked foods can attract unwanted pests, viruses and disease.
Greens or Nitrogen rich materials
Browns or Carbon rich materials
Building your pile
Maintaining your pile
Maintenance of your pile is simple but requires work.
Your compost is ready for use when it has a dark brown colour with a sweet earthy smell and most of the raw materials aren’t recognisable
Jul 24th, 2012 10:30 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest blog post from sporting legend Haile Gebrselassie.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of working with ONE at the African Union Summit here in Addis Ababa. I was both honoured and humbled to be asked to join them in delivering your petition signed by almost 35,000 African citizens to the African Union Chair His Excellency President Yayi Boni of Benin.
The petition asks for African leaders to invest in agriculture and nutrition to lift 31 million Africans out of poverty and prevent 12 million children from stunted growth. I can gladly say we succeeded in doing this, and what a momentous occasion it was.
Before we delivered the petition, I met with some amazing ONE members from Addis Ababa, who were there to represent the thousands of ONE members who had signed the petition. It was exciting to hear from them about ONE and our Thrive campaign. Their spirit certainly carried through to the petition delivery.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie with other ONE members at the 2012 African Union summit in Addis Ababa.
President Boni had planned to join us on Friday, but unfortunately through a number of complications, his arrival in Addis Ababa was delayed. Luckily enough, His Excellency had his Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Nassirou Arifari-Bako, stepped in and received the petition on his behalf.
Haile Gebrselassie presents ONE’s petition.
The following press conference was a great success, especially when the Honorable Minister announced during his speech that 2013 must be the year of agriculture across Africa. I am particularly excited about this commitment from the AU as a citizen of this beautiful and rich continent.
Thank you to all the ONE members for supporting this campaign. We now have our work cut out for us to ensure this becomes a reality!
Haile Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who has held at least 27 world records in various distances.
Jul 18th, 2012 6:31 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest blog post from singer and ONE member Tiken Jah Fakoly.
As I write these lines, over 18 million people in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa are facing a desperate shortage of food. Yet we know how to break the vicious cycle of food crises. Nevertheless, this cycle continues to persist.
Last March, I went to Burkina Faso where I experienced the existence of severe malnutrition. I visited cereal and cattle markets in the region of Diapaga, near the borders of Niger and Benin. I witnessed the impoverishment of market stalls, fewer supplies, and I met villagers, the first victims of crop failure.
I particularly remember one villager who told me that he harvested nothing this year and had nothing to feed his 15 family members.
Tiken Jah Fakoly meets children from Nadjamboali school in the Sahel region. Photo © Raphael de Bengy / www.raphaeldebengy.com
If the international community does not take the necessary steps quickly, the situation undoubtedly will worsen. As proof, in the region that I visited, there was an increase of 200% in the number of malnourished children compared to last year. This is unacceptable. These children, when healthy, are the future of Africa. If we can act right now, we can prevent children from dying.
I realize it’s tempting to shield ourselves from the unbearable images of hunger. But it threatens the lives of more than 18 million men, women and children in the Sahel.
We know that smart ideas such as better seeds, training in agriculture and improved irrigation techniques could really make a difference and enable millions of people not only to survive, but also to thrive.
Six countries in the region already have long-term, vetted plans to give people the tools they need to lift themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty. And at Camp David in May, 13 of the world’s most powerful countries have pledged to help fund these plans. But unless they act right now, these plans will just gather dust.
I invite you to sign ONE’s petition right now and call on world leaders to fund the urgent humanitarian appeal of the UN for the Sahel, and to support long term agricultural investment plans of the region’s countries to terminate the recurrent food crises.
Tiken Jah Fakoly is a singer from Côte d’Ivoire.
Jul 10th, 2012 9:41 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
As the African Union prepares to meet this week in Addis Ababa, we are excited to feature a renowned Ethiopian voice in support of ONE’s Thrive campaign. Haile Gebrselassie, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who has held at least 27 world records in various long-distance runs, urges people to take action in support of agricultural development around the continent. Haile has seen first-hand the devastation wrought by famine in his country—and the miracle of smart planning and development that helped Ethiopia avoid the worst of last year’s famine in the region (you can also watch a short video about Tigray, a region in Ethiopia wrecked by famine in the 1980s, and its remarkable transformation).
I have run, and won many marathon races around the world in my lifetime. And each time I run, I carry Ethiopia and Africa in my heart. I come from a country that has seen some of the worst famines in the world. I therefore know first hand, what hunger and malnutrition look like.
Today, Africa is in the race of a lifetime. It’s a race that often marks the difference between life and death. It’s a race against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
It’s a race that we can win, for our brothers and sisters in Africa.
Join me and click here to sign ONE’s petition, which reads:
Dear African leaders,
It’s time to break the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty. When you meet in Addis Ababa please recommit to investing in agriculture and nutrition to help pull 31 million Africans out of poverty and save 12 million children from stunting.
We can begin to make a difference by calling on our leaders to make smart investments in Agriculture. They will be gathering for the African Union summit in Addis Ababa next week and we want to take a message to them that we can break the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty.
This race must be won by 2015. This is the race of a lifetime. Join me in this race and sign the petition right now.
Olympic Marathon winner and ONE member
Image credit: Twitter
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The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
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