Stories written by Jessica McDiarmid

Ghanaian Fisherfolk Blasting Their Way to Finding Fish

Explosives, high-watt light bulbs, monofilament nets, and poison: these are a few methods fisherfolk are using to catch ever-dwindling fish stocks off Ghana’s shores.

Sam Kojo, chief fisherman of a village in western Ghana, says an influx of seaweed has crippled the fishing industry for months. Credit: Jessica McDiarmid/IPS

Western Ghana’s Fisherfolk Starve Amid Algae Infestation

Sam Kojo stands in a thigh-high pile of brown seaweed that blankets a beach in western Ghana. Behind him, a decomposing mound of Sargassum stretches down the shore past the fishing village of Beyin.

SIERRA LEONE: The Isolation of Epilepsy Sufferers

Elizabeth Zainab Kargbo was a successful young woman, eight months pregnant and working in Sierra Leone’s civil service, when she had her first seizure.

There are fears that a "land rush" in the developing world is leading to hunger, conflict and human rights abuses.  Credit: Isaiah Esipisu/IPS

AFRICA: Regulating the Rush for Land

The adoption of international guidelines to regulate so-called land grabs has been pushed to next year after negotiators failed to agree on conditions for large-scale land investments and enforcement.

Street boys congregate in downtown Freetown, Sierra Leone, for free food and care provided by an NGO.  Credit: Jessica McDiarmid/IPS

SIERRA LEONE: Child Rights Exist Only on Paper

The six-year-old girl pulls her T-shirt up to show the dozens of pale lines across her back. They are fresh scars from the lashing she received from her caregiver after she lost 500 Leones, the equivalent of about 10 cents.

SIERRA LEONE-HEALTH: Free Health Care Not Really Free

There is a brief bustle and then a woman wails as the small body is wrapped in cloth and set on a cot by the door of the paediatric ward. Nurses in pristine white uniforms continue to pad quietly around the large room at Ola During Children's Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital city.

Regulators say many of the drugs sold on the informal markets in Sierra Leone are fake or substandard, posing a huge risk to the public.  Credit: Poindexter Sama/IPS

SIERRA LEONE: Substandard and Counterfeit Drugs Flood the Market

Bubble-wrapped pills are scattered across the crude table in a busy market beside crumpled boxes of lubricant, paracetamol and anti-fungal powder.

Houses are climbing up Freetown

SIERRA LEONE: Deforestation Leaves Poor Vulnerable to Landslides

Samuel Weekes remembers when the hills stretching out beyond the heart of Freetown were green.

Ivorian refugees fill the yard at Peter Saye

Agencies Grappling With Liberia Refugee Crisis

The yard at Peter Saye's is full: of kids, of cooking pots, of chickens, goats, and piles of belongings. Women carry firewood and stir coals, plait hair and snap at the children scampering around in the dust. There are nearly 100 refugees sheltering here from the violence across the border in Côte d'Ivoire.