Stories written by Nasseem Ackbarally

“The Ocean Is Not a Dumping Ground”

An internationally renowned scientist, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim became Mauritius’s sixth president on June 5, 2015 – and one of the few Muslim women heads of state in the world.

Migrant Labour Fuels Tensions in Mauritius

They come from Bangladesh, China, India and Madagascar, mainly to run the machines in the textile industry here. But they do all kinds of other jobs too, from masons to bakers, house cleaners and gardeners.

Mauritian Farmers Go Smart

Fifty year-old Prem Kanoosingh rages against his peers who excessively apply chemicals, mostly pesticides and fertilisers, to their crops. "They make cocktails from several products and they use them on their crops. They are criminals", he shouted at a function where the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute launched a bio-farming project in early March 2016.

Indian Ocean Islands Unprepared for Climate Change

Nasseem Ackbarally reports from Port Louis Mauritius that despite clear evidence of climate change, the Indian Ocean Islands have not done much in terms of adaptation and mitigation.

Mauritian Sugar Farmers Squeezed by Low Prices as Bagasse and Ethanol Become Popular By-products

While Mauritius has been forced to transform its sugar industry because of low prices for the commodity, the country’s small-scale sugarcane farmers who contribute to it say they are barely earning a living.

Chagos Islanders ‘Will Not Give Up’ Fight to Return Home

“The Marine Protected Area (MPA) created around the Chagos archipelago is a new obstacle that the British government has placed in our path to prevent us from going back to our homeland,” claims Olivier Bancoult, leader of the Chagos Refugees Group (CRG).

Climate Change Teaches Some Lessons

Tourism, agriculture, fishing, the water supply – climate change threatens the very foundations of society and the economy in Mauritius. As the Indian Ocean island nation develops its adaptation strategies, it is working to ground the next generation of citizens firmly in principles of sustainable development.

Small Businesses Tackle Poverty in Mauritius

Raja Venkat, a food vendor on the sidewalk of Immigration Square in the centre of Port Louis, the Mauritian capital, sits on his tricycle with a bag full of dhal puris - small, round, flat Indian bread stuffed with pulses which he sells together with tomato sauce and bean curry.

Farming in the Mauritian Sea

“No fighting, please. Everybody will get their fish. Give us time to empty the crates and weigh today’s catch,” Patrick Guiliano Marie, leader of the St. Pierre Fish Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, shouts at the crowd jostling impatiently at the fish landing station in Grand Gaube, a fishing village in northern Mauritius.

Mauritians Unprepared for Effects of Climate Change

Mauritius may be one of the best-prepared countries in the world when it comes to cyclones, but recent heavy rains and flooding due to climate change have brought the country’s readiness for coping with increased rainfall into question. 

Investing in Renewable Energy Means Investing in Lives

Residents of Albion, a small village in Pointe-aux-Caves, western Mauritius, say that by opposing the construction of a new coal power plant near their homes, they are defending their constitutional right to live.

Green-Fingered Mauritian Farmers Go Green

By Kritanand Beeharry’s side are thousands of watermelon seedlings that he has grown in small pots without the use of chemical fertilisers. As the farmer prepares his half-hectare piece of land in Soreze, near Mauritius’ capital Port-Louis, to plant the two-week-old seedlings, he takes a minute to admire his achievement. “Look at these, they look solid and better grown -- it’s the compost,” he says.

Early sex debut leads to increased teenage pregnancies in Mauritius

Mauritius, held up as an economic success story, is undergoing a lot of social change. However it seems the education system is not keeping pace with the rapid change as the number of teenage pregnancies is on the rise.

Mauritian Fishers Want EU Vessels Out of Their Seas

“Look out there, the blue one…. that is a European Union fishing vessel that is threatening our livelihood,” says Lallmamode Mohamedally, a Mauritian fisherman, as he points to a boat offloading its catch at the Les Salines port, close to the country’s capital Port Louis.

Mauritian Farmers Hooked on Fair Trade

In finding a way to survive a 36 percent cut in sugar prices, Mauritian farmers are not only exporting a variety of fruit and vegetables to the European Union, but they have also begun farming in a more environmentally sustainable way.

Mauritius has been experiencing a water shortage for months as the anticipated summer rains are yet to arrive with the season close to its end. Credit: Nasseem Ackbarally/IPS

As the Taps Run Dry in Mauritius

Rani Murthy, a public officer who lives in Plaines Wilhems, central Mauritius, wakes at three every morning to wait for the water tanker from the Central Water Authority so that she can collect water for cooking and household chores.

MAURITIUS: The Decline of Consumer Cooperatives

Amateurism, high prices, mismanagement, and a limited product range have discouraged Inderjeet Rajcoomarsingh, the former chairman of the Mauritius Agricultural Cooperative Federation, from shopping at cooperative stores.

MAURITIUS: Women Find a Political Voice, Locally

Under a new gender quota law introduced in Mauritius, at least one-third of the candidates in local elections must be women. But the adoption of a national quota is not yet on the horizon, even though just 18 percent of legislators are women and there are only two female cabinet ministers.

MAURITIUS: Thirsty for Ideas to Address Water Woes

Mauritius plans to privatise its water sector, as rains become rare, and century-old pipes continue to leak almost 50 percent of the water available, added to waste by the population, mismanagement and over-consumption.

Mauritian men work to change attitudes

Mauritian men are standing up against violence against women. Nasseem Ackbarally reports that some are now joining organisations to change attitudes towards women in society.

Geejabai Teemulen is among the women being trained ahead of this year's local government elections. Credit:  Nasseem Ackburally/IPS

Mauritian Women Dreaming of Active Politics

"We have had enough of the training given to us in cooking, sewing and household works... We now have another dream: of participating actively in the development of our island at decision-making level," says Marie-Anne Laganne, a political trainer at Women In Politics.

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