Most to Gain

Ishmael Beah, a former child soldier and UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War worries about the country’s former child soldiers. Credit: Mustapha Dumbuya

Sierra Leone Still Suffers Legacy of Child Soldiers

When the verdict against Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor for war crimes in Sierra Leone is handed down on Thursday, it will be of no help to the many former combatants of the country’s brutal civil war who have not been reintegrated into society. Instead, they will continue to pose a threat to Sierra Leone’s future stability.

Several of the children in Abala camp are visibly malnourished, and NGO workers are concerned about potential epidemics. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

Mali – Barely Surviving As One Country, Let Alone Two

It was the middle of the day when Tabisou, 72, suddenly saw people from her town of Amderamboukane in Mali fleeing for their lives. Her family had no time to pack their things; the fighting had already begun.

Increasing numbers of Malian women are being raped by Tuareg rebels and armed groups that have swept across the north of Mali since January. Credit: William Lloyd-George/IPS

Armed Groups in Northern Mali Raping Women

Increasing numbers of Malian women are being raped by Tuareg rebels and armed groups that have swept across the north of Mali since the beginning of year, expelling all government troops from the region.

Olivier Forgha Koumbou’s son waters his thriving farm in Santa, in Cameroon’s North West region.  Credit: Ngala Killian Chimtom/IPS

Cameroonian Farmer Won’t Let Low Rainfall Defeat Him

Olivier Forgha Koumbou washes some freshly picked carrots in a small brook and eats them with relish. His thriving farm in Santa, in Cameroon’s North West region, looks like a miracle in the midst of surrounding farms where carrots, lettuce, potatoes and leeks have withered and died.

Guinea-Bissau Junta Presents ECOWAS With a Fait Accompli

Six West African heads of state will attend a regional summit in Guinea on Monday, to discuss the situation in neighbouring Guinea Bissau, where an Apr. 12 coup d'état aborted presidential elections.

Millennium Goals Mock Nepal’s Slave Girls

Five years after Nepal abolished Kamalari, a system of girl slavery, thousands of young women are still awaiting promised rehabilitation and support from the new democratic republic.

 Zimbabwe’s challenge is to change people’s attitudes about sanitation and hygiene.  Credit: Busani Bafana/IPS

More Toilets in Zimbabwe, Better Livelihoods

Government and sanitation experts say Zimbabwe needs to increase efforts to promote good hygiene and invest in toilets and clean water provision, as the country grapples with a typhoid outbreak.

Thomas Essuman says Ghanaian fisherfolk know that using poison, dynamite and illegal nets to catch fish is doing long-term damage.  Credit: Jessica McDiarmid/IPS

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.

Nurse Afroz counsels an expecting mother at the Aditmari centre. Credit: Naimul Haq/IPS

Bangladesh Cuts Maternal Deaths With Affordability

The Aditmari Maternity Centre (AMC) is unpretentious but hygienic, and its staff of paramedics welcomes pregnant women from the poor farming villages of this district, 375 km northwest of Dhaka.

Emmanuel Kargbo, a 26-year-old farmer, pushes a motorised soil tiller recently given to his farming cooperative. Credit: Damon Van der Linde/IPS

Listening to the Hum of Tilling Machinery in the Sierra Leone Countryside

In the eastern Sierra Leonean community of Lambayama, rice paddies are carved far into the landscape before being abruptly halted by distant hills. Aside from a paved road that draws a grey line through the green, swampy valley, it looks much as it did a century ago.

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.

Bulawayo only has a 20-month supply of water left if the seasonal rains do not come.  Credit: Busani Bafana/IPS

Steady Water Supply for Zimbabwean City Still a Pipe Dream

Residents of Zimbabwe's water-scarce city, Bulawayo, are concerned about the government’s slow response to finding a permanent source of water to cover their needs.

‘The Land is Never Wrong’, Says Togolese Farmer

Awuissa Walla has no regrets over choosing farming as a profession. He earned a degree in agronomy a decade ago, and borrowing money from friends, set himself up on an 18-hectare plot at Badja, some 50 kilometres from Lomé, the Togolese capital.

Tired of Odd Jobs in the City, He Is Farming in His Old Guinean Village

Like many rural youth, Abdoulaye Soumah spent a few years in Conakry, trying his hand at various jobs in the big city. But he has since returned to his home village, transforming a seven-hectare plot of land inherited from his parents into a model of success.

Southern Sudanese soldiers from the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army. Militia groups affiliated with the army still recruit child soldiers.  Credit: Peter Martell/IRIN

Returning Sudanese Child Soldiers Their Childhood

As the process of reintegrating South Sudan’s child soldiers into their old lives begins soon, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army renewal of its lapsed commitment to release all child soldiers from its ranks in March could mean that within two years children will no longer constitute part of the country’s militia groups.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world: 74 percent of the population here lives on less than 1.25 dollars a day. Credit: Claire Ngozo/IPS

Banda Gives New Lease on Life to Malawi

She has been in office for less than a week but Malawi’s, and the region’s, first female president, Joyce Banda, has given many people in this poor southern African country hope that its social and economic woes will soon end.

On Jul. 20, 2011, the peaceful country of Malawi broke out into nationwide anti-government protests. Credit: Katie Lin/IPS

Social Media Activism Takes Root in Malawi

As Malawians celebrate Joyce Banda’s appointment as president on sites, like Facebook and Twitter, the increased use of social media in Malawi comes full circle as her new government takes office.

HIV Compounds Poverty in Nepal

Life, already hard in Nepal’s remote western region, is getting worse thanks to HIV infection brought back by men who go to neighbouring India for seasonal work.

Onion producers in Niger face huge problems selling their crop because the market is saturated.  Credit: Sustainable Sanitation/CC BY 2.0

Niger Onion Producers in Tears Over Market Glut

Bitterness is written all over Boureïma Hamado's face as he prepares to return home after selling his onion crop at the Katako market in the Nigerien capital, Niamey. He's taken a big loss on the harvest.

Malawi’s Army Commander General Henry Odillo hands over the presidential sword to President Joyce Banda at her swearing in ceremony. Credit: Claire Ngozo/IPS

“A New Dawn Rises over Malawi”

It would be too simplistic to think that Malawi’s problems have ended with the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. But it is an opportunity for newly appointed President Joyce Banda, who is also leader of the opposition People’s Party, to step up and offer a new and more responsive style of leadership.

Young Ivorians Fishing Big Profits out of Small Ponds

Mathieu Djessan looks over the four-hectare expanse of fish ponds with satisfaction. The aquaculture enterprise the 29-year-old runs here near the town of Tiassalé in southern Côte d'Ivoire is quickly proving profitable.

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