Fri. Feb 28th, 2020

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Ethiopian Activist Wins CNN Prize

Freweini Mebrahtu

Freweini Mebrahtu has dedicated her life to keeping girls in school by designing a reusable menstrual pad and trying to end the cultural stigma around the issue — and because of her work, she has been named the 2019 CNN Hero of the Year. “I don’t even know what to say,” Mebrahtu said when receiving the award. “I am so humbled and grateful for CNN … this is for all the girls and women everywhere. Dignity for all.” Online voters selected Mebrahtu as the 2019 CNN Hero of the Year award from among the Top 10 CNN Heroes finalists. Mebrahtu — who is from Ethiopia and studied chemical engineering in the US — designed and patented a reusable menstrual pad in 2005. She and her team produce 750,000 reusable pads a year at her factory in Ethiopia. Nearly 800,000 girls and women have benefited from her work. More than 80% of the pads she manufactures are sold to non-governmental organizations that distribute them for free.

SOURCE: CNN

Zimbabwe is Turning to Tourism to Rescue its Economy

Zimbabwe

Even as it deals with 300 percent inflation, Zimbabwe last year recorded its best-ever 12 months for tourism in Victoria Falls — the marquee destination — and its western regions more broadly. In 2018, visitors spent a total of 250,000 nights at the 10 Victoria Falls hotels surveyed for the Africa’s Living Soul report, up 30 percent from 2015. Room stock in the town has more than doubled in five years. After mining and agriculture, tourism is the biggest contributor to the country’s economy. And Lonely Planet gave Zimbabwe its vote of confidence, listing it among the 10 countries to visit in 2019 — despite the domestic crisis. The $150 million Victoria Falls International Airport — financed by a loan from China and with a capacity of 1.5 million visitors per year — is the centerpiece of Zimbabwe’s strategy.

SOURCE: OZY

Too Soon to Talk about Ethiopia’s Fragile Peace

Ethiopia's Fragile Peace

Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, has come under pressure to appear before the media in Oslo this week when he collects the Nobel peace prize on Tuesday. Senior officials of the Norwegian Nobel Institute have said the 2019 winner’s refusal to attend any event where he could be asked questions publicly is “highly problematic”. Nobel peace prize laureates traditionally hold a news conference a day before the official ceremony, but Abiy has told the Norwegian Nobel committee he does not intend to do so. Neither will the 43-year-old leader take questions from reporters after his meeting with the Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, nor participate at a traditional annual event with children celebrating peace at the Nobel Peace Center museum.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

Rescuers Rush Against Time and Rain in Kenya Building Collapse

Kenya Building Collapse

Two survivors have been found alive two days after a six-storey building collapsed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Authorities said the building collapse on Friday killed at least ten people, injured 30 others and left 20 more missing. When the two survivors were found Sunday morning, a crowd of onlookers burst into cheers and claps. Nairobi Police Chief Philip Ndolo said the rescue of a man and a woman had invigorated emergency workers with hopes of finding other survivors. 

SOURCE: AP NEWS

A Celebration of African Beauty, Brains and Sisterhood at Miss Universe

Zozibini Tunzi

Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi did the country proud with the insightful answers she gave during the Q&A sessions of the 2019 Miss Universe pageant. She not only impressed the judges, who awarded her the crown, but media maven Oprah Winfrey too. Winfrey posted a message to the new Miss Universe on Twitter congratulating her on her victory, and saying she agreed with Tunzi’s answer to the question: “What is the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today?” “The most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership,” Tunzi replied. Miss Universe Nigeria became the talk on social media as she was seen cheering the new Miss Universe while she was crowned as the queen.  Olutosin Araromi was spotted cheering the new Miss Universe as she gave her thumbs up and encouraged her to enjoy the moment as her fellow African sister.

SOURCE: TIMES LIVE | PULSE

Investigating Microplastic Levels in the Nigerian Coastal Environment

Microplastic Levels in the Nigeria

Microplastics are simply everywhere. Studies have reported their presence in the guts of birds, fishes and marine mammals. They have also been reported  in remote areas of the Alps and the Arctic. Most studies on microplastics have been conducted outside Africa. Currently, there is little or no data on microplastics occurrence in sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers have examined surface sediments from four beaches in Lagos for microplastics. Findings recommend that the country needs to adopt a series of policies to manage plastics. The Nigerian government – at all levels – should encourage citizens and organisations to embrace the “new plastics economy” where plastic never becomes waste. Plastic materials with no after-use value – single-use plastics – such as Styrofoam plates and the ubiquitous water sachets should be gradually phased out.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION

South Africa’s Facing Dark and Difficult Times

Eskom

Eskom announced stage 6 load shedding on Monday evening, which means the national grid needs to shed 6,000 megawatts. The power utility said: “We regret and sincerely apologise that stage 4 load shedding will move to stage 6 load shedding as from 18:00 today, as a result of a shortage of capacity. This follows a technical problem at Medupi Power Station, impacting additional generation supply.” Despite its efforts to minimise the risk of load shedding and repairing its power systems, Eskom said the country could experience two more years of power cuts. The power utility has been implementing blackouts since last week Thursday, citing wet coal and, a vulnerable and unreliable system, among their reasons.

SOURCE: EYE WITNESS NEWS

[WATCH] Africa’s Largest Lake is Feeling the Effects of Climate Change

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is a major source of fresh water. But fishermen and women who depend on it for their livelihood fear they may be out of luck if action is not taken now. Scientists warn life in Africa’s largest freshwater lake could die, if warning signs continue to be ignored

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

Kenyan Girls Take Back the Streets

Kenyan Girls

Young women and girls in Kibera are writing their street harassment experiences on roads and canvasses to highlight the damaging nature of sexual harassment. Using chalk and markers, in a campaign dubbed “Chalk Back”, the campaign hopes to spur conversations around the damaging nature of street sexual harassment. According to the UN, the lack of conclusive and comparative national data and policies on street harassment within countries is one among many of the challenges when it comes to combating the problem and ensuring the safety of girls and women in public spaces.

SOURCE: BBC

Showing African Works in Africa

African Works

Hundreds of people from around the world are gathered in Dakar’s Museum of Black Civilizations for the grand opening of a contemporary art exhibition called “Prête-moi ton rêve” or “Lend me your dream.” Fihr Kettani is the secretary general of the Foundation for the Development of Contemporary African Culture, which organized the exhibit. He said the goal of the exhibition is to assemble the best in contemporary African art and display the work for an African audience. The exhibit will travel to seven African cities over the course of one year, including Casablanca, Abidjan, Lagos, Addis Ababa, Cape Town and Marrakech. In doing so, the exhibit seeks to unite the continent’s web of cultures and ethnic traditions while celebrating African art in its place of origin.

SOURCE: VOA