Sunday, August 30, 2009

Binyavanga Wainaina

Krista Tippet's thought provoking interview with Binyavanga Wainaina this morning explored the morality and efficacy behind many Western initiatives to abolish poverty and speed development in Africa.

Wainaina is the founding editor of Kwani? literary journal and the director of Bard College's Chinua Achebe Center for African Languages and Literature. During the in-depth interview he states "Where things work is where people do them themselves."
To listen to the interview click here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Robert Mugabe defies old age

Comment from The Times (UK), 23 February 2009
by Jan Raath
To the naked eye, Mr Mugabe looks the very picture of health, even for a much younger man let alone someone in their ninth decade. "He is in very good shape for 85," said a Harare doctor, requesting anonymity. "I would be very happy to look like that when I'm 85." In an interview on local television at the weekend, Mr Mugabe attributed his apparent health to a lifelong regimen of daily exercise. He said that he jogs each morning and maintains his weight between 75kg and 80kg. "This ensures my body is full of muscles, and not fat," he said. He also works out in the gym in his new mansion in Harare's exclusive suburb of Borrowdale Brooke and has a personal trainer. He has always eaten carefully, has never smoked and admits to only "an occasional glass of sweet white wine".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nutritional Gardening - Timing is Everything

The two gardens featured in the photos above belong to Rinnet Gotekote (top) and Janet Chikodo(below), ASAP cluster facilitators in rural Zimbabwe. It is fantastic that these photos were taken at the end of October in 2008 - the onset of the annual rainy season. Such a successful and productive garden would be virtually impossible without ASAP's Health and Nutrition Development Initiative. The HANDEI Project increases food security through conservation farming skills, drip irrigation and nutritional gardening.Click here to read more about the HANDEI project.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Send Your Congratulations to Dr. Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama this month. For more than 33 years Dr. Yunus has been committed to fighting poverty and giving the world's poorest people, mostly women, the resources they need to start their journey from poverty. Click Here if you wish to leave a congratulatory message for Professor Yunus.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

We Are All Connected

Back in 2001, when the Internal Savings and Lending (ISL) was the newest micro-finance innovation, proving to be very effective at increasing household income and food security in rural Africa, ASAP contracted CARE in Zimbabwe to build our capacity and learn more about this innovative and promising program. After ASAP successfully launched our first ISL pilot project funded by The McKnight Foundation, CARE in Zimbabwe extended ASAP’s capacity building partnership, assigning Mr. Christopher Nyamandi to work with ASAP for a full year under the guidance of Mr. Alfred Hamadziripi.

As is the trend in Zimbabwe today, both Mr. Nyamandi and Mr. Hamadziripi have moved from Zimbabwe and have taken positions with other organizations. In this case they are in Sudan and Kenya. And it is through these long-lasting connections and friendships that ASAP successfully helped to build the capacity of the delegation from the Norwegian Church Aid program in Darfur, last month. Recently, Mr. Mohammed Abdelkarim Elsafi expresses his thanks to Regai Tsunga, ASAP’s Country Director in Zimbabwe, writing:

"Dear, Regai
…. let me thank all ASAP family who contributed highly to make our visit succeed, it starts from the bottom from the friendly drivers up the Director who all supported and facilitated our visit.
Be assured that the knowledge that the team acquired while in Zimbabwe will be put for the benefit of our beneficiaries in Darfur. Once again thank you very much for the hot and sincere hospitality. Let me emphasize that the visit is marked as a beginning of an ever lasting cooperation for the sake of our people here and over there, we will keep the good attitudes of Zimbabwean people in our hearts as it marks an unprecedented visit of it is kind to a Sudanese to interact with their peers in a brotherly country in West Africa, borders separated Africans from one another but by such activities we hope to be linked up and cooperate. Eventually let me also take this opportunity thank the architect behind this work, our friend Christopher Nyamandi who make it real.

Best regards

Mohammed Abdelkarim Elsafi
Protection, Psychosocial and Peacebuilding Coordinator
NCA Darfur Programme - Nyala"

Picture here, Mohammed Elsafi and Chris Nyamandi

ASAP expresses thanks to CARE in Zimbabwe, The McKnight Foundation and ALL of our donors that make our work possible each and every day. Together we will succeed and make poverty history.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Seeing Is Believing!

Dignitaries, journalists and community members were taken on a walk-around of two irrigation sites last Friday, as part of ASAP Malawi’s first field day for the “Chimvano pa Chuma” project ( CCP) “Unity for Economic Growth” project in Chikwawa district of southern Malawi. Above, the group including journalists listens attentively to ASAP’s Senior Field Officer, Lingstone Ganamba, during a visit to one of the irrigation plots.
The event, which was attended by close to four hundred community members from different villages, was a great success. Click here to view the newspaper article that appeared in The Nation in Malawi on Sunday August 2nd.

The field day had two main areas of focus – village savings and lending (VS&L) and small scale irrigation. VS&L is an internal rural savings club project that teaches communities how to pool their resources and become financially self reliant. To read more and see a short video about this project, click here.
Currently ASAP is working with 42 VS&L groups in Malawi and together, they have mobilized over MK 421000 ($ 3000) in savings. The event also served as a medium to enhance the spirit of self-reliance and promote the spirit of learning from one another among community members. Thus, the day gave ASAP the much-needed opportunity and publicity to showcase what had been accomplished within the first four months of its community level operations in Chikwawa. In the picture below the gathering listens to the VS&L success story.
Through the small scale irrigation component of the project 83 community members received farm inputs and treadle pumps at subsidized price and are irrigating over 18 hectares of land. Pictured here is Lingstone Ganamba explaining how vast the irrigation sites are, with a proud community member explaining how ASAP efforts had helped to improve food and economic security at household level.
The event was attended by, among other dignitaries, the District Commissioner, the District Agricultural Development Officer, Total Land Care Officials, representatives of other non-governmental organizations, Chief Ndakwera and other local leaders. In the picture above Sub-Traditional Authority Ndakwera makes a speech, thanking ASAP for empowering a community which was previously synonymous with free hand outs. He requested ASAP to consider scaling up to other villages within his area. Taking his turn, ASAP Malawi Country Director encouraged community members to continue working hard so that their economic status should continue to improve. He expressed thanks and appreciation for the support ASAP was receiving from the local leadership, government departments and development partners.

In addition to the speeches made by different individuals and traditional dances performed by communities, participating communities showcased how VS&L had improved their economic status in only a few short months.