Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SIFE in Zimbabwe

Many in US are familiar with SIFE, Students in Free Enterprise but may not be aware of this groups tremendous global impact.Pictured here, in Mutasa District of Zimbabwe, ASAP Africa VS&L rural savings club members were oriented on financial intelligence by Africa University SIFE students. To learn more about VS&L click here.

Financial intelligence is a simplified accounting module that encourages rural entrepreneurs to keep records of their business transactions. Participants were able to identify and complete sales journal, purchases journal and cash book at the end of the orientation sessions.

The SIFE students have added value to ASAP's 5 year project partnership with CARE. The project’s goal is to protect and to improve the livelihood security of 11,000 households in most disadvantaged areas of Mutasa and Nyanga districts.

To learn more about SIFE click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Miracle Tree

This Acacia tree growing in a groundnut field has been shown to provide more than just shade for a farmer in rural Malawi. Referred to as the "fertilizer tree" and "miracle tree" some species of acacia actually improve soil quality. Click here to read more. Faidherbia albida or the apple-ring acacia, is one acacia that has been shown to boost crop yields. In Zambia preliminary research has found that unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of acacia trees averaged nearly three times those of crops grown nearby but beyond the trees' canopy.Click here to read more.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have a Dream

by Martin Luther King, Jr,

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. Source: Martin Luther King, Jr: The Peaceful Warrior, Pocket Books, NY 1968

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity. But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free.

One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" we can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado! Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California! But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia! Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee! Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Zimbabwe Elections Delayed

President Robert Mugabe has angered hardliners in his fractious party by supporting recommendations by his deputy, Joice Mujuru, to shelve the controversial indigenization law and set aside plans to hold elections this year as the succession issue heats up in Zanu PF, The Zimbabwe Standard reported.

Mujuru, who is battling against Mnangangwa to succeed the 86-year-old leader, made the recommendations before the party's Mutare conference last month following consultations with the business community. "The notion was strengthened further when Mujuru attended the swearing in of the Brazilian woman President, Dilma Rousseff last week," said the source.

The sources said Zanu PF hardliners and the Mnangagwa faction pushed for an early election before and during the party's conference last December.

Just before the conference Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe for the past three decades, had vowed that elections would be held before June this year with or without the new constitution.

Although the Mutare conference then resolved to hold elections this year without fail, Mugabe later heeded Mujuru's advice after coming under immense pressure from South African President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma in his capacity as the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) mediator in Zimbabwe is demanding extensive reforms to enable free and fair elections to be held in the country following the inconclusive 2008 polls.

Mugabe made the unusual about-turn after meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara soon after the conference, telling the nation that elections would be held after the crafting of the new supreme law.

"When Zanu PF went to the conference, they had two main objectives: Early elections and pushing the indigenization agenda. But talk of both slackened after Mugabe listened to Mujuru's advice. Hardliners are furious that he dumped all they had agreed on in Mutare in favor of Mujuru's recommendations," said one source.

Government has since frozen the controversial indigenisation law after admitting that it is discouraging the badly-needed foreign investment and political observers last week said it was highly unlikely that polls would be held this year, especially with reports emerging that the new constitution can only be finalized later in the year.

Monday, January 03, 2011

2011 - A Year that could Make or Break Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's President Mugabe, 86, and rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were forced into a coalition government two years ago after a disputed 2008 election which had exacerbated a severe economic crisis that had been ongoing since 2000. Neighboring South African President Zuma is helping to chart the course for the upcoming Parliamentary elections to be held in Zimbabwe during 2011. Some say it is highly likely these will be postponed. To read more click here.

Critics say rushed polls without political reforms, including a new constitution guaranteeing basic rights, would only favour Mugabe and ZANU-PF, who have held power since independence from Britain in 1980. Yet allegations of ‘doctoring’ the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in 2008 remain unresolved.To read more click here.