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Delivering Health Services to Women and Children in Rural Kenya just got Savvy

Rural Kenya

In a bid to improve services for nomadic women, Dahabo Adi Galgallo, an epidemiologist at Moyale Sub-County Hospital started a project to give 50 solar-powered bracelets with Global Positioning System (GPS) trackers to expectant mothers. As pastoralists move in search of water and grazing for their livestock, tracking and caring for mothers in the field seems the best solution to prevent maternal deaths. When the itinerant healthcare trial began in February last year, 168 expectant mothers were enrolled at 10 sites, mostly in pastoral communities selected by local leaders. The health team informs a community volunteer or village head when a doctor, nurse and nutritionist will visit, bringing medicines. Being waterproof, small and culturally designed with bright orange beads made it acceptable for them to wear, she added. In 2017, Galgallo won a $100,000 Grand Challenges Africa grant from the African Academy of Sciences, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to put her concept into practice.


Tanzanian Self-made Media Magnate and Philanthropist Dies

Reginald Mengi Dies

Reginald Mengi passed away in Dubai at the age of 75. Mr Mengi, through his manufacturing, mining and media conglomerate IPP Group, owned newspapers and radio and TV stations. In 2014, Forbes estimated his wealth at $560m. He was born into a poor family close to Mount Kilimanjaro and finished his education in Scotland. President John Magufuli paid tribute to his role in the country’s development. Mr Mengi initially worked as an accountant when he returned to Tanzania, but the origins of his business empire are in a ball-point pen assembly plant. Starting in the early 1980s he turned the IPP Group into one of the largest private conglomerates in East Africa, employing more than 3,000 people, according to the company website. It owns prominent local English and Swahili TV stations, ITV and Capital TV, as well as the English-language daily Guardian newspaper. As a media mogul, Mr Mengi was accused by some, including cabinet ministers, of using his influence against them. The IPP Group also manufactures one of Tanzania’s best-known brands of bottled water and is moving into smart-phone and tablet manufacturing.


Motorcycle Service Launches in Mogadishu

Motorcycle Service Mogadishu

The Go! app launched in the Somali capital promises affordable and convenient options in the city’s bustling transport sector. The e-hailing service is starting out with 20 motorcycles, allowing customers to order their rides online or hail them on the street after identifying the drivers with their yellow helmet and bikes. The platform was launched by Gulivery, a delivery startup that provides third-party door-to-door services. The moto-taxi service makes the company the first in the Horn of Africa nation to venture into and digitize the motorcycle business. While Uber-style taxi apps like Waryaa Taxi and Dhaweeye have existed before, those firms only used cars. The increase in digital transportation options comes as life in Mogadishu regains a semblance of normalcy after decades of war. That has led to increased traffic in the city. The city also has a fragmented transportation system, with three-wheeled motorized tuk-tuk and hundreds of dilapidated buses servicing a fast-growing population that currently stands at almost three million people. Getting around African cities like Mogadishu and Nairobi can be demanding given the poor infrastructure, insufficient street addresses, the absence of reliable public transportation, and increasing urbanization that is fueling congestion.


“My Biggest Goal is to Make Africa Proud” – Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage

Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed an exclusive global recording agreement with Nigerian singer-songwriter Tiwa Savage, the company announced on Thursday (May 2). Under the terms of the deal, Savage’s future music will be released by UMG in over 60 countries worldwide. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Savage started as a backup singer for artists such as Mary J. Blige and George Michael before attending Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music on scholarship. Several of her recent singles, including “Mr Lova Lova” ft. Duncan Mighty and “Tiwa’s Vibe,” have hit No. 1 on charts across Africa, making her one of Afrobeats’ biggest stars. She’s also carved out a career as a successful songwriter, including for American artists such as Kat DeLuna (“Push Push”) and Fantasia (“Collard Greens & Cornbread”). In 2018, Savage won best African act at the MTV European Music Awards (EMAs), making her the first woman to receive the honor. In December of last year, she was handpicked by Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin to perform at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa. She also performed at Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival in Philadelphia in 2017. “It’s an amazing time for Nigerian music right now,” Savage told Billboard in an interview last year. “I’m proud to be part of a growing movement that is influencing mainstream and pop culture globally. [Artists] like Fela [Kuti] paved the way for artists like me to stand on this platform. Much of music’s origin stems from the motherland, so it was only a matter of time before the spotlight fell on Africa.” 


Another Go at Peace Deal in Juba

Peace Deal in Juba

South Sudan’s warring parties are set to hold talks in Addis Ababa on Thursday in a bid to salvage a stalled peace deal, with just days to go until a unity government is meant to be formed. President Salva Kiir, rebel leader Riek Machar and a handful of other groups inked the peace deal in September 2018. It is the latest in a long line of efforts to end a devastating conflict now in its sixth year. However, the parties have failed to resolve several crucial issues before a power-sharing government is to be installed on May 12, and are at odds over how to proceed. The government has insisted the meeting must focus on how to push forward with the formation of the unity government, while Machar’s camp wants a delay of six months to resolve issues such as security for his return. He is set to return as first vice president under the new deal. Observers say crucial steps envisioned in the deal such as establishing a unified army and discussing security control of the capital have yet to take place.


No One Left Behind in Ethiopia’s Plan

Ethiopia’s Plan

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lauded the efforts of Ethiopian Muslims in ensuring national unity stressing the need for all and sundry to do more to guard the current peace.  Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country is also one of the most religious nations on the continent according to a Pew Research. It has one of the strongest Orthodox churches on the continent. Its faithful celebrate all festivities as relates to Orthodoxy as well as the Gregorian system. The mélange of religions spans Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodoxy, Pentay, and Catholic) accounts for over 62%, Islam at 33.9% and a handful Jewish community.


Changing the Slave Mentality towards Africans in Pakistan

Africans in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Sheedi community can trace its roots back to East African slaves brought to India by the Portuguese, hundreds of years before the partition of the subcontinent. Marginalized and overlooked for decades, the group has found its commanding, charismatic voice in Tanzeela Qambrani — in the halls of the Sindh provincial legislature. The 40-year-old lawmaker, whose ancestors came from Tanzania, is proud of her Sheedi heritage. But for a majority of her people, “Sheedi” is a word steeped in shame, often used as an expletive by racist non-Sheedis. The xenophobic undercurrent, still prevalent hundreds of years after the slave trade in South Asia, Qambrani reveals, is the reason behind her community’s lack of progress and visibility in society. In office, Qambrani has focused intently on education. She successfully pushed through a resolution in March to penalize educators who display racist behavior in the classroom toward Sheedi students. She’s hoping for more quality educational institutions for Sheedis — for those who have dropped out, and programs to keep kids in school longer. But that requires money, which she’s trying to raise locally and internationally.


How US Sanctions Affect these African Nations

US Sanctions

Sanctions against the Democratic Republic of Congo were introduced in 2006 and then extended several times. Like other countries, the US barred officials from entering its territory and froze assets and operations of officials and organisations linked to them. In 2007 the US imposed unilateral economic sanctions against Sudan. Thirty Sudanese companies have lost the opportunity to trade with America and receive funding from US banks. Their assets in the US were frozen. In 2011 the US imposed sanctions against then president Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and supporters because Washington did not like the cancellation of elections in some cities in that country. In February 2011 then President Barack Obama signed a decree imposing unilateral financial sanctions on then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, his government and family members.  According to the decree all property and bank accounts belonging to Gaddafi, his government and four relatives were frozen. A ban was imposed on any banking operations with the government of Libya. In 2014 amid clashes between the government of South Sudan and the rebels, sanctions were imposed. The restrictions included the freezing of assets belonging to individuals and Americans were barred from engaging in financial transactions with them. Sanctions against Zimbabwean leaders were imposed in 2003.  Those in the list of targeted sanctions also had their assets frozen and they were barred from travelling to America. The US sanctions have been renewed annually since then. The US has maintained its theory that the sanctions are “targeted” at 141 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe. At the same time, the US administration claims that the sanctions apply only to representatives of the country’s leadership, a number of banks and enterprises. Washington maintains the sanctions are not directed against the people of Zimbabwe. In reality of the situation is that the sanctions are broad-based and are squeezing the heart of Zimbabwe’s economy — the financial services sector.


Travel Noire asks Which African Country is at the Top of your Travel To-do List?

Africa Travel Noire

For many African-Americans it seemed like traveling there was off-limits but now, not so much. Timelines are filled with travelers that have gone and seen the homeland that hosts the rich heritage that many want to indulge in and since 2019 is the “Year of Return,” acknowledging the first slave ship departure 400 years ago. Ghana features high on the list as it hosts a huge event called Panafest. Tanzania was another popular country that travelers want to visit. Although the east African country has some very strict LGBTQ laws, there are plenty of things to do. Take a trip to the Serengeti National Park where tourists can visit all types of wildlife or prepare to hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. South Africa has been on many travelers’ radars for a while now because of their lavish beaches and AfroPunk being hosted there. Morocco is filled with exotic gardens and beautiful mosques; it’s a prime location for romance and to explore spirituality.


Kenya’s Deaf Rugby Team determined to Try for National Support

Kenya's Deaf Rugby Team

Rugby is one of Kenya’s most popular sports, and the country’s national team has played in the World Cup. Inspired by the national team’s success, members of Kenya’s deaf community launched a deaf rugby team last year. The team, which is has been training for just more than a year now, has big dreams for the future. There’s no whistle here, the team’s coach, Brennan Rashid, communicates with players through sign language. In a professional deaf rugby match, the referee waves a white flag to draw the attention of the players. The players in Nairobi haven’t played a game yet and don’t have a sponsor. They make do with what they have: one ball and mismatched secondhand uniforms. Okwatch says the team is currently self-supporting.


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