Tuesday, May 8, 2012

G8 Must Act on Africa Food Security and Sustainability

Four African leaders are participating in this year’s G8 summit at Camp David on May 19 for a discussion session on accelerating progress towards food security in Africa, a statement inviting the president of the Republic of Ghana has stated.
The statement signed by the White House Spokesperson Jay Carney indicated that President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana, President Yaha Boni of Benin, Tanzania president Jakaya Kikwete and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi would be taken part in food security session of the summit.
The summit discussions will centre on security will also discuss extensively on food security in Africa and the world at large and how to tackle the looming crisis in the wake of climate change and global warming.
This is not the first time Africa leaders are participating in a high level meetings internationally, however such meetings often do not bring Africa deprivation to an end. Mostly, members of the G8 earn political points with vague promises to elevate the poorest continent from deprivation.
Several of such meetings promises to Africa never came through. In certain situations the promise(s) came but with restrictions that tied the hands of the leaders to utilize such support effectively. “The word conditionality that is often embedded in agreements sign between the developed and developing nations is worrying”, says Albert Meinbah, expert in Africa development.
The meeting which comes at the time the world leaders are preparing for Rio+20 Earth Summit will need to focus also on how to reverse climate change and global warming as evidences of the situation abound. Climate change is worsening the plights of Africa continent. Despite the evidence of climate change increasing burdens on the poor people, G8 members continue to remain relatively silence over Africa food insecurity and sustainable development situation.
Africa, though played crucial roles in world affairs, it was still struggling to gain a strong voice at international level. Why must decisions be taken on behalf of Africa without her involvement? This is certainly amounts to “colonialism” and “suppression”. Recent resolved by G8 members to allow Africa leaders take part their summit is laudable however, the voice of the continent must not always be down played recognising that problems in Africa affect the world.
If G8 members are concern about food insecurity in Africa it must as a matter of urgency ban the sale of unacceptable agro-chemicals including chemical fertilizers, which is said have helped destroy farmlands of the poor continent. These chemicals are produce by G8 members most specifically for the poor continent farms.
G8 must also support the continent to reclaim rights to Rio+20, and other international agreements that will elevate the continent from the back bench to front runners that push them rethink of their responsibilities to their own people. Food Sovereignty in Africa should be seen as a collective responsibility.
The United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) highlights two Approaches to respond to the causes and impacts of climate change: mitigation of climate change by reducing Green House Gas emissions (GhGs) particularly carbon dioxide and methane; adaptation by limiting the negative impacts of climate change on social and ecological systems.
Africa which just came out from the net of colonialism will need helping hands to survive the brunt of climate change. It need to be supported to adapt and mitigate.  Waiting for the continent to however develop her responses to global warming to reduce the impacts of the changes which had affected agriculture causing food insecurity will not only affect the progress of the continent but the entire world.
Effective climate policy response sets; the adaptation and mitigation are costly cheaper than managing the aftershocks hence the need for policy support.
The G8 countries which comprises France, Britain, Italy, Germany, Canada, Japan, the US and Russia are most industrialized nations whose progresses were done at the expanse of weaker nations admittedly.
The involvement of Africa leaders in food security discussion during the G8 summit must necessarily help prepare the roadmap that will lead the continent out of the foreseeable climate change impacts and reduce the vulnerability of the continent.
The time has come for Africa leaders not to fold hands at international meetings but keep reminding the world particularly the G8, their role and responsibilities to the current stage of Africa and demand accountability.
Inviting Africa leaders to partake in high level meetings such as the G8 does not matter as far as the problems persist in Africa. What is important in African participating in such meetings is to allow them discuss the problems faced the continent while the meeting discuss, design and implement roadmap to eliminate poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and infant and maternal deaths.
Africa deserves such recognition and assistance and G8 cannot afford to fail the continent again but must support its agriculture for sustainable food security, support the development of her industries and management of her natural and human resources to enable her cope with the shocks of climate change.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

CARE International trains Journalists on Digital Photo Story Telling Techniques

Francis Npong, Nalerigu

Mr. Romanus Gyang CARE International ALP Manager
As part of efforts to building local capacities to adapt to effects of climate changeCARE International-Ghana has adopted Digital Photo Story Telling (DPST) as a process for helping vulnerable communities to prioritize and share their climate change adaption strategies.

The Country manager for Care International-Ghana Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP) Mr. Romanus Gyang explained that DPST will be deplored by CARE International not only as a monitory and evaluation tool but also to access the impact of climate change on livelihoods and how communities were coping with or without interventions.

Mr. Gyang was addressing participants during the trainer of trainees DPST training workshop organized for some selected journalists from the Northern and Upper East regions at Nalerigu in the East Mampurusi District.

According to him, the aim of the training was to change how climate change adaptation issues are communicated. He observed that though climate change was critical social, economic, health and development issues, communicating climate change issues were poor among policy makers.

“Though climate change is most compelling issue today, communicating climate change issues among policy makers, research institutions and governments is appalling”, he said.

CARE International he said is exploring DPST as innovative ways to communicate the issues of climate change adaptation to community members and the general public.

“DPST is adopted by CARE International to explain the complicated subject using photos and mini films”, he said.

The Manager of ALP also stressed that climate change was a threat to livelihoods, economic development, food security, peace and stability in Africa and needed to be prioritized.

Digital Photo Story Telling is an ideal tool for not only monitory and evaluation but also effective communication tool that can support communities and vulnerable groups to effectively communicate their plight to the world, according to the facilitator and trainer, Ms. Hanne Tornager.

Ms. Hanne Tronager, CARE International Communication Consultant 
Ms. Tornager, a communication specialist and consultant for CARE Denmark ALP took the participants through to produce three digital photo stories in Zambulugu community. The DPST produced focused on deforestation, Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) and advocacy using local persons as guest artists.

The DPST produced are likely to be broadcast on social media by CARE International to reinforce the effects of climate change on the poor and rural folks.

The stories will also be used by local communities, civil society organizations and CARE to more easily share the views of often-marginalized and vulnerable people who are most impacted by a changing climate. 

The digital stories (shown as mini films) can also create spaces for dialog with other community members, local civil society and government institutions in ways that other materials with similar information might not.

The DPST will support ALP’s M&E process by working with community members who have undertaken participatory exercises to identify and analyze their vulnerabilities and capacities to climate change impacts, plan their adaptation strategies and have started to implement them.

ALP will use its participatory monitoring methods to help the groups prioritize their top three adaptation topics - which give them most information on how much and how well they are succeeding to adapt to climate change. The first stories provide a “baseline” for them to record the most important aspect of adaptation that they want to explain, and track over the course of the project.

 Stories may include their current and past situation, how the group feels the impacts of climate change in terms of livelihoods, socially, changes in risks and other change, what they are already doing about it, how and why, challenges and opportunities they face etc, according to what the group finds most important to tell.   The group can then select up to 3 people who will represent them in the workshop to develop their story.

CARE International’s Climate Change Adaptation and Learning Programme (ALP) seeks to increase the capacities of vulnerable communities and households to adapt to the effects of climate change using what they called community based adaptation approach.

The community based adaptation approach hinged on four key elements; promoting climate resilient livelihoods strategies, building capacities of local NGOs and local public institutions, disaster risk reduction strategies and addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability through social mobilization for empowerment and advocacy to influence policies implementations.

Journalists: Right to Left: Kassim Abdallah and Ebo Bruce Quansah
The Care ALP’s overarching goal is also to increase the capacity of vulnerable households in Sub-Saharan Africa to adapt to climate variability and change. It is being implemented in 40 communities in Ghana, Niger, Mozambique and Kenya by CARE International and its local partner organizations.

ALP uses Community Based Adaptation (CBA) as its main approach - developing innovations in CBA, facilitating learning from experiences and advocating for CBA in local, national to global policies and plans.