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Gambia to Host Drama Fest-Gambia 2019
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Drama Fest 2019

Drama Fest 2019

Gambia is expected to host maiden edition of Drama Fest-Gambia 2019 on 25-26 October, 2019 at Ebunjan Theatre in Kanifing.

Organised by Stage and Screen Entertainment Africa is a premium Entertainment Art network that seeks to nurture, promote, develop and engage the vision of creative and performing art in Africa.

This was revealed during a press conference which attracts writers, playwrights, directors, actors at West Africa Insurance Institute on 7th September, 2019.

Milton Kamanda, coordinator of Stage and Screen Entertainment Africa The Gambia explained that the event will showcase an array of cultural diversity through drama, music, dance poetry and arts exhibition which will feature creative and literary work done by renowned playwrights and directors from the Gambia.

According to him, this year the festival will show case home grown talents from the different facets of art.

He added that: “Our goal is to use Art Edutainment as a means of sustainable livelihood for upcoming and established artist, artiste thereby showcasing the work of creativity, craft and art to the world”

Miss Monica Davies, Chairperson Drama Fest-Gambia said they want to empower the next generation of art through leadership training.

She pointed out that Drama Fest want to promote arts entrepreneurship in Africa, through training, mentorship and networking platforms, to appreciate and celebrate the diversity of African arts.

“Recognizing distinguished accomplished personalities in the arts fraternity in the Gambia and Africa at large. Promote arts as a positive tool for social and economic transformation in Africa. To use creative and performing arts to address the ills in our communities. Giving preferences to promote and support local talents. Engage relevant stakeholders in the arts industry within the region with the implementation of policies that benefits its people,” Davies a prominent actress in Gambia said.

She noted that the event will be in a form of trade fares, concerts and art exhibition as one of the medium to showcase African arts to the world, by encouraging government to create state funds to support arts in school and tertiary levels.

 

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Cameroon: Citizens urged to be involved in peace building process
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants at at the end of the public talk on proposing solutions to the numerous problems in Cameroon

Participants at at the end of the public talk on proposing solutions to the numerous problems in Cameroon

Citizens in Cameroon has been urged to be involved in the peace building exercise and should also learn to be proactive as a means to bringing peace in the country. According to participants, the government cannot do everything on its own. These amongst others were some solutions proposed by participants during a public dialogue which took place September 12, 2019, at Mbouoh Star Palace Hotel in Dschang under the theme “The quest for citizen participation in promoting peace in Cameroon.”

The event was in line with the mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, whose mission is to provide independent, in-depth and insightful policy recommendations that advance the Cameroonian economy, and the economies of other sub-Saharan African countries, in partnership with NEDemocracy

Participants say the release of political prisoners, and all those arrested will help solve the Anglophone crisis

Participants say the release of political prisoners, and all those arrested will help solve the Anglophone crisis

During the discussions, three prominent issues were x-rayed by participants such as: the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North, and the refugee crisis in the East Regions.

Some 80 participants from the public, private and civil society organizations, and others were present to propose solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards the resolutions of the current conflicts it is presently facing.

On the Anglophone crisis, participants indicated that a national inclusive dialogue will go a long way in resolving the present upheavals in the Regions. This call comes at a time when the Head of State has equally acknowledged the Anglophone crisis. In his unprecedented State of the Nation address, the President said there will be a national dialogue at the end of this month which will involve all stakeholders. “The dialogue to be presided over by the prime minister will bring together all Cameroonians, especially traditional rulers, lawmakers, the clergy and all elected officials,” Biya said.

To one participant, “We have to solve the problem by tackling it from the root. There has to be the respect for the fundamental rights of individuals especially those of the Anglophones. They are not respected at all.” “This issue also boils down to the respect of cultural differences-Cameroon being French and English. These two languages and cultures are very different from one another and no one should be seen as superior and forced down on people.”

Another major solution proposed to solve the Anglophone crisis is for the release of political prisoners, and the release of all those arrested in connection to the crisis. This has been one of the calls from the opposition parties and human rights organizations both internally and externally. Many had equally hoped that prior to the head of State’s address all those in prison would be released-something which was not done by the Head of State.

Participants say the elimination of bad governance and corruption will contribute in solving the numerous problems in Cameroon. It is not new in Cameroon that corruption has become pervasive and has affected all sectors of the government, and even the private sector.

Corruption in Cameroon is caused by various issues such as personal interest, favoritism, ineffective system of accountability and others. According to the 2018 Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International, Cameroon is the 152 least corrupt nation out of the 175 countries.

With respect to the Boko Haram crisis in the North, and the refugee crisis in the East of Cameroon, participants suggest that before the intervention of the government, citizens should regroup themselves to protect their territories. For years now, the Cameroon military has been battling embers of the Boko Haram sect in the North with casualties in the numbers.

In May 2014, Cameroon declared war on Boko Haram at the Paris Summit. Since then, Boko Haram has intensified its activities in the Far North Region of the country, making Cameroon the second most targeted country, regarding attacks by the sect. From July 2015 to March 2016, Boko Haram carried out more than 50 suicide attacks in Cameroon, killing more than 230 people while wounding 500 others.

 

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Sierra Leone: Energicity Corporation launches its first Electrification Project in Sierra Leone
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Energicity Corporation, operating under the name Power Leone, has launched its first electrification project in Petifu Junction, Port Loko District, Northern Sierra Leone, to provide 24-hour electricity to 100,000 people and businesses by the end of 2020.

According to the press statement from the company, Power Leone will launch 31 more minigrids over the next 2 years thus stating that by year end of 2020, Power Leone will have completed deployment of all 31 projects and will be providing 1.5MW of solar powered electricity to over 100,000 people in the Moyamba, Port Loko and Kambia districts in which the company is already providing free electricity to Community Health Centers across 23 communities.

‘’Power Leone’s service in Sierra Leone is under a contract signed with the Ministry of Energy in January 2019. This contract is the culmination of the ambitious Rural Renewable Energy Project (RREP) supported by grant funding from the UK Department for International Development and implemented by United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Upon completion of the project, RREP with a total of 90 minigrids across the Sierra Leone will be one of the largest off-grid distributed minigrid projects in Africa,’’the release stated.

The release further stated that Petifu Junction is the first of 14 surrounding villages under the Lokomasama Chiefdom to receive electricity since its formation in 1908 adding that Petifu Junction is a village of 2000 people who are primarily farmers of rice and palm oil, in addition to residential users, small holder farmers, 2 schools and a community health Center, and  home to the Love Bridges Hospital a charitable hospital performing surgeries ranging from appendectomies to complex laparotomy.

For most people living in the Northern part of Sierra Leone, Love Bridges Hospital, serves as the last resort for all medical complications.

Alfred Young, General Manager of Love Bridges pointed out numerous challenges the hospital is facing due to lack of electricity. “Each time we have to maintenance our gensets, we have to close down operation and send some patients to other nearby health Centers,” he said, adding that having constant electricity supply will help them to expand their services.

According to Chief Obai Fath, section chief for Petifu Junction, the lack of electricity has derailed economic growth in the village, increased suffering and forcing most of the young people to abandon the community to seek sustainable futures elsewhere. Women and children are the most affected by the lack of electricity. “Our women travel to distant places to buy ice-block for them to carry out their local businesses, he said. “Despite the improvements in technology, our community continue to be in a deplorable state with high rates of health complications, crimes and profound hardships, he continued. Having electricity will improve all aspects of our lives”.

‘’There are over 600 million people in Sub Saharan Africa living in communities like Petifu Junction. Minigrids are the lowest cost solution to provide electricity for at least 100 million of them. With electricity provided by minigrids, people can have electricity to power health care, including ultrasounds and vaccine refrigerators, power agriculture – including irrigation, agro-processing and cold storage, and to power economic development,’’ the release added.

Nicole Poindexter CEO of Energicity Corp and Power Leone reiterated the company’s commitment in providing electricity. “We at Power Leone are pleased to be able to bring affordable, reliable electricity to tens of thousands of people in rural Sierra Leone. From returning light to Bauya to providing reliable power for surgeries in Kambia District, to providing electricity and ice making to fishermen to enable fishermen to double their incomes in Port Loko, we are certain that the power we bring will transform the lives of Sierra Leoneans today and for generations to come.”

Energicity Corp is a developer and operator of off grid minigrid serving rural communities with subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria operating under the names Black Star Energy Ltd, Power Leone, Atanya Solar respectively. Energicity provides affordable, reliable electricity that is scalable to every household and commercial need. Energicity was a 2018 participant in the Ghana Climate Innovation Center, and one of the winners of the EDF Pulse Africa Prize in 2018.

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Reaching global financial inclusion by 2020 is almost impossible
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ferdinand Maniraguha

Dr Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)

Dr Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)

International organizations  have that admitted reaching hundred percent financial inclusion by 2020 is not possible though much has been done since that vision has been set.

At the 2015 World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings, they adopted measurable commitments to achieve Universal Financial Access by 2020 and help promote financial inclusion.

In 2011, 2.5 billion people were unbanked according to World Bank. That number reduced to 1.7 billion by 2017.

Dr Alfred Hannig, executive director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) says that such objective is unlikely to be achieved  on time.

He was speaking Tuesday at a press conference in Kigali, before a two day AFI Global policy forum 2019 program which kicked off this Thursday.

“I believe that this objectives have been quite optimistic , the timeline was very short and from our own experience, we can say that if you talk  about hundred percent inclusion, we need to recognize that this take time”, he said

However, Hannig praised the decision of having set such vision, because it helped to put much efforts into bridging the gap between banked people and unbanked.

“From our point of view, the time that has been given it’s a little bit too short  to achieve. On the other hand, the 2020 objective was also important looking to access to finance. The question is how can we achieve it in a very short time.”

He stressed that global financial inclusion may take up to 2030 to be achieved.

During the opening of  2019 AFI Global policy forum, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

He said that  in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 60% of the population fall below age of 25, most of them are less likely to have a bank account compared to adults.

Bringing youth on board, Dr Ngirente said that financial institutions have to use technology which attract them.

“In this regard, financial literacy could be the starting point in this process since many of the youth have a keen interest in digital channel,  digital financial services accessed  and delivered through their mobile phones, could be the solution to banking them” said Ngirente.

Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

One of the  problems that still hinders financial inclusion,  is a big number of women who are unbanked, because 56% of the unbanked population are women.

Rwanda Central Bank Governor, John Rwangombwa warned that the  SDG 5 will not be achieved if women are excluded financially.

SDG5 on Gender and Equality, aims at bringing to an end all forms of discrimination against women and girls.

“These numbers imply that strong measures must be taken to create a conducive environment, for women to participate and benefit from all development opportunities” he said before adding that “Having access to quality and affordable financial products and services is a foundation to the efforts to promote gender equality.”

AFI says that since 2011 there is a 9 % gender gap in  financial inclusion globally that needs to be bridged.

 

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We got approval to complete the $5.3bn Ibadan to Kano rail project – Amaechi
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Olumide Ajayi

Amaechi

Amaechi

Nigeria’s minister of transportation,Rotimi Amaechi, has confirmed the federal government approval of $5.3 billion for the construction of Ibadan-Kano standard gauge rail line.

Speaking at the third maritime stakeholders interactive forum in Lagos on Thursday.

The Minister said: “We got approval to complete the $5.3bn Ibadan to Kano rail project. We have also applied for funding to commence coastal rail for the Port Harcourt to Warri segment,” he said.

Amaechi further added that the minister of state in the ministry, Gbemisola Saraki, will supervise the maritime sector, while he takes charge of the railway sector.

Saying “In my first term as minister, I completely abandoned the maritime sector to the heads of agencies. This time, that won’t be happening again,” he said.

I have instructed that the Minister of State for Transportation should personally supervise the maritime agencies, while I just oversee what is happening.”

He also said he discussed issues affecting the maritime sector with President Muhammadu Buhari, and that by next year, ”the country will have a single window in the maritime sector”.

There are two things I discussed with Mr. President that I will be focusing on in this second term as minister, and they are maritime security and the single window project,” Amaechi said.

I have assured the government that by the end of 2020, we should have the single window at our maritime sector.

On maritime security, I have told the Israeli firm HSLI that they are too slow. By now, they should have launched. I want to know the situation of things with the aspect of security on our maritime space.”

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China donates rice to South Sudan to accelerate unification of army
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba – China has handed over 1,500 tonnes of rice to the South Sudan government to assist the peace process and formation of unified army in the youngest world country.

In order to support South Sudan in implementing the revitalized peace agreement (RARCSS), the Chinese government decided to provide a batch of material assistance to South Sudan.

The National Period Transitional Committee (NPTC), body tasked with peace implementation received a first batch of 1,500 tons of rice aided by China, that will help the construction of cantonments and accelerate the formation of a unified army as the country’s 5-year civil war comes to an end.

On September 2, the handover ceremony of the first batch of food was held at the warehouse of the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) in Juba.

The 30,000 sacks of rice will be transported to the army forces in the cantonment sites across the country. There are about 25 cantonment sites in the country, created by the 2018 peace deal.

The China’s assistance is in line with an effort to faster the implementation of security arrangement to pave way to have one unified army in the country.

The latest peace deal signed between South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition groups last year is now in its implementation stage.

The Chinese government hope that South Sudan will restore peace and stability at an early date. The China to take the lead in providing material assistance for the construction of cantonments together with AU and some African countries.

It is only two months left for the formation of unity government that return Dr. Riek Machar, as the president Kiir’s deputy, the same position he held before the conflict broke in late 2013.

At present, China is speeding up the preparation of other material assistance, including tents, blankets and medicine, and they will be delivered to South Sudan respectively.

The handover ceremony was attended by Chinese Ambassador Hua Ning, Hon. Cabinet Minister and Secretary of NPTC Martin Elia Lomuro, and representatives from JDB, JMCC, and JTSC representatives.

Speaking to the press, Chinese Ambassador, Hua Ning said that the peace process has entered into a critical moment, and the formation of a unified army is one of the most pressing issues at present.

Ambassador added that the assistance is an effort to move the peace process forward so that the transitional government is formed on time. This is a first shipment of the food, but Amb. Ning lamented that there will be more [foods] coming to South Sudan.

“The signatories have to choose the suffering of the people, at meanwhile we also hope that most of the countries could provide direct support to the cantonments, to unification of the army. This is a key to the future peace – without the unified army, there will be no true peace so that why we put cantonments as our priority – that why a China promised to provide support for cantonments,” said Amb. Ning.

He further called on all parties to peace deal to listen to the voice of the people and unite to implement the peace deal, giving peace a chance and giving people a hope.

“Now, we have only two months before the formation of new transitional government and all the members and the parties to the peace deal need to work together and double our efforts to put forward the peace process. I believe that the feel of the people, just the feel of the country and we believe that with joint efforts, South Sudan will enjoy a peaceful and prosperous future,” said Amb. Ning.

Amb. Ning appreciated the recent support from the African Union and relevant African countries to provide support to South Sudan and called on the international community to increase efforts in supporting peace in South Sudan in all aspects to see that the country is returning to a stability path.

“I believe that the international community are still committed to the peace process, [but] at this critical moment, the international community also need to double its efforts to support the parties to the peace agreement in South Sudan. We work together to give a peace a chance,” said Ning.

On behalf of the South Sudanese Government and NPTC, Cabinet Minister Elia thanked the Chinese government and people for their valuable support and stressed that China’s assistance will greatly promote the South Sudan peace process.

Minister Elia said that the trucks and planes from South Sudan People’s Defence Force are ready to go, and the first batch of rice aided by China will be transported to the cantonments as quickly as possible, and that each cantonment will receive over 700 bags of rice to maintain the forces in the country.

He further unveiled that the NPTC gave a necessary money to transport the food to the army across country so that next two months, there must be unified forces.

“The South Sudan People’s Defence Force (SSPDF) has contributed their vehicles and planes and the NPTC gave a necessary money to transport the food all over the country so that in next two months, we have unified forces,” said Minister Elia. “We have committed ourselves that any country helps us, we will work to the higher standard for accountability and transparency,” he added.

Minister Elia also advised all the parties to the peace deal to resolves local problems in the areas, something he says they would not tolerate anything going wrong to deter the peace process in the areas, there are cantonments.

The NPTC is working closely with Joint Defense Board (JDB), JMCC, JTSC and other mechanisms to develop a detailed distribution plan to ensure the proper and effective use of materials.

One of South Sudan’s other challenges is its poor road network. Getting the donated rice to the cantonment areas remains a challenge.

But Lt Gen. Charles Dut Akol, Chairperson of the JMCC explained that the rice that is going to Greater Equatoria will be transported by roads, while for Greater Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazel regions respectively will be delivered by air.

Gen. Dut assured that there would no malpractice on this donation, saying the food must reach the forces in the cantonment sites.

However, South Sudan hopes rice aid can make an impact on the maintaining of the forces at the cantonment sites across the country.

At present, China is speeding up the preparation of other material assistance, including tents, blankets and medicine, and they will be delivered to South Sudan respectively.

The formation of unity government was then extended in May to November this year, following the unfinished issues, including the security arrangement which is a backbone for the lasting peace in the country.

 

 

 

 

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South Africa’s Eastern Cape water crisis in urgent need of government response
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire

File Picture.A resident of the Masiphumelele informal settlement collects drinking water from a communal municipal tap in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

File Picture.A resident of the Masiphumelele informal settlement collects drinking water from a communal municipal tap in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) in South Africa says that it is deeply concerned by the ongoing water crisis in the Eastern Cape, which directly affects communities which Sonke works with in the Amathole District Municipality.

The organisations says that the crisis infringes the fundamental rights of the community members, including the right of access to sufficient water; the right to clean and decent sanitation; the right to dignity; and the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls. Additionally, this crisis has devastating consequences for the economy of the affected areas, which is largely agricultural.

“A lack of access to water is invariably a gendered issue because it renders poor women and children of all identities (including women with disabilities) more vulnerable to gender-based violence and other human rights violations. There is a disproportionate burden on women and girls to collect water. These journeys are long and onerous, and sometimes take place at night, without well-lit infrastructure for protection and peace of mind, as some of these women and girls have to be at work and in school during the day. Without water, women and girls are unable to practice safe sanitation for menstruation, inhibiting their participation in meaningful economic and/or social activities,”they said .

They add that access to water is a fundamental, basic right. When it is violated, this has a devastating domino effect which impacts the enjoyment of other fundamental rights. For example, last month’s temporary closure of two (2) Eastern Cape universities, the University of Fort Hare’s Alice Campus and Walter Sisulu University’s Butterworth Campus, denied students their right to an education.

“Despite persistent calls to action via correspondence and community protests, local government bodies have been unresponsive and inefficient in answering these urgent calls for improved water and sanitation access in the areas of Mnquma and Mbashe (Wards 17 and 3 respectively).”

It is reported that since April 2017, Mnquma Ward Councillor, Xolisa Pupuma, has urged the Amathole District Municipality to increase access to water in the affected areas by installing water systems and drilling boreholes. Pupuma was later informed by the municipality that it was unable to increase the number of water taps in the district. Pupuma’s most recent letter, drafted in March 2019, addressed the Mnquma Municipal mayor and requested the municipal government to supply water tanks to these areas to assist in alleviating the crisis. Local government and the mayor have failed to answer Pupuma’s most recent letter and all other demands have fallen on deaf ears. This is a travesty which undermines the state’s constitutional obligation to ensure the rights of all people “to have their dignity respected and protected”.

It is reported that the situation in the Amathole District is dire: villages with anywhere from 300 to 600 households have on average two (2) communal taps from which all their water and sanitation needs have to be met. It is not enough to argue that ‘93% of the South African population has access to water supply services and 76%…have access to basic sanitation services’ . Our conversations should go further. They must be concerned with the quality of that access: is it reliable and what are the means in which that water can be accessed?

It is added that the  problems are neither unique nor isolated to the Eastern Cape. All over the country, be it in urban, semi-urban or rural areas, access to basic provisions such as water, electricity and sanitation is dismal and consistently denied to poor, black South Africans. Advocacy and activism has been carried out by several civil society organisations. It is time, however, for the government to respond earnestly and substantively; a responsibility all too often falling solely on the tired shoulders of NGOs. If government fails again in this mandate, litigation must be resorted to to bring government to account.

 

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Roland Achenjang’s soul-searching book; “Who and Why You Are” hits the stands
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The Self-exploring book now available worldwide (photo: Facebook @ Roland Achenjang)

The Self-exploring book now available worldwide (photo: Facebook @ Roland Achenjang)

As humans struggle to comprehend the evolution of our time on earth and how to maximize our experiences with a better understanding of who they are, Roland Achenjang has in his latest book titled; Who and Why You Are provides answers to some of these questions.

In his first book, Roland Achenjang summarizes what he says is who we truly are and why we are here each having an Earth life experience.

Spurred to write the book due to his search and understandings of the “Universal Truths, the author says; “I refer to the information as Universal Truths, because they equally apply to everyone throughout the planet, including you! I wrote the book because of how liberating and empowering the information (Universal Truths) I remembered is. It changed my entire perspective on everything.”

In an exclusive chat with Pan African Visions, the visionary who attributes his spiritual awakening  to a four-year meditation experience said he “firmly believes there are many souls currently experiencing life on Earth who would benefit from reading this book and being aware of this information, like I did. And besides, my wife was getting annoyed with me talking about it to her alone.”

“I woke up that lovely Tuesday morning and immediately had a strong urge to meditate. During the session, I adopted a yoga posture that caused a rush of energy to move from the base of my spine to the top of my head in three consecutive waves. With each movement, ‘I remembered’ the Universal Truths I write about in my book. That day and the proceeding seven days were blissful for me, and they marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Nothing about me has been the same since,” he said.

Quizzed on how spiritual awakening changed his life and why he’s now, via his book, campaigning for others to follow suit, he retorted; “the experience itself was humbling and I consider it a tremendous blessing. As far as what changed, honestly, my beliefs and understanding about everything, who we are, and the Earth life experience changed; particularly my attitude towards fear. It is as thought the experience provided me the last piece to a puzzle that revealed a new level of Truth and understanding of the (Earth life) experience; the information is empowering and blissful.”

Urging all to grab paperback copies of the book on Amazon and Amazon Prime for just $22 the enthusiastic author whose book has already hit an e-reading platform said autographed paperback copies could be gotten via his website; rolandachenjang.com.

Roland Achenjang, is an alumnus of Belmont University where he obtained an MBA in Healthcare Management. Motivated during his school days, Roland began meditating to cope with the stress of being both a business school student and the sole overnight clinical pharmacist at a large hospital in Nashville. As a result, his life transformed from a fear-based experience to one filled with creative expressions.

At the Sunrise Festival of the Arts 2019 with Pre-Launch autographed copies of Who & Why You

At the Sunrise Festival of the Arts 2019 with Pre-Launch autographed copies of Who & Why You

In “Who and Why You Are: All You Need to Remember,” Achenjang discusses his passion for helping others remember, experience and express what he says is the ultimate benefit to effective meditating – bliss.

“By recognizing and understanding these universal truths, you can break free from the endless, self-imposed, creative limitations impeding you from living a purposeful life, expressing joy and experiencing bliss while here on Earth, he said.

Born and raised in Cameroon before relocating to the United States in 2000, Achenjang has always been fascinated with finding, or remembering, meanings and purposes to life on Earth.

Your first book Who and Why You Are: All you need to remember just hit the stands; can you give us a synopsis?

Gladly. The book summarizes what I remember about who we truly are and why we are here each having an Earth life experience. I refer to the information as Universal Truths, because they equally apply to everyone throughout the planet, including you!

What prompted you to come up with the book and what is the message you seek to share?

Great question. I wrote the book because of how liberating and empowering the information (Universal Truths) I remembered is. It changed my entire perspective on EVERYTHING!

I firmly believe there are many souls currently experiencing life on Earth who would benefit from reading this book and being aware of this information, like I did. And besides, my wife was getting annoyed with me talking about it to her alone.

From information about the author, we gathered that after over four years of meditating daily as a means to cope with work and school stress, you had a spiritual awakening on August 21st, 2018, can you walk us through this experience?

With joy . I woke up that lovely Tuesday morning and immediately had a strong urge to meditate. During the session, I adopted a yoga posture that caused a rush of energy to move from the base of my spine to the top of my head in three consecutive waves. With each movement, ‘I remembered’ the Universal Truths I write about in my book. That day and the proceeding seven days were blissful for me, and they marked the beginning of the rest of my life. Nothing about me has been the same since.

How was this spiritual awakening like, what changed for you after you after that?

The experience itself was humbling and I consider it a tremendous blessing. As far as what changed, honestly, my beliefs and understanding about everything, who we are, and the Earth life experience changed; particularly my attitude towards fear. It is as thought the experience provided me the last piece to a puzzle that revealed a new level of Truth and understanding of the (Earth life) experience; the information is empowering and blissful.

In what way did the spiritual awakening impact your religious beliefs?

Great question. The change in perspective the awakening experience offers affects EVERYTHING – this includes religious beliefs, too. The experience changed my beliefs and significantly improved my understanding of them as well. And the process is still on-going.

The book has so far received favorable reviews

The book has so far received favorable reviews

Just how important is it for people to meditate, for you who did it over a year, what recommendations do you give for those who may be curious about it?

I am biased of course, but I believe it’s extremely important that everyone meditates (effectively). Meditating (effectively) is my most trusted and go-to-activity for when I feel out of balance, which could mean feeling sick, stressed, tired or what have you. It’s a free and healing practice that reconnects you directly with the ‘Higher-Being’ you believe in! No middleman needed and the benefits are infinite! What could be better?

I commend anyone curious about meditating and invite them to begin by visiting www.rolandachenjang.com  to get a copy of 6 Proven Paths to Effective Meditating. It’s a free guide that puts you on the right track to personalizing the practice and making it enjoyable.

What are some of the challenges you faced in writing the book?

Great question . With my new perspective, I view challenges as our minds’ illusionary creations designed to teach us more about ourselves; they (challenges) are great learning opportunities. So what did I learn in writing the book? That I truly am infinitely creative, and I have everything available to me to create anything I am passionate about while here on Earth. This is true for you too!

Could you make a pitch to the public on the merits of grabbing a copy of this book, from the horses own mouth, from the author, what are some of the reasons people should rush for their copies?

As humans, we are always in search for empowerment, autonomy, and bliss. From this state of being, we become free to express our infinitely creative selves. Our heroes and idols know this. Truth is, these abilities aren’t reserved for just them. We each are capable of being great, much more so than we can even imagine. This book is a reminder of this Truth and much more.

Read it. Remember how amazing you are. Regain control of your life!

 

The book is a reminder of the infinite possibilities of greatness says Roland Achenjang

The book is a reminder of the infinite possibilities of greatness says Roland Achenjang

How much is the book and where can people procure copies?

The paperback is $22. It is available at Amazon and Amazon Prime.

Autographed paperback copies will be available through rolandachenjang.com for additional costs soon

The electronic version is available through any of your favorite e-reading platforms.

 

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Susan Dexter: From Sierra Leone To Running The Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast, the number one getaway in Hollywood Maryland
September 3, 2019 | 1 Comments

By  Ajong Mbapndah L & Amos Fofung

This beautiful Bed & Breakfast is nestled on 12 wooded acres in Hollywood, MD, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

This beautiful Bed & Breakfast is nestled on 12 wooded acres in Hollywood, MD, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Planning a getaway from the hustle and bustle that characterize everyday life especially in the DMV area?  The Victorian Candle Bed and Breakfast located in Hollywood, MD offers you a unique taste of luxury at a very affordable price.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a bed and breakfast is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfast are often private owned facilities and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average. In addition, a B&B usually has the hosts living in the house offering exceptional services, and giving their guest the home feeling lacking in most hotels.

Founder and CEO Susan Dexter says the Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast is at ease offering American and African cuisine . Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Founder and CEO Susan Dexter says the Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast is at ease offering American and African cuisines . Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

With an exquisite 8 suits ready to accommodate you and your peers, Victorian Candle B&B according to its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Susan Dexter, prides itself as one of the few African-owned bed and breakfast in the DMV. Originally from Sierra Leone, Susan Dexter has put in enormous time and resources to make the Victorian Candle B&B  a force to reckon with.

“This is a good place to come because of the food. We can cook anything someone wants us to cook be it African or American cuisine. If you have events here, we work with you financially, and I do not think most of the other bed and breakfast do same. Most of them, when they do their breakfast, it is continental, but mine is hot food that meets your everyday need, all upon your request and taste,” she said in a chat with Pan African Visions.

The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast has well furnished and neat rooms, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast has well furnished and neat rooms, Photo Ben Bangoura, AlloAfrica News

Asked  if accommodations can be provided for private ceremonies, the CEO responded that “it is a bed and breakfast were we have 8 suits and I mind you, the rooms come with a full breakfast menu, we also have a room called Butler room where we host private events like birthdays, small weddings, conferences, and meetings among others.”

With a sitting capacity of over 75 guests, the Butler room as it is known, resonates calmly with the serene environment perfect for a quiet ceremony or private getaway.

Situated in an environmentally friendly location called Surally plantation with close-by rivers that offer guest the opportunity to purchase fresh fish, the CEO of Victorian Candle B&B makes very good use of the natural environment which provides fresh vegetables and African spices for the cuisine.

“There are a lot of farms that you can pick vegetables or if you like potatoes, fresh corn and others, provided by the Armish people that inhabit this locality. It is a good place for relaxation due to its quiet and beautiful environment,” added Susan Dexter.

The strategic location of the Victorian Candle B&B also comes with opportunities for visitors or patrons to get easy access to other facilities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, picnicking and cycling.

During the Thanksgiving period, the Victorian  Candle Bed and Breakfast sells smoked turkey and sides including macaroni and cheese recipes, stuffing casserole, mashed potatoes and more. “We are working hard  to get these products in stores around soon,” Susan Dexter said.

With little over 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry, the founder says, thanks to her dedicated staff and love for hospitality, the place is gaining momentum with growing customers base who have been entreated with the Victoria B&B experience.

*For more information, visit www.victorian-candle.com

contact The Victorian Candle Bed & Breakfast
25065 Peregrine Way
Hollywood MD 20636-2698
301-373-8800

email:reservations@victorian-candle.com

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UN conference on land management opens on a positive tone for change
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar and the Executive Secretary, UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw at the 14th Conference of Parties COP 14 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida on September 02, 2019. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo and other dignitaries are also seen.

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar and the Executive Secretary, UNCCD, Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw at the 14th Conference of Parties COP 14 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida on September 02, 2019. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo and other dignitaries are also seen.

New Delhi, 2 September 2019 – “If human actions have created the problems of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss, it is the strong intent, technology and intellect that will make difference. It is human efforts that will undo the damage and improve the habitats. We meet here now to ensure that this happens,” said Prakash Javadekar, India’s Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Pointing to an unprecedented global campaign to save productive land, Javadekar said 122 countries, among them Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Russia and South Africa, which are among the largest and most populous nations on Earth, “have agreed to make the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving land degradation neutrality a national target.”

Land degradation neutrality is an innovative land-use and management approach that prioritizes the optimal use of land to ensure the balance of productive land remains stable long-term. It is one of 169 targets set for 2030 for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Minister Javadekar made the remarks during the opening the fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, taking place from 2 to 13 September 2019, in New Delhi, India.

Echoing these sentiments, Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the Convention, drew attention to the warnings sounded by recent scientific assessments and the growing public alarm at the frequency of weather-related disasters such as drought, forest fires, flash floods and soil loss, but urged delegates to be mindful of the opportunities for change that are opening up, and take action.

“While the science and events around us must get our full attention, we should never, ever, lose sight of the inspiring moments or opportunities opening up or are happening around us that we can build on to break vicious cycles, trends or behavior. This is what will move us forward,” he said.

Over 70% of the world/s land area has been transformed from its natural state to produce food, fibre and energy. Some of this conversion is essential, but what is alarming is the pace of land transformation that is putting 1 million species at risk of extinction.

Moreover, 1 in 4 hectares of this converted land is no longer usable due to unsustainable land management practices. These trends have put the well-being of 3.2 billion people around the world at risk. In tandem with climate change, may force up to 700 million people to migrate by 2050. Moreover, and unless significant changes are made to turn this around, all of humanity will eventually be impacted as we lose more and more of the services ecosystems provide.”

Thiaw drew attention to the actions taken by governments in recent years, which signal a sea-change in how environmental issues, particularly in land use and management, are viewed.

“More than 70 countries have robust national drought plans, compared to just three countries only 4 years ago. The agenda shows that governments have come to COP14 ready to find solutions to many difficult, knotty and emerging policy issues,” he added.

Land tenure, drought management, the consumption and production flows influencing agriculture, urbanization that could consume up 80 percent of the most productive agricultural land in Asia and Africa, ecosystem restoration and nature-based solutions to fight climate change are all on the agenda of the Conference, Thiaw stated.

An estimated 7,200 participants that include ministers and representatives of governments, non-government and intergovernmental organizations, scientists, women and youth from the 197 Parties are expected. They will take around 30 decisions with actions that aim to strengthen land-use policies worldwide and address emerging threats, such as forced migration, sand and dust storms, and droughts.

Conferences of the Parties help governments, worldwide, to plan their land use sustainably and to pursue their sustainable land management goals practically. COP14 is expected to ramp up efforts by countries to achieve land degradation neutrality with tools and resources that are fit for purpose.

The Conference of the Parties meets once every two years. The last Conference of Parties, hosted by the Government of China, was held in October 2017 in Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Notes to Editors:

India is a Party to the United Nations Convention for Combating Desertification (UNCCD). The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal Ministry of Government of India (GoI) that oversees implementation of the Convention in the country.

India’s population is projected to reach 1.7 billion by 2050. About 2 billion hectares of land – an area over three times the size of India – are degraded, but can be restored back to health. India was one of the first countries to commit to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal target of achieving land degradation neutrality (LDN).

India Government takes over the residency of the COP from China, and will serve for 2 years. Similar to previous COP sessions, a high-level segment will take place to raise political momentum for the negotiations and boost the engagement of stakeholders in the Convention’s implementation.  Ministers from over 70 countries participating in the high-level segment of the Conference will address new and emerging issues.

About UNCCD

The UNCCD is an international agreement on good land stewardship. It helps people, communities and countries to create wealth, grow economies and secure enough food and water and energy, by ensuring land users have an enabling environment for sustainable land management. Through partnerships, the Convention’s 197 Parties set up robust systems to manage drought promptly and effectively. Good land stewardship based on a sound policy and science helps integrate and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, builds resilience to climate change and prevents biodiversity loss.

Background Information and Resources

For background materials, including photos for use, and other resources are available here: https://www.unccd.int/conventionconference-parties-copcop14-new-delhi-india/cop14-media-resources

Contact Information

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Wagaki Wischnewski, wwischnewski@unccd.int, Cell: +91 74284 94332

Mr. Abhishek Srivatsava, asrivatsava@unccd.int, Cell: +91 99991 80790

Ms. Yukie Hori, yhori@unccd.int, Cell: +91 74284 94331

 

 

 

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Scientists: ‘Partnering with farmers crucial for saving degraded lands’
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr Anthony Whitbread speaks about the gender significance of land restoration in Niger.

Dr Anthony Whitbread speaks about the gender significance of land restoration in Niger.

Highlighting successful farmer-led initiatives scientists demonstrate the importance of the ‘Research in Development’ approach for the global land restoration effort

 New Delhi, 2 September: If degraded lands have to be saved embedding research within farmer-focused development initiatives is essential, echoed scientists on the sidelines of the 14th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification here on Monday. They cited successful land restoration initiatives in Africa and India to make the point.

“To stop land degradation and reverse it to be able to achieve the SDGs, especially combatting desertification and restoring degraded lands (SDG 15.3), a synergy is required between scientists, farming communities and their institutions that are the land users and managers. Research can help restoration initiatives to scale-up globally but only if farmers, their livelihoods and communities are at the heart of such initiatives,” said Prof Anthony Whitbread, Director for the Innovation Systems for the Drylands research program at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), during the session ‘Applying the Research in Development Approach to Scale Land Restoration and Achieve the LDN targets’. The event was organized by ICRISAT and World Agroforestry (ICRAF).

The SDG 15.3, as envisioned by the UN, reads – By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

 This target, which drives land restoration initiatives that were presented at the session, bridges with the UNCCD through the scientific conceptual framework of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).

“Restoring degraded lands for food security is critically important in sub-Saharan Africa given the extent of degradation and socio-economic conditions in the region. With climate change only exacerbating degradation, collaboration between institutions of science, development actors, governments and farmers is a pressing need,” said

Dr Tilahun Amede details the successes from embedding research in land development efforts in Ethiopia.

Dr Leigh Winoweicki, a Soil Systems Scientist at the World Agroforestry (ICRAF). Dr Winoweicki’s work that was presented at the session had resulted in creation of ‘Communities of Practice’ in Africa. These communities are platforms for stakeholders with common goals to share lessons learnt and create knowledge for an enabling environment to accelerate impact on the ground.

In India, development and management of watersheds have helped reclaim degraded lands. The Parasai-Sindh watershed in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, developed by ICRISAT and partners from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), has been held up as a model for increasing land productivity by the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog).

“Integrated watershed development involving agroforestry helps to control erosion and enable farmers to achieve food and economic security. It is important in the context of increasing dependence of Indian agriculture on groundwater,” said Dr Kaushal Garg, a Natural Resources Management Scientist at ICRISAT. Dr Garg presented the Parasai-Sindh watershed which helped increase area under cultivation, crop and milk yields and triple farm household incomes in Jhansi. The government of Uttar Pradesh is attempting to double farmers’ income in seven districts of the state’s Bundelkhand region with ICAR and ICRISAT’s assistance.

In Ethiopia’s Amhara region, ICRISAT’s work in managing landscapes illustrates the benefits of integrated watershed management in restoring degraded lands. Innovations, mainly in the development of physical and biological barriers, have helped control extreme events upstream and runoffs downstream, thereby creating opportunities for farming. Dr Tilahun Amede, ICRISAT’s Country Representative for Ethiopia, demonstrated the benefits of research contributing to adoptable innovations.

“Following construction of structures to control runoff and creation of areas where sediment can be deposited, new avenues for farming and unique farming systems came into being. These systems were trialed at scale with local and normally nomadic communities. For the first time, these communities were producing food crops and fodder. A long-standing problem was not only managed but taken advantage of,” Dr Amede said.

The session also saw Bora Masumbuko, Senior Program Officer, Drylands, IUCN; Ms Aureile Lhumeau, Professional Officer of the UNCCD’s Global Mechanism Team; Ms Marie-Aude Even, Senior Regional Technical Specialist, IFAD, and Dr Susan Chomba, an ICRAF scientist managing the Regreening Africa initiative, a megaproject that aims to restore 1 million ha, discuss approaches to scale land restoration in a panel discussion. The panel deliberated donor priority for land restoration, land management strategies in the backdrop of the LDN framework, the role of policy and governance in land regeneration and role of nations in a region’s land restoration agenda.

About ICRISAT

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) is a not-for-profit international agriculture research organization. ICRISAT works across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia with a wide array of partners. The semi-arid tropics or drylands cover 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, home to over 2 billion people of which 644 million are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT innovations help the dryland poor move from poverty to prosperity by harnessing markets while managing risks – a strategy called Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (lMOD). ICRISAT is headquartered in Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and six country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. www.icrisat.org.

 

Dr Leigh Winoweicki highlights the significance of the research in development approach in achieving land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Leigh Winoweicki highlights the significance of the research in development approach in achieving land restoration in sub-Saharan Africa.

About World Agroforestry (ICRAF)

World Agroforestry (ICRAF) is a center of science and development excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, we develop knowledge practices, from farmers’ fields to the global sphere, to ensure food security and environmental sustainability. ICRAF is the only institution that does globally significant agroforestry research in and for all of the developing tropics. Knowledge produced by ICRAF enables governments, development agencies and farmers to utilize the power of trees to make farming and livelihoods more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable at scales. www.worldagroforestry.org

About CGIAR

ICRISAT and ICRAF are members of the CGIAR Consortium. CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by 15 research centers who are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. www.cgiar.org

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Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative statement on operations
September 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

As unfortunate actions continue to escalate the ongoing crisis in Southern Cameroons, CHRI counts on your support in order to continue to take actions to alleviate the suffering. On the 31st of July 2019, the Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative, CHRI, successfully carried out its latest outreach to the refugees at Ikom settlement camp, Cross River, Nigeria. We distributed 20 bags of clothing donated by Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Benin, Nigeria (see photos). The church also raised 1 million naira to support refugee relief. CHRI extends appreciation to Our Lady of Fatima church and the Nigerian community at large for supporting those affected by the crisis.

Starting on August 3, CHRI is hosting a series of webinars with other NGOs engaged directly with internally displaced persons in Cameroon or refugees in Nigeria to discuss ways to collaborate/coordinate to optimize our collective response to the crisis. Action plans arising from these positive discussions will be provided in future updates.

On July 11, 2019, CHRI carried out its 22nd monthly donation of food items to SC detainees at Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde, Cameroon. Due to protests at the prison and related challenges, we have suspended this important outreach initiative until the appropriate conditions are in place to continue.

On behalf of CHRI, I would like to appreciate and encourage your continued support to the victims of this unfortunate crisis. Since our inception last year, we have raised $77,796.68 and spent $66,197.2 supporting these victims. We are planning our next outreach to the many refugees in Nigeria who are not currently covered by UNHCR. To channel your support through CHRI, I kindly request you to visit our website at chrelief.org/donate to make a donation or mail a check to: CHRI at 4413 Nuttall Road, Fairfax, VA 22032

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