Africa, technology, media, humanitarian issues, Africa jobs.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

African Retrospective photo exhibition

"An extraordinary exhibition of photography from Africa will be opening in
Nairobi soon. The "African Retrospective 2005/06" will showcase the work of
those who are shaping the image of the continent all over the world. The
exhibition is organized by the Foreign Correspondents' Association of East
Africa and will be shown from December 6th until February 18th at Alliance

The exhibition includes photos of more than a dozen internationally known

----- Message truncated -----

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

No more blackberry envy
I am writing this from my mobile using celtel gprs. At 20 kenya
shillings per megabyte and with the gmail for mobile application
installed on the phone i am now finally able to do email anywhere....

Monday, October 23, 2006

"In the U.S., normal blood levels of lead are less than10 mcg/dl (micrograms per deciliter). Symptoms of acute poisoning occur at blood levels of 20 and above, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, and leading to muscle spasms and kidney damage. Levels of over ten are considered unhealthy and levels in excess of 120 can often lead to death. In Kabwe, blood concentrations of 300 micrograms/deciliter have been recorded in children and records show average blood levels of children range between 60 and 120 mcg/dl."

Jobs: Financial/commodities news editor - Johannesburg

UN envoy Jan Pronk gets PNGed out of Sudan for this blog posting

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"A government minister has proposed changing the legal definition of youth to anyone aged from 15 to 50 - a two-decade jump from the current ceiling of 30 years. If passed by Parliament, that would put youths within five years of Kenya's official retirement age of 55. " [Reuters]

[I would try to compare data prices, but I am not sure I understand. 3 Ksh per minute for data seems high.]

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"FilmAid International (FilmAid) is looking for a qualified Kenyan to fill the position of Project Officer – Repatriation for its Kenya program. The position is responsible for collecting information on conditions in South Sudan to be disseminated among refugees in Kakuma, and for providing support to the repatriation project and overall programs. FilmAid is seeking a committed individual who can ensure the efficient collection and organization of information on South Sudan. "

Monday, September 18, 2006

"Western Union, one of the world's leading money transfer companies, helps businesses and consumers to send and receive money by transferring their funds within minutes among 250 000 locations in 200 countries. As part of our aggressive growth plans over the next five years we are seeking to grow our UK business and have an exciting career opportunity for an Assistant Marketing Manager — Africa Diaspora, based in Hammersmith, London."

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Leading professors worldwide will be invited to contribute chapters that will then be compiled into up-to-date texts using the software behind Wikipedia, the popular free-access online encyclopaedia.

An international advisory board drawn from universities in Colombia, Egypt, Malaysia, South Africa, Uganda and the United Kingdom has been set up to oversee the books' creation."

[Is this another fabulous way to save Africa? And the reference to oh-so-hot wiki software is worrying. These could have been done at any point since the invention of WordPerfect (or WordStar) and the floppy disk. What has wiki-ness got to do with anything?]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Jobs: Knight International Journalism Fellowship
The International Center for Journalists and The Knight International Journalism Fellowships program are pleased to announce that the program is now accepting applications from qualified media professionals of any nationality.

Friday, September 08, 2006

An American private security company, Select Armor, has been planning military operations in support of President Abdullahi Yusuf's Transitional Federal Government in Somalia and raising questions about an attack on Mogadishu, according to documents obtained by Africa Confidential. The documents refer to Uganda's willingness to secure arms supplies using its own end-user certificates (in contravention of the UN arms embargo) and makes disparaging remarks about 'the fucks' in the United Nations who have been 'snooping around' Select Armor's personnel.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

[While trying to figure out what TED is... I came to this. Impressive animation of World Bank data.]

TED Africa will be in 2007. Apply for the 100 scholarships that will be available to attendees from Africa.

Last moments of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter

REPORTER: How close would he have been to the ray at the time?

JOHN STAINTON: Umm, probably, a metre maybe? Coming over the top of it.

REPORTER: Did Steve say anything before died?

JOHN STAINTON: He was underwater.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Working with the Policy and Campaigns departments in Oxford as well as local regional programmes, you'll be responsible for the development and delivery of regional advocacy and campaigning strategies. You'll provide regional policy analysis on relevant institutions and partners and will support advocacy and programme staff, in six Southern African countries, in the development of direct lobbying and campaigning."

"You won't be left out if you take one of the new Safaris for Saviors. Forget the traditional Big Five tour to see elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and buffalo. (So 2004.) The latest Fashionable Five are the crowded hospital, a smelly urban slum, the school without a roof, a basket-weaving shop run by the disabled, and (to end on a high note) a micro-loan project for big-bottomed women in colorful clothes. All available, with air conditioning. You can book online."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"How many doctors and nurses have left Africa? Which countries did they leave? Where have they settled? To answer these questions, CGD's Michael Clemens and Gunilla Pettersson have compiled a dataset of the cumulative bilateral net flows of African-born physicians and nurses to the nine most important destination countries."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Jobs: Bloomberg reporter, Lagos: "Bloomberg News is seeking an experienced reporter for general assignment duties in our Lagos bureau."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ICT: 4,000 CDMA subscribers in Kenya: The CCK announces: "Out of the total 25,038 new fixed phone subscribers, the two active local loop operators, Flashcom and Popote Wireless, contributed a total of 3,995 subscribers, representing a contribution of 15 per cent."

Money: DeniAfrica: "It is estimated that sub-Saharan Africa receives about $7.7 billion in inward remittances, with Nigeria accounting for nearly $3 billion."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Games for Good: Activist Videogames - Newsweek: "'Squeezed' is intended to raise awareness among well-off young people by putting them in game situations that resemble those of immigrants and poor people in real life. The frogs, donkeys and dragonflies that work the farms in the game serve as stand-ins for migrant workers from Latin America."

Jobs: Nairobi Photo Library internship: "The United Nations' Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN), which provides news and analysis about Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia for the humanitarian community, has an internship program for one person to work for a minimum period of three months in the photo department of IRIN, known as IRINPHOTO. The United Nations is unable to provide any financial assistance or remuneration to interns. Applicants should be prepared to fully fund their stay for the duration of the internship agreed."

Grants: Call for Proposals: Documentary Photography Distribution Grant: "OSI's Documentary Photography Project seeks applicants for a grant that encourages new ways of presenting documentary photography to the public. The grant enables photographers who have already completed a significant project on issues of social justice to present the work to the public in innovative and appropriate ways, ensuring that the work gains critical exposure and also has the greatest chance to stimulate constructive social change.
All projects submitted for consideration must have another institution that agrees to financially and practically support its distribution (such as a nongovernmental organization, publisher, website, or gallery), and will collaborate with the photographer to use the work to promote social change. Grants of $5,000 to $40,000 will be awarded. "

Grants: Information Program Announces New Guidelines for Unsolicited Grants Process: "June 13, 2006 OSI’s Information Program announces instructions for grant-seeking organizations that are aligned with the program's two aims:
to enhance the ability to access, exchange, and produce knowledge and information for key open society constituencies and disadvantaged groups, especially in the poorer parts of the world; to use new tools and techniques to empower civil society as a force for open society in national, regional and global arenas. "

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More humanitarian games: Transaid computer game puts supporters in the driving seat: "International development agency Transaid has taken its promotional activities to a new level with the launch of an online computer game aimed at raising awareness of the transport challenges faced by health workers in Africa.

‘The Transaid Challenge’ is sponsored by Barclays Transport and Logistics Team and puts the player in the driving seat of a four wheel drive health service vehicle, charged with the task of delivering services and supplies to remote African villages that need them."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Jobs: Rift Valley Institute Internship: "The London base of the Rift Valley Institute seeks a graduate intern to assist with administration and development of the Institute's information projects. These include the recently-launched Sudan Open Archive. Useful qualities include IT and editorial skills, administrative aptitude, experience in Eastern Africa and knowledge of one or more of the languages of the region. Please contact the Institute for further information."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Zidane head butt roundup

Excellent selection of Zidane video funnies from the Register and The Awful Forums [I know, I know, but just a few more... it's an contemporary art form...]

Some company is seeking a copywriting intern with a caption competition of the Zidane video

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Zidane headbutts Materazzi :: Video Game [Good grief, someone has put up a site just for the Zidane head butt game and is paying to advertise it on Google. By carrying Google ads on the page, then they somehow recoup the cost of the Google ad? Puzzling...]

Games for Change (G4C) [Organisers of a conference on persuasive games, etc]

Raph’s Website -- MTV News - Can Social-Change Video Games Tackle Divorce, Poverty, Genocide? [Are "persuasive games" (for example, the Darfur is Dying game) just a gimmick?]

Water Cooler Games - Newsgames Archives [The Zidane Flash game -- which seems to have floored a few servers -- is in a category called "newsgames" at Water Cooler Games. Dick Cheney hunting games are there, too...]

Persuasive Gaming: Third World Farmer via "In the same way as SimCity helps you to understand urban planning, SimVillage would present the life-and-death issues that rural communities face on a daily basis.
Nobody picked up on the idea, probably because it’s a bit of a downer. That’s why I’m glad to see the remarkably simple but effective game Third World Farmer online - it’s not exactly a barrel of laughs, but it’s message is clear."

NGO Security: "Although some within the NGO community are turned off by the term, intelligence gathering is a critical skill for a successful NGO security practitioner (just swap the word 'information' for 'intelligence' if you're uncomfortable)."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

GPRS EDGE pricing from Safaricom Kenya

  • GPRS enabled sim card Ksh 5,000
  • Edge modem ksh 15,000
  • Subscription fee (flat rate) ksh 2,500 per month for up to 300MB
  • Usage above the 300MB limit is charged at ksh 10 /MB

    [This pricing reached me from Safaricom -- but I can't find it laid out like this on their site. Surely GPRS-capable phones already have a modem in them? Popote Wireless offers unlimited internet for 3,500 Ksh per month over CDMA - but is only in a few parts of Nairobi AFAIK.]

  • More on Kenya wireless things -- Oxygen TV

    [Billed as "Wireless TV" and promising reception with a set top box but a bouquet of international channels -- nothing really on the website - contact: info(at] Price: set top box 8,500 Kenya Shillings and monthly subscription for Ksh 1,500. Much cheaper than DSTV...]

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Saturday, July 08, 2006


    "The development community and gadget-happy technologists are fond of coining acronyms, though few outside their circles understand what they stand for.

    As these mind bogglers go, the newly launched UN-GAID is a double-whammy: an acronym within an acronym. It stands for the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development. "

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    Kenya Jobs: Google: East Africa - Regional Consultant - KE-Nairobi: "The Regional Consultant will be responsible for leading business development
    initiatives in Kenya and adjacent markets that are critical to the growth of
    the company. Our ideal candidate will have demonstrated leadership in
    general management, marketing, sales or business development for an
    internet/technology or advertising company, and have graduated at the top of
    their class from a leading graduate academic institution (MBA preferred). We
    are looking for self-starters who can work with little guidance, tolerate
    ambiguity and demonstrate leadership with limited oversight. Fluency in
    English is required." [via]

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    More on Kenya Wireless: Wholesale WiFi: KDN's Butterfly [But you need an account with a participating ISP account to get online]...

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Africa Online Kenya iBurst service: Infinet

    CDMA in Kenya (2): Flashcom

    CDMA services in Kenya: POPOTE WIRELESS

    Telkom Kenya hikes ADSL pricing by 64%
    [Telkom Kenya have noticed that their ADSL pricing was competitive. So of course they have doubled the price. Unlimited 32/128 ADSL used to be 5604 /= per month ($80). Now they have announced new pricing from July 1 which makes the same unlimited use package a hefty 9,188 /= ($131). With the entry of two CDMA players, iBurst from Africa Online and some other options, the market is very confused... ]

    Friday, May 26, 2006 News - Sci-Tech - Source of AIDS virus definitely African chimps, say scientists: "Writing in today's edition of the journal Science, researchers said that up to 35 per cent of chimps in some communities had been infected with SIV, but in others there was no sign of the disease at all.
    Despite the close genetic similarity between chimps and humans, SIV does not cause an AIDS-like illness. It is hoped further study will reveal why - and whether this might help to treat people with HIV.
    It is thought HIV-1 originated about 75 years ago. However, the first human known to be infected with the virus was a man from Kinshasa, who had his blood stored in 1959 as part of a medical study, decades before scientists knew HIV even existed. "

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Blog Idol? Blidol?: "The moment (some of) you have been waiting for: the competition to find the next big blogger on Comment is free."

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Open Source ? Blog Archive ? Harnessing Remittances: "Migrant workers will remit more than $232 billion to their families this year. The money migrant workers earn ? harvesting produce in California, cleaning houses in Singapore, and tending children in Kuwait? is meager by the standards of the developed world, but it means everything for their families back home. $232 billion is twice what the world paid out in international aid last year; in Latin America it was more than aid and foreign direct investment combined. This is big business, and economists are just starting to take notice."

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Kenya Official: Africans pay $1,800 for 1GB of Internet data | - Development Through Enterprise: "Internet users in America pay $20 for one gigabyte of data per month, but people in Africa pay about $1,800 for the same amount of data, Minister for Information and Communication Mutahi Kagwe said in a speech read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo."

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Delamere Aristocrat accused in new Kenya slaying : AFP: "A British aristocrat who escaped murder charges in Kenya after killing a game warden on his family's ranch last year shot another man to death on the premises on Wednesday, police said" [Yes, Cholmondeley again.]

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    US Infant Survival Rates Lower Than Most Developed Nations': "The USA has an infant mortality rate of 5 per 1,000, the same as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Malta. Of 33 developed countries, America is just above Latvia, the bottom of the group." via

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    The Brenthurst Foundation | Africa Beyond Aid: "Instead of focusing on increasing aid as a key development strategy - the conventional wisdom - this programme will examine both what it would take to end aid to Africa and what an Africa beyond aid would look like in policy terms. Fundamentally, in the light of the July 2005 G8 commitment to double aid to Africa to US$50 billion by 2010, how can aid be better used, with an eventual focus on decreasing aid for at least some countries?" Kenya: Firm Launches Mobile Internet Service: "Kenya has experienced an increase of 500,000 internet users in the last one year, bringing the total to 1.5 million." [Where does this number come from?]

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Jobs: Great Lakes Programme Manager(v): Jobs: "International Alert is looking for a committed and experienced Manager to provide strategic leadership to our conflict transformation programme in the Great Lakes region of Africa. This programme, which has a strong gender component, facilitates dialogue and trust-building between parties in conflict, conducts research and advocacy on conflict related issues and works with the international community in its attempts to assist countries either in or coming out of conflict."

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Africa too risky for Kroll: "The decision by US-based risk consultants Kroll to shut down their Africa practice on 3 April appears to have been taken, oddly enough, because the US$1.9 billion company judged Africa to be just too risky. More precisely, it was probably insurers Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), which has owned Kroll since July 2004 and generates revenues of about $12 bn. a year, which made the final call as its new managers restructured the company."

    Job: Amnesty International East Africa Researcher based in Uganda

    HIV and Lemon Juice: "Potentially contradictory findings on whether lemon and lime juice could safely protect women from HIV infection if they apply it to their vaginas will be presented at an international conference later this month. "

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    TechWeb | Domain Names | .EU registry defends itself: "An American company's charge that cheating went on during the rush for new .eu domains is flat out wrong, the European registry responsible for handing out the names countered Tuesday.
    'We certainly don't agree with him,' said Patrik Lind?n, spokesman for EURid, the Belgium-based non-profit chosen by the European Commission to operate the new .eu top level domain. " Uganda: Regulator Seeks Control of Uganda's Domain Name: "If you want to register a domain name with a Ugandan country code, .ug, the man to speak to is Charles Musisi, an Internet entrepreneur who has managed the country's domain names over the past decade." [Meanwhile, another domain name controversy closer to home...]

    Soul Beat Africa: Communication for Change - Awards - Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism: "The Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism recognises independent and professional reporting that sheds new light on controversial issues. Established in 2002, two US $5,000 prizes are awarded each year, one to a local reporter in a developing country or nation in transition, and the other to a freelance journalist covering international news. "

    .Eu Domain Name Fraud - 'Eu Won't Believe It' article: "Were you aware there are registered companies in Europe with such ambrosial names like ?Rus & Sia? and ?Ser & Bia?? Well, there weren?t until internet touts used loopholes in the European Union?s shambolic registration process to acquire thousands of the continent?s most desirable internet addresses."

    More controversy over the mass quatting of .eu domains "The .EU landrush fiasco. A bumbling registry allows Europe's very own domain name to be highjacked!"

    [Note in the comments to this post that names are named... Lexicon Media managed to grap one I wanted...]

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Official: U.S. backing Somali militants | "'Our leaders used to pay us $60 dollars (a month), but after the formation of the new anti-terrorism alliance they increased our salary to $160,' Garaare said."

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Measuring HIV infection rates: "The new studies show, however, that these earlier estimates were skewed in favor of young, sexually active women in the urban areas that had prenatal clinics. Researchers now know that the HIV rate among these women tends to be higher than among the general population." [Pregnant women attending clinics are not representative of the general population...]

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Marc Danneschewski owns Who owns the brand new prestigious domain?

    Step forward Marc Danneschewski (, registered from Germany.

    .EU domain squatting frenzy The Daily Nation might be surprised to know that is already registered to a company in Cyprus, whose website has the following er... disclaimer:

    "Ovidio Limited [] owns a portfolio of .eu TLD domain names and operates corresponding websites. Through these sites it offers product and service information to direct navigation and other customers. Ovidio Limited uses advanced proprietary techniques to identify appropriate domain names for its portfolio. It is Ovidio’s policy not to register domain names that have been registered by third parties as trade marks or that are used by third parties in the course of trade." (My emphasis)

    While is registered to a company called Swinweb in London...

    Anyway, here's all the Kenya .eu names so far:


    Search EU domains here

    Swamp CottageSo, here are the .eu domain names registered in the first two days of .eu's existance which contain the word africa:


    Fourth ever public .EU domain name is ""

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Niger halts BBC hunger coverage: "Niger has withdrawn permission for a BBC team which found evidence of hunger in the country to continue to report on the humanitarian situation there."

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006 | Daily Nation | NEWS | UK acts tough on shady firms: "Corruption is bleeding Africa to death, and the cost is borne by the poor. The African Union calculates that $148 billion (Sh10.7 trillion) a year is corruptly spirited out of the continent. This is six times what Africa receives in aid.
    'Much of the money is banked in Britain or our overseas territories and dependencies and sometimes British citizens or companies are involved in corrupt deals. We want our government to get tough on corruption...' "

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    Kenyan Blog Awards - 2006: "Kaybees - Kenyan Blog Awards (2006) Karibu and welcome to the 1st Annual Kaybees ? the Kenyan Blog Awards.
    The Kenyan Blogosphere is full of vibrant, dynamic, cutting edge blogs and now is time for us to recognise the best in Kenyan Blogging. "

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    Oxfam Media Blog: "The latest missive from a journalist in my inbox had a subject line which read 'pastoralists - are they b*!gered?'. Such is the sophisticated analysis that a press officer has to deal with! "
    [Interesting blog of an NGO press officer and his dealings with press on Horn of Africa drought issues...]

    BBC NEWS | Africa | Drought-hit Eritrea expels NGOs: "The Eritrean government has expelled a number of international aid agencies.
    Letters have been sent to at least three agencies, including US charity Mercy Corps, the Irish agency Concern, and a British NGO, Acord. "

    Fair trade: UK supermarkets binge on liberal guilt: "Oppenheim [in the Spectator] points out that of the GBP1 extra paid for a bag of Fairtrade bananas, the proportion going back to the farmer is 4p, while of the 99p paid for a Fairtrade chocolate bar, the return for the cocoa grower is 'less than 2p'. If a supermarket charges GBP2.49 for a packet of own-brand Fairtrade coffee, when the combined cost of buying, shipping, roasting and packaging it 'cannot be much more than GBP1', it results in a gross profit margin of 160 per cent."

    Fair trade: "
    [From April 2005]
    "...The full absurdity of the fair traders’ position is revealed by the fact that even British farmers, rightly notorious for their addiction to subsidies, can now be part of the scheme..."

    Sunday, March 19, 2006

    KIDS IN CANS (Breadline Africa Containers Appeal) [unfortunate names for aid projects (1)]

    Saturday, March 18, 2006 "More than 1,000 migrants have been detained at sea over the past eight days while trying to reach the Spanish island, and NGOs estimate that many more have been forced to turn back after getting lost and running out of food. "

    The Concoction: Can the aid industry be reformed?: "Poverty is when I lose all my limbs and my sight and I become totally dependant on others, and development is when my neighbour helps me up when I fall"

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Banned African airlines...: "In the UK, all aircraft operated by airlines from Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Liberia and Tajikistan have been banned, as well as Sierra Leone's Star Air and Air Universal, Cameroon Airlines, Albanian Airlines and Central Air Express, from DR Congo.

    France has publicly blacklisted Air Koryo (North Korea), Air Saint Thomas (US), International Air Services (Liberia), Lineas Aer de Mozambique, and Phuket Airlines (Thailand).

    The Belgian list of unsafe airlines includes companies from Ukraine, Republic of Central Africa, Egypt, Armenia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Nigeria, Ghana and Rwanda.

    And finally, Switzerland joined the three countries later last year, publishing a list of five companies from Azerbaijan, Egypt, Bulgaria, Lebanon and Nigeria."

    Africa's New Ocean: A Continent Splits Apart - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News: "A Continent Splits Apart

    By Axel Bojanowski

    Normally new rivers, seas and mountains are born in slow motion. The Afar Triangle near the Horn of Africa is another story. A new ocean is forming there with staggering speed -- at least by geological standards. Africa will eventually lose its horn.

    Geologist Dereje Ayalew and his colleagues from Addis Ababa University were amazed -- and frightened. They had only just stepped out of their helicopter onto the desert plains of central Ethiopia when the ground began to shake under their feet. The pilot shouted for the scientists to get back to the helicopter. And then it happened: the Earth split open. Crevices began racing toward the researchers like a zipper opening up. After a few seconds, the ground stopped moving, and after they had recovered from their shock, Ayalew and his colleagues realized they had just witnessed history. For the first time ever, human beings were able to witness the first stages in the birth of an ocean."

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    tHiNkEr?S rOoM: "Apparently Kenyan bloggers, including yours truly, have made it to a Daily Nation feature. Recongition from the mainstream media? My one gripe ? a very healthy imagination on the party of the author. I?m not 29. At no time did I divulge my age, or indeed anything personal about myself. Check your facts, ladies and gentlemen, check your facts!"

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Poll: What or who is an aid worker?

    UNHCR - Multimedia: "Somalia: People-smuggling
    Despite the risks desperate people are willing to pay smugglers to help them escape violence or poverty. (3:46).
    Posted 20 Feb 2006"

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    How to write about Africa by Binyavanga Wainaina

    Never have a picture of a well-adjusted African on the cover of your book, or in it, unless that African has won the Nobel Prize. An AK-47, prominent ribs, naked breasts: use these. If you must include an African, make sure you get one in Masai or Zulu or Dogon dress.

    In your text, treat Africa as if it were one country. It is hot and dusty with rolling grasslands and huge herds of animals and tall, thin people who are starving. Or it is hot and steamy with very short people who eat primates. Don't get bogged down with precise descriptions. Africa is big: fifty-four countries, 900 million people who are too busy starving and dying and warring and emigrating to read your book. The continent is full of deserts, jungles, highlands, savannahs and many other things, but your reader doesn't care about all that, so keep your descriptions romantic and evocative and unparticular.

    The Concoction on corruption "Instead of milking the cow while they give it the best feed so it can multiply and fill the place with lots of grade cows so that if they steal one or two they go unnoticed, they try to drink the milk and eat the beef from the same cow, at the same time. They are then surprised when they are caught with the blood of the one and only cow on their hands."

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Reuters AlertNet - Voodoo priests at risk as bird flu hits Africa: "Officials in the tiny West African country which is the home of the ancient religion say spreading the word about bird flu may help save the lives of Voodoo devotees.
    'We have identified the groups at risk, including fetishists and followers of the Voodoo cult who sometimes kill animals with their teeth,' Guillaume Hounsou-ve, director of livestock at Benin's Agriculture Ministry, told Reuters in an interview."

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | 02/12/2006 | A global event for everybody . . . in some parts: "THE LUGE: Competitors wearing Spider-Man costumes lie on their backs on tiny sleds and go down the bobsled run. The ones who survive (about 8 percent) are tested for drugs. If they don't contain any, they are declared legally insane."

    ODI WebLog : Have I Got Old News for you? The 'leaked' DEC evaluation of the tsunami response: "The recent special report on the 'leaked' DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee: evaluation report that appeared on the BBC television's Newsnight (, was not good news for public confidence in humanitarian agencies. Anyone who saw the programme was probably left with three main impressions. First, agencies had been greedy and had accepted much more money than they could spend properly. Second, in spite of the extra cash the job had not been done well and thousands of needy people were still living in temporary shelters. And third, and perhaps of most concern, agencies were not open to admitting their mistakes." [Question: Should aid agencies publish their evaluations and then get kicked by the media?]

    Currently reading: Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    AgInfo News from IAALD: Web market place tested for rural agricultural information providers in Uganda: "A recent article in New Agriculturist On-line describes how a Market Place for Agricultural Information Services (MPAIS) is being used in Uganda to link farmers with providers of advice and information.

    Access to MPAIS in the rural areas is by personal computers, and through Internet Cafes in rural towns for those without a PC. According to the project coordinator, 'We have learnt that this is a viable market for information services.' Further, there is a willingness by farmers to pay for information services."

    New Scientist News - Doomsday vault to avert world famine: "WITHIN a large concrete room, hewn out of a mountain on a freezing-cold island just 1000 kilometres from the North Pole, could lie the future of humanity.
    The room is a 'doomsday vault' designed to hold around 2 million seeds, representing all known varieties of the world's crops."

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Trying a new map hit counting thingy...
    Locations of visitors to this page