By Amzath Fassassi – SciDev.Net’s regional coordinator for sub-Saharan Africa French, and the driving force behind Science et Développement.
In Africa, many communities are still unaware of the key principles of science, whether they relate to diseases or natural phenomena.
Until the beginning of the 1980s, in the slums of my native Benin, I remember that when lightning, hitherto considered a manifestation of the wrath of Heviosso, the god of thunder, fell on residential areas, voodoo worshipers travelled in procession to retrieve the bodies of the victims, to atone for their sins.
Victims of lightning were indeed considered as sinners.
Ahead of One Health Day tomorrow (3rd November 2018), Robert Taylor, CABI’s Editorial Director, explores the relationships between human, animal, environmental and plant health…
The ‘One health’ initiative launched in 2007 was designed primarily to break down the barriers between human and veterinary medicine, particularly for dealing with zoonotic diseases. The link between BSE and nvCJD, as well as the threat of new diseases like SARS and threat of old diseases like avian influenza made for a strong case that the health of humans and animals are inter-linked. Since then, ‘One health’ has been expanded to include environmental health as there are many examples of how human activity can harm the health of the environment, and how in turn, a polluted environment adversely affects human health.
This month London hosted an international conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, highlighting fresh commitments and funding to reduce international trade in threatened animal and plant species. October also saw the annual CITES meeting where compliance issues with trade regulations laid out by CITES are discussed and resolved.
By Dr Dennis Rangi – Director General, Development at CABI based in Nairobi, Kenya
On this World Food Day 2018 the issue of feeding the world has never been in sharper focus. By 2050, agriculture will need to produce almost 50 percent more food, feed and biofuel than it did in 2012 just to meet demand.
Our passion for food – beyond the need of it for our very survival – is engrained deeply in cultural practices and national identities around the world. The Americans are perhaps stereotypically renowned for wanting their food fast and lots of it, the Italians for pizza and pasta, the Chinese for rice and noodles, while the French are famous for their à la carte cuisine. To quench our thirst one could also add coffee from Ethiopia.
Campaigns create greater equality of access to information across farming households, but formats are as important as channels, argue Duncan Sones of the Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) delivery team…
The ASHC campaign-based approach explored the use of a variety of channels to build multiple media campaigns. ASHC has been testing the hypothesis that the more varied the channels of information reaching a farming household – the more likely they’re to trial or adopt new technologies. For example, evidence collected from the outcome evaluation of the Scaling-up Improved Legumes Technologies (SILT) in Tanzania suggested this is the case.
What we’re doing is increasing the equality of access to information. Over the next 18 months we’ll be looking for evidence that greater access to information, especially by women and young people, changes the conversations in farming households.
Duncan Sones, of the Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) delivery team, looks back on six years of concept and project development that could unlock changes in farmer’s ability to effectively access improved technologies…
I don’t know about you but when I hear about something for the first time, I rarely take in all the nuanced details. However, ask me to sing an advertising jingle for a store than hasn’t existed for 40 years and I am probably able to sing it! My father knew all of the kings and queens of England in order. Well he did and he didn’t – he knew a rhyme that he could reel off 75 years after he learned it!
At first sight the humble scale insect, Orthezia insignis doesn’t seem like it could pack much of a punch in a ‘fight’ against a range of native flora – but to make such an assumption would be very dangerous indeed.
In fact Orthezia insignis is a genuine invasive menace which in Hawaii, East Africa and South and Central America has, at times, wreaked havoc on numerous ornamental plants including citrus, coffee, olive, Jacaranda and Lantana.