Posts tagged as: rural

South Africa:#LifeEsidimeni – Why Evil May Cast a Long and Shifting Shadow

analysis

Arbitration reveals the skeletons in the Gauteng health department’s closet culture that gave rise to 141 deaths and continues to thrive.

Levy Mosenogi could be described like many men who throughout history who have ended up on its bad side: a religious man and active in his community by his own account during his recent testimony at a Life Esidimeni arbitration hearing.

And when he was tasked with leading the relocation of almost 2 000 mental health patients out of state-sponsored private care at Life Esidimeni facilities, he became even more like those cautionary tales of characters from our history lessons. Not the obvious ones that present themselves in the immediate aftermath of a grave injustice, when narratives are preoccupied with dichotomies of good and evil or victor and villain, but the ones that creep in their wakes in which we begin to understand the importance of what seemed innocuous cameos.

Mosenogi became a man with a mundane title, some power and a sense of what he would later describe as a foreboding.

At least 141 people died as a result of the relocations, arbitration hearings have revealed.

A shocking February ombudsman report described how some of the 27 unlicensed nongovernmental organisations arrived to “choose patients like cattle” at Life Esidimeni facilities, tying some to the backs of bakkies with bedsheets as they carried them off. The father of one patient, Billy Maboe, described seeing these “lost souls” herded on to buses, some with their meagre belongings in a single plastic packet to make what he called “The Great Trek”.

Billy didn’t survive it.

More than two years after the project was announced and a year after the initial deaths emerged, Mosenogi testified late last week at the ongoing arbitration. The process, which takes place in parallel with criminal investigations, is aimed at keeping families and the Gauteng health department out of court.

He described his initial misgivings about the project and how he voiced these to former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

“I had a forboding. When things were discussed, I found the head of department [Barney Selebano] also had serious misgivings.”

Asked what else he did about these feelings of dread, he responded: “I did raise it in my prayer meetings and asked people to pray. I raised it in my organisation [the ANC] in my branch.”

Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre social worker Daphne Ndhlovu was more explicit about why she did not speak out as the centre’s patients began dying after it was allegedly pressured by the Gauteng health department to accept Life Esidimeni patients: she was threatened with being accused of insubordination.

Ndhlovu explained she was essentially following orders: “We knew we were not giving justice to our patients, but it was instructions from above.”

Last week, Mosenogi became one of the first Gauteng health employees to apologise publicly to Life Esidimeni families.

“I apologise for myself. I apologise on behalf of the department of health. The lesson we learnt is to speak truth to power.”

In 1945 and in the wake of World War II, the phrase “I was just following orders” became synonymous with the Nuremberg Trials – the military tribunals designed to bring Nazi leaders to justice. So famous is the association that, today, the “an order is an order” plea is often referred to as the “Nuremberg Defence”. Although the defence did not absolve those prosecuted at Nuremberg, it has worked intermittently throughout history since the Roman Empire.

Only two Gauteng health officials – Selebano and director of the mental health directorate Makgabo Manamela – have been suspended and are facing disciplinary action, says Gauteng deputy director general of communication services Thabo Masebe.

The pair have garnered a collective R1.3-million in wages while on suspension, alleges the Democratic Alliance’s Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom.

In 1963, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram released the first results of a series of studies – in part inspired by the Nuremberg proceedings – designed to reveal why seemingly good people could be ordered to do bad things.

In his research, published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, Milgram tested how many people could be successfully ordered to administer increasingly painful shocks to a fellow participant. Although this fellow participant was an actor and the shocks were fake, Milgram found that almost two out of every three people among a group of 40 were willing to deliver the highest shock possible, 450 volts, when told to do so.

Although Milgram’s work fell prey to a bevy of allegations, including data tampering, the quest to understand “the banality of evil” continues to fascinate psychology. Until recently, much of this work focused on the kind of factors, for instance, environment in Milgram’s work or institutional culture in the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment. (In this experiment, a fake prison was created on a university campus with participants divided into prisoners or wardens. It became such a toxic environment that it was called off after six days.)

But in 2016 a study by scientists from the Brussels’ Université libre de Bruxelles and University College London became one of the first to look not at what made people do bad things on command but what it felt like when they did.

In research published in Current Biology, scientists found that, when subjects were coerced or ordered to do something, they perceived a lag in the time between their decision and its consequence (in this case actual shocks or taking away money).

When people did these things of their free will, cause and effect were experienced more simultaneously – suggesting that people following orders felt less agency and even responsibility for their actions.

Researchers were reportedly quick to say that the work didn’t support the Nuremberg Defence.

And if humans are hardwired to pass the buck when we’re doing what we’re told, there may be few fields as dangerous as medicine – with its rigid hierarchies – for this to play out in.

The Rural Health Advocacy Project works with medical students and health workers to teach them to speak out for themselves and their patients. The costs for calling out your superiors are steep, the project’s Samantha Khan-Gilmore told Bhekisisa in 2016. From the moment that final-year students begin clinical rotations to when they begin their internships, Khan-Gilmore says they “experience a range of negative experiences at the hands of senior staff, most of which they believe are beyond their control”.

“They face tough choices about whether to stay quiet and support the status quo, or to speak up and risk victimisation. At the start of their careers, these healthcare professionals have a lot to lose,” she explains.

And when these medical students become professionals, speaking out becomes no easier. In fact, whistleblowers are often convinced that not even moving provinces will save them from the wrath – sometimes including physical threats – of superiors and peers should they report anything from abuse of overtime to surgery backlogs.

Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence from health workers suggests that regular performance appraisals, which could help workers and administrators accountable may be irregular and or vastly varying quality.

The Gauteng health department says that 100% of its employees have undergone performance appraisals in the past year and that results are loaded into its payroll systems. In fact, anyone below senior management is evaluated four times a year.

South Africa Medical Association chairperson Mzukisi Grootboom says this is surprising since complaints about the frequency and quality of performance appraisals are common among its members.

Today, the high-profile names whose “fingerprints were peppered throughout the project”, to quote the ombudsman, may be suspended but many more employees who had a hand in the Life Esidimeni tragedy remain in its employ – left to carry out future projects in the same organisational culture that allowed the scandal to happen.

And, to quote novelist and chemist CP Snow: “When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.”

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Where Residents Cross a Highway for a Pit-Latrine

By Christopher Kisekka

Eric Muzeyi, a nine- year-old boy, has to be escorted by an adult to cross the accident-prone Kampala-Masaka Highway to answer the call of nature. Sometimes, he has to wait for hours if there is nobody to help him cross the road. Muzeyi lives in a family of eight at Kamuwunga Village in Lwera, Lukaya Town Council on Kampala-Masaka Highway.

Kamuwunga Village, with a population of about 700 residents shares one dilapidated pit-latrine located at the right side of the road. The residents on the left side must cross the busy highway to access the facility.

Expense

Ronald Kayondo, the village chairperson, says people often have to line up to use the pit-latrine.

Sometimes, those who find it hard to wait are tempted to ease themselves in the bush.

Kayondo adds that it is too expensive for individual households to construct their own pit- latrines in an area whose water table is so close. “It requires specialised expertise which can cost up to Shs7m,” he says.

The chairperson adds that although two businessmen who settled in the area to carry out sand mining put up private pit-latrines, they do not allow other people to use them. “So far, eight people, five of them juveniles, have been knocked down by speeding vehicles in the last three years as they crossed the road,” says Aisha Nalukwago, the village secretary.

“The lack of sufficient toilet facilities in the village was bound to cause diseases related to poor hygiene such as diarrhea. We fear that if the situation worsens, we may end up with an epidemic,” she adds.

However, the Kalungu Water Officer, Dan Rwabuhinga, says the area was given another toilet, but it was mismanaged by residents.

“Two years ago, we constructed a Shs16m water-borne toilet in that place on our Rural Water Grant. We trained them on how to manage and use it but in a period of two months, the facility was out of service,” Rwabuhinga says.

He adds authorities had suggested that each household pays a management fee of Shs200 per week to enable authorities buy toilet paper, but the residents declined and ended up using hard paper which blocked the water-borne toilet.

Wilson Bukenya, a resident, blames the Town Council authorities for having deliberately constructed a toilet which they (the residents) could neither use nor maintain.

“Before they started constructing a water-borne-toilet here, we had advised them that locals do not know how to use it but they insisted,” Bukenya says, adding: “What surprised us was that even the water borne toilet was constructed on the other side of the road, still putting residents’ lives at risk.

SETTLEMENT

It is often intimated that those who settles in Lwera, a wetland, are there illegally. However, residents claim they own plots of land in the area and even possess land titles which could be an indication that they are lawful residents. Lukaya Town Clerk, Aisha Kitenda, says the council is currently working on a development plan which will guide the public on the physical growth of the area. “Currently, we are in the final stages of a physical development plan. It will guide us on whether the area is suitable for settlement or not,” she says. Musa Mabeeri, the Town Council health officer, says there is a plan to construct a modern toilet facility in the area under the LakeVictoria Management Project.

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South Africa:Massive Data Leak Exposes Personal Details of Millions

Photo: Pexels

(file photo).

The sensitive private information of 30 million South Africans, contained in a massive data breach, appears to have been hacked from a credit bureau.

This is according to Australian Microsoft regional director, Troy Hunt, who exposed the leak on Twitter on Tuesday.

Hunt is also a security researcher and creator of the website HaveIbeenpwned.com. The website allows people to check if their personal information has been compromised.

Earlier this year the site exposed the hacking of Ster-Kinekor’s website, which put more than six million accounts at risk, Business Day reported.

Hunt said on Twitter on Wednesday that the data breach “is one of the worst I’ve ever seen on many levels”. He said the file date on the data was April 2015 and that it was unclear if it had been exposed since then.

Hunt said the database contained names of people, their gender, ethnicity, home ownership and contact information. The data also contained people’s identity numbers and other information, such as their estimated income, directorships and employer information.

He said on Tuesday that the information appeared to be from a government agency. The title “masterdeeds” led him to initially suspect that it had come from the Deeds Office.

However, that theory has since changed and it is believed that it came from a local credit bureau which collects personal information.

The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform said they have noted the claims of hacking and the alleged accessing of Deeds Registry information. They said they were looking into the matter.

Online publication iAfrikan said the data was still available publicly on the internet for anyone to download and that the information related to South Africans, both dead and alive.

The publication named a credit bureau, which has a database of information and consumer contact details, that they believed was involved.

iAfrikan also quoted Hunt saying that the data company had “f***ed up” on a large scale.

“They’ve collected an enormous volume of data and I’m not sure if the owners of that data ever gave their consent… They then published that data to a web server with absolutely zero protection,” Hunt said.

He said there would be huge fallout from the breach.

Some publications named data company Dracore Data Sciences and Govault as the source of the leak.

But the company told News24 that they were not responsible in any way.

The law firm K Jordaan and Associates Inc sent a letter, on behalf of Dracore Data Sciences, demanding a retraction.

The letter said that headers and a paste bin link sent to them from the data leak did not refer to Govault.

It added that an IP address provided was for a South African real estate business.

An analyst also told Business Day the information appeared to be from a credit bureau “because one of the fields was titled CPC (Credit Participation Certificate)”.

They said the data appeared to be accurate and was from about five years ago.

Toby Shapshak from StuffSA said on Talk Radio 702’s The Money Show on Tuesday night that the data had very personal, sensitive information and, even though it was from a few years ago, information such as ID numbers and employment history did not change.

He described it as terrifying and South Africans should panic because anyone intent on stealing identities can easily access, buy and use the data.

Source: News24

Nigeria:Senate Urges Govt, States to Adopt CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme

By Ahuraka Isah and Solomon Ayado

Abuja — Senate yesterday urged government at all levels to adopt Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN in order to address the problem of food security and poverty eradication in the country.

It, however, mandated its Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to investigate the circumstances surrounding the delay in extending this laudable intervention programme to other states and the FCT.

Similarly, the upper legislative chamber directed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Presidential Committee on Rice Production and other agencies concerned to sustain the momentum in states where the programme is already launched.

These were sequel to a motion, titled, “The Anchor Borrowers Programme and its benefits to farmers”, sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sha’aba Lafiagi (APC Kwara North).

Senator Lafiagi said the senate was aware that “the CBN in line with its developmental function established the Anchor Borrowers Programme which is intended to create a linkage between anchor companies involved in processing of key agricultural commodities and small holders farmers.”

He expressed worry about the unpredictable price of crude oil and its resultant effect on the revenue profile of the country, and therefore stressed the need to boost agricultural production and non-oil exports in order to diversify the economy from solely depending on oil revenue.

The lawmaker further said, “There is need to create economic linkage between small holder farmers and reputable large processors with a view to increasing agricultural output.”

Similarly, he said it was important to assist rural smallholder farmers to grow from subsistence to commercial production in order to reduce agricultural commodity importation and conserve external reserve and also increase capital utilization of agricultural firms.

According to him, “The thrust of the programme is the provision of farm inputs in kind and cash (for farm labour) to small holder farmers to boost production of these selected commodities, stabilize inputs to agro-processors and create a new generation of farmers/entrepreneurs thereby assuring employment.”

Senator Lafiagi added that “loans granted to the smallholder farmers under this programme are to be repaid with harvested produce delivered to the anchor and must cover the loan principal and interest which must not be above 9 per cent per annum.”

He noted that the CBN and the Presidential Committee on Rice Production launched the programme in some states like Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Imo and Cross River which has led to massive production and exportation of rice in 2017.

The former Kwara State governor also stated that “the programme has led to massive cultivation, self- sufficiency in food production and job creation for the unemployed youth through farming in the selected states where the programme is being practiced.”

In his contribution, the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan maintained that agriculture remains the surest way to fight poverty and ensure peace and security in the country.

He, therefore, advised that the Anchor Borrowers Programme should be targeted at smallholder farmers across the country, saying that “if this is done, there will be employment to better the lives of various families.”

Senator Lawan added that the programme should be left for farmers who have no access to loans and funds to embark on commercial farming so that its impact could be felt in the country.

Also contributing, Senator Barau Jibril (APC Kano North) said apart from food security, the problem of inadequate raw materials for industries in the country would become a thing of the past if the programme is extended to every state.

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, in his remarks said agriculture could still become the mainstay of the nation’s economy if given top priority.

Angola:Bié Government to Boost Agricultural Production

Cuito — The government of the central Bié province intends to boost the agricultural production campaign (2017/2018) by making available more tractors and ploughs to the peasants with view to achieving better results.

Speaking to Angop on Thursday in Cuito city, the provincial governor, Boavida Neto, seized the opportunity to announce the opening of the agricultural season set for October 30, in Cuemba municipality, reassuring the strong bet on a mechanized agriculture.

The local government has been preparaing the current agricultural season since August this year, enhancing the peasants with agricultural tools and mechanized means to support them.

The official recalled that last August, the minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Marcos Nhunga had handed over seven tractors, 50 carts, 30 tons of varied seeds, 10 ploughs, 5.000 tons of fertilizers, 778 cutlasses and 1000 axes.

The Agriculture and Rural Development sector in Bíe controls 55 cooperatives and 418 peasants associations that count on the assistance of the government.

The previous agricultural campaign covered 1.850 hectares of arable lands, representing an increase of more 1000 space cultivated before the mentioned period in the municipalities of Cuito, Camacupa, Catabola, Chitembo, Cunhinga, Cuemba, Nhârea, Chinguar and Andulo.

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Angola: Cunene – Red Cross Presents Contingency Project

Ondjiva — A continence project to improve food security and mitigate the effects of climate change in rural areas was presented Thursday in Ondjiva by the coordination of the Red Cross of Angola (CVA) in the province of Cunene.

The project presentation, which was attended by the deputy governor of the Cunene for the Political and Social Sector, Albertina José, aims to allocate technical subsidies and support in seeds and means of work to the farmer, as well as to educate rural communities about the decrease effects of climate change on the crops.

According to the project coordinator of the “CVA” in Cunene, José Zeca Tchipilika, the project, which has the support of the Spanish Red Cross and the Angolan government, is budgeted at USD 200,000 and lasts for two years and will assist 123 families in the rural areas of the province.

Alberitina José said that such programs are welcome because climate change has created situations of desperation for families, and the government has been working on education and action to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Angola

Bié Government to Boost Agricultural Production

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Tanzania: One Killed, Another Cheats Death Following Mine Accident in Geita

By Geofrey Kimani

Geita — A small-scale miner has been killed after he was trapped in a collapsed mine at Lwamgasa Village in Geita Rural District on Tuesday.

The body of the victim was found Thursday following rescue efforts.

Eyewitnesses said two artisanal miners were trapped in the mine pit at Bingwa mining grounds.

The two were Musa Everest, 19, who was rescued alive and Fikiri Paulo, 27, whose body was retrieved Thursday, October 12.

Lwamgasa Ward Councilor Joseph Saesembe told The Citizen on Thursday, October 12, that on the material day, the incident occurred at 11pm.

“The two miners were trapped as they continued with mining while underground,” he said

Efforts to rescue the trapped miners according to Saesembe was made by the artisan miners.

He noted that the artisanal miners used crude tools for the rescue operation, thus taking too long to get down to where the body was.

Mr Saesembe explained that the management team at the Bingwa Gold Mine together with the owner of the mining grounds, Mr Kazimoto Mkondo, disappeared into the unknown immediately after the incident.

However, he has ordered the minerals office in the region to make regular supervision at mining plots in order to ensure safety.

“Most of the small-scale miners have little knowledge concerning safety of the mining pits,” he said

Mr Fikiri, who survived in the accident, said that the pit caved in suddenly as they were heading underground.

Geita Region acting mineral officer Godfrey Kiraka noted that a team of geologists has been dispatched to Bingwa mines to inspect what could have caused the mining pit to cave in.

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Tanzania:One Killed, Another Cheats Death Following Mine Accident in Geita

By Geofrey Kimani

Geita — A small-scale miner has been killed after he was trapped in a collapsed mine at Lwamgasa Village in Geita Rural District on Tuesday.

The body of the victim was found Thursday following rescue efforts.

Eyewitnesses said two artisanal miners were trapped in the mine pit at Bingwa mining grounds.

The two were Musa Everest, 19, who was rescued alive and Fikiri Paulo, 27, whose body was retrieved Thursday, October 12.

Lwamgasa Ward Councilor Joseph Saesembe told The Citizen on Thursday, October 12, that on the material day, the incident occurred at 11pm.

“The two miners were trapped as they continued with mining while underground,” he said

Efforts to rescue the trapped miners according to Saesembe was made by the artisan miners.

He noted that the artisanal miners used crude tools for the rescue operation, thus taking too long to get down to where the body was.

Mr Saesembe explained that the management team at the Bingwa Gold Mine together with the owner of the mining grounds, Mr Kazimoto Mkondo, disappeared into the unknown immediately after the incident.

However, he has ordered the minerals office in the region to make regular supervision at mining plots in order to ensure safety.

“Most of the small-scale miners have little knowledge concerning safety of the mining pits,” he said

Mr Fikiri, who survived in the accident, said that the pit caved in suddenly as they were heading underground.

Geita Region acting mineral officer Godfrey Kiraka noted that a team of geologists has been dispatched to Bingwa mines to inspect what could have caused the mining pit to cave in.

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Make Family Promotion Part of Daily Lives – First Lady

By Athan Tashobya

The First Lady, Mrs Jeannette Kagame, has urged government leaders to take family promotion and health as part of governance programmes in order to sustain future aspirations.

While officiating at the launch of a two-month Integrated Governance and Family Promotion Campaign in Kirehe District, yesterday, Mrs Kagame observed that despite efforts already made to promote decent family practices, it is imperative to make good governance and family promotion “part of our daily lives.”

The event brought together different government officials, development partners as well as thousands of Kirehe residents and those from neighbouring areas.

“The Rwanda we want is a transformed country where we see notable changes in people’s lives. It is, therefore, very important that we take into account every aspect of our people’s lives in a broader perspective,” the First Lady said.

“Programmes on family promotion, governance and health are complementary for inclusive development. That’s how Rwanda’s leadership want them to be.”

The five weeks drive is dedicated to a number of activities including: health awareness campaign (Heath Week), gender equality and reproductive health education programmes, in addition to governance and family promotion sensitisation.

Gender and Family Promotion minister Esperance Nyirasafari noted that such a campaign would help find solutions to complex issues affecting families.

Minister Nyirasafari said similar previous campaigns led to the construction of 40 early childhood development centres across the country, while 13 girls who dropped out of school were enrolled into vocational training colleges and offered startup capital.

Up to 12,632 couples, who were not formally married were encouraged to formalise their marital status.

Meanwhile, the Health Week targets to extend family planning services to over 25,000 women, in addition to offering free measles and Rubella vaccinations, according to the Ministry of Health.

The First Lady urged parents against abdicating child upbringing to government, but rather take first responsibility in ensuring that youngsters get proper feeding alongside other basic necessities to allow them to grow in full capacities.

“Let’s find time to talk about our children’s education, let’s provide them with all they need to grow and study well,” she said.

Mrs Kagame also challenged the youth to be cautious of their lives and make positive choices, for they may represent what they would become in future.

She also witnessed “Umuhango wo kworozanya” where beneficiaries of Girinka donated cows to their neighbours.

Girinka is a government scheme under which the poor receive cows.

One UN Rwanda representative Fode Ndiaye commended the government’s role in fostering socio-economic transformation of rural women, emphasising their role in not only providing for their families but also contributing to the communal and global food security-since the majority are farmers.

Over 100,000 Farmers Benefit From Aga Khan Foundation Support

By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam — As the Aga Khan celebrates 60 years of leadership and his Diamond Jubilee, more than 100,000 Tanzanian famers in Mtwara and Lindi regions have been beneficiaries through the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) since 2009.

Through the AKF Coastal Rural Support Programme, farmers have improved their productivity through technical innovation in rice and sesame seed yields.

The AKF is one of the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network that seeks to improve the quality of life of the citizens in the countries they operate in.

AKF Chief Executive Officer Abid Malik said on Tuesday October 10, when speaking to The Citizen that through support from the AKF farmers had improved their incomes, pay schools and open small businesses.

“The AKF works in partnership with government agencies by bringing together the required human, financial and technical resources needed to strengthen institutions and systems and influence key stakeholders. AKF has built trust with local government, communities, and private sector, which is essential for the Foundation to maximize its reach,” he said.

He noted that over time, these regions were seeing an increase in output, income, savings, food security and growth of small agri-businesses by local entrepreneurs.

In 2014 more than 60 per cent of households were classified as food secure compared to 27 per cent in 2010 in programme areas. More than 200 micro, small and medium agri-business enterprises are being supported by the AKF to grow their businesses.

Many farmers in Tanzania struggle with access to information to help improve farming.

He said AKF had increased demand for seed, fertilisers, appropriate pesticides and environmentally sustainable technologies (pedal pumps, drip irrigation and greenhouses) by facilitating demonstration plots and exchange visits, while teaching good agricultural practices among farmers.

There is great unmet domestic demand for many agricultural commodities and products that could be produced in Tanzania.

This supply and demand gap offers potential for transformation of agriculture into a more sustainable, inclusive, efficient and market-responsive sector with a larger share in the GDP if smallholder farmers, particularly women farmers, are better integrated into domestic and export markets both as consumers of agricultural inputs (such as seeds and fertilisers) and sellers of their agricultural produce.

Such transformation will have an impact on poverty reduction, while also fuelling economic growth.

“The AKF through its work with smallholder farmers and other value chain actors is supporting this transformation,” said Mr Malik.

As a result, farmers have increased productivity and income. Under an entrepreneurship programme, the AFK has trained 257 existing and potential village based agents, of which 177 are now operating trading agro-input supply businesses.

To date the AKF has added considerable value to the lives of small-holder farmers. There is hope for the AKF to continue providing such support across Tanzania.

It is with this hope that His Highness the Aga Khan’s visit to Tanzania is expected to continue fostering and bolstering ties between the AKDN agencies and the work they do in the country.

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