Month: June 2018

Group calls on FG to shelve N179bn plan to set up ranches

A group known as the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has rebuffed the Federal Government’s plan to spend N179bn to set up ranches across the country for herdsmen in 10 years, starting with a N70bn budget under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. In a statement by the group’s spokesmen, Mr. Yinka Odumakin for Southwest; Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South); Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South East); and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt); they urged the government to drop the idea of committing public funds on ranches and allow the owners of the business to attend to their needs in the spirit of “I belong to everybody” mantra of the President. The leaders warned that going ahead with the project would create the impression that the herders own the current administration and, such develop

How Sierra Leone is beating tropical diseases

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SIXTEEN years ago Hannah Taylor woke up with a fever. Her legs began to swell to four times their normal size. They have been that way since. People shunned her because of their putrid smell. “For six years, I thought my big fut was caused by evil witchcraft,” she said outside her shack in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) ailing her was caused by a mosquito-born infection that could have been treated safely with a pill costing no more than $0.50 before it progressed. Instead, microscopic worms infested her body, causing catastrophic and irreversible damage. Elephantiasis is one of 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect 1.5bn people, disabling children and keeping multitudes poor. Huge progress has been made against these disease

Bridge Academies battles its enemies

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“BRIDGE is unauthorised and illegal,” says Wilson Sossion, the secretary-general of the Kenya National Union of Teachers. “The curriculum they teach and the medium they use are not approved. The teachers are untrained and unqualified. They should be closed down.” Bridge International Academies is the world’s most controversial low-cost for-profit chain of schools. It has raised about $140m in investment from the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-investment arm of the World Bank. Some 120,000 children are enrolled in its schools in Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria and India. It gets results: in Kenya, its biggest market, costs per pupil are $190 a year (parents pay an average of $84 a year), compared with $313 in government s

Elite private schools are booming in Kenya

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LAST year stories appeared in the press, illustrated by pictures of bloody clothing, of an initiation ceremony at Alliance High School outside Nairobi, in which boys were beaten and made to lie on the founders’ graves. The country was shocked, in part because Alliance is regarded as one of the country’s top schools, and the headmaster resigned. The scandal has hastened a shift that is changing Kenyan education. Alliance, which sits in wooded grounds in Kikuyu, a small town north-west of Nairobi, was founded in 1926 by missionaries to educate bright Africans and, by selecting boys from all the country’s regions and tribes, to build a country. After independence in 1963 it became one of Kenya’s “national” schools, similar to Britain’s selective state “grammar” schools. Eight ministers in