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Posts tagged ‘African’

Angelique Kidjo at Rio

Angélique Kidjo at Rio Theatre – June 19

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A true transnational artist, Angélique Kidjo’s African roots reflect brightly throughout her music. Heavily influenced by South African legend Miriam Makeba, Kidjo also absorbed the influences of the American popular artists from her youth, such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Jimi Hendrix.

In the ’80s, she was among a new wave of African performers blending Western pop music with traditional African forms. The creative result was a revitalized world music, both entertaining and socially conscious. Her latest recording, named for her mother, Eve, honors all the women of Africa and puts Angélique’s strong voice back in the spotlight where she belongs. Dance space available!

Thursday, June 19, 7:30 pm – Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

The Lion Lady

Gabriel –

I think I’m starting to be known as “that Lion Lady”. First, I started a petition to get a restaurant in Kansas to stop serving lion meat (we won!), and then I started another to get the FDA to ban lion meat throughout the country. But I can’t help it — I do this all because lions’ very existence is at risk.

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Now, I’m ecstatic: we have an unprecedented chance to save African lions by getting them on the Endangered Species List. Listing them would not only keep lion meat off American plates but would save thousands of lions by addressing one of the biggest threats to the African lion population — trophy hunting.

But just like restaurateurs opposed my petition to get lion meat out of a Kansas restaurant, wealthy American hunters are fighting to keep African lions off the Endangered Species List so they can continue to bring their bodies home as trophies. Our time is short — the government body in charge of the list is factoring public opinion into its decision and the public comment period ends on Monday.

That’s why I started a new petition on Change.org calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to bow to pressure from hunters and to place the African lion on the Endangered Species List. Click here to sign my petition now.

In the past fifty years, the African lion population declined by as much as 90%. Many of the lion prides that do exist today are so genetically weak from being small and isolated by international borders that they can’t promise a future for African lions.

Legal trophy hunting is a major cause of African lions’ decline — and two thirds of the African lions killed by trophy hunters end up in the U.S. That’s thousands of lions!

Americans hold the key to saving the African lion. An Endangered Species listing would ban any lion parts or bodies from being imported into the U.S. — a huge deterrent to hunters who want to go on safari and bring back a trophy — as well as stop the sale of lion meat nationwide.

Click here to sign my petition, calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate the African lion as an endangered species now before its public comment period ends on Monday.

Thank you.

Cheryl Semcer (aka “The Lion Lady”!)
Hoboken, New Jersey
Change.org

Mammal Friends Murdered

About the Ivory
From Bloody Ivory.org

In 1979 there were an estimated 1.3 million African elephants. A decade later, widespread poaching had reduced that figure by half. Just 600,000 African elephants remained.

Africa’s savannahs and forests were no longer sanctuaries for elephants; they had been turned into graveyards.

In 1989, a worldwide ban on ivory trade was approved by CITES. Levels of poaching fell dramatically, and black market prices of ivory slumped.

CITES had saved the African elephant. Or had it?

Since 1997, there have been sustained attempts by certain countries to overturn the ban. In 1999, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were allowed an ‘experimental one-off sale’ of over 49,000kg of ivory to Japan. Then in 2002, a further one off-sale was approved, which finally took place in 2008 – and resulted in 105,000kg of ivory being shipped to China and Japan.

Today, levels of poaching and illegal trade are spiralling out of control once again. In many areas, rates of poaching are now the worst they have been since 1989. In 2009, over 20,000kg of ivory was seized by police and customs authorities worldwide and in 2011, just thirteen of the largest seizures amounted to over 23,000kg. Countries continue to report localised extinctions of small vulnerable elephant populations and a number of range States (countries which have elephants) are edging closer to losing all their remaining elephants.

March 2010

Despite this, at CITES’ Fifteenth Conference of the Parties in March 2010, Tanzania and Zambia tried to reduce the level of protection their elephants are afforded and also sought approval for a one-off sale of over 110,000kg of ivory to China and Japan. Although their Proposals were in direct contravention of the spirit a nine-year moratorium on ivory trade, agreed by all range States in 2007, the final wording of that moratorium unfortunately had a loophole which Tanzania and Zambia tried to exploit.

Many feared that if approved, the ivory sale would again increase demand for ivory in the Far East and endanger the future survival of many of Africa’s more fragile elephant populations that simply could not withstand any more poaching pressure.

Due to the hard work of many, including the African Elephant Coalition (formed of 23 African elephant range States), CITES rejected both Tanzania’s and Zambia’s Proposals.

March 2013

Once again, at CITES’ Sixteenth Conference of the Parties in March next year, Tanzania is seeking approval to sell ivory – over 101,000kg of it. This despite losing almost a quarter of it’s elephant population between 2006 and 2009 and authorities seizing 19,800kg of ivory originating in or exported from Tanzania between 2009 and 2011. Once again elephants need your help.

Bloody Ivory.org is intended to be a central portal of information about ivory trade, elephant poaching and the impact of CITES on Africa’s elephants. It provides you with a voice to join in the battle to protect elephants, who still need your support to stop the trade in their ivory.

Say NO to the ivory trade and spread the word!

Uganda Village Banking

From FINCA (Foundation for International Community Assistance)

Celebrating 20 Years of Village Banking in Uganda!

FINCA Uganda, the first FINCA Subsidiary launched on the African continent in 1992 is celebrating 20 years of providing life-changing financial services to both urban and rural clients throughout the country. So it was fitting that, as a show of appreciation, FINCA Uganda returned to communities in which it operates, especially its inaugural community of Jinja, by providing clients and their families with access to free health screenings and hands-on care.

So far about 10 of such events have been carried out at its branches in partnership with AAR Health Services, where they have provided, among other services, voluntary HIV/AIDs testing and counseling, body mass checkups, blood pressure testing, nutrition counseling, family planning methods and HIV/AIDs control measures, as well as general health consultations, all at no cost. The health screenings have been open to FINCA Uganda’s clients and their families as well as to entire communities.

FINCA Uganda’s Marketing Manager, Simon Ahimbisibwe, said that Jinja holds a special place in FINCA Uganda’s history as it was the location of the subsidiary’s first branch.

“At FINCA Uganda, we believe that a healthy body makes for healthy banking; that is why we brought these services to the people free of charge,” Mr. Ahimbisibwe said. “We will continue to engage in such services that impact the lives of our clients positively, especially as these services are sometimes not easily accessed, mainly due to logistical challenges”.

FINCA Uganda currently serves more than 54,400 clients through a wide variety of products and services including Village Bank Group Loans, Solidarity (Small Group) Loans, Individual Loans, Local Currency Loans, Savings, Money Transfers and Insurance. More than 3,000 Village Banking groups can be found throughout its service areas, and loans average $395. FINCA Uganda employs more than 570 men and women who mainly come from the local communities, and is recognized as one of the local financial services industry’s top employers.

FINCA Uganda holds the distinction of being the first Microfinance Deposit Taking Institution (MDI) to be licensed by the Ugandan Central Bank in 2004, and is able to offer services that include savings, loans and money transfers at all of its 27 branches country wide.

FINCA Uganda also holds the distinction as being one of FINCA International’s primary programs to pilot new products and services, and has successfully implemented ATM services, a solar energy loan product, and youth-focused savings programs including Smart Start and StarGirl. Both savings programs target youth aged 10-24, providing education about the importance of savings as well as additional life skills such as soap and candle making and other handicrafts.

A Birthday Like No Other

A BIG birthday at the ROP
Posted on June 25, 2012 by Sean
From ROP Stories

Every June 16th Africa celebrates the International Day of the African Child, a day for people within the continent celebrate and honor children of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. Last year we were honored when the government ask us to host their celebration at the ROP Center.

This year, however, we wanted the day to be all about our children, and we wanted to do something extra special for them. You see, most of our boys don’t know the day they were born. In fact, many don’t even know with certainty which year they were born. Because of this we decided that we wanted to make June 16th the birthday for every child at the Center and start by celebrating it this year. Now we just needed to scrape together some money for the event. We tapped local businesses for donations but unfortunately none of them came through for us. But just a couple of weeks before (when panic was beginning to set in) our fantastic donor Line from Norway, and her organization Metamorfose, came through for our boys once again. She told us that she would pay for catering for all the boys and staff to enjoy as well as paying for the Kwetu Film Institute to bring us a GIANT movie screen to watch films on in the evening. Obviously we were thrilled now that it was all coming together. We didn’t tell the boys anything about a party. We only told them the day before that we were having some visitors coming the next day so they needed to be prepared.

Saturday arrived and Jenny and I arrived at the Center in the morning with crates of drinks. The boys started asking what was going on, but all the staff were tight-lipped. We gathered everyone in the dining hall and let them just sit and wait for several minutes before Elizabeth and Alex, two of our staff, came rushing in with buckets of water and began splashing all the boys (a Rwandan birthday tradition). They all took off running, wondering what the heck was going on.

Now that the boys knew something was up it was time to tell them the true reason we gathered them all together. Jenny and I reminded the boys about the Day of the African Child and informed them that it was now the official birthday of all the boys in the Center. We told them there would be dancing, singing, food and plenty of fun, all capped off with some films on a very big screen outside. As you can imagine they were all very excited.

So as the day went on we had dancing competitions, some boys read poems and sang songs they had written. We shared food, gave out all sorts of goodies like marbles and sweets, and waited for the sun to go down. When it was dark we showed two films; first a version of Cinderella that was in Kinyarwanda, their native language, followed by Africa United, a hugely popular kids movie about four struggling children trying to make their way from Rwanda to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. We ended the night with some Charlie Chaplin films, which are easy to understand and universally funny for anyone of any age and culture.

When it finally got dark Jenny broke out one last surprise for the boys. She had collected dozens of glow in the dark bracelets and had been saving them for an important occasion. This was the perfect time, but before we handed them out I had to show them how they worked and explain to them that they weren’t allowed to break them open or put them in their mouths. When I cracked the first one and it became luminous a wave of “wowwww” came from the group. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on them and were fascinated with this new novelty.

Finally it was finally time to show the films. Some boys sat on benches and chairs while the small boys laid out on the freshly cut grass.

Read entire story and see more photos at ROP Stories.

Religious Leaders Reject Violence

African Council of Religious Leaders
Religions of Peace
24th November 2011
Marrakech, Morocco

Mid-East and North Africa Religious Leaders Reject Violence And Call for “Contracts of Mutual Care” Among Abrahamic Faiths

Marrakech, Morocco — Senior religious leaders from the Middle East and North Africa rejected violence and called for deepened multi-religious collaboration as the region undergoes historic transformations.

The religious leaders and representatives, from Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Iraq, Palestine, Turkey, Kenya were convened by the Religions for Peace Middle East and North Africa Council. They were joined by representatives from the United Nations (UN), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Islamic Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). Other participants came from US, Japan, Peru, France, Nigeria and Norway, and were joined by the representatives of the African Council of Religious Leaders, European Council of Religious Leaders, Latin American Council of religious Leaders and the Asian Council of Religious Leaders.

The participants reiterated the urgent and irreplaceable importance of enabling the historic faiths in the region—Islam, Christianity and Judaism—to work together for the common good of the people in the region.

Calling on the religious and faith communities to “unite on the basis of shared values,” the President of the United Nations General Assembly H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser noted in his message that this was the only way to “build flourishing communities committed to just peace across the region”. He noted that the religions in MENA “continue to shape the hearts and minds of millions across the region.”

While condemning fanatics and extremists who call for, and cause violent confrontations in the region, the Secretary General of the OIC H.E. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu noted that these conflicts had nothing to do with religion, but rather its mis-use.

The Director General of ISESCO Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri condemned the manipulation of religion for political ends. He cautioned those who interpreted the scriptures out of their historical context, stating that this was a dangerous trend that should be stopped. Terming the Religions for Peace North Africa and Middle East Council as „needed‟ in the region, Dr. Altwaijri asked everyone to support this regional body. He lauded Religions for Peace for helping the religious leaders in establishing the body.

Presenting during the meeting, Prof. Mohammed Sammak proposed for the introduction of a Muslim-Christian Contract as a first step in the establishment of „contracts of mutual care‟ among the Abrahamic faiths. Prof. Sammak, who is also the Co-President of Religions for Peace International stated that the destiny of the Middle East and North Africa peoples was inseparable. Prof. Sammak noted with disappointment the dwindling population of Christians in the region, and called on the Muslims in to reverse this trend by protecting the Christian minorities. Prof. Sammak described as total violation of the Shariah, Ahadith and the Constitution the burning of places of worship.

The High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations H.E. President Jorge Sampaio noted with satisfaction the initiatives taken by Religions for Peace International in strengthening inter-religious dialogue in the MENA region, calling it one of the most important ways to secure just peace and dignity for the people of the region. Introducing the MENA Council, Religions for Peace International Secretary General Dr. William Vendley, who also serves as its Interim Secretary General, thanked the religious leaders for taking bold steps to engage in dialogue and practical ways to strengthen multi-religious cooperation in the region. The Mufti of Jerusalem H.E. Imam Mohammed Hussein called for co-existence and dignified life for all people in the Holy Land.

The MENA Council meeting comes in the backdrop of political transformations, violence and instability in the Arab World. The religious leaders, through the MENA Council are taking steps to prevent mis-use of religion as the region undergoes these transformations by working together and strengthening the multi-religious platform.
The theme of the meeting was „Engaging Historic Faiths to Advance the Common Good in the Middle East and North Africa‟. Secretaries Generals of the African Council of Religious Leaders, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, European Council of Religious Leaders Mr. Stein Villumstad, Latin America Mr. Elias S. and Deputy Secretary General of the Asia Conference Religions and Peace Rev. Hatakeyama Yoshitaka were in attendance.

For further information Contact
Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali
Secretary General,
African Council of Religious Leaders
The African Council of Religious Leaders,
25 Othaya Road, off Gitanga Road:
P.O. Box 76398 – 00508, Nairobi, Kenya,
Tel: +254 20 3862233 / 3867879: Fax: +254 20 3867879
Cell Phones: +254 727531170 / +254 737531170:
Email: secretariat@acrl-rfp.org

Day of African Child

From Amakuru: News from the Rwandan Orphans Project.

ROP Hosts “International Day of the African Child” Event for Rwandan Government

The ROP was surprised but pleased to be chosen to host the celebration ceremony for the International Day of the African Child on June 19th, 2011. There are many centers for vulnerable children in our district, so to be chosen over all of them meant they see ROP as a top program.,That is something we are very proud of. Our joy was only tempered by the fact that we only had a week to prepare.
But as always the ROP family came together and worked extremely hard painting rooms, cleaning the grounds, landscaping and doing whatever else needed to be done so the ROP Center would look its best for the guests and officials from the government who were due to attend.

The big day arrived and the Center was in top shape. The children of the ROP dressed up in their nicest clothes, all except the football and rugby club players, who wanted to show off their team uniforms.

During the ceremony various guests spoke about the strife of orphans and vulnerable children in Rwanda and how well programs like the ROP were working to improve their lives and provide them with a future. Celestin Mitabu, the ROP Center director, pleaded for the government to get more involved in the work of organizations like ours. Sean Jones, ROP coordinator presented certificates of achievement to three of the six students that graduated the ROP program last year who received full university scholarships from the Rwandan government. The children were also treated to songs and dances performed by their fellow residents and children from other centers as well as each receiving a Fanta as a treat from the Mayor.

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