Erykah Badu will perform at London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith for one night only on 6 July 2017
Erykah Badu will perform at London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith for one night only on 6 July 2017
Poet Adwoa Asiedu’s ‘Black Queen’ has been featured in Ten2teens Magazine-Inspiring to change perceptions. Read the full version below. The poem can also be found in From Within Volume 1 available on Amazon
Black Queen Copyright© 2013 Adwoa Asiedu All Rights Reserved
Say Hello to a black Queen who is proud to be who she is.
I’ll tell you why I love being a black woman:
A black woman is full of beauty
A black woman is full of fire
A black woman exudes boldness
A black woman has inner strength.
She isn’t afraid to speak her mind
But she is wiser than what your eyes see
A black woman is a fighter
A black woman is a warrior
A black woman is powerful
A black woman is complete
Yes it is who we are.
We are all that.
Embrace being a black woman.
You were made to be great,
You were destined to be influential,
Now is the time to manifest our presence
Raise your hands up in the sky
Now is my time. Now Go.
It was a meeting of nerds and sharks.
The self-described “biotech nerds” and “robotic nerds” were seven high school students from Washington, D.C. The eight teens who call themselves “sharks” and flew in from Ghana. “The shark is a big fish so it means you’re big. Knowledgeable,” explains Stephanie Obbo of Ghana, an aspiring medical doctor.
Together, the 15 high schoolers formed a team for the first World Smarts STEM Challenge. That’s a science competition run by IREX, a global development nonprofit that strives to promote student enthusiasm for science, tech, engineering and math (aka STEM). Each of the 17 teams had teenagers in the D.C. area partnering with Ghanaians to identify and solve a real-world problem. NPR’s Goats and Soda followed “Team McKwiny” — a name that blends D.C.’s McKinley Technology High School and Winneba Senior High School in Ghana.
They had collaborated since September over the internet. The Americans kicked around the idea of minimizing carbon emissions. The Ghanaians wanted to tackle water pollution. They finally agreed to design and build a water purifier.
Both contingents had a personal stake in the project. The McKinley students found high levels of lead in the Anacostia River that flows through Washington, D.C. And the Winneba students in southern Ghana found pesticides, hospital waste, sewage and other pollutants in a nearby lagoon used for fishing and irrigation. And because water shortages cause locals to rely on streams and ponds for clean drinking water, more than 100 cases of cholera swept through a neighboring district just in October 2016.
The Ghanaian teenagers proposed using local materials, like leaves from neem trees, to help filter the water. (The medicinal and antibacterial properties of neem leaves and oil have been studied.) The Americans, with no access to neem leaves, suggested substituting cilantro after learning that it removes lead from water — a property discovered by undergraduate researchers in 2013.
Meeting in person for the first time was a little awkward, since being social mattered at least as much as being scientific. American Miara Bonner, wearing a lab coat and hoop earrings, suggested an icebreaker. “What’s that?” asked the Ghanaians in unison.
A question-and-answer game revealed similarities and differences. “I also don’t like the food at my school,” said Cassell Robinson of McKinley. “We have many tribes and festivals to remember the past and sacrifice animals,” said Winneba junior Stephanie Obbo. Bonner’s jaw dropped. “I did not know any of that.” She remembers thinking, “They hunt. They sacrifice. They don’t teach you that in history!”
Their purification device consisted of four interconnected plastic buckets. In the first chamber, the water is filtered through gravel and sand. Then moringa seeds and neem leaves (or cilantro) in the sedimentation chamber extract particles before the water is boiled in a different chamber and then stored. Team McKwiny tested their treated water samples and said they were able to remove contaminants from both fresh and salt water, meeting World Health Organization standards for safety.
“It opens up my eyes that there are a lot of things that are useful out in the world that I just haven’t found yet,” said McKinley’s Megan Richardson.
The goal of the competition is to encourage that kind of curiosity. Especially because few American students are embracing STEM. “Only about 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career,” said Rebecca Bell Meszaros, associate vice president for education with IREX. “This program is combining STEM and 21st century skills like problem solving, innovation and cross-cultural communication.” She adds that IREX chose to focus the program, made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, in Ghana because the nonprofit has good access to schools with reliable internet.
By Saturday’s final event, American and Ghanaian members of Team McKwiny were whispering into each other’s ears and holding hands. But they didn’t get the grand prize. That went to Team “Big Bang … Brains of the World!” The students had filled ice trays with soil, added copper wire that was coiled around zinc-plated nails and then poured lemon juice on top. Their battery produced enough voltage to light an LED. The team now has a chance to pitch their battery to investors; IREX will match up to $10,000 raised.
“The winning soil battery demystifies energy production and storage at a time when battery storage is evolving faster than ever,” said judge Jim Egenrieder, director of Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region Thinkabit Labs. “And the water filtration system prototype represents what may become part of every household in the future, as we learn to use and reuse precious water resources.”
Team McKwiny came in second and plans to keep going. The Ghanaian students hope to apply for funding from nongovernmental organizations to construct their filter on the outskirts of the Winneba Township. They want to put the first filter near a school where students lack access to clean water and sometimes have no option but to use water shared by livestock.
In the end, the students didn’t just learn about science. The Americans got new insights into life in the developing world. “I didn’t know that there are lagoons that people get their drinking water from — the water that they bathe in and wash their clothes in,” said Miara Bonner, who hopes to one day become an endodontic surgeon. “I don’t like the idea of that. When I heard that, I thought this is the problem we need to focus on.”
And the Ghanaians tossed out their stereotypes of Americans. Belinda Dogbe had the preconception that Americans would be “snobbish, always wanting to be alone, not friendly” — a stereotype that came from Hollywood movies. “I realized we are wrong,” she said. “They are very friendly, they are open. They love to ask questions.”
Sasha Ingber is a multimedia journalist who covers science, culture and foreign affairs for such publications as National Geographic and Smithsonian. She can be reached @SashaIngber
Me Firi GHANA (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)
A new service to help young entrepreneurs get their business ideas up and running has been launched by a Leeds Beckett University graduate.
Obed Yeboah’s new project, ObedsHUB, has been set up to offer practical business support to entrepreneurs aged between 16 and 30. From affordable web development to social media courses and one-to-one business support, ObedsHUB aims to help young people who do not have a big budget to invest in their business ideas to get started on the road to success.
Obed graduated from Leeds Beckett in 2015 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Business Information Technology. During the second year of his degree, Obed began creating an app, CVsnip, with his partner and adviser, Navin Arora. CVsnip aimed to help art and design students and graduates to find employment by showcasing their work within their online job application. Obed has now sold his app to a university which has turned CVsnip into a web application for its creative students to secure jobs.
Obed explained: “I understand that the average start-up fund for young people is between £600 – £1,000. I know this because that is what I had to do to get going with CVsnip. With that budget many young entrepreneurs will not get a well-developed scalable website from developers so I decided to partner with development companies I worked with on CVsnip who are most focused on helping people to do more with less.”
Alongside the practical support offered by ObedsHUB, Obed has established a podcast show, dealing with topics ranging from refining your business idea to creating relationships with people in industry. Young people are also invited to speak on the show about their experiences.
Obed said: “The entire reason why I started ObedsHUB is to address the lack of practical support available to young entrepreneurs. A lot of people have amazing ideas but don’t have the funds so they tend to wait for the perfect moment to start. I challenge this because there will never be a perfect start. All you need to do is to speak to the right people and they will give you the opportunity you need to achieve your goals.”
ObedsHUB has already received an award nomination for commitment to the community, in the Business Launchpad Awards 2017. You can vote for ObedsHUB here and the winners of the awards will be announced on 27 April 2017.
Obed received help from the Enterprise and Innovation Academy for Students at Leeds Beckett when setting up CVsnip. The Academy provided a business adviser through its Placement Year Entrepreneurship Scheme and a Proof of Concept grant of £500 to help with promotion. Stephen Griffiths, Enterprise Development Officer, said: “I remember Obed’s persistence and utmost belief in his product as being the traits that saw him overcome the difficulties he faced in getting the App developed and launched.”
Speaking about the support he received while studying at Leeds Beckett, Obed added: “I received a great deal of support when starting CVsnip. I had help from my Human-Computer Interaction lecturer, my business advisor at the Enterprise and Innovation Academy helped me refine my idea. I also had help from a business support company in London, called Business Launchpad. They taught me how to market on social media and how to deal with developers to ensure I wasn’t taken advantage of because I was young and a rookie.”
Article taken from here
Millions of people are not benefiting from progress, with the gap set to widen unless deep-rooted development barriers, including discrimination and unequal political participation, are tackled.
A quarter-century of impressive human development progress continues to leave many people behind, with systemic, often unmeasured, barriers to catching up. A stronger focus on those excluded and on actions to dismantle these barriers is urgently needed to ensure sustainable human development for all.
These are the findings of the Human Development Report 2016, entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The report finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live in low levels of human development, as measured by the Human Development Index.
“Leaving no one behind needs to become the way we operate as a global community. In order to overcome the barriers that hamper both human development and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, inclusiveness must guide policy choices,” said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, speaking at the launch of the report in Stockholm today, alongside UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the report’s lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office, Selim Jahan.
“The world has come a long way in rolling back extreme poverty, in improving access to education, health and sanitation, and in expanding possibilities for women and girls,” said Helen Clark. “But those gains are a prelude to the next, possibly tougher challenge, to ensure the benefits of global progress reach everyone.”
This is a concern in developed countries too, where poverty and exclusion are also a challenge, with over 300 million people – including more than one-third of all children – living in relative poverty.
Left behind and unable to catch up: systemic discrimination against women, indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, among others
The report notes that not only are deprivations high, but disadvantages disproportionately affect some groups.
“We place too much attention on national averages, which often mask enormous variations in people’s lives,” stated Selim Jahan. “In order to advance, we need to examine more closely not just what has been achieved, but also who has been excluded and why.”
The report shows that in almost every country, several groups face disadvantages that often overlap and reinforce each other, increasing vulnerability, widening the progress gap across generations, and making it harder to catch up as the world moves on.
Women and girls, rural dwellers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, and the LGBTI community are among those systematically excluded by barriers that are not purely economic, but political, social and cultural as well.
In the case of women, the largest of these groups, the report notes that while global gender disparities are narrowing slowly, longstanding patters of exclusion and lack of empowerment for women and girls remain pressing challenges.
Women tend to be poorer, earn less, and have fewer opportunities in most aspects of life than men. In 100 countries, women are legally excluded from some jobs because of their gender, and in 18 countries, women need their husband’s approval to work. Dangerous practices like female genital mutilation and forced marriage continue.
Populations living in rural areas also face multiple barriers. For instance, children from poor rural households attending school are less likely to be learning reading, writing and mathematics.
Moreover, migrants and refugees often face barriers to work, education and political participation and more than 250 million people in the world face discrimination on the basis of their ethnicity, the report notes among other examples.
It is time to face up to deep-rooted barriers to development
“By eliminating deep, persistent, discriminatory social norms and laws, and addressing the unequal access to political participation, which have hindered progress for so many, poverty can be eradicated and a peaceful, just, and sustainable development can be achieved for all,” Helen Clark said.
Marginalized groups often have limited opportunities to influence the institutions and policies that determine their lives. Changing this is central to breaking the vicious circle of exclusion and deprivation.
For example, indigenous peoples account for five percent of the world’s population, but 15 percent of people living in poverty. And members of the LGBTI community cannot actively advocate for their rights when same-sex acts between men are illegal in more than 70 countries.
The report calls for far greater attention to empowering the most marginalized in society, and recognizes the importance of giving them greater voice in decision-making processes.
The report also calls for a more refined analysis to inform actions, including making a shift toward assessing progress in such areas as participation and autonomy. Key data, disaggregated for characteristics such as place, gender, socioeconomic status and ethnicity, is vital to know who is being left behind.
Moreover, the report warns, key development metrics can overstate progress when they focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of development. For instance, girls’ enrolment in primary education has increased, but in half of 53 developing countries with data, the majority of adult women who completed four to six years of primary school are illiterate.
Human development for everyone is attainable
“Despite progress gaps, universal human development is attainable,” said Selim Jahan. “Over the last decades, we have witnessed achievements in human development that were once thought impossible.”
Since 1990, one billion people have escaped extreme poverty, and women’s empowerment has become a mainstream issue: while as recently as the 1990s, very few countries legally protected women from domestic violence, today, 127 countries do.
The report stresses the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to build on these gains, noting that the agenda and human development approach are mutually reinforcing.
The report includes recommendations to reorient policies to ensure progress reaches those furthest behind, and urges reforms of global markets and global institutions to make them more equitable and representative.
The German government has unveiled a plan to help Ghana deal with electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, a major dumping site outside of the capital, Accra. The project aims to protect both workers and the environment.
Young men busy themselves extracting copper from the dumped electronics and other scrap materials so they can resell what the collect. With bare hands, they burn the electronics, which causes a thick black smoke. Though this is a necessity for their business, the smoke makes it difficult for people nearby to breathe.
Agbogbloshie is the hub of electronic waste (e-waste) in West Africa and most of the electronics dumped
at the site are hazardous. The site is notorious for the dangerous manner in which electronic waste is collected and burned. The practice pollutes not only the atmosphere but also nearby bodies of water and is dangerous for the workers.
The German government announced a 20 million euro ($21.5 million) project it says will transform the electronic waste processing system in Accra. It calls for the building of an e-waste recycling facility where materials can be brought and sold and processed safely to the benefit of the local community. The plan was presented at a public event by the German Ambassador to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff.
“The second component of the plan is a health station in Agbogbloshie to support people living there,” he added.
Global and local problem
The UN Environment Program (UNEP) reported in 2015 that 60 to 90 percent of the world’s electronic waste is illegally dumped. In 2014, an estimated 42 million tons of e-waste were generated. But according to UNEP, 85 percent of the e-waste dumped in Ghana and other parts of West Africa is produced in Ghana and West Africa.
The local group City Waste Management is already excited about the initiative and is positioning itself to make the best out of the project.
“We are grateful that the German embassy here in Ghana has come on board to do this with the Ghanaian private sector. We are looking forward to working with them,” said Wendy Ahiayibor, a representative of the company.
The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin is a rollercoaster of a musical that wowed audiences and won awards off-Broadway in New York.
It comes to the Belgrade Theatre Coventry this April, direct from its European premier in London. To celebrate The Voice Newspaper would like to offer you 25% off the cost of your tickets if booked before 5pm on 31 March.
‘First-rate choreography… witty, vivacious, inventive… it’s a lively show, has something to say and is excellently directed, with many witty touches.’ The Guardian
This life-affirming and funny coming-of-age story follows Viveca, a bright girl from a black middle class family in LA, who dreams of becoming a dancer.
It’s a show that’s choc-full of upbeat and memorable songs and genuinely funny and engaging characters, but it’s also full of emotion and poignancy. Choosing to face the conflicts of a changing era in America with optimism rather than anger and revolution, Viveca learns to reconcile the realities of racism and sexism with hope and faith – and by doing so discovers her self-worth.
The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin runs at the Belgrade Theatre from Weds 5 – Sat 15 April and is recommended for ages 13+.
To claim 25% off the cost of your tickets, visit the Belgrade Theatre website and use promo code BUBBLY25 when prompted during the booking process. To take advantage of this offer tickets must be booked by 5pm on 31 March.
Remember ‘British Ghanaians: Lost In Translation’, the feature-length investigative documentary in which Ortis Deley (The Gadget Show, Channel 5) explored the root causes of language endangerment within the the Ghanaian community in London? Well the director, writer and producer Pamela Sakyi is planning a sequel and she needs your help.
Ortis Must Go! is a campaign to help take one man on a journey of self-discovery and cultural preservation, through appreciation for his mother’s language, Twi, a colourful language which comes from Ghana. The sequel will be filmed in Ghana and will address the following issues:
Ortis will also have the opportunity to rediscover his roots more deeply and find out just how important knowing the languages are, for people of Ghanaian descent. Pamela and her team need to raise £6000 by the campaign deadline of APRIL 30th 2017.
So please SUPPORT, DONATE & SHARE THIS LINK TODAY:
Lets all help make Ortis Must Go! a reality!
The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) is deeply dismayed by reports that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has nominated an additional 54 people to serve as ministers or deputies to the various ministries. When confirmed by Parliament, as they are more than likely to, that would bring the total number of ministers and deputy ministers appointed so far in the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government to an unprecedented 110.
oversized ministerial teams. The United States, a larger and more economically and financially complex country has approximately 46 ministers. Similarly, India, a country of some 1.3 billion has 75 ministers. It is being argued that the large ministerial team will bring more focus, supervision, and efficiency to President Akufo-Addo’s ambitious governance and socio-economic plans. In the Center’s view, this argument is weak, as there is no proven relationship between a large government and a well-governed, prosperous society. In addition, there is no correlation or causation between the large retinue of political heads and political/socio-economic transformation. What is clear and certain is that, a smaller government is a cost saving measure that signals a high level of discipline and focus of a government that wants to protect the public purse.
Second, the appointments betray inadequate sensitivity to the weak fiscal condition of the country today, as it flies in the face of the President’s promise to protect the public purse. It is difficult to see how appointing such a large number of ministers, who will all be on ministerial salaries and benefits, can possibly amount to the promise of protecting the public purse. Indeed, a reduction in the cost of running government, including appointing the minimum number of ministers required by the Constitution, particularly those drawn from Parliament, was one of the list of 10 actions CDD-Ghana urged the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government to undertake in its first year.
To be sure, the president’s appointment of as many as 50 ministers and 60 deputies may have been made in strict conformity with the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and long-standing practices in Ghana’s 4th Republic. However, in the exercise of his legitimate discretionary authority, President Akufo-Addo would have been better served by heeding to the admonition in 1st Corinthians, 10:23: “I have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but not everything is constructive.”
In this instance, the Center wishes President Nana Akufo-Addo had taken a lesson from the examples of Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and John Magafuli of Tanzania who significantly downsized the size of their governments to signify “change” upon assumption of office – instead of lowering the bar of unwisely ministerial size and government in Ghana’s 4th Republic.