Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
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Konza Technology City

The Rise of an African Tiger Economy

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Cellphones to Africa

‪Cindy: The Promise of Africa’s Future‬

‪The Making of an African Activist‬

Taps and Toilets

Africa Futures Project

Occupy South Africa

Paul Collier on why sub-Saharan Africa is falling behind

Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa: Partnering for Growth

“End Of The Wicked” - sermon by Helen Ukpabio

‪Nnedi Okorafor on The Africa Channel’s “Behind the Words” Part 1‬




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Location Topics




Religion that causes violence

by Leo Igwe

For sometime now, humanists have preoccupied themselves with what I call the 'debate of the mind'. Atheists and skeptics have articulated excellent, awakening, enlightening and ground breaking ideas, debating the existence of god, debunking miracles, and questioning dogmas. Humanists have written best selling books. And indeed, some non theists have best selling ideas. But there is a tendency for humanists to focus so much on the debate of the mind or to be contented with the victories they have recorded, forgetting that the debate of the mind is not the entire debate, forgetting that there is another important debate. That is the debate of the heart.



Aid Organizations Working in Ebola Regions (Aug 17th)

by Kelly Hills

Last night, Ian Mackay posted this very disturbing logistics/supply chain chart, showing that some personal protective equipment stock in countries battling Ebola are at “zero” – and have been for a while. Articles from the and New York Times bleakly illustrate just how bad the situation has become.



No, American Doctors, You Don’t Need Tyvek In Case of Ebola

by Kelly Hills

One of the more interesting aspects of the constant media coverage of the latest Ebola outbreak has been watching how developed nations like the United States, Britain, and Canada assume that the entire world is Just Like Them. The Seattle Times had a charming example of this yesterday, with American doctors questioning the CDC guidelines for how to care for an Ebola patient in America. An example of the ignorance on display comes from Tulsa, Oklahoma emergency physician Justin Fairless, who says that health care workers in West African nations…



The British should speak out against UK witch hunts by African Pentecostalists

by Leo Igwe

Nigeria’s notorious witch hunter, Helen Ukpabio, is suing for libel both the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network(WHRIN). In this she is, as in other matters, a repeat offender. All British campaigners for children’s rights, and especially humanists and secularists will not stand for the spread of African Pentacostalist witch hunts to the UK.



While the world watches Ebola, Meningitis continues to kill in West Africa

by Andrew Maynard

“This year alone, there have been 17,000 cases of meningitis in Nigeria, with nearly 1,000 deaths”. It’s a statement that jumped out at me watching a video from this summer’s Aspen Ideas Festival by my former University of Michigan Public Health student Utibe Effiong.



Witch hunts, Misogyny and the Imperative of Enlightenment in Black Communities

by Leo Igwe

If one hates a woman and wants to get rid of her; if a person dislikes particularly an elderly female member of the family and wants to destroy her socially, one of the most effective ways of getting rid of her is accusing her of witchcraft. This is the case in Northern Ghana as in other parts of the African continent.



Tom Friedman, Globalization’s Man in Madagascar

by Richard Eskow

Thomas Friedman recently filed an editorial from, and about, Madagascar. In a new piece for Salon, we point out the flaws in his thinking – flaws that mirror his shortsighted and trend-infatuated view of the domestic economy. 



Witchcraft, Mass Hysteria and Uncanny Behavior in Namibia

by Leo Igwe

Is strange behavior due to witchcraft or is it a natural occurrence? Is uncanny attitude a diseased manifestation that can be processed through prayers or an occurrence that can be explained without reference to magic and mysticism? British historian, Ronald Hutton, identified uncanniness as one the characteristics of witchcraft that cuts across all cultures. Witchcraft is an uncanny craft. Witches exhibit strange behavior in course of their occult operations. They employ means that are beyond the ordinary, the normal and the natural to cause misfortune and injury. In Namibia, ‘‘uncanny behavior’’ in a school is causing confusion and fueling accusations of witchcraft. Parents are panicking and are asking the authorities to close down the school.



Boko Haram and the Threat of Islamic Extremism in Africa

by Leo Igwe

Today, there is a growing threat of religious fundamentalism in many parts of the globe. Worldly organisations driven by otherworldly agenda are on a rampage-waging ‘holy wars’, killing, maiming, kidnapping, raping in furtherance of their destructive and divine vision of this world. The forces of dark age are trying to push back the tide of enlightenment and intellectual awakening on many fronts.



How the Separation of Church/Mosque and State Will Benefit Africa

by Leo Igwe

To most politicians across Africa, separating religion and state presents a very difficult challenge. Secularism is viewed with suspicion, and sometimes with opposition. Many countries across the region have the principle of separation enshrined in their constitutions. But this constitutional principle is hardly translated into reality because of enormous influence of religious establishments on politics and governance.



American Embassy Should Tackle Witchcraft Accusations, not the Witch Camps

by Leo Igwe

I must commend the Embassy of the United States in Ghana for its decision to engage Ghana’s Ministry for Chieftaincy and Culture in addressing the human rights abuses in the name of witchcraft. This project is long overdue. The American Embassy is sponsoring a research program on the violations that lead to the banishment of alleged witches to camps in the region. Such a program is a clear example of how the international community can help Africans tackle this cultural scourge, and help make witch hunts history in the region and beyond.



Stopping Witch Burning in Kenya?

by Leo Igwe

Last Sunday, a 45 year old woman, Christine Jemeli Koech, was accused of witchcraft. A neighbour claimed that Koech, a mother of six had been responsible for her child’s illness. A local mob stormed Koech’s house early in the morning while she was asleep. They murdered her and burnt her body. This gruesome practice of lynching continues in the East African country of Kenya.



Banishing ‘Witches’ in Northern Ghana

by Leo Igwe

‘The woman has been banished’, Hamid, my research assistant called to inform me a few days ago. ‘Which woman?’ I asked. ‘The woman I told you about yesterday’, he said in a tone that sounded prophetic. Hamid is a teacher in a local school in Yendi, the traditional capital of the Dagbon state, as the Dagomba is politically described. He confirms that the belief in witches is very strong among the people of Dagbon despite the widespread profession and practice of Islam.



How a public-private healthcare partnership threatens to bankrupt Lesotho

by Kris Notaro

Lesotho is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world. More than half of its population live below the poverty line and the poorest people are the least likely to get the healthcare they need. A quarter of people living in rural areas have to travel more than three hours to reach their nearest heath facility.



Kpatinga: Another ‘Witch’ Village in Ghana

by Leo Igwe

just returned from Kpatinga, another village in northern Ghana where alleged witches take refuge. One unique thing about witchcraft belief in Northern Ghana is that there are safe spaces for ‘witches’. A ‘witch’ must not be suffered to die as the scripture says. There are villages that welcome and rehabilitate victims of witchcraft accusations. Kpatinga is one of them. It is around 75 miles from the regional capital, Tamale. The major challenge to anyone visiting the ‘witch’ camp is access. Kpatinga is remotely located. To visit the village from Tamale one must stop over at Gushegu town. The journey from Tamale to Gushegu town is about 3 hours. Apart from the Metro Mass Buses, other commercial buses ply this route three times a day- in the morning, afternoon and evening especially on Gushegu market days. I arrived the bus station shortly before noon. I was told there were no more tickets. I stood there for some time contemplating cancelling the trip. I did not want to arrive Gushegu in the night.



Lies About Rwanda Mean More Wars If Not Corrected

by David Swanson

Urge the ending of war these days and you’ll very quickly hear two words: “Hitler” and “Rwanda.”  While World War II killed some 70 million people, it’s the killing of some 6 to 10 million (depending on who’s included) that carries the name Holocaust. Never mind that the United States and its allies refused to help those people before the war or to halt the war to save them or to prioritize helping them when the war ended—or even to refrain from letting the Pentagon hire some of their killers. Never mind that saving the Jews didn’t become a purpose for WWII until long after the war was over.  Propose eliminating war from the world and your ears will ring with the name that Hillary Clinton calls Vladimir Putin and that John Kerry calls Bashar al Assad.



Fixing Missouri: A Lesson from Madagascar

by Dustin Eirdosh

I want to share with you how an ancient and unique philosophy from Madagascar just might be able to help out some political knuckleheads over in the backwards bureaucracy of Missouri. The scopes monkey trial might be closing in on 90 years behind us, yet the debate over evolution in our schools rages on. Most pathetically, and recently, in good ol' Missouri, USA. Missouri's House Bill 1472, which would essentially require schools to notify parents prior to the teaching of evolution content in the classroom, so that parents could 'opt-out' of their children's education. 



Project Citizen Through the Lens of Big History

by Dustin Eirdosh

The future of civic education may just lie in the past - the deep past that is. Here at the PEAR Lab we are hard at work weaving a new thread within the acclaimed civics curriculum Project Citizen - to enable to students to explore public policy issues through the lens of Big History. Let me briefly review Why we must do this, How we plan to get it done, and finally, What it is looking like.



The School as Superorganism: Cooperation, Control, and Working Across the Moral Matrix

by Dustin Eirdosh

This year, the PEAR Lab is laser-focused on our on-going search for superorganisms within the schools and classrooms of Toliara, the capital city of Southwestern Madagascar. In my first writing on the subject - it might seem to many readers that my claim is prescriptive; that finding such educational superorganisms represents an unambiguous moral positive. This is far from the case - and as I describe below - ambiguity is really the name of the game in this emerging branch of human ecology.



Project Citizen & The Politics of Play in Madagascar

by Dustin Eirdosh

As I watched the sun set from my balcony last night, a mysteriously booming bass speaker washed the beach in a lively party atmosphere. Local teens had organized an impromptu game of football; naked Malagasy children took turns flipping off each others shoulders into the public waters comprising Toliara’s harbor; and couples in love strolled hand in hand along the rocky shoreline. All simply enjoying the glowing day’s end by sharing this beautiful moment together.



‘Mystery Lake’, Miracle Cures and the Loomimg Epidemic in Enugu State

by Leo Igwe

I urge the government of Enugu State to act immediately and prevent the looming epidemic in Nanchi and the surrounding communities. According to an 8 minute video circulating on the internet, miracle seekers are trooping in their hundreds to this village to bath, swim in the so called mystery lake. The video reveals disgusting images of people diving, swimming, bathing and fetching dirty, stinking water from this lake in an apparent quest for miracles. Personally I wonder if this is a ‘miracle quest’ to live or to die.



Country Spotlight: Nigeria

by Kathryn Cave

Jim O’Neill’s high profile prediction on Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey (the “MINTs”) as future economic giants has caused quite a stir in the media. Over the next few weeks IDG Connect will be looking at these countries in a bit more detail. Kathryn Cave investigates Nigeria.



IEET Digital Democracy and Education in Madagascar 2014

Dustin Eirdosh, Coordinator, IEET Madagascar (African Futures Project) makes great progress with technology education.

Full Story...



Searching for Superorganisms: An Urban Expedition in Madagascar

by Dustin Eirdosh

Every year, tens of thousands of international tourists and researchers descend into the wilds of Madagascar in search of the rarest of the rare organisms on earth. Lemurs, lizards, and even lacewings are just some of the hundreds of endemic species making the island a critical global biodiversity hot spot. While I love spending time in the natural lands of the countryside, these are not the important organisms that I am seeking. I am searching for superorganisms.



What to do with all the “Witches”?

by Leo Igwe

There is a great problem brewing in Ghana – What to do with all the witches? The government has decided to eradicate witchcraft. The plan is to close down the safe camps where those accused of witchcraft fled to get away from their accusers. The victims are to be sent back to their accusers who will kill them in all likelihood.



UN and Witch hunts in Ghana

by Leo Igwe

The United Nations should use the visit to Ghana of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Ms Gulnara Shahinian to shine international light on the menace of witch hunting in the country and in other parts of sub Saharan Africa. Ms Gulnara Shahinian is scheduled to visit Ghana from 22 to 29 November 2013.



Stopping the carnage in central Africa

by R. Dennis Hansen

During a recent weekend, I re-watched the movie Blood Diamonds (2007), an advocacy-entertainment movie trying to raise awareness about the problem of natural resources being used to finance horrific African wars. As illustrated in Blood, conflict diamonds were used to finance a civil war in Sierra Leone. While the movie is heavy flawed, the message is still important: the mining and exploitation of natural resources is creating havoc throughout sub-Saharan Africa.



Witch Hunting and Adeboye’s Evangelical Tour of the Pacific

by Leo Igwe

This is another reason why you should raise your voice in protest against Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s planned tour of the Pacific in November. We need to end witch hunting around the globe. Witch persecution ended in Europe and most parts of western world centuries ago. But this violent campaign continues in many regions of the world mainly due to the activities of some Christian churches, pastors and other religious actors.



Flying witches and Africans: Harmful Irrational Beliefs

by Leo Igwe

WHEN superstitious beliefs go unchallenged, they sometimes take very bizarre forms. Sometimes they are regarded as “science” and promoted openly and confidently as if they are based on facts and evidence.



For Accused Witches, A Last Resort

by Leo Igwe

When Leo Igwe was a child living in Nigeria, he saw his father beaten after being accused of witchcraft. Accusations of witch craft run rampant in many parts of western Africa, and Igwe has made it his life’s work to bring attention to the problem.

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