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Breaking the poverty trap – the power of cash grants
10 July 2014 (IRIN ), A cash injection of as little as US$12 per month for an impoverished family could determine whether a child eats properly or goes to school or not. With cash transfer programmes around the world now having a profound impact on the lives of poor people, the debate is less about whether to implement them than how to do so.
New thinking needed on food aid for refugees in Africa
7 July 2014 (IRIN ), The World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have launched an urgent appeal to address a funding shortfall that has already resulted in food ration cuts for a third of all African refugees. As of mid-June, nearly 800,000 refugees in 22 African countries have seen their monthly food allocations reduced, most of them by more than half.
Fury over Senegal’s private land buyers
24 June 2014 (IRIN ), Senegalese smallholder Doudou Sow is furious. Over the last 10 years, he says, farmers have been squeezed out by an influx of private investors acquiring fertile arable land in the Senegal River Valley where he has worked as a farmer for the last two decades.
Genome breakthrough could help fight against sleeping sickness
28 May 2014 (IRIN ), Scientists have welcomed the development of genome sequence data on the tsetse fly, the vector responsible for the transmission of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), commonly known as sleeping sickness. They say it could be instrumental in devising strategies to eradicate the fly and reduce deaths and the spread of other diseases associated with it.
Melding science and tradition to tackle climate change
23 May 2014 (IRIN ), In the latest of several partnerships between tradition and modern science aimed at improving resilience to climate change, pastoralists and meteorologists in Tanzania are working together to produce weather forecasts better suited to farmers.
Hepatitis B - a silent emergency in Senegal
8 May 2014 (IRIN ), More than two million people in Senegal, or some 15 percent of the population, including 350,000 chronic carriers, have hepatitis B as a result of untimely vaccinations, prohibitive treatment costs and lack of universal screening to curb transmissions.
Penury amid potential in Senegal’s Casamance
2 May 2014 (IRIN ), Reduced harvests in 2013-2014 have driven up food insecurity in Senegal’s southern Casamance Region, where a protracted insurgency and underinvestment have stifled agricultural output.
Can Islamic law be an answer for humanitarians?
24 April 2014 (IRIN ), In the last decade, aid and advocacy agencies have increasingly tried to understand Islamic law in order to use its humanitarian provisions as tools of negotiation with armed groups in the Muslim world. While the approach has seen some successes, it also raises certain ethical dilemmas.
Rough guide to Islamic rules of war
24 April 2014 (IRIN ), There is a renewed interest in translating classical texts about Islamic rules of war into English, adding to the increasing body of work on the intersections between Islam, international humanitarian law (IHL) and the protection of civilians. IRIN provides this study guide to get you started.
Remittance rip-offs
22 April 2014 (IRIN ), All over the world migrant workers are sending money home to their families. The money pays hospital bills and school fees, buys land, builds houses and sets up small businesses. The cash goes from the US back to Mexico, from the Gulf back to India, from the UK back to Somalia, and from South Africa back to Malawi, Zimbabwe and the rest of southern Africa.
Scant progress on Senegal’s talibé problem
21 March 2014 (IRIN ), Despite pledges by the Senegalese government to end child begging and to crack down on the Koranic schools that exploit the tens of thousands of boys, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on 19 March that very little has been done.é-problem
Trading away West Africa’s hunger
20 March 2014 (IRIN ), Severe food shortages in the Sahel and West Africa are often the result of droughts and poor harvests. But inefficient intra-regional trade also places significant strain on food availability, exacerbating hunger.
West Africa scores high in disaster risk
14 March 2014 (IRIN ), Researchers at the Madrid-based humanitarian research non-profit DARA have developed a new methodology, the risk reduction index, that they say could help more countries assess and reduce the risk of natural hazards and disasters. But an assessment using the index, carried out in six West African countries, found pervasive risks and limited capacity to reduce vulnerability.
An alarming outlook for Senegal’s hungry
12 March 2014 (IRIN ), The number of food insecure in the Sahel is expected to grow from 11.3 million in 2013 to more than 20 million in 2014, mainly due to an increase in cases in northern Nigeria, northern Cameroon and Senegal. IRIN went to Louga, in northern Senegal, to find out why the number of hungry is so high.
Breaking the cycle of youth unemployment, poverty
10 February 2014 (IRIN ), Youth unemployment and underemployment are among the main barriers to development in West Africa, say experts. Not only does the exclusion of young people from the labour force perpetuate generational cycles of poverty, it also breaks down social cohesion and can be associated with higher levels of crime and violence among idle youth.
Helping Africa’s urban poor gain from modernization
4 February 2014 (IRIN ), Plans to reshape and modernize African cities, in part driven by investment, architecture and construction companies seeking new markets, could deepen existing social inequalities, according to recent research. But these development plans could also benefit the poor if governments are responsive to the needs of their citizens, argue analysts.
UN shifts approach to help Sahel’s 20 million hungry
3 February 2014 (IRIN ), Over 20 million people in the Sahel will need humanitarian assistance in 2014, up 8.7 million over the number of people in need in 2013, estimates the UN, which launched an ambitious three-year Sahel strategy today.
West Africa: West African livelihoods weakened by graft
3 January 2014 (IRIN ), Poor public services in many West African countries, with already dire human development indicators, are under constant pressure from pervasive corruption. Observers say graft is corroding proper governance and causing growing numbers of people to sink into poverty
Life-saving hepatitis C drug approved, but cost is high
23 December 2013 (IRIN ), Following approvals in the US and Europe this month of a new drug to treat hepatitis C, activists are pushing for the medication to be made available in poor countries.
Is Africa ready for GM?
27 November 2013 (IRIN ), Even as food insecurity continues to afflict impoverished and disaster-affected populations around the continent, African policymakers and consumers remain deeply divided over the potential harms and benefits of genetically modified (GM) foods, which advocates say could greatly improve yields and nutrition.

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