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Staunching Burkina’s abortions

OUAGADOUGOU, 24 March 2014 (IRIN) - One-third of all pregnancies in Burkina Faso are unintended and a third of them end in abortion, according to a study published this month by the University of Ouagadougou and the reproductive health think tank Guttmacher Institute, which also found that more than 100,000 abortions were carried out in the country in 2012, most of them performed in unsafe conditions or by untrained health workers. full report

Trading away West Africa’s hunger

DAKAR, 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. full report

Gains and losses as Burkina Faso fights child hunger

OUAGADOUGOU, 11 March 2014 (IRIN) - The fight against child malnutrition in Burkina Faso is gaining ground but chronic malnutrition remains above emergency threshold levels, particularly in rural areas, a situation that will be resolved only if the government and its partners step up prevention efforts. full report

Time to rekindle Timbuktu's flame

TIMBUKTU, 12 February 2014 (IRIN) - The ‘Flamme de la Paix’ monument lies on the northwestern outskirts of Timbukutu, Mali. There, on 27 March 1996, hundreds of weapons were symbolically destroyed, and representatives from the Malian government and Tuareg rebel movements promised to promote peace and reconciliation in a region wracked by bitter conflict. full report

Breaking the cycle of youth unemployment, poverty

DAKAR, 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. full report

Helping Africa’s urban poor gain from modernization

NAIROBI, 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. full report

UN shifts approach to help Sahel’s 20 million hungry

DAKAR, 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. full report

West Africa: West African livelihoods weakened by graft

DAKAR, 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 full report

Life-saving hepatitis C drug approved, but cost is high

New York, 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. full report

How to empower local NGO partners

DAKAR, 20 December 2013 (IRIN) - UN agencies and international NGOs (INGOs) are increasingly stressing the need to reach out to new partners, including local NGOs, to build their capacity to respond to humanitarian crises. Yet agencies are still said to “arrive, set the agenda, do their activities and leave,” said Sayadi Sani, head of the local Nigerien nutrition NGO Befen. How can aid agencies better empower local NGOs? full report

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