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Small steps towards forest conservation in Madagascar

ANDASIBE, 24 April 2014 (IRIN Africa) - An association of tour guides and community members at the Analamazaotra Forest Station, a protected area of rainforest about 150km east of Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, has embarked on an ambitious reforestation project that is educating local people about the value of preserving the forest as well as generating an income for 400 nearby households. full report

Islamic law and the rules of war

DUBAI, 24 April 2014 (IRIN Global) - Islamic law contains a rich, but complex set of rules on the protection of civilians which can be difficult to understand, given the range of sources and interpretations available. IRIN walks you through the basics. full report

Trauma link to malnutrition in CAR

BANGUI, 23 April 2014 (IRIN Africa) - Data collected at a hospital clinic for malnourished children in the Central African Republic (CAR) suggests that many of the childrens’ parents present symptoms of post-traumatic stress directly linked to their exposure to extreme violence, according to the NGO Action Against Hunger (ACF). full report

Refugees, returnees from Nigeria strain Niger host population

DAKAR, 23 April 2014 (IRIN Africa) - There are now more returnees and refugees in Niger’s southeastern region of Diffa near the border with Nigeria than there are Malian refugees in western Niger, straining host populations who are already some of the poorest people in the world, and the local authorities. full report

Analysis: Water and conflict

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 April 2014 (IRIN Global) - In 2001 then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared: “Fierce competition for fresh water may well become a source of conflict and wars in the future.” A year later he revised that position, saying water problems could be a “catalyst for cooperation”. full report

Need to ramp up aid response in Nigeria's violence-torn northeast

KANO, 22 April 2014 (IRIN Africa) - Security fears, a lack of humanitarian actors on the ground and a perception that Nigeria's government can handle its crises without help, are leaving many of the thousands displaced by Boko Haram violence in the northeast short of food, with little to no access to health care or basics like clean water and blankets. full report

Remittance rip-offs

LONDON, 22 April 2014 (IRIN Africa) - 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. full report

Combating food insecurity and displacement in drought-hit parts of Afghanistan

KABUL, 22 April 2014 (IRIN Asia) - Ghor is one of the Afghan provinces most severely affected by consecutive droughts over the past few decades, creating alarming food shortages and displacement. Authorities admit the government’s weakness has prevented the implementation of large-scale, long-term responses like water management projects. Instead, aid workers have turned to small-scale projects, which they admit cannot solve all the community's problems, but have had some positive impact. full report

Survival of the biggest - side-lining of local NGOs in disasters

LONDON, 21 April 2014 (IRIN Global) - Five days after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, Paul Valentin was giving a TV interview in his role as international director of Christian Aid. full report

Mourning versus survival in Swaziland

MBABANE, 21 April 2014 (IRIN Africa) - A traditional two-year mourning period for widows during which women are expected to be confined and not work, is meeting growing resistance in Swaziland. full report