Locust Outbreaks Threaten Food Security in Southern Africa


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome)

Accra, 4 September 2020

Immediate action can prevent disaster in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

Outbreaks of African Migratory Locust (AML) are threatening the food security and livelihoods of millions of people in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned today at the launch of an emergency response effort to control the swarms.

Around 7 million people in the four affected countries who are still recovering from the impact of the 2019 drought, and grappling with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, could experience further food and nutrition insecurity.

FAO is working with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Red Locust Control Organization for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) to support the governments of the affected countries to control the locusts.

“Even with the control measures already taken, the locusts are still a threat. Some of the worst-affected areas are very difficult to reach. We need to support the four governments, SADC and partner organisations like IRLCO-CSA to control this pest and protect people’s livelihoods,” Patrice Talla, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern Africa said.

Threatening food security

The AML outbreaks in southern Africa are separate to the Desert Locust emergency in eastern Africa. Locusts are among the most destructive pests in the world. One swarm can contain tens of millions of adults – there are currently multiple swarms in the southern region. A single swarm can eat as much in one day as 2,500 people, demolishing crops and livestock pasture in a matter of hours.

In Botswana, some smallholder farmers lost their entire crop at the start of the African Migratory Locust outbreak. As the next planting season approaches, the pest threatens the country’s breadbasket region of Pandamatenga, where most of the country’s sorghum staple is grown, unless control efforts are urgently stepped up.

In Namibia, initial outbreaks began in the Zambezi plains and hopper bands and swarms have now spread to key farming regions. Similarly, in Zambia, the locust has spread rapidly and is affecting both crop and grazing lands.

In Zimbabwe, swarms and hoppers initially infested two sites in the Chiredzi District and have now moved into Manicaland Province. Locust damage to crops will compound existing food insecurity in communities already affected by floods, drought and the impacts of COVID-19.

A united effort

FAO today launched the Southern Africa Emergency Locust Response and Preparedness Project which is funded by FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme. The project will increase the emergency capacity of SADC and IRLCO-CSA to support the four affected member states in their bid to prevent the pest from causing more damage.

The US$0.5 million project will focus on emergency response in the locust hotspots and strengthen coordination and information exchange among the affected countries. It will also enable aerial surveillance and mapping activities in hard-to-reach areas, and provide technical support for national locust surveillance and control units to be established.

FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme allows FAO to draw from its own regular programme resources to respond to countries’ most pressing needs for technical assistance.

Links:

Locusts threaten parts of southern Africa, UN says

New Locusts Swarms Threaten Food Security in East Africa

In Memoriam Gotthard Rosner


Father Rudi Pint, Provincial Delegate of the sector of Germany, informs you of the return to the Lord of Father Gotthard Rosner on Wednesday September 2nd, 2020 in Munich (Germany) at the age of 79 years, of which 53 years of missionary life in Uganda, Switzerland, France, Italy, USA, Zambia UK and Germany.

Every now and then, there is a little controversy about the photo of an elderly confrere who died. Should we publish a recent photograph, which reflects the physical appearance of the confrere during the last years, or should we post an older picture, which will be acknowledged by the people he worked with when he was in Africa? Father Gotthard died on the second of September. He was a formator for many years and a superior general for 6 years. Many younger confreres have known him… with a beard, which he let go for the last few years.

“White Fathers – White Sisters: the graces of the jubilee year,” The Southern Africa Province (SAP)


By Felix Phiri, M.Afr

The Southern Africa Province (SAP) is composed of four countries, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia, of which only Malawi has remained to date the only country with the presence of the MSOLA. Nonetheless, the whole Province experienced something of the close collaboration with the MSOLA at the occasion of the Jubilee, mainly the Malawi Sector and to a certain extent the Zambia Sector.

In 2016, the two superiors of the Missionaries Africa and MSOLA announced the Jubilee of the 150 years of the foundation of their two institutes, with a clear three years roadmap, each year marked by a specific theme. The Malawi Sector, being the only country with the MSOLA presence, immediately put in place a team composed of vocation animators belonging to both institutes to spearhead the planning and actualization of the activities related to the Jubilee. The team met on a regular basis in order to organize the activities together.

Several activities were conjointly agreed upon and realized in the course of the three years. To start with, there was the pilgrimage visit to Mponda, point of arrival of the first Missionaries of Africa in Malawi in 1889, to revisit our origins in Malawi – a similar pilgrimage was done in Zambia to Mambwe Mwela the place where the first Catholic presence in what is presently known as Zambia was established in 1891, in connection with the 125 years of Christianity in Zambia. The pilgrimage in Malawi was extended to Mua, the place where the first permanent mission was established in 1902. The official launching of the Jubilee took place in 2017 in St Denis parish, Chinsapo, in Lilongwe. The colourful ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Tarcisius Ziyaye, the archbishop of Lilongwe. Each Sector organized its own closing ceremony; in Malawi the ceremony took place in St Thomas-Zolozolo and St Francis in 2019. In Zambia it took place on the 10th November 2019 and the MSOLA were represented by two of the sisters. It was a colourful celebration presided over the archbishop emeritus Telesphore-George Mpundu whose personal knowledge and past history with the Missionaries of Africa added a special flavour to the ceremony. At the end of his homily he rolled on the ground in the traditional way of expressing gratitude for the missionary work realized in Zambia. 

In the course of the three years, a number of activities were realized, some together with the MSOLA others alone as Missionaries of Africa. For instance, to mark this common journey, celebrations of the 30th April, the feast of Our Lady of Africa, on the 26th November (the Anniversary of the death of our founder), and the 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, were conducted with a notable participation of members of either institutes. These were occasions to express our common origin and unity of purpose in the mission. On different occasions, various talks were given conjointly with the MSOLA on the themes of the year and/or on the life of the founder and spirituality of the two societies. Furthermore, the team went around the parishes that have been previously run by the Missionaries of Africa for a reminder of our presence there as well as vocational animation. In some parishes this brought back nostalgic souvenirs of the ‘good old days.’

Among the accompanying artefacts produced on the occasion of the Jubilee the most significant epitomizing the close collaboration with the MSOLA was the printing of the Jubilee cloth (nsalu) in 2018/2019. Over 1,200 pieces of cloth was printed and sold successfully. This was the most conspicuous symbol of the jubilee, not only was it worn by many women but it was also used as ornaments during celebrations. A similar initiative was undertaken by the other Sectors which also produced their own sets of jubilee clothes, alongside other products such as jubilee golf shirts, calendars, Missionaries of Africa rosaries, etc. In 2019, the MSOLA receive a special invitation from Bishop Lungu of Chipata Diocese, in Zambia, to come and mark their jubilee celebration in the diocese. Although the invitation was specifically for the MSOLA, it was an opportunity for us to interact with the MSOLA sisters who came to attend the events and to accompany them.

By the nature of the presence of the MSOLA in our Province, common activities could only be carried out in Malawi where they still have a presence and Zambia the last country where they were. In spite of that, we can discern tangible fruits of the Jubilee in collaborating with our sisters. Firstly, the very fact of working for the same cause during these last three years reminded us of our common origin and drew us closer together. Secondly, this has been an extraordinary opportunity to revisit our immediate and distant history; the different talks given about the history of our two institutes refreshed our sense originating from something greater than we are and the visit to the historical places where the first missionaries first arrived made us realize the amount of sacrifice and courage that went to the beginnings of the church. Finally, the participation of the local church made us understand and appreciate the contribution of our two institutes to the founding of the church in this part of the world. This was not a celebration isolated from the rest but indeed that of the whole church; we were not the object of the celebration but the occasion for it.

Tanzania Human Rights Report: Sexual Violence against Children.


The content is a bit depressing but based on reality as reported by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) of Tanzania.

By Elvis Ng’andwe in Tanzania

The Day of African Child is officially celebrated on 16th June, it was inaugurated in 1991 by the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) currently known as the African Union (AU). The initiative was to honour the victims of the Soweto uprising in 1976 in protest to poor schooling conditions during apartheid in South Africa. Hundreds of Children were shot on that fateful day.

To date, the day remains significant and covers all the children across the continent of Africa. Today an African child is still exposed to so many atrocities that I can only list a few ranging from child soldiers, mass rapping of children in war zones, children born and die in war zone, no access to education, child trafficking, domestic abuse and all forms of sexual and physical abuse.

Instead focusing on the continent, our network resolved to focus on the children in Tanzania. While our children in Tanzania are not facing the challenges like those in war zone, they have their own challenges. This week of 16th June, 2020, we have had a series of discussions and exchange with other stakeholders on children’s rights and child justice forum in conjunction with the ministry of Constitution and Laws of Tanzania. Upon a lengthy of discussions, we observed that we needed to take action by giving talks and sessions in different schools starting with pupils then at another stage to the members of staff.

Last year the mayor of Tanga bemoaned the high rate of child marriages in Tanga and invited the child justice forum to address that issue. We could not start because we had no funds and the project is huge with a lot of schools. This year we are planning on starting the project together with our partners however little we will do, the situation has become more difficult than before due to the threat of covid19.

Below are some of the excerpts from the Tanzania Human Rights Report of 2018: The Police Data indicated that within 6 months they had received cases of abuse against children of about 6,376.

NB: Victims of violence against Children are more likely to become perpetrators of violence against children when they become adults. Let’s stop the rot now!!!

“In Singida: There is a case of a woman who sells traditional liquor. When she comes back home, she usually comes back with a man, both drunk. They engage in sexual activity; and when they finish the man turns to her 13 year-old daughter and rapes her. Different men come home every night and rape the child. Fortunately the Child has been rescued by the Social Welfare and was found to be HIV negative.”

“In Mtwara: A man reportedly attacked and killed a child after the child’s mother refused his sexual advances”.

“In Loliondo-Arusha: A secondary school teacher raped and impregnated a 15 year-old pupil.”

“In Nyegezi-Mwanza: A man was arrested for raping a 4-year-old girl”.

“In Iringa: a 45 year-old man was arrested for using a 14 year-old girl for commercial sexual exploitation and beating her when she refused to engage in sexual intercourse”.

“In Babati: a primary school teacher was arrested for sodomising a standard five pupil at school.”

“In Mbeya-Chunya: 8 year-old girl was raped to death by a 25 year-old man. Witchcraft belief was said to be the motive behind”.

“In Kilimanjaro: 10 pupils (5 boys and 5 girls) were reportedly sodomised and raped at unnamed school”.

At Tabora: a 6-year-old child in a boarding school was repeatedly sodomised at school.

Once his health started to deteriorate, his parents took him to the hospital for a checkup and he was found to be HIV positive. Supposedly, he acquired the virus due to sexual abuse suffered at school. His father was shocked, suffered stroke and then died.”

At Misungwi: A child aged 9 years was regularly sodomised by fellow pupils, aged 12 and 13. They would pull the child to the bushes while coming from school and do it. After sometime the teachers noticed that child was not okay, upon inquiry he told them the whole story”

In conclusion, the research findings indicated that witchcraft beliefs play a big role in prevalence of violence against children in Tanzania. People expect to get quick money through abuse of children, especially raping young girls. Majority of perpetrators of sexual violence against children in Tanzania are neighbours, close relatives, bodaboda drivers and teachers.

PDF DOCUMENT

African Child Week-Reflections. “We owe our children the most vulnerable citizens in any society-a life free from violence and fear – Mandela”

Tanzania Human Rights Report: Sexual Violence against Children.

CfSC Strategic Plan Launch


CfSC’s staff and other partners witnessed the launch of its 2020 – 2024 strategic Plan launch. The event took place on 18th June 2020 at its offices. Below are the highlights of the event.

The Centre for Social Concern

The Centre For Social Concern (CfSC) is a project of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). In line with their vision and mission, the CfSC seeks to promote Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and Interfaith Dialogue in Malawi and beyond. The Centre was started in 2002 and in its short history has been working on issues like:

  • A monthly review of the cost of living through the Basic Needs Basket survey.
  • The international debt burden, its causes and debt cancellation.
  • The linkage between the international trade system and poverty and the rising cost of living in Malawi.
  • The plight of the tobacco tenants and the promotion of the passing of a bill regulating tobacco tenancy labour.
  • A survey on how people who have very low salaries cope with the ever-rising cost of living.
  • Marginalization of religious communities and (the lack of) participation in development.
  • Dialogue between Islam and the Catholic Church on their social teaching.
  • Conflict management and mediation, mainly in conflicts involving religion.

Project List

The Centre for Social Concern in its analysis has established that poverty the factor that impacts most on human dignity of Malawians. It has therefore developed the following programs:

The Social Conditions Programme examines the poverty situation with reference to local conditions and causes.

  • This has as main recurrent activity the Basic Needs Basket (BNB), which is simple way in calculating the cost of living.
  • It does occasional research coming from the data collected through the BNB survey.
  • Another activity is Social Protection monitoring.

The Economic Justice Programme looks at the international contributing factors of the persistent poverty in Malawi. It examines the international trade relations and imbalances and how they impact on the cost of living.

It monitors the spending of funds freed through debt cancellation. It promotes tax justice through studying the present tax system and proposing a more equitable way, where the stronger shoulders carry the bigger burden.

The Human and Social Capital Programme works at assisting youth and others to be better prepared through information sharing for their tasks in society.

  • The library and resource centre assist especially youth and young students through providing study facilities and books.
  • The Press Review offers information about how the press reported the events month by month and so forms its readers to be critical.
  • The Awareness Programme on Human Trafficking helps people to understand the evil of this modern form of slavery and combat it.

The Religion as Transformation Programme helps making religion a positive force for change in society.

The furthering of Catholic Social Teaching wants to make this “best kept secret” better known so that it can influence people to contribute better to the transformation of society.
The Interfaith Dialogue project studies how the faith dimension contributes to both the betterment of society as well as to conflict.

Administration assists in the implementation of all activities.

For further information about CfSC Projects please contact The Director