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27 million people going hungry as worst in decade food crisis hits West Africa – Report

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A report by West Africa Oxfam says West Africa has been hit by its worst food crisis in a decade, with 27 million people going hungry with a possibility of a rise to 38 million by June.

This alert is issued by eleven international organizations in response to new analyses of the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé (CH), ahead of the virtual conference on the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and Lake Chad organized by the European Union and the Sahel and West Africa Club.

The Regional Director of Oxfam, a global movement of people who are fighting inequality to end poverty and injustice, Assalama Dawalack Sidi, speaking on the situation said “This is 40 percent more than the number we had last year at the same time, at the same period and this is four times more than the numbers we used to see ten years ago… so this is why we really want to call on donors’ attention, on governments’ attention because we know that there are so many other crises here and there but this crisis does deserve to be visible”.

The body further says drought and worsening floods have reduced the food sources as well as regional conflicts and the war in Ukraine.

“Six out of the 12 countries where Oxfam operates in West Africa import their wheat from Ukraine or Russia, and because of this crisis in Ukraine, this is no longer possible. And if they cannot import wheat, that means it is creating a shortage in the food available in the countries and therefore increasing the prices and making it very difficult for people to afford food”, explains Assalama Dawalack Sidi.

Recall that last month, Africa’s richest man, Dangote, Dangote Group CEO, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria which is the largest economy in West Africa asked the country’s President to place an embargo on the export of maize to ensure food security in the country amid the Russia-Ukraine war.

“We would start seeing people exporting maize to earn foreign exchange, which I believe we should stop,” he pointed out. “We need to grow more so we don’t have a shortage of food. It is about food security, and it’s serious.” Dangote said.

 

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Sign language interpreter, Kunda, seeks inclusivity in media rights agenda (video)

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An inclusive society is crucial for a nation’s human and economic development in the modern era.

In this edition of Project Aliyense, we feature Paul Kunda, widely recognized as the face of sign language interpretation on national television, serving the deaf community.

Kunda, a dedicated sign language interpreter and educator with over four years of experience, sheds light on the significance of media freedom.

“As a sign language interpreter at Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and a teacher by profession, I advocate for media freedom,” he said.

Kunda emphasised the importance of the Access to Information (ATI) Act, recently assented to by President Hakainde Hichilema, which empowered citizens to demand information freely.

He stressed the need for unhindered access to information to foster a civil and prosperous society.

Regarding digital rights, Kunda highlighted their critical role for the deaf community, given the transformative impact of digital platforms, especially when mainstream media access is limited.

“As a representative of the deaf community, I believe digital rights should be inclusive. Everyone, including persons with disabilities, should enjoy these rights through various devices to express themselves and participate in national discourse,” he asserted.

He also called for the recognition of sign language as the eighth national language, aligning with United Nations conventions that mandate sign language interpreters at all events to promote inclusivity.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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Educationist challenges media freedom norms, cautions against misuse of freedom of expression

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Geshom Banda, Deputy Head Teacher at Hillside Primary School, presents a contrasting perspective amidst discussions on media freedom and digital rights.

Banda contested the prevalent notion suggesting limitations on expressing opinions regarding government affairs through media channels.

In an interview with Zambia Monitor in Chipata, Eastern Province, Banda emphasized Zambia’s democratic foundation, affirming that citizens possessed the liberty to voice their views on governmental matters via the media.

“Television broadcasts frequently feature discussions on political issues and government affairs, reflecting the freedom of expression prevailing in our nation,” he observed.

Furthermore, Banda highlighted the accessibility of media platforms for marginalized groups, including the disadvantaged and persons with disabilities, enabling them to articulate their voices effectively.

“Thanks to the readily available facilities, marginalized communities now have avenues to express themselves through various media channels,” he said.

Nevertheless, Banda cautioned against the misuse of freedom of expression and digital rights, particularly concerning the dissemination of inaccurate information, which could adversely affect consumers’ perceptions of cyberspace.

“The challenge lies in misinformation. Inaccurate information circulated through the media can distort the public’s understanding,” he cautioned.

Acknowledging the necessity of regulatory measures, Banda referenced the Cybersecurity Act, aimed at curbing the malicious distortion of media content, despite persistent efforts by some individuals to spread misinformation.

“Granting unrestricted freedom in media poses risks of information distortion. Hence, regulatory measures like the Cybersecurity Act are crucial in safeguarding digital rights and preventing abuse,” he emphasized.

This story is sponsored content from Zambia Monitor’s Project Aliyense.

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