WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 29 August 2015

29 August 201529 August 2015

WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


In this week’s edition of the Top 10 we look at World Water Week, Senegal, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, sack farming and ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ – and much more too!


1. This week has been World Water Week! Access to clean water is not something that most of the developed world thinks about (except in times of natural disasters) but for many, many countries in the world access to clean water is a serious and life-threatening issue. As a part of World Water Week, UNICEF sponsored Ashley Gilbertson to document the ways in which families around the world use water. The result is incredible – and well worth a look, as he goes to countries such as Bolivia, Niger, Jordan, Malawi and more, to talk to families about water!


2. Earlier this week the UN Security Council condemned the use of sexual violence, in particular in relation to forced marriages and war and civil conflict. This was followed by a call for the international community to step up efforts to end sexual violence in Syria and Iraq.


3. There’s a lot of rubbish out there and much of it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean! Scientists have been trying to work out how much plastic garbage is floating in the Pacific Ocean – it’s estimated to be twice the size of Texas. It’s called ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. This work is sponsored by Ocean Cleanup – we did a feature on their founder Boyan Slat, some months back. Really worthwhile work that is respectful to our planet – and we need much more of that these days.


4. Human Rights Watch has challenged the Senegalese government to release seven men convicted of consensual same-sex behaviours earlier this month. Not only did their arrest breach many criminal justice standards but the trial lacked basic process – not to mention the fundamental breach of their human rights.
5.  A little trip down memory lane with this clip of Black Arm Band performing in London in June 2008, featuring Joe Geia singing Yil Lull.

6. Human Rights Watch has an important feature story on children with disabilities in South Africa. They tell the story of Sisandua and her son Ntsikelelo. Because of the social stigma and poor education about disabilities Sisandua initially rejected her son when his difficult behaviours became apparent.


7. The situation in South Sudan, the world’s youngest state, has become more positive with the signing of a peace deal by the President Salva Kiir. It is, of course, much more complex than this and US National Security Advisor Susan Rice has rightly commented that “reaching a lasting peace would require commitment and resolve from all parties to the conflict”.


8. There has been a recent reduction in the violence in the Central African Republic. While this is great news, there remains real reason for continued concern. The revenge killings that have plagued attempts at peace are continuing and with national elections planned for October there is an increased risk of infighting and violence.

9. Back in June Impact Journalism featured a story on sack farming – the idea that small farms in people’s backyards or courtyards can provide some degree of self-sufficiency. The article features Harriet Nakabaale from Uganda as she shares her sack farming ventures on her compound. Similarly in Kenya the organisation GROOTS (Grassroots Organisations Operating Together in Sisterhood) is helping women learn the ways of sack farming – and as a result revolutionising traditional views of farming in Kenya.
10.  Another bit of inspiration from Africa today. Florence Ndagire is the first blind female lawyer in Uganda. Her journey is beautifully captured in this story from UN Women.

Great to have your company again this week and we look forward to sharing more interesting stories of inspiration and change with you all next week.