A Roof Overhead–Building A Secure Future For Africa

modernghana.com. July 10, 2013. Innovation and collaboration are needed to provide more, cheap, sustainable housing and stop the crippling backlog in Africa from getting worse

Runaway housing prices and unsophisticated mortgage systems are hampering efforts across Africa to house its people: a situation that experts say is preventing many countries from reaping the social and economic benefits that housing security provides. Going beyond a roof overhead, housing creates employment during the development phases, and improves quality of life, social standing, health, financial position, security, social cohesion and access to education.

The ABSA housing index, shows that in South Africa the average price of small houses have risen from R660 953 in the first quarter of 2011 to R777 343 in the fourth quarter of 2012. In the affordable segment, the price rose from R292 790 in 2009 to R345 388 in 2012. In both cases, there has been a 17% increase. In Kenya, prices increased by roughly 76% between 2008 and 2012.

Read more: http://www.modernghana.com/roof-overheadbuilding-a-secure-future

Habitat – Slums In The Sky

HabitatHabitat works to improve high-rise living conditions in Europe and Central Asia to improve high-rise living conditions in Europe and Central Asia.

See more: http://www.habitat.org/slums_in_the_sky

Edutainment Radio Programmes

MalanRadio_ethiopiaThe ways in which journalists frame HIV stories can strongly contribute towards news consumers’ perceptions of the epidemic. This paper discusses the news values of HIV radio programmes in Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa. It argues that the culturally appropriate ‘humanisation’ of HIV stories and the proper use of conflict as adding news value are paramount to the impact of stories.
The skillful application of news values can make almost any HIV-related story newsworthy and therefore part of mainstream news. Moreover, it is maintained that HIV advocacy environments contribute to the newsworthiness of HIV stories in the media.
The AIDS advocacy milieus of South Africa and Kenya are compared and related to the type of HIV stories that are published and broadcast in the respective countries. Journalism training methods are critically discussed in the context of the above. It is argued, that, in developing countries, where journalists often lack basic journalism skills, it is not sufficient to provide reporters with HIV-related information; HIV information sharing should be combined with general journalism training and mentoring.

Introduction
In December 2007, an excited Bashir Osman – a Somaligna-speaking journalist from Dire Dawa in the east of Ethiopia – broadcast a live call-in show on breastfeeding and HIV to his Somali audience on Dire 106.1 FM. According to the most recent Ethiopian government figures, Dire Dawa has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in the country, and almost doubles the national average. Each year there are almost 1, 000 HIV positive pregnancies with at least 230 children born with the virus. Yet this was the first HIV programme that Bashir had ever produced. AIDS was so stigmatised in the region that Dire 106.1 FM hardly ever discussed it on air. And Osman had no problem following this route. A week before the broadcast, the journalist – like most of his listeners – refused to be in the same room as people with HIV because he “didn’t want to risk breathing the same air” (Osman cited in De Masi, 2008) as them. He would never consider sharing a plate, or hosting an HIV positive person in his home, and thought it a deep insult to be tested for the virus.
But then Osman accessed what turned out to be a precious piece of culturally relevant information: he learned that babies of HIV positive women can get infected with the virus through their mothers’ breast milk (personal communication, December 6, 2007). All mothers with babies in his community breastfed their infants x including his very own wife. His own five-month old baby could be at risk, he perceived with shock, because neither he nor his wife knew their HIV status. The realisation changed Osman’s entire view on AIDS, and HIV was suddenly a virus that had the potential to directly impact his own life and those of everyone else he knew, in ways he had previously vehemently denied (personal communication, December 6, 2007). In short, this piece of information made AIDS newsworthy to Osman, his community and his editors. It became something that was crucial and worthwhile to talk about.

HIV and the News Media
Several communication experts, AIDS activists and journalists (Collins, 2005; Kinsella, 1989; Malan & Gold, 2006; Scalway, 2003; Shilts, 1987) have argued that the news media have the potential to be an immensely powerful tool in the response to HIV. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Executive Director (UNAIDS), dr. Peter Piot, “journalists can save more lives than doctors in terms of HIV prevention because preventing HIV is about communication and changing norms” (Piot, 2006).
Proving statements like this, however, is very complex; studies have not been able to conclusively show that stories in the news media have resulted in change in HIV-related behaviour on a large scale. Research has, however, strongly suggested that news stories are capable of setting the framework in which citizens discuss public events. McCombs and Shaw (1972) demonstrated that there was a strong relation between the topics that the news media highlighted during an American election campaign and the topics that news consumers identified as important. Another US study illustrated the power of broadcast news to set the policy agenda when it proved that evening news bulletins had the effect of defining the policy areas by which the president should be judged (Iyengar et al., 1984).
McCombs and Ghanem (2001) have argued that “the level degree of emphasis placed on issues in the mass media influences the priority accorded these issues by the public” (cited in Reese, Gandy & Grant, 2001, p. 67). Dearing and Rogers (1996) stated that this proposition had been supported by more than 200 studies. But, I would argue that the regular publishing or airing of stories on a certain subject does necessarily lead to the public taking note of that subject. If such stories do not directly relate to the lives of readers or broadcast audiences, or are not presented in captivating ways with strong news values, they are unlikely to influence news consumers’ opinions – whether negatively or positively. In the case of a highly stigmatised and sensitive subject such as HIV/AIDS, even more so. Read more

Occupied

occupyShe smiles happily. She dances against the backdrop of a red banner that says Anticapitalista in Coca Cola letters.

About an hour later I walk home.
I used to work for an antiquarian bookseller and one of his infamous statements comes to mind. “You can also know too much”, he would mumble grumpily whenever anybody was too eagerly displaying knowledge.

Not that a lot has changed. Don’t give me a pen and paper in order to make a list of what’s wrong with this world. I know I’m not supposed to, but secretly I still smile sometimes when the news shows images of shattered windows and smoking cars.
But I know more now. The revolution often aims wrong. The cars and the stores, they are innocent.
That’s the least of it.
It’s even sadder. I know now that summer comes after spring if you’re lucky. More often, nature throws a curve ball and goes straight to fall. Skips summer, just like that.

The beauty of revolution is in that one minute, that tiny spark, the core that starts it, wrote Canetti. It contains the sole ingredient we get to work with. Hope. No matter how naive. Without hope, nothing ever changes.
The sound of a bluesy piano drifts from an open window. “Of course”, I think to myself and smile.
If I was 18 years old, I would be standing right there, up front. At present time, I don’t want to crush the flower as it’s just starting to open her eyes.

Matias Echanove & Rahul Srivastava – Mumbai’s Homegrown Cities Project: Upgrade The Slums, Don’t Destroy Them!

blogp2pfoundation.net. July 5, 2013.

Bhandup is a hill-side neighborhood. In the distance we can see the presence of high-rise buildings. Some of them are up-market others are cheaply built “slum rehabilitation schemes.”
Like John F.C. Turner, the British born architect who in the 1970s and 1980s influenced some of the World Bank’s most progressive urban programs, we believe that decision-making and initiatives on housing related issues is better left at the local level. This is especially true in contexts such as Mumbai, where government-led schemes and incentives to the private sectors have blatantly failed to provide both quantity and quality when it comes to affordable housing.

Unfortunately, none of Turner’s ideas have any currency left in the context of Mumbai’s booming (sur)real estate market. Public land is seen as too valuable to be left to the poor. Slums are no longer upgraded and discussions on the “right to housing” seem anachronistic. Entire neighbourhoods are wiped off the map and replaced by monofunctional housing blocks that represent the degree zero of architectural, urban and social thinking. What is happening is precisely the kind of man-made disasters that Turner was denouncing in the 1960s and 1970s! All over again.

For the past 6 to 7 years, URBZ has been working is parts of Mumbai hugely disservice and misrepresent by the “slum” label affixed to them. It doesn’t help them get urgent support and planning. Quite on the contrary, it puts them on the map as raw material for redevelopment, and at the end of the queue for municipal services. The “slum” label also perpetuates a hugely negative image that is often far from what residents and visitor can experience.

http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/upgrade-the-slums-dont-destroy-them

Once Upon A Time – And Everything Changed

PHBlogA day at the end of June, 8:36 a.m. – A high-speed train, G7381 with the name “Harmony”, takes me from Shanghai to Hangzhou.
Apparently it was Marco Polo who said 下来有苏杭  上 有天堂 and indeed, it seems to be heaven on earth. I am traveling there on the ground, at the earthly speed of nearly 350 km.
Outside the built-up areas, the fields, the streets and the huge green-house areas – passing by like images from a dream, appearing and disappearing like the clouds one may see looking out of the window of an aircraft … 350, 300 …… 250, 200, 180, 140, 90, 80, 55, 30, 20, 10, 9, 7, 4 … the train stops.

It has been a while since I lived in a town in Germany – mind, not a village, not a city: a town. It has approximately 25,000 inhabitants and occasionally we would go to a city nearby: a place with probably 100,000 inhabitants. Well, we thought of it as a city. At least it had an opera house and a theatre and I had been privileged enough to occasionally be able to go there – after finding the required transportation and money. It’s among my favorite childhood memories, one of the things I thoroughly enjoyed during my childhood. Perhaps I enjoyed it so much because it made a little dent in an environment that seemed, and actually was, smooth. Any attempt to escape only lead to slippery ground that, although it required permanent movement, did not allow progress.
A little later this tiny, seamless world had burst. For me, in the same way as for the many others who turned to the streets at the end of the 1960s – against the aggressors in Vietnam, against German media-giant Springer who had been one of the gofers of the aggressors in the far-east; against the Gaullist system in France. But we also turned to the streets in favour of matters – of Bloch’s notion of the Principle of Hope and Marcuse’s realist utopia: You should sleep for nine hours without dreams. Then you will have the whole day for dreams.

Read more:  Once Upon A Time-And-Everything-Changed


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