BBC ~ Kenya Slum Mathare Gets Cheap Water Through ATMs

After inserting the smart card the user types in how much water they want to buy  Photo: BBC

After inserting the smart card the user types in how much water they want to buy
Photo: BBC

Residents of the Mathare slum area of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, are now able to access water through an ATM-style dispenser.
People living in slums traditionally rely on vendors, who are expensive, or polluted sources to get drinking water.
But the new system, where people use a smart card, is designed to provide cheaper and cleaner water.
The water company is opening four of these dispensers in Nairobi and there are hopes the scheme will be expanded.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa

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Tweede Kamer ~ Vaste commissie voor Koninkrijksrelaties

Regelmatig overlegt de vaste commissie voor Koninkrijksrelaties met de minister van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties. Hij is verantwoordelijk voor de samenwerking en de verhoudingen tussen Nederland, Aruba, Curaçao en Sint Maarten, de 4 landen van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden. Het aantal thema’s en onderwerpen waarmee de commissie bezig is, is groot. De hier genoemde beleidsthema’s dienen slechts als voorbeeld. Meer weten? Neem contact op met de staf van de commissie.

Zie: http://www.tweedekamer.nl/kamerleden/commissies/kr

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Staatkundig Referendum Bonaire, 2010

Het staatkundig referendum Bonaire 2010 was een referendum over de staatkundige positie van Bonaire binnen het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden en de integratie van het eiland tot het Nederlandse staatsbestel. Het referendum werd georganiseerd op 17 december 2010, nadat het eerder gepland stond op 15 januari 2010. Dit referendum zou de opvatting van de Bonairianen over de aankomende staatkundige verhoudingen moeten weergeven, zodat de Bonairiaanse politiek (mogelijk) kon (onder)handelen met het resultaat.

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staatkundig_Referendum_Bonaire_2010

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Bonaire status referendum, 2004

A status referendum was held on the island of Bonaire on 10 September 2004. A majority voted for integration into the Netherlands.

After the 1994 referendum came out in favour of maintaining and restructuring the Netherlands Antilles, the government of the Netherlands Antilles tried to restructure the Netherlands Antilles and attempted to forge closer ties between the islands, as is exemplified by the adoption of an anthem of the Netherlands Antilles in 2000. A new referendum on Sint Maarten, which was in favour of a separate status for Sint Maarten as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, sparked a new series of referendums across the Netherlands Antilles, however.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonaire_status_referendum,_2004

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Bonaire status referendum, 1994

A status referendum was held on the island of Bonaire on 21 October 1994. Voters were asked to choose between the status quo, autonomy within the Netherlands, integration with the Netherlands or independence. The vast majority voted for the status quo, but in a referendum in 2004 finally decided on integration into the Netherlands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonaire_status_referendum,_1994

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打工妹 ~ Migration As A Means To Female Emancipation

Photo: familypedia.wikia.com

Photo: familypedia.wikia.com

Abstract
In the contemporary globalized society, migration and urbanization have become pivotal processes that involve large parts of the world population and have drawn the attention of analysts. Scholars from a variety of disciplines have analysed these two phenomena all over the world from different perspectives and with different aims. This paper explores the present situation of the so-called 打工妹 dagongmei (young Chinese migrant women) who arrive in big cities from small villages seeking social emancipation or to escape from patriarchy and other social impositions they are pushed to accept as young women.

Female emancipation has been an important goal for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Following Friedrich Engels’ “The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State” and the Marxist theory of female emancipation as a class issue, the CCP tried to involve Chinese women in labour (i.e. farming and industrial labour). During the 1980s, feminists and intellectuals began to criticize this policy because it had failed in its goal to bring emancipation to Chinese women.

The present research revolves around the understanding of the concept of 自由 ziyou (freedom) among female migrants in Beijing. According to the results of the survey, “freedom” has different meanings for the young women but it is possible to sum them up in three correlated categories: 自由 ziyou meaning economic freedom, or economic independence with no necessity to rely on someone else (family or partner); 自由 ziyou, the absence of familial control; and 自由 ziyou, the discovery of new urban realities and subsequent experiences of great importance for personal development and education.

Introduction
Since the implementation of the policy of reform and opening-up promoted by the “little helmsman”, Deng Xiaoping, at the end of 1970s, the People’s Republic of China has been and is still experiencing huge internal migration. This is a mass migration with no precedent in human history. At the beginning of the 1980s, there were only 20 million migrants in China; by 2009, this number had reached almost 150 million (俞可平 Yu Keping, 2010). Independent media reports (Yardley, 2004) now indicate that more than 200 million individuals have marched from rural areas to the industrialized areas of eastern China. Almost one third of this figure is made up of female migrants. In certain areas and in specific industrial sectors such as textiles, manufacturing, cleaning, and the sex industry, the percentage of women reaches 70 (Jacka and Gaetano, 2004).

It is not possible to study and analyse Chinese domestic migration without taking into account the cultural, political, social, and economic complexity of the country. The scope of the current chapter does not allow for an extensive analysis, so it will approach the issue of the 流动人口 liudong renkou (or “floating people”, the term usually used by Chinese media to refer to migrants) from a qualitative perspective and limit the geographical area of analysis to the city of Beijing. Furthermore, this chapter will attempt, to a certain extent, to observe if and how the process of migration to Beijing from the countryside is a means of emancipation for the thousands of young female workers who undertake the move. The findings of the present chapter are the results of an ethnographic research based on semi-structured interviews and direct observation of young female migrants in Beijing between March 2009 and December 2010.
Studies on Chinese migration from a gender perspective started in the early 1990s. Important contributions in this field come from the research of Chinese and international scholars like Li Xiaojiang, Lee Ching Kwan, Pun Ngai, Li Yinhe, Zheng Zhenzhen, Honig Emily, Tani Barlow, Dorothy Ko, Elizabeth Croll, Zhang Hong, Tamara Jacka, Zheng Tiantian, and Rachel Murphy.

During the Maoist era, the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) followed with fervour the political views of the Chinese Communist Party. They participated in basing the issue of women’s liberation on the theory of classic Marxism, mainly inspired by the analysis of Friedrich Engels in his “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” (1884). Critical and independent thought about women’s condition in China spread in academic and intellectual circles only at the end of the Maoist era.
According to the results of a survey entitled “Migrant workers and gender” (农民流动与性别 Nongmin Liudong Yu Xingbie, 2000), beyond the traditional socio-economic reasons and the “push and pull” factors, there are at least three factors motivating this new generation of young women to move from the countryside to big cities like Beijing: 1) to earn money, 2) to learn and seek personal development, and 3) to see the world. Thus, leaving home seems to be more a personal and free choice for individual emancipation than a need created by harsh economic conditions or miserable living standards in the place of origin. In fact, if during the 1980s it was very unpopular (or, in other words, not virtuous) for a woman of peasant origins to leave her village and work in the service industry in urban areas, nowadays Confucian morality seems to have given way to the need for mobility and speed dictated by the country’s rapid economic development:
“Women’s migration in China may at one time have been a signal of extreme poverty or desperation, but this is no longer the case. Now it is seen as a rite of passage by some young women, or at least a great adventure. In most cases the motive is still cash income, but often money is to be amassed for specific consumption goals, such as a new home, a bridal dowry, the bride-price for the girl’s brother, or education expenses for younger siblings.” (Jacka, 2004)
Of the many ways used by academics and media to define Chinese migrants, the one closest to the subject of this study is 打工妹 dagongmei. 打工 dagong literally means “to work”, “to temp”, or “to sell labour”, while 妹 mei or 妹妹 meimei is translated as “younger sister” or “little sister” (Lee, 1998; 潘毅 Pan Yi, 黎婉薇 Li Wanwei, 2006; Yan, 2008). It is a term of Cantonese origin, used since the 1980s, to refer to the young migrants who ended up working in the factories of Guangdong Province, the “world’s factory”. Today, it is still used but more widely to refer to young girls (usually aged between 16 and 25) who leave the rural areas to work in the urban ones. They have a low educational level, are not skilled workers, and many of them come from poor economic backgrounds. And, perhaps most important from a sociological point of view, they are not married. Read more

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