1,200 Traditional Fishermen Appeal for Support

first_imgTraditional fishermen are Liberians who are engaged in small scale fishing in communities located along the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. They depend on the practice as a trade as well as to feed their families, and 1,210 of them want support from the Liberian government and other public and non-governmental organizations in the sector.According to Mr. Wle Wle Kofa, chairman of the Traditional Fishermen Association of Liberia, (TFAL), members from West Point to New Kru Town and other areas that border the Atlantic Ocean are in need of material support.“Our members are hard hit by the coastal erosion that has affected West Point, New Kru Town, Colonel West and Popo Beach and I think it is about time the government and organizations in the sector turn to support our members,” Mr. Kofa said in an interview yesterday in Monrovia.He said TFAL has members from Cape Palmas, Maryland County to Monrovia, Montserrado County and they all suffer from the increasing coastal erosion that has affected Liberia in the last couple of years.“Our members live in poor and extremely poor communities and their children hardly get better education,” Kofa said, adding, “I think this sector has been ignored for a long time and it deserves some attention by the government and non-government organizations in the sector.”Kofa explained that traditional Liberian fishermen use smaller canoes for their work hence are unable to raise themselves above the poverty line. As a result their children suffer greatly, said Kofa. “Many times male children of fishermen follow their fathers to do the very job that has kept them down for so long,” he said, adding that, “without financial support that could help them purchase bigger canoes for large catches, the situation remains the same year after year.”The females, he said, to a large extent end up with children at an early age, “and this is not good for the country. The women later get involved in drying and selling fish at the various markets and the cycle continues.”Kofa made an appeal to the Liberian government not to forget the sector and those who spend their lives making a living in the only trade they know. “This particular industry has been practiced by our people from time immemorial and so we must find means to grow it.”Mrs. Betty Nyanti, a mother of eight, is the head of women whose husbands engage in small scale fishing in Colonel West. “I have been able to educate seven of my kids and only the 8th child followed his father to become a fisherman,” she said, “it’s been hard but I am thankful that my husband Stephen has been of great help.”She said her husband is sometimes fortunate to make a huge catch but “very often we sell some and use some for the family.” She admitted it is a hand to mouth occupation because at times, “Stephen returns with nothing.” She said the majority of her women friends have not been lucky.“Many children, particularly the women, don’t really get good education and they follow their mothers to sell in the market,” she said. She hoped the sector can be improved.Many Liberians residing in coastal areas of the country are involved in small scale fishing from Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Grand Kru, Sinoe, Maryland and Montserrado counties, for what Mr. Kofa describes as ‘fishing to survive,’ and are in need of government and partners’ support to raise their occupation to a better level.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Calls for seven-day respite service in north west

first_imgFianna Fáil TD, Eamon Scanlon, says a seven-day respite service is needed in Donegal and Sligo-Leitrim.Deputy Scanlon raised the need for a seven-day respite service with the Taoiseach in the Dáil.At present only a five-day respite service is available to clients. He commented: “Parents and carers across the north-west require a full-time respite service. At present in South Donegal and Sligo-Leitrim we only have a five-day respite service.“It is invaluable in providing a well-needed break for families whose full-time role is caring for their loved ones.“However, caring does not stop beyond Monday to Friday. I believe respite services shouldn’t either.“This week I attended a public meeting in Donegal in which over 100 parents gave personal accounts as to why a seven-day respite service is required. The government should not ignore these dedicated carers. “I will continue to engage with the Taoiseach and the Minister to ensure this matter is considered,” concluded Deputy Scanlon.Calls for seven-day respite service in north west was last modified: November 14th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Gift of the Givers: 25 years of philanthropy: Emily Thomas

first_imgIn a series of five articles, we share stories from Gift of the Givers volunteers in their own words as the organisation marks its 25th year of serving humanity. Emily Thomas, who works in logistics, tells us about what she does.Bringing water to the thirsty, Emily Thomas helping with drought relief programme in the Free State. (Image: Gift of the Givers)Sulaiman PhilipEmily Thomas: LogisticsI had just returned from leave in January 2016 when I was asked to go to Bloemfontein to help with our drought relief programme, where we distributed thousands of litres of water to communities around the Free State. It was really so sad to see people queue from five in the morning hoping that a water truck would come pass. Elderly people had to pay someone to fetch them buckets of water; children in creche were forced to carry two litres of water for the day.Listening to farmers when we brought them animal feed moved me. They would speak of how they ploughed and planted in hope and how they lost it all as the drought went on. I could feel and see the heartache and pain this drought visited on them.Listening to farmers talking about having to kill their animals brought home the despair people live with. (Image: Gift of the Givers)The animals were thin, sickly and dying. To remove yourself is a coping mechanism and I kept thinking about how this would affect the price of meat. Then you listen to the farmers tell you how hard it was to shoot their animals because they could not stand to see their suffering, and you realise the despair and hopelessness they live with. This donation of animal feed brought them new hope. The drought was an act of God, but through us He brought hope.I am a Gift of the Givers employee and I’m on call 24/7, but I see this as a calling, not a job. I have been doing this for so long – for nine years – and I have learnt that every distribution or disaster comes with its own unique challenges. It’s my responsibilty to make sure that logistics are in place and to be aware of the things that could possibley go wrong.On my first mission I thought of none of that; I was thinking only that our donations were going to make people’s hearts happy. Then the reality of the amount of work and planning that goes into every distribution or mission dawns on you. I work with an incredibly experienced team that helps to ensure that everything runs smoothly and without any security hazards.When people ask I always tell them my journey with Gift of the Givers started as an intervention by God. When I think of who we are and what it is we do I am filled with pride. We are an organisation that brings hope and restores dignity to people’s lives. I lost my job in June 2008. I remember I was standing outside when two gentlemen stopped to talk to me. We prayed together and one of them said: “In a month from now God will give you a job.”Exactly a month later I was planning to spend the day in bed because I was so depressed about still being unemployed when I got a call from my priest, Reverend Eve. Some flats close our church in Mayfair had burnt down and she wanted me to help with the residents. I could not tell her I was still in bed feeling sorry for myself, instead I jumped up and got ready.The Gift of the Givers were there as well and we all worked to determine what the residents immediate needs were. I accompanied Uncle (Badr) Allaudin to the warehouse to get some food and basic hygiene products. When he heard I was unemployed he asked me to accompany him to Orlando in Soweto to distribute food and blankets.In Orlando he asked me to say a few words and, not knowing anything about the organisation, I shyly and nervously read the Gift of the Givers brochure and ended with a prayer. Driving back Uncle Allaudin simply said: “I don’t think Im going to let you go, I want you to join the foundation.”Read the next profile on Ahmed Bham who heads the search and rescue department of Gift of the Givers.Our first profile was on medical co-ordinator, Dr YM Essack. Click here to read more.To find out how beekeeper, Owen Williams, has contributed to the organisation, click here.Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Livan Meneses-Turino, shares his experience in Nepal, Haiti, and Palestine.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Net-Zero Energy on a Mass Scale

first_imgThe goal is to lower carbon emissionsFor the time being, Transition Zero is focused on what’s called “social housing,” which, according to an article in The Washington Post, is similar to public housing in this country. In Europe, public housing is financed by government, but it serves middle-class families as well as low-income tenants.Transition Zero puts homeowners in more comfortable, energy-efficient dwellings without forcing them to pay higher rent. But the broader goal, according to a document detailing efforts to expand the effort to France and the U.K., is reduced carbon emissions in the European Union.“The point of departure of this proposal is focusing on ‘to create what is needed’ instead of focusing on ‘to do what is possible,’” the proposal says. “The implication of a CO2 reduction target of 80% by 2050 is that the European building stock needs to be (nearly) energy neutral by mid-century.”Because buildings are usually refurbished no more often than once every 30 years, these deep energy retrofits must begin very soon, the proposal continues. To that end, Energiesprong is seeking €10 million to widen the program to include 100,000 homes in both the UK and France.It’s going to take a few things to make the effort successful, Energiesprong says, including lower retrofit pricing so that savings in energy are sure to offset construction costs; delivery times measured in days rather than weeks; and upfront capital from financiers who can be confident their investments won’t go belly up.Under normal circumstances, the cost of deep energy retrofits is “substantially” more than projected energy savings, Energiesprong says. “Therefore, we need an intensive innovation process in the construction sector focused on cost reduction, intervention time reduction, and energy performance guarantees,” the statement continues. “This means house owners need to collectively ask for a different type of offering from builders.”Energiesprong says that choosing the right housing stock is essential to getting these programs off the ground: a sufficient number of similar units, a minimum of planning rule issues, and an existing need for maintenance. “Once a builder has developed a refurbishment proposition for one of these houses,” the proposal says, “it can be sold to many, meaning the innovation investment can be spread out over many houses.”There are now projects all over the country, and once the kinks have been worked out, it will be easier to adopt it in the private housing market, the group says. How do they do it?In the U.S., a deep energy retrofit would take months. In the Netherlands, Energiesprong wants the work done in about a week, with homeowners able to stay put through most of the process. The target cost is €40,000 per house (about $50,700).The web site (at least the portion of it in English) doesn’t explain very many of the technical details of the process. For example, we are not given the R-values and airtightness of the wall and roof assemblies before and after the work, or what upgrades to the mechanical systems would be typical. Details on the capacity of the installed photovoltaic (PV) systems are missing.But the website does explain generally how it’s done. Window and door frames and the “roof cover” (roofing) are all removed as a first step. Then, brackets are added to existing walls and holes are bored through the wall for ventilation equipment. Prefabricated panels, which include insulation and exterior cladding, are delivered and craned into place. Finally, windows, roof panels, and new mechanical equipment are added. Projects also typically include a new kitchen and bathroom.A video posted to the Energiespring website shows panels being lowered by crane into place on the outside walls of a house and workers bolting them to new brackets. Locals with big grins offer a few comments.In his email, van Erck filled in some of the blanks. The retrofitted houses are all-electric, powered by a 6-kW PV system. There is no mechanical air conditioning, but houses have balanced ventilation systems. Hot water is provided by a heat pump.The heat pump, inverter, hot water storage, and ventilation system are housed separately, rather than installed in the house, van Erck said. Wiring and ducts are contained in the prefabricated wall panels.And how to explain the astonishing speed with which the retrofits are carried out? “Everything is prefabricated,” van Erck said in his email. “So installation does not take long.” The work is carried out by crews of three to five people.The system relies on production-line economies of scale and speed, but because houses are not a completely uniform product, design and fabrication has to be flexible. The key, Energiesprong says, is to use “a 3-D scanning technique that allows to make a quick (and cheap) scan of all the relevant dimensions of a house with great precision.” The dimensions are used to generate technical drawings that guide production in the factory. Energy retrofits offer big savingsAccording to Energiesprong, the houses completed in the Transition Zero (or E=0 as it’s called) program, conventional energy consumption should fall by 15,000 kWh per house per year. About two-thirds of that comes through energy conservation, and the rest from on-site generation.Depending on the house type, homeowners usually pay between €120 and €180 ($150 to $225) per month on energy prior to the retrofits.Overall, the investment will be very large. By the time all 111,000 houses in the Netherlands have been retrofitted, spending will have reached €6 billion, van Erck said by email.In an interview, at Energy Post Energiesprong manager Jasper van den Munckhof said the starting point was what the country spends on household energy every year, about €13 billion. If that money went toward servicing a 30-year loan instead of energy, there would be €225 billion to invest in upgrading the country’s housing stock. “This is substantial money,” he said, “€30,000 to €40,000 per house to make it energy-neutral.”Ultimately, he said, the aim of the initiative is “that people live in better houses, are not dependent on energy anymore and have power over their own energy. Energy became so politicized… Who do you know who drives a 1970s car? In housing stock, it goes a lot slower but you need to get them to the 21st century also.” The program is still ramping upProject Manager Ron van Erck said by email that he wasn’t certain how many houses had been retrofitted to date. But Transition Zero would retrofit about 400 houses this year, he added, and a few thousand next year as the program hits its stride.The initiative started in 2010 with €40 million in seed money, van Erck said. “In the Netherlands, government wanted a coherent program rather than separate small initiatives to bring solutions of energy efficiency to the housing market,” he said. “The government gave us enough leeway to bring this to market.” A project called Transition Zero is retrofitting 111,000 public housing units in the Netherlands for net-zero energy performance, with homeowners swapping their heating and power bills for loan payments that cover the cost of the work.In the end, it will cost these families no more to live in the newly refurbished, net-zero houses than it did when they were paying for heating, lights, and hot water. “The refurbishments are financed [by] the energy cost savings,” says the project’s website.Retrofits should take less than ten days, ideally a week, and they come with a 30-year performance warranty from the builder.As the four-year-old initiative gathers steam, program managers have proposed launching similar efforts in both France and the United Kingdom.Transition Zero is the work of a not-for-profit development group called Energiesprong (meaning Energy Leap), which brokered deals between public housing associations and builders. The effort is ground-breaking in a number of ways. Not only do tenants see rents remain stable after major upgrades to their homes, but builders who design and install prefabricated building components work on the projects without government subsidies.Unless you understand Dutch, or don’t mind using web-based translation software, getting some details about Transition Zero project will be somewhat complicated by a language barrier. Some web pages are in English, but others are not. Still, there’s more than enough available to learn how Transition Zero works.last_img read more

Tiger presence in 3 more Odisha forests

first_imgThe Odisha government has confirmed the presence of tigers in three more forests in the State.Movement of the Royal Bengal tigers has been captured by closed-circuit television cameras installed at the Hemgiri forest in Sundargarh and Debrigarh sanctuaries in Sambalpur districts, while indirect evidence such as people hearing tiger roars and cattle killing by big cats have been collected from the Muniguda forest in Rayagada district.These evidence have prompted Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray to put the State’s tiger population at around 60.Increasing populationThe Similipal Tiger Reserve in Mayurbhanj and the Satokosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district are two known habitats of the big cat in the State. According to a tiger census conducted by the State government in 2016, there were around 40 tigers in Similipal. The Wildlife Institute of India had estimated the tiger population of Similipal at 28 in 2014.“We believe that the Sunabeda sanctuary in Nuapada district has four big cats. Neither movement of tigers has been captured on camera, nor has any formal tiger census been conducted there. Sunabeda has been a stronghold of the outlawed CPI(Maoist) because of which the tiger census at the sanctuary has been postponed in the past,” said Mr. Routray.More tiger reserves The Minister said sightings of tigers is a sign that a robust ecosystems exists in the State. The government is planning to propose identification and development of Debrigarh and Sunabeda as two new tiger reserves in the State.At present, the State government is focusing on increasing the tiger population in Satkosia reserve. As part of its strategy, six tigers (three pairs) were to be brought from Madhya Pradesh. Two felines have already been released in Satkosia, but resistance from local population in buffer villages has delayed the transportation and release of the other tigers.last_img read more

London Olympics: Hungarian Aron Szilagyi wins gold in men’s sabre fencing

first_imgAron Szilagyi of Hungary turned out unstoppable as he stormed all the way to win the men’s sabre fencing gold at the London Olympic Games on Sunday. The 22-year-old beat Diego Occhiuzzi of Italy 15-10 in the final. Russian Nikolay Kovalev, who knocked out world No.1 Nicolas Limback of Germany 15-12 in the quarterfinal, won the bronze.Szilagyi raced to a 7-0 lead in the final, and though Occhiuzzi fought back valiantly, the Hungarian managed to hold his lead.The top four seeds met their waterloo even before the semifinals. Before Linback lost to Kovlev, the second seed Alexey Yakimenko of Russia was upset by Daryl Homer of the US 15-14 in the third round.World No. 3 Gu Bon Gil of South Korea also fell in the third round where he was bundled out by German Max Hartung.Italian Aldo Montano, gold medalist at the Athens Olympics, was stopped by Occhiuzzi before the quarterfinals.last_img read more