Adopt-a-River: women show the way

first_img17 September 2010When Nomvula Malinga was growing up, she used to swim in the Isipingo River – something that years of pollution and degradation have since made impossible. In February 2009, Malinga, together with other women from Durban’s Umlazi area, began cleaning up the river themselves.Malinga says the river had become a disgusting sight with people using it as a “rubbish dump filled with sewage, dead animals and overgrown weeds”.Zodwa Elizabeth Ndlovu agrees, saying the river was “absolutely filthy; even the water was receding … There was a foul smell coming from the river, and most children in the area started developing asthma”.“As women of the area, we decided to get together to see what we could do,” says Malinga. “And in 2008, about 100 of us started discussing how we could contribute to ensuring that the river was in the state that it was in those many years ago.”In February 2009, the women started to clean the river without being paid.The Adopt-a-River ProjectLast month, Deputy Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi officially launched the Isipingo Adopt-a-River Project, with an allocation of R1.7-million.Adopt-a-River aims to create awareness among communities about the importance of protecting water resources. Local women are paid a monthly stipend, and receive training in water resource management.A similar project is running in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, where a group of 100 women are cleaning up the Luvuvhu River.In the case of the Isipingo River, the project “was initiated by the women themselves,” says Mabudafhasi’s spokesman, Peter Mbelengwa. “They did not wait for the department to approach them. Therefore we know that it is a sustainable project.“The women didn’t just take the initiative to clean rivers, but also grow vegetable gardens and help themselves,” says Mbelengwa. “They are making such a huge difference to their lives and communities.”The 100 women from the Umlazi area, including Malinga and Ndlovu, will continue cleaning the river for a period of 12 months.“We were volunteering our services and doing it for the betterment of our community,” says Ndlovu. “It was tough when we started, because we did not have the necessary equipment.”Spirit of ubuntuThe spirit of unbuntu is thriving among the women, who help each other out in different ways.“I remember a day when a man walked past us and saw what we were doing. He asked us if we had food and of course we didn’t, but he pulled out a R20 and told us to get food,” says Ndlovu. “Many of the women who work on this project cannot afford certain things, so we try to help each other out in terms of bringing lunch when we are working.”Pangas and sickles are used to cut away weeds and alien vegetation. “We also pick up the rubbish in the river,” says Malinga. “We wear overalls, boots, and gloves to ensure that we do not get sick, and use black refuse bags to collect the refuse. We work from 8am to 12pm daily.”The women also plant crops in the cleared areas.“We also have our own vegetable gardens in the areas where we have cleared weeds and refuse,” says Ndlovu. “We also want to have a nursery and a park that we will name. We want to give back to our community.‘Be considerate in your actions’Malinga urges South Africans to be considerate about their actions.“In everything that you do, ensure that it won’t adversely affect your community. Our families get ill because of the things that we throw away in our rivers, streets, etc. Our municipalities provide us with black bags to throw away our refuse. Use those,” she says.Women need not wait for government grants, said Ndlovu. The mother of two feels that South African women need to stand up and think for themselves.“Go out in your community and look at how you can help. Because of this project, we were able to have our own vegetable gardens, and we have also been able to use water from the river.”The women have now received training, and intend to use the information to educate their communities.“We know that we can make an impact in our communities by doing this,” says Malinga. “I have also taught my three kids about the work that I do, and my daughter and I often go around in our community teaching other women and their daughters about keeping their environment clean.“When I started this, I did not have previous knowledge about rivers, so the work that the other women and I have been doing has helped us learn new things.”Eventually, the women aim to start their own market to sell the produce from their vegetable gardens.Ndlovu is setting a great example for her 15- and 21-year-old daughters, who also have vegetable gardens. “I want them to carry on my legacy and help their communities where they can and make a meaningful contribution.”Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

US-Canada Trade Conflicts

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorWASHINGTON (DTN) — Canada could announce a new list of retaliatory tariffs on more U.S. goods, including agricultural products, as early as next week. The tariffs would maintain parity with the U.S. over steel and aluminum tariffs the Trump administration imposed against Canada.David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., highlighted the tariffs Monday as he spoke to members of the North American Agricultural Journalists at the group’s annual meeting in Washington. MacNaughton said Canadian officials are reconfiguring retaliatory tariffs to keep roughly $15 billion in products from the U.S. under either a 25% or 10% tariff.As a result of some exclusions and modifications, MacNaughton said, Canadian officials “will be refreshing that retaliation list,” likely within the next week, to maintain dollar-for-dollar retaliation.The retaliation will include “a significant number of agricultural products.” Possible new targets for tariffs could be apples, pork, ethanol and wine, he said. Once a list goes out, there will be up to 45 days of consultations to see which products would have the biggest impact on the U.S. and least impact on Canadians.“There are a variety of agricultural products we would look at and see to what degree they would impact Canadian producers and consumers,” MacNaughton said. “But I would think it would be a fairly long list.” He added, “I can’t imagine we wouldn’t at least put those kinds of products on consultation.”The Canadian tariffs are in response to “Section 232” tariffs placed on steel and aluminum imports by the U.S. last year. The Trump administration maintains the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum are needed for national security reasons, but the tariffs also helped force Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has become the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USMCA still needs ratification by all three countries to go into effect.“On balance, I think the USMCA is a good deal,” MacNaughton said, adding Canadians want to remain a strong partner with the U.S.MacNaughton added that President Donald Trump has a new trade deal “which he indicates is the best trade agreement ever negotiated,” so the need for 232 tariffs should presumably be gone. “That is an important condition for us moving ahead.”Canada’s government is committed to passing the USMCA, but MacNaughton said the 232 tariffs on Canada and Mexico must be removed for the Canadian government to move the USMCA through its parliament. At the moment, MacNaughton said, there are no talks between the countries about dropping the Section 232 tariffs, only a “restating of positions.” Canadian officials argue the 232 tariffs are unjustified and illegal.Some Trump administration officials have talked about setting steel and aluminum quotas for Canada and Mexico, which MacNaughton said would translate into distorting trade. Under exclusions the U.S. has given already, China has more than 20 times the exclusions Canada was granted by the U.S.“When the stated purpose of these tariffs was to curb overproduction by countries like China, I find it difficult to understand why it is being imposed on Canada,” MacNaughton said.For 15 straight years, the U.S. had a surplus with Canada on imports-exports of steel products. MacNaughton noted, with a little irony, that the U.S. trade surplus ended last year when U.S. exports to Canada fell by $800 million. “So my question is, how’s that program working for you so far?”In terms of aluminum, MacNaughton said, at peak capacity, the U.S. aluminum industry can only produce about 25% of its aluminum needs. The question then becomes where does the U.S. want to get its aluminum?“If you put quotas on Canada, it necessitates that imports will come from other places like Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and how does that enhance U.S. national security?” the ambassador said. “So we think steel and aluminum quotas make no sense.”Canada is facing some time constraints on the USMCA, MacNaughton noted. The Canadian Parliament adjourns June 15 to campaign and will not reconvene until after elections in October. MacNaughton said it’s not a good idea to go into the election with the USMCA hanging out there unratified because it would stir the political pot.“If this is unresolved, if the 232 tariffs are still in place, then the discussion about our relationship with the United States of America will be a central part of the campaign, and it won’t be a really positive discussion, I think,” he said.The ambassador added that it’s important for the U.S. and Canada to maintain their geopolitical alliance because Russia is considering establishing military bases in the Arctic. China also continues to bring political pressure against Canada over the arrest of a Huawei executive by Canadian officials at the request of the U.S. China has arrested at least two Canadians as spies and also cut off imports of Canadian canola and petroleum. MacNaughton said it’s important during the U.S.-China talks for U.S. officials to help Canada address these issues, especially the arrests of Canadian citizens.“We face more challenges internationally today than I’ve ever seen in my life,” MacNaughton said. “It’s a time when the word ‘ally’ actually has substantial meaning.”While U.S. officials appear reluctant to deal with the tariffs, MacNaughton added U.S. officials are consistently seeking Canada’s help with Venezuela as well.“It is that kind of thing that is causing a real sort of irritation and befuddlement as to why?” MacNaughton said. “If our two countries can’t get along, what does that say to the rest of the world?”Approval of the USMCA in the U.S. Congress hinges partially on Mexico passing new labor laws that coincide with the trade deal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., raised that point last week. MacNaughton said it was part of the agreement that Mexico would update its labor laws.“That was part of the negotiations, and I think an important part of it,” he said.Outside the tariff argument, critics of the USMCA deal don’t think Canada opens up its dairy or poultry markets enough under the new deal. Without an agreement, Canada would keep the Class 6 and Class 7 pricing schemes for milk and maintain the current wheat-grading program that discounts U.S. wheat. Mexico would also maintain substantial wage advantages in automobile manufacturing compared to Canada and the U.S., MacNaughton said.“I don’t think there is any question whatsoever that it (USMCA) is an improvement over the status quo,” he said.Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Basecamp Gets an Official Mobile Web App

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology marshall kirkpatrick Tags:#mobile#web What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Prominent online project management service Basecamp has launched a free mobile web app, built in HTML5 and custom designed for users on a multitude of different handsets. It’s attractive, easy to use and hopefully a model that will be followed by 37Signals on its other apps like Backpack.Loading basecamphq.com on your mobile device will take you to the new version automatically. Makers of the several 3rd party Basecamp mobile apps, who were probably making a fair sum on their software, are unlikely to be pleased. I’m excited to use it though. I really hope it supports Backpack soon.The company says the web app will work on the following devices: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, Motorola Droid X, Motorola Droid 2, Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Incredible, HTC Evo, Palm Pre 2, BlackBerry Torch, and any device running iOS 4+, Android 2.1+, webOS 2, or BlackBerry 6. Related Posts last_img read more

Tata Harrier SUV slated for December launch, here is all you need to know

first_imgTata Motors has been readying itself for one of its biggest ever and most awaited launch of the year, the Harrier SUV or the H5X as it was previously known. According to dealer sources, the Harrier will make its official production-spec debut during the first week of December. However, it is still a question mark on the price announcement as of yet.Tata officially started taking in bookings for the upcoming Harrier SUV a few weeks back. The SUV first made its Indian debut at the 2018 Auto Expo. The booking amount is Rs 30,000 and refundable. The bookings can also production-spec on the newly launched Tata Harrier’s website.The Tata Harrier has been close on the heels of becoming one of the most awaited cars this year since its Indian debut at the 2018 Auto Expo held in February 2018.The Harrier will be built on the Omega platform which is a derivative of the L550 platform from the stables of Jaguar Land Rover for the Discovery Sport. This means the Harrier is slated to use the parts bin of the Discovery Sport which includes floor panels, all-independent suspension, and steering gear. However, steel will aluminum to optimize cost.The Harrier is also slated to share the wheelbase from the Discovery Sport which is 2,741mm and will be 4×4 capable like the Discovery Sport and will come with a proper 4×4 drivetrain.The best part yet, Tata designers have stated that the final production model will be very much similar to the concept model. We can say this considering the teaser image of the Harrier SUV showed high-set headlamps with LED DRLs. Other styling similarities include wheel arches, front and rear armrests, slim headlamps which are in accordance with their Impact Design 2.0 language.advertisementThe Harrier is expected to be powered by a Kryotec, 140bhp, 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine with a 4-wheel drive system which will be developed by Tata. The powertrain will be mated to a 6-speed manual or a Hyundai sourced 6-speed automatic. The engine will get multiple drive modes which are already available on Tata’s Revotron and Revotorq line of engines.Interior wise, the Harrier will feature front and rear AC vents, sunroof, touchscreen infotainment system, steering mounted controls, electric seats with memory function, parking sensors, and reverse camera.last_img read more