Audio: Memories of rural Kenya in the 1930s–50s: My mum and I on national radio

Central Kenya landscape

Ever wondered how Africans managed in the olden days?

How did women deliver children at home? What did they feed their babies? And when people fell sick who brought them back to health and with what?

And then when the British colonialists came and tore apart the social structure in Central Kenya, what drove people to nonetheless take up the formal education they brought? (My parents’ families were among the early adopters.)

In May this year, my mum, author of a memoir titled “It’s Never Too Late”, and I were invited to The Books Café, a radio program hosted by Khainga O’Okwemba, on the national broadcaster KBC.

Though I kicked and screamed when Khainga suggested that I should join the program, it turned out OK, and I even enjoyed the chit chat…you have to think on your feet!

Here’s the audio. 1 hour long. And below it the promo clip too – 30 seconds.

 

Margaret Wakarindi Githinji – author of ‘It’s Never Too Late’, a memoir

 

“It’s time to stop talking and start acting” : Agroecological farming for people and the planet

Back in 2009, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) issued a clarion call for a deep reform of agriculture globally.

“Business as usual is not an option,” the comprehensive, evidence-based global series titled Agriculture at Crossroads, stated boldly.

The IAASTD report urged, among other things, for global agriculture to respect the agroecological principles that had served farmers and nature well since the dawn of farming; practices such as organic farming and agroforestry which supply the nutritional needs of people without harming the natural resource base on which all life depends. Read  more. . .

The right tree for the right place: vegetationmap4africa v2 includes smartphone app

Tree enthusiasts on the move can now identify species as they go, and at the same time gain a deeper understanding of their natural environment, thanks to a new version of vegetationmap4africa (www.vegetationmap4africa.org).

Field testing of the new vegetationmap4Africa App. Photo by Roeland Kindt/ICRAF
Field testing of the new vegetationmap4Africa App. Photo by Roeland Kindt/ICRAF

The new version of the map (ver. 2.0), which has been developed by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the University of Copenhagen and partners, was launched on 7 September 2015 at the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban. The map is expected to help those involved in landscape restoration to make better decisions on suitable tree and shrub species to.. Read more…

CGIAR leads communication-for-research uptake (ResUp) training at Nairobi symposium

How do you explain your research work, share your opinion and give recommendations to an important audience so that you can make a difference and get others, including policymakers, to take up your research?

These were some of the ‘research uptake’ issues addressed at a ResUp Meet Up Symposium and Training Exchange held 9-12 Feb 2015 in Nairobi to explore emerging issues and advance skills and practices in research uptake.  Read more…

“Shallow” private-sector engagement a major concern for integrated landscape initiatives

Integrated landscape initiatives in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa are investing heavily in institutional planning and coordination, but they have had mixed results engaging different stakeholder groups, especially the private sector. This key stakeholder group was almost always missing from a selection of landscape initiatives surveyed recently.

“Incomplete” or “shallow” stakeholder engagement was the most frequently reported challenge by the nearly two hundred landscape initiatives from 54 countries (33 African and 21 from LAC region) that participated in the study. African initiatives were the most affected. Read more. . .

Mapping, for the people, by the people

“We want mapping to be easy…” Tor-Gunnar Vågen stated at a recent seminar. “… and fun.”

The senior scientist and leader of the Geoscience Lab at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), was demonstrating the features of the new Landscapes Portal, a map website with enormous promise.­­

Soft-launched in January 2014, the Landscapes Portal allows anyone, anywhere, to share, search, visualize and download spatial data from landscapes around the world. By gathering data from users worldwide (crowdsourcing), the portal is expected to improve the availability of location-specific data on natural resources and related phenomena, at better resolution (detail) than previously accessible.Read more. . .

Scaling Up Sustainable Land Management

Handbook cover

Handbook cover

A new handbook  on scaling up sustainable land management practices is now available online. The 45-page how-to guide is aimed primarily at the densely populated East African highlands, where the best practices garnered from the African Highlands Initiative—a project implemented by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and partners—are being spread through ‘Innovation Platforms.’

The ‘Innovation Platforms’ approach is hinged on creating forums that facilitate interaction and learning among stakeholders with a common challenge—in the current case land degradation. This interaction and joint learning helps foster buy-in as communities move towards a more sustainable model of land management. Read more. . .

New tree books mean Michelle Gauthier’s dream lives on

Trees-urban
Trees along streets in San Francisco, California, USA. Photo by Hubert de Foresta, IRD

The reviews of two books, and an obituary to the passionate advocate for trees who helped bring them to life, have been recently published in the journal Forests, Trees and Livelihoods.

The first review is by Professor Roger Leakey, senior fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and professor at James Cook University, Australia. Leakey analyses a comprehensive and beautifully illustrated technical report on a keenly important but hirtherto under-measured and insufficiently valued natural resource—trees outside forests. Read more. . .