Monthly Archives: April 2016

Validation of the report of diagnostic goat value chains study in north-eastern Kenya conducted

As livelihoods of the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in north-eastern (NE) Kenya are dependent on livestock production, particularly the goats of breed galla, that are kept by the Somali and Boran communities of Kenya; and are among the major livestock types kept by most households that have livestock in the region where livestock and the goat, in particular, are important in the socio-cultural and economic lives of the local people. For the attached importance, a comprehensive goat value chain study was conducted in 3 counties of Garissa, Mandera and Wajir in Kenya to review and assess the current goat value chains in ASALs of north-eastern Kenya in order to identify the critical constraints and explore opportunities for goat value chain development.

In April 12th, 2016, the IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) successfully organized and validated this study at Amber Hotel in Nairobi that was attended by the participants from the 3 counties, NGOs and development partners operating in those counties.

The objectives of the goat value chain study in the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Kenya are summarized as follows: (a) Mapping out key goat value chain actors from production to the terminal markets in Kenya, particularly from pastoral and agro-pastoral areas; (b) Identifying constraints facing the sub sector and delineating commercialization opportunities along the value chain; (c) Making recommendations for upgrading goat value chains from ASAL areas of Kenya, with a focus on NE Kenya.

The study made important recommendations to guide ICPALD and the Government of Kenya future interventions in the goat value chains in the ASALs of north-eastern Kenya. These include; (i) targeting youth and women as the quickest way to improve livestock value chains through home-based  feed processing, milk and milk products production, marketing and fattening of goats (ii) putting disaster risk reduction and mitigation measures in place to enhance potential for goat value chain development (iii) encouragement of income diversification through commercial poultry keeping in order to enable the goat to climb up the ladder of investment (iv) access markets that work for poor and enhance resilience (v) produce improved and selected goat breeds for national and regional markets (vi) develop national markets and work closely with the importing countries to enhance transparency and trust regarding requirements (vii) formulate country policies for the benefit of counties based on their livestock development priorities (viii) encourage public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements in livestock value chains and related areas such as fodder and animal health care value chains (ix) encourage cross-country programming for livestock marketing between Kenya-Uganda-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Somalia (x) encourage commodity-based livestock marketing and trade; and (xi) invest in capacity development for all goat value chain actors. 

IGAD /ICPALD acknowledges and appreciates the provided financial support from the Danish Government.

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, based on information received as of 19:30hrs, 29 April 2016

This report is for media and the general public.

The SMM recorded a lower number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous day. It conducted further crater analysis related to the shelling in Olenivka. The Mission observed presence of weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines. It facilitated and monitored adherence to the ceasefire to enable repair works. The SMM observed long queues at checkpoints near the contact line. It observed a protest in Odessa.

The SMM recorded a lower number of ceasefire violations in Donetsk region compared with the previous day.[1] In the evening hours of 28 April, whilst in “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre, the SMM heard eight undetermined explosions 7-10km north-west of its position. Positioned at Donetsk central railway station (“DPR”-controlled, 6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard 52 undetermined explosions, and 32 explosions assessed as caused by automatic-grenade-launcher fire, 29 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and 123 single shots of small-arms fire at locations ranging from 1-7km and from west to north of its position.

In the evening hours of 28 April, whilst in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk) the SMM heard at least 15 explosions (five outgoing and ten incoming) assessed as caused by 73mm cannon (BMP-1), recoilless-gun (SPG-9) and rocket-propelled grenade-launcher (RPG-7) fire, 41 explosions (20 outgoing and 21 incoming) of automatic-grenade-launcher fire, and at least 38 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire and intermittent shots of small-arms fire 2-6km south-south-east of its position.

In Luhansk region, the SMM observed a low number of ceasefire violations. In the evening hours of 28 April, whilst in “LPR”-controlled Stakhanov (50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard 50-60 single shots of small-arms fire, 1.5-2km west of its position. On 29 April, whilst near Vrubiskyi (“LPR”-controlled, 22km south-west of Luhansk) the SMM heard and saw around 32 explosions, assessed as mortar rounds outgoing at a location 3km south west of its position, and subsequently heard and saw 32 explosions assessed as rounds impacting at a training area in “LPR”-controlled Myrne, (31km south-west of Luhansk), outside the security zone.

The SMM conducted further crater analysis following the fatal shelling incident in “DPR”-controlled Olenivka (23km south-west of Donetsk) on 27 April (see SMM Spot Report 28 April 2016). The SMM further analysed five craters in proximity to the clinic. The SMM determined the origin of the shelling (south-west and west-south-west) for the five craters, four of which were assessed as caused by 122mm artillery and the fifth by 152mm artillery. The closest crater to the clinic was 50m east of its entrance. The SMM observed some damage to the eastern walls of the clinic building caused by shrapnel, and minor damages to its roof caused by a blast wave. The SMM observed a storage building 100m south of the clinic which had been completely destroyed by a direct impact. Apart from a security guard, the clinic was empty at the time of the shelling, according to the deputy chief doctor. Whilst in Olenivka, the SMM observed at least two small arms firing positions, less than 500m from the clinic and less than 400m from where four civilians were killed by the shelling on 27 April. Also less than 500m from the clinic and 200m from the place of the incident, the SMM observed several residential houses, blocked by ammunition boxes (marked 120mm mortar) and other materials, such as sandbags, assessed as quarters of armed “DPR” members. The SMM observed four heavily armed “DPR” members guarding one of the buildings.

The SMM followed up on alleged shelling on 26 April near the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (16km north-east of Luhansk). In the vicinity of the “LPR”-controlled checkpoint at the bridge, the SMM observed that a tree on the south-western side of the bridge had been hit. The impact was fresh and SMM assessed that it had been caused by fire from a north-westerly direction. The SMM observed impacts and remnants, as well as a mortar tail section stuck in the north-facing side of a hill nearby.

In relation to the implementation of the Addendum to the Package of Measures, the SMM revisited Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage sites whose locations corresponded with the withdrawal lines and observed that three anti-tank guns (D-44, 85mm) were missing, as they have been since 29 December 2015. 

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines the SMM observed seven tanks (T-72) in “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city.

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed 12 tanks at a training ground in “LPR”-controlled Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk).

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk Package of Measures. The SMM has yet to receive the full information requested in the 16 October 2015 notification.

In violation of the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM observed: seven MLRS (BM-21 Grad, 122mm), seven self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm), and ten towed howitzers (five 2A65 Msta-B, 152mm, and five D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) in “LPR”-controlled Luhansk city.

The SMM revisited locations known to the SMM as heavy weapons holding areas, even though they do not comply with the specific criteria set out for permanent storage sites in the 16 October 2015 notification.

In government-controlled areas beyond the respective withdrawal lines, the SMM revisited such locations and observed ten MLRS (BM-27 Uragan), 12 anti-tank guns (2A29/MT Rapira, 100mm) and four Addendum-regulated mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm).

Beyond the respective withdrawal lines but outside storage sites, the SMM observed: a stationary anti-aircraft system (SA-8) near government-controlled Novovasylivka (59km north-west of Donetsk); five self-propelled howitzers (2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm) and five towed howitzers (D-30 Lyagushka, 122mm) in “LPR”-controlled Uspenka.

The SMM continued to observe the marking of mined areas and presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). The SMM observed six billboards providing information on mines (three on each side of the road), within approximately 2km, between two government-controlled checkpoints near government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk). The SMM observed an improvised 20 by 40cm mine hazard sign written in black letters on a wooden stick 1km north-west of government-controlled Nadezhdynka (63km north-west of Donetsk).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor adherence to the ceasefire to enable repairs to essential infrastructure. Positioned both in “LPR”-controlled Krasnyi Lyman (30km north-west of Luhansk) and in government-controlled Trokhizbenka (33km north-west of Luhansk) between 09:10 and 12:55, the SMM observed the adherence to the ceasefire and the repair works of three bank filtration wells, whereby the pipelines, transformer and valves of the wells were replaced.

The SMM continued to monitor long queues at entry-exit checkpoints near the contact line. At a checkpoint in government-controlled Marinka the SMM observed several angry civilians who said that they had been waiting in queue all day. Some of them started to hit and kick the SMM vehicles, causing light scratches to one vehicle. At a checkpoint in “DPR”-controlled Oktiabr (29km north-east of Mariupol), a group of 16 civilians (aged 35-40, males and females) said they had been waiting for six hours. They feared that the slow crossing procedures would prevent them from returning to their homes or join their families in time for the forthcoming holidays.

The SMM monitored border areas in government- and non-government-controlled areas. At the government-controlled Milove (107km north of Luhansk) border crossing point, the SMM observed a queue of around 50 civilian vehicles waiting to cross into the Russian Federation, as well as around 15-20 pedestrians. At the border crossing point in Marynivka (“DPR-controlled, 78km east of Donetsk) the SMM observed 33 civilian vehicles, five commercial trucks (one loaded with coal) and two passenger buses waiting to cross into the Russian Federation (mostly with Ukrainian license plates except for three cars with Russian licence plates). At the border crossing point in Uspenka (“DPR-controlled, 73km south-east of Donetsk) the SMM observed 42 cars waiting to cross into the Russian Federation (all with Ukrainian license plates except for four with Russian licence plates). During one hour, the SMM also observed some 15 pedestrians crossing from the Russian Federation into Ukraine.

The SMM met with the head of the state penitentiary service department for Donetsk region who confirmed that 20 prisoners (18 males and two females) were transferred from facilities in non-government controlled areas to Mariupol on 20 April, where they will serve the remainder of their sentences. He stated that a total of 112 prisoners, all convicted by Ukrainian courts prior to or during the initial stages of the conflict, had been transferred from areas not under government control, following requests made by their relatives to the Ukrainian Ombudsman.

In Odessa, the SMM monitored the 17th consecutive day of a protest aimed at demanding the resignation of the mayor. The SMM observed 10 people (aged 30-70, three females) at the campsite in front of the city hall. Three protestors at the camp informed the SMM about an airsoft grenade thrown 65m away from the campsite in the early morning hours. The SMM visited the site, but saw no traces of an explosion. A spokesperson of the police regional headquarters informed the SMM that at 02:00 the police found an unexploded airsoft grenade near the city hall. The spokesperson added that no investigation was opened in connection with the incident.

The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Kherson, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Chernivtsi, Dnepropetrovsk and Kyiv.

*Restrictions to SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to the fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring is restrained by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines and unexploded ordnance, and by restrictions of its freedom of movement and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations.

Besides to the abovementioned general restrictions, the SMM was not subject to any specific restriction to its freedom of movement.

[1] Please see the annexed table for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, as well as map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this  report.

Relief funding for golf clubs

A GOLF club in north Durham has secured £5,000 in funding after rain flooded the course.

South Moor Golf Club, near Stanley, was shut for over four weeks after persistent rain damaged the paths and one of the greens where a drainage pipe collapsed.

Even when the course re-opened golfers who relied on buggies were unable to play because of the damage to the paths.

The club received £4,926 towards the costs of repairs from Sport England

Guy Carr, a member of the club’s general committee, said: “The grant application was very straightforward, we had a reply within ten days telling us we would get the money.

“We couldn’t believe how fast it was, they were fantastic.”

Hobson Golf Club, also near Stanley, received £2,000 in funding from Sport England and, in total, 13 golf clubs across the north of England have received over £50,000 to help them repair damage from the winter floods.

Abbie Lench, England Golf’s head of club support, said: “We’re pleased that so many clubs were able to access the emergency fund and it has been gratefully received.

“Sport England have produced some additional guidance around flood planning and flood prevention and clubs which would like to find out more can email info@englandgolf.org.”

“Lightbulb” moment over mouthwash ingredient will help North-East drug plant save thousands of babies' lives

A DRUG company is leading a drive to cut newborn baby deaths after a senior official’s “lightbulb moment”.

GlaxoSmithKline has launched the Umbipro gel to tackle umbilical cord-related deaths in Africa and Asia.

Bosses say it could help save more than 420,000 lives over five years.

The inspiration for the venture was Dr Pauline Williams, who saw potential for the drug while reading a United Nations report at home.

Dr Williams, GSK’s head of global health research and development, says the document pinpointed the antiseptic chlorhexidine as a possible life-saving remedy.

Knowing chlorhexidine is already used in GSK’s Corsodyl mouthwash, she asked scientists to explore the potential extension of its use, and the business now expects to make at least six million sachets of the gel at its 1,400-job plant in Barnard Castle, County Durham.

Dr Williams said the gel, endorsed by the European Medicines Agency, will replace practices and traditions in Africa and Asia when the umbilical cord is cut, which include placing ash and dung on wounds to encourage healing.

Dr Williams added tests have been carried out to ensure Umbipro, which doesn’t need to be refrigerated, can cope with increased heat and humidity.

She told The Northern Echo: “I had a bit of a lightbulb moment when I was sitting at home reading a report on the effect this antiseptic had on saving lives when it was put on a freshly-cut umbilical cord.

“Any form of infection can get in if the wound, where the cord has been cut, is not properly cleaned and cause sepsis.

“The UN said if (this treatment) was authorised, it could save hundreds of thousands of lives.

“That was the challenge I took back to the team and said ‘can we do this?’

“I’m so proud of everyone for what they have done; I actually feel really emotional to have got to this point.

“We are one step closer to saving lives and this fits with our long-standing commitment to global health.

“People can see the tangible benefits of this and understand it; it really captures their hearts.

“The team at Barnard Castle have worked incredibly hard to make this treatment stable, so it doesn’t degrade in the high heat and humidity.”

She also praised Save The Children, which GSK is working alongside to improve the lives of youngsters around the world, saying the project represents a significant milestone between the organisations.

She said: “Our relationship meant we could tap into their expertise to help understand what packaging we should use.

“It also helped with the problem of no literacy skills because mothers can look at pictures to understand what they need to do.”

GSK is running the umbilical cord project as non-profit endeavour and Dr Williams says it aims to use the backing of the EMA to get African and Asian manufacturers into the supply chain and make the gel more freely available.

She added: “We can use the EMA’s opinion to go and market Umbipro in countries where we are targeting the supply.

“That is every country where the rate of infection is high, particularly sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.”

Ali Forder, Save The Children’s director of programme, policy and quality, said: “This is an exciting step forward and our partnership with GSK goes beyond the traditional corporate-charity model.

“This is a good example of how we can achieve better outcomes for children.”

GSK’s Barnard Castle factory is the company’s skin division headquarters, and is known for making antibiotics and liquid fillings for injections and nasal sprays.

On international day, UN spotlights history and power of jazz in building peace

30 April 2016 – Jazz is a universal message of peace that harmonizes rhythm and meaning, carries values significant for every woman and man, and provides unique opportunities for mutual understanding, the top United Nations cultural official said today, as music enthusiasts around the world celebrate International Jazz Day.

&#8220This spirit has inspired musicians, as well as poets, painters and writers all over the world, reminding us that culture is far more than entertainment &#8211 culture is a window onto the soul, culture is the shape we give to that which we most cherish,&#8221 said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a

message to mark the International Day today.

Ms. Bokova noted that the history of jazz draws from a mix of peoples and cultures, including from Africa, Europe and the Caribbean.

&#8220Jazz tells the power of music to build peace and bring together people of all cultures and backgrounds,&#8221 the Director-General said.

&#8220Jazz gave music to the courage that drove the civil rights movement in the United States, and it continues to provide inspiration to millions of people across the world, seeking freedom, fighting for respect and human dignity,&#8221 she added.

Among activities for this year’s Day, an All Star Concert was held at the White House in Washington, D.C., hometown of the jazz great Duke Ellington, hosted by United States President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The celebration, which took place yesterday, will be webcast today as a one-hour program, &#8220Jazz at the White House,&#8221 on the UN, UNESCO, U.S. State Department and White House websites.

In addition to jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, the concert featured Sting, Aretha Franklin, Hugh Masekela, Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny and many others.

&#8220After travelling the world, jazz returns home,&#8221 Ms. Bokova said. &#8220This kicks off a celebration that will take over hundreds of cities across the globe. Once again, this shows the power of jazz to bring the world together as one.&#8221

Some 150 countries will be hosting Jazz Day events over the next several days, the Director-General said.

In November 2011, UNESCO officially designated 30 April as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly formally welcomed UNESCO’s decision, with both bodies now recognizing the Day.

The Day is chaired and led by Ms. Bokova and Mr. Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a non-profit organization charged with planning, promoting and producing the annual celebration.

International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April.