Daily Archives: August 26, 2016

Street art heads south

REALISM MEETS ABSTRACT: Mikey Freedom and Claire Foxton are completing a giant mural this weekend, adding some vibrancy to the new dining precinct at Stockland Shellharbour. Picture: Sylvia Liber

REALISM MEETS ABSTRACT: Mikey Freedom and Claire Foxton are completing a giant mural this weekend, adding some vibrancy to the new dining precinct at Stockland Shellharbour. Picture: Sylvia Liber

Two artists are painting the town red this weekend – plus green, blue and other colours in between.

Mikey Freedom and Claire Foxton have been commissioned by Stockland to create a thought-provoking, 20-metre high mural in the centre of Shellharbour on Holm Place.

Both said their design brief was fairly open as long as they represented the region, its people and their lifestyle.

“Obviously it’s got to be positive and inviting,” Freedom said.

“I think it’s an awesome investment in culture in this area. There’s not a lot around here,” she said.

“You’ve got to have business and culture grow together, you can’t have one overtake the other; it’s a much needed injection of culture,” added Freedom.

It’s the largest mural Foxton has ever created and the first time she has worked with Kiama’s renowned artist.

“[My style] is realism, whereas Mikey’s is a little bit more abstract. I think our styles really compliment each other in that way, the yin and the yang,” she said.

“It’s a big learning curve for me … and there’s a challenge to get the proportions right.”

Freedom said often when two artists collaborate there was an “unspoken competition” despite working on the same project, but admitted there was a positive and infectious energy from Foxton.

Both agreed they’re excited to see the public’s reaction to their design once it’s finished on Sunday, August 28.

The mural will show a young girl surrounded by images of nature and the Shellharbour shopping and dining precinct.

It comes after Freedom vamped up West Wollongong in July with a colourful mural on the front of a doctor’s surgery.

He used large blocks of colour to depict a hand placing a flower in a woman’s hair, with the aim of infusing positive emotions into anyone who comes in view of the permanent artwork at 405 Crown Street.

Meantime Foxton is the painter responsible for a smaller mural in Oak Flats, across from the public school, of two hands.

She was also involved in Project Crown, an outdoor gallery in the Wollongong mall, painted on temporary facades while renovations to Wollongong Central were being undertaken.


* Wonderwalls: Before and After

* Public art comes to West Wollongong

* Outdoor gallery to amaze and impress

* Banned art returns thanks to Yours & Owls

Physio keeps Middlesbrough players moving

A FORMER Teesside University student is helping to keep promising footballers in top condition.

Kirsty Gibbon went from a first class degree to the Premier League after joining the physiotherapy team at Middlesbrough Football Club.

The 24-year-old had previously worked in physiotherapy with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Durham County Cricket Club, while also having a part-time role with Boro. Her new role involves working with the Academy’s young players who may one day go on to join the professional ranks of the club’s first team.

“They’re the players of the future, so it’s great to have a role in their development,” she said. “It’s brilliant working at the club at such as exciting time.”

'Girls were putting on dresses, I couldn't wait to meet my dealer'

Slowly, step by step, brick by brick Maree is getting her daughter Jenna back after a decade of drug dependence. Photo: Supplied

Slowly, step by step, brick by brick Maree is getting her daughter Jenna back after a decade of drug dependence. Photo: Supplied

She first used drugs to dull the pain from a ruptured disc in her back. The doctors prescribed oxycodone, a highly addictive painkiller that she would come to know it by its multiple street names, hillbilly heroin, Oxy or simply O. 

She was 15 and attending one of Brisbane’s prestigious all-girls schools. Oxycodone is similar to heroin and for Jenna Roberts, the sweetness of the oxcycodone’s melodies not only lifted her, took away the pain but also made her feel whole, kept the loneliness at bay.

They were sweet songs. Like those of the mythical Sirens, the muses of the lower world, whose songs lured those passing to their death.

In the next decade the songs were the same: I can make you feel alright; I can make you feel complete; I can make you feel nothing and everything. But the song did more than that. It almost took her family; destroyed her relationships; took her friends, her lovers; left her broke; took her smile and almost her life.

Her mate O not only made chronic pain bearable, but in a place where designer names defined you, opened the door to the joys of the party-drug world. A bit of weed on top of the pain killers; a bit of low-level dealing (“the day girls had the money and I had the contacts. I just skimmed a bit off the top. They had no idea”); it filled the loneliness void.

When the girls were putting on their graduation dresses I couldn’t wait to bolt to the front gate and meet my dealer – Jenna

And then it was drug city party time. Even at university, studying law, there was time to feed a growing habit. Drugs to get you going in the morning, keep you going all day and drugs to paaarrrtty. 

Another back operation, a steady supply of prescriptions for her good mate, oxycodone. As well, there was a social cocktail of marijuana, booze, ecstasy, speed. By then she had developed an addict’s skill at deception – lifted from the doctor shopping handbook. But doctor shopping is time-intensive; you needed a different doctor; in a different suburb and someone’s Medicare card. Far easier to move to another drug.

Her mother, Maree, a professional senior bureaucrat, now says she had her suspicions for some time that there was more than pain and prescription meds to Jenna’s behaviour but, “I guess looking back I didn’t want to believe it. No one wants to believe it of their child.” There were plausible reasons for her increasingly erratic behaviour.

For the daughter, the journey through addiction to the end – recognising that she had become a full-blown, heroin injecting, ice addict took almost a decade. The needle and prostitution were the lines in the sand, places for junkies. 

But not her. Junkies inhabit a world of back alleys, of dirty houses, scabs, of bent spoons and dirty needles. Junkies use heroin and inject. A junkie has arrived at their destination when their faithfulness to the drug is stronger, more powerful than anything, any family, any bond. A junkie has no guilt, no shame, no morality.

In her world, in her mind, Jenna wasn’t a junkie – just someone who could stop when she wanted. But she couldn’t and she didn’t. She had crashed out of university and spent a couple of years living in Brisbane, not doing much aside from maturing her drug habit. Eventually, having alienated or pushed away friends, she moved in with her parents, now living in the comfortable central coast suburb of Terrigal in New South Wales.

“By that stage my addiction was a disaster. I went from maybe having a day or two being not being able to use a substance to doing things to myself and to other people that I can’t ever take back. I was very violent,” she said.

For Maree it was to become repeating behaviour. “For years we had always welcomed Jenna back home, no matter what she had done (or not done). We paid the price for her actions, tears after blow-ups, paying her fines, feeding her, clothing her and protecting her from the consequences of her actions wasn’t changing her behaviour. 

She was coming home less and less frequently and then only using our home as a place to regather her strength, resources and commitment to dive back into the underworld of drugs. – Maree

“It seemed inevitable that she would come to grief sooner rather than later and all my attempts to stop that happening had failed. Begging and pleading, crying and promising, doctors, counsellors, friends. She would go missing for days at a time.

“If David (my husband) didn’t know where Jenna was, he trawled the streets until he found some evidence that she was alive and brought her home and put her back together, When Jenna stole from us, abused us or trashed our house he would tell her we loved her and one day things would be good again,” Maree says.

It finally came to a head. Maree was taking anti-depressants just to get through the day. “Jenna could reduce me to tears with one of her outrages and leave me feeling worthless. David and I were in counselling.

Jenna’s addiction and her behaviour at home was driving us apart. At yet another counselling session I made it clear that I couldn’t go on like this. I felt as though I couldn’t make anyone happy – not even myself. I admitted my failure as a parent and as a wife. I felt I had been a better mother to my stepchildren than I had been to my biological child and blamed my genetics for bearing a child with these problems. I was in abject misery about walking away from both my daughter and my husband but I just couldn’t conceive any other option,” she says.

I remember hating the daylight. I never wanted to go out in it. I loved the night. You could hide in the night. – Jenna

So together Maree and David decided to cut the safety net. “We had decided that the only option was to ban her from the house. It was a hugely painful decision. The fears and dark horrors swirled around us. The ‘what ifs’ seemed to have devils horns. She stormed off and we went into that place where a phone call from a private number was terrifying. A police car in the street made me feel violently ill,” she says.

A bit earlier she had been confronted by her brother on the suburban lawn at Christmas. “We know what you are – you are a junkie.” It wasn’t judgmental, just matter of fact and a signal that she wasn’t fooling anyone any more.

She had crossed the lines – moving on from stealing from her parents and siblings, to injecting and prostitution. Being thrown out of home sent her onto the streets, sleeping rough, back to an abusive, toxic relationship, swapping sex for somewhere to sleep, for drugs.

Some can describe the time of their first injection, the veins bulging, inserting the needle, blood rushing before slowly  pushing in the plunger and the overwhelming hit. Not Jenna. “I don’t remember the timing of when I first injected. It happened with an acquaintance. I remember I was quite desperate at the time so it just kind of happened. It wasn’t some huge event or anything. I just needed my fix and that is how I got it,” she says.

During her addiction, Jenna would disappear for days at a time, and her mother Maree was taking anti-depressants and in counselling. Photo: Supplied

During her addiction, Jenna would disappear for days at a time, and her mother Maree was taking anti-depressants and in counselling. Photo: Supplied

But severe addiction and life on the streets took its toll. Her weight crashed to about 40 kilos. “I tried to overdose myself and when I woke up I was devastated that I couldn’t even kill myself. I felt worthless. I remember hating the daylight. I never wanted to go out in it. I loved the night. You could hide in the night. There were less people around and I felt much safer.

“There was a 24-hour Kmart near where I was living, it was the only shop I would go to. For a long time in the end, all I ate was tinned corn. It was the only thing I could stomach. I lived on canned corn and Coca-Cola,” she says.

Eventually she contacted her parents. “I begged them to come home for a meal and once I got in that door I said to my parents, ‘You can’t kick me out,’ and they said, ‘Yeah, we can, we’ll just call the police.’ At that stage I said, ‘I’ll do whatever, I’ll do whatever,’ and mum said, ‘You need to go to rehab,’ and I said ‘OK.’ So mum started dialling numbers and putting the phone up to my ear because she said, ‘I don’t want you to ever turn around and say I made you do this.’

“By the time I got to detox I couldn’t read a line in a book. If friends hadn’t fallen away, I had done my best to push them. I didn’t want anyone around who might call me on my behaviour and I didn’t want to bring anyone down with me either.

It took 45 days in a 30-day program.

“Rehab was everything that you see in the movies, the sweating, wetting the bed, that all happened for me. There were days when I thought death would have been a kind option for me. Then my brother, the one who had called me out, visited with his newborn son. ‘Look what you are missing out on.’ It was a trigger, a motivator to deal with the demons. I call my little nephew my recovery baby,” she says.

She stuck rehab out. After that there were constant Narcotics Anonymous meetings and a growing understanding of residual mental health issues that come from frying your brain for a decade. Then there were four or five “refresher sessions” – some pre-emptive moves before she reached crisis point, spun out of control again.

There is a constant battle with depression and feelings of immense guilt. “I still have a couple of friends left from pre-drugs but not many at all. I damaged most things I came into contact with, especially people,” she says.

Now she is five years clean and working in the mental health, drug and alcohol field. It’s exhausting, fighting to get better every day, dealing with mental health issues every day. It can be hard resisting the call of the Sirens. Family helps.

They gathered around Jenna and helped her on her way back. And it’s been one step at a time; better health, a job, friends and a new relationship. Now she is working to make up for the lost decade.

It’s been a tough decade with more disappointments than achievements but slowly, step by step, brick by brick Maree is getting her daughter back. There is the fear that something will happen, that it will all get too much and Jenna will slide back to using again.

“Its hard to reconcile the girl I know now with the lost soul before. Nothing will ever be the same. But I am grateful we have the chance to repair this relationship,” she says.

If you or somebody you know is distressed phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

The best beachcombing beaches around the USA

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Is there a simpler summertime pleasure than strolling a beach to collect the shelled treasures that wash ashore? Well, only eating ice cream in bare feet, perhaps, though those can go hand in hand. Follow our lead for the best beaches for beachcombing across the USA and get ready to fill your buckets with sand dollars, shark’s teeth, sea glass and more.

Mocrocks Beach, Wash.

Long, oval-shaped shells that glisten with a beautiful purplish color inside await foragers at this small but scenic beach about a 2.5-hour drive west of Seattle. Pacific razor clams are the beachcombing treasure at Mocrocks Beach, which lies just south of the richly forested Quinault Indian Reservation in some of Washington’s most spectacular coastal woodlands. Spend your days strolling the beach to amass the clamshells and abundant sand dollars, too. Then retreat to one of the 25 rustic cabins at the oceanfront Iron Springs Resort (they feel like private beach houses) for a fun family stay.

Ocean Beach, Calif.

Known for its deadly riptides, this urban San Francisco beach is hardly the most swimmer-friendly. But if you’re looking for a shoreline guaranteed to deliver treasures, then Ocean Beach is a top Northern California bet. The elegant Dendraster excentricus variety of sand dollars are particularly prevalent along the long, sweeping beach here. The best time to look for them is at low tide in the 48 hours following a storm.

Block Island, R.I. 

There are sandy shores here, but the stony beaches of Block Island offer the best shelling opportunities for those looking to fill their buckets to the brim. It’s a one-hour ferry ride from Narragansett on the mainland to this island located just 12 miles offshore of Rhode Island and to the northeast of Long Island, N.Y. Look for giant scallop shells, sea glass and sand dollars. And after a big storm, join the locals scavenging for Native American artifacts that are sometimes unearthed by the waves (Narragansett Indians were the island’s first inhabitants).

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, Calif.

Hunt but don’t take it with you is the rule at the famous Glass Beach at MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg on California’s gorgeous Mendocino Coast. From 1906 to 1967, when the area was home to a city dump, all manner of trash was disposed of with a shove off the cliffs here. And some of that detritus has been refashioned into wave-smoothed pieces of colorful glass. Rare red glass said to come from the taillights of pre-1967 cars and blue fragments from apothecary bottles are the most sought after specimens. Take a photo to prove you found them, then bid them adieu with a more ceremonious toss back into the sea.

Delaware Seashore State Park, Del.

The Delaware Seashore State Park in Rehoboth (between popular Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach) delivers for those in search of seashells during the off season months (fall and winter), in particular. But you can source plenty of great finds here during summertime, too – especially after a storm surge carves away part of the dunes, revealing shells and sea glass that may have been covered for quite some time.  Look for little pieces of perfection in the form of channeled whelks, moon snails, scallops and angel wings. Rare pieces of red sea glass also occasionally wash ashore.

Keewaydin Island, Fla. 

Exploring the miles of undeveloped shoreline fringing Keewaydin Island in the Gulf of Mexico just off the coast of Naples feels like opening a Pandora’s box of shell delights. You’ll need a boat (they can be rented in Naples) to reach Keewaydin Island, where starfish, sand dollars, horseshoe crab shells and urchins and mollusks of all sorts litter sand as fine as powdered sugar. There are no restaurants or any other commercial outposts on the island, so pack a cooler full of your favorite treats to make the most of your day in this paradise hidden right in plain view.

Johnson Beach, Perdido Key, Fla.

Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, located on Perdido Key near Pensacola in Florida’s Panhandle, Johnson Beach is the place to scavenge for such treasures as sunray venus clams, pen shells, cockles, conch and more. So fertile is the shelling beach here that local collectors try to keep this scenic stretch of sugar-fine sand to themselves. You’ll find them particularly out en masse – bent over and eyes glues to the sand – during low tide and especially after one of the impressive gulf storms, when the most shells wash ashore.

Sanibel and Captiva, Fla.

Sanibel and Captiva, sister islands off the southwest coast of Florida, are probably the most famous spots for shelling in the USA. After all, the term “Sanibel stoop” – which refers to the position shell-seekers assume when they’re in the zone – was coined on the bright white shores here. You’ll find fabulous shells all year long on Sanibel and Captiva. But December and onward – once the storm season has passed and tides have brought in new shells from the ocean – offer particularly rich pickings. Hotels like the South Seas Island Resort even go so far as to offer “Shelling Concierge” services to their guests, providing insider tips on where to hunt for the most coveted shells.

Atlantic Beach, Fla.

A true Florida secret, the quaint community of Atlantic Beach – just east of downtown Jacksonville on Florida’s Atlantic Coast – is a wonderful spot for many reasons. There’s the stylish oceanfront One Ocean Resort & Spa, just steps from all manner of independent shops and restaurants set just back from the beach. And north of here, residential beaches stretch for miles with no high rises in sight. You have to look hard, but shark’s teeth litter the sands in this part of Florida. Look for their black, triangular shapes in the shallow pools of water left near the waterline as the tide retreats to its lowest point of the day.

Holly Beach, La.

The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road in Lake Charles, La., is home to more than 26 miles of pretty beaches, most of which are undeveloped and offer perfect opportunities for shelling. Rutherford Beach, Holly Beach and the sparsely inhabited sands to the west are among your best bets for happening on natural beauties such as whelks, periwinkles, Florida fighting conch, angel wings and highly coveted wentletraps. You can thank deposits from the southeast tidal flow that wash ashore on the beaches of the Creole Nature Trail for the abundant treasures here.

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Aug 26, 2016

I am pleased to join this side event on the role of industrialization and economic transformation for Africa’s development.

I commend JICA and Columbia University for the publication before us, which is an important contribution to the TICAD VI deliberations.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Japan for the critical role it plays in raising global awareness of Africa’s development opportunities and challenges, and for mobilizing international support around these. Japan and UNDP enjoy a strong global partnership, and we work actively together in support of Africa’s transformation agenda.

The importance of industrialization and economic transformation

The importance of industrialization and economic transformation is reflected in both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want.

Industrialization and economic transformation are critical for translating the continent’s GDP growth performance into longer-term, inclusive, job-rich, and sustainable development. This is particularly important in light of the recent economic slow-down, triggered by low commodity prices and a fall in demand from Europe and China.

Africa’s growth is expected to strengthen again next year, and is likely to be based mainly on commodity exports, extractive industries, and services.  Job-rich growth in manufacturing is not yet a major part of Africa’s story.  Its economies continue to be particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in commodity prices and other external shocks.

When economies move from high reliance on subsistence agriculture and natural resource extraction to activities which foster local value-addition and related services, dynamic economic forces are unleashed. The quality of growth has a huge bearing on whether it will be inclusive, job-rich, and sustainable.  Growth needs to occur in sectors where the poor earn their living, such as in agriculture, fishing, and micro-enterprise.

Priority areas for consideration

As African countries focus on promoting industrialization and economic transformation, UNDP suggests five priority areas for consideration:

First, investing in people.

Investing in education and skills training, health, housing, and social protection is essential.  A skilled and healthy workforce will be a more productive one. 

Creating opportunities for women must be at the heart of the transformation agenda. Women’s full and equal participation in Africa’s economic development benefits not only women themselves, but also their families, communities, and countries.

This is highlighted in UNDP’s Africa Human Development Report, which will be launched here at TICAD on Sunday. The preparation of the report benefited from Japan’s funding support, for which we are very grateful.

Second, unleashing the potential of Africa’s youth.

Across Africa we see young people, empowered by information and communications technologies and by their own energy and creativity, setting up businesses and connecting with markets. They have the potential to link to global value chains, and to help their countries leap frog into the higher value-added service and industry sectors.

By 2030, close to sixty per cent of Africa’s 20-24 year olds – 137 million people – will have had secondary education, and twelve million people will have had tertiary education.  This growing pool of educated workers can help drive Africa’s economic transformation.  But inclusive growth must also reach out to marginalized urban and rural youth who long for opportunity.

Third, building the capacity of states to drive development.

This requires strong institutions and quality services. The rule of law is important in its own right, and in creating the enabling environment for growth and development.

Fourth, taking advantage of Africa’s strong natural resource base while maintaining ecosystem integrity.

Advancing industrialization by building on the continent’s strong resource base needs to occur within robust environmental policy frameworks. Action is needed to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  Much greater resilience is needed to severe weather events – El Nino this year has strained coping capacities in many countries.

Finally, supporting regional integration.

Regional integration will increase intra-African trade, and should drive job creation and competitiveness. Both policy reforms and infrastructure investments are needed to maximize the potential of regional integration.

UNDP’s commitment to Africa’s industrialization and economic transformation

UNDP is committed to supporting Africa on its journey to industrialization and economic transformation.

Some examples of our work:

  • We have partnered with the private sector in a number of countries to promote their engagement in inclusive and sustainable development.

    For example, in Rwanda, the Ministry of Youth, UNDP, and a number of ICT companies launched the YouthConnekt initiative which connects young job-seekers with businesses. The goal is to promote job creation and access to capital for young ICT entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

    Years ago, we were an early investor in the development of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX).  It has facilitated the dissemination of real time market information to farmers, traders, and agricultural processors, helping the agricultural sectors to lift their game and their returns.

  • Through UNDP’s Africa Agribusiness Supplier Development Programme, we have supported the development and expansion of sustainable and inclusive agricultural value chains across the continent. Many thousands of farmers and SMEs have benefited through access to training, expert advice, and other agricultural inputs. The objective is to raise agricultural productivity and incomes, and to build capacities to meet quality standards and access growing domestic and regional markets.
  • UNDP is also helping a number of African countries to get greater benefit from their natural resource endowment, in support of the African Mining Vision adopted by African Heads of State in 2009.

    This work includes our partnership with the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP) on fostering sustainable and inclusive development of the small-scale mineral resources industry.

    For example, in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Liberia, and Tanzania, we have supported artisanal miners through training, technology fairs, networking events, and grants to build their capacity and enhance productivity. The goal is to raise incomes, grow jobs, and improve livelihoods.

  • UNDP also supports entrepreneurship development. Our Youth Entrepreneurship Development Training Facility here in Kenya, for example, has successfully provided training for youth in agribusiness – turning them from job seekers to job creators.


Under the leadership of African governments, and with investments from and partnerships with the private sector, development banks and other actors, inclusive and sustainable industrialization and economic transformation is achievable.  UNDP is committed to working across the continent and in each national context to help make this happen.