Tag Archives: NGO

Seeking a safe space: ‘It’s not nice to see your mother beg’

6 Lug

In the cold of winter, shelters for the homeless get very crowded. An overnight facility is being opened to accommodate 230 homeless people in the Cape Town city centre.

“I don’t like to talk about it but I got into an accident when I was three years old… I remember we were still living on the streets…. My mother was drinking with her friends, and she didn’t watch out for me. I was running and playing and then I got hit by a car…. But I don’t get angry at her … I love my mother.”

Jocelyn Diedericks, 21, was a street baby. She was diagnosed with epilepsy after the car accident.

Instead of resentment, she has empathy for her mom, Esther, and is aware of her many obstacles and vulnerabilities.

Diedericks was moved into various foster-care homes after she stopped living on the streets. She has been through many adversities but she managed to complete her matric in 2015 and is now employed as a call-centre agent.

Diedericks’ mother still lives on the street, and she stays in contact with mother and is a positive influence in her life.

 Diedericks spoke to Daily Maverick when she accompanied Esther to the media launch of a “safe space” for the homeless hosted by the City of Cape Town.

Esther is one of the street people who could benefit from the voluntary overnight space.

Esther has been living on the street since she was eight years old. She moved to the streets after she got into an argument with her mother. Diedericks said that she often has to ask other people who know Esther about her past because she struggles to communicate and interact with people.

And despite Diedericks’ many efforts to move her mother into her home, she says she always ends up going back to the streets.

“I’m renting in Athlone and I’ll take her (Esther) home but when I wake up the next day she’s gone. You know, she’s not used to staying in a house. She’s not used to interacting with people and getting a plate of food. She doesn’t know how to live properly if she’s not on the street,” Diedericks said.

Diedericks has three other older sisters who she says do not help to take care of her mother. She says that she is the only one who still visits her mother, and provides her with toiletries and food.

She adds: “I just took my mom to KFC now. I like to get her food when I get paid and bring her stuff because I know that she has to beg or go through rubbish bins to get food. It’s not nice to see your mother beg. I want to be a social worker one day so I can help people like her. My other dream is to own my own house one day.”

“This facility is not just a place to sleep… It is an environment that will connect people to opportunities… It will restore dignity.” said JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services.

The site, which is still under construction, will officially open in mid-July 2018 according to Smith. It is situated just under the Culemborg Bridge on the Foreshore Cape Town, and will be a voluntary safe space for up to 230 street people, like Esther, to spend the night.

The space will provide beds, water, ablution facilities (including two for people with disabilities) three on-call social workers and lockers where people can store their valuables during the day until they return in the evenings.

“(The space) provides a contained space for NGOs to offer services to street people,” said Smith. The street people will be directed to job opportunities through the city’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the city’s department of Social Development will help street people to get identity documents at Home Affairs. The area will be drug-free, alcohol-free and weapon-free.

Smith said that factors like rising unemployment and job scams, where people are lured into coming to Cape Town with the idea of finding jobs but end up being scammed, are contributing to homelessness in the city. One feature of the pilot project is that people will have the option to be transported back to their home towns by the city should they feel unhappy in Cape Town, Smith said.

The safe space is a “step in the right direction” said Lorraine Frost, Head of the Department of Social Development and Early Childhood Development. Frost said at last count in 2016, there were around 8,000 homeless people living in Cape Town. Plans are under way to do another count this year. DM


Original source daily maverick


2017: African Voices Goals

31 Dic

African Voices reached the sixth year of life and I am happy with the development, and successful although slow, which has had and is continuing to get See this page is followed by every corner of the world and from many Africans, makes me proud.
I never wanted to invest on the development of the page, but I think that in 2017 will be an expense that I will face, for what are my ideas for sharing the news.

Well, at least six months that I’m getting ready, knowing, getting relationships to give more information on the active black people, not only in Africa but around the world, searching for old African communities living in the world and the diaspora, also passing through the human rights and the oppression of peoples and minorities.

So, much more work waiting me and the staff that are working directly without receiving anything in exchange, people and activists as Huno Djibouti, Djibouti and the Horn of Africa; Henry Mworia for Kenya; Adrian Arena for Afro Mexicans, Fulvio Beltrami for Burundi and the Great Lakes area and Cornelia Toelgyes for sub-Saharan Africa and human rights, has always been friendly and administrator of the group for the  Per la Liberazione dei Prigionieri del Sinai. But also many others that revolve around African Voices that are a source of inspiration on the most difficult areas of Africa.

A main goal of African Voices for 2017 is to help small and medium NGO in Africa, those who can not enjoy the support of European governments or the EU, but with great sacrifice on the field and thanks to the good will of volunteers, seek funds and charities increasingly rare and hard to find.

To get this goal, I started a few months working with a multinational leader in the Cashback system called Lyoness and is present in 48 countries worldwide with its seat in Austria, Graz.
Lyoness is an interesting formula and useful to all those who shop in the hundreds of thousands of companies of all kinds, affiliates. The user who uses this shopping system, earn an average percentage directly and immediately its current account and African Voices, in this case, cashes 0.5% for each of your spending. Percentage that, African Voices, donates to non-profit organization without asking for donations that can often become heavy for the user that instead, doing shopping, gains and carries a minimum cash of 0.5% to African Voices that devolve to non-profit organization in Africa.I find this a nice system, useful, brilliant, that will satisfy everyone. If you are interested in attending, you can write to African Voices admin email africanvoiceseditor@gmail.com

Another goal we set ourselves is to find jobs for Africans in Africa who need to work, and on this, I need your help.

I will not take the place of job search enterprises, they do a different job from what we can do ourselves to African Voices.

We can turn to small companies, private individuals seeking workers in all sectors, seriously. Receiving requests on africanvoiceseditor@gmail.com with the subject: Work, indicating the country and the state, we can publish, and in this way, help the recruitment since many are the people who are following African Voices especially through Facebook, but the our publications are also seen on other social as Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, through our blog, followed by tens of thousands of readers, and will activate, in 2017, our YouTube channel with the weekly press and the section dedicated to the job search.

That’s all, African voices in the world, sure to make a beautiful journey together in 2017.

Good luck to all of you and Happy New Year.

Marco Pugliese
Admin, African Voices.


19 Nov

Source: Jovens da Banda
Translated by: Bruno Contreiras

The NGO, Acts of Love through Health aims to diagnose the disease and provide treatment and aid costs to needy people.
Ramos Viana Monteiro Chitangueleca, 22 years old, a native of Huambo, Angola and final year student of biomedicine at the Midrand Graduate Institute in South Africa, is one of the mentors of a project which aims to help in the treatment of disadvantaged children with chronic illnesses such as cancer and tuberculosis.

The idea for the project came when he did an internship in one of the local hospitals. And he encountered a child who suffered from tuberculosis. The hospital began treatment but then had to stop because the child’s family had no monetary means to continue through the second phase. By seeing the desperation of the mother and the child, Ramos and his friends got touched. “We noticed that like her, many other mothers / families could be in the same position and go through the same dilemma.” So the boys went to the hospital’s directive board and presented the idea of starting a project that could in addition to providing treatment and diagnosis for free, reach patients in rural areas. “They liked the idea and offered us a list of companies that would be willing to sponsor.” Today the project works in collaboration with the university and has got as sponsor one of the most important pharmacy chains in South Africa.

We request likes in our Facebook page so that our sponsors can see that the work is serious and that it deserves a reward. They do not necessarily give us money instead they help us by providing medicine and means for us to move.”
To help him get this project going, Ramos has the help of two friends and colleagues. One from the Republic of Zambia, Steven Nonde, and the other, Kalonje José Maria Tshiseked, from the Democratic Republic of Congo.



Steven Nonde
Supervised by the college’s dean, Dr. Marilyn Hurwitz, they travel throughout South Africa visiting poor communities. They take along a broad team, composed by other young volunteers and doctors. In their luggage they carry, in addition to medical equipment, a mobile pharmacy and even toys. “Usually the children are afraid of doctors or hospitals so instead of providing only healthcare we also take fun and entertainment with us“.




In these communities they perform medical tests for free. When confronted by situations that at first glance seem serious, supervised by the dean and the other health officials present at the scene, they take the patient to the nearest hospital in the region in order for more tests to be performed. If the existence of carcinogenic cells or tuberculosis virus is detected, the group provides the hospital with chemotherapy treatment to be administered to the patient in question or remedies to fight the TB virus, respectively.


a3In order to perform diagnose procedures, Ramos and his partners have authorization from the HCPA (Health Care Practice South Africa) although they are always supervised by a health official during evaluations and also during the administration of chemotherapy.









We provide children with health care, entertainment and lots of fun

I remember one day while driving to the university I saw this lady begging at the traffic light, whilst carrying a child in her arms. The child was incessantly crying but it was not a normal cry, I noticed that she was crying in pain. I stopped the car and after having briefly analysed the baby, I noticed something strange on her arm. Something that always made her cry when I gently touched. I took her to the hospital and she was diagnosed with muscular cancer.”

At the moment the child is battling the disease by way of chemotherapy. The treatment is offered by one of the sponsors of the NGO and the boys say they visit him almost every week.

Ramos dreams of seeing his project ultimately implemented in Angola, where he wants to go back to as soon as he’s graduated, “Angola is my country, there’s no way we won’t take the project there“, he says.

Take a look at the photos from their last expedition to the Reenza Diepslot community, South Africa. For this expedition in particular, they were able to gather final year medical students from other universities in South Africa, mostly from Witwatersrand University and the University of Pretoria.





The young men relied on the help of the South African government that offered resources to them to run HIV tests.

Lights and shadows in Kabalagala: lives behind the curtain

29 Ott

Don’t Miss It – Lights and shadows in Kabalagala: lives behind the curtain

Uganda – Everyone who has been in Kampala knows about Kabalagala, the street of pleasure and twinkling lights, full of clubs, pubs, shops and, above all, with the highest number of prostitutes in the capital.

Through the stories and images of twelve women and their lives between prostitution and parenting, we tried to figure out what really happens behind the glittering curtain that is Kabalagala, what is really hidden in one of the worst and difficult slum of the capital.

For the “white” people (mzungu in Swahili language) living in Uganda, Kabalagala is synonymous of prostitution, the most miserable and cheapest one. After three years based in Kampala and after being familiar with the areas and with enough survey, I have come to the conclusion that there are four levels of prostitution.

The first one is the “high class” prostitution: the escort that can only be afforded by the few that are willing to spend several hundred dollars. The second one is the middle class that includes both the Ugandans and the “whites” of the various NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations), associations, relief agencies, tourists, etc … You can find it in the different trendy hangout places of the capital, located on the opposite side of the city than Kabalagala, with charges ranging between 50-100 US dollars at most. The third level is the one of Kabalagala, where the prostitutes charge between 10-20 US dollars (25,000-50,000 shillings) and the clientele is represented by the whites who have less money and the Ugandans who do not want to spend too much. However, between the second and the third level, there is no big difference because the 50% of the prostitutes who during the week are in Kabalagala asking for just $ 10-20, are the same who on the weekend are on the opposite side of the city, in the most trendy pubs, asking for 50-100 dollars to those whites who think they are smart and clever because they do not go to Kabalagala which they think is too dirty and comes with a bad reputation, believing they are classy. Finally there is the last level, the one of this photo-reportage.

This is the most miserable and unknown level to the public. When I talked to some friends (Ugandans and not) about the reportage I was doing, they found it hard to believe there was this kind of prostitution. The slum just behind Kabalagala is in a very dire situation where all the poverty is concentrated, that point of no return for the poorest of the poor. This has forced many women to sell their bodies ranging between 3,000 shillings (1.2 dollars) and 10,000 Ugandan shillings (4 dollars). The competition is so high that it is the customer who decides the rules, the supply exceeds the demand and prices are therefore very low. In this slum there are around 300 prostitutes.

Thanks to Mark, a forty years old Ugandan and founder of the NCO (Needy Children Organization), a local organization that cares for about 300 children in the slum, 90% of whom are children of prostitutes themselves, I was able to meet 12 of those women.

You may be asking: why these women do not go to Kabalagala or elsewhere, in trendy clubs, so that they can earn more? Well, it’s simply: because they started being prostitutes when they were already old (in Uganda a twenty-six years woman is considered old) after being abandoned by their husbands or partners, or because they have already spent those years as prostitutes in the trendy pubs. During those years they have not been able to find that customer who fell in love with them so removing them from that kind of life style. Night after night, beer after beer, client after client, the best years for them have passed and now they have to make way for the young girls aged between 18 (so they say) to 23 years old, dressed in fashionable manner. Usually these young girls have some money to buy one or two beers, a few rounds of pool, while waiting for the client; the same girls can sometimes afford to go home without a client. I really hope these young girls can find someone who can take care of them so they don’t have to waste all their years in prostitution. Otherwise, after few years, it will be the same story: from the pubs and bars in Kabalagala to the squalid wooden rooms in the slums, where they end up selling their bodies for 3,000 shillings.

The story is often the same: most of them, at the age of 15-16, when they were still living at home and going to school, they were impregnated and their families pushed them away. Not knowing what to do, they had to look for a cheap accommodation in the slum, beginning prostitution to survive and raise their children. “I arrived in Kampala at age of sixteen, from Hoima (western Uganda), because I was banished from the family when they found out I was pregnant. Now I’m twenty-five and I have another child from one customer, even if I do not know who he is, because I have an average of nine customers in a day. I charge 3,000 shillings with protection and 6,000 shillings without protection”, as told by S.B, a great supporter of Inter A.C. Milan, as evidenced by the shirt she was wearing.

Finding a job is difficult in Kampala, the unemployment rate is very high and even those who find a job, like waitressing, at the end of the month can bring home only 200,000 shillings ($ 80) which is similar to nothing since only the rent of a room costs 130,000-150,000 shillings a month (52-60 dollars), meaning they are not able to save enough money. These women were not even able to find a similar job, and so they were obliged to engage in prostitution.

I had the first two children from a white man, when I had just begun prostitution. After he abandoned me and I found myself suddenly without any financial aid. Now I am 33 years old and with 8 children. Do not ask me who are the fathers,” as told by C.N while feeding the newborn.


Inside the slum they have their own room where they live with their children and they also rent a small room (4,000-5,000 shillings a day) in which they receive the customers. So, a month, including the rent of the house and the rent of the room, they spend 300,000 shillings ($ 120), plus the money to buy the food and take care of their children as best as possible. The figure is doubled to 600,000 shillings ($ 240). This explains why every day they should have at least five or six clients, with figures from 3,000 shillings to 10,000 shillings; this explains why for 6,000 shillings they can sell their bodies without using a condom.

For instance “I started to prostitute two years ago, when my husband abandoned me and I had to somehow take care of my two children aged seven and ten years. I get an average of four or five customers a day, figures ranging from 3,000 shillings to 10,000 shillings, ” says C.Z, twenty-nine years old, who does not want to show her face as she has just discovered that she is HIV-positive.


Unfortunately, among the twelve women I met, five are living with HIV. “I started to prostitute three years ago at the birth of the first child and after being abandoned by the partner. I have an average of five clients a day with prices from 5,000 to 10,000 shillings. I am HIV positive and I always say this to my clients. However, some insist on having intercourse without a condom, because they claim that they are HIV positive or because they are psyched that they can not be infected because they are circumcised, “whispers I.N twenty-eight years old, wrapped in a blanket.

I have been in Kampala, as a prostitute, for two years and I have a baby of 10 months from the companion who had abandoned me and I found out I was also infected with HIV by him. The child, however, is fine. I get three or four customers a day to figures from 7,000 shillings to 10,000 shillings. Despite being HIV positive and always saying it to clients, some of them do not care at all and want to do it without a condom“, S.H, from Arua (northern Uganda), eighteen years old, the youngest of the group.


The only hope, the only light for these women, and especially for their children is represented by Mark and his organization, founded in 1993. Currently, the NCO (supported by the Italian NGO “Insieme si può…” of Belluno, represented here in Uganda by Davide Franzi) provides informal education for over 300 children and pays school fees for over 120 enrolled in formal school. As for the free time, they have created two football clubs (the Kabalagala Rangers FC and FC Kabalagala Belluno) participating in two different local leagues and they have created a dance and music academy, SOSOLYA UNDUGU DANCE ACADEMY, which is involved in several music festivals in East Africa and next year it will be engaged in a tour around Germany and Austria.

To succeed in this mission, NCO needs our constant support. Together we can make a difference.

You can make your donation by bank transfer to the following account:

Stanbic Bank Uganda LTD
Plot 17 Hannington Road, Kampala

Acc. Number (EURO): 90-3000-8461-421
Acc. Number (Ugandan Shillings): 90-3000-5766-477

Branch: Forest Mall Lugogo Kampala

Reason: project NCO

Nigeria. Boko Haram terrorist emergency. Interview with Enza Guccione, an Italian nun leaving in Nigeria.

2 Lug

It was a change to do a detailed interview about Boko Haram terrorist emergency with Enza Guccione, an Italian nun who has been living in Southern Nigeria for 18 years.

Sister Enza moved to Nigeria in 1996 and is currently looking after the community of Igbedor, a river island between Kogi State and Anambra State.

In 2009, sister Enza contributed to the creation of the Emmanuel Childrenland Nursery/Primary School in Igbedor, where about 400 children attend lessons. In the same year she and the bishop of Onitsha, Southern Nigeria, founded the NGO Emmanuel Family, aimed at providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Igbedor.

Drawing on her years of experience in the country, Sister Enza thinks Boko Haram is the result of Nigeria’s internal instability, politicians’ lack of effort to promote the country’s development and international interferences mostly originated by U.S. and European Union.

Sister Enza, how long have you been living in Nigeria and what do you there?

I have been living in Nigeria for 18 years. I dedicate myself to the care of Igbedor, a Niger’s river island between Kogi State and Anambra State. This island has been forgotten by the local government, by religious institutions (we are the only nuns who live on this island). The mission I run aims at alleviating people’s sufferings by improving education and the water system.

Here, there are about 5000 children, aged 0 to 12, according a 2005 census. There are no schools, no hospitals, no electricity and no drinkable water. The closest city is 4-5 hours by boat.

What is you personal experience of the Boko Haram’s insurgence in Northern Nigeria?

I am very sad due to Boko Haram ’s attacks, which cause the death of many innocents. They also cause political destabilisation in a country which is so rich of natural resources that could be compared (from an economical standpoint) to some Western countries.

Boko Haram’s civil war aims at sparking a religious war – as we are witnessing in Central African Republic’s conflict – are they succeeding? What is the position of the Catholic Church and other christian churches?
I don’t think the insurgents are engaging in a religious war. There are no Muslims taking up arms against Christians or vice-versa. Christians live together with the Muslim minority in the south-west of the country…days go by serenely.

Christians and Muslims live in the same cities, go to the same markets. Their children go to the same schools. The Church has not perceived any imminent danger to Christians. We are very sad due to the terrorism which keeps claiming innocent lives and tries to take control of the country.

If there was a religious war, Boko Haram would have focuses their attacks in the south-west of Nigeria, instead of the north, so close to Ciad, Niger and Cameroon – where the inhabitants are mainly Muslims.

Does Boko Haram receive support from the Muslim population?

There are Muslims in Igbedor, they do not approve Boko Haram’s attacks. They define the insurgents as “paid assassins” without any political or religious agenda. This is also what many Christians from Anambra e Kogi believe.

How do you explain that Boko Haram’s main victims are Muslim from Northern Nigeria?

I think it is just a case that Boko Haram is targeting the Muslim population who lives in the north. If there were Christians there, it would be the same. I think the insurgents are targeting the north because it is a strategic area for them to carry out the attacks and then escape near the borders with Chad, Niger and Cameroon, where it is difficult to locate them.

It is surprising to note that the areas where they stay are highly circumscribed. A few years ago the insurgents tried to reach Bayelsa, in the south, but militias from the Delta stopped them. Since then, they have been staying in the north-west of Nigeria.

How is daily life in the north, where people fear Boko Haram’s attacks?

Living in the south, I can only imagine how people live in the north. Their life is constantly threatened by a possible explosion which could happen any minute, in every place, especially in schools, at local markets, on the streets and even in religious places. This situation creates panic, diffidence, tensions, rebellions and aggressive behaviours between people who will try to protect themselves and will stop trusting others.

What are the dangers of associating Boko haram to Islam?

I think that associating Boko Haram to Islam gives strength to extremists: this gives them more attention and helps them to emerge as a power that has to be feared.

Can you confirm there are foreign jihadists inside Boko Haram?

Yes, I believe Boko Haram are foreign jihadists who are recruited and paid together with other Nigerians, who are used as informers.

According to American journalist Glen Ford, Boko Haram is just “a brand” used by almost 100 Islamist terror groups. Ford also thinks Boko Haram are supported by the US, France, the UK and by the Arab monarchies, to interfere with Nigeria’s economic and political life. Do you agree?

Boko Haram was defeated many years ago. It is now just a brand, behind which terrorism (Islamic and non) hides and tries to destabilise the country. This brand is supported by big world powers which provide weapons to terrorist who, otherwise, could not afford.

I am more than sure that behind all the wars in Africa, as in Latin America, there are world superpowers and their interest in natural resources available in such continents.

It is convenient that Africans kill each other while the West keeps stealing oil, diamonds, cobalt from them.

What do you think about the fact that Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan accepted the US’ help to find more than 200 missing girls and that, after more three motnhs, the girls have not yet been found and Boko Haram carried out another mass abduction of 91 people in some villages in Borno State between Thursday 19 June and Sunday 21 June?

I don’t know what led Jonathan to accept the US’ help to find the missing girls. In this situation of chaos, it is difficult for the president to understand the right thing to do, especially if he is alone.

I believe that the US, throughout history, have tried to dominate the whole world. If their strategic abilities and energies were used for good things – like to guarantee the world’s development – that would honour the US and would destroy any discrimination in favour of a more just world.

Unfortunately superpowers are like babies, they want to show up their skills and dominate the weak ones.

I think that only united Nigerians can free their nation from the current situation and from new forms of slavery.

I think the new attacks and kidnaps will end only if Jonathan is not re-elected and he is substituted by a president able to collaborate with the West, forgetting national interests.

This scenario, in my opinion, is “corruption” and innocent people will pay the price.

According to Glen Ford, the popular movement Bring Backs Our Girls – created by the missing girls’ parents – would have been just a local phenomenon, if American and French secret services had not helped raise awareness on the issue via social media. Do you agree with Ford’s view?

The popular movement of Bring Backs Our Girls is a phenomenon which led international media to focus on a case similar to other thousands which are left forgotten. I believe the movement was an excuse for the UN and France to go to Nigeria to follow their agenda, which will not benefit the kidnapped girls or Nigeria in general.

Their agenda will only safeguard the oil production which, at the moment, seems to be oriented towards China and India.

Western countries’ plans to counterfeit terrorism are opposed by Jonathan who showrf his will to collaborate, but has also stated that the cooperation with the West will terminate if national interests are undermined. What do you think about Jonathan’s stand?

I really admire President Jonathan Goodluck, who has been caught inside a crisis and has been left alone by other politicians who do not care about the development of Nigeria as a united group and not as many tribal groups with different religions.
I support the president’s decisions.

If the agreement with the UN and western countries such as France are not aimed at the wellness of the nation, they should be immediately ended.

Do you think the federal government is really incapable of defying Boko Haram and protecting its citizens?

The federal government can defy the rebels and terrorists – as in any other country in the world – only if there is a communal interest towards the development of Nigeria.

Unfortunately, one of the causes of terrorism is the widespread corruption of politicians that Western countries exploit for their own interests.

What do you think about the vigilantes groups, which include also female members, and which collaborate with the army? Are these groups formed by Christians or Muslims?

I think Muslims and Christian have nothing to do with this. The vigilante groups are formed by Nigerians who want peace and serenity in their villages, in their schools, in the whole nation.

The fact that they are Muslims or Christians does not make any difference.

There is a strange coincidence. Since Jonathan announced the government would put national interests before a possible cooperation with Western powers to defy terrorism, Boko Haram’s attacks have drastically increased throughout the country. How do you explain this?

Boko Haram’s leaders have only one aim: to take the lead of the country. If Jonathan shows his weakness, attacks will certainly increase to speed fear and confusion. Former president Obasanjo showed he was able to control Boko Haram, because his relationships with Western countries and the UN were going really well. It was during his post that Boko Haram’s former leader was killed and the terror group disintegrated.

What are the interactions between civil war, Boko Haram, Nigerian politic and oil production?

According to my opinion, Nigerian politics – famous for its great corruption – does not aim to promote the country’s development. Politicians’ only interest is to get rich by exploiting the country’s oil, in the south-west of Nigeria.

Thus, there is a continuous struggle to decide who owns this great natural resource. Terrorism and western countries are all part of this fight for the hegemony over oil production.

Do you think a majour collaboration between Goodluck Jonathan with Boko Haram ( for example the release of some Boko haram members who are currently in jail) will increase or decrease the attacks?

I think no. The negotiations based on the release of terrorists will not solve the case. It could lead to a temporary situation of calm during which further attacks will be planned.

I think that to defeat terrorism, leaders have to help build up a solid future for the nation, by aiming at providing education for everybody, creating jobs for the youths, using the country’s natural resources to help Nigerians without distinctions and guaranteeing the recognition of basic human rights to all the citizens.

Terrorism is usually generated when there are too many inequalities and forms of exploitation in a country. I think Boko Haram will stop only when politicians and authorities’ corruption will be dismantled.

Do you think there are concrete chances of a Western intervention against Boko Haram? Will this increase the risk of spreading the conflict further?

From past experiences (in Nigeria too), the Western military intervention will only bring confusion and will not solve anything. It seems a farce: like a dog who chases his tale.
Weapons call weapons and war, in any part of the world, has never brought progress and development.

What alternative solutions do you suggest?

I think the alternative solutions should start from the bottom: we must create different consciences which help defy tribal mentality. Tribalism creates divisions, we need people who feel as one population in one nation. This will help develop a sense of solidarity among people.

This is the way to defy political corruption and Nigerians will finally be able to enjoy honour, dignity and prestige….all things they deserve.


by Fulvio Beltrami & Ludovica Iaccino.

Mission in African land. A preview of the video. Judge for yourself.

25 Nov

Since July 2013 I asked myself what are the real reasons that they did trigger a heated debate about the reality show Mission created by RAI, UNHCR Italy, and NGOs Intersos. The idea of making known to the general public the reality of millions of people languishing in refugee camps around the world is in itself interesting and then there would be no grounds to hinder them. Yet a petition launched last July from a university student to block the broadcasting of the transmission has reached over 90,000 signatures in a few days and at the same time the world of volunteering and Italian NGOs is deployed against the makers of Mission giving rise to a fracture exists between two opposing sides and little chance of reconciliation and dialogue.

By a side we have the majority of NGOs are against Mission calling it “Humanitarian Pornography“, on the other hand we are witnessing an all-out defense of the transmission carried out by its promoters.

We lived in Mission, and we are living it, for what it is: an attempt innovative program of prime time then direct to the general public, to present some social issues from that of refugees, doing it in a pleasant way but also with the utmost attention and the utmost respect for people, their suffering, their dignity, making them protagonists in the tell. “, informs the President of Intersos Nino Sergi.

With regard to the use of famous people, RAI has decided to involve the familiar faces from the world of TV because they are people who are very familiar with the public of the first evenings of RAI 1, then believed to be capable of bringing Italian family the drama of the refugees.” Says the press office of UNHCR Italy in a letter addressed to us.

Front of this serious debate myself and an Italian journalist colleague E.Z. we decided to investigate in the two African countries where the episodes of Mission were filmed: Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

The inquiries made on the ground, documenting some witnesses from cooperating Intersos and the video that we have received, we believe the situation clear, lucid and impartial to what is really happened while shooting of Mission in Africa in order to understand if this transmission has the required quality and VIPs involved have been able to make known to the general public on the plight of refugees around the world in an appropriate manner, as claimed by its proponents. In our investigation we have also focused on how they were involved local authorities and compliance with the laws in force for the accreditation of journalism in the two sovereign states of Africa.

For our journalistic fairness since October 18 we sent a series of emails to Dinamo Communications Srl (a company chosen by RAI to shoot the filming of Mission), UNHCR Italy and Intersos in order to ensure a proper study on this innovative experiment of communication humanitarian Mission, allowing promoters to participate and integrate the article concerning investigations conducted on the transmission in Africa before its release, thus avoiding newsmonster. Some of them have preferred the line of no comment, some of the non-responses and others have demonstrated their readiness and professionalism giving their version that will be faithfully reported in the two articles devoted to the African Mission in the ground.

We begin with the publication of an extract of the filming of the episode of Mission in Congo, near Doruma, to the east of the country as it has officially confirmed the press office of UNHCR Italy. The video, it is been received by a cooperating Intersos who asked to be protected by anonymity.

After subjecting the video to technical checks to make sure of its authenticity, we make it public preview that each of us can make an idea for or against the transmission is not based on the principles of a heated debate within the world of volunteering Italian, but on the basis of a fragment of this transmission.

Subjected to the vision of the Congolese community in Uganda, the video seems to contain a lot of doubts about the exact location of the shooting that could not be Doruma. The Congolese community is unanimous in stating that it is not a refugee camp but a peaceful Congolese village untouched by the war. The opening scene with Barale that helps in the kitchen has high chances of being turned into a private residence.

The video, even if short-lived, showing a dimension of fake-reality realized halfway between game, fiction, Island of the Famous, in a family atmosphere, quiet and joyful impossible to find in a refugee camp. The main characters are just VIP involved in pseudo-manual work prepared ad hoc humanitarian showing the operator’s work as trivial and that anyone could improvise, even Paola Barale and Emmanuele Filiberto of Savoy.

Rarely I have seen aid workers and refugees seem to be simple and peaceful villagers, probably paid extras that have nothing to do with refugees, child soldiers and women enslaved by militiamen: the true protagonists” of Mission according to its creators.

VIDEO CLIP Mission: Anteprima video Paola Barale, Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia con UNHCR e Intersos in RD Congo

Tomorrow will follow an article on the results of investigations conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Sudan in order to illustrate the methodologies used for the making of the movie and the overcoming of some bureaucratic African difficulties

Fulvio Beltrami

Freelance Journalist
Kampala, Uganda

Mission, new revelations surprising

24 Nov

Breaking News: Monday November 25 we will publish amazing news about Mission (Reality show) in Congo. A creepy documentation will not fail to raise controversy on the real facts.

Remain on hold because someone will enjoy very little about …

New and stunning revelations of tensions between Juba and organizers Mission

22 Set

Within a few days by Carlo Cattaneo on African Voices the publication of the documentation received from South Sudan, which testifies to the tensions between the makers of Mission and the Government of Juba!

Follow us, you will not regret…. !

Mission: The diaspora answers. Full declaration of Mariam Yassin

9 Set

Last week we published an article very nice and much appreciated by readers written by Daniele Mezzana entitled “Mission the word to the diasporaFrom now present in order the full version of the individual answers to the question:
What do you think of the transmission launched by UNHCR in collaboration with RAI Italy and Intersis NGOs in South Sudan, DR Congo and Mali called Mission?

A reality in refugee camps? I still do not understand the goal of this project.
If the idea behind the company is to raise awareness on the situation of refugees and reality from which they have fled, respect the good will of the organizers. But you could not find a way much less expensive? You have to put on a show on the misery of others?

Why sensitization must necessarily pass through the TV screens?
I believe highly that the Italian company should know the reality from which many desperate refugees flee and are tired of hearing called asylum seekers illegal immigrants who come to bother,” ignoring that their real intention is to survive! It seems to me an initiative that looks to the form rather than the substance. I wonder if that money could be used differently, creating more health facilities in refugee camps, educational programs for children and adults, etc.. Either you want to believe those people in the refugee camps do not need anything? Since the facilities where they survive these people are not five-star hotel, I wonder why the organizers have thought of before visibility than to the real needs of people.

I work in the camps for refugees and displaced people past six years, in direct contact with the people and the communities. I’ve never heard a refugee answer to the question: “what do you need?“, “Take a reality in our lives!” Refugees, very often, do not want to be told their experience: the pain they feel is one that deserve profound respect, what they have gone through is a holocaust which is often not even recognized as such. It is to be understood, not as a spectacle. You know by questioning the responsibility, not to be reduced to a teary reality that does not account for the causes.

I doubt that the developers have taken into account the reality of human complexity of the victims and want to show the real causes that have forced on those terms. I doubt you could only raise awareness through emotional images, treading his hand on the suffering and not telling the whole story. Because, if you really wanted to tell the whole story, if you really want to know the phenomenon of refugees for what it is, you would see how those who mourn are looking at the reality, perhaps indirectly, among the causes of this tragedy!

Mariam Yassin; has dual nationality Somali and Italian, is responsible for development and peace in the refugee camps, and is Executive Director at the international NGO.

Mission: La parola alla diaspora.

5 Set

Una delle cose che nessuno ha mai pensato da quando è scoppiata la polemica su Mission è quella di chiedere alla diaspora africana che vive e lavora in Italia cosa pensano di questa trasmissione Reality Show o ‘Social TV’ come vorrebbero chiarmala per nascondere il format in parte simile al Grande Fratello che, RAI, Intersos e UNHCR Italia vorrebbero portare sui nostri teleschermi a Dicembre.
Credo che sarebbe stata una delle prime cose da fare da parte della stampa nazionale e da parte degli organizzatori del programma. Non dobbiamo dimenticare che CASA AFRICA è la loro e se, non tener conto del parere della diaspora è lo specchio del rispetto degli organizzatori, possiamo ben dedurre il livello scarso di rispetto che possono avere per i rifugiati che nella trasmissione farebbero da sfondo alla carriera dei VIP italiani in Sud Sudan, RD Congo e Mali e quanto invece gioverebbe agli stessi Vip e alle tasche dei tre mandanti.

Marco Pugliese
African Voices

Da molti anni, nel mondo delle organizzazioni internazionali e di quelle non governative, va avanti una approfondita riflessione sulla cosiddetta “pornografia dello sviluppo”, ovvero il mostrare, a oltranza, immagini crude ed emotivamente coinvolgenti di persone dei Paesi del Sud del pianeta (soprattutto bambini) che si trovano in gravi difficoltà per carestie, epidemie, guerre e altre emergenze, al fine di raccogliere fondi presso il pubblico dei Paesi del Nord; una prassi che, secondo molti, suscita solo una adesione estemporanea dei donatori, crea una progressiva assuefazione alla visione del dolore altrui, spinge i fund raisers in una spirale di ricerca di immagini sempre più forti e coinvolgenti, all’infinito. E oltretutto con l’effetto perverso di trasmettere il messaggio che le popolazioni in difficoltà non ce la faranno mai senza l’aiuto delle organizzazioni caritatevoli e il nostro buon cuore.


In Italia questa riflessione è arrivata con un certo ritardo e, tutto sommato, con scarsa risonanza. Ma a muovere un pò le acque è stata l’incandescente vicenda del programma RAI “Mission” (variamente definito come reality, “fiction documentary” e altro), ambientato in alcuni campi profughi in Congo, Sud e Mali, attualmente in preparazione con il coinvolgimento di organismi come UNHCR Italia e Intersos, di cui “African Voices” sta discutendo da tempo.

Ho letto alcuni pareri su “Mission”, che “African Voices” ha raccolto presso esponenti della diaspora africana. Naturalmente, si tratta di giudizi sulla base delle informazioni attualmente disponibili e sulle dichiarazioni e rassicurazioni di alcuni rappresentanti delle organizzazioni promotrici del programma stesso. Ma quel poco o molto che già si sa è stato più che sufficiente per suscitare un vasto dibattito in queste ultime settimane, con una varietà di punti di vista che si ritrovano anche nel mondo della diaspora, con una prevalenza di valutazioni critiche.

Chi esprime giudizi positivi su “Mission” sembra far riferimento essenzialmente al principio per cui “il fine giustifica i mezzi”. Come nel caso di Laly Dupont, italo-congolese, nata a Modena, modella e studentessa: “Sono favorevolissima alla messa in onda del programma. È un bene che vengano finalmente fatti conoscere al grande pubblico i drammi che vivono alcuni popoli. In questo modo, aumenteranno le persone a conoscenza di questi tristi vissuti e che si batteranno pacificamente affinché anche queste popolazioni abbiano una vita di pace, di serenità e in cui possano realizzare i propri progetti. In Italia tuttora mi imbatto spesso in persone completamente all’oscuro della triste realtà congolese. Con questo reality gli ideatori di “The Mission” faranno sentire ad alta voce i lamenti di popoli oppressi che fino ad oggi erano stati tenuti nascosti da chi intende impossessarsi delle ricchezze dei Paesi in cui vivono queste povere persone.”

Un punto comune a tutti coloro che sono stati interpellati è la convinzionme che sulla situazione dei popoli africani, in generale, così come su quella di specifiche popolazioni africane in difficoltà, circoli una informazione scarsa e inattendibile. Ma su quali debbano essere l’oggetto, i contenuti, le modalità e soprattutto gli attori della comunicazione i pareri variano fortemente. Alcuni interventi di membri della diaspora mettono in dubbio la validità comunicativa di programmi del genere. Ad esempio, Etienne Mundum, camerunese Amministratore delegato di PataPata Safaris (Milano), afferma che “il rischio che corriamo è, come al solito, la spettacolarizzazione di una grandissima piaga. Oggi viviamo nell’epoca degli show televisivi, dei grandi format. Non si riesce più a capire dove si ferma la realtà e dove inizia la fiction. Penso quindi che per un problema cosi grave non sia necessario che persone dello spettacolo vengono mandate nei campi profughi, a far tirare fuori due lacrime per l’audience, e per una sensibilizzazione che durerà il tempo della trasmissione. Reportage seri, fatti da giornalisti seri, potrebbero essere molto più di aiuto.” E Mesfin Fremicael, eritreo in Italia da 40 anni, operante a Bologna nell’ambito delle public relations, aggiunge: “Il programma può essere positivo solo se non scende nel banale. Ho letto chi potrebbe partecipare al programma e sinceramente penso che non siano le persone più opportune. Avrei chiamato chi lavora nell’anonimato più assoluto da molti anni.

Dal canto suo, Issiya Longo, scrittore congolese che vive a Bassano del Grappa, mette in evidenza un rischio tipico dei programmi che puntano (anche senza volerlo) alla spettacolarizzazione della povertà e alla enfatizzazione del ruolo dei  “bianchi” nel combatterla: il rischio di una rappresentazione asimmetrica e distorta dei rapporti tra i popoli; tra chi comprende, agisce e produce risultati e chi invece subisce, passivamente, sia il male esistente che il bene offerto: “Non mi piacciono tutte le iniziative di falsa ed ipocrita generosità nei confronti di chi soffre. L’Africa e, in questo caso, la RDC ed il Sud Sudan, non hanno assolutamente bisogno di quel genere di spettacoli. La mia opinione riguardo a ‘Mission’ e a tutti gli altri programmi del genere è che questi nascono dalla noia dell’abbondanza, conseguenza inevitabile di una vita fatta di eccessi; un’esistenza in cui tutto è stato fatto, sperimentato, provato e riprovato. Infatti, con la pancia ed i conti bancari pieni, dopo aver esplorato.”

Altri, come Mariam Yassin (doppia nazionalità somala e italiana, che si occupa di sviluppo e pace in campi profughi, ed è Executive Director presso ONG internazionale), mettono in questione l’opportunità di iniziative di questo tipo, sia perché fanno essenzialmente leva sull’emotività e non si interrogano sulle cause dei problemi, sia perché non tengono conto di una elementare necessità di rispetto della dignità degli esseri umani in condizioni di difficoltà: “Se l’idea che sta dietro è quella di sensibilizzare la società sulla situazione dei rifugiati e delle realtà da cui fuggono, rispetto la buona volontà degli organizzatori. Ma non si poteva trovare un modo decisamente meno costoso? Bisogna fare spettacolo sulla miseria altrui?  Lavoro nei campi dei profughi e sfollati da sei anni, a diretto contatto con le persone e con le comunità. Non ho mai sentito rispondere un profugo alla domanda: ‘Di che cosa hai bisogno?’, ‘Fate un reality sulla nostra vita!’. I profughi, molto spesso, non desiderano che sia raccontata la loro esperienza: il dolore che provano è di quelli che meritano profondo rispetto. Ciò che hanno attraversato è un olocausto che spesso non viene nemmeno riconosciuto come tale. È da comprendere, non da spettacolarizzare. È da conoscere interrogandosi sulle responsabilità, non da ridurre a un reality lacrimoso che non rende conto delle cause. Dubito che gli ideatori del reality abbiano tenuto conto della complessità umana delle vittime e vogliano mostrare le vere cause che le hanno costrette a quelle condizioni. Dubito che si possa sensibilizzare solo attraverso immagini emotive, calcando la mano sulla sofferenza e non raccontando tutta la storia. Perché se veramente si volesse far conoscere il fenomeno dei profughi per quello che è, si vedrebbe quanto coloro che piangono guardando il reality sono, forse indirettamente, tra le cause di questa tragedia!”.

La critica del giornalista Fortuna Ekutsu Mambulu (Verona) e di Ngouedi Marocko, studente universitario di scienze politiche (Napoli) è molto più dura e radicale, e si estende al ruolo stesso delle ONG, così come alle strategie, anche comunicative, di alcuni organismi internazionali. In un loro testo scritto, inviato ad “African Voices”, affermano, tra l’altro:
Le ONG giocano un ruolo importante nella strategia globale che vuole che gli africani siano sempre mostrati come popoli da aiutare e da salvare. Una strategia iniziata secoli fa con la ‘missione civilizzatrice’ occidentale in Africa e che oggi continua con la cosiddetta ‘cooperazione allo sviluppo’ e la ‘promozione’ dei diritti umani, di cui le ONG costituiscono un anello importante. Con le belle intenzioni di ‘aiutare’ e portare una ‘civiltà’ che dimostra i suoi segni di decadenza, queste organizzazioni si arrogano il diritto di diffondere, senza nessuna autorizzazione, l’immagine negativa (sconvolgente) di quelli che noi consideriamo la base e il futuro dell’Africa: le donne e i bambini. L’ultima campagna mediatica lanciata dall’UNHCR (che abbiamo denunciato con una petizione su change.org) ne è un esempio evidente.

unhIn Italia, paese con più di duemila miliardi di debiti, sta crescendo la povertà. Vogliamo vedere queste ONG occuparsi dei poveri italiani, diffondendo, così come fanno per gli africani, foto di persone anziane italiane che vanno a cercare cibo nei cassonetti. Siccome nei confronti degli italiani non si agisce nello stesso modo, noi qualifichiamo queste azioni e campagne come atti razzisti, che dovranno, nel futuro, essere contrastati usando tutti i mezzi. Ciò perché crediamo che diffondere un’immagine sempre stereotipata degli africani non giova alla creazione di una convivenza pacifica e rispettosa tra africani e autoctoni nei Paesi occidentali dove ormai risiedono molte persone originarie dell’Africa. La decisione di lanciare in TV a novembre “Mission”, realizzato in un campo profughi in Africa, è l’ennesima dimostrazione del cinismo di queste organizzazioni. L’Africa oggi non ha bisogno né di ONG, né di aiuto. Ha bisogno di rispetto e di essere lasciata in pace di fare le proprie scelte in tutti i campi della vita sociale.

Personalmente non concordo con diverse di queste opinioni, ma le considero con molta serietà: come il termometro di una crescente insofferenza degli esponenti della diaspora africana nei confronti, in generale, di approcci operativi più o meno apertamente e consciamente paternalisti, se non neo-coloniali, nei confronti dei popoli africani, e nei confronti di una informazione incompleta e distorta sull’Africa. Una informazione mal gestita scade facilmente nella riproduzione di stereotipi in cui gli africani non si riconoscono più, e che sono il terreno di coltura del razzismo che esiste ancora nelle nostre società.

Al di là delle buone intenzioni di chi promuove “Mission” e del fatto che il programma è comunque in fase di messa a punto (con possibili emendamenti in corso d’opera, forse anche grazie alle critiche che stanno arrivando), gli interventi di questi membri della diaspora, in ogni caso, mettono in guardia sui rischi che corre qualsiasi campagna comunicativa o programma televisivo che abbia al suo centro l’Africa. Rischi che forse varrebbe la pena di mettere meglio in evidenza e, possibilmente, controllare.

Daniele Mezzana
sociologo e autore del blog Immagine Africa

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