Policy options for African soils: learning lessons for future action


Everyone is agreed that one of the central components of achieving an ‘African Green Revolution’ is to tackle the widespread soil fertility constraints in African agriculture. To this end, AGRA – the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa – launched a major ‘Soil Health’ programme aimed at 4.1 million farmers across Africa, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committing $198 million to the effort. The Abuja declaration, following on from the African Fertilizer Summit of 2006 set the scene for major investments in boosting fertilizer supplies. CAADP – the Comprehensive African Agricultural Developent Programme – has been active in supporting the follow up to the summit, particularly through it work on improving markets and trade. Other initiatives abound – the Millennium Villages programme, Sasakawa-Global 2000, the activities of the Association for Better Land Husbandry, among many others. All see soil fertility as central, although…

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Engaging Stakeholders in Higher Education to respond to Call for Proposals


Participants who attended the recent call for proposal write-shop in Uganda Participants who attended the recently closed call for proposal write-shop in Uganda

As part of efforts to ensure effective partnerships with user-led processes and thus engage in articulating demand for relevant research and capacity building, RUFORUM is an active partner and leader of Work Package – Capacities in the EU-supported project “Platform for African-European Partnerships for Research and Development (PAEPARD). The PAEPARD Project is led by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA); and brings together several organisations in Africa and Europe. RUFORUM and ICRA, have strategically used this platform to engage over 30 consortia to promote interaction between academia, researchers and end-users, including the regional farmers’ organisations under the umbrella of the Pan-African Farmer Organisation (PAFO). These interactions require resources (both human and financial) to remain sustainable and the different teams have had several opportunities to develop project proposals.

One such opportunity was during the week of 16…

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Entire town learns sign language to surprise hearing-impaired man


An entire town secretly learned sign language to surprise a hearing-impaired man in Istanbul.

BuzzFeed reports the man’s sister teamed up with a production crew as part of a Samsung ad campaign and crews spent a month setting up cameras around his neighborhood.

On the day of the surprise, he walks around town and people greet him using sign language. At one point, he asks his sister, “What’s going on?”

At the end of the video, everything is revealed to him. It’s an emotional moment that brings him to tears.

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Why My Children Will Not Take State Assessments


This post was originally written last year.  Since then, New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo, has proposed a new set of public education reforms.  Part of his plan proposes that the new Common Core state tests count as 50% of the teacher evaluation score, while the remaining score is comprised of an outside (read: state appointed, but district paid) observer.  Only 15% of the teacher’s evaluation is from a school building administrator.  If the teacher falls into the ineffective category two consecutive years, the teacher will be dismissed with no right to an appeals process.  The state of teacher turnover and loss of veteran teachers will be detrimental to public schools.  In addition to his teacher evaluation proposals, he is also withholding funding to public schools until state lawmakers accept his proposals.   The Common Core tests are designed for students to fail.  Teachers are forced to sign a “gag…

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