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What is livability by African standards? | World Bank and UN talk mobilization [FUTURE CITIES]

30 May

What makes the African city livable by African standards?   What are the two issues that you think define a livable city in an African context, panelist and delegates discuss:

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank 

  1. Transportation
  2. Power
Daouda Touré, Resident CoordinatorUnited Nations Nigeria
  1. Clean energy
  2. Availability of social infrastructure (health, training facilities)

Audience comment from Dr. Didas Massaburi, Mayor of Dar Es Salaam 

  1. Increased security
  2. Community involvement

Access to transport, power, security, and social infrastructures are lacking and can facilitate a mobilized economy in Africa – but who is responsible for this?

 

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All in a day’s work

12 May

We’ve snapped a few pictures of the projects in progress today in Ogwuyo, the first neighborhood in Anam City.  Over 100 men and women were employed on site in a big push before rainy season transforms the landscape. Rainy season has already come full force across Nigeria; Lagos in particular is reporting heavy rainfalls and increase flooding risks this month. The Nigerian government predicts an especially heavy rainy-season this year according to this article in the Vanguard.  In contrast, Africa Science News reports that East Africa expects an unusually low rainfall year . Research suggests that these inconsistencies may be tied to global climate change.

Anam City will continue to research and prototype of flood resilient design and ecological and green infrastructure approaches that may mitigate impacts of flooding and increased water levels in the area of the Niger River Delta.

Farewell Message to the Interns

17 Aug

Interns traveling to Otuocha by boat on the Ezichi River , July 2011

Whatsoever has a beginning must surely have and end, even a journey of thousand miles. The smooth commencement of the 2011 internship programme and Rurban Design Workshop has finally come to a joyous end.

It is possible that many of you were discouraged by friends, parents and well wishers to come to Africa in the first place. The truth is that you have come, you have seen and you have conquered.

Having served our community, Anam, our great country, Nigeria and our continent Africa with selflessness which have brought gladness and fulfillment to you, a service which you rendered in humility, its now time to say goodbye.

We thank God that you have seen that Africa is lovely, Nigeria is great and interesting, Anam is accommodating and full of potentials.

Borrowing from Dr Aloy Chife, in his speech during his last visit to Ebenebe (in the month of July),”We hope that some of you will love to come back and stay like Stacy, Abena and DK who decided to make a career with the Foundation because of their love and passion for Africa.”

Interns learning to use GPS to collect site information to use in the design of Anam New City

Your programme witnessed a great change in the Foundation and the community at large. The first seed projects (the fish pond and the brick factory) have fully commenced work.

Indeed, your sojourn has brought good fortune to the Foundation and our community, Anam. It was your coming that quenched the would be conflict in the community. Your comming also created a lot of impact and awareness to the people.

No doubt you had made life lasting contacts and friends in Anam and I’m sure you will keep in touch and always reach out to your friend at any point in time.

Finally, I wish to appreciate the efforts and encouragement of  Dr. Aloy Chife and Mrs. Gesare Chife. They brought their wide experience to intimate this programme. Mrs. Gesare Chife has worked very hard to ensure a successful completion of this programme.

Several interns and Anam residents in Iyora-Anam

We hope once again that we have been able to meet your needs to serve the humanity.  May good fortune take you as you re-unite with your loved ones. I wish you all safe journey to your various countries/homes.

God bless you all. Bon voyage !

Post by: Linus Ifeyani Nnekwe

Painting the future of Anam

8 Aug

a gathering

The children of Anam are talented and creative individuals. They are strong, smily and friendly. Most importantly, they are eager to learn and have an incredible potential to do so. As it could be derived from Aristotle’s thinking on “potentialities and actualities” and from Amartya Sen’s “capabilities approach”, children are a seed project par excellence. If the freedom to choose between a different set of alternatives is given at a sufficient level, they can embody the biggest force of change in society.  They therefore represent the future of  Anam City and the future of their community and culture.

Last weekend, I gathered a group of ten kids between four and fourteen years old coming from Mmiata, Iyora and Ebenebe to draw everyday life scenes in Anam. I will here underline several findings that came along this interesting activity by discussing a number of drawings. These will allow me to verify the initial statements of this post.

When children were given the opportunity to draw, they approached the paper with some fear. Initially, they copied my drawings with care. However, they quickly took their own initiative and uncovered their character, humor and savoir-faire. A multiplicity of colours and forms started spreading on the white sheet of paper.

Here one can observe some examples of the first attempts to draw a house. It was fascinating to notice how they quickly improved their creations, after understanding fully the shape they were dealing with and adapting it to the local standards.

houses

The drawings were mostly separate objects floating on paper, scattered images without no real relationship between each other. The beautiful figures drawn by Oniebushi, as shown below, are isolated, independent and enclosed in thick lines, as if they were guarding a secret. However, as a group they do not tell a story, but rather many individual ones.

floating objects

Some of them where particularly fortunate when using colors and creating shapes, while others had a particular obsession with numbers and rather complicated calculations which reminds us on how diverse human abilities are.

numbers vs colors

It was interesting to see how they twisted and mirrored numbers in a row, letters in a word or  even full words. Notice, for example, how they write the word “cup” below. I took advantage of this moments to clarify the state of the art of our alphabet and our numbers. As an unexpected gift, the chilfren thought me how to count in Igbo! Indeed, interacting with Anam children is a shortcut to learn their language.

twist

The most repeated objects in their drawings included: houses, churches, trees and coconut trees, men with machetes, women carrying buckets, shirts, chicken and roosters, fish, yams and other fruits, cars, vans, helicopters, canoes and canoe paddles, umbrellas, chairs, benches, cups and pots, football scenes and finally mobile phones and their power supplies as you can observe below.

poster

The compilation of these random objects illuminates clearly the everyday life experiences of  children in Anam. On the one side, it tells us about their culture and their values. It makes one understand better their surrounding environment and one can even guess which are the sounds of this area, what are the main weather challenges and even which are their nutrition patterns. On the other side,  these drawings can also inform on how some ongoing seed projects that are growing Anam New City, such as the introduction of mobile money, can be nothing else than a success. In particular, by observing how mobile phones are already an important part of the everyday life of Anam children.

After playing with them for several hours I learned that these girls and these boys are exceptional. There is much potential in their little hands. All in all, this confirms how children can play an essential role in the social engineering of  Anam New City and Anam New City can, in return, offer them the necessary opportunities to fully develop their set of innate capabilities. As the Igbo proverb tells us, “ora na azu nwa”, it takes a village to raise a child.

Post by: Isabel Carreras-Baquer

Cornell University’s Panafrican Students Partner on Public Health Initiative in Anam

1 May

Anam New City considers issues of public health as an important element of the rurban design.  A healthy population translates to economic vitality and collective progress. Designing for a healthy community means providing access to health services such as patient clinics and hospitals, but also preventative education for families based on lifestyle, as well as health-supporting spaces, high environmental quality, access to healing services and highly nutritional agriculture.

Like many neglected rural areas, the Anam region currently has meager health services, combined with growing medical problems and increased occurrence of chronic and transmissible diseases. The rigorous lives of farmers exacerbate many physical problems as well, and overcrowding in urban areas means that residents, and especially children are extremely vulnerable to exposure to the spread of disease. Sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and malaria are all on the rise in Anam and currently there are limited services in place that can mitigate or alleviate poor health and illnesses.

Cornell University student members of The Coalition of Pan-African Scholars have partnered with the Chife Foundation to research and develop evidence-based health curricula that are designed to address the current needs in Anam. The curriculum will be based on research and best practices from the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control and developed in consultation with Cornell faculty in International Agriculture & Rural Development, Nutrition and Africana Studies.  Workshop topics to be developed will include nutrition, hygiene, maternal & child health, sexual health and disease prevention. The student’s work will inform the implementation of community workshops and supplement additional field surveys to be conducted in the coming months during the New City Rurban Workshop.

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