March 7th, 2013
Introducing A New Collection of Seven Yerba Mate Tea Blends – May 2013 Launch
August 17th, 2012
Women farmers – reviving indigenous knowledge
By Ruth Leavett for RAINS
Women in rural northern Ghana are marginalised and voiceless in terms of the planning and decision making within their communities, and yet they bear heavy workloads and great responsibilities. Regional Advisory Information Network Systems (RAINS) is an NGO based in Tamale, Northern Ghana that works to improve the prospects of women and girls in the region. They discovered that environmental challenges to their subsistence farming, including threats to their indigenous knowledge, are the root causes of poverty, and this directly impacts the growth of women and girls.
I chose to work with RAINS because I strongly believe that indigenous knowledge, which is predominantly held by women, needs to be preserved to conserve our planet’s biodiversity, and that these rapidly diminishing pockets of traditional rural living need to be protected and supported in order to continue. I spent 6 months working with RAINS and had the incredible opportunity to spend a month living in the small village of Zoosali to experience the life of a rural woman farmer first hand. I was then able to document how the RAINS Women’s Farmer Group in the village were benefiting from their support. It was an incredibly humbling experience to learn how hard these women work, and I greatly admired the approach RAINS was taking to respectfully maintain and restore their wisdom and faith in their livelihood.
Through providing communications support, my work at RAINS has helped them to secure additional funding and has increased awareness to a global audience concerning their core.
August 17th, 2012
Somi was born in Champaign, Illinois while her father was completing post-doctoral studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. When Somi was three years old, her family then moved to Ndola, Zambia while her father worked for the World Health Organization. They returned to Champaign, Illinois in the late 1980s when her father became a professor at the University of Illinois. Subsequently, Somi spent the rest of her childhood in Champaign where she attended both University Laboratory High School and Champaign Central High School, and earned her undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and African Studies from the University of Illinois. Somi also holds a Master’s degree from New York University‘s Tisch School of the Arts in Performance Studies.
August 1st, 2012
Inside Central Park, Fifth Avenue at 69th Street
Free event – August 4, 2012 – 3:00 pm
The world of Amadou & Mariam is a musical sphere that stretches from the dusty streets of Mali to playing at Coachella and Lollapalooza. Their unique mix of unforgettable pop melodies and contagious rhythms, driven by Amadou’s bluesy electric guitar and the compelling interplay of their two voices may have its roots deeply planted in Africa, yet this music effortlessly transcends classification. As popular across Africa as it is in Europe and America, critically acclaimed albums such as Dimanche Bamako, Welcome to Mali and their newest, Folila, have taken Amadou & Mariam on an epic journey that has made the couple one of the best-selling acts to come out of Africa. Their friend Theophilus London, who appears on Folila (along with Santigold, TV on the Radio and others), joins them on the bill.
Urban electro pop phenomenon Theophilus London released his debut LP Timez Are Weird These Days in 2011, following a series of wildly popular independent mixtapes and the Lovers Holiday EP. Timez Are Weird These Days explores the dreamlike headspace of a globetrotting young artist blurring the lines between 80′s rap, new wave beats, freestyle noise and the snarling guitars of psychobilly surf rock. London’s sound moves effortlessly through a range of emotions, from party starting dance floor defiance to moments of quiet intimacy and introspection.
Just a Bandis a trio from Nairobi, Kenya consisting of “Blinky Bill” Sellanga, Dan Muli and Jim Chuchu, who came together as a creative force at Kenyatta University. Describing themselves as a “super-nerdy African electronic music/art collective,” in true DIY style, they not only write, record and engineer their albums, but also create their videos, packaging and promo items. Their 2009 video for the single “Ha-He” off the album of the same name was credited as the first viral sensation to emanate from Kenya. A mix of house, neo-soul with a touch of punk throws the group into a class all its own.
August 1st, 2012
Cocoa Farmer , Ghana West Africa
Analysts at a US-supported global food initiative cocoa program suggest that the projected strong long-term demand for cocoa has the potential to increase the income of 2 million smallholder farmers in West Africa, and hence make a significant contribution to food security.
This however would require ‘improving productivity to make cocoa farming more economically attractive and environmentally sustainable’. Currently the US government Feed the Future Africa Cocoa Initiative (ACI) is leveraging US$11 million in investments from 13 chocolate-producing companies in support of the development of cocoa production in West Africa. The program supports farmer training to improve productivity and seeks to introduce higher yielding tress stocks, while strengthening ‘agro-dealer networks to improve access to fertilizer, inputs and extension support’.
The ultimate aim of the ACI initiative is to train 100,000 farmers and double cocoa production across the program area.
Beyond the US initiative, nine companies have agreed to invest €15 million in sustainable cocoa production in West Africa and Indonesia. The first projects will run from 2012 to 2015 with the aim of boosting yields. Seven of the nine companies involved in this Sustainable Trade Initiative are also participating in the US-supported program.
TRY OUR COCOA
August 1st, 2012
Paris-based Congolese writer Alain Mabanckou says it’s his favourite restaurant. Chef Christian Abegan from Cameroon has created a pan-African cuisine with French flavours inspired by Francophone African countries such as the Ivory Coast, Mali, Gabon and of course Cameroon. You might start with a spicy fresh papaya salad with chilli, or hearts of lettuce with fried shrimp and a tamarind seed dressing, and continue with a yassa (fish or chicken in a lime and onion marinade) from Senegal or guinea hen with a moyo onion sauce from Benin.
• 15 rue des Lombards, 4th, +33 1 4277 2926, lepalanka.com. Métro: Châtelet/Hôtel de Ville. Open Mon 7pm-2am, Tue-Sat 11am-3pm, 7pm-2am, Sun 12.30pm-4.30pm, 7pm-2am