Cleaning the Mental Garbage !

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In fact, we were strongly criticising the government a lot for not doing anything to improve  the sanitation situation in developing countries. During the discussion, we came across the quote from Leo Tolstoy that “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” With this quote, our discussion took a different path. It was a great realisation amongst us that we need to clean our mental garbage first to bring the change around us!

Sanitation – On Top of the Political Agenda

“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019,”

– Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words on October 2, 2014, as he launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission).

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On the evening of May 16, 2014, it was for the first time in the history, the Prime Minister of India focused on building toilets in his first victory speech. He mentioned that “Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya (First toilet, then temple)”. It was quite a shock for many but it was all about the change in the mindset of development politics. Sanitation space gained a momentum and brought in the topmost political agenda narrated by Honourable Prime Minister of India.

A Curious Case of Indore

A journey of transformation towards a clean India started on October 2, 2014. Amongst the various cities, Indore became a curious case of transforming cities into cleanest cities under its Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

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The 500-year-old city, named after an old temple of Lord Indreshwar, served as the capital of the Holkar dynasty from the early 19th century until 1948. Indore is located in the heart of Malwa plateau, which is the Commercial Capital of Madhya Pradesh State. It’s legendary, Devi Ahilyabai Holkar is worshipped as the Mother Goddess of Indore.

Having Tag Of An Unhealthy City!

“Before 2015, Indore was like any other Indian city with poorly managed water and sanitation infrastructure. The city had decayed over the decades, neglected urban pressure and was pleading for a transformation. There was a lack of ownership by citizens and was believed that it is a duty of Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) for managing the waste of the city”

– Gaurav Vaidya, Urban Planner – Resident of Indore

Indore was in the grip of a plague in the early 20th century. Sir Patrick Geddes proposed that Indore to become a garden city and cleaned up, that its rivers be dredged, and its sanitation facilities improved as per the Master plan of 1914-1921. Indore was known for its water bodies. After 1960, Indore becoming one of the worst water-starved cities in India until the Narmada River came to its rescue.

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In 2015, the city of Indore was famous for its public garbage dump. Citizens were annoyed with their government and agitated with full of protests, litigation against the corporation to take waste management seriously. Under these circumstances, Mrs. Malini Laxman Singh Gaur was elected Mayor of Indore, in February 2015. Safe sanitation was the promise on which she went to the polls.

Effective Woman Leadership

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Under the leadership of the mayor of the city, the commissioner of Indore, NGOs and citizens, all came together and took a pledge to make their city clean and beautiful. However, the situation was challenging and demanding. The situation of transforming the city into a clean and beautiful city demanded its four piers (Mayor- political leader, Bureaucracy- the commissioner, NGO and its Citizens) to work continuously until the tag of the cleanest city of India is achieved.

The most challenging part of this transformation was to make citizens aware of good sanitation practices. The visionary lady mayor Mrs. Gaur decided to do this by relentlessly educating the citizens and involving them in the process of change. The four piers did not leave any stone unturned to make this possible.

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[A snap of Mayor Mrs. Gaur distributing car-dustbin to the driver]

They conducted public rallies, meetings with self-help groups, resident welfare associations, religious leaders, automobile companies, transgender, public and private offices, elderly people, slum dwellers, and students.

They took the medium of art to narrate their goals to all their citizens. Street plays, drawings in public area, drawing competitions in schools and colleges did the work of spreading knowledge and change for them. They tried to bring this change by involving each sector of the citizens (gender, race, class, and caste).

They provided all the necessary infrastructure (physical and social) for the change to happen. This was important to gain the trust of people and their satisfaction level.

It’s All About the Mindset!

“We are now called as ‘Swaccha Mitra’: friend of people and not sweepers/cleaners.

We came from the most deprived section of the society. Now things have changed. This is the big mind set change. It’s a proud moment for us that we are the forces behind the city transformation. Our voices are being heard now by people. People do segregate the dry and wet waste. The public is so satisfied that they regularly pay a door-to-door collection fee.”

– Swachh Mitra, IMC (Interview taken by Gaurav Vaidya, a resident of Indore)

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The high-impact effort was against Open Defecation (OD). IMC came up with the concept of ‘Dabba gang’ which roamed the city from 5 am to 9 am, in search of those who were defecating in the open.

Instead of punishing the residents, The IMC team did a survey of households who were defecating openly in 128 locations. The IMC team tried to understand the needs of the community. In responding to the demand from the community, over 10,000+ individual toilets were constructed in various slum locations as per the demand.

“One happy side-effect is that the incidence of malaria and dengue has fallen drastically. Doctors keh rahe hain ki bhaiyya patient hi aane band ho gaye hain (Doctors are reporting reduction in number of patients)”

–  Jagtap, Head of consulting firm with visible pride

Behaviour change was definitely the key to Indore’s success, and the song “Ho halla”, encouraged locals to join the movement for a cleaner town. The song is constantly played by sanitation trucks throughout their trash collection rounds, is said to have been the Secret Ingredient to uniting residents as equal partners in the city’s cleanliness mission. This feeling of togetherness is what the locals call “APAN.”​

A Journey of an Unhealthy City to the Cleanest City of India!

“I am a food lover from Delhi. Indore is known as Mini Mumbai and famous for its food. I visited Sarafa Bazaar to enjoy its delicious food in January 2018. To my surprise, there was no leftover food, no dirty plates, no garbage to be seen – anywhere. I have witnessed with my eyes the cleanliness drive undertook jointly by commercial vendors, residents and IMC. I was impressed!”

– Jyoti Dash, Research Fellow, Sanitation Capacity Building Programme, NIUA, Delhi

Cleanliness Index of India: 149th in 2014 to 1st in 2017

From being placed 149th in a cleanliness ranking of India’s cities in 2014, Indore Municipal Corporation climbed to the 25th position in 2016, and to the top of the heap consecutively for two years in 2017 and 2018. In three years, this commerce-driven city has seen a complete transformation. 

The credit goes to the team with a positive attitude, public-spirited people of Indore catalysed by Woman Mayor, Municipal Commissioner, Municipal Councillors, and a team of Consultants and Sanitation staff.

“Cleanliness is a Habit; Cleanliness is a Festival; Cleanliness is Nothing but Clearing the Mental Garbage and Building the Sanitised Country.” 

Authors

Tariqul Islam (Bangladesh), Dhruv Bhavsar (India), Ankita Gupta (India), Sagar Gupta (India), Suman Dhun Shrestha (Nepal) – currently studying MSc Sanitation in IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in partnership with UNESCO.

References

[1] https://www.livemint.com/Politics/UrAmaAxHMDUNw7iuc8PPnI/How-Indore-became-Indias-cleanest-city.html

[2] http://www.imcindore.org

[3] https://swachhindia.ndtv.com/

[4] http://swachhbharaturban.gov.in/

[5] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/indore/Now-Mayor-joins-the-dabba-gang/articleshow/55596185.cms

[6] https://www.iimidr.ac.in/about-us/explore-indore/

[7] https://www.hotwaxsystems.com/company-news/how-indore-became-a-global-example-in-community-and-cooperation/

[8] https://swachhindia.ndtv.com/indores-swachh-turnaround-recycling-50-plastic-waste-6673/

[9] http://www.theweekendleader.com/Culture/2703/indore-s-iron-lady.html

[10] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceu2FveDuQ8

The history of an undeveloped sanitation system

Costa Rica, a nature paradise with 2% of the world’s biodiversity, is a place where 70% of wastewater and faecal sludge goes to the rivers. With its 5 million inhabitants, it has the most contaminated river in Central America, Río Tárcoles, which receives the contaminated water of the Great Metropolitan Area (GMA) and which constitute about 50% of the country’s total population.

Pre-colonization water supply sources were the springs and the rivers.  In the beginning of the 17th until 18th century the use of ditches became the form of water supply, also pumping stations were built to channel the water to the capital. The boost of agricultural activities and population growth brought an exponential demand for water and with the resulting poor sanitation practices (including open defecation). Public health concerns led to the development of sanitation facilities such as pit latrines, septic tanks and later on the sewage system during the first decades of the 20th century. Currently theses sewers discharged wastewater directly into the rivers.

Inadequate maintenance and investments into sanitation has led to the dilapidation of the existing facilities over the years. Although the country have more onsite sanitation facilities, government tends to put in more investment in centralised sewerage without considering the need to also invest in faecal sludge management. Different aspects of Governance that influence the realities of FSM in Costa Rica are presented below. [1]

The issues of a delayed and unenforced framework

Costa Rica has progressively developed laws, policies and regulations to tackle WASH challenges including faecal sludge management (FSM) starting from the Water Law No 276 of 1942 to the most recent, the National policy for sanitation in 2017.

Even though, there is a regulatory framework for Faecal Sludge Management there is a lack of reinforcement, for example, there is illegal dumping of faecal sludge in the environment and according to Madrigal, 2015, only 7 out of 40 desludging companies were registered. This view was expressed by a desludging truck operator thus;

“There is no benefit of being authorised by the Ministry of Health, they don’t monitor us, and our clients don’t really care, they just want us to take the sludge out and they don’t even ask where do we take it”. 

Another compounding issue in regulation is the overlapping roles of the different operators and regulators in the sector, for example the Municipalities, the Costa Rican Institute of Water and Sewerage Systems (AyA) and other utilities are all service providers and regulators of water and sewer systems. Also, Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the Ministry of Health (MINSA) both regulate and approve water and wastewater treatment. Lastly, the Regulatory Authority of Public Services (ARESEP) and the General Comptroller of the Republic are both tariff regulator for the water supply and sewerage services.

Great access, poor management and distribution  

Although the access to water and sanitation is almost 100%, the management and distribution of sanitation is very irregular. 70-80% of the population uses on-site sanitation (Septic Tank (ST) and latrines) systems and 20-30% have access to sewerage systems. There are some wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in the GMA, one of which is newly built and will serve 45% of the population in GMA. However, it would not improve faecal sludge management significantly because greater population of the city as shown in fig. 1 below uses onsite facilities that require faecal sludge treatment plants (FSTP) to treat the faecal sludge before disposal.

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Sanitation access before and after the GMA’s new WWTP. Source:  (Madrigal, 2015)

Unequal distributions of water and sanitation

Informal settlements  are an example of water and sanitation inequalities in Costa Rican society, water supply is intermittent and even if access to toilets is generally good, there is an inefficient management of on-site sanitation, especially the treatment and disposal of the wastewater (WW) effluents and faecal sludge (FS) from septic tanks.

In most of the slums wastewater is going to sewers that transport it directly into rivers and where effluents of septic tanks are dumped into the ground or open drains. When septic tanks are not emptied, faecal sludge tends to overflow, or when collected, is prone to be dumped into the environment. Additionally, due to high water tables, groundwater is also at risk of contamination. [2]

RIO

There are complex dynamics influencing the inefficiency of sanitation in informal settlements, which were first founded by rural citizens and immigrants due to war and social conflicts and that have grown from 11 slums in 1970, to 138 in 1980, and 418 in 2011.[3]

Costa Rica’s GINI index in 2017 was 48.7[4] showing an unequal society.   Economic issues, legal tenancy, high density and insecurity are other causes that contribute to the problem. According to national statistics, dwellers have low educational level, only few family members are employed and more than half of the households are female-headed with average income of 150-200 US dollars per month.

Some dwellers cannot afford adequate on site technologies and even if they do, they do not know when to clean them and cannot meet the expenses of regular maintenance. Furthermore, without legal tenure, allocation of wastewater treatment services has become impossible because without legal documents residents are not allow to construct the connections to the new sewer lines, even if they are close to the settlements and families are able to receive economic support from the government to connect to the sewerage system.

“I am not proud to say this but we dump everything to the river, even our garbage, because there is no other solution, we don’t have space to build a ST and we don’t receive public services”. -Informal Settlement Resident. 2015

In addition, difficult access and insecurity translates into limited or more expensive provision of collection and transport of FS because companies charge more when households are located in insecure areas.

Moreover, there are several socio nature aspects that worsen the situation. Informal settlements are regularly surrounded by polluted  rivers but also, they are prone to flood and to mudslides, increasing the risk of exposure to pollution but also, to natural disasters. Lastly, informal settlements have regularly, the highest rates of dengue and chikungunya cases and due to the lack of wastewater and faecal sludge treatment, rivers get even more polluted affecting fauna downstream. [5]

Cocodrile

Effects of voice and authority

The inefficiency  of sanitation services are caused by lack of reinforcement, control of laws, allocation of budget towards FSM, bureaucratic systems, duplication of functions and gaps between the regulation and the reality.  This inefficiency also creates disadvantages for the poor in increasing inequities and access to sufficient services.

There have been cases where marginalization is translated into contestation disputes, leaders from informal settlements have actively participated in demands and asking for agreements for the provision of sanitation  services, and also requested information about the new WWTP (since they did not have a clear understanding of the repercussions to the community) but these conditions were not completely accepted by the AyA. [6]

Technical gaps

The GMA project exhibits what may be an important lack of awareness when it has planned an investment in WWTP that would only improve the only 3% FS related problems, instead of directing such resources into the FSTP considering that 70% of the population uses ST. Although the feel of urbanisation which entails centralised sewers are adopted, it is important to note here that only the higher and middle class would benefit from the project while the low-income earners in the informal settlement are not considered beneficiaries of the project.

Experts have been pointing out this incoherencies, nonetheless, nor the government or the experts have enough knowledge and practice on FSM, there is also not enough investment in research.

The distribution of knowledge and expertise also played out when only 3% of interviewed dwellers could explain some sanitation processes and preferred “flush and forget practice” and the disposal of wastewater into the surrounding rivers as a “free practice”. Social understanding and the fact that there is abundance of water in the country, makes people believe there is no need to manage resources adequately and they neglect sanitation. In addition, for the dwellers that had STs, there is a gap in knowledge on the correct selection, design, maintenance of on-site technologies.[6]

“Even if the government would be able to pay this debt today, we could not catch up because there is not enough technical capacity, machinery, let alone specialists in the area of sanitary engineering”. Government representative point of view regarding the sanitation gap. (Madrigal, 2015).

Remarks

The governmental decisions related to sanitation have not being addressed inclusively and coherently with the ecological fame and social realities of the country. Furthermore, the gap in FSM knowledge creates unequal and unsustainable solutions, which detriment the vulnerability of the poor in the informal settlements. For this reason, it is of great importance to focus on FSM without forgetting the population that is under marginalised conditions.

Authors

Amie Jammeh, Arina Priyanka V., Edidiong Obot, Joel Kabika, Sofía Murillo, are students of MSc. Sanitation program in IHE Institute of Water Education.

[1] More info: http://www.estadonacion.or.cr/files/biblioteca_virtual/019/angulo_2013.pdf

[2]More info on Faecal sludge truck illegal disposal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aQMv-4oTZM

[3] D. Madrigal, 2015, Situational Analysis: Faecal Sludge Management in Costa Rican Informal Settlements. Thesis Master Project. University of Queensland, Australia.

[4] GINI index: https://datos.bancomundial.org/indicador/SI.POV.GINI?end=2016&locations=CR&start=1981&view=chart&year_high_desc=false

[5] More info: https://aida-americas.org/es/blog/t%C3%A1rcoles-el-r%C3%ADo-m%C3%A1s-contaminado-de-centroam%C3%A9rica

[6] D. Madrigal, 2015, Situational Analysis: Faecal Sludge Management in Costa Rican Informal Settlements. Thesis Master Project. University of Queensland, Australia.

In 2008, Zimbabwe experienced a major cholera outbreak in its history which killed more than 4000 people and infecting more than 90000 (WHO, 2009). Most people affected by the disease were from high density areas like Mbare, the oldest location of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. This outbreak was mainly attributed to lack of adequate water and sanitation services.

Pre-independence orphanage

During the colonial era, land and other social services were distributed inequitably on racial basis. The country was divided into commercial land mostly for the European settlers and marginal land for natives. This was reinforced by the water allocation policy which discriminated access to water on racial grounds which was inherited and continued until 1998. Under this water act, only commercial white farmers with water rights were allowed to vote. Urban areas such as Harare were divided into European and African areas. The colonialists did not believe in provision of descent accommodation and WASH services for the natives working for them hence they provided them with single rooms in high rise buildings in Mbare which had shared communal toilets and showers. In addition, the colonial masters constructed semi-detached houses with shared communal WASH facilities for families. On the contrary, the colonial masters were provided with water and sanitation services fixed inside their houses.

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Post-independence orphanage

After the independence in 1980, the new water act and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) Act were adopted in an effort to re-address the imbalances created by the colonial rule.

ZINWA

The government made significant efforts towards provision of WASH services concentrating in the rural areas leading to 84% of Zimbabwean population having access to safe drinking water by 1988 (WHO/UNICEF JMP, 1988). The focus on rural areas was due to the fact that the ruling Party ZANU PF support base was mainly in these areas.

WASHILITICS – The politics of WASH

Provision of WASH services in Harare has been politicised since independence, with the government always putting strategies aimed at controlling the distribution of basic services. The situation was exacerbated by the formation of strong opposition (Movement for Democratic Change) winning all parliamentary and council seats in Harare during the 2002 elections. The ZANU PF government intensified interference and refused to fund municipal budgets for cities where it had been defeated including Harare. These retaliatory cuts led to cessation of water purification and redirection of raw human sewage in the main reservoirs.  This was supported by the sentiments made by the then Minister of local government, Mr Saviour Kasukuwere .

Major policies and strategies used by government to gain control over water provision

Year/Period Major events
1980-1995 Harare was run by ruling party-controlled municipality which enjoyed a good relationship with the central government
1999-2002 Harare was run by a government-appointed commission (Chanakira Commission)
2002 Opposition party wins control of municipality but its operations were hindered by the central government
2002-2005 Popularly elected mayor and council are dismissed by government. Harare was run by a government-appointed commission (Makwavarara Commission)
2005-2009 Water supply and sanitation are transferred to the national parastatal, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) which was controlled by government
2009 Water supply is returned to the City of Harare after failure to improve service delivery
2009-2013 Harare City was run by elected Council, however the government interfered with the operation as witnessed by securing of USD144 million loan from the Chinese government without the approval of the municipality
2013 Opposition party wins control of the council Government approves the National Water Policy which suggests overhaul of water supply management

In order to salvage the water crisis, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) assumed the role of supplying water and sanitation services following a government directive in 2005 against the will of the residents. It received a huge grant from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to rehabilitate the WASH infrastructure for Harare.  However, the money wasn’t accounted for. Despite the interventions, the water unavailability became worse that even the elite and politicians from the ruling party were affected. They started blaming ZINWA for failing to provide safe water and sanitation services and in 2009, the mandate of providing of water and sanitation services was given back to Harare Municipality.  Government still continued with its interference in Harare municipality operations such that it even borrowed US$144 million from the Chinese without the knowledge of the municipality and there has been a number of corruption cases around the fund. Towards the 2013 harmonised elections, the government instructed all local authorities and municipalities to cancel all water bills owed by residents to them. This was a campaign strategy to win control of urban areas, however   access to safe water and sanitation services among the poor living in the high density areas of Harare such as Mbare deteriorated.

From sun shine city to run down city

After independence the population of Harare was estimated to be 650,000 (CSO, 1982). The population figure ballooned to 2,123,132 (Zimstat, 2012) because of rural to urban migration triggered by poverty in rural areas, drought, politics and the desire for better social services. Despite rapid population increases WASH services were not upgraded to match the growing demand. Burst sewerage lines, uncollected garbage, broken street lights, leaking pipeline became a common feature in Harare which was once regarded as the cleanest City in sub-Saharan Africa (M Musemwa, 2008). “Harare has become one of the dirtiest cities in the world” Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate).  Subsequently, women and children had to rely on unsafe water sources e.g. Mukuvisi River where they were abused as people had to fight for water.

6bfec986-b0d1-488d-8634-13a2aa9fc5dfIn 2005, there was a politically motivated clean-up campaign which was known as Murambatsvina whose objective was to reduce strain on urban infrastructure. This campaign led to demolition of illegal houses in the city leading more people to move into high rise buildings in Mbare overburdening the existing WASH infrastructure.

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The hard truth of Cholera and Typhoid

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Continued political interference and poor water and sanitation service delivery led to the devastating 2008 cholera outbreak which infected 98,585 people and killed more than 4000 people. Since then, there has been sporadic cases of cholera in the country. National and International NGOs responded by drilling boreholes in the affected areas and provided chemicals for water treatment to the municipality. Despite the good efforts by the NGOs, it was benefiting the rich who had running tap water whilst the poor had to continue relying on unsafe ground water which has been linked to the 2017 Typhoid outbreak which has become endemic. Ministry of Health’s Epi Bulletin Week 52 of 2017 reported 2,352 cases of typhoid . Mbare has been the epicenter of these sporadic outbreaks. Dilapidated WASH infrastructure and overcrowded living conditions have been pointed out as contributing factors towards the outbreaks by the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa.

Any hope for the state orphans?

Despite all the existing water and sanitation challenges in Mbare, the proposed water and sanitation investment plan for Harare supported by the World Bank, and the Multi Donor Trust Fund does not include plans to improve the situation in the marginalised high density areas such as Mbare. The plans were designed at city level with no involvement of the marginalised people leading to the exclusion of those without the voice. The proposed investment plan is up to 2030 and will benefit the rich leaving out the poor.

Mr. Forward Mupepe, Engineer from Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate, Zimbabwe discussing strategic investment plan for greater Harare until 2030.

About the Author: Farhad Safi , Jayshree Rajbhandary. Pride Kafwembe, Stellah Ngere, Ziggy kugedera- currently studying MSc Sanitation in IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in partnership with UNESCO.

References:

Emmanuel Manzungu MM, Simon Mudiya, Vupenyu Dzingirai, Special Musoni (2016) bulk water supply in zimbabwe privatisation of wash. Water Alternatives

Enock C.Makwara BT (2012) Water Woes in Zimbabwe’s Urban Areas in the

Middist Of Plenty: 2000 -Present. European Journal of Sustainable Development 151 – 180

Hove M, Ngwerume ET, Muchemwa C (2013) The Urban Crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Threat to Human Security and Sustainable Development. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development 2 DOI 10.5334/sta.ap

Ingeniure G (2014) Greater harare WASH strategic plan 1

Musemwa M (2008) Politics of Water in post colonial Zimbabwe, 1980 – 2007

 

 

To deny a family water, under any bureaucratic pretext whatsoever, is a great injustice, especially when one profits from this need” – Pope Francis (Nairobi, 2015).

 

The residents in the informal settlements of Nairobi pay 4 times more for the same quantity of water than the residents in the affluent areas of the city. If you think it is injustice, let’s hear more: the water crisis plaguing the city in the recent years has reinforced this inequality, by the informal settlers paying 100 times more than the affluent residents. As the Pope stated, is it just a bureaucratic problem?  One would need to go back a 100 years to understand the crisis we are fighting today!

The dams that brought water:  for whom?

The first piped water system, built in the first years of the 1900s under the British rule, was owned and managed by the Uganda Railways. As the population and demand grew there was water shortages in Nairobi in 1926 and later in 1946. To meet the increasing demand the colonial government resorted to expansion of infrastructure (dams) such as Ruiru Dam in 1938, Nairobi dam in 1946, Sasumua Dam in 1956. It is interesting to note that, in 1907 the consumption was about 40 litres per person per day, but the design demand was increased to allow over 220 litres per person per day in 1934 for the Europeans, while Asian and African consumers were expected to demand only 135 and 90 litres per person per day, respectively (Colony and Protectorate of Kenya, 1934).

After independence in 1963, the water supply based on racial segregation by the colonialists was discontinued to be merely replaced by service segregation based on income level. For instance, the higher and middle income , lower income, and slums have a piped water network coverage of 85, 70 and 12 percentage, respectively. The legacy of racial service segregation in Nairobi can still be traced in today’s inequality of access, consumption and price (Ledant et al., 2013).

The water that burns the poor man’s pocket

The unreliability and inaccessibility of water supply exist in the city. However, the disparities arise on one’s ability to invest on alternative means to tackle the inadequacy of water. The wealthier invest in storage tanks to harvest more water at the expense of others whereas the poor have to rely on unregulated service suppliers who supply at an inflated rate. The unregulated service suppliers include the water vendors, tanker trucks, water kiosks, reselling by neighbours, local networks and private boreholes (Collignon and Vezina, 2000; Sharma and Shukla, 2009; Castro, 2009; Chakava et al., 2014).

 

“More than 90 percent of vendors steal our water. They bribe plumbers or former employees of the company to get the water free” (NWSC official-2011)

 

The amount paid to kiosks is 25 times higher than the cost of a unit of water paid by households connected to Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) (Gulyani, et al., 2005). When there is no water shortage in water kiosks, poor households pay USD 1 per unit (USD 0.02 per 20 l jerrycan), this can rise up to USD 25 per unit (USD 0.50 per jerrycan) during scarcity. In comparison to high income residential customers connected to NWSC who have an Increasing Block Tariff (IBT) Plan where they pay USD 0.29 per unit for their first 6,000 litres, USD 0.53 for water use between 7,000 and 60,000 litres and USD 0.64 per unit thereafter. The high price in informal settlements is attributable to capital cost of laying the pipes, bribes paid for illegal connections, and kiosks taking advantage of scarcity which are sometimes artificial to make quick profits, making the slum a ‘lucrative water market’ (Brocklehurst, et al., 2005; Crow and Odaba, 2010; Gemon, 2008; Mudege and Zulu, 2011).

Despite NWSC having a “pro-poor” IBT in place to allow high income customers to cross subsidize low income customers. The low income customers do not benefit from IBT, because they lack legal metered connections that cost about 6 months’ worth of income for the poor households (Report, 2006).

Water doesn’t always flow down the hill

The general configuration of the network portrayed an apparent inequality of service in Nairobi. The topography of Nairobi favoured channeling water to the lower areas in the informal settlements, the operators rather struggled to pump up enough water to feed the very-high demand of the high income earners living on the hills. In addition, even the upcoming upgrading of the  Nairobi Water Supply IV (WS IV) sought to double the pumping capacity to wealthier areas, which showed the willingness to rebalance the flow of water. Rationing of water that favours wealthier neighbourhoods is experienced in day to day basis.

 

 

Current consumption patterns is showing even worse forms of inequalities as compared to colonial era; high class people receive in between 200 and 300 litres of water per person per day as compared to the middle class people who receive 130 litres per person per day and slum dwellers who received 15 litres per person per day (Ledant et al., 2013).

Landlords and their water game!

Previously, Nairobi City Council (NCC) was not obligated to provide informal settlements with water and sewerage as they were informal and in fact illegal (Nyanchaga, 2016). However, now NWSC has an Informal Settlement Department with a distinct mandate to provide water supply to the slums. NWSC was constituted under the National Water Act, 2002, which implied that the water and sanitation revenue were no longer available for the municipality for any other purpose than water and sanitation. Despite, these efforts have failed due to political upheaval, influence of traders providing illicit water supply and politics within the company.

Maji Bora Kibera is an example of a failed scheme that sought to regularise relations with the prevailing structure of illicit water traders. The emergence of de facto landlords (often the illicit water traders)  dates back to the British Colonial era when they housed soldiers from Sudan who had fought in the British Army during World War II in the surrounding area of Nairobi. However, the titles to the land were never given, they became the landlords through the informal right as “structure owners”. The Sudanese soldiers called “kibra”, which means forest, later came to be known as Kibera.   

The precious that inflicts

Many of the water related problems in Nairobi’s informal settlements are related to inadequate infrastructure. The water utility, estimates that 38% of the water supply is lost due to leaks, bursts and unauthorized consumption.  In Kibera slum, settlers assert that access to water is very difficult and it has affected a lot of other circles-of-life like frequency of washing clothes and number of meals (Crow and Odaba, 2010). Netsayi and Eliya, (2010) noted that slum communities in Nairobi, e.g., Korogocho have limited access to water, and even pay for poor-quality water. Informal urban settlements are frequently attacked by sanitation related disease outbreaks of cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea, and thus extremely high infant mortality (Bartram & Cairncross, 2010; Fewtrell et al., 2005).

For example, one of the residents said:

Contaminated water causes at least two cases of cholera every month in her neighbourhood. Residents of other parts of Kenya’s capital face similar problems, battling shortages caused by drought and broken pipes”.

Illegal connection and siphoning of water are highlighted for contamination of water as well. (East African Newspaper, 2018).

The strong arms and the lost voices

Gender

All these inequalities affect women the most. Women face additional obstacles to participate in schools, workplaces, and other social spaces, and drudgery and physical impact increases due to the act of fetching water. 

Water policies which often do not integrate women’s opinions or indeed their physical presence at a more fundamental level of management is experienced. Even the existing policies are just “lip service”.

Women’s concerns such as land tenure often restrict women’s involvement in decisions regarding water projects are rarely addressed as societal barriers. Furthermore, women’s views as opposed to those of men are systematically under-represented in decision-making bodies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anZVBuX2bNE 

A gender perspective is therefore needed not only on personal roles and relations but also on the wider institutional and policy context.

The relentless journey ahead!

The inequalities of water distribution that persist in the city of Nairobi has been in existence for over a century, evolving and intensifying over time. It is not an issue of mere bureaucratic inefficiency but of the inadequate infrastructure coupled with inequitable distribution, intertwined with the historical, political, social and economic spheres of development. Let’s hope the justice is hidden in this city and the quest for it never ceases!!!

About the Authors

Bob (Uganda), Gayathri (India), Musa (Gambia), Patrick (Kenya), Prajakta (India), and  Simone (Brazil) are currently pursuing MSc in Sanitation from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. 

 

References

Brocklehurst C, Mehrotra S, Morel A (2005) Rogues no more? Nairobi: Water kiosk operators achieve credibility in Kibera Water and Sanitation Program

 

Crow B, Odaba E (2010) Access to water in a Nairobi slum: women’s work and institutional learning. Water International 35: 733-747 DOI 10.1080/02508060.2010.533344

 

Gemon C (2008) The triangle of mistrust: a utility’s struggle to engage effectively in the informal settlements of Nairobi. Lund University

Gulyani S, Debabrata T, Kariuki M (2005) Water for the Urban Poor: Water Markets, Household Demand, and Service Preferences in KenyaWater Supply and Sanitation Sector Board The World Bank Group, Washington DC.

Mudege NN, Zulu EM (2011) Discourses of illegality and exclusion: when water access matters. Global Public Health 6: 221-233 DOI 10.1080/17441692.2010.487494

Report HD (2006) Beyond scarcity: power, poverty and the global water crisis UNDP, New York.

Nilsson, D., & Nyanchaga, E. N. (2008). Pipes and politics: A century of change and continuity in Kenyan urban water supply. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 46(1), 133–158. doi:10.1017/S0022278X07003102

Ledant, M.; Calas, B.; Flores Fernandez, R. and Nilsson, D. (2013). Access to water in Nairobi: mapping the inequities beyond the statistics. Nairobi, Kenya: Global Water Operators Partnership Alliance and UN-Habitat.

Birongo, J.M. and Quyen Lhe, N. (2005). An analysis of water governance in Kibera, Kenya. Report. Roskilde, Denmark: Department of environment, technology and social studies, University of Roskilde.

Netsayi Noris Mudege & Eliya M. Zulu. (2011). Discourses of illegality and exclusion: When water access matters, Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, 6:3, 221-233, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2010.487494.

East African Newspaper. (2018). Nairobi looks for new water source to ease its growing thirst. Accessed on: http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Nairobi-water-shortage-growing-thirst/4552908-4610128-njdpptz/index.html

Ben Crow & Edmond Odaba. (2010). Access to water in a Nairobi slum: women’s work and institutional learning, Water International, 35:6, 733-747, DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2010.533344

Bartram, J., & Cairncross, S. (2010). Hygiene, sanitation, and water: Forgotten foundations of health. PLoS medicine, 7(11), e1000367. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000367

Fewtrell, L., Kaufmann, R. B., Kay, D., Enanoria, W., Haller, L., & Colford, J. M. Jr. (2005). Water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions to reduce diarrhoea in less developed countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 5, 42–52. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(04)01253-8

When we think about the Netherlands, we think of channels, dikes, coffeeshops, tulips, windmills, cheese…but from the large family of Dutch pride the so called Gouda cheese is one of the most emblematic symbols of Dutch traditions. It reminiscent of small farm, colourful and folkloric performances of ancient trade’s traditions, a good wine and exclusive aged gourmet cheese; finally gezellig moments.

Enjoying a Gouda cheese has become a must to experience the popular culture of Holland, and a mandatory point of the touristic itinerary. This cheese was named after ‘Gouda’ a town in the North of Holland, where merchants met and exchanged goods during the Middle Ages. Currently local merchants still meet and perform the trade’s ancient practices for the amusement of tourist every Wednesday or Saturday in the local markets of the city. The Gouda cheese therefore evokes this explosion of colours, traditional clothes, hundreds of yellow cheese disks in the square that dates back to the city’s heyday.

From cheese farms and local markets, to exclusive gourmet stores in Germany, Peru or Beverly Hills (in the United States), Gouda cheese is everywhere and duly certificated of its origin. The name “Gouda Holland” is protected by EU trade laws that guarantee the cheese is produced in the Netherlands, using traditional methods.

From the middle age to XXI century

Gouda cheese has been produced in the Netherlands since 12th century and is considered one of the oldest types of cheese in the world: currently the cheese industry is an important component of Dutch economy.

In 2009, the Netherlands produced 712 million kilograms of cheese, of which 350 million kilograms corresponded to the protected names of traditional cheese (such as the Gouda-Holland); however two-thirds of the production was exported to other countries, accounting around 50% percent of the world’s cheese consumption. The picturesque and historical Gouda represents millions of kilograms exported each year besides of the Dutch pride. The Gouda is travelling all around the globe having Germany as the biggest buyer.

 

In 2017 the Netherlands was ranked second worldwide in cheese exports, at least 50% of the production of cheese corresponded to protected names, labelled as traditional.

Looking at this numbers, I wonder, what traditional means when talking about intensive cheese production? According to the Ministry of Agriculture Nature and Food Quality on the granted protected status of the Gouda Holland; traditional refers to the method of production, the natural aging process and using milk from Dutch cows.

 Dairy and cheese Industry

For every kilogram of cheese 10 -13 litres of milk and 2.62 m3 of water is required. We cannot talk about cheese production without looking at the dairy industry. The dairy industry in the Netherlands it’s highly mechanized and is characterised for constantly improving feed quality and genetic selection though breeding programs, this means that are focused in reducing dairy herd and improving efficiency. Dutch cows can produce an average 22 litres of milk per day (some cows may produce over 50 litres a day) which is six times more than what a cow would naturally produce to feed her calf. Doing some numbers, we realize that around half a million cows were required to produce, in 2009, the 350 million kilograms of cheese labelled as traditional.

 

On the other hand, a significant part of Dutch livestock feed is imported, and agriculture  for animal food is intensive in external nutrients.  However imported ingredients (of cheese) are assumed to be produced from Dutch domestic resources. The Dutch cows are greatly feed by food produced mostly from European countries, but also from Asia, United States, and South America.

An intensive production model is characterised, among other aspects, by being highly mechanized and constantly producing and therefore by requiring higher demands of water, energy and other resources . The cheese as a final product embodies significant amounts of green house emissions, accumulated in every stage of the transformation and commercialization chain.

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Gouda cheese propaganda in the Central Market, The Hague. Picture: Karelia Martinez

To conclude I leave a question;

Can we still say that our delicious slice of cheese, labelled as Gouda- Holland and just made in a cheese farm (well technically equipped), that produces 13,000 litres of cheese per day, using milk from highly mechanised dairy farm with genetically selected Dutch cows (with the highest production rate of Europe, more than twice than UK), fed with imported food from intensive agriculture, is traditional?

 

About the author

Karelia Martinez, Civil Engineer from Nicaragua, currently  studying Water Management and Governance in IHE Delft, Institute of Water Education, in partnership with UNESCO.

References

Hoekstra, A. Y. (2012). The hidden water resource use behind meat and dairy. Animal frontiers, 2(2), 3-8.

Oulu, M. (2015). The unequal exchange of Dutch cheese and Kenyan roses: Introducing and testing an LCA-based methodology for estimating ecologically unequal exchange. Ecological Economics, 119, 372-383.

Van Oel, P., Mekonnen, M., & Hoekstra, A. Y. (2008). The external water footprint of the Netherlands: Quantification and impact assessment.

http://www.zuivelnl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Dutch-dairy-in-figures-2015.pdf

https://www.statista.com/statistics/579459/value-of-the-import-and-export-of-gouda-cheese-in-the-netherlands/

https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2010/10/08/dutch-cheeses-edam-holland-and-gouda-holland-granted-protected-status

https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/nld/

http://www.worldstopexports.com/cheese-exports-country/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illegal but tolerated: the hemp business in the Netherlands

How the hemp business works in the Netherlands?

DSC_0203
Cannabis and rolling paper. Photo: Cristiano von Steinkirch

Living in Delft for about half a year, I was curious to know more about this intriguing question and track the path of marijuana. To start this trip, there is no better place than the famous coffeeshops – commercial establishment known for selling marijuana products, right? No, I was wrong. Behind a thick glass wall and under surveillance cameras, I got disappointed with the repeated answer between excuses: “we are not allowed to speak about it”. In spite of the high cost of the weed, an average of 12 euros per gram, I could not go further than the regular consumption information: price, type of weed, strong or weak. The procedure of acquisition and origin of the herb remained kept within the high security coffeeshop room, contrasting with the urban safety sensation of the Netherlands. However, one of the attendants, sympathizing with my efforts of collecting data for my research, elaborated a little bit more – “all I can say is that hemp business in the Netherlands is weird. We don`t know where it came from and we are not allowed to speak about it”.  Though this initial encounter was a bit foggy, things became clearer afterwards – marijuana and coffeshops in the Netherlands are actually illegal, but tolerated, justifying why the attendants are so precautious.

DSC_0205
Joint lightning. Photo: Cristiano von Steinkirch

Toleration policy in the Netherlands is a historical process, dated from centuries ago. Considered a society of minorities, which means that no social group was large enough to dominated and standardize the whole, the Dutch were forced to deal with their differences to reach common social goals, with the spirit of “live and let it live”. [1] Also, maritime commercials trades, which are the bases of the Dutch history, allowed higher circulation of people and a tolerance attitude that facilitate business relations. In this toleration policy context, the hemp business started at 1976, with the implementation of the new Opium Act, which differentiate hard drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, from soft drugs, such as marijuana. The law fostered the hazy decriminalization for the personal use of soft drugs, given birth the multi-billion hemp business in the Netherlands, that play an important role in tourism (it is estimated that 30% of tourism goes to coffeeshops), as well as reinforces the already romanticized view of freedom in Dutch society.

police-marijuana1
Police empty a marijuana plantation in an ordinary Amsterdam street. Photo: DutchNews.nl Read more at DutchNews.nl:

 

The coffeshops are symbols of this freedom – they represent the liberty of free choice in the Netherlands. However, this freedom narrative is contradicted, as the marijuana illegal status do not allow the society to track the labour and the raw materials used in the production process, neither the waste and other externalities generated by it.  As we follow the materiality of cannabis, we see a different scenario, which is more related the enclosure and surveillance system of coffeeshops, rather than the liberty of choice discourse. In addition, as the dynamics of society changes, even the decriminalization of personal use is threated, as The Hague has just become the first Dutch city in the Netherlands to prohibit the smoking of cannabis in certain public areas[2].  Now the question remains: is the hemp Dutch business a representation of the freedom and liberty of Dutch society or is it business as usual – a multi-billion market which toleration is bound to its profit generation?

hemp
Sorting marijuana in an Amsterdam coffee shop. Photo: Graham Dockery

 

About the author: Cristiano von Steinkirch is Brazilian and an environmental engineer specialized in urban water and sanitation. Currently he is coursing the MSc programme in Water Management and Governance in IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in partnership with UNESCO.

 

[1] “The Limits of ‘Live and Let Live.’” Newsweek, May 14, 2009. Accessed in https://www.government.nl/documents/media-articles/2009/05/25/the-limits-of-live-and-let-live

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/16/the-hague-bans-marijuana-smoking-in-city-centre

In my journey about learning socio political ecology, I choose research about social interactions that coexist in markets and its relationship with nature. The dynamic and energy is possible to feel in a market is contagious. This dynamic and social behaviour and how is developed is not new, or at least is not a hipster trendy activity as it is known now for some. The market social behaviour has been part of history societies since the ‘’xx’’ century and it is known that the big markets of the world have been always located where the water was and close to the nature nearby. For this Liang Young explains how all this intercultural relationships that occurs are related with natural behaviours. For example how the markets are design allows the social interactions. In the markets you can feel the sense of sight, hearing, smell touch and this relates in the behaviour of humans, their need of relationships, their need to be social and their need to shape with nature (Liang Yingu 2016).

For this market research, we will understand some of the relations that exist inside Rotterdam and Den Haag markets in the Netherlands.

De Haagse Markt

The market it is known since the XVI century, as a place where you can find unique and imported goods. Den Haag market, is definitely a multicultural venue. You can find people from all nationalities, making a social interaction and shaping different natures. The diversity of informalities are certainly attractive to everyone. As an international place, it has been transformed and is inviting anyone to try different tastes shapes and flavours.

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Source: Alamy

From the main entrance smaller vendors transform nature so it can be attractive and tasty to anyone. I couldn’t resist myself and I bought a delicious corn, for only €1.

With my corn in hand, I proceed to discover what the market had to offer. To be honest, I was kind of intrigued by the dynamics that I found inside. The first impression was the feeling of a multicultural environment. In the process of observing the environment of the market itself, something caught my attention, there were no Dutch shoppers/visitors.

This perception stayed in my mind while I was continuing my journey. I decided to stop in one of this famous Chesses stands (something that would never can be missed in the Netherlands). After a nice conversation with a young lady, I began to understand some social interactions. This young lady was originally from Aruba (Constituent contry of the Netherlands).  I ask her about her clients. She told me her main clients are from Aruba and Curacao. But not many Dutch clients. This triggered me more.

I continued in search of the answer of my question, and I found the fish spot, (another essential food that is sold in any Dutch market). Here I was able to have a talk with a nice Morocco guy. Intrigued by the now notoriously absent of Dutch people, I asked him why?

IMG_8081[1]

Source: The author.

He said everything has been changing for the last 15 years that he has been working there. ‘’Dutch people no longer visit the market as much as they used to do”. Now they have moved away from Den Haag. “Is too much noise now, many movement, too much people working, Dutch do not like this, that’s why they moved out” Here I found my answer of how nature is shaping society. All this noisy and crowd nature that now days is in Den Haag centre, is shaping the society that we could found in the so famous and unique Den Haag Market. But also I understood that this society also shape the way nature is presented.

 

Different nature displace in Den Haag Market.

Markthal Rotterdam

In this adventurous research trying to understand the simplicity and complexity of Political Ecology, I date with myself on a Saturday and travelled to Rotterdam Market. Not wondering why now days, the markets have become a fashion trendy.

 ‘’Rotterdam, in the development process of high density urban state, started to find the original nature of city characteristics from downtown area” In contrast to the control, without any involvement in planning and design, the natural growth space fun is the result of chance, strict control will spaces obliterated the ego and personality, and completely free of growth also has its drawbacks. The display way of Modern community food stores and supermarkets provide a reference for the new style, they through the object shape, color, size, texture, price and biological characteristics are classified and placed” (Liang Yingu, 2016).

IMG_8188[1]

Source: The author.

Just to give a little perspective about what Rotterdam Market is like. The market is not behind of what characterize the architecture of the City of Rotterdam. The infrastructure of the market itself is an art. The artists Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam complete the impressive mural you can see inside the market infrastructure. The mural is called ‘’Horn of plenty”. And here we can go back, to what I was explaining in the introduction, the markets try to show a strong spatial richness and flavour of life (Liang Yingu, 2016).

One of my first shopping’s was a tropical and trendy fruit. (I usually don’t buy tropical fruits to lower my carbon emissions). I bought this tasty pineapple, with a trendy label. ‘’Super Sweet” ‘’Sweet Golden’’ For my surprise it really was. (No one knows how many chemicals were there so I was able to taste the gold sweetness of Costa Rica).

IMG_8226[1]

All the products in this market where sell like trendy. I found the same characteristics for the spots for Cheese and Fish. (Take a look of the photos).

Different nature displace in Rotterdam Market

Personally I have always liked to visit the markets. I remember that I used to go with my grandma when I was 4 years old to the unpredictably market tour. But not until I began to write this blog that I started to ask myself, why I used to enjoyed the experience that much.  Looking back and being real, the place was kind of chaotic, dirty, noisy, people screaming to each other and not at all any sanitation practices involved. No matter that, I simply love it. But why? Is this nature social interaction in the markets allows different kind of scenes to be felt?

Markets allows many interactions, sometimes without the normal stereotypes that other places of the urban society does not allow. And it allow it because market are exactly this. A space where you are allow to be chaotic, disorganized, artistic. Everyone enjoy the daily interaction. Thinking about the science of the nature that is behind, it is now days known that this interactions creates a relaxation in the social behaviour or to say it other words society is using the nature to create beneficial relationships between each other. (Liang Yingyu, 2016).  What I found? The same products? I can even say the same prices! But the envelope of the products and how they were presented was different. Were completely 2 different ways of informalities. Society shaping the way nature is presenting.

In the other hand, nature also shapes the kind of society. For example In Den Haag market it was difficult to find Dutch people. You can find more people from Aruba, Curacao, Morocco. The way how the urban nature has developed in the big city is changing the society. But what happened In Rotterdam market, this trendy nature that was created, shaped the multicultural society that visit the market. You can find both Dutch and international people, interacting in this space of nature created for this society. It was impossible to not note, how the nature was packed and presented differently in the Market Hall, fancy and trendy, again the nature was transformed to be attractive to the public.  Even if the nature was the same, the way it was presented was more fancy and trendy, and the nature was transformed for the public.

Analyzing Markets through its nature and the urban informalities is then possible to understand the new social interactions.

References

Yingyu, L. (2016). Research on the Construction of Urban Market space order. (Master), Politecnico di MIlano, Italy.

About the author: Lucia Garcia, is a social biologist, currentrly studing Water Management and Governance with specialization of conflict resolution in IHE-Delft the Netherlands.

Living in a city comes with lifestyles created for the functioning and identity formation of city actors and its citizens. They portray how modern one has become by undertaking that lifestyle. Indeed one such lifestyle is associated with chocolate. Occasions such as Valentine and Easter are linked with the giving of chocolates as signs of showing love.  The celebration of Valentine’s Day, Easter have been synonymous with the use of chocolates within Dutch communities.

easteregg_hero

Source: www.google.nl/search?q=easter+eggs&source

Their use has created a certain lifestyle which identifies one as being from a city and also seen as a “modern” citizen. The use of chocolates shows how much you love or care about someone.  The increase of this lifestyle has led to the institutionalization of chocolatier competitions such as Benelux Chocolatier Competition organised in big cities of the North such as Brussels and Amsterdam.

Cocoa also known as Theobroma cacao meaning the ‘food of the gods’, originated from the rainforests of Central America where on “modern maps, southern Mexico Yucatan peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras are located”(Bond, 2011). Bond explains that “The discovery and early use of cocoa are intimately linked with the ancient cultures of these areas – the Olmec’s (1500–400 bc), Mayans culture (250–900 ad) and later the Aztecs (ca. 800 AD to mid-sixteenth century)”.

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Enter a captionhttps://www.google.nl/search?q=history+of+cocoa&source

The Mayans first started using the cocoa as a drink for its elites to the extent that the beans were used as currency(Bond, 2011). This cash crop has maintained its importance in society from being cultivated in countries in West Africa to importing countries like the Netherlands. Being able to produce much more tonnes a year reflects in the foreign exchange a  country earns. The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), 2018 quotes the price of cocoa at $2386.23 per tonne as at the 16 of July 2018.

“The Netherlands used to be the world’s main importer of cocoa beans having lost the spot to Belgium in 2016 and the second largest cocoa grinder” Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CBI 2017.    The Dutch ministry of Foreign affairs states that the Dutch spend around 23 euros per capita on chocolate products in 2015 and the Dutch are noted to have increased exports of semi-finished cocoa products between 2014 and 2015 by 6%. The ministry also reports in 2015 that trend watchers in the Netherlands say ‘the Dutch increasingly want a high-quality chocolate and are willing to pay for that quality”. This makes chocolate making one of the urban lifestyles of luxury in the Dutch society. Being inquisitive enough, I decided to investigate where the cocoa used in Delft comes from. The city of Delft is noted to have some of the best chocolate firms in the Netherlands. Visiting the chocolate firm of Van Der Burgh I asked: “where does your cocoa come from “? The woman happily said “Ivory coast”.  This confirms the information by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CBI 2017 that, The Netherlands imports roughly 85% of cocoa beans from West Africa and some from Latin America.

Main Suppliers of  Cocoa Beans to the Netherlands in 2O16

Capture

The city of Delft boasts of one of the best chocolate firms in the Netherlands which is not only handmade and of high quality, but also hand packaged. To Van Der Burgh, ‘chocolate must always be a present”. This ideology has enabled the firm to carve a brand for itself, having evolved from a small beginning to their present-day location in the historic city centre. Being a tourist destination that attracts all kinds of people from different countries.

 

 

Delft is increasingly becoming a market for different nationalities. The historic city centre boasts of hosting social events and markets that invites people of all walks of life. The citing of this small handmaid chocolate firm is not only patronised by the Dutch but all manner of people from different cultures. This brand has catapulted them into having cooperation with Michelin Star Chef Niven Kunz, who is seen as the best ‘vegetable chef” in the Netherlands. Again the company can boast of another cooperation with KLM enabling them to serve passengers with the best of chocolate by Van Der Burgh.

 

 

Africa during the colonial times produced raw materials for industries in the global north and such was Cocoa. As remnants of colonization, West African countries produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa beans. With the Ivory Coast being the first and Ghana taking the second highest exporter according to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) 2017, cocoa Barometer. For cocoa to be exported, it needs strategic preparation by both farmers and governments of the two countries to ensure maximum yields. In Ghana, the Ghana Cocoa Board borrows to buy the cocoa from the farmers for exports.

Mars-patent-for-processing-unfermented-cocoa-beans_wrbm_largeSource:https://www.google.nl/searchtbm=isch&sa=1&ei=bNtJWv1Dq2dlwTAw5roAg&q=fermentation+of+cocoa+beans
large_article_im298_Cocoa_beansSource:https://www.google.nl/search?q=west+africa+cocoa+production&source
492761837Source:https://www.google.nl/search?q=cocoa+drying+in+ghana

Before the cocoa is being exported, it needs to go through a process of fermentation for some days before drying. This fermentation is important to have a certain quality of beans. Traditionally designed mats made of bamboo serves as driers which makes it easier to fold when the rains are about to fall. The drying takes about two weeks before a farmer can sell it to the cocoa buyers in the various villages.

cocoa

The coming of such an industry has encouraged migration from the northern part of Ghana to the southwestern region where the climate favours the growing of cocoa plants. The situation has led to the problem of encroaching originally forest and game reserves for the planting of cocoa trees. This region has been the highest cocoa producing region since 1985/86 crop season till date (Ghana Cocoa Board, 2017). This situation led to the involvement of child labour on cocoa farms which surfaced in the 2000s and become a worldwide issue for prominent business firms(Schrage & Ewing, 2005) According to Mighty Earth in 2017 that about 2.1m hectares and 820,000 hectares of forests were cleared in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana respectively due to cocoa production over the decade.

Top-chocolate-players-detail-how-they-plan-to-end-cocoa-deforestation_wrbm_largeSource:- https://www.confectionerynews.com/Article/2017/11/16/Top-chocolate-players-detail-how-they-plan-to-end-cocoa-deforestation

Creating a city lifestyle in itself creates opportunities not only in that city but also for the countries from which it gets its raw materials.  To be able to maximize the benefits this endeavour brings, Countries in such situations should have had measures to regulate and monitor what happens in this industry. The lifestyle associated with chocolate in cities like Delft should create positive consequences for cities where the cocoa is grown in West Africa. The question is, must this lifestyle be at the expense of Forest and game reserves or innocent children drawn into child labour? After over a century of producing cocoa for this lifestyle living in the global north, should Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire be talking about Forest encroachment and child labour issues at this time?

 

About the Author:
George Blankson Appah is an Economist currently studying  Water Management And Governance at IHE-Delft, The Netherlands

 

References:

Bond, T. J. (2011). The origins of tea, coffee and cocoa as beverages. Tea, cocoa and coffee: plant secondary metabolites and health. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, 1-24.
Schrage, E. J., & Ewing, A. P. (2005). The cocoa industry and child labour. Journal of Corporate Citizenship(18).
http://www.google.nl/search?q=easter+eggs&source
https://www.google.nl/search?q=history+of+cocoa&source
https://www.cbi.eu/countries/netherlands/
https://www.icco.org/statistics/cocoa-prices/daily-prices.html
https://www.vanderburghchocolaad.nl/c-1237318/shop/

 

The tourist guide holding the flag high of his travel agency confidently describes the history of the brick-lined water canal through his rehearsed sermonic narratives in Delft, Netherlands. The flash and the clicks capture the linear canals in the frame, occasionally spotting the ‘Mallard’ and the ‘Ruddy’ Duck. These Mallards swim during summer and skate during winters. Countless videos can be found on the YouTube showing the mother duck waddling with her babies through the Delft houses reaching to the celebrated Dutch network of water canals. The ducks, an intrinsic part of the canal culture, are very much hard to miss. This blog looks at the ‘overseas’ ducks acclimatizing to the Dutch way of life and in turn making the Dutch citizens accustomed to them!

Duck, who tamed the citizens

A foreign student like me, who has been living in Delft for over six months, finds the Mallards homogenous to these brick-lined canals. These ducks not just survive on the bread scraps fed by the people, but they are also familiar with the timing of their masters arriving with food. These wild urbanised ducks have tamed the citizens which keeps up to their meal routines. A quick search of these species throws out information of how they prefer to live in swamps and thrive on slimy worms and plant material from the surface of the pond. The frozen period does not worry them, as they are well taken care of by the citizens themselves. Such is the relation! This ownership, a sense of belonging by the citizens towards the ducks is surprising, especially when one realises that these ducks are not even from Holland, well they came from North America!

Travelling Duck

Duck, who travelled

The Ruddy Duck was introduced into Europe from North America by humans, and the aggressive nature of this duck made it known as an invasive species. The Mallard Duck too travelled to a great extent. Some conjectural history suggests that this duck was first seen in Egypt, later, the Spaniards got it into Europe, and rest is history. The Romans relished the roasted duck meat and continued rearing them. Not until the 19th century did people realize that eggs taste well too!

Today the canals of the Netherlands are incomplete without ducks in it. This invasive species affect the endangered local ‘white-headed’ ducks. It is close to becoming extinct. But many biologists explain that getting extinct is part of nature as well. At present, it is difficult to imagine living with dinosaurs, great mammoths and the dodo. It is actually the static-ness in nature what one must be worried about. There is even a chance of this Ruddy Duck to form a hybrid with the white-headed duck to something that Jelle Reumer coined “Ruddy white-headed duck”. In coming years, we might have an evolved species of the multi-coloured duck waddling fiercely in the man-made canals, while the Dutch citizens feed them with organic wheat bread. This fascinating foreign bird may then again travel around the globe proliferating the wetlands of Sundarbans in Asia to the Amazon Basin in South America. Imagine, this avian Dutch hybrid may soon pursue the route that their colonizer fathers took! Interesting isn’t it?

Hybrid Ducks

 

Duck, the brand

While we galore at this marvellous species making its presence felt throughout the country, it is interesting to compare this object with the rest that is adding to Dutch imageries, namely – Tulips and the Delftware. The Tulips itself is the reason for many global travellers to visit the Netherlands, and the blue-white porcelain-ware is a preferred souvenir. And like the ducks, these two are also imported! Tulips came from Turkey and Delftware from China, which is now commodifying the global tourism of this country. After some more digging, I found out that the Netherlands does not officially have any national bird, but after a democratic bird poll, the favourite that was picked was (black-tailed) Godwit, which is found in the polders. Once more, a man-made habitat ‘constructing’ the environment for this bird, (and again), not originally from Holland!

Souvenirs

Duck, the language

This American duck does not portray as a misfit to the everyday spectators unless examined by a certain kind of biologist. Biologist, who is fighting against this globalisation wave, and trying to save the indigenous. Ironically, the masses that seem to have accepted the duck as a part of the culture also coined this phrase “vreemde eend in de bijt”, which literally means “a strange duck in the pack”. I suppose it is the adaptability of this foreign ‘strangeness’ that makes Dutch, Dutch, eventually making the Mallard and Ruddy Duck as their own.

i love strange ducks

Duck, the exotic object

K Piël from Amsterdam in his article which was a reply to a feature in the Trouw newspaper explained the Dutch attitude towards the ‘exotics’. The English exterminated the Ruddy Duck from the habitat in order to check the balance of its original species, whereas the Dutch urban ecologist Remco Slder feels we must accept the change in the eco-system along with modified species. He states, “We must accept man as a spread factor”. These contradictory attitudes coming from once-upon-a-time colonizers tells a lot of their current positionalities towards ‘nature’ (and how much the duck has situated itself in their day-to-day life!). The takeaway from this debate is what exactly is nature according to these two countries?

What constructs their imaginations?

Could the duck’s migration to the Netherlands have been avoided?

Is it unnatural for a foreign duck to adapt to manmade (dykes and canals) eco-system?

And then, is it strange for the citizens to celebrate its presence and habituate their life around it?

Evolution

While we ponder at these questions, one thing is sure that these ducks have definitely travelled a long way to become Dutch, and so has the Dutch citizen adapted towards the global culture brought in by these foreign birds!

 

About the Author

Neha Mungekar is an urban designer and photo-journalist from India, currently studying Water Management and Governance in IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in partnership with UNESCO.

 

References

Heynen, N., Kaika, M., & Swyngedouw, E. (2005). Urban political ecology politicizing the production of urban natures. In In the Nature of Cities: Urban Political Ecology and the Politics of Urban Metabolism (pp. 1-20).

Holland: Your Official Guide for visiting Holland (2018) History of tulips in Holland. Retrieved from https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/discover-holland/traditional/tulips/history-of-tulips-in-holland.htm. Accessed on 17th July 2018

Le Corbeiller, C. (1968). China into Delft: A Note on Visual Translation. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, 26(6), 269-276. doi:10.2307/325862

Marzluff, J. M. (2014, October 9). Birdland: Human sprawl is usually a threat to wildlife, but birds buck the trend. Can we help biodiversity take wing in our suburbs? Retrieved from https://aeon.co/essays/how-urbanisation-can-be-a-friend-to-the-biodiversity-of-birds. Accessed on 17th July 2018

Omlet. (2018) Where Did It All Begin? Retrieved from https://www.omlet.co.uk/guide/ducks/about_ducks/history. Accessed on 17th July 2018

Reumer, J. W. F., Runia, A. P., & Museum, N. (2014). Ruddy Ducks. Wildlife in Rotterdam: Nature in the City: Natuurhistorisch Museum. (pp 54-60)

True Nature Foundation. (2015, November 6). National Bird of The Netherlands. Retrieved from https://truenaturefoundation.org/conservation/national-bird-of-the-netherlands/. Accessed on 17th July 2018

->Portuguese

This post is the result of fieldwork carried out in December 2017 in the city of Pemba, in the neighborhoods of Alto-Gingone, Cariacó and Natite. It describes how the socioeconomic characteristics of households, together with the climatic conditions of the city, can contribute to the proliferation of Aedes aegipty mosquitoes.

In recent years the province of Cabo Delgado has been receiving investments in several areas such as tourism and mining. These new investments have contributed to economic growth and improved living standards for some of the province’s population. Meanwhile, at the same pace as the economy of the province grows, the social problems in its capital the city of Pemba are growing too. In search of better living conditions, many families have migrated from the various districts of the province into Pemba, however, due to housing unavailability and lack of quality water and sanitation infrastructure, these families end up living in inadequate conditions. Most of them have to start building informal settlements. New migrants also face economic problems due to the high cost of living, as Pemba is considered the most expensive city in Mozambique.

The conventional building materials such as concrete, stone and adobe, are among the most expensive products marketed in the city. Many households can not afford o build a house with these materials. Alternatively households use available local materials to build their homes, materials such as clay, stones, bamboo and the inner part of car and truck tires.  The inner part of the tire is removed and cut into thin strips (see Fig. 1) which are used in the construction to join the bamboo and lift the walls  that are then coated with clay or cement. After having removed this part, the tires are discarded and they are used by the children as toys with which they play in the streets and in the backyards of the houses. When children get tired of playing the tires are left in the blocks’ backyards (see Fig. 2).

a

Strips made from the inner part of tires that are used in the construction of houses in Pemba

b

Tires in the backyards of Alto-Gingone

In some homes the tires are also used as locks for doors that give access to the yard as a way to prevent thieves from entering the yard and house. When they go to sleep, the families lean the tires on the doors, standing or lying down, so that whoever is outside the house can not open the door or, in case the person can, the tire makes enough noise to wake them up.

In rainy weeks, which are common in the city throughout the year, the tires dropped in the backyard can become breeding pools for Aedes aegipty . The female mosquitoes can lay their eggs inside the tires, which are filled with water after each rain. During my ethnography I  observed many tires in the streets and backyards of the neighborhoods, with not only water but also mosquito larvae inside (see Fig. 3).

Tire filled with rain water in Alto-Gingone

Besides water storage containers located in and around households, tires are also contributing to the appearance and proliferation of the mosquito in this part of the country.

By Amanda Matabele

Uso de pneus como material de construção e surgimento de focos do Aedes Aegipty na cidade de Pemba

O presente texto é resultante de um trabalho de campo realizado em Dezembro de 2017, na cidade de Pemba, nos bairros de Alto-Gingone, Cariacó e Natite e descreve como a condição socioeconómica dos agregados, aliada às condições climáticas da cidade, pode contribuir para que estes estejam expostos à doenças transmitidas pelo Aedes Aegipty.

Nos últimos anos a província de Cabo Delgado tem vindo a receber investimentos em várias áreas como o turismo e a indústria extractiva, o que contribuiu para o crescimento económico e a melhoria de nível de vida da população daquela província. Entretanto ao mesmo ritmo que cresce a economia da província e, principalmente, da cidade capital, Pemba, agudizam-se os problemas sociais nesta cidade. A procura de melhores condições de vida, muitas famílias migram dos vários distritos da província para o centro da cidade entretanto, devido aos problemas de habitação e a falta de saneamento básico, estas famílias acabam por viver em condições pouco adequadas. Estes problemas agudizam-se devido ao alto custo de vida que a cidade tem, a cidade é considerada a cidade mais cara do país devido ao preço dos produtos que são relativamente maiores.

O material de construção convencional como cimento, pedra e areia, está entre os produtos mais caros comercializados na cidade. Muitos agregados não conseguem dinheiro suficiente para custear a construção de uma casa com esse material. Como alternativa os agregados utilizam o material local para construírem as suas casas, materiais como o barro, pedra, bambú e a parte interna de pneus de carros e camiões que são predominantes naquela cidade. A parte interna do pneu é retirada e cortada em tiras finas (ver Fig. 1) que são usadas na construção para unir o bambú e levantar as paredes e os muros que depois são revestidos por barro ou cimento. Depois de ser retirada esta parte, os pneus são descartados e passam a ser usados pelas crianças como brinquedos com os quais brincam pelas ruas e nos quintais das casas. Quando as crianças se cansam de brincar os pneus largados nos quintais das casas (ver Fig. 2).

Nalgumas casas os pneus são também usados como trancas para as portas que dão acesso ao quintal como forma de evita a entrada de ladrões no interior do quintal e da casa. Quando vão dormir, os agregados encostam os pneus as portas, de pé ou deitados, para que quem esteja do lado de fora da casa, não consiga abrir a porta ou para que, no caso de a pessoa conseguir, a porta faça um barulho suficiente para acordá-los.

Com a chuva e as altas temperaturas que se fazem sentir na cidade, os pneus largados no quintal podem virar criadouros do Aedes Aegipty. A fêmea do mosquito pode depositar os seus ovos no interior do pneu, que depois das chuvas fica cheio de água, pode reproduzir-se e posteriormente infectar os residentes da casa ou do bairro pela dengue através de picadas. Durante a recolha de dados foi possível ver vários pneus nas ruas e quintais dos bairros com água e larvas no seu interior (ver Fig. 3).

No caso da idade de Pemba é necessário que se tenha uma atenção redobrada para a questão do uso de pneus pois estes também podem ser fundamentais para o surgimento e o aumento de focos do Aedes Aegipty, o que pode aumentar e agravar os casos de Dengue naquele ponto do País.

Por Amanda Matabele

->Portuguese

On the 6th of November 2017 I embarked in a journey to the city of Maputo, Mozambique. I travelled to this emblematic city located in a beautiful bay of the Indian Ocean with the intention of understanding water-storage practices in the city, and researching whether these relate to the re-surgence of Aedes mosquitoes in Mozambique. Since the moment I decided this was going to be my MSc research topic, I read everything I could on the city colonisation, urbanisation, and water-services context. Furthermore, I was also trying to correlate these contexts with certain ideas I had on aquatic habitats for mosquitoes. As much as my head could compile the published information and draw images from the many historical documents of the city, nothing prepared me to the experience of the city, being there, walking, getting lost, talking to people, living the city from a first-hand experience.

Methodologically, I knew that my thesis would have to consider the social connotations of water storage, alongside the aquatic habitat assessment of water-containers. I am a biologist, so from my ideas of what a habitat is, how it establishes, and the characteristics it may portray I was ready to evaluate these characteristics in the city. However, as I walked the city and started talking to people, communities, researchers, and health-specialists from Maputo, I found that exploring Aedes aegypti’s habitats in a city like Maputo was going to challenge my preconceived ideas of what a habitat is, and how nature occurs in rich social contexts.

Due to water shortages and service challenges faced by small water providers and by the National Water and Sanitation Company FIPAG, intermittence is the common rule, hence water-storage is a collective practice in Maputo. Residents of the city have water readily available in multiple ways, whether it is through direct connections to the water utility, independent water providers, via water-tanks, resale, or communal kiosks. However, as I zoomed in to some particular contexts and neighbourhoods of the city, I found that water availability is experienced and materialised differently. For example, large water tanks found in formal spaces, like Polana cimento, allows residents in these areas to store water in bulk and accumulate it in perpetuity. Conversely, smaller water buckets in informal places like Chamanculo, make water less available throughout the day for the residents of this neighbourhood. This provides an interesting outlook on how formality and informality in the urbanisation process of a city like Maputo, translates to different daily routines of water-storage.

Experiences and materialisation of water service intermittence concur with emergence of aquatic habitats for mosquitoes like Aedes aegypti. While water intermittence determines water-storage practices, water quality parameters like temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, organic material, and light intensity come into place to complicate the water-container. Stored water rapidly transforms into an aquatic habitat not only for mosquitoes, but to a myriad of microorganisms that are harmful for human health.

By Angela Bayona

Significados sociais e ecológicos de recipientes de água

No dia 6 de Novembro de 2017, embarquei numa viagem para a cidade de Maputo, Moçambique. Eu viajei para esta cidade emblemática localizada em uma bela baía do Oceano Índico com a intenção de entender as práticas de armazenamento de água na cidade, e pesquisando se estas se relacionam com a ressurgência de mosquitos Aedes em Moçambique. Desde o momento em que decidi que este seria meu tópico de pesquisa de mestrado, fiz a revisão de artigos sobre a colonização da cidade, a urbanização e o contexto dos serviços de água. Além disso, eu também estava tentando correlacionar esses contextos com certas idéias que tinha sobre habitats aquáticos para mosquitos. Por mais que minha cabeça pudesse compilar as informações publicadas e desenhar imagens dos muitos documentos históricos da cidade, nada me preparou para a experiência da cidade, estando lá, andando, me perdendo, conversando com as pessoas, vivendo a cidade de uma experiência pessoal.

Metodologicamente, eu sabia que minha tese teria que considerar as conotações sociais do armazenamento de água, juntamente com a avaliação do habitat aquático de recipientes de água. Sou bióloga de formação e, por isso, pelas minhas ideias sobre o que é um habitat, como ele se estabelece e as características que pode apresentar, senti-me pronta para avaliar essas características na cidade. No entanto, enquanto caminhava pela cidade e comecei a falar com pessoas, comunidades, investigadores e especialistas de saúde de Maputo, descobri que explorar os habitats do Aedes aegypti numa cidade como Maputo iria desafiar as minhas ideias preconcebidas sobre o que é um habitat, e como a natureza ocorre em contextos sociais ricos.

Devido à escassez de água e aos desafios de serviço enfrentados pelos pequenos fornecedores de água e pelo Fundo de Investimento e Património do Abastecimento de Água FIPAG, a intermitência é a regra comum, pelo que o armazenamento de água é uma prática colectiva em Maputo. Os moradores da cidade têm água prontamente disponível de várias maneiras, seja por meio de conexões diretas com a concessionária de água, fornecedores independentes de água, via tanques de água, revenda ou quiosques comunitários. No entanto, à medida que ampliava alguns contextos e bairros particulares da cidade, descobri que a disponibilidade de água é experimentada e se materializa de maneira diferente. Por exemplo, grandes tanques de água encontrados em espaços formais, como no bairro da Polana cimento, permitem que os moradores dessas áreas armazenem água a granel e a acumulem por muito tempo. Por outro lado, pequenos baldes de água em lugares informais como o bairro de Chamanculo, tornam a água menos disponível durante o dia para os moradores deste bairro. Isto fornece uma perspectiva interessante de como a formalidade e a informalidade no processo de urbanização de uma cidade como Maputo, se traduzem em diferentes rotinas diárias de armazenamento de água.

Experiências e materialização da intermitência do serviço de água coincidem com o surgimento de habitats aquáticos para mosquitos como o Aedes aegypti. Enquanto a intermitência da água determina as práticas de armazenamento de água, os parâmetros de qualidade da água, como temperatura, pH, condutividade elétrica, material orgânico e intensidade de luz, são utilizados para complicar o recipiente de água. A água armazenada se transforma rapidamente em um habitat aquático não apenas para os mosquitos, mas para uma miríade de microrganismos prejudiciais à saúde humana.

Por Angela Bayona

->Portuguese

Gathering with male community members. Alto-Gingone, November 2017

During the discussions held by the research team of the project, it was suspected that women would be vulnerable to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. This because these mosquitoes frequently bite inside households and during morning hours and (we thought) many women stay home during the day. However, after traveling to Pemba and conducting house to house ethnographic work in the low-income neighborhood of Cariacó, one of the neighborhoods that was most affected by the dengue epidemic, I was struck by the number of young men who were at home during the day. Young men stayed home during the mornings and afternoons hanging around the house, in the living room watching television or in the small porches sitting on top of the beds (beds made of sisal and wood). These young spent their days chatting and playing on their high-end mobile phones.

On the basis of a conversations with some of these young men, it was possible to know that a large part of the youngsters finished the average level of general education and could not find a formal job. Some of the youngsters engage in temporary jobs that provide immediate cash payments, accompanying tourists in the city and showing them the main sights, especially the beaches. In addition to these young men I also observed the presence of some children who gave up school. In conversations some of them justified their decision arguing that “studying is very difficult”. I also noticed the presence of elderly women sitting in the living rooms or on the porches. Based on these observations, it was possible to reflect on the difference between the ideas we made before going to the field and what was really going on the ground. While most women were outside working, young men were hanging out around the house.

 By Margarida Paulo

Quem é vulnerável de contrair dengue no bairro de Cariacó, cidade de Pemba?

Durante as discussões da equipe de pesquisa do projecto: “Dengue, Água e Agregados Familiares” suspeitou-se que as mulheres estariam vulneráveis ao mosquito causador da dengue, porque grande parte de mulheres ficam em casa durante o dia. A partir de observações realizadas nos agregados familiares, no bairro de Cariacó, em Pemba, durante o period entre 07-13 de Dezembro de 2017, chamou-me a atenção a quantidade de jovens de sexo masculino que se encontravam em casa durante o dia, na sala de estar a assistir televisão ou nos pequenos alpendres sentados por cima de quitantas (camas construídas de fios de sisal e madeira). Estes jovem mexiam em seus telemóveis que curiosamente são de alta qualidade.

Com base numa rapida conversa com alguns desses jovens foi possivel saber que grande parte dos jovens terminou o nível médio do ensino geral e não conseguiu arranjar emprego formal. Alguns dos jovens fazem biscatos (trabalhos temporários que dão dinheiro imediato) quando aparecem turistas na cidade que os acompanham para mostrar os locais turísticos da cidade de Pemba, especialmente as praias. Para além desses jovens também observei a presença de algumas crianças que desistiram de estudar, que na conversa com algumas delas justificaram que estudar é difícil. Tambem observei a presença de mulheres idosas sentadas na sala de estar ou entao na varanda. Com base nessas observações foi possível reflectir sobre a diferença que existe entre as ideias que elaboramos antes de ir ao campo e o que realmente ocorre no terreno.

Por Margarida Paulo