African science drive raises duplication fear

By Puneet Kollipara

[WASHINGTON DC] As research centres and partnerships mushroom in Africa, their funders increasingly tie money to results, addressing concerns that these efforts to boost the continent’s science are inefficient or overlap, a meeting heard.

“There is a huge focus on results-based financing,” said Mariam Adil, economist for the Africa Education Unit at the World Bank. This means money is paid only if recipients deliver on set research targets, such as the number of graduating doctoral students.

“Therefore the focus on monitoring and evaluation has been so much greater,” Adil said last week during a panel talk at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the United States.

“There is a huge focus on results-based financing.”

Mariam Adil, Africa Education Unit, World Bank

The session focused on how research centres and collaborations could boost science in Africa. Case studies included the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the African Research Universities Alliance and the Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project, which will receive US$150 million from the World Bank between 2014 and 2019.

Adil was responding to concerns raised by an attendee — Joachim Kapalanga, a paediatrician at Western University in Canada — who asked whether these recent efforts undergo audits to ensure funding translates into research output and higher quality. “They seem to be duplicating each other,” he suggested.

Thomas Woodson, a science policy researcher at Stony Brook University in the United States, raised another worry. Situations may arise, he said, where donors must make tough choices on whether to give to a traditional university or to one of the proliferating research partnerships and centres of excellence. It raises the possibility of “robbing Pierre to pay Paul”, Woodson said.

But the proponents of some of these initiatives pushed back, saying the African research climate keeps improving and that the recent research efforts will be beneficial in the long run despite initial hurdles.

“You want to promote that culture of competition among African institutions as well [as in the rest of the world], even if at the beginning there might be some risk of, perhaps, duplication or dissipating the funds in many parties,” said Emilio Bunge, managing director at Development Finance International, a non-profit research group in the United Kingdom.

In recent years, Africa has gradually improved its share of global scientific research output. But that figure still stood at just one per cent in 2012, the World Bank says.

 

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

Rape in South Africa: why the system is failing women

Dee Smythe, University of Cape Town

About 150 women report being raped to the police in South Africa daily. Fewer than 30 of the cases will be prosecuted, and no more than 10 will result in a conviction. This translates into an overall conviction rate of 4% – 8% of reported cases. In this edited extract from her new book, Rape Unresolved: Policing Sexual Offences in South Africa, Dee Smythe explores why this is the case.

One story

It is a warm Friday evening in Masiphumelele, a settlement in the far south of Cape Town. On her way home from work, Tandazwa Mpofu (not her real name) stops off for a quick drink at a shebeen, one of the tens of thousands of vibrant, informal (and often illegal) drinking establishments found across the country. She phones her sister to join her, but she’s still at work.

At the shebeen she takes a chair outside – it is summer, still light, and already getting hot and stuffy inside. A woman invites her to join their table. She introduces Tandazwa to a man she says is her father. An hour or so later, when Tandazwa says goodbye, they offer her a lift home. The car is distinctive: souped up in a backyard, painted red, with black racing car stripes down the sides.

After dropping off his “daughter” the man takes Tandazwa to a quiet road, where he rapes her at knife point and throws her out of the car. Naked, she finds her way to the house of a friend, who gives her clothes and takes her to the police station. She can identify the car and is certain she can identify the man who raped her. There were many other people at the shebeen who saw them together. She can identify the man’s “daughter”.

One month later, the only entry in the police docket is a short summary of the facts, written by the detective, with the following phrase underlined in red:

… he bought beers for the victim …

Nothing else has been done to pursue the investigation. The docket goes to the Detective Commander for inspection. Obviously angry, he writes in the investigation diary:

Your investigation or the lack thereof comes down to severe negligence on your part. This docket must receive the attention it deserves. Why was no crime kit completed? Do it NOW!

That same day the detective goes to the victim’s house and obtains the following withdrawal statement from her:

I have spoken to the investigating officer about the case, but I cannot answer any of his questions. That is, who is the man who raped me, who was sitting at the table [in the shebeen], and also where it happened. I can therefore provide no information to take this investigation forward. I also told my mother this. I therefore feel like I don’t want to continue with the matter.

The case is closed, marked:

… withdrawn complainant.

Attrition

A quote from former Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros:

On a Friday and Saturday you have long queues of people reporting crimes against women and children, and then on Monday you have a long queue of people wanting to withdraw these cases … I am concerned as the Commissioner of Police about the conviction rate of these cases … If I have a 1% conviction rate, I have to be concerned about it.

For a range of reasons, attrition happens in the criminal justice system, so that not all reported cases are prosecuted and not all prosecuted cases result in conviction. But the view expressed by the provincial Police Commissioner and the experience of Tandazwa Mpofu reflect two very different perspectives on attrition.

In both instances – the woman who withdraws her complaint on Monday morning because she has sobered up or reconciled with the perpetrator, and the woman who withdraws her complaint because of police incompetence and apathy – the official outcome written on the docket and captured in police statistics is the same: “withdrawn complainant”. But the locus of responsibility for that decision and the degree of agency exercised by the victims differ markedly.

While attrition is to be expected in any functional criminal justice system, it occurs in an institutional context that is shot through with discretion. One scholar has gone so far as to suggest that

… (w)hat we call the criminal justice “system” is nothing more than the sum total of a series of discretionary decisions by innumerable officials.

The actions of criminal justice actors and the decisions they make are a crucial part of the attrition story.

The police decide whether to open a case, whether they will investigate it, and how much effort they will put into accumulating evidence and finding the perpetrator. It is their choice (whether they recognise it as such or not) to encourage a complainant in her efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice or to acquiesce in her withdrawal from the justice system. The police decide whether a case should be referred to the prosecution.

Prosecutors decide how to frame a particular set of facts as an offence – shaping a fit between what they can prove happened, and a set of elements that defines the conduct as criminal. They decide whether a case has sufficient merit to be taken to court, what evidence will be brought, who will be heard.

And ultimately, a judge decides whether the state will provide redress.

Throughout this process, manifested at key decision points, cases leave the criminal justice system. In this way criminal justice actors have the power to select those whom the state will protect, who will be put on trial, and who will obtain justice.

Stereotypes of what constitutes rape

Scholars studying attrition in rape cases generally explain the low rate of reporting and conviction in these cases by pointing to the stereotypical views held by criminal justice actors about what constitutes a sexual offence, and who can validly claim to have been victimised.

They argue that these beliefs have become scripted into criminal justice practice, with the result that the cases filtered out of the system are not those that are intrinsically weak, but rather those that offend the normative assumptions of decision-makers.

rape south africaThere is empirical support for this contention. Studies conducted over the last 40 years have shown that the closer the fit between the facts of the rape reported and the decision-maker’s conception of what constitutes “rape” (as opposed to “bad” or even “normal” sex), the more likely it is that the case will proceed successfully through the system.

On this account, “violent” rapes committed by predatory “strangers” against “respectable” (for which read white, middle-class, married or virginal) women, who are injured while resisting, have become the paradigm cases against which all rape reports are measured in the criminal justice system.

Complainants who are perceived to have precipitated their own victimisation, whether through their conduct or their relationship to the perpetrator, are at a particular disadvantage.

Being drunk (or accepting a drink from the alleged perpetrator), hitchhiking, flirting or selling sex all diminish a complainant’s credibility and the validity of her claim on the criminal justice system, even where there is evidence that the accompanying sexual acts were coerced.

Despite evidence that intimate-partner rapes are among the most violent manifestations of sexual violence, until relatively recently most jurisdictions have regarded marital rape as a contradiction in terms, and provided little protection to women who are raped by their husbands.

The residual effects of centuries of prejudice linger tenaciously in criminal justice canons of sexual violence, relentlessly reproducing unjust outcomes, at the same time as they produce our very conceptions of sex and sexuality. Cultural beliefs about women and sex, and the notion that what women really want – what they find romantic or erotic – is to be overwhelmed by male sexual aggression, infuse “common sense” social and legal opinion, often leaving victims of rape without recourse or protection.

Numerous studies have unmasked examples of misogynist stereotyping within police ranks, with experts suggesting that the institutional character of policing, with its own peculiar set of norms and stereotypes – machismo, cynicism and scepticism being not the least of these – makes the police particularly unsuited to dealing with victims of sexual violence.

Police’s story

The police tell a different story. At least, in South Africa they do. Theirs is a tale of unco-operative victims. It is the Police Commissioner’s indignant comment about long lines of complainants on a Friday and Saturday night waiting to report crimes of violence against women, and equally long lines on a Monday morning wanting to withdraw their complaints.

Police talk about complainants who cynically use the criminal justice system, fabricating or exaggerating rape complaints to further their own instrumental goals – of revenge or extortion, mostly – or to explain away their sexual misdemeanours.

The police argue that even when they are sympathetic and helpful, large numbers of victims withdraw valid complaints, refusing to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of the aggressor. They say that an inordinate number of rape complaints received by them are false, and suggest that in certain communities this has become a common means of exacting revenge on male partners (past or present).

Furthermore, substantial numbers of rape complainants withdraw charges once they or their families have received financial compensation from the perpetrator.

And finally – to a lesser extent, although very much prevalent in specific areas – direct or indirect intimidation forces complainants to withdraw charges.

These police officers have been through many hours of sensitivity training. They can reel off the ten biggest rape myths, and they care about bringing rapists to justice; but they maintain that if complainants do not cooperate, there is little that can be done to pursue the case.

Their discontent runs along the following lines: investigating rape complaints is often a frustrating waste of time, and the effort required to investigate those cases needs to be weighed against other urgent organisational pressures and priorities, particularly in a resource-constrained environment such as South Africa. They argue that South Africa is fighting a “war on crime”, and the police are the vanguard. If rape victims are not serious about their own cases, they have only themselves to blame if they don’t get justice.

Some argue that complainants should not be allowed to withdraw their complaints at all; and that if they insist on doing so, or recant, they should be charged with defeating the ends of justice. The overarching claim is that it is complainants and not criminal justice actors or actions that are responsible for the closure of cases.

Victim recalcitrance and systematic failures

In the mid-1990s, the South African government responded to the pressing problem of sexual violence by making violence against women and children a strategic crime-prevention and policing priority.

Translation of this rhetorical commitment into effective programmatic interventions has never been fully achieved. Nonetheless, the commitment thereto is constantly reiterated in law and policy, and through the courts.

The stories I collected in my research reflect evidence of both victim recalcitrance and systemic failures. They cannot be neatly parsed. A picture unfolds of attrition as deriving from the complex interaction of individual, structural and systemic factors.

While it is likely that the factors identified in my research share similarities with those of other, more developed countries, it is also arguable that many of them – and the way in which they combine – are reflective of the social and institutional dynamics of a developing country, and even more specifically, of the transitional post-apartheid South African milieu.

Why the blame game is unhelpful

Simplistic accounts of uncooperative and prevaricating victims on the one hand, and unsympathetic misogynist cops on the other, do not take us any further towards understanding the dynamics of rape attrition.

If the police are correct in their estimation, we are dealing with tens of thousands of deceitful women who are placing an intolerable strain on the system and its very limited resources.

If women’s-rights activists are correct, the police remain deeply and irredeemably misogynist in culture and in practice. When nine out of ten reported cases are not prosecuted (and two out of three are not even referred to the prosecutor for a determination), we are faced with a massive systemic failure that needs to be understood. When the numbers are as substantial as they are in South Africa, the problem becomes urgent.

Understanding this phenomenon is therefore at the centre of identifying ways to strengthen and develop police and civil society interventions, and to effect meaningful access to justice for victims of sexual offences.


Rape Unresolved: Policing Sexual Offences in South Africa by Dee Smythe is published by Taschenbuch.

The Conversation

Dee Smythe, Professor in the Department of Public Law , University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

A simple way to prevent African water wars

By Nader Noureddine

Ethiopia should lower the height of its Renaissance saddle dam to defuse the water crisis, says Nader Noureddine.

The first stage of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam project is fast approaching its end. At 70 metres high, the dam is just 25 metres shy of the target for this stage of the project. Come June, it will be able to store the 14 billion cubic metres (BCM) of river water needed to kick the first turbines into action. [1]

With two out of the 16 planned turbines up and running, the dam will generate 700 megawatts of electricity per year. And by late 2017, all turbines will produce 6,000 megawatts of power, drawing on a reservoir of up to 74.5 billion cubic metres. The dam will be 145 metres tall — one and a half times the height of Victoria Falls on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border.

river-nile-small

For the people of Egypt who live downstream, there is an overwhelming sense of anxiety about the heavy price they will pay for the dam in years to come — and the price they are paying even now.

Egyptian concerns

Apprehension has been growing among Egyptians that Ethiopia is already storing water in the Renaissance reservoir, ahead of schedule. Ethiopia had diverted the Blue Nile in order to build the dam. To re-divert the water back to its original course, the most reasonable course of action would have been to wait for the next flood. But instead Ethiopia did this on 26 December, passing the water through the dam — meaning it might already be storing water.

There have now been nine years of drought, with nothing to herald the arrival of a heavy flood in 2016, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections from 2007 and 2008. [2, 3] Given that rainfall over the Ethiopian headwaters has decreased by 70 per cent in the past nine years — surpassing the previous record of seven years — Ethiopia should not have begun storing water.

It should also have waited for the first heavy flood of this year to allow the three Sudanese Nile dams to be filled first, even partially. These dams have stopped operating due to severe water shortages caused by the record drought and weak water flow from Ethiopia. [4]

Ethiopian Evasiveness

In the ongoing negotiations between the three countries, the most recent of which ended on 11 February, Ethiopia has raised three no’s in the face of the Egyptian negotiator: no to talks about stopping the work at the dam; no to negotiations about dam specifications, height and storage capacity; and no to talks about dividing water quotas with Egypt and Sudan. Unfortunately the Egyptian negotiator committed a strategic error by accepting these terms.

  • Ethiopia has raised three no’s in the face of the Egyptian negotiator:

  • No to talks about stopping the work at the dam
  • No to negotiations about dam specifications, height and storage capacity
  • No to talks about dividing water quotas with Egypt and Sudan

Given all this, I cannot help but think that Ethiopia’s main objective for building the dam goes far beyond energy generation and agricultural development. It is to control — by agreement or sale — the amount of water that is pumped into Egypt.

This theory is supported by the dam’s meagre power generation capacity. Asfaw Beyene, an Ethiopian-American professor of mechanical engineering at San Diego State University, United States, rejects Ethiopia’s stated electricity production target of 6,000 MW, saying he doubts it will even hit 2,000 MW. He adds that the dam’s huge size and poor adherence to safety regulations make it susceptible to collapsing: once or twice every 20 years, heavy flooding will push the reservoir up to 100 billion cubic metres, a quarter more than it is built to hold.

Deceptive reasoning

Faced with Ethiopia’s three no’s, Egypt was forced to negotiate marginal matters rather than the essentials: keeping its water quota the same as at pre-dam levels, and ensuring minimum daily or annual water flow through the dam. It has both failed to secure its water quota and to secure guarantees between the three countries with written, binding treaties rather than oral statements about causing no harm.

Ethiopia’s argument is that they cannot pledge a specific water quota for Egypt because the Blue Nile water flow varies by the year. But this is a deceptive argument: water experts know that states deal with river flows based on an average annual figure, calculated through consecutive 100-year blocs, not year by year.

The average annual flow of the Blue Nile is calculated at 50 billion cubic metres — the basis of the agreement that downstream countries are pushing for. Because the Renaissance dam reservoir will prevent annual fluctuations, the reservoir behind the dam — about 75 BCM in size — could enable Ethiopia to meet the requested water quota.

Sudan switches sides

Another reason for the growing apprehension among Egyptians is Ethiopia’s creation of a split in the Egyptian-Sudanese alliance. The 1959 Nile water sharing convention explicitly stated that Egypt and Sudan would act as a single unit, or vote, when negotiating with headwater states — those home to the Nile’s sources — on dams or water quotas. [6] Nowadays, though, Sudan defends the Ethiopian dam more than Ethiopia itself.

On the Ethiopian side there seems to be a strategy of never-ending negotiations and non-stop construction. And Ethiopia has attempted to woo Sudan, as if it were constructing the dam for its benefit.

  • Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam project. Facts:

  • The dam is located on the Blue Nile about 20 miles from the Sudan border
  • It’s 145m high and 1,708m long
  • It floods an area of 1,680 sq km
  • It holds about 75 billion cubic metres of water

    Source: Ethiopia Electric Power Corporation

But Sudan will face problems unless it pushes for answers to the important question: what will Ethiopia do to prevent the enormous amount of silt that will pile up behind the dam — estimated at 136.5 million tons annually — from reaching the Sudanese reservoirs? This silt alone can block the dam entirely within 50 years.

One solution is to construct more saddle dams — a strategy to help retain silt and extend the life of the Renaissance dam to 200 years. [7] But evaporation from the reservoirs of these new dams will wipe out what is equivalent to half the water quotas of Egypt and Sudan! [8] So is there another solution?

The solution

Unless action is taken, water wars could break out in the region. But there is a solution which will satisfy all parties and hopefully prevent conflict from erupting between the three countries.

This solution lies in Renaissance’s rock-filled saddle dam. The saddle — or auxiliary dam — adds 60 billion cubic metres of water to the main dam that generates electricity. The height of the saddle dam is now 45 meters. Reducing it by half would also cut the storage capacity of the dam’s reservoir by half, down to approximately 30 BCM. This would restore water flow, reduce evaporation and slow down the build-up of silt — all without any impact on energy production.

This is bound to reduce the likelihood that extra saddle dams will be built. Even if another is needed, building one with a lower storage capacity will not dramatically affect water flow downstream — and this makes it a solution that Egypt and Sudan would more easily accept.

Nader Noureddine is a professor of water resources and land reclamation at Cairo University, Egypt.

This article was originally published in Arabic on SciDev.Net’s Middle East and North Africa edition.

 

References

[1] About Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, accessed 13 January 2015)

[2] Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007)

[3] Climate Change and Water (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, June 2008)

[4] Avijit Gupta Large Rivers: Geomorphology and Management (Wiley, 2007)

[5] John Vidal Ethiopia dam will turn Lake Turkana into ‘endless battlefield’, locals warn (The Guardian, 13 January 2015)

[6] United Arab Republic and Sudan Agreement (With Annexes) For The Full Utilization of the Nile Waters (November 1959)

[7] Tesfa, Belachew Benefit of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERDP) for Sudan and Egypt (University of Huddersfield, December 2013)

[8] Nader Noureddine, Egypt and Nile Basin countries: Life, Water, dams and conflict (Dar Nahdet Masr, February 2015)

 

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

Africa urged to ‘go big’ on solar energy

By Puneet Kollipara

[WASHINGTON DC] Tumbling costs and technological advances mean solar energy could play a major role in an international project to expand electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to its organiser.

“We think there’s a tremendous opportunity to go much bigger on solar,” Andy Herscowitz, coordinator of Power Africa, told attendees at the initiative’s second annual summit, held in the United States on 28-29 January.

According to the World Bank, about 600 million Africans have no access to electricity. Power Africa, launched in 2013 by US President Barack Obama, is a partnership of more than 120 governments, companies, NGOs and academic institutions that seeks to give 60 million homes and businesses access to electricity and add 30,000 megawatts (MW) of power supply by 2030.

“We can’t ignore the tremendous gas resources available in West Africa and Southern Africa and East Africa.”

Andy Herscowitz, Power Africa

Considering all energy projects, including those in which Power Africa is not involved, solar schemes are forecast to provide 18,000 to 22,000 MW of extra power in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, says a road map for Power Africa, released at the summit.

As for Power Africa itself, energy schemes providing 18,000 to 21,000 MW will result from helping projects that are already under way reach the finish line via financial, technical and other forms of assistance, the road map says.

Another 11,000 to 14,000 MW will come from new projects involving solar, geothermal, wind, hydroelectric and natural gas, as well as a few thousand more megawatts from making existing power supplies more efficient, it says.

Solar energy projects are becoming easier to implement thanks to advances in household power generation and storage systems, Herscowitz told the event. With these systems, “people aren’t just getting two light bulbs and a cellphone charger, but they’re getting access to appliances that basically let them live the same life that a person could live on the grid”, he said.

To help overcome the fact that solar energy supply is intermittent, US companies at the event touted the potential of their products, such as giant batteries to store energy, or molten-salt power storage, in which salts absorb the sun’s energy for later conversion to power.

Long-distance power lines could also carry excess supply from places such as Lake Victoria, where hydroelectric power is generated, to other areas that need power when the sun goes down, said Hamid Al Zayani, a representative of the company Midal Cables in Mozambique, told the summit.

The road map aims to add other renewable sources, such as wind and geothermal, to its mix of energy sources. “Generally diversity is a good thing” because it helps balance out the drawbacks of each energy type, said Steven Hunt, an energy advisor for the UK Department for International Development.

Moreover, at least one fossil fuel will remain crucial for the foreseeable future, Herscowitz suggested: “We can’t ignore the tremendous gas resources available in West Africa and Southern Africa and East Africa.”

 

References

The roadmap: A guide to reaching 30,000 megawatts and 60 million connections (Power Africa, 28 January 2016)

 

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

Tanzania is still failing to protect its children who live with albinism

Simon Ngalomba, University of Dar es Salaam

There is no doubt that educational access worldwide has improved in the past two decades. This has been driven by the launch in 1990 of the United Nations’ Education for All global initiative. By 2011 there were more than 136 million children enrolled in schools compared with just 82 million in 1999.

The picture is far less rosy in sub-Saharan Africa. The region is home to half of the world’s children who ought to be in school but are not enrolled.

This is not for lack of hard work and political will. Take Tanzania, for instance. Immediately after its independence from Britain in 1961, the country declared total war against three enemies of development: ignorance, disease and poverty. It introduced a Universal Primary Education program which managed, to some extent, to address several educational challenges. The program made schools far more accessible to and safer for most Tanzanian children.

But not everyone has benefited. People living with albinism are vulnerable to attack, mutilation – and murder. This means they’re not able to freely and comfortably conduct day-to-day activities such as attending school. The United Nations warned in 2015 that many children with albinism are too frightened to leave their homes and go to school. It is clear that children with albinism are not able to benefit from “education for all”.

A dangerous condition

Albinism is much more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa than in other parts of the world. Estimates suggest that as many as one in 1400 people in Tanzania are affected. The prevalence is as high as one in 1000 in selected Zimbabwean and other southern African ethnic groups.

Attacks on people with albinism are rife in Africa. Superstitions abound about people with this condition: for example, it is believed that their body parts are potent charms to bring fortune and good luck. Some believe that drinking the blood of people with albinism will imbue them with super strength.

In fact, people with albinism merely suffer from a genetic pigmentation deficiency that means their hair, eyes and skin have little or no colour.

Data collected by the advocacy group Under the Same Sun shows that Tanzania is by far the most dangerous country to be an albino. It also warns that such attacks, mutilations, rapes and murders are likely to be under-reported.

It’s not common for perpetrators to be arrested, tried and convicted. This might be attributed to the fact that even politicians are thought to be complicit in the murders of people with albinism. Some politicians have been accused of buying albino body parts as lucky charms to help them during elections.

This badly tarnishes Tanzania’s image and contributes to the perception that the plight of people with albinism is not taken very seriously by the country’s leaders. The country has made some attempts to curb the killings. In 2015 witch doctors, who are central to the trade of body parts, were banned. Sadly, the attacks continue.

In the past ten years a worrying new trend has emerged: children with albinism are often the victims of the brutal attacks described above. This is likely because children are more vulnerable and – since they are expected to be at school every day – easier to find in the same place and at the same time.

Many Tanzanian children walk long distances to and from school. They also play outside unsupervised and, being young and smaller than adults, will not always have the physical strength to resist attackers.

How can this scourge be tackled?

Seeking solutions

Poverty is at the core of attacks on people with albinism. Those who are battling to survive are often lured by syndicates which offer a lot of money for the body parts or entire body of a person with albinism. In some cases, people can earn as much as USD $75,000 on the black market for this grisly trade.

Tanzania’s authorities will need to take a varied approach towards ending the plight of people and particularly children with albinism. Special attention will have to be paid to children who come from poor families and are more likely to leave school out of fear for their safety during long walks or time spent alone. It is important that they be given the support to stay in school and get the same education as their peers who do not have albinism.

In addition, local community leaders and religious leaders need to be involved in advocacy and education. Through these measures perhaps people will learn to live together peacefully, and Tanzanian children with albinism will no longer have to hide in their own homes.

The Conversation

Simon Ngalomba, Lecturer in Educational Foundations, Management and Life Long Learning, University of Dar es Salaam

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.