People and Cultures of Africa Reflection Paper
From the presentation by William Kamkwamba, i have learnt that steady access to sufficient food is paramount to the wellbeing of humans. However, drought and famine have been a disaster over a long time especially in the developing countries like those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Admittedly, this is because most of these countries depend on rainfall availability for crop growing and livestock keeping. Due to adverse climate changes, rainfall has become scarce, and a majority of people from low-income countries are often faced with the direct danger of dying from hunger. From the presentation, I have learnt that the solutions rest more on the people than the government or other multinational humanitarian organizations working in poor low-income countries, only if the right exposure is granted to members from these poor communities.
First from the reading, I have noted that rainfall-dependent farming is a risky economic activity because of the unpredictable weather patterns. The problem is worsened by existing corrupt governments that have offered less attention to technological advancement in developing countries. As a result, citizens are faced with the unprecedented social and economic challenges that make it difficult for them to develop timely interventions to solve their challenges. For example, in the wake of famine most families will dedicate most of their time to secure their family from hunger rather than help them acquire the valuable education for self-sustainability. Similarly, most humanitarian organizations tend only to offer short-term solutions. The humanitarian agencies provide food and water in the short term which is not sustainable. In this regard, the affected community remains prone to perennial famine and drought. Second, Kamkwamba’s presentation shows the difference between providing direct help and empowering an individual. I have noted that since his exploits Kamkwamba was able to receive valuable attention and respect from the government and the non-governmental organizations. Ironically, it is a non-educated person that offers such a crucial intervention to an entire community as opposed to the government that is often targeted by the mass media when certain structural practices are not up to the desired standards. Based on this gesture, it is unimaginable to think of what the narrator could have done with minimal exposure such as understanding how to use Google and having a good English language command. Evidently, the potential to solve problems in developing nations is with the people who need the smallest available exposure possible for them to actualize them.
Finally, I have learnt that the media should have a comprehensive coverage of the actual situations in developing countries. According to the presentation, international media house, The BBC, reported the famine situation in Malawi and other South Africa states using harsh words that depict the adverse effect it has afflicted on the citizens. However, at no time did the media house report on positive intervention such as Kamkwamba’s windmill innovation. Such disproportional coverage has not helped in motivating success stories in the midst of such crisis. Notably, since bloggers wrote about Kamkwamba’sachievement, he was quickly exposed to the right people and not only did his life, but also the community he comes from changedfor good. Therefore, the mass media has a significant role in passing proportional information regarding social and economic challenges which in turn can expose an important aspect of the affected people.
To sum up, I can contend that empowering people from developing countries such as sub-Saharan Africa is critical than offering governmental and non-governmental aids in case of famine. The local members of these societies have the sole responsibility of changing their agricultural problems and solving economic crisis such as food shortage. Moreover, the mass media should offer more positive news on crisis affecting developing countries, which can help in providing timely solutions.
TEDx TALKS. Tedxsmu – William Kamkwamba + Bryan Mealer – 10/10/09. 2016. Web. 31 Mar. 2016.