• Saturday, November 22, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Timeless wisdom: traditional healing in Africa

    31 Aug 2009


    Tall, thin and dreadlocked, Kwame Sousa is an artist, a documentary film producer, and an avid soccer player. Whenever he sprains a muscle, he visits his granny or the neighbourhood traditional healer for a rub with a homemade herbal potion.

    “It smells strongly of wine gone vinegary but it works ,” he says.

    The forest is their pharmacy. Photo: M. Sayagues

    The forest is their pharmacy. Photo: M. Sayagues

    Last year, when he was scratching madly with chickenpox, his  granny’s ointment of coconut oil and leaves relieved the itchiness.

    When his friend  Geane Castro  feels a cold coming, his grandmother makes him a hot bath with water infused with leaves and bark, then a special tea with plants she gathers in the forest. Presto, he recovers.

    I meet them at Teia D’Arte, an art gallery in Sao Tome, the capital of the tiny two-island nation of Sao Tome and Principe, off the coast of Gabon.

    With a rich biodiversity of 600 botanical species and 132 endemic plants, the islands’ rainforest is a well-stocked pharmacy for herbalists.

    Their knowledge is captured in a decade-long  ethno-pharmacological study published last year. Researchers worked with 40 traditional healers, midwives and grandmothers to identify and classify 325 medicinal plants, note 1,000 recipes and test 25 plants in the lab. Many look promising for developing new medicines. More »

    IPS Reports on Gender based Violence in Africa’s Conflict Areas

    02 May 2009


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    IPS Ugandan correspondent Wambi Michael reported on gender based violence, rape and sexual abuse of women and girls associated with armed conflict in Africa.

    Gender experts interviewed by IPS explained how the lack of economic independence and failure of legal protections, as well as poverty and illiteracy, have contributed to leave women vulnerable to gender-based violence in Africa. More »

    TRADE-AFRICA: Flip-flops Transformed Into Toys to Save Turtles

    13 Apr 2009


    By Najum Mushtaq
    NAIROBI, Apr 13 (IPS) Art and fashion, environmental conservation,
    poverty alleviation and fair trade come together at UniqEco’s Marula
    Studios in an upscale suburb of Nairobi. A visit to its workshop and
    display centre is a delight to the eyes as well as an occasion to learn
    about the problem of marine pollution and its eco-friendly,
    community-based and business-savvy solutions.

    More »

    NAMIBIA: Gender Legislation Futile If Not Implemented

    01 Apr 2009


    By Moses Magadza

    WINDHOEK, Mar 30 (IPS) – Namibian women’s rights activists say existing gender legislation has failed to improve women’s lives because it is not being implemented widely enough. Last August, Namibia signed the Southern African Development Community (SADC) gender protocol but politicians have yet to ratify it.
    More »