Eighteen months ago, central Mogadishu was like an African Stalingrad.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Eighteen months ago, central Mogadishu was like an African Stalingrad.
Somalia's political troubles are not over, but it is no longer the drought-ridden country overrun by Islamist extremist that it was two years ago. For years it held the dubious title of "the world's most failed state." Al Shabbab, the militant group linked to Al Qaeda, left the capital of Mogadishu in 2011 and in 2012 lost their last stronghold. Piracy still exists off the Somali coast, but it has lessened as a semblance of political order is being restored to the Horn of Africa.
France is ready to stop Islamist militants who control northern Mali, the French president says, following a plea for help by his Malian counterpart.
In April 2012, Islamist rebels seized power in Northern Mali and have declared independence, proclaiming this region The Islamic State of Azawad. Recently they have begun to amass armies on the southern limits of their territory and presumably are seeking to topple all of Mali. The former colonizer, France is being called upon to assist as is the United Nations. This area is part of a region known as the Sahel, the transition from a dry North Africa to tropical Sub-Saharan Africa, from a Muslim/Arab north to a Christian/Animist/Black region of Africa. The human and physical geographic divisions in this region plays a major role in this conflict.
The Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali, is a magnet for tourists, but it is increasingly difficult for locals to live a normal life around it.
This New York Times short video is an intriguing glimpse into some of the cultural pressures behind having the designation of being an official world heritage site. The grerat mosque combined with the traditional mud-brick feel to the whole city draws in tourists and is a source of communal pride, but many homeowners want to modernize and feel locked into traditional architecture by outside organizations that want them to preserve an 'authentic' cultural legacy.
A handful of AIDS cases were first recognized in the U.S. at the beginning of the 1980s. By 1990, there was a pandemic. In 1997, more than 3 million people became newly infected with HIV.
The spread of AIDS/HIV since the 1980s has varied greatly over time and space. The red lines represent Sub-Saharan countries and the dark blue line on this interactive is the regional average of Sub-Saharan African countries. The regional trend was on the rise at the end of the 20th century, but is now on a slight decline (but still an major impact on the continent). Countries such as Botswana and Zimbabwe have made some significant strides in limiting the spread of AIDS (Zimbabwe is the country that 'peaked' in 1997 and has had the steepest decline).
Jeffrey Gettleman, The Times’s Nairobi bureau chief, reports on how Kenya’s wildlife conservation corps is learning from a reformed poacher how to counter the growing threat to elephants.
In Somalia, former pirates are helping to patrol the coasts to prevent piracy. This idea of reforming and recruiting past criminals is also seen in Kenya as former poachers are trying to protect elephants that are essential to the local ecology as well as the tourism-driven economy. In addition to the attached video is this article which expands on these issues.
For many albinos — born with a partial or total lack of pigment in their skin, hair and eyes — life is difficult, and that is particularly true in Tanzania, where they are attacked for their flesh, the result of superstitious beliefs.
This is not a typical look at the cultural roots of prejudice and discrimination. It isn't racism per se (since albinism isn't a racial category strictly speaking), but it does show prejudice that is linked to physical appearance and skin color. There are deeply rooted folk traditions that endanger the lives of African albinos as explained in this podcast. This photo gallery shows some of Tanzania's albinos letting their light shine.
|Suggested by Giovanni Della Peruta|
The hunger crisis in the Sahel region of Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad has been deepening since the start of this year.
The Sahel is a classic transition zone--a border that is not a sharp division, but a gradual shift from one region to the next. This area has environmentally marginal lands, but is as population pressures continue, marginal lands need to sustain more people.
This website is an incredibly humorous parody of Eurocentric charitable organizations that, while well-intentioned, propogate many negative stereotypes about Africa.
Questions to Ponder: What do you think the 'point' of Radi-Aid is? Do you agree with their point? How does the media influence our idea of places?
The story of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan is a heartbreaking and inspiring tale of youth caught in cultural and geopolitical conflicts and fored to leave their homes. The film God Grew Tired of Us tells a moving story of young people overcoming incredible challenges and struggling to improve their own lives and those of family and friends left behind." Linked here is a lsson plan from National Geographic "to teach students about concepts of migration, cultural mosaics, sense of place, and forces of cooperation and conflict among communities" using this 90 minute documentary. The film can be viewed online on HULU as well as other media outlets.
Entrepreneur converts shipping container into mobile internet shop powered entirely by the sun.
This 2-minute video shows how a an enterpreneur has made his business (an internet cafe) self-sufficient, not relying much on external infrastruture. Modern Africa has advanced beyond what many in the developed world acknowledge and is beyond some the old stereotypes of that characterize how people view the 'Dark Continent.'
In an impoverished country, elephant poaching is a quick way to make big money. A pair of poachers explain how they track and kill elephants in one of Africa's top game reserves.
The illegal sale of ivory in places such as Asia drive the elephant poachers to prey on Elephants in protected game reserves and national parks. The Selous Game Reserve is larger than Switzerland and yet they only have 10 rangers to protect and patrol the wildlife.
TED Talks For the past two years, photographer Lisa Kristine has traveled the world, documenting the unbearably harsh realities of modern-day slavery.
This is a chilling glimpse into the worst and darkest side of the economic systems of geography and labor in the world. It is estimated that there are more than 25 million people who today live in state that can be described as modern-day slavery. We should not discuss slavery only in the past tense, and yet it conflicts with how most people conceptualize the world today.
Questions to Ponder: How can this even be happening in the 21st century? What geographic and economic forces lead to these situations portrayed in this TED talk? What realistically could be done to lessen the amount of slavery in the world today?
For the first time in generations, more investment than foreign aid is pouring into Africa. But is that growth enough to change its future?
This is the first article in six-part series designed to investigate the changing economic and developmental possibilities that are facing the African continent. As more foreign investors are exploring potential windfalls in Africa, it is making places that were on the margins of a global economy more directly tied to the process of globalization.
This is another old classic image that I might have shared earlier but it merits repeating. As Salvatore Natoli (a leader in geography education) once said, "In our society we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power." This is one reason why many people have underestimated the true size of Africa relative to places that they view as more important or more powerful.
Interesting map about farming land lending to other countries in Africa. Impossible to find the original source, but is attricuted to the Financial Times.
Here is a link to the image (in low res) without political content (UN related): http://new.uneca.org/lpi/africanlandrush.aspx
Until now, there has been a lack of solid, comprehensive spatial data about African groundwater resources. Researchers have now done so. For a more academic article on the subject, here are their findings in Environmental Research Letters.
Across Africa, a continent where the average age is about 19, protests have flared against leaders who may have outstayed their welcome.
This interactive mapping feature compares two distinct data sets in an attempt to show that the two are correlated on the continent of Africa. The base layer of this thematic map is demographic, noting how much of the overall population in a given country is under the age of 16. The interactive feature with point data describes the political unrest or instability in that particular country.
Questions to ponder: Does the cartographer 'convince' you that Africa's having a very young (globally speaking) demographic cohort led towards greater political instability? Are there other factors worth considering? What does this map and it's embedded data tell us?
When African states gained independence, the continent's new leaders agreed to respect the old colonial borders to avoid endless wars.
This interactive map shows the major conflicts on the African continent where the combatants have geopolitical aspirations to separate from the state and create a new, autonomous state. Click on the red arrows and you can read about the warring factions and the current situation in that region.
A Cameroonian boy shows the recycled parts used to construct a toy RC car.
I originally found this video on Afrigadget. The website seeks to show people "solving everyday problems with African ingenuity." While the developed world lives in a commercial, disposable society, Africans often need to maximize the useablity of all objects. The solutions they come up with can show students that it is not all doom and gloom in Africa, an represent a triumph of the human spirit.
"The AFRITERRA Foundation is a non-profit Cartographic Library and Archive assembling and preserving the original rare maps of Africa in a definitive place for education and interpretation. This unique cartographic galleries links art, technology, and history." The Afriterra Foundation connects people to the land, history, heritage and legacy of Africa.
A decade ago, Botswana was facing a national crisis as AIDS appeared on the verge of decimating the country's adult population. Now, the country provides free, life-saving AIDS drugs to almost all of its citizens who need them.
This is a great example, and possibly a template on how to tackle the AIDS/HIV crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. Botswana was as hard hit as any country, but they fully invested their economic initiatives into tackling this and actively changed cultural attitudes and behaviors that faciliate transmission. Not all is 'doom and gloom' when looking at poverty and disease-stricken countries.
Botswana sprinter Amantle Montsho trains in Senegal, thousands of miles from home, in hopes of capturing her country’s first Olympic medal.
While some countries routinely get dozens of medals at each Olympiad, other countries (like Botswana) have never received a medal. World-class training facilities are not available everywhere, and youth participation is some sports in non-existant. What are some other factors that contribute to this uneven global patterns of world-class athletics?
Ask this question: Which region of the world currently is the home to 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies? Most people (myself included) would be surprised to hear that the region is sub-Saharan Africa. While Sub-Saharan Africa is still the least economically developed region with some very significant challenges, too often Africa is only taught as a region of problems and negative patterns.
Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has tripled in the last decade. Since 2005, Africa is officially receiving more private foreign investment than official aid. With many counties "skipping the landline phase" and going straight to cell phone technologies, the rapid acceleration of technology means that they Africa's economic infrastructure has the potential to increase quickly.
New data shows Shell dramatically under-estimated the damage of a 2008 spill that devastated the lives of tens of thousands of people in Niger Delta. Shell has yet to compensate victims.
The volume of oil spilt at Bodo was more than 60 times the volume Shell has repeatedly claimed leaked. This is but one example of a international corporation exploiting the natural resources of a developing country.