REBTEL: The power of the Sun

  
In the last few years, the rise of Nigeria’s economy to become the largest in Africa has often been heralded for overcoming numerous systemic obstacles but there remains one obstacle which many believe holds the country back: a chronic shortage of power supply.

With about 90 million Nigerians living without power, citizens are forced to live on expensively maintained generator sets. The effect of the lack of electricity is significant as it continues to hamper economic growth and hurts investor confidence. However a partnership between the World Bank, International Financial Corporation as well as local banks and energy firms in Nigeria could help assuage the pressing issue.

The Lighting Africa Project, as it has been tagged, will focus on helping to develop a private sector that will provide electricity, using solar power, to up to a million households in Nigeria. The project will target households without access to the national grid in rural communities over the next five years.

To make this happen, the World Bank will play a key role as it will provide low-interest financing for investors and energy firms involved in the partnership. One of the major goals of the project is to reduce the heavy dependence on kerosene lamps and gasoline-powered generators which pose various health and environmental risks.

A better bet

Exploring solar energy could be a more realistic option to fix some of Nigeria’s power issues since building new national grids could cost billions of dollars. In the long-term, alternative clean energy will also help the country meet its ambitious plan to down emissions by as much as 45% by 2030 as part of the landmark climate change deal reached in Paris last week.
In line with this, Nigeria recently announced a ban on low-cost generators citing health risks caused by emissions and fire hazards. It also stepped up its national renewable energy program through an agreement with the United Kingdom in October.

A similar trend is visible across most of the continent as the African Union recently announced a $20 billion investment in renewable energy over the next decade. One example of a viable private sector solar model is M-Kopa in Kenya where the pay-as-you-go solution already reaches 275,000 households with plan to reach serve one million homes in East Africa by 2017.

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The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit

  
The Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit is a majority women group of rangers, founded by Transfrontier Africa to protect the Olifants West Region of Balule Nature Reserve, part of Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. The area where the Black Mambas operate is a free-range savannah ecosystem with open borders to the Kruger National Park. The highly endangered Black Rhino and also the endangered white rhino are strongly represented in the area.

Since the unit went into operation in 2013, the number of rhinos lost to poaching has plummeted, snaring and illegal bush-meat incidents have been reduced by 75 per cent, and nine poacher incursions have been detected, leading to the arrests of the offenders. The 26 unarmed members of the unit conduct foot-patrols, observations, vehicle checks and, road blocks, as well as educating their peers on the importance of conservation and gathering intelligence from their communities.
Restoring dignity and self-worth, and empowering communities to play their part, is a crucial component of efforts to combat the illegal wildlife trade across the globe, and the Black Mambas are an outstanding example of success. Their brave actions are sending the message to others in South Africa and beyond that communities themselves can prevent the illegal wildlife trade—which threatens not only iconic species such as rhino and elephants, but puts money in the hands of criminal gangs, thus increasing insecurity, and threatens livelihoods.

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The Divine Feminine: Ancestral Healing

  
Indigemama’s Ancestral Healing helps hundreds of women each year attain optimal feminine health. Inspired by Mexican Traditional Medicine with over three dozen workshops offered throughout California, the Midwest, the East Coast and internationally. Indigemama believes that women are the bearers of culture, our first teachers, and healers of the family unit. We acknowledge that all human life comes through a woman’s sacred passageway and that an intimate connection with the divine and Earth are maintained through this channel. Indigemama seeks to honor this by helping maintain a balance within yourself, your family, and the Earth, beginning with your womb. Through in-person consultations, phone and Skype sessions, and pre-recorded distance courses, Indigemama aims to contribute to your education with ongoing support and guidance. To date, Indigemama has assisted more than a thousand women in 11 different cities using womb healing and sobadas (womb massage), herbalism, holistic pregnancy coaching, and full-spectrum doula services.

Find out more at http://www.indigemama.com

The Hello Hub: Nigerian Free Solar Powered Education Kiosk

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Seven months after terrorists kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria, many local students are afraid to go to school. In other parts of the country, children don’t go to school because schools don’t exist; cities and villages can’t afford enough teachers. Across the nation, more than 10.5 million children aren’t in school, more than in any other part of the world.

One Nigerian city now has a prototype of a new type of education that doesn’t involve a school or teachers. The Hello Hub is an outdoor computer kiosk hooked up to free, solar-powered Internet and filled with hundreds of educational games. It’s rugged enough to handle dust storms, rain, and thousands of users. Built and owned by the community, it’s available for anyone–adults or children–to use anytime.

The project was inspired in part by Sugata Mitra, the 2013 TED Prize winner who argues that schools as we know them are obsolete. Mitra has shown in experiments that self-directed learning works; children in slums or remote locations who were given a computer, and zero instruction, were able to teach themselves things like English and even the basics of biotechnology. In those experiments, the computers were eventually lost or broken, so the Hello Hubs take a different approach.

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“We don’t show up in a community and build a Hello Hub for them,” says MacMillan. “If we were to do that, it would take a day to knock up a Hello Hub, put it on Facebook, and get out. But it wouldn’t last, and I don’t think people would value it or use it as much as they do. I think it would be likely to go unmaintained after a while–that’s what Mitra’s research shows.”

Instead of giving a donation, the project involves the entire community. “We take parts of the tech and the expertise, but we don’t have what we need to complete it,” MacMillan explains. The community has to help negotiate for the solar power, find the land, feed and transport the visitors from the organization–and help build the computer kiosk from scratch, sometimes building and taking apart the server several times so everyone who wants to can learn how it works.

Find out more at http://www.hellohubs.org, thanks for reading.

Ancestral Healing Through Our Community

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When we consciously relate to our ancestors, it can be a tremendous source of healing, guidance and companionship. It can help us to relate more positively in our communities. Making it a daily ritual to honor the people who have come and gone before us is so important for any kind of spiritual work. It opens the door to a part of ourselves we haven’t yet healed or acknowledged. Even if you do not know anything about your lineage or blood family, try to find the place inside yourself to honor those who have come before you. Honoring our ancestors includes not only our blood relatives. We can draw upon strength of anyone who has come before us to inspire or influence. Writers, artists, healers, activists, etc.

Now is the time to strengthen our bonds within our communities. When people come together with a common intention or purpose, we can make huge changes and empower one another. There are many forms of community and many ways to come together for a purpose. Find a way of connecting that works for you.

We’re in a time where the news is full of scarcity, violence and corruption. How can we make room for abundance and call in the wisdom of our ancestors? What can we do personally to support and strengthen our own community? How can we stand up for those who are not being heard? For the people who are struggling everyday just to survive and for their basic rights. For those of us who have more choices and have more options, how can we show up even more for those people whose voices aren’t heard?

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The Street Store: Hang Up and Help Out

The Street Store: Hang Up and Help Out

The world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free “POP-UP clothing store” for the poor, found entirely on the street and curated by you. The Street Store is a unique concept which allows people from all over Cape Town to drop off clothes and shoes that they no longer need. Then, set up in an innovative ‘on-the-street-shop’, these clothes will then be available for the homeless and disadvantaged. A store made just out of posters. It’s where you “hang up” donated clothes and drop shoes into “boxes”, and then the homeless help themselves.

To get involved and implement The Street Store in your own community, find out more at http://www.thestreetstore.org

The Divine Feminine Intuitive Shift

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We are on the verge of a shift, the feminine, intuitive energy is recycling into our lives to balance the dominant male-oriented thought forms that have set the tenor for modern societies. The current state of our military industrial-complex exemplifies exactly what we must evolve away from. Such aggression is the age-old impulse to dominate and control through fear.

A polarity runs throughout the universe. It is a form of energy you might be familiar with as yin and yang, or female and male. This polarity is reflected in humans as the left and right brain hemispheres. The left brain is the domain of the male force — logic, intellect, analytic thought, science and math. As the source of intuition, feeling, holistic thought, art and abstract creativity, the right brain is more femininely oriented.

Ancient spiritual texts identify the yin, or female force, the feminine face of God, if you will, as that which led the fall or dispersal of consciousness into creation. When consciousness first fell into material form, this feminine force would have dominated the minds of our early ancestors. History does tell us that most societies prior to 3,000 BC were feminine oriented and worshiped some form of the goddess in their mysteries. The world would have seemed magical to the early humans as they intuited their way through life in pulsations with the rhythms of nature.

But now consciousness found itself embodied in physical form subject to all the laws and perils of physical existence. Wild beasts preyed on our ancestors. They needed to gather food and seek shelter. They had to organize and analyze in an effort to understand and control their environment.

The left brain, or male way of thinking, eventually came to dominate the human thought process so successfully that today we are practically destroying ourselves for the sake of dominance and power as we find ourselves living in the vestiges of modern patriarchal societies today.

The gateway to higher consciousness is balancing our male/female energies to make intuition and intellect work in harmony. It is through this female energy (creativity, compassion, emotional, understanding) that the evolution of our planet will become whole. The male energy force (focused, direct, logical, statistical) has served it’s purpose through science and technology allowing us to progress to this point. However, it is now time for our spiritual emotional higher self to be expressed; originating from LOVE.

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Reaching Your Unconscious Consciousness

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There are four levels of consciousness. Most people never make it out of level one and are condemned to suffer in a self-sabotaged inner world. Here are the four levels of consciousness:

1. Unconscious Unconsciousness
At this stage you are not even aware that you are unconscious. You attract negative things into your life at a rapid pace, as if you have developed a negative ball of energy rolling down hill. Nothing is ever your fault and you are always looking for someone to blame.

2. Conscious Unconsciousness
Here you are aware of your negative thinking and the consequences that it might bring. You might see your negative pattern and have become aware of what it is that you are attracting. You may not like what you are attracting, but you have taken responsibility for it.

3. Conscious Consciousness
You deliberately decide to focus pure and positive thought on something and remove all resistance to its arrival. And, sure enough, it arrives. Your creation might be something as simple as visualizing a parking space opening up for you at the mall. You deliberately intended it, allowed it to come to you and acknowledged it when it arrives.

4. Unconscious Consciousness
When you get to this point, you do not have to work so hard to create things in your life. You are a believer in how the mind game is played and you spend conscious time each day making your mind important. New creations come to you easily and quickly. You have built a positive ball of energy that continues to roll forward in your favor. People call you the “lucky one”.

This consciousness is beyond the body, feelings and thoughts. It is beyond beliefs, attitudes, names, gender, family and social or economic status. It is your inner being. You do not need to search for this Consciousness. It is here, and you are living in it all the time. You only forgot it. You let thoughts rule your life. The sky is always up there. If you don’t see it, this is because of the clouds that cover it. In the same way the clouds of thoughts cover your Consciousness, but by removing them you become aware of it.

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The Recycled Orchestra: Paraguay

The world generates about a billion tons of garbage a year. Those who live with it and from it are the poor – like the people of Cateura, Paraguay. And here they are transforming it into beauty. Landfill Harmonic follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world. Follow the lives of a garbage picker, a music teacher and a group of children from a Paraguayan slum that out of necessity started creating instruments entirely out of garbage. Landfill Harmonic is a beautiful story about the trans-formative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution.

Click here to learn more.

Four Wheels to Freedom

Afsana is a female professional driver in Bangladesh trained by BRAC as part of its “Women Steering Forward” program. Despite opposition from family members, Afsana’s husband supported her career path. “For me, it’s like going out for battle in the street every morning, fighting this patriarchal monopoly,” says Afsana, who faces verbal abuse but remains undeterred. “I like the fact that things are changing and the next batch of drivers who are women can work freely in this society.”