The tendering of international bid for the feasibility studies on the Ganta to Tapita road project has been put on hold due to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. The government and its international financiers for the project have agreed that there is a risk that they may not get quality companies bidding if they advertised the project due to the Ebola epidemic. During a meeting in the US aside of the ongoing Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Liberian delegation led by Finance Minister Amara M. Konneh and development partners announced that the feasibility studies on the Tapita to Fishtown road project has also been delayed due to the Ebola outbreak.China Exim, a Chinese company which signed a memorandum of understanding with the Liberian government for the road, has said it won’t conclude terms or predict cost until the feasibility is undertaken. Finance Minister Amara Konneh has disclosed that China Exim will require 15% up front counterpart financing, but the World Bank has advised the government to ensure engineering standards are maintained and asked that the government requires appropriate safeguards from the Chinese company. At the same time, the World Bank’s transport team on the Redlight to Gbarnga Road told the Liberian delegation that it is working hard to prevent contractors invoking of force majeure. But the team noted that the government of Liberia’s supervising consultant, name not mentioned, left the project first thereby creating a possibility of extra costs.On the other hand, the Liberian delegation made headways in negotiating funding from cross section of bilateral and multilateral institutions to help the government fight the Ebola epidemic and restore the country’s economy.In a meeting with the IMF, the delegation landed US$48 million for Liberia under the Fund’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF). It also sought and received commitment to additional funds, specifically work towards accessing Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) as a bridging option with disbursement in early 2015 for a similar amount as ECF, i.e. 25% of the country’s quota. In light of the travel restrictions placed on staff of the Fund, however, the planning detailed discussions in the context of fiscal year 2015/16 budget, ideally around January or February 2015, possibly in Accra, Ghana. In the meantime, the joint team of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), through an official letter to the Fund has maintained commitment to policy actions under ECF to the extent possible but keeping some focus on maximizing the opportunities under the RCF. The delegate also proposed discussions on a new program to begin from mid next year. Meanwhile Policy Actions for RCF is proposed around repaying CBL fairly quickly to replenish reserves. Few months ago, the CBL made available US$5 million loan to the government’s Ebola Trust Fund at 1% interest rate to fight the deadly Ebola virus. The issue of the audit surrounding the roads contracts across the country was also discussed, but the government assured the Fund that the audit is ongoing with a push to get it completed soonest.In brief remarks at the meeting with the IMF officials, the Managing Director of the Fund Madam Christine Lagarde suggested more budget support is needed as short-term spending is crucial to keep the economy moving. She acknowledged that running a budget deficit may be a good option. For her part, former Liberian Finance Minister and head of the IMF Africa desk, Dr. Antoinette Sayeh also encouraged the Liberian government to push for grants from partners and more budget support.The delegation also had the opportunity to meet World Bank president Dr. Jim Yong Kim who demonstrated honesty in working Liberia to overcome the Ebola scourge. He encouraged the team not to accept lowered aspirations, but rather ensure that the country pulls all stops to get the required support to help cover its budget gaps and receive optimum support from bilateral and multilateral partners. Dr. Kim promised to champion the cause of the three countries worst hit by the Ebola epidemic. He admonished the donor community not to re-program funds committed to existing programs, but rather provide new funds to fight the epidemic. Prominent among the issues that arose from the meeting with the Bank’s country team, the Bank’s overall commitment of US$400 million made to the region through its crisis window. According to a dispatch from Washington DC, current breakdown would be: Phase I US$105 million including US$52 million for Liberia (grant already disbursed); Phase II will be US$185 million including US$70 million for Liberia; and then US$92 million of budget support. The Bank is currently proposing US$30 million to US$10 million grant and US$20 million credit for Liberia. “We are pushing hard for an increase in the budget support to Liberia, using interventions from the United States State Department and our Executive Director’s office at the Bank, said Finance Minister Amara Konneh. Minister Konneh pointed out that the World Bank’s aim is that US$70 million will be able to wider areas of need during the second phase US$70 million will be able to cover wider areas of need including WASH, essential health, agriculture and social protection.The Liberian delegation also met with Raj Shah of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), who assured that every support will be provided to help stop the transmission of Ebola in the country. During this meeting, the parties discussed and accepted that since only 30-40% of cases will be in ETUs, getting control will depend on community care centres (CCCs) strategy working. But the delegation cited the adequacy of health professionals to staff the CCCs and lack of appropriate logistics capacity to supply the CCCs as major challenges to getting the disease under control. The USAID Administrator was keen to mention, however, that the United States military will not be able to supply all of CCC locations, but could be opened to setting up regional hubs.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,RUSAL is at a standoff against the Government of Guyana and the bauxite Union headed by Lincoln Lewis. Union head Mr. Lincoln Lewis has, for a long time, been a critic of RUSAL—bitter, vindictive and agitating.The APNU Government, it would appear, has aided and abetted Mr. Lewis, always expressing a position, albeit softer, but no less akin to Mr. Lewis, in chastising RUSAL. While the Government of Jamaica lobbied the US to remove sanctions against RUSAL, the Government of Guyana did not. Fortunately for Guyana, RUSAL was able to have the US sanctions removed—no thanks to the Government of Guyana. But now RUSAL has a new Board, and its members may not be as understanding about the red ink that has flowed from the Guyana operations.The reality is that RUSAL has lost money every single year it has been in Guyana—almost 15 years. Together with its partner Oldendorff, over US$200 million has been invested in the Guyana operations. It is likely that a similar sum has been lost by both companies over the same period.Perhaps one needs to thank the PPP Government for being even-handed in trying to save bauxite and sugar.Nevertheless, an extremely unprofitable venture for the Russians is Berbice bauxite; yet RUSAL has stayed and not packed up. Strategic interests? Recall AMC, first under Reynolds ownership, then ALCOA ownership, following that company’s acquisition of Reynolds. It racked up huge losses amounting to over US$60 million in the decade leading up to its exit in 2000.Recall also Mr. Lincoln Lewis and the bauxite union, with the support of the PNC, declaring an emphatic NO to the ALCOA proposal to merge Bermine and Aroaima some 20 years ago. “Black Gold” was the chant. We know the results. ALCOA declared they were shutting down, and were it not for the PPP stepping in and taking over the company, the operations would have closed two decades ago.One would hasten to add that, in any reasonable estimation, the operations would have remained closed, given the ensuing state of global markets for the bauxite-alumina-aluminum industry.The harsh reality has always been that bauxite in Berbice was never likely to be profitable. High overburden, expensive internal logistics, high ocean shipping costs to markets, a combative and constantly agitating bauxite union, combined with a long period of depressed bauxite prices were constant challenges and reminders for any investor in Berbice bauxite.Like the rugged roughness and challenges of its terrain, RUSAL may have at times come across this way in its manner of engagement with the often hostile union and its agitating employees.But, after all, sinking in red ink is not for the meek and mild. Like oil, only global, seasoned players with money, markets and management would dare venture at the risk. Exclude ALCOA and RUSAL and one will be hard-pressed to find an alternative. ALCOA exited 20 years ago. RUSAL is holding on by the skin of its teeth, awash in red ink. The world is awash with bauxite. Guinea is now one of the largest producers of bauxite, targeting 60 million tonnes in 2020. Guyana Berbice operations struggle to produce 1.2 million tonnes per annum.So where does this leave Guyana? Linden is a completely different animal! The price of Linden calcined bauxite sells 10 times higher than the price of metallurgical bauxite produced in the Berbice River. Despite both producing bauxite, the markets and prices of Linden and Berbice bauxite have no comparison.RUSAL may be about to close its operations in Guyana. The signs are pointing in that direction. If the APNU Government and the bauxite union cannot recognise that it is Guyana that benefits from RUSAL being in Guyana and act accordingly, why should RUSAL fight to keep a loss-making operation alive? The new RUSAL Board, with a US approved chairman as one condition for the US lifting sanctions against RUSAL, may be happy to exit Guyana and stop the red ink.Prepare for the vacuum when 1000 bauxite jobs in the Berbice River disappear if RUSAL and its partner Oldendorff decide to finally call it a day.In its wake, the Berbice bauxite terrain may be quickly gobbled up and once again become a wasteland!The irony: APNU and Mr. Lewis may finally inherit the seeds of discontent they have sown, first against ALCOA, and now RUSAL. The PPP averted disaster when ALCOA exited by nimbly managing a complex transition with a relatively short period of state ownership until it persuaded RUSAL to take the plunge. With alternatives at close to zero, a second soft landing is highly unlikely.Sincerely,A Grant
– Advertisement – Solomon A. Ware Sr. By Solomon A. Ware Sr. When comparing social media and traditional media, it is a good idea to know just what you’re piling up. The category of traditional media is a rather large one. One is likely to be exposed to many outlets every day. If one turns on the TV at home, listen to the radio in the car, or read a magazine, he/she is experiencing marketing through traditional media channels.Newspapers in the morning and every billboard that you drive by on the way to work are all traditional media working their way into one’s day-to-day life. They’re everywhere, doing their best to influence us with flashy ads and sales-heavy copy. But are they doing a good enough job? Are they influencing you in a way that builds trust with their product or service? Or are they just bombarding you repeatedly with the same message? Do social media do a better job than traditional media? Let’s find out.Gone are the days in Liberia when products and destinations are reviewed from a neutral journalist’s perspective, but instead today’s social influencer are explicitly voicing their opinions and feedback, coercing a loyal following to copy whatever they recommend.The Effect of Social Media in Liberia When pondering the benefits of social media in relation to traditional media, it is important to consider the effect social media have on marketing as a whole. The world of marketing has changed in a dramatic and far-reaching way and social media actors have played a significant role in that transition.Perhaps the biggest effect of social media on traditional media and content is that now everyone feels like he or she has a voice. Whether through Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, social media has provided a public forum for anyone who has an opinion. While this has created an overwhelmingly saturated social atmosphere, this has also led to a genuine wave of voices and influencer on social outlook.In present day Liberia, the social media is proving to be a useful tool for marketers to search, track and analyze conversation and trends. Most PR professionals are now using social media monitoring tools up front, utilizing social media data to influence PR strategies, as well as report on competitors and public sentiment and engagements.Nowadays, most public events are screened live on Facebook, a move that is viewed by many as eroding interest in the traditional media.This, in my opinion, the social media is enhancing the traditional media. There are many ways by which social media has enhanced traditional media, and in fact the two go hand-in-hand now. For example many of the broadcast institutions in Monrovia and other parts of Liberia are now creating social media platforms, a particular case with OK Liberia, FM 99.5, considering how social media can be incorporated in order for a more creative and ultimately successful campaign, and keep a finger on the pulse of the changing media industry and how social plays into it.This Broadcast House regularly posts major headlines from its everyday news stories on it Facebook page and allows the audience to participate by explicitly voicing opinions and feedbacks. Also major programs being aired on this radio are also screened live with audio but not video as in the case with Television.The Misuse of the Social Media The notion of gate keeping on social media requires a different conceptualization than the actual meaning of the word. In the traditional gate keeping literature, the gatekeeper is someone who discretely guards gates, determining which news does reach the audience and which does not. In a strict following of this definition, it can be argued that there will not be any gatekeepers in the social media, because the redundancy of channels “undermines the idea that there are discrete gates through, which political information passes.”If there are no “gates,” there can be no “gatekeepers.” Social Media is beneficial when it is used right. It is NOT for insulting people or sharing nude photos. It’s for knowing where people are, what people do, what they think, and what’s happening now to their life.Many young Liberians both at home and abroad, using fake profiles, make the social media as a place to display their unsavory behaviors in hopes of becoming famous instantly. On the other hand, there are people who are just natural but they’re famous because of their talents. However, when the social media is used wrongly, the benefit will fade out and the disadvantage will come.We have heard about several crimes committed through the use of social media, particularly Facebook. The crimes are just not a physical crime, like theft, or some kind of homicide, but the sharing of nude photos of individuals, and showing pornography to the society and other cyber crimes, which has the proclivity to threaten the law and humanity and also give an opportunity for crime to happen furthermore.The Accuracy and Trust of the Social Media Traditional media uses cannons to fire its messages hoping to get to anyone who will listen (read, watch, etc.). Social media has the ability to target with laser precision. On the other hand social media marketing uses content to cultivate trust over time. Traditional marketing forces an opinion on a buyer in hopes that it will stick if repeated frequently enough.Therefore, given the rapidly changing media structure, the widespread use of social media, especially the Internet is rapidly becoming a new force in broadcast organizations around the world. It has changed the way for them to reach, understand and influence their audiences as never before.However, there are several concerns about the social media such as on-line safety, privacy, credibility of source and so on. Traditional broadcast media is still playing a strong effect upon the public. We still need these media to disseminate useful information in rural areas.It is because many rural areas in Liberia do not have Internet connectivity due to a combination of constraints, absence of infrastructures and prohibitive costs. Hence, we still need to use traditional broadcast media such as radio to reach those rural communities.Inarguably, though the emergence of social media has helped to improve government transparency and accountability. With the rise of social media such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, government agencies have joined in the trend by creating social media accounts.Furthermore, most owners of radio and television stations in Liberia have combined the traditional broadcast media (Radio and television) and social media (Internet), to support their objective of informing, educating and entertaining their audiences.About the author:Solomon A. Ware (SAW) is a Liberian journalist and Graduate student International Relations Email/contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0886584779 or 0777469793 Liberia:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Venezuela’s socialist government on Wednesday called on the United States to restore diplomatic ties with Caracas after it opened talks with fringe opposition parties.Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, Education Minister Aristobulo Isturiz, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez and Opposition member Javier Bertucci pose after signing a dialogue agreement between the government and the Opposition in Caracas on September 18, 2019Venezuela broke off relations with the United States after Washington recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president on January 23.Vice President Delcy Rodriguez told reporters in Caracas that it made sense for the US “to restore diplomatic contacts and dialogue with the government.”Rodriguez said Washington was left with only “a single path” having failed to remove Maduro from power, and that was “negotiation and diplomatic communication”.President Donald Trump’s administration had targeted Venezuela’s oil industry and Maduro’s inner circle with a raft of economic sanctions.The US blames Maduro for the economic collapse of Venezuela, from which millions have fled due to basic shortages, and considers him illegitimate after widespread reports of irregularities in last year’s election.Both Maduro and Trump said last month that talks had been taking place involving senior officials from both sides. Rodriguez also welcomed Monday’s agreement between the government and minority opposition parties — outside of Guaido’s coalition— to open negotiations on political changes aimed at resolving Venezuela’s crisis.Former presidential candidate Javier Bertucci joined the pact on Wednesday.The agreement involves the return of socialist lawmakers to the opposition-dominated National Assembly and the release of political prisoners.Guaido’s deputy as National Assembly leader, Edgar Zambrano, was the first to be released late Tuesday. Zambrano said 58 other opposition figures would be released from Wednesday.The Assembly’s deputy vice-president Stalin Gonzalez said Wednesday that the agreement would allow Maduro “to cling to power”.The Government deal with fringe opposition parties is clearly aimed at trying to sideline Guaido, by flooding his power base with pro-Maduro members.In a defiant move on Tuesday, the National Assembly confirmed Guaido as its leader. (AFP)
James McCarthy in action for Everton 1 Everton boss Roberto Martinez is hopeful James McCarthy will be ready to face Manchester United at the weekend.The Republic of Ireland international was withdrawn in the latter stages of the 1-0 win over Burnley at the weekend with an ankle problem.But his manager is confident he will be back in the frame for the upcoming clash with Louis van Gaal’s side.“He [McCarthy] has reacted very well,” Martinez said. “For the first 48 hours after a knock like that it is important to see how the ankle recovers.“The treatment has had a positive response so I expect James to join the group later in the week. If he can get through the two or three sessions before the game then that will be a good sign.“We need to make sure he is 100 per cent but at the moment the way the ankle has reacted is positive. Knowing James, I do feel that he is going to be available for the squad.”
Sinn Fein Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has claimed that AIB were adopting a “No Irish need apply” policy by offering better savings rate for German customers.Deputy Doherty said effectively Irish customers were subsidising German savers at AIB.He said the fact that the bank is 99% State owned only adds insult to injury for Irish customers. Deputy Doherty said “The fact that savers in Germany can avail of a deposit interest rate far above the ECB deposit rate while Irish mortgage holders are paying well above the ECB lending rate is a disgrace. The fact that the bank is 99% State owned only adds insult to injury for Irish customers. We have a State owned bank favouring customers in Germany over customers at home.“At home, AIB are ripping off customers on Standard Variable Rate mortgages, ruthlessly chasing those in arrears and failing SMEs in debt or in need of credit. Yet, for German savers they can justify offering savings rates of 1.4%. That means a saver in Germany can get three times the interest an Irish saver can. The website states savers must be ‘resident in the Federal Republic of Germany and not a resident of Ireland’- literally a case of Irish need not apply.“Minster’s Noonan usual Pontius Pilate act does not cut it. He holds regular meetings with AIB and needs to raise this issue with the bank as soon as possible. The Irish people paid over €20bn to save AIB and since then their treatment of Irish people has been disgraceful. Today’s news is yet another kick in the teeth for AIB customers.”‘NO IRISH NEED APPLY’ AT AIB – CLAIMS DOHERTY was last modified: January 19th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:AIBdonegalPearse Doherty
OPEN-CAST drilling for gas could be coming to South Donegal, warn protestors.Fracking is the practice; and it sounds pretty scary!In this article for donegaldaily.com Dr Aedin McLoughlin warns there could be dire consequences for the environment. Fracking – what’s the problem?Simply put – hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a new way of extracting natural gas (methane) from shale rock deep in the earth. An options licence, planned to lead to an exploratory licence, has been granted to Tamboran Resources to study a border area that includes South Donegal. An exploratory licence would allow the company to drill exploratory wells and, if successful, would lead to an application for gas production licences.The gas production stage would transform the countryside into an industrial mining area. At this stage, concrete pads are constructed every 1 – 2 miles (or 40 acres), each covering 2.5 – 5 acres, together with access roads. From each pad, numerous wells are drilled a mile down into the earth and then a mile horizontally in all directions. The shale rock layer is then cracked with controlled explosions.Next, hundreds of millions of gallons of water, with sand and chemicals, are pumped into the wells at enormous pressures to shatter the shale and release the gas. The gas comes to the surface with up to a million gallons of toxic wastewater per well, only 50% of which can be reused. At public meetings in Leitrim and Fermanagh, Tamboran announced that a thousand wells would be drilled in Ireland. The consequences – that’s the problem!South Donegal would become an industrialised mining area with drilling sites producing dust and smog and thousands of heavy vehicles on the roads. Jobs created would be mainly low-level construction jobs.There would be inevitable harmful effects on public health and the quality of life of local people.Fracking causes unacceptable risks of contamination of our rivers and lakes and food chain. Many millions of gallons of waste fluids remain after fracking which are extremely salty (up to 20%, seawater is 3%) and contain many toxic chemicals and petroleum products. US media reports chemicals and wastewater spilling at various stages of the process, transport accidents and leakages of gas from the gas wells into the water table.Agriculture could suffer – contaminants such as benzene getting into meat or milk would have disastrous consequences nationwide.The “green and clean” tourism industry would disappear, together with jobs in this sector.There is no regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing in Ireland or the EU at present. The risks of damage to us and our land are too great. France has recently imposed a moratorium on fracking; Ireland must do likewise.Dr Aedín McLoughlinGlenwood ResearchBallinaglera Co. LeitrimFRACKING – WHY WE NEED TO BE AFRAID, SAYS EXPERT was last modified: October 3rd, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:fracking in donegal
Fulham youngster Buomesca Tué Na Bangna, known as Mesca, is set to feature against his former side Chelsea in an Under-21 match at Craven Cottage this evening.The 19-year-old has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in September but has been given the green light to return to action.“Mesca will be involved for the first time after a big injury. I am ever so happy he can start for us,” said Fulham manager Martin Jol.“The main thing is for him to stay fit and strong. He tells me he feels stronger than before and I believe him.“He’s an exciting talent. He’s got everything to be a big player for us.”Kerim Frei will also be involved after recovering from a pelvic injury.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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Children in the orchestra have become confident and self-assured. (Image: Limpopo Youth Orchestra facebook) MEDIA CONTACTS • Simone Aronje-Adetoye Director, Limpopo Youth Orchestra +27 (0) 83 494 9594 RELATED ARTICLES • South African youth orchestra set to wow Europe • Wouter Kellerman: magic on flute • Bringing music to the youth • Building bridges with classical music • South African quartet plays for peaceLucille DavieThe Limpopo Youth Orchestra doesn’t just play great music; it also aims to raise balanced, holistically developed children.Its website states that its mission is to “use the creation and performance of music in all its various forms to enhance confidence and life opportunities of rural, disabled and urban children and youth in Limpopo Province and beyond”.The orchestra has just released its first album, entitled Merethetho, meaning “home to your roots”. It was three years in the making and has been produced by acclaimed multi-instrumentalist jazz musician Pops Mohamed. Present at the launch was the deputy minister of arts and culture, Dr Joe Phaahla; the chairman of the National Lotteries Board, Prof Ntshengedzeni Nevhuthanda; crews from three TV channels; and journalists and artists.Playing a mix of South African and African classics, the album is a collaboration with artists like Lucas Senyatso on bass guitar, Olufemi Ogunkoya on saxophone, Wouter Kellerman on flute, Kunle Ayo on lead guitar, Nduduzo Makhathini on keyboards, Vinnie Henrico on drums, El Hadj on percussion, and Dan Selsick on trombone. Guest singers include Stella Khumalo, Thuli Mdlalose, Faith Kekana, Hlulani Hlangwane, Vusi Nhlapo, Andries Mashaba and Shadrach Sivhabu. The album was recorded in Johannesburg.Kellerman, who was not able to be at the launch, says on the orchestra’s Facebook page: “It’s been such a privilege to be part of this project and I’m so sorry I can’t be at the launch – I’m touring in Australia at the moment. I would like to congratulate the Limpopo Youth Orchestra, Pops Mohamed and everybody who was involved for a job well done. The CD is beautiful!”Integrating culturesThe orchestra integrates classical orchestra instruments with indigenous African instruments. It consists of 40 performers, 15 of whom are disabled. Instruments include the violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, tuba, trumpet and trombone, plus marimbas and djembe drums. Children start with the recorder, learning the basics of theory and practice, and once they have passed the basic Royal School of Music exams, they join the orchestra.Founder and director Simone Aronje-Adetoye, who plays the piano and the violin, says people initially laughed at her when she suggested starting a youth orchestra in Limpopo. The youngsters couldn’t speak English, she couldn’t speak Sepedi, there were no instruments, no teachers, no other orchestras in the province to prove it could work, and funding was a huge challenge.“People laughed at me and said it was the height of stupidity,” she says. But undaunted, the orchestra was formed in 2004, and seven years later, its first matriculant is planning to study music at university.Powered by passionA big part of the thinking behind the initiative is upliftment. “The orchestra project is dedicated to the development and empowerment of youth from previously disadvantaged backgrounds and from marginalised areas, as well as youth with physical disabilities,” indicates the website.That means that it’s not simply about playing an instrument in a group. It’s also about poverty alleviation, giving disabled children opportunities to express themselves, integrating rural and urban communities, and preserving indigenous African instruments and knowledge.“Learning to play an expensive instrument such as a violin or a cello is a luxury for many families in South Africa due to their limited means of income. But numerous children in Limpopo’s rural areas are doing so,” it reads. “Bursaries are sourced for further study for its members, unemployed youth earn money through performances and teaching, and valuable partnerships were formed with the South African Army and Police bands.”About 200 youngsters in Limpopo are being trained at present, ranging in age from 10 to 25. Of these, 70% are from rural areas and 12% are physically disabled.Move to GiyaniIn 2002, Aronje-Adetoye, who is from Cape Town, moved to Giyani in Limpopo to work as a teacher. She soon had a group of youngsters playing the recorder, an inexpensive and easy-to-learn instrument. Most children came from urban centres, like Polokwane, but there were children from far rural areas who also learned to play the instrument.The first funding of R20 000 came from a special provincial fund to empower the youth. This money bought instruments, paid for training teachers, and importantly, food parcels and clothing for families that needed them, to “rescue the children”, so that they could go on to reach their potential.“It was a shock to see the extreme poverty in Limpopo. There is nothing to keep the youth busy. I am passionate about making a difference.”The urban children donate food and clothing to the rural children. The urban children also pay fees, which are used for the benefit of their rural counterparts. In return, the urban members get extra maths lessons on Saturdays. “The kids learn discipline and time management, as well as building their confidence,” says Aronje-Adetoye.And the results are testimony to this – last year all the matriculants in the orchestra passed with exemptions.Checkers Woman of the YearIn 2006, Aronje-Adetoye was nominated in the entrepreneurial category of the Checkers Woman of the Year, and although she didn’t win, the publicity generated brought in sponsors who offered services, like registering the orchestra as an NGO, or auditing the company, an essential pre-requisite to apply for funding from the National Lottery.And in 2007, the National Arts Council came on board, donating R75 000, which was used to buy instruments. Then, in 2010, the orchestra hit the big time and was granted R5-million from the lottery.Music teachers come from Johannesburg and Nigeria, and the conductor, Olanmide Timothy, is also from Nigeria. “We have a wonderful collaboration between South Africa and Nigeria,” explains Aronje-Adetoye, who is married to a Nigerian.Concerts and functionsThe orchestra holds two major concerts a year – one in winter and one at Christmas. But that doesn’t mean they’re not busy – they entertain for the provincial government’s gala dinners, at weddings, corporate functions, birthday parties, and memorial services. Rehearsals take place every Friday evening.Now that the CD has been released, they plan to tour to Nigeria, and they have been invited to tour Ireland.In 2012, they went to Cape Town, where they joined the rehearsals of the Cape Town Youth Orchestra. They sat in the rehearsals of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, besides going to the opera. They have formed a relationship with the National Youth Orchestra, based in Joburg, and will do workshops with them in the future.Aronje-Adetoye says she’s realised it’s these kinds of partnerships that are most valuable. Kellerman has promised to work with them in the future, and Mohamed has expressed an interest in starting a quartet with some of the youngsters in the orchestra. “This is what makes me wake up in the morning,” says Aronje-Adetoye, “the one project that doesn’t make me want to go back to Cape Town.”They are hoping to get more funding from the National Lottery, with big plans to build a conservatoire, or school of music, studios and a concert hall in Polokwane.
Allsorts® Large Cream Hat Fascinator Weddings Ladies Day Race Royal Ascot – Great service, product as advertised, would use again and again!
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