Jane Labous is an award-winning broadcaster and photo-journalist who has worked as a correspondent and on radio documentaries all over West Africa. She is also Africa press office for the child rights organisation Plan International.
Jane Labous is an award-winning writer, broadcaster and journalist, and has worked as a correspondent and on radio documentaries all over West Africa. She is also press officer for the global child rights NGO Plan International.
Jane is actively involved in advocacy and campaigning work on rights and development issues, particularly those related to African affairs and the global drowning issue.
The reality is that this self-sufficient tribe is ill-equipped for the modern world. Bakas know nothing of contemporary monetary or agricultural systems, and tribe members have few means to buy the food, clothes, healthcare and schooling that make a modern lifestyle functional.
Every two seconds, somewhere in the world, a girl becomes a child bride. Every two seconds, girls just like Amanda, Gina and Michelle are effectively being abducted, but their stories don't ever make the news.
Ngagne is one of thousands of children living in daaras in Senegal and across the mainly Muslim countries of West Africa, sent to the capitals from Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Mali. Known as talibés - Arabic for 'pupil' - they're posted far away from home by parents who choose to give someone else the responsibility, and cost, of raising their child.
Drowning is a leading cause of death and claims over one million lives per year. The majority are children. In Africa, most drownings go unrecorded and there is a startling lack of research into the scale of the drowning epidemic on the continent.
World Water Day is today, a time to pause and appreciate a substance that is available to us so freely and cheaply in the developed world. It is a day to address the fact that 783 million people in the world do not have access to clean water - representing roughly one in ten of the world's population.
Globally, one in three girls around the world is denied an education by the daily realities of poverty, discrimination and violence. Every day, young girls are missing out on school, forced into marriage and subjected to violence.
It was in the middle of an east African afternoon, beneath a mango tree shaded from the hazy sun, that I met Gladys Phiri, 32, history teacher, single mother and, it soon became apparent, cheerfully outspoken feminist here in a country where, as elsewhere in Africa, the rules are dictated by men, for men.
On Friday night, as the London Olympic Stadium glittered and the crowd cheered and the MC boomed the names of the world's countries one by one, a teenage athlete from Niger seemed to encapsulate how these great games represent something far more important than winning or losing.
In the developing world, swimming lessons aren't free or widely available or part of a standard childhood routine. Here in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa, a capital city surrounded on three sides by the sea, the majority of children grow up without learning to swim.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, only two African women's teams will feature among the 12 nations competing. Last year, a plucky women's team from the diminutive Central African nation of Equatorial Guinea hit world headlines during the women's football World Cup in Germany.
There are no proper words to describe the heartbreaking sight of a malnourished child. No image on TV can prepare you for the sheer lightness of their bodies, their minuscule wrists, their over-sized, slightly bulging heads; the breathtaking shock of realising that the cute baby who looks newborn is actually nearly two years old. Malnourishment is not something that enters our world very often. Ours is a place where 60 stone teenagers must be hoisted out of their homes by the local fire service because they no longer fit through their front doors. It's a place where five-year-old girls worry themselves silly about being thinner, aspiring to a 'body ideal' that's estimated to be not physically achievable by 95% of the population.
I've long thought that the editors of our international media (and the British media is a particular culprit) needs to start noticing Africa. Not just the coups and the food crises and the droughts, but also the positive stories, the African success stories that are putting, for example, Ghana amid the fast growing nations in the world.
21/05/2012 21:52 BST
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.