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UN Introduces App for Real-time Reporting on Locust Swarms

Since late 2019, parts of Kenya have been under siege by swarms of locusts. The number of flying insects reached the highest in recent memory, and environmental factors helped them spread throughout the land. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi looks at a new phone app that helps local authorities track and control swarms.Producer: Arash Arabasadi.

South Africa Theater Puts on a Show For the World with Online Season

South Africa's Market Theater is one of several African cultural institutions that has recently gone entirely online because of coronavirus restrictions that prevent large gatherings. But for this small institution often known as the "Theater of the Struggle" for its flouting of apartheid-era laws, obstacles are nothing new. Now, they hope their artistic message -- which touches on local and global events -- will resonate beyond the African continent. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

Teen Pregnancies Spike in Kenya as Schools Remain Shuttered

As Kenya struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the East African country is facing another outbreak: teenage pregnancies. During three months of lockdown, 152,000 Kenyan teenage girls became pregnant, a 40 percent increase in the monthly average. There is also a campaign to encourage parents not to marry off their girls due to pregnancies.  Mohammed Yusuf has more from Nairobi.
Camera: Amos Wangwa  Producer: Rod James

Lagos Produce Delivery Service Empowers Women During Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the business landscape around the world, and Nigeria is no exception. VOA’s Arash Arabasadi brings us a story of a produce delivery business in Lagos that helps women avoid public markets and exposure to the virus, but is also generating backlash in a country where women battle for equality.

Ugandan Creates COVID Shield for Motorcycles

As part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, a Ugandan innovator has come up with a plastic shield for motorcycles to protect both driver and passenger. The shield is seen as not just reducing body contact, which could spread the virus, but also added security for motorcycle taxi drivers.  Halima Athumani reports from Kampala.VIDEOGRAPHER: Francis Mukasa
PRODUCER: Jon Spier   

Africa’s Only Virtual Pro Golf Tour Livens Up Lockdown for Fans  

In the United States, professional golf tournaments have restarted. But for professional players and fans of pro golf in Southern Africa real life tournaments are still on hold. Despite the COVID cancellations players are still finding ways to show off their skills for fun, honor, charity and even money. Marize de Klerk has the story from Johannesburg.Camera: Marize de Klerk

In a Kenyan Slum, Grassroots Organizing Aids Needy During Pandemic

In Nairobi's Kibera neighborhood, those who depend on day-to-day wages have been hit hardest by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. While Kenya's government is providing some support, a local charity has formed to pick up the slack.  The “Adopt a Family” campaign connects well-off Kenyan families with those less fortunate during the COVID-19 pandemic.  So far, the initiative has connected more than 400 families, providing relief to many families in desperate need.  Rael Ombuor reports from Nairobi.Camera: John Kamau 

American Tourist Partners with Cape Town Activist for Pandemic Relief

Starting in late March, South Africa has had one of the most rigorous COVID-19 lockdowns in the world. At Level 5, all air travel was grounded and all non-essential businesses, such as restaurants, salons and tourism operators were required to cease all operations. Residents were required to stay home at all times with limited exemptions for trips only to the grocery store, pharmacy, or a doctor. That included many international visitors, who are now stuck in South Africa for the foreseeable future. VOA talked to Paulina Migalska, an American tourist who leveraged her involuntary Cape Town visit extension into a valuable partnership with a local artist to help locals in a township.Arrival in South Africa
Paulina Migalska, a 39-year-old entrepreneur in international development field from Boston, arrived in Cape Town in mid-February on a three-month tourist visa. The first case of COVID-19 in South Africa was reported on March 5, but it wasn’t until much later in the month that South Africans began to fully understand the danger associated with the coronavirus. Scheduled to depart in early April, and not yet fully grasping the severity of the situation, Migalska went on a street art tour of Khayelitsha township, one of the top five largest urban shanty towns of the world, which is famous for its vivid mural art.In South Africa, the phrase “township” typically refers to an underdeveloped and racially segregated urban area where the Apartheid government, which ended by 1994, would relegate Black and other people of color. Migalska observed that the pre-1994 segregated paradigm of Cape Town’s neighborhoods and suburbs remains to a large extent today. It was there Migalska met Juma Mkwela, a local artist turned activist and founder of “Juma Art Tours.” She was one of Juma’s last guests before the lockdown. Helping hand during lockdown
When the South African government announced the lockdown, Migalska re-connected with Mkwela and asked if it would be helpful for her to sew fabric masks for residents who cannot afford to buy one. Mkwela said “absolutely,” and a race against time began before everything shut down for months. Migalska spent the last 24 hours prior to the lockdown purchasing fabric and borrowing a sewing machine from a friend’s mother, Sophia Wippenaar, a former seamstress.Mkwela told VOA, many residents of Khayelitsha and other township areas in Cape Town live in crowded single-room dwellings constructed of corrugated steel and other materials, making social distancing ...

American Tourist, Cape Town Activist Partner Up for Pandemic Relief

Since June 1st, South Africa has relaxed what was once one of the strictest lockdowns in the world because of the spread of the coronavirus.  When the restrictions were imposed in late March, many foreign visitors were stuck in the country, unable to leave.  One American tourist though converted her involuntary stay into providing valuable work for residents of a local township.  VOA’s Saqib Ul Islam has the story.

Kenyans Turn to Virtual Community Currency to Stay Afloat During COVID

Families in the slums of Kenya’s capital are using a virtual community currency to pay for food during the coronavirus pandemic.  More than 500 people a day are signing up to Kenyan Red Cross-supported community inclusion currency (CIC), known as Sarafu, to get food, soap and other essentials. Mohammed Yusuf reports.
Camera: Mohammed Yusuf

UN Turns 75 in Different World

The United Nations marks the 75th anniversary of its founding on Friday, in a much different world than it was born into. VOA U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer looks at how the organization has matured and the challenges it faces going forward.
Produced by: Jesusemen Oni

Tanzania Opening Up Tourism Despite Pandemic

Tanzania's move to reopen the country for tourism, after President John Magufuli declared the country free of COVID-19, has been welcomed by many in the industry. Even though the sector has been struggling during the pandemic, some tour operators worry that Tanzania's lack of candor on the extent of infections in the country will keep foreign tourists away. Charles Kombe reports from Morogoro, Tanzania.VIDEOGRAPHER: Rajabu HassanPRODUCER: Marcus Harton  

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