Snail farming request.  

We are working to fight against poverty, malnutrition and social problems in rural areas of Cameroon through improved farming methods. One project we have carried out is the rearing of snails. After a year, over 2,000 of them died of a strange disease. Can anyone help us with ideas on how to manage these animals better? We would also like to know if there are any uses for their shells.

Revd Father Dominic Nyuyilim, Save Our Souls, PO Box 257, Dschang, West Province, Cameroon

Ideas for snail farming 

Snails are forest animals and they tend to be more active when they are shaded by trees – especially inside cocoa or kola nut plantations. We recommend keeping them under the shade of trees. Also, try to avoid the use of metal cages or housing.

Oluwafemi Ogundipe, GPO Box 11602, Dugbe, Nigeria.

Solar energy 

Our department of solar energy works hard to teach local people about the importance of trees and the consequences of deforestation. We also teach about the advantages of solar energy and how to make and use a solar oven. Solar energy is free and will never run out. In contrast, using wood as a source of energy burns up trees and in the long term can lead to desertification. Among the trees which people cut down for firewood are those with medicinal properties. We are making every effort here to make the use of solar energy more popular.

Emmanuel Mufundu Anamed – Solar Energy Centre BP 4830, Kinshasa/Gombe, Democratic Republic of Congo

The risks of pregnancy 

Pregnant women should occupy a place of honour in our societies. Instead, however, they face all kinds of risks: health issues including anaemia, haemorrhage, complications during birth, and sometimes death socio-economic issues including reduced access to work, marriage and schooling issues of justice. Reducing the risks of motherhood is a key issue for our organisation. In the town of Goma, we discovered that 85% of pregnancies are not wanted. Also, that 90% of women do not have access to contraception because of various obstacles including ignorance, the attitude of husbands, customs and poverty. We need to establish strategies which have legal backing, to protect the rights of all mothers.

Emmanuel K N’solo Bitangalo, Coordinator, LICOSAMI (Ligue Congolaise pour la Santé Maternelle et Infantile), Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

Rural Women’s Radio 

Our society helps women, particularly widows, to solve their numerous social, economic and health problems. Women have learnt skills in food processing, good nutrition and health, and self-help groups have been encouraged.

We are now developing a new programme – Rural Women’s Radio. Women are encouraged to exchange good ideas and news through local radio stations. This includes recipes, improved farming methods, food preservation, healthcare, hygiene and political participation. Radio booths will be established in 50 villages, where women can listen to the radio programmes and hold discussions.

We will be pleased to hear from interested individuals and organisations.

Pastor CP Udo, Society for Empowerment of Widows and Rural Women Ntezi PIECHARTS Centre, PO Box 10, Enugu 400001, Nigeria E-mail: widowsandruralwomen@yahoo.co.uk

Children’s theatre 

Children have many talents and are capable of extraordinary creativity. We work with child actors to produce plays. Most of our actors are children who are victims of abuse or neglect. These children gain inspiration through learning about their rights and about the love of God. Our plays are inspired by the Bible and by the issues that concern these children. Through drama, they find healing through acting out the ill-treatment they have suffered and encouraging audiences to defend children in similar situations.

The theatre work is self-financing. We organise shows, tour schools and take part in awareness-raising events. The money collected contributes towards paying the school fees of the children.

Our weekly rehearsals begin with prayer, Bible study and teaching about theatre. At present, we perform five plays. One is about the effects of war on children. It refers to children who are displaced because of war and lose their parents, to child soldiers, to children who are sexually abused, and to children with disabilities.

In the future, we hope to produce these plays on video and DVD in a professional manner and want to find partners with whom to exchange experiences and ideas.

Paul Omandji, Le Mouvement pour l’Enfant Congolais, 45 Av Lisala, Commune de Kasa-Vubu, Lisala, Democratic Republic of Congo.  

E-mail: mec_oman@yahoo.fr or: mecrdc@hotmail.com