Thursday, November 30, 2006

[Guinean news] Declining socioeconomic conditions in Guinea

The UN's IRIN news service has run several disturbing articles on the declining socioeconomic climate in Guinea.

-Primary and secondary school enrollment is falling dramatically as cost of living skyrockets.

-Conditions at universities aren't much better.

-The dramatic rise of violent crime in Conakry. Perhaps this is because...

-Crime is the capital's only growth industry.

-Malnutrition is also on the rise. The country's main pediatric hospital reports having admitted more than double the number of children for malnutrition already this year than in 2003.

The Wall Street Journal reported (article available only to the paper's subscribers) that rising global energy prices are making things worse in Guinea.

Maybe the Guinean government is counting on its recently launched $36 billion lawsuit against the Democratic Republic of the Congo to solve these problems.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

[Guinean news] Conté to stay until 2010

There have long been rumors of tension between those generally seen as the two most powerful men in Guinea: the country's richest businessman Mamadou Sylla and Fodé Bangoura, who is a top aide to the head of state Gen. Lansana Conté and widely seen to be the de facto head of the government. A few weeks ago, Sylla was indicted for 'complicity to steal public funds' for the amount equivalent to US $2.5 million. Sylla had been nicknamed the 'PUP's money man,' referring to the ruling Party for Unity and Progress but he seems to have come out on the short end of the power struggle provoked by Conté's long illness.

Speaking of the ailing head of state, he recently gave an extremely rare interview with Agence France Press and Radio France Internationale journalist Mouctar Bah and Le Monde's Serge Michel. He reiterated his desire to finish his current term, which ends in 2010 (he took power in a 1984 military coup).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

[Guinean news] Cholera strikes again

The UN's IRIN news service has a piece on the resurgence of cholera in the country since the beginning of the rainy season. The health ministry has reported over 600 cases this year.

"The latest wave is occurring because of poor sanitation during the main rainy season and a lack of potable water," said Emmanuel Roland Malano, who head's the government's division of epidemiological diseases.

Monday, November 06, 2006

[FOG/PC Guinea news] Gender conferences threatened by administrative change

For several years, FOG has sponsored girls' and boys' conferences. By all accounts, these gender conferences have been invaluable in promoting gender equality and female empowerment.

FOG has helped fund the conferences via the intermediary of the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), which is the "official" Peace Corps funding mechanism. However, the PCPP has changed its rules such that transportation and lodging costs can no longer be funded. This change threatens the future of the gender conferences since transport and lodging for participants is the primary expense.

(For more details on the issue, click here)

FOG officials are pursuing this issue and is waiting to hear about alternative funding routes from Peace Corps Guinea.

FOG's board urges members to contact Peace Corps officials and express their concerns.

-Peace Corps Director Ronald Tschetter:

-Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody Olsen:
Peace Corps Chief of Operations, Africa Region Lynn Foden:

Postal letters can be mailed to each of these officials at:

1111 20th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20526