Wednesday October 18, 2017

When Bees help Humans and Elephants survive in Kenya

HEC (Human elephant coexistence) program in African countries gained popularity in recent years and helped minimizing human - elephants riots

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Kenyan elephants are not restricted to wildlife sanctuaries or reserves, hence continuous harm by them to the locals and their lands and farms is common In African regions. Being one of the biggest animals they see humans as their biggest threat, hence farmers won’t see a way to sustain them from entering and damaging their crops and farms.

Discovering lethal and well accepted ways to prevent the over exploitation by the Elephants in the African areas is one of the biggest challenges elephant and wildlife managers seek across African region. Even tons of elephants are killed every year for their ivory tusks, farmers continue to fight for their survival with them and poaching is devastating the survival of animals in Africa.

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Dr Lucky king the winner UNEP/CMS Thesis Award and head of HEC (Human elephant coexistence) program managed to prove an experiment that would render elephant helpless when they hear bee’s buzzing sound or come across beehives on their way to the fields, thus forcing them to change their direction and force them to return. She laid down the research in Kenya Sabo East national park with 22 farmers under which a beehive fence is made with hives at a distance of 10mts with 10-21 hives a single fence and are made cheaply with the cost of 150$-500$ per 100m of fence and equipped with locally available material. Dr King and her team members discovered that the project success rate is well above 85% and it helped farmers boost their income by up to 30% as the honey is well demanded in international market.

KING-Disney-research-team-450x337The strategy also helped the farmers by improving their daily life with less elephant conflicts moreover increase in their income from 300$ a year by upto 30%.

Lucy King won The St Andrews Prize for the Environment for the extraordinary and unique research and quoted saying “I am delighted with this win. The recognition and financial support will enable us to expand our vital research work and protect many more rural farming families from elephant invasions.”

-by Shivang Goel. He is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter:@Shivang997

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Glow Your Skin This Festive Season with These Homemade Face Packs

Makeup expert Shahnaz Husain have listed some DIY face packs

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Face Pack Treatment. Pixabay

New Delhi, Sep 21, 2017: Nothing can beat the goodness of homemade face masks which are made from natural ingredients like bananas, papayas, oats, aloe vera, honey, turmeric and more. With the festive season around the corner, experts suggest shakes, flower mixes and face packs which can be easily made at home.

Gunjan Gaur, make-up expert at ALPS Cosmetic Clinic and make-up expert Shahnaz Husain, have listed some useful face pack recipes:

* Honey banana face mask: Mash half a ripe banana and milk, one table spoon of sandalwood powder paste and half table spoon of honey. Let it stay on your skin for 20-25 minutes and wash it with lukewarm water. This face mask is beneficial for oily skin as sandalwood helps in cleansing excess sebum and oil from the skin while banana keeps it moisturised.

* Make a cold infusion of Hibiscus flowers, by allowing them to stand overnight in cold water, in a ratio of one to six. Next morning crush the flowers. Strain and keep the water. Mix the flowers with 3 teaspoons oats, two drops tea tree oil and add the water to mix into a paste. This hibiscus pack helps to cleanse, refresh and tone the skin, adding a glow.

* Take honey and yogurt and add a few tablespoons of red wine. Apply this on the face and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse with plain water. This softens and moisturizes the skin, removes tan and also adds a glow.

Also Read: Skin Benefits Of Coconut Oil: Beauty Tips using Coconut Oil 

* Avocado pulp can be mixed with aloe vera gel and applied on the face to nourish and moisturise the skin. Wash off with plain water after 20 minutes. Fresh and raw avocado should be used. Avocado contains about 20 vitamins and minerals. It is rich in antioxidants, which help to delay skin ageing.

* Kiwi juice: Peel kiwi and cut into slices. Keep empty container under juice extractor nozzle and process apple, celery and kiwi fruit slices through the juicer. Discard the fibrous pulp.

* Apple Halwa: Peel the apples. Cut into slices and run them into a food processor till the apples are well grinded. In a pan heat ghee, add the apples. Now add sugar and mix, till the sugar melts. The halwa will again become liquidly. Garnish with sliced almond and serve.

* Watermelon smoothie: Blend watermelon, mango, sugar and water together in a blender until smooth. Place ice into glasses and pour smoothie over ice.

* Orange jelly: Natural orange jelly, place the water and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat and stir, until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and stir in until dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the orange juice. Decorate with blueberries and mint leaves.

* Mix cucumber and ripe papaya pulp with curd and two teaspoons oats. Lemon juice can also be added. Apply on face and neck. Wash it off after half an hour. Helps to remove tan and brighten the skin.

* For oily skin, soak one tablespoon moong dal in water for a few hours. Make a paste and add one tablespoon tomato pulp. Apply on face with a light massage. Wash off with water after 20 minutes. the pack reduces oiliness and brightens the skin. (IANS)

 

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WeFarm- a Farmer to Farmer Digital Network – is Helping Farmers in remote villages of Kenya

WeFarm helps connect farmers via Text Messages

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A farmer herds his cattle at sunset near Kisumu, Kenya, Feb. 2, 2008.
A farmer herds his cattle at sunset near Kisumu, Kenya, Feb. 2, 2008. VOA

When she woke up one morning in February, Catherine Kagendo realized that one of her cows could not stand.

“It was lying on its side, had lost its appetite and was breathing heavily,” she told Reuters from her farm in Meru, in eastern Kenya.

With her husband, she decided to turn to WeFarm, a text-based network of small-scale farmers, for help.

Within an hour, their text — “one of my lactating cows cannot stand” — generated a flurry of suggestions, from “feed your cow with minerals rich in calcium” to “make sure the cow shed is clean and well-drained so the animals don’t slip.”

“I realized our cow had milk fever, so gave it calcium-rich feed and it was standing again within hours,” Kagendo explained.

She is one of many Kenyan small-scale farmers who lack good information — mostly due to a lack of internet access — on how to manage problems from dry spells to diseases, local farm experts say.

As a result, such farmers often lose their harvest or animals, they said.

But WeFarm, a farmers’ network launched in Kenya in 2014 and more recently expanded to Uganda and Peru, allows people to ask a question by text message and receive advice from their peers.

The service, whose Scottish co-founder Kenny Ewan describes it as “the internet for people with no internet,” is free to use and only requires a mobile phone.

Farmers text questions to a local number, and WeFarm transmits the message to users with similar interests in the area, tapping into their knowledge.

“We want farmers to get answers to their problems without needing to access the internet, so the information is available to all,” said Mwinyi Bwika, head of marketing at WeFarm.

Although the platform also exists online, over 95 percent of users choose to use it offline, he said.

Information gap

Kagendo said that when her animals were ill or her maize crops too dry, she used to have to hire an extension officer to help solve the problem.

“But we had to pay a fee ranging from 500 to 2,000 Kenyan shillings ($5-$20), and most of the time the officer didn’t even explain their diagnosis,” she said.

That cut into her family’s income and left them no better able to understand the diseases facing their cattle and their crops.

“We cannot even afford a smartphone to go online, so finding credible information was near impossible,” she said.

According to Bwika, small-scale farmers often lack the information they need because of a lack of cash — most live on less than a dollar a day — as well as poor internet connection and low literacy levels.

“Ewan realized that farmers living just a few miles from each other were facing the same challenges, but with no way to communicate about them. So, he created a platform to connect them,” Bwika said.

Joseph Kinyua, another farmer from Meru who grows vegetables, said he spends at least 30 minutes per day using WeFarm.

“It’s taught me anything from using pest control traps to ensuring that my sprinklers don’t put out too much water,” he said. “And I know the methods are proven and tested by other farmers.”

The knowledge has helped improve the quality of the kale he grows, he said, enough that “I can now sell a kilo at the market at 70 shillings [$0.70] compared to 50 [$0.50] previously.”

Preventing problems

While the platform might receive dozens of replies to a question, it only sends out to the user a selection of answers judged correct, Bwika said.

But it uses the questions and advice received to help track disease outbreaks or extreme weather spells, and shares those insights with governments and non-governmental organizations, Bwika said.

“In doing so, we hope to prevent disease outbreaks and track problems before they occur,” he said.

Not everyone shares this optimism, however.

Mary Nkatha, a farmer from Meru, said she found it hard to implement some of the recommendations she received from WeFarm without the practical guidance of an expert.

“If I am told to inject my cow with something, how do I make sure I do it in the right place? And where do I find the equipment?” she asked.

Fredrick Ochido, a Kenya-based consultant on dairy farming, also worries that the platform may be entrenching farmers’ poor use of technology, rather than helping them keep up with new trends.

The WeFarm platform has over 100,000 current users in Kenya, Uganda and Peru, and its operators hopes to reach one million farmers in the next year. They also aim to expand the effort to other countries, including Tanzania. (VOA)

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Five Benefits of Honey and Lemon Drink that Can’t be Ignored

Lemon and honey mixture helps you lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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Lemon and honey drink. Pixabay.
  • Lemon and Honey drink helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • The mixture gives you the right amount of nutrients and removes toxins from the body.

The advise of drinking warm water mixed with lemon and honey has been given to all of us. But how many of us do really follow the advise? Very few. We tend to avoid natural remedies and seek for synthetic ways to improve our health and skin. But, this is one remedy which cannot be ignored. From physicians to gym trainers, everyone will give you a heads up to the healthy mix. All you need to do is, mix some warm water with half lemon and honey and wait for wonders to happen.

How To make the honey- lemon drink (low-calorie drink):

  •   Boil a cup of water and allow it to cool until it is just warm to touch.
  •   Add a teaspoonful of organic, unprocessed honey and stir well to dissolve.
  •   Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the honey water, give it a stir and drink up.

Below are some benefits of Honey-Lemon drink:

  1. Boosts your immunity:

Lemon juice is a cocktail of all kinds of the body’s most essential nutrients. It has Vitamin C that help in fighting cold. Lemon is high in potassium as well, which stimulates nerve function, controls  blood pressure, helps in balancing pH Levels and reduces the overall acidity in the body. And, lemon juice’s mixture with honey cleanses the liver. This is one of the most amazing benefits of honey-lemon drink.

2. Helps in weight loss:

Lemon
Lemon juice mixed with honey helps you in losing weight. Pixabay.

Your health conscious friends would be the first ones to recommend you the healthy drink, as it prevents obesity. Since it cleanses the liver leading to body’s detoxification, your system’s metabolism rate gets boosted, and you start functioning better. The concoction is rich in pectin fiber, which helps in battling food cravings.

Also Read: Skin Benefits Of Coconut Oil: Beauty Tips using Coconut Oil

3. NO Acne! It promises you a clear and glowing skin:

If you’re dealing with an acne problem, then this is probably the best thing you could have.The anti bacterial properties of lemon and honey would do wonders to your skin.  The Vitamin C component reduces wrinkles and blemishes. Thus, a glass of this tasty and healthy drink, will in no time give you a clear skin.

4. Aids in food digestion:

Lemon
Lemon and honey mixture helps you with good digestion. Pixabay.

The honey & lemon drink helps the liver to produce bile, which is an acid required for digestion. Right digestion prevents constipation and heat burns.

5. Honey & Lemon Drink Boosts your energy early in the morning:

Lemon
The juice gives you energy to work throughout the day. Pixabay.

Benefits of honey & lemon drink: Lemon juice always freshens you up, but mixing it with honey will sustain your energy for a longer time. Honey is a food item providing lots of energy. Its composition of simple sugar like glucose and fructose will give you instant calories; therefore, giving you the power to work the whole day.

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by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.


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