Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

UNICEF Broadcasts School Over the Radio

School Over the Radio

Children who are in refugee camps and conflict areas often have no opportunity for education. But for some there is a unique chance for school over the radio! “Tens of thousands of children across the Lake Chad region are instead tuning into lessons broadcast over the radio, the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) said.”

Photo from a Greek paper. I don't know if they are listening to the radio!

Photo from a Greek paper. I don’t know if they are listening to the radio, but I was struck by their bags.

UNICEF is working with local leaders to share radios and gather the children who take part in school over the radio. Kieran Guilbert who wrote the article says more than 200,000 young people are participating. Although the program is in Cameroon and Niger, there are probably children from Nigeria who are in the camps and able to take part.

The program is designed not only for literacy and numeracy but to help the children stay safe. School over the radio broadcasts are in French and local languages. The Nigerian children may not know French but would know the local tongues.

Thomson Reuters Foundation asks to be credited. They are “the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience.”

Thank you, Thomson Reuters.

Is There a Downside of Aid?

Maiduguri in the far northeastern corner of Nigeria has been in the news. For most of the past decade it was known as the headquarters of Boko Haram. Now most of the Boko Haram fighters have been driven out.

The market is active again. But the appearance of prosperity is deceptive, the author of an article in ArabNews says.

Maiduguri is in the northeastern corner of Nigeria near Lake Chad

Maiduguri is in the northeastern corner of Nigeria near Lake Chad

The city was for centuries the hub of trade between the Sahel to the north and the rest of West and Central Africa to the south and southwest. Today the population has doubled with people from surrounding areas seeking safety. Many of these people are hoping to go back to their farms nearby. They usually do not have money to spend in the market.

The article says, “According to the UN, nearly 2 million people in the northeast region are currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition and 5.5 million are in need of food aid.” Since mid-2016 when, “The international community belatedly realized the scale of the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria,” food distribution is one of the major economic activities.

“Huge gleaming white 4×4 vehicles belonging to aid agencies ply the roads,” the writer says.

A few people have prospered. Hotels have raised their prices and are fully booked.

“ ‘I can tell you we make money,’ laughed Ali Garba Bashehu, the head of Dolphin, one of the few estate agents in Maiduguri. Property owners, who fled Maiduguri in their droves, thinking the city would fall to the insurgents, sold their houses for next to nothing. The same properties are now rented out for a fortune.”

My “Duh” Moment

Nkiru at the beach last Saturday

Nkiru at the beach last Saturday

I clearly remember the first time I heard the expression “Duh!” It was several years ago, from our dear granddaughter Nkiru who turns 18 tomorrow!

Nkiru's older brother Kenechi and his girlfriend Mary at the beach

Nkiru’s older brother Kenechi and his girlfriend Mary at the beach

This morning I was glancing at my phone when I saw a quick headline from The Economist saying, “A study suggests that black Americans are unfairly fined by police.”

I was surprised and “duh” just slipped out! I thought by now most people who would read The Economist would already know this. After all, one can find this out just by asking most any person of color.

Still, a study is good. It can provide the basis for legal challenges at some point.

I’ll give you the link, but you probably can’t read the article unless you’re a subscriber. So here’s part of what it said.

After a white policeman shot and killed an unarmed Black teen in Ferguson, there was outrage. But the policeman was not convicted of a crime.

The article says, “better-disguised forms of inequality soon came to light as well. In March 2015 the [Department of Justice] published a report on law enforcement in the city, which found that Ferguson’s criminal-justice system seemed to focus more on generating income for the government than on ensuring public safety. . . Moreover, black residents paid a far greater portion of these expenses than either their share of the population or their share of total crimes committed in Ferguson would indicate. The investigators concluded that the police had displayed ‘unlawful bias’ against blacks.

“Reseachers began to look at other cities and found similar results.

“A new paper by Michael Sances of the University of Memphis and Hye Young You of Vanderbilt University published this month in the Journal of Politics found that Ferguson was indeed more of a rule than an exception. After examining data on 9,000 American cities, they found that those with more black residents consistently collected unusually high amounts of fines and fees—even after controlling for differences in income, education and crime levels.”

I headed right over to the TEAM Westport blog and posted a brief note about the article. You can also find other articles posted by TEAM Westport members and friends at the link.

This was for me a real “Duh” moment. What do you think?

Albino deer in Westport

Albino deer in Westport

Is Westport Too White?

Our town of Westport is predominately white.

Now there are even white deer. “An albino deer and two offspring were spotted Thursday near Westport’s Old Hill Farms Road,” WestportNow said.

The photo is from Anna Diorio for

A humpback from the Maritime Aquarium website

A photo of a humpback from the Maritime Aquarium website

WestportNow also has two videos of a humpback whale spotted off our beach.

And the article I found on the Maritime Aquarium website about humpbacks even has today’s sighting.

Someone is on the job!

Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.


  1. Totally different part of Africa, but I was so pleased to read this today. Tunisia is banning all aggression toward women–physical, sexual, moral and even economic: