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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (92) is famous for quirky responses when asked why he has stayed in power since 1980. Asked by journalists whether it isn’t time he said farewell to the people of Zimbabwe, he replied: ‘Why, where are they going?’

On a serious note, he also angrily told journalists who asked about his decades-long presidency: ‘Have you ever asked the Queen that question, or is it just for African leaders?’ According to Mugabe: ‘Only God who appointed me can remove me’.

As the oldest serving president in the world, Mugabe has become something of a caricature of a leader who clings to power at all costs, ignoring the principles of democratic change of power. Are African leaders being judged too harshly?

15 September is the United Nations’ (UN’s) International Day of Democracy. According to the UN, the essential elements of democracy are ‘the values of freedom, respect for human rights and the principle of holding periodic and genuine elections by universal suffrage’.


Development is more likely to take hold if people are given a real say in their own governance
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In his message for this year’s democracy day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says that the UN’s new agenda for sustainable development, adopted last year, makes it clear that what people want all over the world is food and shelter, education and health care and more economic opportunities. They want to live without fear and want to be able to trust their governments. ‘Human development is more likely to take hold if people are given a real say in their own governance, and a chance to share in the fruits of progress,’ says Ban.

Having a real say in who governs them is the driving force behind protesters who take to the streets against long-serving presidents; from Angola and Burundi to the Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe. In all of these places, people are fed up with their governments, but don’t see a democratic way out.

In Zimbabwe, things are quickly unravelling for Mugabe. The increasing thirst for change has pushed thousands of protesters into the streets of Zimbabwe’s big cities, risking a crack-down by the security forces.

The latest wave of protests was prompted by the economic meltdown and the inability of the government to pay salaries – the final straw for those who have suffered through years of hardship due to Mugabe’s policies. Elections have been marred by serious violence, especially those in 2008. No succession plan is in place either. This is already creating instability and fears from the international community of a violent transition should Mugabe pass away while in office.

The call for long-serving presidents such as Mugabe, Paul Biya of Cameroon, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and others to step down is not driven by pressure from the international community, as some allege, but from African citizens who see how these leaders frustrate development and govern in the interests of a small elite.


In the last few months, democracy in Africa has suffered a number of blows
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In the last few months, democracy in Africa has suffered a number of blows with presidential elections in Chad, the Republic of Congo and Gabon being contested. The opposition in Zambia is also still rejecting the results of the 11 August elections in that country, despite a court ruling that dismissed its petition, without holding a hearing. The court ruled that the delay for addressing the opposition’s claims had expired.

Meanwhile, the extension of their term limits by several African leaders has eroded democratic gains. Term limits are a necessary bulwark against abuse of power, especially when electoral systems are weak.

A number of African countries have no term limits for presidents. These include Gabon, Togo, Uganda, Cameroon, Chad, the Gambia and Sudan. In others, presidents have only very recently agreed to such limits, often window-dressing while they plot to prolong their stay at the helm. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe agreed in 2013 that presidents should have two five-year terms, which would technically allow him to stay in power until 2023.

In Rwanda, two term limits of five years now start only from 2015, enabling President Paul Kagame to stay on until 2025. In the Republic of Congo, according to changes made at the end of last year, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso will in future serve up to three five-year terms. Sassou-Nguesso pushed through these changes thanks to a hastily organised referendum on 25 October 2015.

In Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza’s insistence in 2015 to run for a third term, despite constitutional term limits, caused serious and ongoing conflict. Like in Zimbabwe, ordinary citizens are risking life and limb to oppose Nkurunziza’s long stay in power.


Term limits are a bulwark against abuse of power, especially when electoral systems are weak
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Burundi's instability is seen as an example of what can happen when leaders fail to stick to term limits. It is also considered a litmus test for continental institutions in dealing with the fallout from term extensions. So far, all efforts by the African Union (AU) have failed.

At the beginning of last year, African heads of state halted an initiative by the AU’s Peace and Security Council to send a 5 000-strong intervention force to deal with the instability that followed Nkurunziza’s election.

In addition, observers also fear serious violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) if presidential elections aren’t held in November, as the constitution requires. President Joseph Kabila should then step down after two terms in office.

Presidents make these constitutional changes because they believe, like Mugabe, that they should rule indefinitely. In countries with no term limits, elections are very often contested but through the abuse of incumbency, leaders manipulate the process and, like in Gabon, manage to stay on.

In many other parts of the world, presidents sometimes serve for life. However, often, the head of state is purely symbolic. In many European countries, like Britain, an executive prime minister runs things and is appointed through regular general elections. In this case, to reply to Mugabe, the Queen is little more than a figurehead.

Despite the serious threat to democracy posed by the extension of presidential term limits, as well as the manipulation of election results, several countries on the continent have recently managed to hold credible presidential elections that saw a democratic change of leadership.

These include Nigeria (March 2015) and Benin (March 2016). In Senegal (in 2012) and Burkina Faso (in 2014), attempts by leaders to extend their mandates were successfully thwarted.


Burundi was a litmus test for continental institutions in dealing with term extensions
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Africa has also adopted important instruments and agreements to promote democracy. This includes the African Peer Review Mechanism, which has faced serious challenges, but attempts are now being made to revive it.

After much campaigning by civil society, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance came into existence in 2012. This was after the minimum of 15 AU member states ratified the charter.

The document has far-reaching provisions for promoting the rule of law, the respect for human rights and for holding democratic elections ‘to institutionalise legitimate authority of representative government as well as democratic changes of government’. It also binds signatories to best practices in the management of elections; and acknowledges that unconstitutional changes of government are ‘a threat to stability, peace, security and development’.

The Charter, for example describes the ‘amendment or revision of the constitution or legal instruments, which is an infringement on the principles of democratic change of government’ as one of the ‘illegal means of accessing or maintaining power’.

Some have described the adoption of the Charter as ‘a new dawn for democracy and the rule of law in Africa’, though four years down the line, its implementation has been disappointing. If this is a true benchmark for African governance, adopted by AU member states, why have the AU and African leaders not spoken up about the leaders who change their constitutions to stay in power?

As the world marks International Day of Democracy, storm clouds are gathering and in several African countries, citizens will have little to celebrate.

Today is perhaps one of the less celebrated international days, namely the United Nations (UN) Day for South-South Cooperation – a notion of solidarity, where countries forego some aspects of national interest in the pursuit of a higher or common good.

South-South cooperation has a long history, generally traced back to the solidarity politics of the Bandung Conference of 1955 and the subsequent UN Conference on Trade and Development in 1964.

A fuzzy concept, the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) describes South-South cooperation as ‘co-operation amongst countries and/or groupings in the global South aimed at addressing and developing a common stance on political, economic, social and human rights issues … in order to overcome the historical legacy of marginalization...’

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress readily points to the military support that Cuba provided first in 1975/6, and again in 1987/8, to halt apartheid South Africa’s incursions into Angola as a prime example of South-South solidarity in action.

Cuban support had raised the costs of South Africa’s military intervention into Angola, and played an important role in the subsequent independence for Namibia – which in turn contributed to change in South Africa. It was no surprise, therefore, that Raúl Castro was one of only six foreign leaders – of the 91 in attendance – to speak at the memorial ceremony of Nelson Mandela in 2013.


SA’s partnership with the DRC is often quoted as an example of South-South cooperation
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Under successive presidents – Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma – since 1994, South Africa has gone to exceptional lengths to repay that debt, pouring vast amounts of funding towards scholarships and support in Cuba. At a recent meeting of the International Relations Committee in Parliament, DIRCO reported yet another disbursement of R27 million (out of R110 million) for the ‘Cuban Economic Package Project’ – although providing little additional information.

In its description, the UN Office for South-South cooperation highlights non-interference, equality, non-conditionality and national sovereignty as principles of South-South cooperation.

Beyond the largesse provided to Cuba, South Africa’s development partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is often quoted as an example of South-South cooperation. Over the last 20 years, the DRC has been the biggest recipient of South African foreign assistance.

According to a recent report from the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), South Africa contributed over US$1 billion in official development assistance cooperation activities in the DRC between 2001 and 2015, peaking at US$181 million in 2008. These are large amounts for a small, middle-income economy and made South Africa the third-largest provider of aid to the DRC.

South Africa argues that it better understands and appreciates the local political, economic and cultural context, and is thus able to more effectively conduct peace-making and governance reform in complex environments such as the DRC. The francophone modus operandi of the Congolese public system, however, does pose practical challenges to South Africa’s intervention – as does the unstable political situation and lack of capacity of the DRC civil service.


Is South-South cooperation more effective than North-South cooperation in fragile environments?
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While the supposedly horizontal relationship has brought numerous benefits to the DRC, it is unclear what South Africa gains from its large investments. However, in a similar way in which Cuba supported Angola in its proxy war with the United States, the country has strategic interests given the extent to which the DRC lies at the heart of instability in Central Africa and the Great Lakes Region. Large projects such as the Grand Inga hydroelectric scheme also hold immense potential benefit for South Africa; in this case for the provision of electricity. In this sense, South-South solidarity is no different to acting in one’s enlightened self-interest.

Is South-South cooperation more effective than North-South cooperation in fragile environments? The answer is inconclusive given the limited data available and lack of systemic outcome evaluations of South Africa’s efforts.

At the global level, the most practical manifestation of South-South solidarity and cooperation is likely seen in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) – an ideological alliance that sees itself as a counterweight to the G7 group of industrialised countries.

The BRICS grouping intends to reshape global power relationships away from a Western, neoliberal and free-market dominated framework. Informed by the requirement for individual rights, free trade, democracy and the like, the focus is shifted to national sovereignty; the importance of a strong, developmental state; non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states, democratisation at a state’s own pace, etc.

For Africa, the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) is potentially very important. Africa’s infrastructure financing deficit is estimated to be at US$100 billion a year, and there is a perceived lack of ambition by developed countries to invest in Africa.

On the one hand, the lack of investment in energy, transport and water infrastructure presents a significant barrier to economic growth and development. On the other hand, there is a huge global savings glut estimated at US$17 trillion in 2012 that could be accessed to invest in Africa.

The NDB could therefore complement the existing multilateral development banks such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The NDB differs in five important aspects.


South-South cooperation is an important framework, but more must be done to quantify impact
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The first is speed. Instead of the slow pace of the other banks, the NDB has already extended loans to four of its members (Russia being the exception) during the first six months of its operation, providing nearly US$1 billion worth of loans to fund infrastructure projects. This compares to the standard time of more than 18 months from application to the loan being awarded.

Second: capital and voting rights are currently shared equally among the five founding members. The NDB is likely to decide to open its membership to all members of the UN, but the BRICS countries will retain 55% shareholding.

Third: the NDB intends to provide greater leverage of domestic private capital within developing countries. This is particularly important in South Africa, where substantial financial resources in the private sector are not being meaningfully channelled towards infrastructure development.

Fourth: the NDB has started extending loans in domestic currencies (in the case of the loan extended to China), which will assist countries to mitigate exchange rate risks when borrowing, which typically occurs in US dollars.

Finally: the bank will rely on existing country systems rather than impose new systems that create overly bureaucratic processes. This will be done in order to speed up operations and secure greater involvement from domestic players, but – given the lack of capacity in some countries – may also be a huge risk.

Time will tell what the future of the BRICS grouping will be, but certainly the NDB will survive and has the potential to contribute significantly to Africa’s development.

In the meanwhile, some practical aspects of South-South cooperation – such as that between South Africa and the DRC – are substantial and will likely continue. A stable DRC is crucial for the Southern African Development Community and for the region, but other aspects – such as the current level of support provided to Cuba – are more questionable.

South-South cooperation has emerged as an important framework for economic, political and other cooperation, but since taxpayer monies are used in the process, much more work needs to be done to cohere data and quantify impact. Until then it remains vague and unclear what the benefits and drawbacks of solidarity funding actually amounts to.

Jakkie Cilliers, Head, African Futures and Innovation, Institute for Security Studies

we found this article at -https://www.issafrica.org/iss-today/celebrating-south-south-cooperation the image was also found on the same page

 

 

 

This Sunday 14th August, The Rosie May Foundation will be holding a family fun day to be hosted at the Eco-Centre Community Care Farm. ‘Down at the Farm Charity Family Fun Day’ is an annual event and information day for the charity - and is a celebration of the work done by the foundation. Mojatu Magazine will be encouraging people to take part in the event and is also offering free transport to and from the farm!

 

The Rosie May Foundation, founded in 2004, has developed from a family-run charity to an international charity in its 12 years of activity. Originally established by Graham & Mary Storrie in response to overwhelming donations from the public following the murder of their 10 year-old daughter, Rosie-May Storrie, the charity has since established partnerships with NGO’s in the UK, Sri Lanka and Nepal to work together on development projects to help children in crisis, especially girls.

 

A partnership between the Eco-centre and the Rosie May foundation, established through the farm fundraising event, will help support the foundations latest project in Nepal, which includes working with rural communities and a women’s progressive group to help grow crops and improve livelihoods of families – with all money raised on Sunday going towards this cause.

 

The free, farm-themed event starts at 10am, and will begin with 5k Farm run, whose unique course promises to take runners on a path through nature. The date for pre-registration has unfortunately already passed – however, there is a £12 fee for on the day for run participation with a free BBQ token available for all runners! For those who are interested in taking part through Mojatu, we promise to cover the £12 for the fun run registration.

 

From 11am onwards, families can take part in the Family Adventure Farm Trail. Participating families will see lots of clues which will lead them through arable, grass grazing land and woodland – and features beautiful wildlife and habitats to explore, all of which is managed and sustained by the Eco-centre. Family tickets for the Adventure Farm Trail cost £10, and single tickets are priced at £5.

 

Tickets for the Family Adventure Farm Trail also include automatic entrance into the ‘British Scone Bake Off’ on the farm, which encourages participants to make a free scone with a prize being awarded to the best bake. Other prizes to be won include a prize for the fastest 5k runner in the 10am morning farm run with the opportunity to become a farmer for the day.

 

Other events taking place at the ‘Down at the Farm Charity Family Fun Day’ include meeting the animals, goat racing, trailer rides, a BBQ lunch and welly wanging – which involves competitors hurling a Wellington boot as far as possible.

 

Event organiser Clarissa Norwak says the day is set to be fun, active and educational, and perfect for families. The Down at the Farm Charity Family Fun Day promises to be a wonderful way to enjoy the summer, as well as raise money for a great cause.

 

Mojatu Magazine will be taking part in the 5k fun run and is encouraging people to join out racing team – get in touch today for free entry into the fun run and to help contribute to a worthy cause. On top of this, Mojatu are offering any attendees free travel to and from the event, leaving Nottingham City Centre on Sunday morning and returning after the event.

 

 

For more details on taking part in the event, as well as information regarding transport to and from the farm, please call Frank on 07516 962992, or email us at frank(at)mojatu.com.

Hyson Green Celebrates Multiculturalism with a free day of music and activities in the third Hyson Green Cultural Festival

 

Hyson Green Cultural Festival

Saturday 13 August, 12 – 6pm

Forest Recreation Ground

FREE EVENT, ALL WELCOME

 

After the success of the past two years, the award winning Hyson Green Cultural festival is back for its third year, to celebrate and promote multiculturalism and harmony in the Hyson Green community. This free day of festivities promises to be a highlight of the summer holidays, with performances and activities to entertain everyone.

 

Taking place at the Forest Recreation Ground on Saturday 13 August, there will be returning acts and new performers providing a full line-up of entertainment from 12 – 6pm featuring world music, dance, martial arts, DJing, world cuisine, information stalls and more. A perfect activity for all the family this summer holidays, attendees will get to try their hand at world drumming with Judy Beatfeet, Brazilian Capoeira with Nottingham Capoeira, and plenty of other activities including face painting, bouncy castle, a raffle and craft stalls hosted by City Arts. An array of food will be on offer, catering to all tastes and requirements, including world food, vegan stalls and a halal sweet stand.

For the young (and young at heart) there will be a range of upcoming local acts who are popular with the Notts music scene; Grime acts Young T & Bugsey and 0115 Mob will be performing; they both played at Nottingham Contemporary’s Circuit: Affinity Festival last year, as part of CRS Showcase. Expect to hear plenty more home-grown Nottingham talent in a variety of other musical styles too.

 

With this year’s theme being Health and Wellbeing, there are opportunities for revellers to join in with the performers, with fitness demonstrations and taster sessions to enjoy, including Tai Chi, Yoga and Zumba. There will be a Health Corner hosted by Nottingham’s own charismatic Patty Dumplin, and funded generously by Self Help UK and Action for Blind People. Festival goers can get information and support from Macmillan, British Heart Foundation, Mojatu FGM, Slimming World, Love Hearts and many more. Action for Blind People will be offering free eye tests, and free blood pressure, BMI and diabetes checks are available from City Care Community Nurses. A reflexologist will be offering sessions, as well as donating a free session in the prize raffle draw.

 

A feature new to this year’s festival is the Hyson Green Sport’s Day Races; in order to promote an active lifestyle, the festival will play host to its very own sport’s day events - not just for kids! There will be volunteers on hand to guide the races and keep the scores, and potential prizes to be won.

 

There is plenty more to be announced in the run-up to the festival. To keep up to date with the latest teasers and line-up announcements, you can follow Hyson Green Cultural Festival on Facebook and Twitter @HGCFnotts.

 

The promoters of Hyson Green Cultural Festival are keen to involve more local businesses and charities. If you would like to make an enquiry about running your own stall at the festival, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information and a booking form.

 

We are also looking for a dedicated team to help run events on the day. For volunteering opportunities, email hysongreenculturalfestival(at)gmail.com.  

On Wednesday 6 July, thousands of Zimbabweans participated in a peaceful ‘stay-at-home’ protest against the ruling Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). Without staff, many businesses were forced to close, including foreign banks and department stores.

Twitter was alive with protest hashtags #ZimShutDown2016, #ThisFlag, and Shona slogans #hatichada #hatichatya (‘we’ve had enough, we are not afraid’) and #Tajamuka (‘we strongly disagree’). Pictures of Harare’s empty streets circulated on social media and international news outlets. It was one of Zimbabwe’s most impressive anti-government mobilisations in recent times.

A week later, on Tuesday 12 July, protest organiser Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested and charged with ‘inciting public violence’ – but the charge was amended to ‘subverting constitutional government’ in court the next day. In a show of solidarity, more than 100 lawyers gathered in the packed courtroom to represent him while outside, crowds draped themselves in the nation’s flag as a symbol of his message. Mawarire was released to cheering crowds that evening and was soon back to promoting the non-violent campaign against a government seen to have failed millions of Zimbabweans.

Statistics suggest that 2016 could be Zimbabwe’s most active year of protests yet
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These events unsettled the ruling party, and are an inspiring story of grassroots mobilisation in the context of a stifled and suppressed active civil society. But it remains unclear whether the movement has traction beyond the urban area, and how it intends to bring about real political change. Mawarire insists he does not aim to bring about regime change, while the ruling ZANU-PF is hard-lined in their response to protest. The party also retains paramount control in Zimbabwe’s rural areas, where almost two-thirds of the population live.

Furthermore, apart from two parliamentarians from the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T), who wore the national flag around their necks in session, there has been little indication to date that the opposition intends to endorse or associate with Mawarire and the movement as a political platform ahead of the 2018 elections.

Whether it’s due to fear of state reprisal or playing into exactly what President Robert Mugabe wants (any grounds to criminalise and implicate MDC) – or because there is hope that Mawarire will himself form a new party – the lack of support by the opposition could limit the medium- and long-term impact of the protests.

Trends in riots and protests in Zimbabwe, according to the Armed Conflict Location Event Data Project (ACLED) show that spontaneous riots and protests have been increasing; particularly since 2010.

Protests and riots in Zimbabwe, 1 January 1998 - 9 July 20161998199920002001200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016050100150200YearNumber of riots and protests
  Riots and protests
1998 77
1999 55
2000 11
2001 14
2002 12
2003 15
2004 12
2005 54
2006 21
2007 41
2008 26
2009 65
2010 24
2011 30
2012 63
2013 47
2014 114
2015 151
2016 67
 

Source: ACLED Version 6 (1997-2015) and ACLED Real Time Data 9 July 2016

Historically, landmark protests in Zimbabwe have come in response to disputed elections, inflation and state-led violence. In 1998, mass protests against inflation led by the National Constitutional Assembly (the foundation of the MDC), attracted tens of thousands of participants. High activity was also seen in 2005 and 2009.

The activity in 2005 reflects the public response to Operation Murambatsvina, which saw over 700 000 people forcibly removed from informal settlements in the capital and protests related to the contested parliamentary elections. The spike in 2009 is largely attributable to the hyperinflation and near economic collapse at the time. This was also in the context of political bargaining within the ZANU-MDC power-sharing agreement framework.

Recent protest action highlights the dearth of leadership options for Zimbabweans
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Since 2013 and the national elections that effectively returned Zimbabwe to one-party dominance, civil society’s ability to mobilise has been significantly curtailed. Nevertheless, 2014 and 2015 recorded the most protest events in Zimbabwe’s recent history. In 2016, heightened protest activity has been driven by cash shortages, long queues at ATMs, corruption allegations and an import ban.

In May, the MDC-T held major protests against ZANU-PF in Harare and Bulawayo, which gathered upwards of 10 000 participants. In response, ZANU-PF mobilised an estimated 200 000 people for its Million Man March. The above graph shows that at only halfway into 2016, the 67 protests and riots already surpass each of the annual totals since 1998 – suggesting that 2016 could be the most active year of protests yet.

Momentum for the #ThisFlag movement has grown significantly since Mawarire launched his widely viewed YouTube video in April. In June, he led a protest against the Reserve Bank’s introduction of new bond notes, which are to serve as a non-convertible but United States dollar-pegged local currency in an attempt to counter the currency crisis.

By 1 July, Beitbridge – the border point with South Africa that sees an estimated 15 000 people pass each day – was host to a number of road blockages and the burning of a warehouse. Shortly thereafter, a taxi driver protest in Harare turned violent and coincided with a number of smaller and more peaceful mobilisations by nurses, doctors and teachers, all demanding overdue salaries.

ZANU-PF’s response to public dissent and opposition is swift and repressive. The 1998 mass mobilisation was met with military deployment. Similarly, in July 2005, the protest in Harare’s informal settlements by labour strikers was forcibly squashed as part of Operation Murambatsvina. In 2007, Amnesty International condemned the violent arrests of the key organisers of the stay-away protest against inflation. In the last month, over 300 protestors were believed to be arrested, and many beaten.

The Zimbabwean economic crisis is exacerbated by the severe drought
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In a country where mobile phone penetration is at 95% and Internet penetration at 50%, it is no surprise then that online protest is effective. As an alternative to state media, blogging websites such as Kubatana have been a platform for public discussion since the early 2000s. In the run-up to and during the 2008 elections, over 31 of its bloggers called for the end of Mugabe’s rule and shared their experiences in trying to withdraw much-needed cash from ATMs, along with victims’ accounts of police brutality.

On 6 July, in the middle of the stay-at-home protest, instant messaging service WhatsApp was mysteriously shut down – effectively preventing protestors from communicating and mobilising. With the president unable to pay the police and military on time, the state’s ability to physically control protest is limited, which may have led the government to act more creatively.

It is well known that behind the public dissatisfaction is a sad story of 36-year dominance by Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF; the suppression of opposition; and a near-permanent economic crisis. After years of negative growth, the economy experienced nascent recovery in 2010 to 2012. However, year-on-year GDP growth has fallen to around 1.8% in 2015 and there is a similarly dismal expectation for 2016, due to unsustainable expenditure shored up by budget deficit funding.

There is little certainty about the faces we’ll see in Zimbabwe’s 2018 presidential race
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The economic crisis is exacerbated by the severe drought that has ravaged the region. According to the Zimbabwean government, one third of the population is in need of food aid.

Furthermore, the country is in serious debt. Over the past year, discussions between the Zimbabwean government, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank have culminated in an agreement to pay back nearly US$2 billion in order to secure new short- to medium-term loans.

But, according to the IMF, any new loan will likely come with conditions to reduce the public sector payroll and reform the controversial land policy. This would have policy implications that are likely to exacerbate the public’s existing grievances, and catalyse new tensions between factions within the ruling party in the run-up to the presidential elections in 2018.

Mawarire’s movement highlights growing impatience with the never-ending economic insecurity. It also highlights the dearth of leadership options for Zimbabweans going forward. With the 92-year-old president’s questionable health; a fractured and weakened MDC; and growing tensions within ZANU-PF – particularly between the executive and the security sector – there is little certainty about the candidates and key messages we are likely to see in the 2018 race.

Yet there’s no doubt that Mugabe and ZANU-PF face unprecedented challenges ahead of 2018. The non-violent protest movement, including the social media activity to support it, is just one example of the new levels of civic engagement that appear to have outsmarted the current regime’s ability to counter dissent. Both in terms of the economic situation and protest movement, the next weeks and months will be crucial in determining the country’s trajectory.

Ciara Aucoin, Researcher, African Futures and Innovation, ISS Pretoria

Whatever your view about the result of the EU referendum, it’s clear that charities now have an important role to play in fostering community cohesion, especially in the wake of a rise in the number of reported incidents of racial abuse and hate crime: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-eu-referendum-racial-racism-abuse-hate-crime-reported-latest-leave-immigration-a7104191.html.

Today at 2.30pm the Home Office Minister Karen Bradley will make a statement on hate crime. It’s worth watching out for this. We will cover it on the @ConstructiveVox twitter feed.

Given the work you do, we would like to suggest that following the statement you might want to get in touch with your local or national media and get your voice heard.

 

You need to be clear about:

1.   1.  Why you are concerned

2.   2.  What you may already have noticed happening

3.   3.  What needs to be done - make sure you set out a few concrete, practical suggestions.

This can be done via:

1.   1. Writing a letter to a newspaper. Here a few of the big national ones, but also consider your local paper.

  Guardian guardian.letters(at)theguardian.com

  Observer observer.letters(at)observer.co.uk

  Times  letters(at)thetimes.co.uk

  Daily Telegraph dtletters(at)telegraph.co.uk

  Financial Times letters.editor(at)ft.com

Remember, you need to react to a particular article and include your name, address, postcode and phone number for verification.

2. Calling a radio phone-in.

  Listen out for opportunities you could contribute to. There are endless discussions now about the impact of Brexit.

  This could be your local radio station or a national stations LBC (0345 6060 973) and BBC Radio 5live (0500 909 693) who have daily phone-ins. It’s often easier to get on air that you might think.

3. Sending a press release or personal blog to your local or national media contacts.

Check online and on twitter which journalists are covering the news about hate crime and racist attacks. Use #hatecrime #postrefracism #racism

Do ask Constructive Voices (constructivevoices(at)ncvo.org.uk) if you need help with this.

4. Using twitter

Put a pinned tweet (at the top of your timeline) outlining your response, ideally linked to a blog or press release on your website.

Encourage people to join you in your work. As Zoe Williams in the Guardian appeals – “be a joiner, not a dabbler: get involved with refugee charities, with migrants’ rights groups, with the apparatus of inclusion and love that decent people have been building for decades.” http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/28/brexit-fallout-six-practical-ways-to-fix-this-mess

It’s now more vital than ever that your voice is heard loud and clear as you have valuable advice to offer. Do let us know what you are doing and if you manage to get coverage.

By Enock Muchinjo — The Olympic Games are a global spectacle, the world’s most exciting multi-sport event. Africa, though, has underachieved at the Olympics, although this time around in Rio de Janeiro, there is new hope that the continent can finally start to make its mark in other disciplines other than distance running – where Kenya and Ethiopia have hauled a respectable number of medals. Enock Muchinjo previews the Games with African lenses.

Let the Games begin!

Today, the familiar murmurs of skepticism towards non-global economic powers hosting major international sporting events will give way to reverberating sound of both joy and relief as Brazil’s coastal city of Rio de Janeiro officially unveils the festivities of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

Joy because the Olympics is the world’s biggest sporting party, a stage where the entertainers, athletes drawn from all over the planet across multiple sporting codes, not only thrill with highly-charged battles for supremacy, but in line with the Olympic spirit, also strive to be “faster, higher and stronger.”

Millions of Brazilians will of course breathe a collective sigh of relief that after all, despite some notable stars pulling out of the games in fear of the Zika virus, most of the world’s leading sportsmen and women will strut their stuff in the land of the samba – defying calls for the games to be moved elsewhere.

The Russian doping scandal, which came to light before the games and could so easily have resulted in a blanket ban on all athletes from that country, also threatened to mar the Rio Olympics. But, thankfully, that did not directly have anything to do with the host.

Brazil’s biggest apprehension about the games was external lingering doubt over its readiness and capacity to host a successful Olympic Games.

South Africa was subject to such scrutiny before the 2010 football World Cup, and Brazil itself had to undergo deep inspection when it was its turn to host the world football’s greatest showpiece two years later.

Both South Africa and Brazil put up quite an impressive show, a source of enormous pride for both Africa and Latin America, the global south.

More of that later, though – after Brazil has hosted what should be an astonishingly successful Rio Olympics that will quell fears and surprise skeptics.

Africa’s best hope

Let’s for now focus on Africa’s prospects in Rio.

Is this the year athletes from the continent will start to make their well-known physical prowess count in terms of competing equally on the medal table?

There are a few guarantees for the continent.

Kenya, South Africa and Ethiopia – in that order Africa’s highest ranked nations on the all-time Olympic medal table – will once again lead the continent’s charge.

Kenya and Ethiopia’s world-class long-distance runners are the bedrock on which their success is based.

There is a lot more Africa can achieve at the Rio Olympics due to the increased funding and training afforded to athletes from different codes by the International Olympic Committee,”says Titus Zvomuya, a member of Zimbabwe’s Olympics committee and the country’s chef de mission in Rio.

As for South Africa, they are just a sports-mad country. Mzansi’s rich sporting heritage, versatility across a variety of disciplines and unparalleled investment in sport in Africa makes them tough competitors in a lot of Olympic sports.

But who will be the Rainbow Nation’s main medal hopefuls in Rio?

Swimmer Chad Le Clos will carry the hopes of a big nation after he won gold in the 200-metre butterfly and silver in the 100-metre butterfly in the 2012 Olympics in London.

Middle-distance runner Caster Semenya and 400m specialist Wayde Van Niekerk are also in there with a chance for South Africa.

All eyes on Kenya

In Kenya, all eyes will be on the East African country’s track and field team, as is always the case, but sadly this time around it’s also for the wrong reasons.

In the past few months, an expose commissioned by The Times of London and German TV channel ARD, claimed it found evidence of “widespread doping” among Kenyan and European athletes at high altitude training camps in the North Rift region.

In the past few years, 42 Kenyan athletes have been banned for doping, the most prominent being former Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo.

The increase in positive cases prompted the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to place Kenya on a doping watch list, later declaring the country “non-compliant.”

But expect Kenya to shrug off  that and, once again, claim a glut of medals at yet another edition of the Olympics.

The Kenyans are poised to dominate in their most favoured event, the men’s 3000m steeplechase, where Ezekiel Kemboi, Brimin Kipruto and Conseslus Kipruto make up the team for Rio.

Ethiopia, Kenya’s fellow East Africans, are in fact chasing what would be a remarkable Olympic record in Rio. They stand a chance of becoming the next nation to achieve a medal sweep in an athletics event at the Olympics, a feat they recorded by winning the gold, silver and bronze in the women’s 5000m at last year’s IAAF World Championships.

To date, 10 nations have achieved the feat: USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Russia, Soviet Union, Finland, Kenya, Unified Team, East Germany and Jamaica.

Kirsty, Africa’s best Olympian

Still on the subject of Olympic records, down the continent in the south, Zimbabwean sporting icon Kirsty Coventry is aiming to become the most decorated individual female swimmer in the history of the Olympics. The 32-year-old former Olympic champion and world record holder – currently tied on seven medals with Hungarian swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi – is just one podium finish away from writing her own piece of history.

Pity, Coventry hasn’t had the privilege of competing in relays because of Zimbabwe’s lack of depth, otherwise she could have won a few more medals at the Olympics.

Coventry, with seven individual medals, is already Africa’s most successful athlete in the history of the Olympics in terms of medals.  No one from the continent has won more medals than her without the support of teammates.

Coventry’s achievements (she is her country’s only ever individual Olympics medalist), perhaps best tells the story of Africa at the Olympics – success in numbers is infrequent, a once-in-a-life-time sort of thing.

We saw that when Mozambican maestro Maria Mutola exited the scene.It is the same with the sprinter Frankie Fredericks of Namibia. And what happened after Tunisia’s Ousamma Melloudi became the first African male to win an Olympic swimming medal at Athens 2008, and long-distance runner Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea won his country’s first ever Olympic medal?

Africa will only achieve consistency and greater success at the Olympics with more action going towards longer term athlete and coach development, more action in providing athletes with the facilities and equipment they need and greater governance to increase trust and attract local corporate sponsorships.

But let us not digress. We are still in Rio. There are more Africans athletes and teams hoping to compete well.

Who else is there to look up to?

Angola’s basketball team is constantly the best in Africa, and often stretches some of the top international sides to the limit.

In later years, Nigeria has joined Angola at the pinnacle of African basketball, thanks chiefly to American-born professionals retracing their Nigeria roots and representing their homeland with distinction.

Nigerian basketball is currently flying high, having recently won their first Afrobasket title, and going to the Olympics for a second consecutive time.

Perhaps not exactly medal hopefuls yet, but the Angolans and Nigerians will add an African flavour to the basketball competition in Brazil.

Up north, Egypt and Tunisia are regularly competitive across such disciplines as weightlifting, shooting, wrestling, sailing, swimming, gymnastics, badminton and boxing.

But in the case of Egypt, they have been dealt a heavy blow ahead of Rio in terms of medal prospects after Ihab Abdelrahman, a silver medallist in the men’s javelin at last year’s World Championships, was suspended for failing a doping test.

The 27-year-old secured Egypt’s first medal at a major athletic championship in Beijing last year and was the country’s biggest hope for a medal in Brazil.

What of the athletes and teams that have best characterised the spirit of the Olympics by defying a host of challenges to make it to Rio?

Look no further than Zimbabwe’s women football team, which has had to endure low pay, deplorable camping conditions, poor diet and training facilities on top of unequal treatment – yet they went on to become the first team from their country to qualify for a major football tournament.

Fellow countrywoman Kirsty Coventry has lauded the courageous footballers, saying they have already achieved great things by qualifying.

“For the first time in history, the Zimbabwe woman’s soccer team qualified for the Olympics – this is success. The future for Zimbabwe at the Olympics is in the hands of all stakeholders and for it to be a successful future then all stakeholders need to put their sweat and tears into it, not just the athletes.”

High praise indeed, coming from an Olympic champion. But wait: the Zimbabwean female footballers are adamant they are not in Rio to just make up the numbers.

Africa will need this kind of fire to leave a lasting mark.

Notts County midfielder Curtis Thompson has signed an extended contract 

Red Devils Advocate: Could signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic actually be a bad idea

Real United FC has had a very successful season that saw them perform very well despite huge competition and limited resources.

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or How to resolve common WordPress Security issues 

There may be a lot of content management systems around, but none of them can hold a candle to WordPress. Hey, 16.2 million sites as of November 5, 2015 should give you an idea just how vastly superior and beloved this system is. WordPress security and actionable tips to prevent WordPress hacking though - still has a way to go. However, we want to help you secure your WordPress website from the get go - preventention is better than cure, so make sure you action these tips to prevent WordPress hacking.

 

How to Prevent WordPress Hacking - Wordpress Security

Those millions of sites, however, also face serious attacks from annoying little sods who apparently, have nothing better to do with their time but spread misery far and wide: Hackers. It’s not uncommon to wake up one morning to find your beautifully assembled website waxing poetic about herbal enlargement pills or some cause in middle-east. Empathy is short lived when it’s your personal space they’re defacing with stupid quotes. Screaming incoherently is the first course of action you will take when your site is hosting full-page ads and redirects to shadier aspects of ‘pharma’ companies.

 

If you’re terrified, you’re justified. Everybody wants to prevent WordPress hacking. Recovering can take some intense time and effort. So harden your WordPress with these WordPress security best practices, lest that horrible fate befalls you. And yes, it’ll take some time and continuous effort to avoid WordPress hacking.

 

Don't like to get your hands dirty with code? Try iThemes security and let it do the dirty work.

 

If you don't want to go through a lot of messing of files, enabling of different plugins, and lots of other things you don't really go - we also have the easy way out for you. iThemes Security is the best WordPress security plugin to secure and protect your WordPress site.

 

Send me WordPress Security checklist

 

Not interested in WP plugins just yet? Read on!

 

We’ll work up to some code work, but first, let’s take care of the basics of WordPress security issues. Starting with:

 

1. Preventing WordPress hacking starts with your workstation

This is the first and most easily overlooked: your computer. You should always keep your system free of malware and viruses, especially if you’re accessing the internet with it (which you are, of course). Workstation security is even more essential when you are conducting transactions and have a website, because all it takes is a keylogger to knock out the most hardened of WordPress websites. A keylogger will read all your usernames and passwords and send them to hackers - which of course is going to create a whole host of issues and problems for your.

 

Stay safe and regularly update your OS, software, and browsers on your computer. Use a good anti-virus service. Keep your eyes peeled for any vulnerability on your system and remove it before it becomes a massive pain.

 

2. Stay protected from the latest security threats with WordPress Updates

Secure WordPress through it's updates

Every time a software package gets updated, it does so in the midst of a wave of excitement. You are excited because, hey, new features! Hackers are excited because Security and Maintenance Release notes. This is because, unfortunately, each WordPress update brings along with it a number of WordPress security vulnerabilities.

 

WordPress is no different. With every new update we get additional features and upgrades, along with a page listing the security flaws in previous version and their fixes. That page is practically a cheat-sheet for hackers everywhere. Should you fail to update in time, those security flaws will be the bane of your existence. And if your site gets hacked, it will be no-one’s fault but your own. 

 

So don’t give lazier hackers a chance to wriggle in. Install the latest version of WordPress as soon as it’s released. If you’re afraid it will mess up your carefully crafted website (it’s been known to happen), create a backup before you update. This will resolve any WordPress security issues which existed in the previous version - and goes a very very long way to prevent wordpress hacking.

 

Want your WordPress to get updated automatically? Check out InMotion for your hosting - they have excellent WordPress specific features so you can update WordPress automatically as soon as they are out. We're on InMotion, and we love it!

 

3. Prevent WordPress hacking: Make sure that your Hosting Server is secure

Did you know that by 2013, an approximate 41% WordPress websites were hacked through server vulnerabilities?

 

This rather alarming fact is true because a majority of WordPress sites/blogs are hosted on shared servers. Basically, if one site on a shared server gets infected, every other site is at risk, regardless of how secure the site/blog is otherwise. You’ll get hacked through no fault of your own.

 

Thought exercise: Have you ever been inside a soup kitchen? Can you picture one and imagine what happens in there? If you’re one of those lucky enough to have escaped that travesty, I’ll give you a taster (pun intended). Think of everything that has ever happened since the kitchen came into existence, spills and breaks, leaks and splashes. In a soup kitchen server, those things are never gone. They become a part of the kitchen.

 

Now imagine the same happening to your site. A server which scoffs at maintenance has devolved into a soup kitchen already. Unused files, data, sites, and more pile up until they become a security threat to current sites.

 

So choose a reliable and secure host. VPS and managed hosting minimizes chances of breaches and are excellent for e-commerce sites. If shared hosting is enough for you, check out their security before subscribing for space on them. Make sure to check their maintenance schedule. This is another step which should be on your priority list if you want to prevent WordPress hacking.

 

4. Use Network Security to prevent password and data interception

Over an unsecure connection, data can be intercepted and you can be hacked before being able to say “unencrypted”.

 

This is why you should focus on secure network connections and encryptions: server side, client side, and all the sides. Find a host that allows SFTP/SSH encryption to protect your data and information from malicious intercepts.

 

5. Prevent WordPress hacking through complex passwords

Complex Passwords for improved security

Essential WordPress security tip: create a secure password and don't reuse passwords

 

Our next step on how to protect WordPress from hackers talks about a much cliched topic - passwords.

 

A startling number of people think long, complicated passwords are overrated and will prefer something shorter and easier to remember; a fact hackers know and take advantage of.

 

There is no other way to put this: a good strong password comprised of letters, numbers, and any other valid characters will actually go a long way to protect your WordPress blog. Brute force algorithm works endlessly, yes. But the more number of characters there are in your password, the longer it takes to crack it. And I mean exponentially longer.

 

Recommended Reading: 10 WordPress security tips for your website

 

Any personal details, or a password based on them, will be easy to crack. Don’t use single words (regardless of length), letters-only, or numbers-only passwords either. What you’re trying to do is break the known patterns to make hacking difficult, if not impossible.

 

Create a password which is easy to remember but hard to guess to prevent WordPress hacking - if your blog is about WordPress security, make it something like pressmyWORDSand5ecurit!$

 

6. WordPress Security through isolation: Keep your WordPress Databases Secure and isolated

Your database knows everything that has ever happened on your site. It’s a veritable well of information and that makes it damn near irresistible to hackers.

 

Automated codes for SQL injections can be run to hack into WordPress databases with relative ease. If you are running multiple sites/blogs from a single server (and database), all your sites are at risk.

 

As the code resource puts it, it’s best to use individual databases for each blog/site and give them to be managed by separate users. You can also revoke all database privileges except data read and data write from users who will only work with posting/ uploading data and installing plugins. It is not recommended though, due to schema change privileges required in major updates.

 

You should also rename your database (by changing its prefix) to misdirect the hackers aiming their attacks on it. Although this does not prevent WordPress hacking per se, it makes sure that if any databases are compromised, the hackers can't hope to the next WordPress installation.

 

7. Hide WordPress login and admin name

Next on how to secure WordPress from hackers concerns the WP Administration.

 

Leaving WordPress defaults untouched is practically asking for trouble.

 

It is laughably simple to find your site’s admin name if you don’t actively hide it. All a hacker needs is to add ?author=1 after your URL and the person/member who shows up is most likely the admin. Imagine how easy it would be for the hackers to use brute force once they find the admin’s username. How can you prevent WordPress hacking if you are leaving so much information available, make exploitation easier?

 

Solution to prevent WordPress hacking: Hide all usernames with this code in functions.php file:

 

add_action(‘template_redirect’, ‘bwp_template_redirect’);

 

function bwp_template_redirect()

 

{

 

  if (is_author())

 

  {

 

    wp_redirect( home_url() ); exit;

 

  }

 

}

 

Your WordPress login page is also easy to access, and not just for you. I can simply add wp-admin or wp-login.php after your homepage URL, fill the username I learned from ?author=1 and sip mint juleps while the algorithm cracks your password.

 

Use the age old technique of ‘smoke-and-mirrors’ and change your login page URL to make the hackers’ job that much difficult. WordPress security plugins like Stealth Login will even do it for you - and once again, doing this simple step will go a bery long way in preventing WordPress hacking.

 

Not sure whether you can deal with all this?

 

Need some help? Have a look at iThemes Security Pro - one plugin and your WordPress is safe. Guaranteed.

 

8. Prevent WordPress hacking through security plugins and tricks to protect wp-admin

Your wp-admin is a seat of authority. The login page and admin directory are available to all: including those with malicious intent. To protect it and prevent WordPress hacking, you’ll need to work just a bit harder.

 

A strong password, a different administrator account (with a username that’s anything but ‘admin’), and using Stealth Login plugin to rename your WordPress login links will make definetely help to prevent hacking.

 

You can also strengthen the guard around admin with WordPress security plugins like:

 

Limit Login Attempts

With a bit of code coupled with unlimited login attempts, any hacker will eventually break in. You can restrict the amount of liberty anyone is allowed to take with admin login page using Limit Login Attempts. It will limit number of login attempts for each IP address, including your own (with auth cookies).

 

SSL - this encrypts your communications

Use the power of Private SSL to secure admin login, area, posts, and more. This enables encryption on your login sessions, meaning the password is difficult to intercept. You'll need to get an SSL Certificate and get it installed on your hosting server. InMotion offer SSL certificates for free on their hosting plans - so if you still haven't maybe it's time to switch to InMotion to get your SSL too.

 

Once you have confirmed with your hosting provider that you have Shared SSL and then paste this code in wp-config.php:

 

define(’FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true);

 

Acunetix Secure WordPress

This plugin is a superb security solution in general, but some key features make it even better. First of all, it runs a WordPress security scan. It also pays close attention to preventive measures so you actually prevent WordPress hacking from happening in the first place. To protect admin area, it will remove error information from the login page.

 

That may not sound like much, but the error message actually helps hackers find out if they had gotten anything right. Removing the message (hint) takes away that advantage. If you want to avoid WordPress hacking, get at least some of these plugins set up.

 

Top Tip: Advanced WordPress Security

 

The rest of the tips requiring tinkering with your WordPress installations, which brings along some risk. If you'd rather not tinker around with your installation, you might want to hire a WordPress developer to help you out.

 

9. Prevent WordPress hacking through wp-includes security

Let’s get this straight: wp-includes is the core. It should be left alone, even by you. And by no means should it be left accessible to potential hackers.

 

So prevent any malicious persons/ bots from sending unwanted scripts straight to the heart of your WordPress to prevent hacking. Add this before #BEGIN WordPress in your .htaccess file:

 

# Block the include-only files.

 

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

 

RewriteEngine On

 

RewriteBase /

 

RewriteRule ^wp-admin/includes/ - [F,L]

 

RewriteRule !^wp-includes/ - [S=3]

 

RewriteRule ^wp-includes/[^/]+\.php$ - [F,L]

 

RewriteRule ^wp-includes/js/tinymce/langs/.+\.php - [F,L]

 

RewriteRule ^wp-includes/theme-compat/ - [F,L]

 

</IfModule>

 

# BEGIN WordPress

 

 

 

Note that you’ll have to omit the third RewriteRule if you want the code to work on Multisite.

 

10. Protect your wp-config for improved WordPress security

This is one of the WordPress security issues that is a bit controversial. Not everybody agrees with doing this.

 

Whether or not you actually move wp-config.php outside the root folder, there’s no denying that a bit of tweaking the code in this file can help harden security and prevent WordPress hacking.

 

Not sure whether you can handle all of this security stuff? There's one WordPress security plugin to rule them all. 

 

Start with disabling editing PHP files from dashboard, which is where the attacker will concentrate after hacking through an access point. Add this to wp-config.php

define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true);

 

$table_prefix is placed before all your database tables. You can prevent SQL injection based attacks by changing its value from the default wp_.

$table_prefix = 'r235_';

 

Move wp-content directory from its default position with this

define( 'WP_CONTENT_DIR', $_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT'] . '/blog/wp-content' );

 

define( 'WP_CONTENT_URL', 'http://example/blog/wp-content');

 

define( 'WP_PLUGIN_DIR', $_SERVER['DOCUMENT_ROOT'] . '/blog/wp-content/plugins');

 

define( 'WP_PLUGIN_URL', 'http://example/blog/wp-content/plugins');

 

Now if you’re not a developer, you don’t have much use of error logs. You can keep them from being accessible with this:

 

error_reporting = 4339

 

display_errors = Off

 

display_startup_errors = Off

 

log_errors = On

 

error_log = /home/example.com/logs/php_error.log

 

log_errors_max_len = 1024

 

ignore_repeated_errors = On

 

ignore_repeated_source = Off

 

html_errors = Off

 

You can find more details on configuring error logging (and how to hide logs from public), but you don’t really need to delve that deep.

 

 

 

11. Backup your WordPress site (just in case)

Wordpress Backup

This is the safety net. A backup is one of the first things you’ll need to restore your site if you do get hacked.

 

Backup your site at least as frequently as you run maintenance or update it. There’s no excuse to be lax in this department, not when there are some quite thorough services and plugins that will run automated backups for you. There is VaultPress, UpdraftPlus, WP-DB-Backup, BackupBuddy, etc.

 

Recommended Reading: Native vs plugin - WordPress backup using different methods

 

Create a schedule and let the plugin do the rest. Some of these plugins come with easy restore options. Check to ensure that the plugin is backing up entire site, including all databases and directories. All though this does not prevent WordPress hacking, it gives you peace of mind of restoring your site if the unthinkable happens.

 

12. Use trusted sources only for downloads

If you are running on a tight budget (and even if you aren’t), you might be tempted by the option of getting all the features and functionalities of premium plugins/themes for free. In short: pirated goods.

 

You can't prevent WordPress hacking if you are downloading premium stuff from ill-reputed or unauthorized sources - they will come back to punch you in the heart. They are ill-reputed because they will fill those legit ‘premium’ plugins/themes with malware and let the stupid folks do the rest. A hidden backdoor will be all they need to convert your brand’s online appearance into a giant poster for enlargement pills - or even worse, malware. Your site will quickly get blacklisted, even from search engines and browsers if it contains malware. You'll need much more than WordPress security to fix these problems.

 

This is a known and very popluar tactic of hackers. Pirated themes and plugins are riddled with backdoors and malware. This is one of the easiest WordPress security issues to resolve really  away from.

 

Remember: Pirated stuff? Don’t bother.

 

You’re good with WordPress Themes and Plugins directories, so try sticking to those. You can also trust sources like Envato Market (Theme Forest, Code Canyon), Elegant Themes, etc.

 

13. Secure your WordPress by looking like a Pro

A rookie is easier to hack. At least, that’s what most hackers think (not incorrectly). Even the Bible says: Abstain from all appearances of being an amateur; even, and especially if you are one.

 

Change all defaults: posts, comments, usernames, directory names, etc. It’s easier when you’re setting up. If you already have WordPress up and running, go to Settings > Miscellaneous (in your Admin controls) to change directory names. This will be another step in your drive to prevent WordPress hacking and make hacking your site much more difficult.

 

To hide which version of WordPress you’re on, remember to delete /wp-admin/install.php and wp-admin/upgrade.php. Take it a step further and remove meta generator tag (“”) from wp-content/your_theme_name/header.php. You should also remove version detail from RSS feed.

 

To do this, open wp-includes/general-template.php. Around line 1860 you’ll find this:

 

function the_generator ( $args) {

 

echo apply_filters('the_generator', get_ the_generator($args), $ args). "\n";

 

}

 

Add a hash before ‘echo’ command and you’re golden.

 

function the_generator ( $args ) {

 

#echo apply_filters('the_generator', get_ the_generator ($args), $type). "\n";

 

}

 

14. Strong WordPress Security requires correct File permissions

The rule of thumb is 755 for directories and 644 for files. Although, this varies depending upon server and the type of file in question - in most cases, you should work very well with these permissions. It would be best to ask your host to check, or if you've got direct access, you can do this yourself.

 

For directories:

 

find /path/to/your/wordpress/install/ -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

 

For files:

 

find /path/to/your/wordpress/install/ -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \;

 

15. WordPress Security sins: Never ever set file permissions to 777 (not even temporarily)

If you are serious about wanting to prevent WordPress hacking - NEVER set file/directory permission to 777 unless you want to give complete control over it to everyone, including hackers. There is a very dangerous tendency amongst beginners to set file permissions to 777, "because it's easy", or "because we'll fix it later", or "because I'll change it later". This is extremely dangerous - 777 means anybody who wants can change the contents of that file. With those permissions set, your website is an open house. Once they have access to one file, rest assured it is very easy to jump to other files or install backdoors and other nasty stuff to your site.

 

WordPress codex gives you a complete guide to file permissions: how to change them and the recommended permissions for some files. You need to balance security with functionality, so start low and gradually increase permissions till you get it right. The right file permissions will surely help avoid WordPress hacking. Again, this is one of easier WordPress security issues to prevent, you just need to be aware of it.

 

16. Allow access to WP admin and login to your IP only through IP filtering

A very simple, elegant way to restrict access to login page and admin area is through IP filtering. All you need to do is add this code to .htaccess:

 

<Files wp-login.php>

Order Deny, Allow

Deny from All

Allow from [Add your IP address (es) here]

</Files>

 

Now that works only for static IPs, but you can do the same for dynamic IPs with this:

 

<Files wp-login.php>

Order Deny, Allow

Deny from All

Allow from [Add your domain name here]

</Files>

 

To restrict access to wp-admin directory, add this to .htaccess:

 

<FilesMatch ".*">

Order Deny, Allow

Deny from All

Allow from [Add your IP address (es) here]

</FilesMatch>

 

By domain name:

 

<FilesMatch ".*">

Order Deny, Allow

Deny from All

Allow from [Add your domain name here]

</FilesMatch>

 

Source: blog.Sucuri.net

 

17. WordPress Security Plugins to Prevent WordPress hacking

Although we don't tend to advocate the use of many plugins, when it comes to WordPress security plugins, there are some which you really might want to install to increase the security of your site.

 

Wordress Security Plugins

iThemes Security Pro - Listen, many of the above actions are a bit technical no doubt about that. We get that. If you are not technically inclined, we have the solution for you. iThemes Security is the best WordPress security plugin to secure and protect your WordPress site.

Two-Step Authentication

Google Authenticator and Duo Two-Factor Authentication are great choices for adding an extra layer of protection on your login page. An authorization code will be sent to your email/ mobile, without which the user/hacker will not be able to log in.

 

Block Bad Queries

Is there anything better than a nice BBQ? This plugin will block URI strings containing eval( base 64 and other suspiciously long request strings.

 

Theme Authenticity Checker

Check your theme for malware and hidden backdoors with this plugin before someone exploits those weaknesses in an otherwise secure site/blog.

 

Antivirus Plugins

This one is a no-brainer. Conduct frequent site scans and eradicate them before they take hold. Plugins/ services like Codeguard, Sucuri, Wordfence, etc. Previously mentioned Acunetix Secure WordPress is another good one. Exploit Scanner will check your site inside out for malicious code too.

 

The Essential Checklist to full WordPress Security - YouTube version

 

Thanks to Webucator, a provider of WordPress training, we've got this checklist created as a video.

 

 

 

Bottom Line

If you’re confused, just go for a managed hosting solution and let someone else handle it for you.

 

This is just the beginning. As WordPress continues to evolve, so will the hackers and their attempts to infiltrate your site and chuck you out. Stay one step ahead by learning more about your friendly CMS and keeping up with updates and your stay on top of wordpress security - this will for sure ensure you prevent WordPress hacking.

 

Stay secure.

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...TOP TIPs for finding good WordPress developers for hire

As a WordPress blogger, you might have a habit of doing everything by yourself; whether it is writing the blog posts, tweaking your theme or creating a landing page. It is totally justifiable as there are a lot of tutorials out there, which would help you to do those things by yourself. However, you can offload work if you find WordPress developers for hire.

When you’re not absolutely sure about what you’re doing, or if you are getting very busy with your own work, a risk free method is always to hire a WordPress developer who knows WordPress inside-out.

The beauty of working on WordPress platform is that whenever you need a helping hand from a hired WordPress developer, it is quite easy to find and hire them based on your budget and your job specifications without any hassle. There are literally thousands of expert WordPress developers for hire.

In this post, we’ll explain how to find a WordPress experts and the necessary steps you should take to hire them for your next WordPress development project. 

 

WordPress Developers for hire

TOP Essential TIP

Finding a good WordPress developer for hire is not something which comes very easy. Unless you use a good screening site such as Toptal below, finding a good developer will take time. This is because besides great developers, you’re going to find people who don’t have the necessary skills, scammers and others who are going to be a waste of your time.

When finding a WordPress developer for hire, first give them a very small job. Something which is not very high profile, not urgent and something which you know how it should be done.

With this first job, you can gauge the functionality, expertise, communication, timeliness, budgets and in general develop a good relationship with the WordPress developer that you want to hire for future projects.

If you start hiring WordPress developers without your own screening process, get prepared for a few miserable failures.

Hiring WordPress developers: a horror story

Before we actually start discussing how to find WordPress developers for hire - we want to tell you a short story. It's not nice. We really hope you don't go through anything like this.

We first tried hiring developers on Fiverr. We set our project and budget. Not a cheap one mind you, we went for a small plugin development project.

The first candidate we chose made a complete hash of things. Untested pages, broken and missing functionality. We dumped them and tried again. Same story, only this time, they were not responsive and they wanted payment outside of Fiverr (NEVER accept that). Then the work never materialized. 

Recovering our money was a huge hassle. We had to perform Credit Card chargebacks, and give proof that the work never materialized. The time we lost messing around with this was huge.

Our clients were NOT amused. We were already starting to get discouraged and were really starting to wonder where we could hire WordPress developers.

We then switched to another freelancing company. Same freaking story. We went through dozens of failed attempts of hiring WordPress developers. Suffice to say we learnt our lesson the hard way. Today we go through a rigorous process of vetting developers - it takes a lot of time and iterations and the results are not guaranteed.

We've also mostly abandoned these dirt cheap directories of cowboys, newbies and plain old clueless developers.

Finding WordPress developers for Hire

There are many ways to find WordPress developers for hire who can meet your requirements. Let’s look at a few of them.

Today, we only employ pre-vetted developers. To do that we go directly to the horse's mouth. Toptal - our favorite marketplace for developers employs the top 3% of talent only. Candidates they send you have been thoroughly tested before they are accepted as freelancers. We do strongly recommend that you start your search for a developer at Toptal

And that's why our #1 place to hire WordPress developer is:

  1. Toptal - hire the top 3% of freelance WordPress developers

WordPress developers for hire at toptal

Toptal is one of the best choices if you’re looking to hire top WordPress developers around the world. In order to identify the best talents, they’ve developed a rigorous screening process and don’t accept anyone who applies as a freelancer.  They claim that out of thousands of applications, only fewer than 3% are accepted and everyone who is accepted is a senior developer or designer.

Is hiring from Toptal a right choice for you?

If you’re looking to hire WordPress developer for part-time, your budget must be $1000-$1600+/week. Another thing to be noted is that Toptal is not available for every country. Click here to know if Toptal is available for your country.

You can hire WordPress developers on Toptal here.

2. Google search tricks for hiring WordPress developer

Using Google search is one of the best ways when it comes to finding a freelancer or an agency that are specialized in WordPress. Once you find their websites, all you need to do is to look at their portfolio, testimonials and start talking about your assignments.

With that said, for finding a WordPress expert if you used a generic search query on Google like “hire WordPress developer”, or “wordpress developer for hire” most likely it won’t cut much ice. You might be expecting the result that contains relevant websites of freelancers and WordPress agencies. In reality, you would end up with search results that include blog posts on the topic “hire a WordPress developer” or bidding sites that are successfully ranked well on such keywords.

Google search for hiring WordPress developers

Having said that, how would you effectively use Google to find a freelance WordPress developer for hire of services through their blog or website?

Instead of doing a generic search, enhance your search query by using Google search operators like ‘inurl’ and ‘site’.

For example, if I were you, here’s how I would be searching for a freelance WordPress developer for hire on Google who is currently available:

inurl:"hire me" wordpress developer -site:wordpress.org

Google search with syntax to find WordPress developers for hire

The above search query will restrict the results to the pages that contain the word “hire me” in the URL. In addition, it also avoids showing any pages from wordpress.org. These are more likely to find good results with WordPress developers for hire.

You are free to make any changes on your search query as per your requirement. The basic idea here is to find a huge list of freelancer websites, so you can compare their services easily and hire the right WordPress developer who meets your requirements.

Job boards with WordPress Developers for hire

Job boards are great places to find freelance WordPress developers for hire. The best thing is that unlike Google search, you don’t need to spend time on searching and contacting them individually, instead the WordPress programmers for hire will contact you, which can help you save significant amounts of time.  All you need to do is to list your job on these job board sites and compare between the proposals you receive from the applicants.

Below is a list of popular job boards where you can find WordPress programmers for hire.

3: WPMU Dev - WordPress Development jobs

Unlike Smashing Jobs, it is specifically targeted to WordPress related jobs. With the job board being dedicated, you’re going to find plenty of WordPress developers for hire. WPMUDEV, is one of the biggest companies around WordPress, so you would expect to having both WordPress users and WordPress developers to congregate around the site. To make easier for everybody to find WordPress developers for hire, the guys at WPMUDEV actually have a Job Board where you can post your job. 

Again, since anybody can apply for your job, you'll have to do the vetting of the hired WP developers yourself.

wpmudev job board for WordPress developers

4: Smashing Jobs

As it is integrated with award-winning Smashing Magazine, it is one of the best ways to find creative professionals including WordPress developers and programmers for hire. The job board is very busy, and posting a job here requires commitment from your side. Infact posting a freelance job entails a fee of $75, whilst a fulltime job has a fee of $225.

In reality, you should treat this as a normal hiring process - with interviews and assessing of skills as necessary.

The difference with this board is also that you won't just for WordPress developers for hire. This job board is open to all types of web designers and developers, so finding WordPress developers will require some sifting.

smashing jobs board to hire WordPress developers

 

5. WP Hired

This job board is not just a section of any popular website. WP Hired is a dedicated job board website for WordPress services. That makes it another excellent place to hire a WordPress developer. If you just have a quick job, you should be able to post this on the free plan, which allows you to post 1 job which stays up for 1 week. If you want your jobs to stay up for longer, and increase the chances of getting more respondents, you might want to go for one of the paid plans, which start from $39.99.

Of course, you are going to have to make your own selection here. The WordPress developers you hire here can be anyone who is able to upload a resume, so you'll have to go through your own selection process.

WPHired - a job board / website specifically for hiring WordPress developers

Outsourcing sites for hiring WordPress developers

Another way to find WordPress developers for hire for your next development project is using a bidding site or an outsourcing site. Best of all, this approach is one of the easiest ways to find and hire a WordPress developer or programmer.

Let’s look at a few outsourcing websites below including bidding sites and service marketplaces.

6. Codeable.io

Codeable claims to be the best outsourcing platform that are targeted specifically to WordPress. You can fulfill almost any kind of WordPress related jobs. This site is 100% dedicated to WordPress services outsourcing.

Like Toptal, Codeable actually vet their applicants and only allow the top 2% of applicants submitted to join their ranks. This is of course a sure way of knowing that any WordPress developers you hire here are going to be at the top of the game.

Again, an excellent place to find WordPress developers for hire. You don't really post your job here, you tell them what you need and you'll get a quotation and then the development process kicks off from there.

codeable for outsourcing WordPress development

7. Upwork.com

Upwork is a brand new bidding site launched by integrating popular freelancing platforms Elance and Odesk. All you need to do is to create an account on Upwork, list your job and accept bidding by freelancers. Once again, WordPress developers for hire will contact you, make an offer, show you their work and experience and then you select which offer you prefer.

Just like other freelancing sites where no vetting is done during the application process, you'll need to screen the developers your hire. We've had good and bad experiences hiring from Upwork, so make sure you start slowly with any developers you hire and ramp up as you assess the quality of the developers.

Fees for development work are agreed beforehand, but you are typically able to determine the budget. Of course, if you set a budget which is too low, you are probably not going to get much quality. You'll need to engage with the developers and negotiate as necessary many times.

This wouldn't be one of our primary recommendations, despite it's popularity.

upwork 

8. Envato Studio

Envato Studio is a marketplace for small services where you can outsource your WordPress related jobs to WordPress professionals. What makes Envato different from a bidding site is that instead of listing your job and asking freelancers to bid on it you can handpick them based on the services they offer. Again, if you want to hire WordPress developers, you can hang around and ask around for a while and then take your pick.

Although this may seem attractive initially, you're still going to do some homework to make sure the WordPress developer you hire has the skillset you are looking for. You are going to find plenty of developers who are going to cut prices to get jobs and you should gauge their quality before going for any important WordPress development jobs.

envato studio for finding WordPress developers for hire

 

There are plenty of other places where you can engage WordPress developers, especially if you are looking to work freelance.

9. Create a great project brief before hiring WP developers

So far we’ve seen different websites where you can meet WordPress developers for hire.

Now it’s the time to write down the project brief, so you can communicate with your clients effectively. For instance, if you’re looking to hire a WordPress expert to build a customized WordPress theme or plugin from the ground up, here are a few things to consider while writing a project brief.

 

  • Explain the frontend and backend features (development)
  • The look and feel of your theme or plugin (design)
  • Resources/ examples: Show examples of your competitors’ websites or websites for inspiration
  • Milestones: you'll need to decide a number of milestones for development. You'll want to monitor progress and milestones are the best way to have an agreed point where you can decide whether development work on your WordPress job is on track
  • Payments: this is of course something which is very important both for the hirer and the hiree. Some sites will actually have an escrow facility which will protect both of you. If this isn't in place, you should agree in writing how things are going to work.
  • Deadline: for sure you need to have an end date for when your WordPress developer for hire is to submit their work. You should also agree what happens if the deadline is missed, to make sure that development stays on track
  • Communication: like with any other job, communication is critical to the success or failure of any project. Agree beforehand how you will communite, whether it's by email, chat, messenger, Skype or what have you. If you are in different timezones this is especially important, because their day might be your night and you will have a turnaround time of about a day. Set expectations on both sides to make sure you don't get disappointed
  • Output and deliverables: if you are developing a plugin or theme for reselling, you need to agree what is going to be part of the job or not. You are more than likely going to need designs, copy, documentation and plenty of other outputs. Agree on what makes part of the job and what is outside of the scope of this WordPress job.
  • Intellectual property: if you are hiring a WordPress developer, especially on a freelance basis, who is going to own the Intellectual Property of the developed end product.
  • Decide whether you want to implement auto-update or not
  • What will happen if some bugs are discovered after you've agreed that the job has been completed
  • How would you resolve any security vulnerabilities which might be discovered
  • You'll probably want to keep on developing your project, so it would be great if you agree beforehand how updates would happen

The above points will give you some basic idea about how the project brief should be. The more things you agree before your actual hire a WordPress developer, the better and the less likely that there will be a conflict later on in the project.

In fact, the quality of your deliverable heavily relies on the project brief you create. Make sure you explained everything in the brief, so it avoids any disappointment down the track.

If you plan to do this often, you might want to set a contract template so that each time you plan to hire a freelance WordPress developer, you'll just need to update the specific sections. This will make the hiring process shorter, whislt making sure you are covered from all aspects.

10. Brief-skill match

Once you write down the brief, you’ll need to figure out whether the hired WP developers can deliver what it takes to complete your project.

Reviews also go a long way towards showing whether the person should be hired as WordPress developer.

Users with excellent reviews, a long history and plenty of earnings are a good choice for hiring for your next WordPress job.

New users with little to no earnings, and a very short registration time are probably fraudsters or people who have earned bad reviews and had to close their previous accounts and create new ones.

Sometimes, there’ll be some mismatch between the requirements and their skill set. For example, not all developers can carry out the complete process of a theme creation. For a developer, it is far more likely to take a PSD file of the finalized design and create a working theme from it.

In such cases, you may want to find a designer and a developer separately. Remember, communication is the key here. No matter what expertise your client has, unless you communicate with them properly chances are you would end up with a half-finished product.

In addition, make sure you take a thorough look at their portfolio and figure out what kinds of websites they used to create, so you get an idea of their work.

Over to you

Have you ever hired a WordPress expert for your projects? What are the measures you take for due diligence? What are your favorite websites for meeting a WordPress expert? Tell us your good and bad experiences with finding WordPress developers for hire.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

Every great business started with drive and a passion. Even moguls like Richard Branson, Oprah, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett started at zero.

 

If you know my story, you know that after I was injured in professional football, my lifelong dream of playing came to an end. I spent a year and a half broke and sleeping on my sister’s couch trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life.

 

At that time my main passion was sports, and that was my focus for as long as I could remember. I wanted to have the flexibility to do what I love, and make a living that would set me up for the rest of my life. But I had no idea where to begin.

 

Through equal parts luck and persistence, that year I found a brilliant mentor. I interned with him for close to a year and he paid me about $500 a month. I poured myself into learning from him. I also did whatever I could to earn income on the side working event marketing gigs and other odd jobs.

 

As I put one foot in front of the other, I started seeing where my passion and skills intersected. I loved connecting people and adding value to their lives. I loved providing whatever service I could to them that would help solve a problem they had. As I pursued the things that interested me, I began to put together networking events. I started to form what would become my business and brand, ever evolving along the way.

 

Related: How to Connect With High-Profile Influencers

 

It wasn’t as if I had a perfect plan mapped out. I combined my passions, strengths and vision to create the ideal business for me along the way. The most passionate entrepreneurs are driven by more than just money. They’re driven by living a fulfilled life.  

 

If you haven’t yet discovered your passion, I encourage you to do so. That’s part of the reason I started The School of Greatness Academy -- to help people pursue their passions. Think about what excited you as a kid, or the thing that when you do it you lose all sense of time and space, you are so lost in the moment. You will be happiest when you follow your passion. I love what Steve Jobs had to say about this:

 

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

 

Once you have figured out what you want to do, here are some important things to keep in mind while starting your business from zero:

 

1. Research your market.

Knowing what the competition knows won’t cut it. Go deep. Dive in to your market and study it like an expert.  

 

Search Google for keywords that are related to your industry. Don’t get discouraged if the market seems flooded. You can use this to your advantage. It means that it is working for those people and you can make it work for you. There is money there.

 

2. Set a tangible financial goal.

I set new goals every six months and always stretch my initial mark. Work backwards and figure out what you need to do each day to get to where you want to be. Set a goal that is a stretch for you and look at the steps you need to take every day to accomplish that goal.

 

Related: 3 Keys to Designing a Life You Wouldn't Trade for Anything

 

3. When you create a website, make the content shareable.

It’s great to reference some the leaders in your space, but when you are developing your own brand, it’s important to create unique content on a single hub. A site that your readers and viewers can reference back to, for more of your incredible content. I lean on Derek Halpern who’s a pro at this.  

 

4. Build a list.

Email is best form of currency online and building an email list is one of the most important tools in building a business. As you develop your shareable site, begin building a list of emails of the people that visit your site. Then continue to provide them with value. This will translate into buyers for the future launch of your product or service.

 

Adding in an opt-in form on your website and having a place to store your emails are the first two steps to building your email list. Free resources like HelloBar.com and AppSumo.com allow you to collect email information on your website. To store email addresses, I recommend the program Aweber, which even offers a free 30-day trial.

 

5. Launch a product or service you can sell.

If you have a financial goal that you’ve set out for the next six months, then you have to sell something. Take the time to figure out the biggest challenges your audience is facing and build your relationship with them. Then create something that solves their problem. I know this is easier said than done, but it’s critical. Your leads come from your list, you convert them to customers, follow up and build a relationship.  

 

6.  Start NOW and improve as you go.

A lot of people waste time thinking about making things perfect before they launch their business. The logo, the website, the copy -- everything. This is a waste of time. Sell your product before you make it by offering a pre-order. Focus on getting sales and attracting leads. Successful companies launch all the time and they aren’t perfect.  

 

Think of Facebook and all the changes and improvements it has made. Start with a small product and always be improving.  Launch online you can sell over and over and not have to trade time for dollars.

 

The most important thing is to enjoy the process and know that you don’t have to make it perfect. Start today. If not now, when? This article was found at the flowing address https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243887 if you like this article or want more information go to  Lewis howes 

blog he also wrote this article 

http://lewishowes.com/ 

 

Philip Nucca was a teenager when he came to the UK from Kenya. From his homey kitchen back in Nairobi to the kitchen in an English pub in Sheffield, Nucca has always cooked with determination and an ever-running innovative mind.

 

It was late night when Nucca finally stepped out of the kitchen, having wrapped up an intense dinner rush. There was, however, not a trace of exhaustion on his face, “I don’t really get tired from cooking.” Although not chatty, Nucca projected a relaxing temperament. He had a sniff of the beer I ordered for him and named it immediately. “A sharp sense of smell is important; I need it all the time when cooking,” Nucca tried to elaborate on his remark, “like determining the freshness of meat and deciding on the right spices to go into dishes.” 

 

 

The culinary experience in Kenya is very different from here, especially in terms of heat. “Food in Kenya is a lot spicier, I need to bring down the heat for diners here,” says Nucca with elaboration, “also some of the ingredients we use in Kenya are not easy to find, so I have to find substitutes sometimes.” The experience and memories from Nucca's childhood back home are the main source of his innovation in cuisines. “I never cook with any recipe that’s not my own,” Nucca asserts. His cooking style is much based on the learning from his mother and grandmother, although he never tries to duplicate the recipes. And this style of cooking is usually very spontaneous. “I depend a lot on my instinct, usually I just go with whatever ingredients that I feel could work, and then I’ll just find out if it does,” the proud chef says while casually leaning back against the chair. This is also influenced by his family, “we rarely write down any recipe; we often just go with whatever that feels right.” And now it's the supreme principle in his kitchen. So far, his attempts have seemed to be successful. “Last week I introduced my latest dish, and it was sold out in one day,” says Nucca with a proud smile.  

 

His latest experiment was lamb stew- a Kenyan dish adapted to British taste and with a touch of his own innovation. “I use oregano, we don’t use that back home, but I think it goes really well with lamb.” The stew is cooked with a variety of spices and two types of chillies- green and red- and thus is expected to strike the taste bud with a blow of spiciness. Apart from the stew itself, Nucca also makes a new attempt to the side, replacing the standard potato chips with baked sweet potato mixed with potato mash. “You’d be amazed how sweet potato could enhance the texture and flavour,” says Nucca confidently. And the dish does seem to be a success given the quick sold-out. 

 

Nucca learns from everything that he encounters, be it a recipe, a cooking show or an incredible dish; then out of instinct, his mind starts to run all the probable adaptations to the cuisine. “You’ve got to have passion, to cherish what you do so that you can carry on for a good long time.” To still talk about cooking with such a high spirit after standing in a small kitchen for more than 10 hours, doing nothing but making food, it takes sole passion. 

 

 

Although enjoying the status quo, he has a big picture in mind. His habitual brainstorming for new and unique dishes is a means through which he achieves the ultimate goal- inspiring more tastebuds with mature skills and fresh ideas for cuisines. “This is only my first stop,” the chef's face shines with a hopeful glare. And indeed Nucca has gone back to university to build his capacity in business management since 2015. "This will enable me to run my own catering business and cook for people with adventurous tastebuds."

“Zanzibar,” formerly known as “UK Mama,” is celebrating its 23rd  anniversary this year. And a long history is not the only thing that makes this African-Caribbean restaurant unique; being the first of such kind in Yorkshire also contributes to its prestige.

 

For Godson Ogwudire, “Zanzibar” is a dream come true, literally. The idea of running a restaurant first hit Ogwudire in the form of a dream while he was in the final year of post graduate study. “I studied clinical pathology…nothing to do with food,” Ogwudire said with a hearty laughter. “I didn’t think at all there was any way that I’d run a restaurant,” Ogwudire had never thought of any other prospects until he dreamed of running a restaurant, then he decided to follow the dream and see what would come of it. 

 

Initiating an African-Caribbean restaurant in an English community in early 90s was not an easy task; Ogwudire had to deal with pressure from both his family and the society. “There is no history of culinary industry in my family,” Ogwudire said with a thoughtful expression; to them, running a restaurant while holding a medical degree was unimaginable. Even so, Ogwudire persisted in scratching out his dream with a brilliant business plan. But such a restaurant was an unprecedented attempt and needed more than a piece of paper to take form. The initiation of Zanzibar was a slow stew, which Ogwudire flavoured with “a lot of marketing resolution and faith.” 

 

When finally launched in 1993, the restaurant took the name “UK Mama.” What Ogwudire had in mind was the image of his mother cooking in the kitchen back home in Nigeria, “I remember my mother always singing and happy cooking in the kitchen.” Ogwudire’s mother is the muse for his cooking style and business philosophy, “There’s always love for the food and the people we’re cooking for.” With such value, UK Mama had built a good reputation over years until Ogwudire felt the need to re-identify his business. “People often took us for an Italian restaurant due to the term ‘mama,’” Ogwudire recalled. After a search and brainstorming, UK Mama was re-launched as “Zanzibar,” which bears a denotation that promotes drinks, “we’re letting people know that it’s more than a restaurant, that they can also have a drink here if they want to.” Alongside the literal implication, Ogwudire picked the name with the view to replicating the quality of “Zanzibar-” one of the least polluted places in Africa- in his restaurant. “It’s a beautiful place- homely, full of good food and hospitable people,” says Ogwudire in a vigorous tone. Starting a new page with his business, Ogwudire reinforced his determination, “I want it to be a unique place of Africa in the UK, established for all people- across races.”

 

At ‘Zanzibar,’ members of staff know each other’s tricks. To maintain the authenticity and quality of both African and Caribbean cuisines, all the chefs- including Ogwudire himself- need to cook in both styles properly. “I have to learn the way my chefs know, and they have to learn both styles,” Ogwudire explains his strategy of quality control, which is partly attributed to the fact that he works part time at the hospital a few days during the week, “so that when I’m not around, they can still prepare every dish with consistent quality.” Apart from inclusive proficiency, respect is another key that binds the team. Ogwudire regards his chefs as competent professionals and even leaves his menu open to input, “if they come in with a good recipe that I didn’t know, I would add it to the menu.” Such respect derives from an accommodating perspective, “it’s about realising the heritage that all black people come from the same continent- Africa.” And heritage is inevitably related to the history of slave trade, which caused migration from the continent of Africa to the Caribbean region. Ogwudire explains the cultural aspect in food using the deviation of ‘Jololff rice’ as an example: it was cooked with black eye peas in Africa but turned into ‘rice and peas’ (with kidney beans) over time after reaching the Caribbean. This is how history is reflected in food; deviation is inevitable while traces of common origin can often be found. 

 

 

‘Zanzibar’ takes pride in its authentic cuisines, “the inspiration for our menu comes from my mother, so it’s definitely traditional and authentic.” But in line with the insistence in originality lies flexibility. “Chilies are essential especially to Caribbean cuisines,” but this principle never impedes adaptation; Ogwudire is always ready to adjust the spiciness of his dishes- oftentimes reducing the heat for customers. Still chilies never work alone, not in African-Caribbean cooking anyway, “how you balance different spices with chillies that go into a dish is very important; it affects the aroma and flavour of the food.” “Cooking is like creating art,” Ogwudire believes that ingredients in a dish- as colours in a painting- need to complement one another so as to achieve polyphony to please the taste bud. 

Five common mistakes self-employed people make when claiming expenses... ENDS HERE! By Emily Coltman

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There are mixed opinions about snacking.

 

Some believe that it is healthy, while others think it can harm you and make you gain weight.

 

Here is a detailed look at snacking and how it affects your health.

What Is Snacking and Why Do People Snack?

 

Snacking is when you consume food or beverages between your regular meals.

 

The term “snack foods” is often used to refer to processed, high-calorie foods like chips and cookies.

 

However, “snacking” simply means to eat or drink something between meals, regardless of whether the food is healthy or not.

Hunger is the main motivation behind snacking, but factors like location, social environment, time of day and food availability contribute as well.

 

In fact, people often snack when there is appetizing food around, even if they’re not hungry.

 

In one study, when overweight and obese people were asked why they chose unhealthy snacks, the most common response was temptation, followed by being hungry and feeling low on energy.

In addition, both the desire to snack and snacking’s effects on health appear to be highly individualized. Factors that influence snacking include age and beliefs about whether snacking is healthy or not.

Bottom Line: Snacking refers to eating or drinking outside of regular meals. Reasons for snacking include hunger, food availability and environmental and social cues.

 

Does Snacking Boost Your Metabolism?

 

Bowl of Mixed Nuts

 

Although it’s been suggested that eating every few hours will increase your metabolism, the evidence does not support this.

 

Studies have found that meal frequency has no significant effect on how many calories you burn.

In one study, researchers compared the responses of people who consumed an equal number of calories in either two or seven meals per day. They found no difference in calories burned.

In another study, obese people who followed a very low-calorie diet for three weeks showed similar decreases in metabolic rate, regardless of whether they ate 800 calories as one or five meals per day.

nterestingly, one study reported that a bedtime snack may lead to a higher metabolic rate the next morning.

 

In this study, when active young men consumed a high-protein or high-carb snack before bed, they experienced a significant increase in metabolic rate the following morning.

However, this increase in metabolism would be expected, given that the snacks provided additional calories that were burned overnight. The researchers didn’t compare the effect of including these foods at meals instead.

 

Bottom Line: Snacking every few hours is often believed to increase metabolism. However, studies have shown that eating frequency has little or no effect on metabolism.

How Snacking Affects Appetite and Weight

 

Studies on snacking’s effects on appetite and weight have provided mixed results.

 

Snacking’s Effects on Appetite

 

Hands Holding a Fork and a Knife

 

How snacking affects appetite and food intake isn’t universally agreed upon.

 

One review reported that although snacks may briefly satisfy hunger and promote feelings of fullness, their calories aren’t compensated for at the next meal.

 

This results in increased calorie intake for the day 

For example, in one study, overweight men who ate a 200-calorie snack two hours after breakfast ended up eating only 100 fewer calories at lunch 

This means that total calorie intake increased by about 100 calories.

 

In another controlled study, lean men ate either three high-protein, high-fat or high-carb snacks for six days.

Their hunger levels and total calorie intakes didn’t change compared to the days on which they ate no snacks, indicating that the snacks had a neutral effect.

However, studies have also shown that snacking can help reduce hunger.

In one study, when men ate a high-protein, high-fiber snack bar, they had lower levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and higher levels of the fullness hormone GLP-1. They also took in an average of 425 fewer calories per day.

Another study in 44 overweight or obese women found that a bedtime snack high in protein or carbs led to decreased hunger and greater feelings of fullness the next morning. However, insulin levels were also higher.

Based on these varied results, it appears that snacking’s effect on appetite may depend on the individual and type of snack consumed.

 

Snacking’s Effects on Weight

 

Most research has shown that snacking between meals does not affect weight.

However, a few studies suggest that snacking can help you lose weight.

For example, a non-controlled study in 17 people with diabetes reported that consuming snacks high in protein and slow-digesting carbs resulted in an average weight loss of 2.2 pounds (1 kg) within four weeks.

 

On the other hand, some studies in lean and obese people have found that snacking may lead to slower weight loss or even weight gain 

In one study, 36 lean men increased their calorie intake by 40% by consuming excess calories as snacks between meals. They experienced a significant increase in liver fat and belly fat.

 

Interestingly, another controlled study suggests that the timing of snacks may be what makes a difference when it comes to weight changes.

 

This study in 11 lean women found that consuming a 190-calorie snack at 11:00 p.m. reduced the amount of fat they burned significantly more than consuming the same snack at 10:00 a.m.

The mixed results suggest that weight responses to snacking probably vary by individual.

Bottom Line: Mixed results from several studies suggest that weight and appetite responses to snacking vary by individual.

The Effects of Snacking on Blood Sugar

 

 

Although many people believe that it’s necessary to eat frequently to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, this isn’t always the case.

 

In fact, a 2014 study in people with type 2 diabetes found that eating only two large meals per day resulted in lower fasting blood sugar levels, better insulin sensitivity and greater weight loss than eating six times per day.

Other studies have reported no difference in blood sugar levels when the same amount of food was consumed as meals or meals plus snacks.

Of course, the type of snack and amount consumed are the main factors that affect blood sugar levels.

Other studies have reported no difference in blood sugar levels when the same amount of food was consumed as meals or meals plus snacks.

Of course, the type of snack and amount consumed are the main factors that affect blood sugar levels.

 

Lower-carb, higher-fiber snacks have consistently been shown to have a more favorable effect on blood sugar and insulin levels than high-carb snacks in people with and without diabetes.

In addition, snacks with a high protein content may improve blood sugar control.In a study of 20 healthy men, consuming a high-protein, lower-carb dairy snack led to lower blood sugar levels before the next meal, compared to higher-carb dairy snacks or orange juice.

Bottom Line: It isn’t necessary to snack to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Eating high-protein or high-fiber snacks raises blood sugar levels less than consuming high-carb snacks.

Snacking Can Prevent Ravenous Hunger

 

Peanuts, Bananas and a Protein Smoothie

 

Snacking may not be best for everyone.

 

However, it can definitely help some people avoid becoming ravenously hungry.

 

When you go too long without eating, you may become so hungry that you end up eating many more calories than you need.

 

Snacking can help keep your hunger levels on an even keel, especially on days when your meals are spaced further apart.

 

However, it’s important to make healthy snack choices.

 

Bottom Line: Eating a snack is better than letting yourself become ravenously hungry. This can lead to poor food choices and eating more calories than you need.

Tips for Healthy Snacking

 

In order to get the most out of your snacks, follow these guidelines:

 

Amount to eat: In general, it’s best to eat snacks that contain about 200 calories and at least 10 grams of protein to help you stay full until your next meal.

Frequency: The number of snacks you need will vary based on your activity level and how big your meals are. If you’re very active, you may prefer 2–3 snacks per day, while a more sedentary person may do best with one snack or no snacks.

Portability: Keep portable snacks with you when you’re out doing errands or traveling in case hunger strikes.

Snacks to avoid: Processed, high-sugar snacks may give you a brief jolt of energy, but you’ll probably feel hungrier an hour or two later.

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Bottom Line: When snacking, be sure to eat the right types and amounts of food in order to reduce hunger and prevent overeating later on.

Healthy Snacks to Eat

 

Cottage Cheese and Raspberries

 

Although there are many packaged snacks and bars on the market, choosing nourishing real food is best.

 

It’s a good idea to include a protein source in your snack.

 

For example, both cottage cheese and hard-boiled eggs have been shown to help keep you full for hours.

Furthermore, high-fiber snacks like almonds and peanuts may reduce your appetite and the amount of food you eat at the next meal.

Here are a few other healthy snack ideas:

 

String cheese

Fresh vegetable slices

Sunflower seeds

Cottage cheese with fruit

 

Bottom Line: Choosing healthy snacks that are high in protein and fiber helps reduce hunger and keeps you full for several hours.

 

So Is Snacking Good or Bad?

 

Snacking can be good in some cases, such as for preventing hunger in people who tend to overeat when going too long without food.

 

However, others may do better eating three or fewer meals per day.

 

In the end, it’s really a personal choice. If you’re going to snack, make sure to choose healthy foods that keep you full and satisfied.

 

 

 

 

this artcle was found at https://authoritynutrition.com/ as was writen by  Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

After weeks of uncertainty, government ministers confirm EU students applying for places at UK universities will not have funding withdrawn

 

Rachael Pells Education Correspondent Tuesday 11 October 20162 comments

 

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said the government wanted international students to continue their contribution towards academia in the UK Getty

EU students applying for places at universities in England next year will be eligible for student loans and grants even if the UK leaves the union, the government has confirmed.

 

Under the new plans, student funding will continue as before from the 2017-2018 academic year and will be honoured throughout the duration of applicants’ courses, despite previous concerns raised by insitutions.

 

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Universities said the announcement has provided much needed clarity on the matter and must be communicated to European students, whom early indicators suggest could be put-off studying in the UK post-Brexit.

 

 

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Brexit: UK could badly damage trade with EU neighbours warns Osborne

The move will also help reassure universities and colleges over future funding, according to Universities Minister Jo Johnson.

 

Pressure has since been placed on SNP ministers to make a similar pledge for EU students studying in Scotland.

 

In a statement, Mr Johnson said: “We know that the result of the referendum brought with it some uncertainties for our higher education sector. That is why in June we acted quickly to provide immediate funding guarantees for existing students and those applying to study this year.

 

“International students make an important contribution to our world class universities, and we want that to continue. 

 

“This latest assurance that students applying to study next year will not only be eligible to apply for student funding under current terms, but will have their eligibility maintained throughout the duration of their course, will provide important stability for both universities and students. 

 

“We are also taking steps, through our Higher Education Bill, to maintain the world status of our universities while delivering students value for money and choice and employers the skills they need to help our economy grow.”

 

Brexit Concerns

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Under current student finance rules, undergraduate students from EU member countries outside of the UK pay the same tuition fees and are able to receive the same tuition fee loans as UK residents. 

 

EU nationals who have resided in the UK for over five years are also able to apply for undergraduate maintenance support and postgraduate loans. 

 

Despite initial reassurances from minister soon after the referendum result, leading educators raised concern of the lack of clarity as to what Brexit might mean for EU students and funding.

 

The government has since promised that EU funded projects, including Horizon 2020, will be protected while the UK remains a member of the EU. 

 

Commenting on the announcement, union leaders raised concerns that EU students had already been given the impression that the UK was not welcoming as a direct result of Brexit uncertainty, and the changes risked damaging the UK’s status as an international hub for academia.

 

University and College Union general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “We are pleased the government has now clarified the situation for EU students who want to apply to English universities for next year and hope the devolved nations will soon follow suit.

 

‘We don’t believe this measure can undo the damage that various proposals floated at the Conservative party conference last week may have done via headlines around the world. 

 

“The news that the government was also seeking to ban leading foreign academics from advising the UK government over Brexit because they are not British nationals will have also done little to help our international standing.”

 

Last week it was revealed that researchers at the London School of Economics had been told their expertise was no longer needed if they were not British citizens.

 

The university denied the claims, insisting nothing had changed for researchers as a result of the referendum vote.Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK said: “Over recent weeks the university sector has made very clear to Government the urgent need to address this issue. It is good to see the Government has recognised the value of EU students and acted positively to guarantee their access to financial support. 

 

“European and international students are a valuable part of cultural and academic life on British university campuses and play an important role in UK towns and cities, creating jobs and supporting local businesses. 

 

“Looking ahead, as the Government develops plans post-Brexit Britain, a commitment is needed to ensure that students, from Europe and beyond, are able to continue to come to the UK to study without unnecessary bureaucratic burdens.

 

“The UK should be an attractive destination for all qualified international students that would benefit from UK universities and can support themselves to study.”

 

Seven non-governmental organisations working in gender rights welcomed the legal amendments made to the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Law, but also expressed their scepticism of the enforcement mechanisms, in a joint statement on Sunday.

 

In late August, the parliament ratified the bill to intensify the penalties in the FGM Law. The new penalty stipulates five to seven years imprisonment—it was only two years previously.

 

However, NGOs agreed that the amendments still potentially allow FGM practitioners to flee from justice.

 

“Most of the amendments focused on stricter penalties, which is a mainstream governmental vision towards gender violence issues, and has proved to be inefficient,” the statement read.

 

The NGOs also expressed their concerns about Article 61 remaining in the penal code. The article states that no penalties shall be imposed on any person who was urged to commit the crime, referring to some families who claim they carry out FGM to protect their daughters.

 

The NGOs concluded the statement by calling for a code of ethics for doctors to be outlined by the Doctors Syndicate to monitor the practice, for intensive trainings to be conducted to activate the monitoring role of Health Ministry inspectors, in addition to empowering NGOs’ role in this matter and providing sexual education in school curriculums.

 

Egypt was among the countries that witnessed a fast decline in the prevalence of FGM rates since 1987 through 2015. It ranked sixth among countries which practice FGM worldwide, with 85% of girls and women aged between 15- to 49-years-old having been subjected to the practice.

This article was found at http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/16/559831/ and was posted on the 16/10/16

 

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