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Problem Solving Must-Reads: Eliminating Landmines in Colombia

Plus: An app that helps harvest rain water, and transforming agricultural practices in Nepal through strawberry farming

Problem Solving Must-Reads: Eliminating Landmines in Colombia

Plus: An app that helps harvest rain water, and transforming agricultural practices in Nepal through strawberry farming

Colombia has the second highest number of landmines in the world behind Afghanistan. In Colombia, since 1990, over 11,000 people have been killed or injured in landmines, and their removal is part of the recent, historic peace agreement between the rebels and the government. By signing international protocol and treaties, Colombia has committed to, and is now obligated to, remove all landmines by the year 2021. This has become one of the biggest and most important challenges in post-conflict Colombia.

Under Colombia’s newly-passed amnesty laws, government troops and rebels who are found guilty of committing war crimes, sexual violence, kidnapping and torture are not to be pardoned for their crimes. One of the ways in which Colombia is attempting to meet the 2021 deadline for removal of the landmines is by sentencing these war criminals to work clearing landmines as an alternative form of punishment. Although unorthodox, the hope is that former enemies will work together to pay their debt to society by helping fulfill a crucial part of the peace process.

The joint de-mining efforts of the Government and the FARC rebels has already encountered some success. A pilot project managed to clear out mines from five of the municipalities that were affected. A report in a Colombian newspaper showcased a former rebel and former government soldier working together and supporting each other, while doing the dangerous task. 

Read the full story here (Via Quartz)

Here’s what else we’re reading:

An app for harvesting water in Southern Africa

Photo: The Guardian

In parts of Southern Africa, severe drought is usually followed by periods of heavy rain, which causes flooding. In a country like Mozambique, which lacks proper water management infrastructure, this pattern of drought followed by flooding has devastated agricultural production and livelihoods of many farmers in the region. However, a rainwater harvesting mobile app has been developed which gives people in the region useful and timely information about rain forecasts, along with step-by-step instructions and information to harvest rainwater. So far, this app has been a success among communities in rural South Africa who are frequently ravaged by this side effect of changing climate. (Via The Guardian)

Strawberry Fields in Nepal

Photo: Nepali Times

A decade-long civil war, followed by a devastating earthquake, has affected the livelihood of many farmers in Nepal. The agriculture sector in the country continues to suffer; many farmers are still stuck using traditional, inefficient farming techniques and business practices. Now, a Japanese-Nepali joint venture is looking to transform Nepali agriculture through strawberry farming. The company is teaching some Nepali farmers how to plant strawberries using modern farming techniques. They are also helping these farmers build a viable and sustainable business by introducing the concept of a farmer’s cooperative. The strawberries grown in the farms that received assistance from the agricultural joint venture are being sold in the capital city of Kathmandu. The strawberries have been getting positive reviews, which has encouraged  the company to expand its business. (Via Nepali Times)

Photo header via Quartz

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