21st COE Program Seminar
Public Seminar on African Area Studies

Date: Saturday, June 5, 2004 13:00 - 17:30

Venue: Ryukoku University

(1)"Ecological Change and Malaria Risk in a Unstable Malaria Region (Gusii) Southwest Kenya"

By Isaac K Nyamongo, Institute of African Studies, University of Nairobi

        Malaria accounts for 30% of outpatient cases in Kenya with more than 70 deaths in the under-five year olds per day. Its effect on areas that experience epidemics is even more devastating as population’s immunity is often not well developed in such areas. In an earlier community malaria perceptions study in Gusii, historical anecdotes suggested an increase in the number of malaria cases. A study was designed to collect systematic ethnographic data on environmental changes and disease patterns over the last three decades. The ethnographic data was collected over a twelve-month period. In addition rainfall data, malaria data and farm sizes were collected covering most of the last three decades. These data were used to analyze changes in the burden of malaria in the area. The study reveals that over the last three decades plot sizes have reduced. As well the population of the area has grown tremendously. Following the government’s urge to farmers to start fish farming in the 1970’s, fish farming was introduced in the area. However, this venture was not successful giving rise to unused fish ponds. These ponds are now used as water reservoirs. More recently, as house construction enters a new phase in Kenya, more people are relying on brick houses. Brick making has further increased vulnerability with the unintentional creation of mosquito breeding sites. These changes in the land use patterns contribute to the people’s susceptibility to malaria. Data such as these can be used to formulate community-based risk prediction indicators, particularly in areas that suffer from epidemics.

(2)"The Changing Face of Africa’s Legislatures: Women and Quotas"

By Aili Mari Tripp, University of Wisconsin-Madison

        Nowhere in the world has the rate of increase in women's political representation as in sub-Saharan Africa over the past four decades, where the number of women legislators increased tenfold between 1960 and 2003. The largest increases came after 1995. Rwanda became the country with the highest female legislative representation in 2003, surpassing the Nordic countries as its women claimed 48.8 percent of the parliamentary seats. One of the main factors accounting for this increase in female legislative representation has to do with the expanded use of various forms of quotas. In part, these female legislative quotas result from pressures from women's movements within African countries but also from international women's movements. They are a product of changing international norms regarding female representation as evident in various United Nations conventions and resolutions as well as legislative targets set by key African regional organizations like the African Union, SADC, and ECOWAS. With the rise of multipartyism and the decline of the mass women's organizations tied to the single-party, there was a need to find new symbolic ways to appeal to women voters as well as create new bases for patronage networks. In some predominantly Muslim countries, the women's quota became part of an effort to contain the growing influence of Islamicists. My presentation will look at the broader context of women's increased political participation within which these changes are occurring. I will explore the characteristics of countries adopting quotas and the reasons for adopting quotas as well as some of the controversies surrounding them.

Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
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