Students who graduated from the Mineke Foundation over the weekend have lauded the organization for initiating career development programs, including soap and pastry making – with emphasis on business management – that will shape their lives for the better.The students said Mineke has proven to care about women’s empowerment, and they are grateful for their help.“In the time of our struggle, you were a real friend that came to our aid. You stood by us in the time of difficulty and came to our aid when we needed you most,” the graduates said in a joint statement.“We promise to utilize the skills acquired to help us become decision makers in the economy.” The 75 graduates, who were predominantly women, pleaded with the organization to extend its services across the Gardnersville Township to help empower more women.“We know that the organization is having some financial difficulties, but extending its services to grassroots women, who do not have the opportunity to build their economic sustainability, will be of great help,” they said.The graduates completed two programs, three months for soap making and nine months for pastry, aimed at building their capacities for economic participation.The founder of Mineke Foundation, Tonia Dabwe, challenged the women to apply their acquired skills to help their families and the society at large.“We want you to serve as the light for upcoming students and wish you the best in your future endeavors, Dabwe said to the students.She revealed that the graduates were between the ages of 18 and 68, adding that those who never attended school before received theory verbally. These students, she said, aced their exams.Dabwe said that the organization has embarked on soliciting assistance from individuals, businesses and local and international organizations to fund its agriculture projects.“We have planned to reintroduce the agriculture program for our next set of students, but we are fighting to get funding for that project,” she added.The Mineke Foundation was established in 2009 for the socioeconomic development of Dabwe Town and other communities in Liberia.The foundation’s activities include vocational training, entrepreneurship training and business support, kids clubs established to provide after-school activities for children, and a women’s club, which addresses issues of gender based violence, women’s rights and health among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Humans have been bad for blue whales. As many as 350,000 of the giant mammals (pictured) once plied the oceans; now, only a few thousand are left. Although removing such creatures from ecosystems can have a host of effects, a new study draws attention to one in particular: There’s a lot less poop getting spread around the planet. In the research, published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists describe how losing these animals and other “megafauna” has upset a global cycle that once passed large amounts of nutrients like phosphorus from the ocean depths where large marine mammals like blue whales often feed into the sunlit surface waters where seabirds or migrating fish like salmon browse. As those fish swam back up the rivers where they were born or the birds returned to dry ground, the nutrients went with them, incorporated into their bodies or excreted, eventually feeding a host of terrestrial organisms. In turn, those animals’ own waste—and eventually decomposing bodies—helped spread the nutrients even further, fertilizing the interior of continents, the scientists say. In all, the researchers used a set of mathematical models to reveal that today animals only have about 6% of their former capacity to move such nutrients away from “hot spots” and across the oceans and land. Such a loss may continue to weaken ecosystem health, fisheries, and agriculture, leaving them less naturally productive than they might otherwise be. Protecting whales, migratory fish, and seabirds could make a difference in restoring, at least somewhat, the nutrient pathway, the scientists say.