Feature Story

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Kenya's Chyulu Hills host not just rich wildlife and beautiful landscapes but a groundbreaking partnership to conserve biodiversity and combat climate change between its people and the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.

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Life can be hard in The Gambia – and even harder for the women who harvest oysters, a local delicacy and key source of protein, in the West African country’s swamps and wetlands.

It’s back-breaking work, venturing out in small canoes to harvest oysters from amongst the mangrove roots using machetes and other rudimentary tools – at the mercy of clouds of mosquitoes, crocodiles and the razor-sharp edges of the oyster beds themselves.

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The textile industry has long been an important employer in Mauritius. It is hard work, with many women combining domestic responsibilities with long days in the factories just to feed their families. So when factories began to close in the 1990s, many found themselves struggling to survive.

Life became very hard,” Anooradah Poorun, a former textile worker says. “Children could not go to school. Women suffered domestic violence: some were forced into prostitution.”

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Thanks to a project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) that began in 2013, rhinos are safer from poaching in South Africa today than they have been for a long time. The programme uses the latest technology to track poachers and improve rhino crime scene management.

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By Phaedon Stamatopoulos, director, refining and bank products, Argor-Heraeus SA

Every year over 1,400 tonnes of mercury are released into the environment through artisanal and small scale mining for gold. As part of the process of extracting gold particles from rock, miners mix the toxic substance with ore containing gold and the two metals combine to form an amalgam. This is then heated to recover the gold by boiling off the mercury, which is released into the atmosphere and ecosystems.

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Tajikistan is one of the poorest former Soviet republics. Here, with over 30 per cent of the population living below the national poverty line, a sick family member, a poor harvest or lost livestock can mean the difference between struggle and survival for many of the nation’s 8 million citizens.

So when sheep and cattle started dying in remote Khatlon Oblast, the impact was immediate.

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Shakur Belle is a bright but shy girl at Pleasance Secondary School on the east coast of the main island of the Seychelles, a cluster of islands off the coast of East Africa. She got excited by a scheme, involving her school and others on the island, to use natural solutions to fight the negative impacts of climate change.

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Ibrahim Aba Fita, 52, a farmer in southwestern Ethiopia, had a problem a few years ago: Despite hard work and the application of chemical fertilizer, his crop yields were declining year by year.

But thanks to a chance encounter, Ibrahim realized that the problem was the poor quality of his soil. Since then, he has changed the way he farms and now produces more food. And along the way he has become an inspiration to his community.

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By Mario Molina, winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry for his work on ozone depleting substances