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Infrastructure in ComorosComoros is an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Eastern Africa and home to a population of about 734,900 people. It is a nation that has struggled with political instability and poverty despite its picturesque beaches and natural beauty. The issues of poverty can be partially attributed to the poor state of infrastructure in Comoros.

In a worldwide comparison, Comoros ranked 198th, theoretically attributing 1.11 meters of infrastructure for each of the estimated 790,000 inhabitants currently residing in the country. Transport systems are particularly limited in Comoros, with only 673 km of the total 880 km of roads having been paved. Additionally, there are no railway systems of any nature available to its citizens.

The economy and infrastructure have been tied to each other for many years. This has been demonstrated in the fact that the weak infrastructure in Comoros and the business climate have severely hampered economic activity. It is currently ranked 153rd out of 190 countries in the World Banks’ most recent report, dropping one place since the previous assessment.

With these apparent issues in the infrastructure and economy of Comoros, there must be improvements made to these aspects of the country. Some work that has already been undertaken has come in the form of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP). These aim to create long-term contracts between a private party and a government entity, in which a public asset or service is provided, and bear all risk and management responsibilities.

One of these projects was established in 1998, called Comorienne de d’eau et de l’electricite (CEE), but it was cancelled soon after. There was an additional project in 2003, Mutsamudu Port, which received $500,000 in funding.

Other programs include the Infrastructure, Water, and Environment Project for the Comoros, which was established to support the objective of improving living conditions and stimulating economic growth. It aims to do this, while also protecting the environment, through investments to the basic infrastructure in Comoros.

The component of transport to the program is extremely important, as it assists Comoros with improving road maintenance, safety and management. Management improvements are achieved through three subcomponents: national and regional roads periodic maintenance, roads safety and institutional strengthening.

These subcomponents will rehabilitate earthworks, including pothole repair, local reinforcement, resurfacing and resealing. They will also maintain and repair road shoulders, finance the installation of traffic signals and strengthen the capacity of the executing agency, among other things.

The urban water supply is another component of importance that will rehabilitate and extend the urban water infrastructure. This will support technical assistance to strengthen the management and operation of urban water utilities.

With more efforts like these, improvements to the infrastructure in Comoros can make the fight against poverty achievable.

– Drew Fox

Photo: Flickr

Education in ComorosAccording to the Global Partnership for Education, the government of Comoros considers education a vital aspect of the nation’s political, economic and social development. That said, in recent years the country has come across several difficulties in the realm of education. Here are several facts about the challenges being faced as well as what is being done to address them.

  1. Education in Comoros has strengthened significantly over the last few years to thanks to the government’s efforts to improve the system and provide equal access to all children in the nation.
  2. Despite its progress, the nation still exhibits high rates of repetition and dropouts at the primary and secondary levels. Poor learning outcomes have been recorded, including high rates of illiteracy, poor management of human resources as well as an increased dependency on foreign aid.
  3. This year marks the end of the Interim Education Sector Plan, which was established by the Global Partnership for Education in 2013 to address these challenges.
  4. Early childhood and primary school education were a major part of the sector plan. Specifically, this included raising parental awareness, diversifying preschools, increasing teacher quality and providing better access to children with disabilities.
  5. Literacy in the sector plan was meant to increase through an improved curricula, textbooks and resources for teachers.
  6. Secondary school was addressed in the same way as literacy, including better resources and textbooks. There is also a plan to construct more schools and classrooms with better facilities and infrastructure.
  7. In terms of higher education, it is planned to increase the monitoring of graduates and facilitating the connections between them and professionals, so as to meet market needs and create more career opportunities.

Comoros has had a history of political violence since its independence in 1973. Since then, it has been highly dependent on foreign aid. The country continues to work with the GPE and UNICEF to increase access to primary education in Comoros so that students can take advantage of this resource.

Melanie Snyder

Photo: Flickr

Comoros Refugees

The U.N. Human Rights Council estimates that, currently, there are over 21 million refugees. While coverage tends to be concerned primarily with those from Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan, because of their large refugee populations, a smaller, ongoing crisis exists in the Comoros Islands, off the cost of Mozambique, where people flee economic hardship. Here are the 10 facts about refugees from the Comoros.

  1. Many refugees from the Comoros Islands flee to one of the nation’s smaller islands, called Mayotte. This island lies to the southeast of the rest of the Comoros Islands – Moheli, Anjouan, and Grande Comore.
  2. The Comoros at one time belonged to France, but the three major islands gained independence, while Mayotte is still a French territory.
  3. In 1995, the French government made traveling between the islands without a visa illegal, leading to major problems with illegal immigration.
  4. As much as 40 percent of Mayotte’s population are considered illegal immigrants, according to estimates by the French government.
  5. Those living illegally in Mayotte face severe prosecution and deportation. Authorities have stepped up patrols in order to detain and deport those without proper papers. Mayotte deports as many as 20,000 illegal immigrants a year.
  6. Immigrants detained in Mayotte face what a 2008 Council of Europe Human Rights Report deemed “unacceptable” holding conditions, yet many still make the trip seeking better education and healthcare. Detained persons stay in overcrowded rooms and often face inhumane treatment by guards.
  7. Desperation by those leaving the major Comoros Islands has resulted in many tragedies in the ocean. Official numbers from France state that there have been less than ten thousand deaths from the Comoros to Mayotte since 1995. However, governor of Anjouan, Anissi Chamsidine, puts the number at an alarming 50,000.
  8. Although many Comorians travel to Mayotte to find a better life, many who do reach there are disappointed. Those who have left for Mayotte still live in poverty, fearful of deportation. The Red Cross estimates that immigrants working in agriculture or fishing make an average of only $370 a month, while local citizens make $958.
  9. Some Comorians who leave the country will flee to France, although at much fewer rates. In 2016, 294 Comorians applied for asylum in France. Only 16 percent of applications were accepted.
  10. Over 150,000 people with Comorian citizenship live abroad, largely in France, where they can find better access to jobs, education and healthcare.

These facts about refugees from the Comoros Islands illustrate a situation that is in dire need of a solution. The international community must take a stand in assisting to lift the Cormorian people out of a circle of poverty and deportation.

Selasi Amoani

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in ComorosComoros is a tropical archipelago nation located in the Indian Ocean towards the northern end of the Mozambique Channel. The island has numerous natural resources including fresh water, many species of edible plants and a wide variety of wildlife. Nevertheless, due to having some of the world’s most active volcanoes on the island, water quality in Comoros has become a concern for many living in the country.

Karthala is one of the most active volcanoes on the island and has contributed significantly to the water pollution. Volcanic eruptions have allowed for the introduction of pollutants into the water supply, which has caused the water quality in Comoros to decline in years past. Karthala’s most recent eruptions – two in the past year and a half – have left the island covered in volcanic ash, which has polluted the water supply many in the country rely on.

Despite the extent of the pollution, the water quality in Comoros appears to be improving recently due to numerous programs introduced by the government. As a short-term solution, UNICEF has shipped millions of liters of drinking water into the nation until a more long term solution can be enacted. This action has brought fresh water to more than 150,000 people.

The government of Comoros has continued to work alongside UNICEF to create more long-term solutions to this issue. Together with UNICEF, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office has given $1.3 million to go toward cleaning more than 1,500 reservoirs. This is hugely beneficial, as many citizens use these reservoirs as their primary source of their drinking water.

Overall, the water quality in Comoros has suffered from the volcanic activity in the country; however, the continued efforts by both UNICEF and the government has had a significant effect on improving this issue. This work and its continuation should allow the citizens of Comoros to continue to have a fresh source of water.

Nick Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Comoros Refugees
The Comoros is a small island north of Madagascar. It is one of the least populous countries in the world, with a total population of 826,009. The number of Comoros refugees has decreased tremendously since 2001. Here are 10 facts about Comoros refugees and why the number has diminished significantly.

  1. Eighty-three percent of asylum applications from Comoros refugees were rejected in 2016. The most successful were the refugees in France, because of the two countries’ close diplomatic relations.
  2. In 2016, zero Comoros refugees were accepted into other European countries, such as Italy, England, Greece and Germany.
  3. Approximately 294 people applied for asylum in 2016.
  4. In 2004, 13.5 percent of the population of Comoros lived on less than $1.90 per day. This has improved, impressively, with the help of a poverty reduction strategy created by the country’s president in 2012.
  5. Many of the human rights problems reported in 2001 had to do with meager prison conditions, restrictions on freedom, corruption, discrimination, child abuse and child labor. The reported restrictions on freedom encompassed religion, movement and the press.
  6. These reported human rights violations were valid reasons for seeking asylum. However, conditions in Comoros have improved in the last decade. In regards to freedom of the press, the Comoros’ press freedom index was at 24.33 in 2016, down from 24.52 the previous year (the lower the number, the more freedom, meaning freedom of the press has improved recently).
  7. The child mortality rate fell to 73.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2004 it was 99.4, and in 2001 it was 100.8.
  8. Life expectancy in 2001 was 59.5 years, and a decade later it was 62.2. In 2015, life expectancy has increased to 63.6.
  9. The rate of literacy among adults in 2000 was 68 percent. By 2015, it rose to 78 percent.
  10. The overall prosperity score for Comoros is showing a steady increase. In 2007, the score was 43.12. In 2016, the value was at 47.71.

Using various measures of a country’s overall success, child mortality rate, life expectancy, literacy rate, and overall prosperity, we see improvements in life in Comoros. Citizens of Comoros are no longer fleeing persecution or meager conditions. These 10 facts about Comoros refugees display the progress made in the last decade and a half.

Lucy Voegeli

Photo: Flickr

Diseases in ComorosComoros is a small island in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa. The nation only has a population of only 826,539. Although their population is modest, the health-related problems afflicting Comoros are immense. The average life expectancy is 63.5. Malaria, tuberculosis and other common infectious diseases inflict the most harm overall. The level of poverty plays a large role in the advancement of these diseases. Here are the top diseases in Comoros and how poverty is progressing them:

Malaria

In Comoros, malaria is one of the more prevalent health issues. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease. Symptoms include chills, high fever, headaches, nausea, anemia and more. If patients do not receive treatment, the disease is fatal. Many of the cases of malaria are in tropical and subtropical places where Anopheles mosquitoes can survive and multiply effectively. Consequently, the highest number of cases is found in Africa, south of the Sahara. Comoros is a poor country, ranking 169 out of 187 on the Human Development Index. The poverty level in Comoros largely explains why malaria is still an issue. Additionally, mortality rates associated with malaria do affect the poorest people the most, as they can often not afford the preventative measures capable of curing the disease. Malaria and other tropical diseases account for 5.5 percent of the mortality in Comoros.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that affects the lungs. Symptoms include cough, fever, night sweats and weight loss. Unfortunately, the disease is fatal without proper treatment. HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined account for 7.9 percent of the mortality in Comoros. Top diseases in Comoros have similarities. Tuberculosis, like malaria, is also a curable disease when given the proper treatment. Both malaria and tuberculosis are diseases are no longer problematic in wealthier countries. The wealth disparity is an explanation as to why these diseases have not been eradicated in poorer countries, like Comoros. People do not have access to preventative measures, nor have they received education on how to avoid these diseases.

The top diseases in Comoros show little development compared to the rest of the world. However, health experts in Comoros say that they are making progress. In 2004, malaria had infected nearly 40 percent of the population. After 10 years, that number has fallen drastically. Most of this progress is due to the government of Comoros, which “launched its first five-year anti-malaria drive in 2005 with initial funding of $2.4 million from the Global Fund against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS” (Seychelles News Agency). As malaria and tuberculosis are both curable diseases, the prevalence of these illnesses is falling. As with most epidemics, education and funding are the most important factors in ending the longevity of both malaria and tuberculosis.

Lucy Voegeli

Photo: Flickr

Top Diseases in Comoros
Off the coast of Southern Africa, a group of four volcanic islands called Comoros lies between northern Mozambique and northern Madagascar. Although the tropical islands are home to picture-perfect beaches, even tourism struggles to lift the poor country out of poverty. Life expectancy in Comoros remains relatively low, at just 64.2 years. Here are the top diseases in Comoros:

Lower Respiratory Infections

From an epidemiological perspective, lower respiratory infections typically include illnesses such as bronchiolitis, acute bronchitis, pneumonia and influenza. These infections manifest with symptoms such as a cough or asthma. Common in both adults and children, it is a cause of illness and death worldwide.

In 2015, it was reported that lower respiratory infections were the most deadly of the top diseases in Comoros and had been for the past ten years. Despite remaining the most lethal of the country’s diseases, lower respiratory infections have become 26 percent less prevalent since the previous decade.

Diarrheal Diseases

Responsible for the deaths of roughly 525,000 children each year, diarrheal diseases are the second most common cause of death for children under the age of five around the world. As of 2015, the second most fatal type of disease of the past decade in Comoros was reported to be diarrheal diseases. Fortunately, diarrheal diseases have become 29.5 percent less prevalent since 2005.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Resulting from the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death worldwide. In 2015, cerebrovascular disease and ischemic heart disease were the third and fourth most fatal diseases in Comoros respectively. Unfortunately, since 2005, cerebrovascular diseases have become 4.2 percent more prevalent, and ischemic heart disease had become 5.4 percent more prevalent.

Since 2005, rates of lower respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases have decreased substantially in the country. However, the rate of cardiovascular diseases, a type of noncommunicable disease, has increased. With international assistance from the World Health Organization, a national health policy has been adopted for the years 2015 to 2024, and a health development plan has been adopted for the years 2015 to 2019. Comoros will continue to benefit from foreign aid until putting in an effective and functioning health system.

Shannon Golden

Photo: Flickr


The issues of malnutrition and hunger in Comoros have posed problems for the population since the country gained independence in 1975. Since then, the country has faced political instability. According to BBC News, more than 20 attempted coups have occurred on the islands of Comoros, adding to the effect of hunger and poverty on the island. Today, the government is trying to help the population improve on these fronts.

In 2013, the Global Hunger Index reported that Comoros was one of nineteen countries that had alarming levels of hunger. In fact, close to half of the population of children living in Comoros suffers from severe malnutrition.

This is completely unacceptable – thankfully, the government of Comoros has taken strides to improve the state of hunger in Comoros.

Educational Efforts to Combat Hunger

UNICEF reports that, “Lack of knowledge is one of the most important reasons for malnutrition in Comoros,” meaning that it is necessary for the population to learn how they can prevent hunger by choosing the right foods and gaining access to a larger food source, if possible.

In fact, UNICEF’s program, titled Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), serves to improve health systems and community practices in countries that need the most help in learning about how to combat hunger.

According to UNICEF, IMCI also works on improving the life expectancy of young children in Comoros by proving vaccination, a knowledge of better nutrition, and practices to protect from malaria. The program wants to help communities learn how to prevent hunger in Comoros (and other countries) so that the ratio of children who die from malnutrition can decrease.

As of now, one out of every four children suffers from malnutrition.

The soil is reportedly fertile, and a number of people are surviving and making a living off their land. Therefore, the presence of food doesn’t seem to be a problem, but the education about which foods and what amount of food are necessary for a child’s survival is pertinent to ending hunger in Comoros.

Alongside malnutrition, children often contract preventable diseases as a result of unsafe water and poor sanitation, such as diarrhea. This is another factor that must be addressed in order to improve the state of hunger in Comoros.

According to UNICEF, nearly 25 percent of children under five years of age are underweight as a result of hunger in Comoros. There is hope for a healthier future as the country and helpful organizations like UNICEF are seeking to improve the country’ state.

With increased education about how the population can improve on these fronts, Comoros will be able to report an increased survival rate and healthier children in the years to come.

Jacqueline Nicole Artz

Photo: Flickr

Education Comoros
Known as one of the poorest countries in the world, Comoros, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, has struggled to get children enrolled in schools. Education in Comoros is mandatory between the ages of six and 16, yet a large portion of the population still receives little to no education at all. Primary school lasts for six years, followed by seven years of secondary school. However, given that the country only has one university, most students seek higher education abroad.

Comorans attain an average of 2.85 years of schooling, leading to an adult literacy rate of around 75 percent. While under French rule from 1843 to 1975, Comoros based its education system after that of France. Today, the education system is composed of the formal school, taught mainly in French, and the Koranic school, due to the vast majority of Comorans being Sunni Muslims. Often as a result of financial issues, many families opt to send their children to Koranic schools, where students can receive an Islamic education for free.

Despite the school options available, enrollment rates have been on the decline, with schools being affected by political instability and unrest from teacher strikes and student protests. After the country gained independence, a large number of French teachers were let go, causing the system to be plagued by poor teacher training and even poorer results.

Dropout rates are high, with only 35 percent of students advancing to secondary school. Although enrollment for primary schools has improved, the transition to secondary school is only around 60 percent.

To cope with the constraints of the education system, the Education Sector Support Program in Comoros (PASEC) was implemented during the 2005-2010 period in collaboration with the European Union. In spite of that, it was not until recently that the country started seeing results.

Around 320 primary and secondary schools were refurnished and remodeled, while training was provided to school directors, education inspectors and teachers. Around $16.5 million has gone into PASEC and has assisted Comoros in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. With such assistance, net access to primary education has increased by six percent over the span of seven years and the gap between boys and girls enrolled in schools is steadily decreasing.

Leeda Jewayni

Sources: UNDP, World Bank, Les Comores, EEAS
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Comoros, Hope on the Rise - The Borgen Project
With high rates of hunger, infant mortality and population increase, it’s easy to see why the World Hunger Index ranked Comoros third on the list of the world’s hungriest nations. It is just one of nineteen nations still labeled as “alarming” or “extremely alarming” on the Global Hunger Index, leaving 870 million without food.

The Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy Paper produced by the officials of Comoros stated that, “information on the economic environment supports the assumption that the socio-economic situation is deteriorating and that poverty is on the rise.”

Much of this social upheaval has been attributed to what can only be described as an unstable government. Comoros has been the site of 20 coups and attempted coups since its independence in 1975. The newest elected leader, Ikililou Dhoinine, a native born to the islands, took office in May 2011. He looks to spearhead the reduction of poverty by pledging “to stop at nothing in the fight against corruption.” Despite this hopeful claim, the people of Comoros are among the poorest in Africa and heavily dependent on foreign aid.

But others have joined the goals of Dhoinine. Dominic MacSorley, Chief Executive of Concern stated that, “firefighting with emergency aid is not enough.” Comoros conducted its own comprehensive household survey and found that many locals agreed that the way to bolster the economy was to show “importance of recovery in the private sector, particularly in the agro-foods area, to ensure a robust economic growth and achieve a significant reduction in poverty.”

Engagement Communautaire pour le Développement Durable, or the ECDD, has been working toward just that by creating a model of community landscape management integrating improved livelihoods with natural resource management.

Agroecology and Market Gardening were two of the techniques implemented. Agroecology refers to the process of conserving the land while simultaneously respecting ecological principles and learning from nature. For example, learning how the rainforest continually recycles nutrients back into the soil. Market Gardening is the process of growing vegetables to take to market for a profit.

ECDD’s project slogan, ‘Komori ya lao na meso,’ means ‘The Comoros of today and tomorrow.’ It is plain to see that this slogan was embodied at the very hearts of the ECDD efforts. These practices have set a new precedence in the hopeful fight against hunger in Comoros and the world.

Frederick Wood II

Sources: International Food Policy Research Institute, ECDD Comoros 1, ECDD Comoros 2, BBC, trust.org, International Monetary Fund
Photo: MSU Today