četvrtak, 10.11.2011.



Cooking With Ease

cooking with ease

UNHCR News Story: In Sudan, planting trees eases environmental impact of hosting refugees

UNHCR News Story: In Sudan, planting trees eases environmental impact of hosting refugees

Central tree nursery with a production capacity of 1,000,000 tree seedings at El-Fau, the headquarters of Sudan's Forests National Corporation (FNC) / UNHCR / 2002.

KASSALA, Sudan, July 1 UNHCR) – Drive a few hours north-east of Khartoum towards Kassala, near the Sudanese border with Eritrea, and you will come across one of the UN refugee agency's most striking achievements in the region – acre after acre of trees, stretching into the distance.

UNHCR has planted more than 19 million of them in a programme, launched a quarter-of-a-century ago, to green the denuded landscape of eastern Sudan. Species of acacia, neem, eucalyptus and many others, now cover almost 28,400 hectares of once barren land.

The refugee agency has been conducting the reforestation programme as part of its mandate to protect and assist refugees in eastern Sudan, including some who have been there for more than 40 years.

In the 1980s, more than a million refugees lived in the area. Today, 66,000 refugees from Ethiopia and Eritrea live in 12 camps in four eastern and central states; while an estimated 40,000 others reside in local communities. About 2,000 new asylum-seekers arrive at the border every month.

The presence of so many people living in the area and needing wood for cooking and shelter has taken a heavy toll on the environment. UNHCR launched the planting programme in 1985 in a bid to redress the balance and to heal the land generously provided by the host nation.

The first reforestation programme in refugee-affected areas was implemented between 1985 and 1996 for UNHCR by Enso, a Finnish non-governmental organization specializing in forestry. Sudan's Forests National Corporation (FNC), with UNHCR's support, has continued these activities since 1997.

The FNC provides materials, seeds and tools, as well as training and technical advice on agro-forestry projects that benefit refugees as well as the local community. Women carry out most of the projects, which combine environmental and self-reliance activities with peace-building.

By preserving trees and bushes, rather than cutting them down for temporary gain, they provide a sustainable source of fruit, medicine, shade and fodder. They also prevent erosion, a major concern in an area where the sands of the Sahara encroach further every year.

UNHCR funds reforestation and agro-forestry projects in and around the camps where its staff operate. At one, the Kilo 26 Refugee Camp, new trees and irrigated farmland cover 37 hectares.

The crops, including okra, tomato, cucumber, water melon, beans, onion, sorghum, groundnuts and fodder for livestock, are planted between lines of trees, which create a microclimate that helps increase production and provide vegetables in the off-season.

Locals and refugees ensure the project's success. Their nurseries produce 7,000-8,000 seedlings a year for fields or home gardens. The programme benefits 6,000 locals and 9,000 refugees. "The project has assisted us, through agro-forestry, in the cultivation of vegetables for household consumption and for sale in local markets," said one refugee.

The FNC has a training centre for the refugees at the Shagarab camp, where it teaches environmental awareness, tree planting, seedling production and alternative energy use. In addition, locally made mud stoves have reduced fuel consumption by 40 per cent.

"Engaging the refugees through this project in natural resource management has increased the refugees' sense of ownership and responsibility, while benefiting the environment and host communities," said Dualeh Mohamed, a UNHCR staff member involved in the programme.

By Karen Ringuette in Kassala, Sudan

Eggnog Cake

Eggnog Cake

Great success! The only other time I tried to make a Bundt cake, half of it stuck inside the pan! Not this time! Hoo-ray! Here's one of two desserts we made for our big family Christmas Eve, 2006 celebration.

Eggnog Cake Recipe:


1. 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans
2. 1 package of yellow cake mix
3. 1 cup of eggnog
4. 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
5. 3 eggs
6. 2 tablespoons of orange juice
7. 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
8. (for the frosting) 2 cups of powdered sugar
9. (also for the frosting) 6 tablespoons of orange juice


* Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

* Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the pecans into each of 9 generously greased and floured mini-Bundt pans (see below for a note). Set prepared pan aside.

* Combine the cake mix, eggnog, oil, eggs, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of orange juice in a large bowl, and beat at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Pour the batter evenly into the mini-Bundts.

* Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the mini-Bundts and cool completely on the wire rack.

* Combine the two frosting ingredients together in a bowl. Stir well, and then drizzle evenly over the cake.

JEN NOTE: This recipe can also be made in one large Bundt pan (as is evidenced by the photo!) Use a 12-cup regular Bundt pan and proceed as above, except bake the cake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

ANOTHER JEN NOTE: Maybe this is just me being a little overly cautious (given my first and only other prior Bundt experience being as disastrous as it was!), but I let this cake cook for a long time. A l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g time. Like, overnight. And it slid riiiight out of the pan with ease! (CORRECTION ADDED ON 12/27/2006...this should read that I let the cake "COOL" for a long time. Sorry about that!)

cooking with ease

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