Points of Progress: Robots replace child camel jockeys, and more

This is more than feel-good news – it's where the world is making concrete progress. A roundup of positive stories to end your week.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters
A Bedouin camel owner prepares a robot jockey before a race in Ismailia, Egypt, on March 12.


Robots are taking the place of child jockeys in a major traditional Egyptian camel racing festival. The Bedouin sport has long used children for their small size and light weight, but the practice has come under criticism by human rights organizations that say some child jockeys are abused and malnourished. This year, 20 of about 150 camels were controlled by robots instead of children as bans in neighboring countries and local campaigns add pressure to camel owners to change. (Reuters)

The Caribbean

Countries in the Caribbean region have found a dirty way to clean up greenhouse emissions. Carbon is harmful when released in the atmosphere but good for farming and the environment when it is sequestered in soil. Researchers in the Caribbean have found that certain farming practices, such as managed grazing and crop rotation, can more effectively remove carbon from the air while creating a healthier topsoil. Several different initiatives are working to introduce regenerative techniques like organic farming and agroforestry to replace farming practices that degrade the environment. (Forbes)


The European Union will commit another $10.8 million to support local government, jobs, and agriculture in Bhutan. The funds are aimed at reducing poverty while also encouraging the development of carbon-neutral infrastructure. Thanks to previous funding from the EU totaling $48 million, Bhutan has been able to increase organic production at farms, improve farm supplies and techniques, and upgrade roads, fields, and irrigation systems. (European Commission on International Cooperation and Development)

Cathal McNaughton/Reuters
A boy carries straw near Punakha, Bhutan, on Dec. 13, 2017.

Ivory Coast

Cotton production is getting a boost from collaborative farming practices. A decade ago, the Ivory Coast cotton industry was struggling after a civil war left farmers without money, tools, or resources. To improve the situation, the government introduced fixed prices and a zoning system that limits the area in which a cotton company can operate. And once-overlooked farming communities are now being brought to the table. These efforts have led to a 25 percent increase in last year’s crop. (Ethical Corporation)


Glasgow schools are drawing attention for their efforts to increase educational achievement for low-income children. A holistic, city-wide approach has focused on alleviating the effect of poverty on schoolchildren and their families. The approach has boosted attendance, scholastic achievement, and postgraduation success. Officials noted the significant overall progress made in schools, especially during the past decade. (BBC)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Points of Progress: Robots replace child camel jockeys, and more
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today