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  1. Regional Topic Essay (100 pts)


                Choose one of the following two topics and prepare a concise and informative essay that you will write in class on the day of the examination without reference to notes.  The essay should cover one world region studied in this course (for example, Central Asia, Middle East, East Africa, East Asia, Mekong River countries; but not a single country).  The essay must have specific examples of places and related issues in the region.  A strong response will make reference to place names, including at least three countries.

    The essay should be written with an introduction, body, and conclusion, and be identified with an appropriate title.   


        The following grading guideline will be used to evaluate your essay:


    1. Regional environmental focus.  Write an essay in which you explain a) the region’s environmental characteristics, and b) how humans have purposefully or accidentally changed the environment. 


    Content                                                                       Organization

    ___ Plate tectonics                                                     ___ Title:  present?

    ___ Climate (including Köppen                                   ___ Introduction:  with theme/purpose

            classification)                                                      ___ Body                    

    ___ Landscape features, rivers                                  ___ Conclusion

    ___ Types of agriculture                                             ___ Good writing mechanics (minimal errors

    ___ Environmental issues                                                 of punctuation, grammar, sentence

                                                                                               structure, etc.)

    ___ Meaningful reference to at least 3

           countries in the region


    1. Regional human geography focus.  Write an essay on the region’s cultural, political, and economic characteristics.  Explain what centripetal and/or centrifugal forces are significant in defining major current processes of change. 


    The following grading guideline will be used to evaluate your essay:


    Content                                                                       Organization

    ___ Centripetal and/or centrifugal                               ___ Title:  present?

           forces (with examples)                                        ___ Introduction:  with theme/purpose

    ___ Population characteristics                                   ___ Body

    ___ Language                                                             ___ Conclusion

    ___ Religion                                                                ___ Good writing mechanics (minimal errors

    ___ Economy (Who has wealth?                                      of punctuation, grammar, sentence

           Who doesn’t have it? What is produced                     structure, etc.)

           and where? Trade/global links?)                         ___ Meaningful reference to at least 3

                                                                                               countries in the region



Subject Essay Writing Pages 3 Style APA


East Africa Region

The East Africa region can be separated in nature into three sub-regions: the Great Lakes region which entails Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi; the Horn of Africa includes Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Djibouti and Somali; and the Indian Ocean Islands of Comoros and Seychelles. The distinctions are based on their environment (vegetation, water sources and topography).  Horn of Africa holds more desert and semi-desert areas as compared to the Great Lakes regions that have more forests.

The climate ranges and it is amazingly serene as the results of its latitude, high altitude and the frequency at which the rain shadows off the westerly monsoon winds. The frequency at which rain is high i.e. the rain falls in two seasons, one around April and another in October or November. Lakes and rivers are geographical aspects used to access water in the East Africa region. The Nile River, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria and Lake Nyasa are some of the major waterways in East Africa, accompanied by smaller lakes (Waithaka, & International Food Policy Research Institute, 2013). These water sources are rendered existent because of the availability of rainfall which varies from season to season and areas too. The rainfall has, however, declined in its amount causing periodic drought and famine, like the Ethiopian famines (McKnight, & Hess, 2006). Topography wise, East Africa region is very diverse. Much of the region’s setting is defined by global tectonic forces that formed the Great Rift Valley that runs from Ethiopia to Mozambique (Chen, 2013). It was created by the movement of two fault lines in the earth, arising in the formation of mountains, valleys and lakes throughout the area. Most countries in this region like Kenya and Uganda heavily depend on agriculture through crop production (bananas, tea, and coffee among others), fishing, forestry and ranching (Low, 2005).

Environmental issues in East Africa include deforestation, soil erosion among others. The environment is a ‘pillar’ of sustainability and people have changed this over the past years. The forced movement of people has created environmental refugees like in the Mau Forest of Kenya (Nanjira, 2010). Global processes like the emission of greenhouse gases have also impacted climate change thus negatively impacting the environment. Cultivation of crops on river banks and mining activities have also left the water to destroy people’s health, nearby houses and properties through floods, landslide and diseases.





Chen, D., & Chen, H. W. (2013). Using the Köppen classification to quantify climate variation and change: An example for 1901–2010. Environmental Development, 669-79. doi:10.1016/j.envdev.2013.03.007

Don Nanjira, D. (2010). African Foreign Policy and Diplomacy From Antiquity to the 21st Century. Santa Barbara, Calif: Praeger.

McKnight, T. L. & Hess, D. (2006). Climate zones and types. Physical Geography.

Waithaka, M., & International Food Policy Research Institute. (2013). East African agriculture and climate change: A comprehensive analysis. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.

Low, P. S. (2005). Climate change and Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.






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