Tag Archives: kenya

Maasai and other indigenous people demand for direct access to climate finance

17 Nov

Indigenous communities, through their representatives, put forth their case, during the ongoing climate negotiations (COP22), on why they should be given direct access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Among other demands such as recognition of and respect for their rights, the indigenous groups said that access to the climate finance will enable them to play a significant role in management of natural resources and mitigation and adaptation of climate change.

Grace Balawang of Tebtebba, an indigenous peoples’ organization based in Philippines said “indigenous people have been in direct contact with forests for a long time, have built indigenous knowledge system over the period and should therefore be supported to continue applying indigenous knowledge to protect the forests.”

Tarcila Rivera Zea of CHIRAPAQ, Peru added that despite the indigenous peoples’ wealth of knowledge, they have been hard hit by the impacts of climate change.

We are the ones that suffer the consequences of climate change when droughts, floods, landslides and typhoons occur.” Ms. Tarcila said. Through slides, she showed images of indigenous communities hit by drought and landslides.

Some medicinal plant resources useful to the indigenous communities have been lost and there have been limited efforts to recover them.” She continued.

Ms. Tarcila believes that if indigenous people get the necessary support, they will use their indigenous knowledge to create crops that are resistant to droughts, recover species that are facing extinction especially medicinal plant species important in their culture, improve and produce more environmentally friendly technology like the energy saving stoves that emit less smoke that has been part of their culture for a while.

However, the challenge standing between the communities and the necessary climate action is lack of financial muscle.

Stanley Ole Kimaren, Executive Director of Indigenous Livelihoods Partnerships, Kenya (ILEPA), said that though pastoralist groups like the Maasai have proven that there is an indigenous science behind the enhanced livelihood systems, there has not been sufficient support towards their initiatives.

What we need is funding and capacity building support to engage more robustly in climate action and livelihood enhancement.” He said.

One of the funding sources eyed by the indigenous communities is the Green Climate Fund. However, a number of hurdles hinder their access to the fund meant for adaptation and building of climate resilience among vulnerable communities.

The GCF instruments at the moment do not recognize indigenous people who are often most affected by climate change as a special constituency. We have also been excluded and marginalized from the decision making processes.” Mr. Kimaren said.

The Green Climate Fund should recognize the rights of indigenous people and address the issue of direct access or a dedicated financial arrangement for the indigenous people,” He continued.

The Global Climate Fund was established in 2010 by 194 countries party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to assist developing countries to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

We ask the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to provide a direct observer seat to the indigenous people to participate in the GCF discussions.”

There are approximately 370 million indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. They are often seen as the primary stewards of the planet’s natural resources. Their ways of life have contributed to the protection of the natural environment on which they depend on.  

Article by Jonathan Odongo
Founder and Executive Director,
Kenya Environmental Education Network

Panelists: Indigenous Peoples and Green Climate Fund. Photo/COURTESY Jonathan Odongo


Memoirs of a Survivor to Westgate day, September 21, 2013

21 Set

I walked into the Westgate Mall that Saturday morning as a happily married woman; with my loving husband by my side, shopping for my family. Ijaba Amaya at home and Alisha Idman in my womb. But Alas! I walked out of the Mall a widow, physically and emotionally traumatized and with a big question in my head: “WHY”?

A year down the line, I have struggled and accepted what happened and I live my life with gratitude and trust in Allah. No matter how many questions I may have asked, and continue asking, there can never be any satisfactory answers to them.

My heart does not have space for any hatred whatsoever; and I have forgiven those who inflicted the great loss and pain that I have gone through. Yes, I live it all to God, for vengeance is not mine.

Before this day comes to an end; I would like to sincerely thank God for the bad and the good, my family for being my backbone, my friends who stood by my side and people from all over the World for the words of encouragement and kind message of condolences….

Last but not least, I would wish to extend my sincere gratitude to the brevity of the men who courageously, armed with faith and good will came and rescued us. Wherever you are, whoever you are, remember that I will be forever grateful to you for the rest of my life.

In this painful odyssey over the year; there are people who touched my heart in very special ways and whom I would wish to dedicate special words to in the coming days.
Before this day ends, I beseech all of you to remember what happened in the Westgate Mall on that fateful Saturday. Let us not have hatred in our hurts, but instead learn to forgive and move on in our lives knowing truly that our dignity and pride shall never be destroyed under whatever circumstances.

Let us join hands and work towards peace and tolerance, for a better life in this world; for it is the only way forward.

I thank God for the good and the bad experiences in my life.

Mariam Yassin HY @MariamYassinHY
September 21, 2014 ·

Attacking Chinese Construction Workers to Get Jobs? Right End, Wrong Means

5 Ago


Some thoughts on the recent Clash of Kenyan Youngsters with Chinese Workers

Being an ethnic Chinese (i.e. not definitely a national Chinese, I hope you could understand the difference) and a political science student, I have been interested in the discourse of China’s New Imperialism and colonialism over the African continent. Though I have not paid much effort in reading the relevant materials, I often listen to stories shared by my friends in Africa. Last year, I got a chance to do an internship in Kenya and decided to suspend my degree to explore, and I have talked with numerous people from all walks of life since then. I hope my experience and view can contribute to the discussion and thoughts on the recent clash – Kenyan Youngsters’ attacking Chinese Construction Workers, accusing the Chinese of taking their jobs. Please understand that I haven’t done a lot of statistical research on this topic, so this article will be greatly referring to my daily conversation or cooperation with people from different nationalities, classes, genders and sectors in East Africa.

This article will be divided into 3 parts. In (1) Right End, Wrong Means, I would briefly explain my basic views. In (2) Who is the one to blame?, I would refer to some conversations I had with the Mzungu in East Africa, which is about the difficulties we faced when cooperating with Africans. I do not intend to stereotype all Africans, but I do want to share some critical opinions to provoke discussion. (3) Blame or Boost? I would share, in my view, what’s the right means to the angry Kenyan youngsters’ end.

      • Right End, Wrong Means

The title of this article has summarized my view. Suppose the intention of the young Kenyans involved is to get jobs and earn money, the intention is right, or at least not wrong. (if they’re not earning money for doing bad, and I’m not going to go into details about the creation, transformation and internalization of work ethnics in recent centuries, and if you’re interested, you may refer to Bauman’s writing.)

Suppose the Chinese have really dominated the local job market, the means of attacking Chinese construction workers, however, is wrong. Firstly, these workers are innocent. They are in the lower levels in the power pyramid, who usually don’t have many choices in life, but to travel from China to Kenya to make a living for their families. There will be few, if not no benefit from attacking them – Not only will the situation remain unchanged, but the workers are also literally suffering! What’s the point of attacking them? Even if you say they’re helping with this evil and unfair process of Chinese dominating local job market, depriving the locals of their opportunities, has any other means been tried before attacking them? Personally I’m not a fan of non-violence principle but I believe violence should be opted for when there’s no better option. Have the people who’re concerned about the situation ever organized themselves to do some more research first? Have they contacted the local politician, or the Chinese companies to negotiate? If other means have not been tried and the first means to voice out for concern is by attacking the Chinese construction workers, it is just ridiculous.

      • Who is the one to blame?

Blaming is easy, but who is the one to blame for the situation? (Suppose the Chinese have really dominated the local job market – as said above I’m not going deep into the statistics) The Chinese who are imposing New Imperialism on Africa? The Europeans who colonized and robbed the African continent? The World Police Americans who turn a blind eye to the New Imperialism? Or, the Africans themselves?

No offence. Or if I’m offending, sorry I have to continue. As the Chinese saying goes, “苦口良药﹑忠言逆耳” (Good medicine always tastes bitter and Good advice always sounds unbearable.) The reason I’m saying (some) Africans may be the ones to blame is – before blaming the others, have these people reflected on themselves? Most of the time there’s a reason behind. If one’s having a lot of personal problems, but would never reflect on oneself, and just sitting there shouting for concern and blaming the others, finally getting illness – who is the one to blame?

Again, I’m not saying the Chinese, the Americans or the Europeans have no responsibility to the problems Africa facing today. Instead, I’m focusing on – have the (some) Africans, who are always blaming the other nations, spent some time to reflect on themselves?

Difficulties when cooperating with Africans

Several months ago I had a dinner with a group of friends, mostly Mzungu, who’re working in East Africa and we talked about the difficulties we faced when cooperating with the Africans – we first talked about punctuality as the local friend had been late for an hour and a half but were still on the way. Then we took turn to talk about our experience, of which the funniest was – Ms.Z, a Chinese journalist, had to do an interview with a person and the local photographer was late for an hour. One guy asked what if it was a urgent issue but not an interview, British businessman Mr.D humorously explained “breaking news which IS NOT BREAKING!” which made all of us burst out laughing. Mr.Y, a Chinese businessman, shared that he got a colleague who has been waiting someone else to sign a contract FOR A MONTH, and SHE IS STILL WAITING FOR THAT SIGN, but then everyone else around the table took it for granted. Mr.Y continued to share: Two of his Chinese friends were parking a car in a shopping mall parking lot. When asked by local guard how long they would park, they answered 15 minutes, and the local guard followed: “so is it Chinese 15 minutes or African 15 minutes?” “What’s the difference” the Chinese asked. “Chinese 15 minutes is around 15-20 minutes, while African 15 minutes is 30 minutes or more.”

I personally got some experience too: Several months ago, my local friend Ms.C who’s responsible for our company’s billboard advertisement was first late for half an hour when we were to walk around in town to pick the suitable billboard spot, making us embarrassed to keep waiting in Java House and we instead waited her outside it. I thought she would be better later, but I was wrong. We agreed to sign the contract and she promised the contract would arrive at our company on Monday. I called her on Monday and she told me she got something else to do and couldn’t make it. Okay then Tuesday. I called her on Tuesday morning and confirmed the contract would arrive at our company at 1pm, and called her again at 12nn being told that she forgot that she would be having a meeting and couldn’t come again, and SHE HAD NO INTENTION TO TELL ME THIS NOT UNTIL I CALLED HER. If that’s something personal I could just let it go and wait, but it’s my job – My boss Ms.J understood that I could hardly demand Ms.C fiercely, therefore she took my phone and spoke to her directly that the contract must arrive at our office on Wednesday. She then reminded me if I was too benign I would just be ignored – and the contract eventually arrived at our hand on Wed. Frankly speaking, I do not understand Ms.C.

Ms.C seems to represent the common image of Africans. Later I realized not only the Mzungu think in this way, but also the local people. I was told by my local friend the concept of “Mzungu time” is very common among local Africans, meaning it is understood that the Mzungu are having different conceptions of time compared with the locals. I really don’t know if it is a cultural difference or institutional problem, but I know this is one of the important causes why sometimes the locals are not welcome in business deal.

Apart from being late, there are other difficulties, for example knowing nothing about their responsibilities, or the endless demand for direct monetary assist which makes the ones being asked uncomfortable. My friend Mr.J once held a ceremony in Nairobi inviting government officials from other African countries, and the officials are endlessly asking for monetary allowance even though we already paid him flights, accommodation and food, and those officials were just coming for one day. I’m not going into details here as these are just too common. However, I think the aforementioned experience tells something – even if the discourse of Chinese dominating the local job market is valid and substantial, there are understandable reasons behind.

      • Blame or Boost?

This afternoon I was walking with friend who’s a local teacher, and we talked a bit about this issue. When asked if he liked Chinese coming to Kenya, he said yes, and the reason is the Chinese helped build a lot of roads and buildings, “If we ask a local company to build, they will distribute the money and cannot build anything!” He literally told me this. I wonder what would the angry Kenyan youngsters have thought, or would they still have attacked the Chinese worker had they heard of this saying.

I’m not sure what’s your answer to my question in part 2 “Who is the one to blame?”. Yet, apart from blaming, there’s another option – boosting oneself. Easier said than done. It’s just too easy to blame the others and push away any personal responsibility. But when one starts to identify his or her own (country / nation) problems, and to boost himself or herself by working hard to tackle the problems, the situation will change, as the Confucius said: “君子求诸己,小人求诸人” (What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others.”)

For example, if I were one of the angry youngsters, I might start to think: Even the evil Chinese who’s always trying to take away our opportunities and resources, do I myself have any room for improvement? Am I lacking the skills needed? Why do I not have the skills? Am I lazy to learn? Do I lack the money to pay for tuition? Why is the government not paying the basic tuition? Where are the taxation spent? Do I fulfil my civic responsibility to maintain the checks & balance of the government? Have my fellow countrymen done anything wrong and made others feel hard to cooperate with? Have the local companies delayed work schedule all the time to make the others lose confidence in them? If I have to attack somebody to change the situation, am I going to attack the Chinese construction workers? Or, is there anything I can do before attacking someone?……

I hope this article will add some light to the discussion.
Thanks “African voices” for accepting non-African voice like me!


Write by Emil Yeoh


The culture of racism against black domestic help in Lebanon (and the rest of the Arab Muslim world)

25 Giu

A video showing a young Ethiopian maid being dragged by the hair, beaten and forced into a car by several Lebanese men in a busy Beirut street was followed by the maid committing suicide by hanging a few days later.

OBSERVERS.france24 (H/T SusanK)   The scene, captured by a cell phone camera, occurred in front of the Ethiopian consulate in Beirut. The maid, named Alem Dechasa, is lying on the ground, crying and pleading in Ethiopian: “I don’t want to go there!” An onlooker can be heard attempting to stop the man beating her: “Stop it, what’s your problem? Let her go back to the consulate.” But a few moments later, another man grabs Dechasa’s collar and drags her on the ground, then tries to force her into a car. She resists, and one of the men violently grabs her hair – at which point the video cuts.


The main perpetrator of the violent acts in the video, identified by the licence plate of his car, is Ali Mahfouz, the owner of a maid service agency that employs many migrant workers. He claims that he had taken her to her consulate for her to be sent her back to her country, which she categorically refused.

 Ethiopian consular officials said that they found Dechasa too unstable to be sent back to Ethiopia, and had advised Mahfouz to take her to a psychiatric hospital in the city. After they left, the consular officials said they heard screams and shouts coming from the street and called the police. According to Mahfouz, he was trying to get Dechasa into a car to drive her to the airport when the police interfered and took her to the Deir al-Salib psychiatric ward.

She committed suicide there on March 14 by strangling herself with a sheet.
Ali Latifa Fakhri a member of the Lebanese Anti-Racism movement in Beirut, says, “Ali Mahfouz brought Dechasa to the consulate while she was in a crazy frenzy. He then justified himself by saying that she had tried to commit suicide several times and he had been forced to switch her to another house. But the question is obviously not whether or not the girl had mental problems. Violence like this can in no case be justified. It’s also worth asking whether Dechasa became unstable following the treatment she underwent at the hands of her employers.


Personally, I consider businesses like Mahfouz’s little more than human trafficking. These recruiters go to Ethiopia, Sri Lanka or the Philippines to convince poor women to work in Lebanon. They promise good wages, days off, freedom of religion, etc… But once in Lebanon, they often find themselves working 18 hours a day with no rest, irregular pay, and limited freedom. Sometimes, their passport is confiscated and they can’t go anywhere without their employer’s permission. They’re worse than second-class citizens, they’re like slaves. [Every year, there are reports of several thousand maids being physically or sexually abused by their employers in Lebanon.]

“The simple fact that such blatant violence took place in front of the woman’s consulate is proof that nothing stops employers.” The system completely excludes these employees from the rights of other Lebanese workers: they have practically no legal protection.

Clifford Akwana from Nairobi, the winner of Earth Citizen Ward for environmental conservation.

12 Mag
On May 7, African Voices chatted featuring Clifford Akwana, environmentalist who is inspired by Wangari and winner of the Earth Citizen Ward for environmental conservation award. Here’s what he told.
AV: Mr Clifford congratulations for the award,to begin with what does it take to nature an idea of being an environmentalist an area that is not so appealing to many a youths of your age.

Clifford Akwana: Thank you for granting me this golden chance. it doesn’t take any idea to be an environmentalist this is something that comes from nowhere

Clifford Akwana: I’m Clifford akwana from Nairobi Kenya 27 years and I’m married with one child

AV: I see so many people involved in many problems in Africa but few on the environment. Why you’re in this way, Clifford?

Clifford Akwana: our future lies on our hands.so its our responsibility to conserve the environment so that we can live a very happy life, if we don’t conserve the environment we will all die so i;m into environmental conservation so that i can save the earth and the people

AV: You’re finding sensitivity on the part of the Kenyan and government?

Clifford Akwana: I have not seen sensitivity directly but indirect if i conserve the environment automatically i have save the lives on many.

AV: The world is much talk of climate change, and what do you think these changes are putting a strain on even Africa?

Clifford Akwana: yes.the ecosystem is destabilizing the climate patterns has changed. It is changing the very seasons, availability of water, economic stability….. Africa can and must start erecting solar panels; it is very cheap and a job skill for the young.

AV: What we can do to help you ? by us that living out and far of you?

Clifford Akwana: you can help with resources,advancement and consultancy

Clifford Akwana: I received Earth Citizen Award to honor and acknowledge the important work that i’m doing, often in the most difficult of circumstances.from Artists Project Earth (APE)

AV: Clifford. what is the most difficult circumstances that you are getting?

Clifford Akwana: Running project without funding the extreme poverty of my constituents; children without adequate housing or food.
Also, the lack of government funding for sustainable energy projects which would benefit our country, Without basic services, Our water shortages and problems with potability are not improving.Our children cannot learn to value wildlife unless they are given real alternatives to poaching and see a real effort to protect our native animals.

AV: Clifford Akwana, Who or what is your inspiration?

Clifford Akwana: The children, the future, and the beauty of Africa, as well as the work of (Wangari) are my inspiration

AV: Clifford Akwana please, write for us all what you want, free hand. Is a pleasure read your words and thanks to your tome and patience here. Thanks a lot

Clifford Akwana: Having recognition means a lot when you are working here in Nairobi with a very disadvantaged community. Even more important is our work to raise the next generation to build a sustainable society. We welcome all listeners to communicate with us on our webpage at WOPA GREEN PROJECT. Our school takes donations of books and school supplies. We have offered job training in making marketable goods but look forward to your support for new programs in environmental science, water systems and solar technologies. We will raise our youth to be a conservation force.

Thank you so much for the interview i have really appreciated so much.

Bino and Fino to the conquest of Brazil. Chatting with Ibrahim Wazir

1 Apr
Interview/chat with Ibrahim Waziri, one of the creators and the artistic directors of Bino and Fino, the best known educational cartoons and appreciated by the audience of children and adults, in Nigeria and Kenya and now is racing to conquer the Brazilian children and families.
The African Voices interviews/chat are held every Thursday evening on the facebook page
AV: Good evening Ibrahim!
Ibrahim Waziri: Good evening. Good to be here. Thank you for having me on

AV: from where writing you, Ibrahim?

Ibrahim Waziri: Sunny Abuja, Nigeria.

Nice place 

Ibrahim Waziri: Yes it is. 
AV: So Ibrahim You are one of the creators of a cartoon seen a lot, what effect it has on your life?

Ibrahim Waziri: Yes, I am one of the directors of Bino and Fino The journey has been extremely life changing. When growing up as a kid, there weren’t any shows that depicted Africa so I’m happy that the future generation will have a show like this.

AV: Why the necessity of a cartoons like Bino and Fino in Nigeria?

Ibrahim Waziri: We created Bino and Fino because of the lack of representation of the African child’s perspective. In Nigeria 98% of children’s media is imported. This can lead to an imbalance as children will start feeling that they are not included in their favourite shows. We had to do something.

AV: How many people work for the creation of Bino and Fino? and which the level of popularity cartoon now?

Ibrahim Waziri: AFRICAN VOICES, The numbers changes as we work with animators both in Nigeria and in Kenya to produce the show. The show has aired Nationwide and has been received positively by those who have seen it.

AV: So, a big company!

With Bino and Fino enjoying children and adult; what are some of the comments that you’ve gotten about the show from parents and kids?

Ibrahim Waziri: Wow. There have been so many. We’ve had parents tell us how it has had an immensely positive effect on their children. I’ve had parents tell us how their kids point to the screen and shout , “Mummy, Fino looks like me!” There was a comment I read by someone who believed our show could help unite Brazil. Powerful stuff.

AV: Brazil indeed Ibrahim! your desire for education of children brings expansion hunger to cross the ocean and land in Brazil: why bring Bino and Fino out of Africa?
Ibrahim Waziri: AFRICAN VOICES, why not. Knowledge is universal especially among children There are families around the world that would love to educate their children about Africa. We are providing that platform for people who would love to introduce their children to Africa.
AV:Brazil is present in some African countries, true, but I do not find the connection between Nigeria, Kenya and Brazil

AV Of course it’s just my thoughts. probably children are much simpler than we adults

Ibrahim Waziri: I do not get your question. Are you saying you do not get the connection between the countries Emoticon smile ?

AV: What was your inspiration to create Bino and Fino

Ibrahim Waziri: Create an authentic African voice in the world of children’s media.
AV: Ibrahim, was not a question, just my thought
Because bino and fino talk also about the history of his country or of Africa. An African production will must tell the history of the Brasil, a big big country. will be a hard adventure, or not?

Ibrahim Waziri: Ah. I see where you are going. We are not trying to tell the story of Brazil. Bino and Fino focuses on culture, history, geography, science and much more. We want to give the kids in Brazil a show that can educate about Africa in Portuguese.

AV: When starting this brazilian adventure?

Ibrahim Waziri: Interesting question. We’ve had quite a few requests from our Brazilian fans who follow our page to come to Brazil. I think after a couple of years we felt the time was right.

AV: I saw a link to looking for funds to continue the project in Brazil, what a link and is possible to be part of your project?

Ibrahim Waziri: Yes, we are crowd funding to translate the cartoon into Portuguese for Brazil. Here is the link for those would like to contribute or spread the word about the campaign https://igg.me/at/mdY7vWRFuSM/x/13639607

AV: Nice!
Ibrahim, an hour chatting is passed quickly.
Would you leave your contacts for those who want to follow you on Faceboo, twitter and youtube?

Ibrahim Waziri: It’s been a pleasure. Certainly. Please feel free to drop a message at our email address at binoandfino@gmail.com or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. Google us. You wont have any problem finding us.

AV: I hope that this chat has been to your liking and wish you great “good luck”. We from African Voices will continue to follow you with pleasure!

Ibrahim Waziri: AFRICAN VOICES Thank you. It has been a wonderful interview.
And thank you for having me on the show. Many thanks and good night!

AV: Thanks a lot Ibrahim Waziri and many thanks to Bino and Fino

STEP-ping up to share skills and save lives

24 Mar

Emily Loud, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

A pneumococcal vaccine is prepared in Kenya. Photo: Gavi/Evelyn Hockstein.

There is a lot to manage to make sure children are vaccinated in Kenya. With hard to reach areas, inadequate transport and high turnover of workers, I used to wonder how we were going to keep everything going.”

In her work as a community nurse, Lucy Wanjiku saw the damage done by preventable diseases, and wanted to do something about it. Now a supply chain manager for Kenya’s immunisation programme, she was one of the first to take part in Strategic Training Executive Programme (STEP), a new learning initiative to train the immunisation leaders that developing countries need. Based on an academic framework of professional competencies for supply chain leaders, the course is hosted at the East African Community Regional Centre of Excellence for Health Supply Chain Management.

Lucy (in the yellow jacket) and her fellow STEP participants. Photo: Gavi/ Moz Siddiqui.

Although the Centre officially launched today, training has already begun. “I really enjoyed this course and the moderators were some of the best I have encountered through my many years in this industry” said Joshua Obel, Operations Director at Kenya Medical Supplies Authority, who participated in an initial session in Kigali last month. “I have been to a lot of trainings during my career…this is the best workshop I have attended and the only one I plan to put into practice.

Joshua at the first workshop in Kigali. Photo: Gavi/ Moz Siddiqui.

STEP’s real innovation is taking approaches to leadership development from logistics giant, UPS, and adapting them to immunisation supply chains.  The adult learning course helps transfer knowledge from private to public sector and has sustainability at its core: in addition to a traditional workshop, course participants are paired up with mentors from the private sector to put their new skills into practice and build a network of contacts to share knowledge.

We presented a very non-traditional training experience”, said UPS’s Kevin Etter, who designed and developed the project. “I was unsure if this style would work, but it did. Participants were very excited to learn in a new way and then to implement those learnings in their areas of responsibility.” For the private sector too, this partnership is win-win. “Developing a relationship with these leaders through the workshop and mentorship program is invaluable to UPS and other private sector organisations who want to grow their awareness in these regions”, he added.

The Joshuas and Lucys of the developing world are essential for keeping immunisation programs running, yet leadership training for them has not traditionally been part of international support for vaccination. But if all goes to plan, countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda will soon be dealing with higher volumes of vaccines, reaching more children than ever before. To meet this potential, immunisation staff will need a range of skills to manage people, projects and partnerships; the ability to better use data for decision making will also be increasingly relevant. These are exactly the areas in which the Centre of Excellence will be equipping the leaders, warehouse managers and logistics workers who make up East Africa’s vaccination supply chain.

A key challenge for supply chain managers is how to get vaccine cold boxes to children in very remote areas, like this one in Tanzania. Photo: Gavi/ Doune Porter.

In the long term, this model of learning could be the solution developing countries need to help their immunisation systems function sustainably and independently. By partnering with private sector organisations who’ve already encountered and overcome many of the same challenges, key immunisation workers can grow their experience and open up channels for future collaboration and innovation.

Overall, the programme represents an opportunity to build a stronger foundation of expertise for the immunisation systems of East Africa, helping secure the future of protecting children from preventable disease. And that’s got to be a STEP in the right direction.

Storie di Acqua, storie di Vita dal Kenya in occasione della Giornata Mondiale dell’Acqua

23 Mar

Il 22 marzo è la Giornata Mondiale dell’Acqua, istituita nel 1993 dalle Nazioni Unite: un’opportunità per informarsi e capire di più sulle questioni locali e globali legate alla disponibilità idrica e le sue implicazioni sociali ed economiche.

Il tema 2016 “Better water. Better Jobs” è focalizzato su come l’accesso all’acqua può cambiare le vite, trasformando le società e le economie.

L’Acqua è Vitasu questo tema LVIA vi propone alcune storie dal Kenya, dove l’associazione opera nelle contee di Meru ed Isiolo.

Nel Meru, LVIA è nata, 50 anni fa: cinquant’anni di cooperazione hanno visto la costruzione di 600 Km di acquedotto che hanno portato acqua, facendola scendere a valle dai monti Kenya e Nyambene, a 522.400 persone su 1.700.000 abitanti, nelle case, nelle scuole e nei centri sanitari; e la costruzione di 3.000 cisterne per la raccolta dell’acqua piovana perché «Dell’acqua non deve essere sprecata neanche una goccia, dobbiamo riuscire a captarla e conservarla affinché possa essere utilizzata anche nei periodi in cui scarseggia» sottolinea Enrico Gorfer, volontario LVIA in Kenya che, per la sua attività nella realizzazione degli acquedotti è stato soprannominato dalla gente di Meru con cui lavora da oltre 30 anni, M’BOROKI, che in lingua ki-meru significa “Chi fa scendere l’acqua”.

Continua a leggere QUI

La criminalità mafiosa italiana impedisce lo sviluppo delle imprese locali sulla costa del Kenya

24 Gen
Mwinyi ha lavorato nel settore del turismo in Italia e in Kenya per molti anni. Dopo aver venduto la sua agenzia di viaggi in Italia, ha deciso di tornare in Kenya per portare quello che ha definito “il turismo alternativo“.
Dopo anni di esperienza come tour operator in Italia, Mwinyi voluto aprire un’agenzia di viaggi a Watamu – una città sulla costa del Kenya – per promuovere un turismo sostenibile.
Ma non sapeva che i suoi piani sarebbero stati ostacolati dalla mafia italiana, che, negli ultimi decenni, è riuscita a monopolizzare il settore del turismo nelle città turistiche costiere di Watamu e Malindi.
“Mafiosi italiani che arrivano in Kenya come imprenditori”, ha detto Mwinyi ad African Voices. Se una società che organizza gite e safari a Watamu e Malindi non è guidato da un ‘uomo d’affari italiano’, tutti, non tengono conto di queste società e si diffondono false voci“, ha affermato. Tuttavia, non appena un imprenditore italiano prende il comando, l’atteggiamento verso la società cambia in modo più positivo.”
Mwinyi ha proseguito sostenendo che dopo aver spiegato il suo progetto ad un gruppo di imprenditori italiani, gli è stato offerto un sostegno finanziario per aprire la sua agenzia.
Durante una cena con gli ‘uomini d’affari’, li sentì conversare in italiano su di lui, dire che sarebbe potuto essere utile per la loro attività dato la sua conoscenza della lingua italiana. Gli uomini fecero capire a Mwinyi che sarebbero stati lieti di entrare nella sua attività.
«Mi hanno detto: Ascolta, se ti comporti bene, i tuoi problemi e quelli della tua famiglia svaniranno“, ha continuato Mwinyi e poi ha spiegato di essere stato minacciato dopo aver respinto la proposta.
Mwinyi ha proseguito sostenendo che la mafia italiana sta acendo anche affari nel settore del volontariato, in cui le donne italiane ricevono donazioni per i progetti umanitari ma saranno poi utilizzati dalla mafia per i propri interessi.
Anche il settore immobiliare è monopolizzato da mafiosi italiani“, ha continuato. immobili venduti a italiani disposti a pagare in contanti. Africani di Nairobi trovano molto difficile comprare una casa perché i mafiosi vogliono essere pagati in contanti e la transazione deve avvenire in Italia.”
Riferendosi alla corruzione diffusa in ogni settore della società keniota, Mwinyi ha dichiarato: “In un paese povero come il Kenya, il denaro parla più forte delle verità. Il denaro parla e la verità rimane in silenzio e tutti i mafiosi pagano gli avvocati molto bene e questo ciclo continua.”
E’ impossibile per un uomo d’affari africano, non affiliato con la mafia, aprire un ufficio e gestire un’impresa, anche se hanno i soldi per farlo. Agli italiani piace essere i padroni, a loro piace colonizzare, è nel loro sangue. Hanno trovato il loro paradiso qui in Kenya“, ha concluso.
Lavoro negato per i locali
Il caso di Mwinyi non è un episodio raro in Kenya, dove le organizzazioni criminali (italiani e non) sono molto diffuse. La presenza della mafia italiana in Kenya è percepito non solo come un ostacolo allo sviluppo locale, ma anche come unìattrazionea per la prostituzione e il traffico di droga.
In un documento classificato del 2005 trapelare da Wikileaks, i diplomatici americani descrivono Malindi come una città dove gli italiani proliferano. Il documento diceva: “Centinaia di italiani dominano la situazione economica della città. Alcuni sono coinvolti nell’alimentare, il consumo di droghe illegali della città è alle stelle La protezione della politica e / o di polizia è probabile. La maggioranza musulmana della città, nel frattempo, evitano (o viene negato) posti di lavoro in birrerie, macellerie, mangiare di lavorare nel turismo.”
Il documento continua spiegando che, poiché gli italiani preferirono fare affari con i loro compagni emigrati, ai giovani locali gli sono stati negati l’occupazione che, di conseguenza, fanno ricorso al traffico di droga e alla prostituzione.
“Economia criminale” del Kenya
Poco sembra essere cambiato da quando è stato pubblicato il documento del 2005. Nel 2012, il giornalista keniano Paul Gitau ha scritto un articolo per Standard Digital che spiegano come Malindi è diventata un’estensione della Sicilia, data la forte presenza che la mafia italiana ha ottenuto sulla città costiera.
All’inizio di questo mese, il Presidente della Corte Suprema del Kenya Willy Mutunga ha avvertito che l’economia del paese è diventata “una economia di banditi”. Gli ha definiti cartelli affiliati a politici e gruppi criminali che stanno governando in diversi settori della società keniota.
Mutunga ha detto che i criminali di stampo mafioso in Kenya, sono paragonabili alla mafia di Al Capone nel 1920 in America, raccolgono “milioni ogni giorno“. Ha anche avvertito che i cittadini keniani sono in guerra con questi cartelli “gestiti da dirigenti politici e uomini d’affari corrotti“, ma i leader pronti ad affrontarli dovranno essere preparati alle conseguenze tra cui “l’esilio o addirittura essere uccisi“.
di Ludovica Iaccino
Giornalista, Londra

How Italian mafia fuels criminality and prevents local businesses from growing

24 Gen

Mwinyi has been working in the tourism industry both in Italy and Kenya for several years. After selling his travel agency in Italy, he decided to go back to Kenya in order to bring what he called “an alterative tourism”.

After years of experience as a tour operator in Italy, Mwinyi wanted to run a travel agency in Watamu – a town on the Kenyan coast – and promote a sustainable tourism.
Little he knew that his plans would be obstructed by the Italian mafia, which, in the past decades, has managed to monopolise the tourism sector in the coastal resort towns of Watamu and Malindi.

Italian mafiosi who come to Kenya become businessmen,” Mwinyi told African Voices. “If a company that organises trips and safaris in Watamu and Malindi is not led by an Italian businessman, everybody disregards such company and spreads false rumours,” he claimed. “However, as soon as an Italian businessman takes the lead, the attitude towards the company changes in a more positive way.”
Mwinyi went on alleging that after explaining his project to a group of Italian businessmen, he was offered financial support to open his agency.

However, during a dinner with the businessmen, he heard them conversing in Italian about him, with some suggesting he could be useful for their business given his knowledge of the Italian language. The men made Mwinyi understand that they would be implicated in his business.

They told me: Listen, if you behave well, your and your family’s problems will disappear,” Mwinyi continued and then explained that he was threatened after rejecting the proposal.

Mwinyi went on alleging that the Italian mafia is also doing business in the volunteering sector, where Italian women receive donations for humanitarian projects that the mafia will then use for its interests.

The real estate sector is also monopolised by Italian mafiosi,” he continued. “They always look for Italians willing to pay cash for houses. Rich Africans in Nairobi find it very difficult to buy a house because mafiosi want to be paid in cash and the transaction has to occurr in Italy.”

Referring to the widespread corruption in every sector of Kenyan society, Mwinyi said: “In a poor country such as Kenya, money speaks louder than truth. Money speaks and the truth remains silent and all mafiosi pay lawyers very well and this cycle continues.

It is impossible for an African businessman not affiliated with the mafia to open an office and run a business, even if they have the money to do so. Italians like to be the bosses, they like to colonise, it’s in their blood. They have found their paradise here in Kenya,” he concluded.

Jobs denied to locals

Mwinyi’s case is not a rare episode in Kenya, where (Italian and non) criminal organisations are widespread. The presence of the Italian mafia in Kenya is perceived not only as an obstacle to local development, but also as a magnet for prostitution and drug trafficking.

In a 2005 classified document later leaked by WikiLeaks, US diplomats described Malindi as a town where Italians proliferated. The document read: “Hundreds of Italians – and upcountry Kenyans – dominate the town’s economic lifeline. Some are involved in feeding the town’s skyrocketing illegal drug consumption. Political and/or police protection is likely. The town’s Muslim majority, meanwhile, shun (or are denied) jobs in the beer-drinking, pork-eating and immodest tourist trade.”
The document went on explaining that since Italians preferred to do business with their fellow expats, local youths were denied employment and, as a result, they resorted to drug trafficking and prostitution.

Kenya’s “bandit economy”

Little seems to have changed since the 2005 document. In 2012, Kenyan journalist Paul Gitau wrote an article for the Standard Digitals explaining how Malindi had become an extension of Sicily, given the grip the Italian mafia had on the coastal town.

Earlier this month, Kenya’s Chief Justice Willy Mutunga warned the country’s economy had become “a bandit economy”. He said cartels affiliated to politicians and terror groups ruled over the different sectors of Kenyan society.
Mutunga said that mafia-style criminals in Kenya, which he compared to Al Capone’s mob in 1920s America, collect “millions every day”. He also warned that Kenyan citizens were at war with these cartels “run by political bosses and corrupt businesspeople”, but leaders ready to face them should be prepared to the consequences including “being exiled or even killed”.

by Ludovica Iaccino,
Journalist, London.