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  • 03 Oct 2016
    I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the new students to the institute and to the platform. It was very encouraging to see the high level of enthusiasm during the orientation week and I hope that will translate to more activity on the platform and off it. Like I said during the orientation session, the growth of the platform is dependent on how much effort each of us puts in our different roles. I am deeply convicted that this platform holds immense potential but it is our individual responsibility to unlock it. I am hopeful that all of you enrolled to a group on the Community of Practice (CoP) and if not there is still time to make up your mind and sign up! What I love about the different groups is that each offers the opportunity for members to harness their soft skills. Top on the list is communication within the group and between groups, administration and partners.   If you enjoy standing behind the camera and freezing memories in time, the Multimedia group is for you. For those who are intrigued by how the platform works from a technical perspective or how it can be constantly improved in terms of content then the Technical team or Evaluation team will be the perfect fit. If you enjoy writing and editing the work of your colleagues and participating in making the PAUWES newsletter search no more, the Editorial team has room for new members. If you want to be part of the policing community that makes sure the platform is secure and the code of conduct is observed in addition to inviting and welcoming new members the Community Management team will make good use of your skills. For the debaters and those regularly looking to constructively engage in discussions on current issues the Discussion Facilitation group always has room for more members. Last but not least, the Career Service team plays an equally important role in offering guidance as far as internships and networking are concern so if your fort is going through content on the internet or engaging experts and identifying suitable opportunities for your colleagues they will be more than happy to have you on board.   We hope that once you join a team you will able to identify the roles that suit you best and the soft skills you want to develop. If by any chance you want to take over the leadership of the group or the platform in a few months to come then state your intent and seek mentorship from those that already hold the positions. However, keep in mind that CoP is built on team work and each member whether a leader or not plays a vital role to its functionality and success. I will be honest with you; sometimes it is not easy to juggle between class work and the activities in the CoP groups. However, you slowly learn how to prioritize and work as a team to make sure goals are met.   The CoP platform is meant for PAUWES students and alumni, a place where we can safely interact with different stakeholders and companies in the fields of energy and water. I have made great networks from the platform, some that have worked out and others not so much. Overall I have come to the conclusion that anything I have done with regards to the platform has never been a waste of time. On the contrary, each communication and network has improved my skills and grown my confidence and I hope it will be the same for you. Do not let anyone influence your opinion of the platform, try it and give it time, nothing good is instantaneous and hopefully at a time like this next year you will be telling your success story to the new batch of students.
    606 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the new students to the institute and to the platform. It was very encouraging to see the high level of enthusiasm during the orientation week and I hope that will translate to more activity on the platform and off it. Like I said during the orientation session, the growth of the platform is dependent on how much effort each of us puts in our different roles. I am deeply convicted that this platform holds immense potential but it is our individual responsibility to unlock it. I am hopeful that all of you enrolled to a group on the Community of Practice (CoP) and if not there is still time to make up your mind and sign up! What I love about the different groups is that each offers the opportunity for members to harness their soft skills. Top on the list is communication within the group and between groups, administration and partners.   If you enjoy standing behind the camera and freezing memories in time, the Multimedia group is for you. For those who are intrigued by how the platform works from a technical perspective or how it can be constantly improved in terms of content then the Technical team or Evaluation team will be the perfect fit. If you enjoy writing and editing the work of your colleagues and participating in making the PAUWES newsletter search no more, the Editorial team has room for new members. If you want to be part of the policing community that makes sure the platform is secure and the code of conduct is observed in addition to inviting and welcoming new members the Community Management team will make good use of your skills. For the debaters and those regularly looking to constructively engage in discussions on current issues the Discussion Facilitation group always has room for more members. Last but not least, the Career Service team plays an equally important role in offering guidance as far as internships and networking are concern so if your fort is going through content on the internet or engaging experts and identifying suitable opportunities for your colleagues they will be more than happy to have you on board.   We hope that once you join a team you will able to identify the roles that suit you best and the soft skills you want to develop. If by any chance you want to take over the leadership of the group or the platform in a few months to come then state your intent and seek mentorship from those that already hold the positions. However, keep in mind that CoP is built on team work and each member whether a leader or not plays a vital role to its functionality and success. I will be honest with you; sometimes it is not easy to juggle between class work and the activities in the CoP groups. However, you slowly learn how to prioritize and work as a team to make sure goals are met.   The CoP platform is meant for PAUWES students and alumni, a place where we can safely interact with different stakeholders and companies in the fields of energy and water. I have made great networks from the platform, some that have worked out and others not so much. Overall I have come to the conclusion that anything I have done with regards to the platform has never been a waste of time. On the contrary, each communication and network has improved my skills and grown my confidence and I hope it will be the same for you. Do not let anyone influence your opinion of the platform, try it and give it time, nothing good is instantaneous and hopefully at a time like this next year you will be telling your success story to the new batch of students.
    Oct 03, 2016 606
  • 10 Oct 2016
    I was closely following the proceedings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) held in Johannesburg on 24th September to 5th October 2016 with big expectations. CITES is an agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The international wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars ranging from the sale of live animals and plants, exotic goods, curios, medicine and food products. It is against this backdrop that the agreement plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of the trade for future generations. Currently, there are about 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants protected by CITES against over exploitation through international trade. The species are grouped into appendices I, II, III depending on their level of endangerment with those listed in appendix I enjoying the highest protection with a total ban in trade. Over the course of the conference the appendices were revised and there were some obvious winners and losers. The biggest winners were the African grey parrots, cheetahs, pangolins, and over 350 species of rosewood, silky sharks and other multiple animals and plants which now have added protection. The biggest losers in my opinion were the African elephants which are in dire need of maximum protection. My main interest was on the listing of the African elephants which is split between appendix I for East, Central and West Africa and II for Southern Africa. It is no secret that elephants are being pushed to the blink of extinction through poaching with reports showing a decline from 600,000 to 400,000 elephants in a decade. It is estimated that every 15 minutes an African elephant is lost to poaching as demand for ivory products continue to increase in Asia as a result of a more economically empowered middle class. Countries whose elephants are in appendix II can sell their ivory stock pile with permission from CITES and in my opinion herein lies the problem. In 1999 and 2008 Southern African countries sold their ivory stock pile legally to Asian countries and as a result stimulated ivory demand leading to increased poaching. The split listing of African elephants fails to put into consideration the biological populations and the fact that wild animals are not bound by political boundaries. As a result countries with elephants listed under appendix I face a continuous challenge in ensuring that their elephant populations are protected and that their countries are not used as transit point for ivory trade from the South. Unfortunately African countries did not present a united front during the conference and as a result we put the future of our elephants in the hands of foreign countries who are guided by the need to protect their ivory market. The human race needs to come to the realization that we are a species that is fully dependent and part of the natural system. This means that any imbalance in the natural environment has a direct impact on us and threatens our very survival and well being. What we are experiencing now is an unprecedented extinction of species fuelled by human greed, cultural beliefs, and economic empowerment of the middle class mainly in Asia and lack of international cooperation between governments. It is shocking that scientists estimate that we are losing 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals every 24 hours to extinction. If this is not a wakeup call, I do not know what else will make us pay attention and act before it is too late even for the human species.
    564 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I was closely following the proceedings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) held in Johannesburg on 24th September to 5th October 2016 with big expectations. CITES is an agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The international wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars ranging from the sale of live animals and plants, exotic goods, curios, medicine and food products. It is against this backdrop that the agreement plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of the trade for future generations. Currently, there are about 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants protected by CITES against over exploitation through international trade. The species are grouped into appendices I, II, III depending on their level of endangerment with those listed in appendix I enjoying the highest protection with a total ban in trade. Over the course of the conference the appendices were revised and there were some obvious winners and losers. The biggest winners were the African grey parrots, cheetahs, pangolins, and over 350 species of rosewood, silky sharks and other multiple animals and plants which now have added protection. The biggest losers in my opinion were the African elephants which are in dire need of maximum protection. My main interest was on the listing of the African elephants which is split between appendix I for East, Central and West Africa and II for Southern Africa. It is no secret that elephants are being pushed to the blink of extinction through poaching with reports showing a decline from 600,000 to 400,000 elephants in a decade. It is estimated that every 15 minutes an African elephant is lost to poaching as demand for ivory products continue to increase in Asia as a result of a more economically empowered middle class. Countries whose elephants are in appendix II can sell their ivory stock pile with permission from CITES and in my opinion herein lies the problem. In 1999 and 2008 Southern African countries sold their ivory stock pile legally to Asian countries and as a result stimulated ivory demand leading to increased poaching. The split listing of African elephants fails to put into consideration the biological populations and the fact that wild animals are not bound by political boundaries. As a result countries with elephants listed under appendix I face a continuous challenge in ensuring that their elephant populations are protected and that their countries are not used as transit point for ivory trade from the South. Unfortunately African countries did not present a united front during the conference and as a result we put the future of our elephants in the hands of foreign countries who are guided by the need to protect their ivory market. The human race needs to come to the realization that we are a species that is fully dependent and part of the natural system. This means that any imbalance in the natural environment has a direct impact on us and threatens our very survival and well being. What we are experiencing now is an unprecedented extinction of species fuelled by human greed, cultural beliefs, and economic empowerment of the middle class mainly in Asia and lack of international cooperation between governments. It is shocking that scientists estimate that we are losing 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals every 24 hours to extinction. If this is not a wakeup call, I do not know what else will make us pay attention and act before it is too late even for the human species.
    Oct 10, 2016 564
  • 17 Oct 2016
      The International day of the Girl was celebrated last week and to mark it a report on child brides was released by Save the Children and the findings are grim. Weddings in any culture are a source of joy and celebration. It is a passage of life that ensures continuity of life and brings families together. However, this is not always the case. Every seven seconds a girl under 15 years of age is married off often to an older man. I will let that sink in. UNICEF estimates that the number of girls married under 18 will increase from 700 million to 950 million in 2030. It is mind boggling that such statistics even exist in our world today. Top on the rank of countries where child marriages are prevalent according to the report is Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Somali, Niger, Chad, Mali and Central African Republic. So why are families pushing their children into early marriages? Poverty, war and cultural practices are among the many reasons why young girls or in this case children are left exposed to such practices. Sadly, what this does is expose the girls to a vicious cycle of poverty, domestic violence, and sexual assault and puts them at the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The girls are deprived of the chance for a normal childhood and they become a generation of children raising children. The European Union has not been spared either in dealing with cases of child marriages. The conflict in the Middle East has had some rarely discussed consequences like an increase in child brides as families marry off their daughters as a safety or coping mechanism. It is estimated that child marriages represent 35% of all marriages of Syrian refugees in 2015. Consequently, the influx of refugees in Europe has left governments in Germany, Netherlands and Denmark grappling with how to deal with child brides. In Germany it is estimated that 1000 marriages involve one or both of the parties being under the age of 18. So do they consider it as a question of protection and allow such marriages to exist or a matter of rights where such marriages are not recognized? The debate continues in some countries with some moving fast to close any legal loop holes in a bid to protect underage children. I will be honest with you, I get overwhelmed by some of the reports and stories I read. How are we to achieve the Sustainability Development Goals or our country specific development goals if part of a generation is condemned for being female? How do we expect to see change when we continuously bury our heads in the sand as the dreams of our children are stolen? I have come to appreciate the endless opportunities I have access to because my parents chose to give me an education and I believe herein lies the solution. We need to keep our girls in school and educate their communities on the importance of them remaining there. After all if you educate a girl you educate a community. Governments have an obligation to provide an education and put in place proper policies and laws that are implemented to ensure the protection and safety of both girls and boys. We do not have any other option than to act and bring this barbaric practice to an end, one girl every seven seconds is one too many! Stories published on the Every Last Girl report 2016 One:"Tamrea," a young girl from Ethiopia, is one example. She was married, pregnant and abandoned before she hit her teens."I was given to a husband at 12," she tells Save the Children. "I wasn't happy to get married at that age, but my father said there was nobody to look after me since my mum wasn't around. I wasn't happy. I was crying. I wasn't able to get used to what marriage was... When I became pregnant my husband left me." Two: A 13-year-old Syrian refugee in Lebanon called Sahar - not her real name - who was married to a 20-year-old man. Now 14, she is two months pregnant."The wedding day, I was imagining it would be a great day but it wasn't. It was all misery. It was full of sadness," Save the Children quoted her as saying."I feel really blessed that I am having a baby. But I am a child raising a child."   One of too many dreams stolen!
    636 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  •   The International day of the Girl was celebrated last week and to mark it a report on child brides was released by Save the Children and the findings are grim. Weddings in any culture are a source of joy and celebration. It is a passage of life that ensures continuity of life and brings families together. However, this is not always the case. Every seven seconds a girl under 15 years of age is married off often to an older man. I will let that sink in. UNICEF estimates that the number of girls married under 18 will increase from 700 million to 950 million in 2030. It is mind boggling that such statistics even exist in our world today. Top on the rank of countries where child marriages are prevalent according to the report is Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Somali, Niger, Chad, Mali and Central African Republic. So why are families pushing their children into early marriages? Poverty, war and cultural practices are among the many reasons why young girls or in this case children are left exposed to such practices. Sadly, what this does is expose the girls to a vicious cycle of poverty, domestic violence, and sexual assault and puts them at the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The girls are deprived of the chance for a normal childhood and they become a generation of children raising children. The European Union has not been spared either in dealing with cases of child marriages. The conflict in the Middle East has had some rarely discussed consequences like an increase in child brides as families marry off their daughters as a safety or coping mechanism. It is estimated that child marriages represent 35% of all marriages of Syrian refugees in 2015. Consequently, the influx of refugees in Europe has left governments in Germany, Netherlands and Denmark grappling with how to deal with child brides. In Germany it is estimated that 1000 marriages involve one or both of the parties being under the age of 18. So do they consider it as a question of protection and allow such marriages to exist or a matter of rights where such marriages are not recognized? The debate continues in some countries with some moving fast to close any legal loop holes in a bid to protect underage children. I will be honest with you, I get overwhelmed by some of the reports and stories I read. How are we to achieve the Sustainability Development Goals or our country specific development goals if part of a generation is condemned for being female? How do we expect to see change when we continuously bury our heads in the sand as the dreams of our children are stolen? I have come to appreciate the endless opportunities I have access to because my parents chose to give me an education and I believe herein lies the solution. We need to keep our girls in school and educate their communities on the importance of them remaining there. After all if you educate a girl you educate a community. Governments have an obligation to provide an education and put in place proper policies and laws that are implemented to ensure the protection and safety of both girls and boys. We do not have any other option than to act and bring this barbaric practice to an end, one girl every seven seconds is one too many! Stories published on the Every Last Girl report 2016 One:"Tamrea," a young girl from Ethiopia, is one example. She was married, pregnant and abandoned before she hit her teens."I was given to a husband at 12," she tells Save the Children. "I wasn't happy to get married at that age, but my father said there was nobody to look after me since my mum wasn't around. I wasn't happy. I was crying. I wasn't able to get used to what marriage was... When I became pregnant my husband left me." Two: A 13-year-old Syrian refugee in Lebanon called Sahar - not her real name - who was married to a 20-year-old man. Now 14, she is two months pregnant."The wedding day, I was imagining it would be a great day but it wasn't. It was all misery. It was full of sadness," Save the Children quoted her as saying."I feel really blessed that I am having a baby. But I am a child raising a child."   One of too many dreams stolen!
    Oct 17, 2016 636
  • 24 Oct 2016
    On October 21st the UN appointed wonder woman as an honorary ambassador for girls and women empowerment in support to sustainable development goal number 5 on her 75th birthday. Wonder woman is a fictional character found in American comic books and is based on the Amazons of Greek mythology. Her character revolves around ensuring justice and peace, key traits that prompted the appointment. Understandably, there was backlash notably from some UN staff on the decision to bestow the fictional character honorary status. We live in a world where women are faced with the pressure to conform to the world’s definition of beauty and success. Most of this pressure comes from daily bombardment from the media of what an ideal or perfect woman should be in their fictional and reality shows. So it begs the question why would an organization like the UN settle for a fictional character to mark girls and women empowerment? The UN has championed numerous initiatives around the world in women empowerment and in promoting gender equality and there are many success stories based on real life stories and not fictional characters. There are women and men both young and old putting their lives on the line to fight against cultural, political and social restrictions and beliefs in a bid to empower others. Why then would there be need to honor a fictional character when we have real life heroines living among us? An online petition was launched by some UN staff who protested the appointment. Their concern and I quote “ …A woman of impossible proportions, scantily dressed in a shimmery, thigh baring body suit with an American flag motif is not an appropriate spokeswoman for an international gender equity role.” However, the ceremony still went on in the presence of silent protestors. Some consider the appointment a mockery to the challenges faced by women around the world ranging from domestic violence, sexual violence, slavery, war, poverty and unequal distribution of resources among many others. On the other hand some view this protest as simply that of feminists pushing their agenda. In the past we have had fictional characters like Winnie the Pooh ambassador of friendship 1998 and Tinker Bell as the ambassador for green 2009 but they did not elicit such criticism.  The UN has come under fire on issues of gender equity and empowerment, this year it was thought the secretary general position would finally go to one of the qualified 7 women applicants. Like we all know the job went to Antonio Guterres from Portugal who is equally qualified. I am not for giving positions to women for the sake of gender equality so that we can pat our backs on how far we have come. Competence in any position is very vital whether it is occupied by a man or woman. That said I think we have come so far and achieved so much in empowerment of women to let a fictional character represent that milestone!
    751 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • On October 21st the UN appointed wonder woman as an honorary ambassador for girls and women empowerment in support to sustainable development goal number 5 on her 75th birthday. Wonder woman is a fictional character found in American comic books and is based on the Amazons of Greek mythology. Her character revolves around ensuring justice and peace, key traits that prompted the appointment. Understandably, there was backlash notably from some UN staff on the decision to bestow the fictional character honorary status. We live in a world where women are faced with the pressure to conform to the world’s definition of beauty and success. Most of this pressure comes from daily bombardment from the media of what an ideal or perfect woman should be in their fictional and reality shows. So it begs the question why would an organization like the UN settle for a fictional character to mark girls and women empowerment? The UN has championed numerous initiatives around the world in women empowerment and in promoting gender equality and there are many success stories based on real life stories and not fictional characters. There are women and men both young and old putting their lives on the line to fight against cultural, political and social restrictions and beliefs in a bid to empower others. Why then would there be need to honor a fictional character when we have real life heroines living among us? An online petition was launched by some UN staff who protested the appointment. Their concern and I quote “ …A woman of impossible proportions, scantily dressed in a shimmery, thigh baring body suit with an American flag motif is not an appropriate spokeswoman for an international gender equity role.” However, the ceremony still went on in the presence of silent protestors. Some consider the appointment a mockery to the challenges faced by women around the world ranging from domestic violence, sexual violence, slavery, war, poverty and unequal distribution of resources among many others. On the other hand some view this protest as simply that of feminists pushing their agenda. In the past we have had fictional characters like Winnie the Pooh ambassador of friendship 1998 and Tinker Bell as the ambassador for green 2009 but they did not elicit such criticism.  The UN has come under fire on issues of gender equity and empowerment, this year it was thought the secretary general position would finally go to one of the qualified 7 women applicants. Like we all know the job went to Antonio Guterres from Portugal who is equally qualified. I am not for giving positions to women for the sake of gender equality so that we can pat our backs on how far we have come. Competence in any position is very vital whether it is occupied by a man or woman. That said I think we have come so far and achieved so much in empowerment of women to let a fictional character represent that milestone!
    Oct 24, 2016 751
  • 31 Oct 2016
    Last week the first students in PAUWES graduated and it was a beautiful ceremony. 26 students who arrived in Algeria with an identity tied to their countries but who now leave thinking Africa. 26 engineers in the field of water and energy ready to take on the challenges that plague our continent. Congratulations are in order, you have done well and we wish you all the best as you move to the next phase. Dance to your rhythm and enjoy life! To mark this auspicious day I had my very good friend Masharia write a little something. He has away with words, so here goes!     You have all taught me that,Fresh air, Good conversation, And a room full of intellects, Can sway any mind,   I have been bent to believing, If there's even a slight chance To be successful or happy, Risk it.  Happiness is too rare   You have this one life, Do what feels good, Take risks. Be brave, And make yourself proud   By Masharia Kanyari https://mashariakanyari8895.wordpress.com/
    715 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Last week the first students in PAUWES graduated and it was a beautiful ceremony. 26 students who arrived in Algeria with an identity tied to their countries but who now leave thinking Africa. 26 engineers in the field of water and energy ready to take on the challenges that plague our continent. Congratulations are in order, you have done well and we wish you all the best as you move to the next phase. Dance to your rhythm and enjoy life! To mark this auspicious day I had my very good friend Masharia write a little something. He has away with words, so here goes!     You have all taught me that,Fresh air, Good conversation, And a room full of intellects, Can sway any mind,   I have been bent to believing, If there's even a slight chance To be successful or happy, Risk it.  Happiness is too rare   You have this one life, Do what feels good, Take risks. Be brave, And make yourself proud   By Masharia Kanyari https://mashariakanyari8895.wordpress.com/
    Oct 31, 2016 715
  • 14 Nov 2016
    Recently I came across a report by PWC on the future of Africa with regard to the development of the real estate markets. The report, released in March 2015, predicts the developments in the real estate industry up to 2020. It is undeniably true that Africa has been lagging behind in terms of developing its real estate market. However, the projections given by the report are enticing in terms of the opportunities that exist for those that look into venturing into real estate business. For those already in the business, just know that “impact of global megatrends on Africa will be huge”. I couldn’t stress it more thanks to that phrase I got in the first page of the PWC report. The rapid urbanization that will be witnessed throughout the continent is critical, not only to the traditional investors in the real estate market, but also new entrants such as energy and water experts. It is becoming increasingly important to incorporate such experts as issues of climate change is pushing the market towards green building. As illustrated by the PwC analysis, the growth in the real estate is projected at 3.7% annually for the entire African continent between 2012 and 2020. In addition, the report states that cities globally contribute about 70% of “energy-related greenhouse gases while occupying just 2% of the land”. This shows the significance of incorporating technology in the real estate economics. The predictions also show that the inclusion of technology will eventually disrupt the entire sector changing the approach towards real state development. Take a closer look at some of the cities and the projected growth. Source: PwC report- Real estate: Building the future of Africa Any expert in the fields of energy and water will marvel at the prospects. The need for green building in terms of energy and water usage will surge with technology taking center stage. Do not forget that Africa still struggles in terms of electricity and water access. In order to play a leading role in the development, it is essential to find how to fit into the bigger picture by expanding our horizon. For instance, we can find out what is already happening in our individual countries or regions. The PwC reports projects that most investors will seek local partnership as necessitated by government policies and legislation. We should be part of the drivers for real estate growth in Africa through collaboration with government and other investors.
    721 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • Recently I came across a report by PWC on the future of Africa with regard to the development of the real estate markets. The report, released in March 2015, predicts the developments in the real estate industry up to 2020. It is undeniably true that Africa has been lagging behind in terms of developing its real estate market. However, the projections given by the report are enticing in terms of the opportunities that exist for those that look into venturing into real estate business. For those already in the business, just know that “impact of global megatrends on Africa will be huge”. I couldn’t stress it more thanks to that phrase I got in the first page of the PWC report. The rapid urbanization that will be witnessed throughout the continent is critical, not only to the traditional investors in the real estate market, but also new entrants such as energy and water experts. It is becoming increasingly important to incorporate such experts as issues of climate change is pushing the market towards green building. As illustrated by the PwC analysis, the growth in the real estate is projected at 3.7% annually for the entire African continent between 2012 and 2020. In addition, the report states that cities globally contribute about 70% of “energy-related greenhouse gases while occupying just 2% of the land”. This shows the significance of incorporating technology in the real estate economics. The predictions also show that the inclusion of technology will eventually disrupt the entire sector changing the approach towards real state development. Take a closer look at some of the cities and the projected growth. Source: PwC report- Real estate: Building the future of Africa Any expert in the fields of energy and water will marvel at the prospects. The need for green building in terms of energy and water usage will surge with technology taking center stage. Do not forget that Africa still struggles in terms of electricity and water access. In order to play a leading role in the development, it is essential to find how to fit into the bigger picture by expanding our horizon. For instance, we can find out what is already happening in our individual countries or regions. The PwC reports projects that most investors will seek local partnership as necessitated by government policies and legislation. We should be part of the drivers for real estate growth in Africa through collaboration with government and other investors.
    Nov 14, 2016 721
  • 29 Nov 2016
    I find myself drawing from my last class in water economics and one of the reasons could be because our professor had us do mini projects after every topic. However, this is a follow up for the post I did last week on the Nile River and the conflict that surrounds it. One of our recommendations to the long standing conflict between the riparian States on the utilization and allocation of the Nile River was the establishment of a water market. Our conclusion, based on the research we carried out was that the population increase in the 10 riparian countries and the pressure caused by climate change in the region among other factors would only make the Nile politics more volatile and hence the need for a lasting solution or a compromise between all States. Water market is a mechanism used to acquire and redistribute water and allows for water to be allocated according to the highest valued use. It involves the initial allocation of water rights specified in unit of measurement which based on the set regulations can be transferred to other user on a permanent or temporary basis. Water rights are based on the existing laws and could be land based or use based. Land based water rights are based on land ownership whereas use based rights are based on whether the user has legal access to the water source. Countries like the USA, Australia, and South Africa already have water markets set in place to help deal with water scarcity. Australia’s water market is estimated at 26 billion dollars and is considered to be the largest in the world. Here every user must operate within the set government limit on how much available water can be used. The large scale users of water also have to watch the water prices carefully like the stock market because each sector is competing with the other for a scarce resource. So can the same concept be employed to work between riparian States like in the case of the Nile? Of course there are challenges that will need to be overcome before a water market can be established for the Nile River especially because it would involve the establishment of water laws that all States agree to. Currently, the Nile Basin Initiative has limited capacity in legal, expertise and financial abilities. Moving forward, therefore there is need for an establishment of a legal institution that has the power to settle conflicts between the States and an open forum for sharing of available data and knowledge something the Cooperation Framework Agreement of 2010 sought to do. The establishment of an institutional framework will help determine the feasibility of water market transactions and the guidelines. This will in turn reduce uncertainty and suspicion between States by providing a structure for securing water rights, enforcing them and ensuring an operational market. A good example on the continent is in South Africa where the water markets were introduced in 1997-1998. This has been applied in the Lower Orange River where a water market has allowed for a transfer of water use from low value crops to high value crops and use of better irrigation technology. Water marketing can be seen as a way of allocating scarce water resources efficiently and offers empowerment to the users through property rights. In the case of the Nile, the water market would allow countries to decentralize decision making and involve other stakeholders who live along the river and rely on it greatly. This would also allow countries depending on the water rights allocated to know how much water they will use and what crops to grow. In the long run countries will have an opportunity to produce crops whose water need does not exceed the allocated amount and meet other water demands. This will not only promote water use efficiency in the basin but it will also promote agricultural and industrial trade between them and create better relations. Another possible scenario is that countries would have a chance to trade their water rights, for instance; Ethiopia could potentially trade some of its water rights to Egypt on a temporary or permanent basis based on the fact that they have other water resources available. Water is the most undervalued natural resource in my opinion even though we equate it to life and considering it an economic good could go a long way in improving how we allocate, use and manage it. However, this concept has its own challenges and critics but it could be a catalyst for better cooperation among the Nile riparian States.  
    796 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I find myself drawing from my last class in water economics and one of the reasons could be because our professor had us do mini projects after every topic. However, this is a follow up for the post I did last week on the Nile River and the conflict that surrounds it. One of our recommendations to the long standing conflict between the riparian States on the utilization and allocation of the Nile River was the establishment of a water market. Our conclusion, based on the research we carried out was that the population increase in the 10 riparian countries and the pressure caused by climate change in the region among other factors would only make the Nile politics more volatile and hence the need for a lasting solution or a compromise between all States. Water market is a mechanism used to acquire and redistribute water and allows for water to be allocated according to the highest valued use. It involves the initial allocation of water rights specified in unit of measurement which based on the set regulations can be transferred to other user on a permanent or temporary basis. Water rights are based on the existing laws and could be land based or use based. Land based water rights are based on land ownership whereas use based rights are based on whether the user has legal access to the water source. Countries like the USA, Australia, and South Africa already have water markets set in place to help deal with water scarcity. Australia’s water market is estimated at 26 billion dollars and is considered to be the largest in the world. Here every user must operate within the set government limit on how much available water can be used. The large scale users of water also have to watch the water prices carefully like the stock market because each sector is competing with the other for a scarce resource. So can the same concept be employed to work between riparian States like in the case of the Nile? Of course there are challenges that will need to be overcome before a water market can be established for the Nile River especially because it would involve the establishment of water laws that all States agree to. Currently, the Nile Basin Initiative has limited capacity in legal, expertise and financial abilities. Moving forward, therefore there is need for an establishment of a legal institution that has the power to settle conflicts between the States and an open forum for sharing of available data and knowledge something the Cooperation Framework Agreement of 2010 sought to do. The establishment of an institutional framework will help determine the feasibility of water market transactions and the guidelines. This will in turn reduce uncertainty and suspicion between States by providing a structure for securing water rights, enforcing them and ensuring an operational market. A good example on the continent is in South Africa where the water markets were introduced in 1997-1998. This has been applied in the Lower Orange River where a water market has allowed for a transfer of water use from low value crops to high value crops and use of better irrigation technology. Water marketing can be seen as a way of allocating scarce water resources efficiently and offers empowerment to the users through property rights. In the case of the Nile, the water market would allow countries to decentralize decision making and involve other stakeholders who live along the river and rely on it greatly. This would also allow countries depending on the water rights allocated to know how much water they will use and what crops to grow. In the long run countries will have an opportunity to produce crops whose water need does not exceed the allocated amount and meet other water demands. This will not only promote water use efficiency in the basin but it will also promote agricultural and industrial trade between them and create better relations. Another possible scenario is that countries would have a chance to trade their water rights, for instance; Ethiopia could potentially trade some of its water rights to Egypt on a temporary or permanent basis based on the fact that they have other water resources available. Water is the most undervalued natural resource in my opinion even though we equate it to life and considering it an economic good could go a long way in improving how we allocate, use and manage it. However, this concept has its own challenges and critics but it could be a catalyst for better cooperation among the Nile riparian States.  
    Nov 29, 2016 796
  • 07 Dec 2016
    During my undergraduate we had to take a module on Environmental Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The aim of the module was to show the existence of traditional knowledge on the sustainable use of natural resources among the different communities in Kenya and by extension Africa. Our forefathers had dependable knowledge on weather patterns, migration of animals, soil conservation and medicine and the management of resources in general. I have had the privilege of working with communities and it has always been clear that each holds unique knowledge and skills to ensure their survival and continuity. However, we live in a world where most of those who have been through school look down on the cultural and traditional knowledge and the younger generation are not keen to learn from the older generation. Hence this knowledge system is slowly dying from our society.   I am particularly more interested in the area of climate change and adaptation mostly because it affects the very core of our communities by threatening food security and livelihoods. If you speak to anyone in the rural areas whether a farmer or pastoralist they will tell you that they have noticed considerable changes in the weather patterns only they do not know what to attribute it to. The rainy seasons are unpredictable, shorter or more intense to cause flooding and the dry spells are more frequent and last longer. On top of this, their yields have decreased and new crop and livestock diseases have emerged pushing some to the blink of starvation. So the biggest question is why the research and information in print on how to build resilience and adapt to climate change is not reaching these communities and if it is, why is it not as effective?   Governments and international research institute are spending millions of dollars towards research and rightly so considering there is so much we still do not comprehend about climate change and its impacts. There are conferences and agreements being signed right left and center as we seek to minimize these impacts and build resilience of our people and the world. However, what good is it if this science is not being translated into action? The local farmers or pastoralists may not understand the scientific jargons but they can surely contribute into the localizations of solutions that fit their particular challenges. They possess knowledge on crop rotation and pest control, water resource management and soil conservation and on crops that are drought resistant and yet their contribution is undervalued. The creation of awareness should therefore come from a place of collaboration and not dictation if any sustainable solutions are to be found. We have so many projects on the continent that have not seen a day after the donors have left. They collapse because they ignore the contributions of the local people and the knowledge they possess and hence the lack of ownership and continuity.   Science and research plays an important role in our world today and will continue to do so in the future. However, we must not ignore the existing knowledge among our communities because to know the future we must understand our past. The answers we seek lie in integrating scientific and indigenous knowledge and finding what works for each community. Researchers and scientists cannot continue to take the role where they dictate the changes that need to be made in our society and assume that communities are without any knowledge. What we need is for all stakeholders to come together and have a platform where they can share knowledge and information. This will not only create ownership of projects but create sustainability where projects last beyond their funding phases and maybe development goals like the SDG’s will be attainable.
    827 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • During my undergraduate we had to take a module on Environmental Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The aim of the module was to show the existence of traditional knowledge on the sustainable use of natural resources among the different communities in Kenya and by extension Africa. Our forefathers had dependable knowledge on weather patterns, migration of animals, soil conservation and medicine and the management of resources in general. I have had the privilege of working with communities and it has always been clear that each holds unique knowledge and skills to ensure their survival and continuity. However, we live in a world where most of those who have been through school look down on the cultural and traditional knowledge and the younger generation are not keen to learn from the older generation. Hence this knowledge system is slowly dying from our society.   I am particularly more interested in the area of climate change and adaptation mostly because it affects the very core of our communities by threatening food security and livelihoods. If you speak to anyone in the rural areas whether a farmer or pastoralist they will tell you that they have noticed considerable changes in the weather patterns only they do not know what to attribute it to. The rainy seasons are unpredictable, shorter or more intense to cause flooding and the dry spells are more frequent and last longer. On top of this, their yields have decreased and new crop and livestock diseases have emerged pushing some to the blink of starvation. So the biggest question is why the research and information in print on how to build resilience and adapt to climate change is not reaching these communities and if it is, why is it not as effective?   Governments and international research institute are spending millions of dollars towards research and rightly so considering there is so much we still do not comprehend about climate change and its impacts. There are conferences and agreements being signed right left and center as we seek to minimize these impacts and build resilience of our people and the world. However, what good is it if this science is not being translated into action? The local farmers or pastoralists may not understand the scientific jargons but they can surely contribute into the localizations of solutions that fit their particular challenges. They possess knowledge on crop rotation and pest control, water resource management and soil conservation and on crops that are drought resistant and yet their contribution is undervalued. The creation of awareness should therefore come from a place of collaboration and not dictation if any sustainable solutions are to be found. We have so many projects on the continent that have not seen a day after the donors have left. They collapse because they ignore the contributions of the local people and the knowledge they possess and hence the lack of ownership and continuity.   Science and research plays an important role in our world today and will continue to do so in the future. However, we must not ignore the existing knowledge among our communities because to know the future we must understand our past. The answers we seek lie in integrating scientific and indigenous knowledge and finding what works for each community. Researchers and scientists cannot continue to take the role where they dictate the changes that need to be made in our society and assume that communities are without any knowledge. What we need is for all stakeholders to come together and have a platform where they can share knowledge and information. This will not only create ownership of projects but create sustainability where projects last beyond their funding phases and maybe development goals like the SDG’s will be attainable.
    Dec 07, 2016 827
  • 27 Dec 2016
    When going into the real estate business, or even constructing your own house in Africa, it would be recommendable to go off-grid. This is because there is an alternative source of energy that is not only friendly to the environment but also pocket-friendly. Solar is becoming cheaper by the day and it is particularly cheaper in Africa as the continent is among the sunniest in the world. This has been driven by the reducing cost of solar PV modules as shown above. Looking at the brief analysis below, you can see how cheap solar is getting. The illustration above shows that the price of solar is below 6 dollar cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) anywhere in Africa as the continent is within the solar belt. Remember too that the pricing is unsubsidized. That cost is even lower than what most people currently pay for electricity in countries all over Africa. To put this into perspective, a report released by African Development Bank indicated that the average cost of electricity in Africa was US $0.14 per kWh against a production cost of US $0.18 per kWh in 2010. The situation hasn’t changed much for my country Kenya as the average cost of electricity for the low consumers is currently about US $0.14 per kWh with most average to high consumers paying about US $0.19 per kWh. That cost is expensive compared to solar and doesn’t take into consideration externalities such as environmental impacts from the use of fossil fuel to generate electricity. Energy Storage.. There is no concern with regards to ensuring a 24-hour supply of electricity as a result of declining cost and continuous improvement of energy storage technologies. Companies such as Tesla hope to produce batteries of $100 per kWh by 2020. There are also other companies undertaking numerous research and development on energy storage aiming to lower the price even further. For this reason, it is practical to establish a real estate business or even construct/convert a home to be purely based on solar energy in Africa. The savings will be enormous from a clean and reliable source of energy. Prospects for savings… Let’s assume you are in Kenya and its 2020 already, the cost of solar averages US $0.045 per kWh while the electricity from the grid remains at US $0.19 per kWh for most middle-class consumers. Let’s also assume a consumption of about 300 kWh every month.  The savings from using solar will be about US $522 in a year. The savings for a about 5 years will be able to purchase a solar energy system, including energy storage, that will provide free electricity for at least 25 years more. I hope we see the sense and embrace solar as a dependable energy source. In fact, there is no need to wait until 2020, make 2017 a year for savings on electricity as well as the environment by adopting solar energy.
    1028 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • When going into the real estate business, or even constructing your own house in Africa, it would be recommendable to go off-grid. This is because there is an alternative source of energy that is not only friendly to the environment but also pocket-friendly. Solar is becoming cheaper by the day and it is particularly cheaper in Africa as the continent is among the sunniest in the world. This has been driven by the reducing cost of solar PV modules as shown above. Looking at the brief analysis below, you can see how cheap solar is getting. The illustration above shows that the price of solar is below 6 dollar cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) anywhere in Africa as the continent is within the solar belt. Remember too that the pricing is unsubsidized. That cost is even lower than what most people currently pay for electricity in countries all over Africa. To put this into perspective, a report released by African Development Bank indicated that the average cost of electricity in Africa was US $0.14 per kWh against a production cost of US $0.18 per kWh in 2010. The situation hasn’t changed much for my country Kenya as the average cost of electricity for the low consumers is currently about US $0.14 per kWh with most average to high consumers paying about US $0.19 per kWh. That cost is expensive compared to solar and doesn’t take into consideration externalities such as environmental impacts from the use of fossil fuel to generate electricity. Energy Storage.. There is no concern with regards to ensuring a 24-hour supply of electricity as a result of declining cost and continuous improvement of energy storage technologies. Companies such as Tesla hope to produce batteries of $100 per kWh by 2020. There are also other companies undertaking numerous research and development on energy storage aiming to lower the price even further. For this reason, it is practical to establish a real estate business or even construct/convert a home to be purely based on solar energy in Africa. The savings will be enormous from a clean and reliable source of energy. Prospects for savings… Let’s assume you are in Kenya and its 2020 already, the cost of solar averages US $0.045 per kWh while the electricity from the grid remains at US $0.19 per kWh for most middle-class consumers. Let’s also assume a consumption of about 300 kWh every month.  The savings from using solar will be about US $522 in a year. The savings for a about 5 years will be able to purchase a solar energy system, including energy storage, that will provide free electricity for at least 25 years more. I hope we see the sense and embrace solar as a dependable energy source. In fact, there is no need to wait until 2020, make 2017 a year for savings on electricity as well as the environment by adopting solar energy.
    Dec 27, 2016 1028
  • 30 Jan 2017
    I am currently taking a unit on flood and drought management and it is interesting to say the least but that is a story for another day. However, this module hits home for me because Kenya is currently going through a very dry season. The water reservoirs and hydro-dams are running below half capacity and those that live in the arid and semi-arid lands are in dire need of food relief. Their livestock which is their sole source of livelihood has not been spared either and the owners have to walk for long distances in search of water and pasture. What shocks me even more is that the country is hoping that the expected long rains in April will solve this crisis. I am always left wondering why we have a meteorological department when occurrences like drought and flood seem to catch us unprepared every single year. Kenya is prone to frequent drought occurrences especially in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that cover 80% of its territory. The ASALs are home to an estimated 11 million people and 70% of the national livestock herd. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Strategic plan 2013-2017, livestock keeping accounts for approximately 90% of the employment opportunities and nearly 95% of family incomes in the ASALs. In these areas the annual rainfall is in the range of 200 to 500mm and experience frequent droughts and heat waves (Kandji, 2006). Livestock exposure to heat waves increases their vulnerability to diseases directly affecting their reproductive health and meat and milk production which the ASALs communities heavily rely on for food and income (FAO, 2016).The further vulnerability of Kenya to climate change and temperature projections suggesting a rise of 2.5°C between 2000 to 2050 present these communities with the challenge of ensuring food security, access to water and dealing with livestock diseases. The above challenges call for the development of effective adaptation strategies to minimize the effect of climate change and variability on the livelihoods of the people living in ASALs (Bobadoye A.O, 2016). The current approaches and strategies need to be changed in order to build resilience and adaptation capacity among the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Nicholas Ozor, 2011). These communities will be required to embrace new skills and attitudes through knowledge transfer and capacity building a role that can be effectively filled by extension agents (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Extension agents have influence towards the decisions made by farmers and pastoralists and they therefore play a very important role in the interpretation of climate change and variability research and providing information on adaptation measures necessary to the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Emily Susko, 2013). Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and variability is crucial in protecting the livelihoods and in ensuring food security among the pastoralist communities (Dagmawi M. Abegaz, 2014). There is some acknowledgement by the government on the important role of extension agencies in the agricultural sector. However the livestock subsector only has 20% of the required staff quota making service delivery difficult. All these factors have created a gap in knowledge transfer and capacity development leading to dire consequences. It has not only posed a threat to food security but also presented a new set of challenges in accessing animal feed, water, exposing the livestock to diseases and heat stress and to the general economy with livestock estimated to contribute 5.5% of the country’s GDP (Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). According to the (ILRI, 2015) Corporate Report 2014-2015, Kenya lost USD 3.3 billon in the livestock sector due to drought between 2008 and 2011. As a result pastoralists continue to be pushed deep in poverty due to livestock losses which are their main source of livelihood. In conclusion the changes in climate call for the adoption of new attitudes and practices to increase the level of preparedness among pastoralists to extreme conditions like drought. The extension agencies should fulfill their mandate to carry out public education and provide information to pastoralists and promote resilience and collaboration between different stakeholders in addressing different challenges among them, climate change (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Failure to which the ASALS will forever be condemned to receiving hand outs for decades to come.      References  Bobadoye A.O, P. O. ( 2016). Pastoralist Perception on Climate Change and Variability in Kajiado in Relation to Meteorology Evidence. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol 5 No 1 . Dagmawi M. Abegaz, P. W. (2014). Extension Agents' Awareness of Climate Change in Ethiopia. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension , DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2014.946936. Emily Susko, M. S. (2013). Role of Extension in climate Adaptation in the United States. Silver Spring, Maryland. FAO. (2016). THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE; CLIMATE CHANGE,AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY. Rome. ILRI. (2015). Corporate Report 2014-2015. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute. Kandji, S. T. (2006). Drought in Kenya: climatic, economic and socio-political factors. New Standpoints , 17-19. Ministry of Agriculture, L. a. (2015). Strategic Plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Government of Kenya.
    857 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I am currently taking a unit on flood and drought management and it is interesting to say the least but that is a story for another day. However, this module hits home for me because Kenya is currently going through a very dry season. The water reservoirs and hydro-dams are running below half capacity and those that live in the arid and semi-arid lands are in dire need of food relief. Their livestock which is their sole source of livelihood has not been spared either and the owners have to walk for long distances in search of water and pasture. What shocks me even more is that the country is hoping that the expected long rains in April will solve this crisis. I am always left wondering why we have a meteorological department when occurrences like drought and flood seem to catch us unprepared every single year. Kenya is prone to frequent drought occurrences especially in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that cover 80% of its territory. The ASALs are home to an estimated 11 million people and 70% of the national livestock herd. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Strategic plan 2013-2017, livestock keeping accounts for approximately 90% of the employment opportunities and nearly 95% of family incomes in the ASALs. In these areas the annual rainfall is in the range of 200 to 500mm and experience frequent droughts and heat waves (Kandji, 2006). Livestock exposure to heat waves increases their vulnerability to diseases directly affecting their reproductive health and meat and milk production which the ASALs communities heavily rely on for food and income (FAO, 2016).The further vulnerability of Kenya to climate change and temperature projections suggesting a rise of 2.5°C between 2000 to 2050 present these communities with the challenge of ensuring food security, access to water and dealing with livestock diseases. The above challenges call for the development of effective adaptation strategies to minimize the effect of climate change and variability on the livelihoods of the people living in ASALs (Bobadoye A.O, 2016). The current approaches and strategies need to be changed in order to build resilience and adaptation capacity among the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Nicholas Ozor, 2011). These communities will be required to embrace new skills and attitudes through knowledge transfer and capacity building a role that can be effectively filled by extension agents (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Extension agents have influence towards the decisions made by farmers and pastoralists and they therefore play a very important role in the interpretation of climate change and variability research and providing information on adaptation measures necessary to the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Emily Susko, 2013). Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and variability is crucial in protecting the livelihoods and in ensuring food security among the pastoralist communities (Dagmawi M. Abegaz, 2014). There is some acknowledgement by the government on the important role of extension agencies in the agricultural sector. However the livestock subsector only has 20% of the required staff quota making service delivery difficult. All these factors have created a gap in knowledge transfer and capacity development leading to dire consequences. It has not only posed a threat to food security but also presented a new set of challenges in accessing animal feed, water, exposing the livestock to diseases and heat stress and to the general economy with livestock estimated to contribute 5.5% of the country’s GDP (Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). According to the (ILRI, 2015) Corporate Report 2014-2015, Kenya lost USD 3.3 billon in the livestock sector due to drought between 2008 and 2011. As a result pastoralists continue to be pushed deep in poverty due to livestock losses which are their main source of livelihood. In conclusion the changes in climate call for the adoption of new attitudes and practices to increase the level of preparedness among pastoralists to extreme conditions like drought. The extension agencies should fulfill their mandate to carry out public education and provide information to pastoralists and promote resilience and collaboration between different stakeholders in addressing different challenges among them, climate change (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Failure to which the ASALS will forever be condemned to receiving hand outs for decades to come.      References  Bobadoye A.O, P. O. ( 2016). Pastoralist Perception on Climate Change and Variability in Kajiado in Relation to Meteorology Evidence. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol 5 No 1 . Dagmawi M. Abegaz, P. W. (2014). Extension Agents' Awareness of Climate Change in Ethiopia. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension , DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2014.946936. Emily Susko, M. S. (2013). Role of Extension in climate Adaptation in the United States. Silver Spring, Maryland. FAO. (2016). THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE; CLIMATE CHANGE,AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY. Rome. ILRI. (2015). Corporate Report 2014-2015. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute. Kandji, S. T. (2006). Drought in Kenya: climatic, economic and socio-political factors. New Standpoints , 17-19. Ministry of Agriculture, L. a. (2015). Strategic Plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Government of Kenya.
    Jan 30, 2017 857