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  • 04 Apr 2016
    A question was recently posed to all of us, how did we come to hear about PAUWES and what are we planning to do after graduation next year. As you can imagine the answers were as valid as the number we are. I believe that when we all received the email offering us a place at the institute we weighed our options before committing to accept the offer. I was working for an engineering firm before I joined PAUWES and as much as I loved my line of work in the environmental and social field I was ready for change and here I am. Months later I am glad I made that decision because I have seen my areas of interest take shape in ways I never imagined before. I can clearly see myself working with communities in empowering women and men in adapting and mitigating impacts of climate change which will only come from creation of awareness and capacity building and involvement of all stakeholders in policy formulation in regards to resource use and exploitation.   I am not here to patronize anyone. We all had different expectations when we said yes to that offer back in July last year and I will be the first to admit that some of my expectations have not been met but others have been met beyond what was offered. One of the things I can credit the institute for is the creation of networking opportunities for all students. In March this year we had a symposium on renewable energy that saw researchers from Africa and Europe come together and spend almost a week in Tlemcen. The icing on the cake is all of us were in one way or another involved in the planning and coordinating the symposium activities. Fast forward in late March and we travelled to Germany where we were not only able to interact with experts in our relevant fields but with students who have been successful in doing research and for some coming up with new inventions. The willingness for them to help or refer us to someone who could offer a better perspective was humbling and appreciated.   So where am I going with all of this? I have heard the question time and again about where our fate lies once we graduate next year. I recognize that the uncertain future is a cause for worry for some of us and I know the job market is very competitive and sometimes all you need is someone to give you a push or put in a good word for you. What I do not agree with is our approach to the above. We cannot continue to complain about the opportunities that are not available while we are not using the ones provided. I want to pose a question to all of us, how many of us approached the professors and students during the symposium and in Germany seeking to create new networks and connections? How many of us approached someone and they said no to your request without giving you an alternative? Some may argue that not all of us are able to approach new people and strike a conversation but we also have to be willing to step into unfamiliar waters and take risks. It is nerve wrecking for the first time but I promise it gets easier.   When we signed the contract no one promised to offer us a job after graduation, I doubt any scholarship program promises that anywhere else in the world. What we have instead is a safe environment to connect and interact with experts from different fields and a chance to build our confidence level without the pressure of getting it right the first time. I look at networking as a reward point system, where every connection made is a point gained and you can redeem later on in life. We have the Community of Practice (CoP) that allows follow up and chances to show case our abilities outside the classroom environment as individuals or in our respective groups. Soon enough different companies data base will be uploaded and new opportunities will arise. More professors and experts will join and the community will grow. You have the liberty to invite someone to CoP if you feel that their expertise could be of help to you as an individual or others. If you identify a connection worth exploring and you have no idea how to approach them you can ask for help, there is always someone willing to give a hand. The possibilities are endless but we have to make that first step or we will never realize how many people are willing to walk with us. What saddens me is that we have not realized the opportunities provided to us or have not been willing to invest time to exploit them fully. We have not taken time to upload our resume or at the very least a profile picture or write to a new connection and clearly articulate our areas of interest and the kind of push we need. In my opinion the field is set and we only have to be willing to play in it. It would be sad if after two years we looked back at our time here with regret, 24 months is way too much time to spend pointing out what has not been given to you. If you think life gave you lemons the minute you stepped in PAUWES please make some lemonade summer is coming!
    1402 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • A question was recently posed to all of us, how did we come to hear about PAUWES and what are we planning to do after graduation next year. As you can imagine the answers were as valid as the number we are. I believe that when we all received the email offering us a place at the institute we weighed our options before committing to accept the offer. I was working for an engineering firm before I joined PAUWES and as much as I loved my line of work in the environmental and social field I was ready for change and here I am. Months later I am glad I made that decision because I have seen my areas of interest take shape in ways I never imagined before. I can clearly see myself working with communities in empowering women and men in adapting and mitigating impacts of climate change which will only come from creation of awareness and capacity building and involvement of all stakeholders in policy formulation in regards to resource use and exploitation.   I am not here to patronize anyone. We all had different expectations when we said yes to that offer back in July last year and I will be the first to admit that some of my expectations have not been met but others have been met beyond what was offered. One of the things I can credit the institute for is the creation of networking opportunities for all students. In March this year we had a symposium on renewable energy that saw researchers from Africa and Europe come together and spend almost a week in Tlemcen. The icing on the cake is all of us were in one way or another involved in the planning and coordinating the symposium activities. Fast forward in late March and we travelled to Germany where we were not only able to interact with experts in our relevant fields but with students who have been successful in doing research and for some coming up with new inventions. The willingness for them to help or refer us to someone who could offer a better perspective was humbling and appreciated.   So where am I going with all of this? I have heard the question time and again about where our fate lies once we graduate next year. I recognize that the uncertain future is a cause for worry for some of us and I know the job market is very competitive and sometimes all you need is someone to give you a push or put in a good word for you. What I do not agree with is our approach to the above. We cannot continue to complain about the opportunities that are not available while we are not using the ones provided. I want to pose a question to all of us, how many of us approached the professors and students during the symposium and in Germany seeking to create new networks and connections? How many of us approached someone and they said no to your request without giving you an alternative? Some may argue that not all of us are able to approach new people and strike a conversation but we also have to be willing to step into unfamiliar waters and take risks. It is nerve wrecking for the first time but I promise it gets easier.   When we signed the contract no one promised to offer us a job after graduation, I doubt any scholarship program promises that anywhere else in the world. What we have instead is a safe environment to connect and interact with experts from different fields and a chance to build our confidence level without the pressure of getting it right the first time. I look at networking as a reward point system, where every connection made is a point gained and you can redeem later on in life. We have the Community of Practice (CoP) that allows follow up and chances to show case our abilities outside the classroom environment as individuals or in our respective groups. Soon enough different companies data base will be uploaded and new opportunities will arise. More professors and experts will join and the community will grow. You have the liberty to invite someone to CoP if you feel that their expertise could be of help to you as an individual or others. If you identify a connection worth exploring and you have no idea how to approach them you can ask for help, there is always someone willing to give a hand. The possibilities are endless but we have to make that first step or we will never realize how many people are willing to walk with us. What saddens me is that we have not realized the opportunities provided to us or have not been willing to invest time to exploit them fully. We have not taken time to upload our resume or at the very least a profile picture or write to a new connection and clearly articulate our areas of interest and the kind of push we need. In my opinion the field is set and we only have to be willing to play in it. It would be sad if after two years we looked back at our time here with regret, 24 months is way too much time to spend pointing out what has not been given to you. If you think life gave you lemons the minute you stepped in PAUWES please make some lemonade summer is coming!
    Apr 04, 2016 1402
  • 02 May 2016
    I am a lover of elephants and I have been lucky enough to watch them in their natural habitat. They are the most majestic animals I have ever come across and the sheer size of an adult bull or cow always leaves me in wonder. Their sense of family and interaction is an honor to watch.  There are two species of elephant; African elephant weighing up to 6, 000kg and its Asian counterpart weighing at around 5,000kg. Every elephant herd is led by a matriarch which is the oldest female in the herd (it’s a female world out there). Her role is to offer guidance to the heard and teach the young ones how to behave. So intelligent are they that they extend their trunks in greetings when they meet each other and are known to perform funeral rituals for their dead. Let me assure you that I am not here to bore you with facts about elephants but to bring to your attention the threat that faces these gentle giants.   On 30th April 2016 Kenya burnt over 100 tones of ivory stock piles which is a representation of about 8,000 elephants that have been lost to poaching in the recent years. This ivory was not only confiscated from poachers in Kenya but from traffickers using Kenyan airports and ports to export the illegal goods. According to the African Wildlife Foundation there are around 470,000 African elephants roaming the wild. Some of us may think that this is a huge number but the picture on the ground is more tragic. Every 15 minutes an African elephant is killed by poachers for its tusks. That means that if this trend continues the elephants will be extinct in the next two decades. Boom! Gone!   The historical burn of over 100 tones of ivory at Nairobi National Park Most of you might argue that we live in a world where it is survival for the fittest and Charles Darwin would definitely back up your argument. However, this is not nature taking its course but human greed fuelling massive killings. The largest markets for ivory products are China and the United States. What disgusts me the most is that it is the elite that are buying the ivory trinkets and carvings to cement their standing in society. The icing on this madness is their belief that the trinkets or carvings are good luck charms, an aphrodisiac (really?) and are a sign of wealth. How low the human race has sunk is beyond my comprehension. The cycle of ivory trade is one of pain and loss of lives. Park rangers are killed daily in the line of duty and war lords like Joseph Kony from Uganda sell ivory to buy arms and continue reigning terror among the innocents. Do not get me started on the crimes his army has committed against women and children as he seeks to quench his power hungry soul.   That is why the action of Kenya to burn over 100 tones of ivory is very significant. It sends a message that Kenya will not tolerate illegal trade in wildlife. It is a cry to the world to pay attention before elephants and rhinos become a tale like the dinosaurs. Many people especially in Kenya have been of the opinion that the ivory should have been sold at an estimation of 172 million USD and the money used for conservation efforts. I choose to disagree; great strides have been made in banning ivory trade in some states in America and parts of China. Releasing such amount of ivory to the market will only refuel the trade and result to more poaching. On the other hand guarding ivory stock piles is an expensive affair and would require 24/7 surveillance. The danger with this is that we have some rotten corrupt individuals who would not blink an eye when sneaking the ivory to the black market. So what better way to stick it up their faces other than burning the stock piles to ashes! We are simply saying elephants are worth more alive, let me explain;   Tourism in Kenya is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture. The $1 billion a year industry is a source of livelihood for thousands of Kenyans while our South African counterparts earn more than $ 7 billion every year accounting for around 7.9% of its GDP. I could go on and on about the benefits we derive as a continent from live animals than dead. I recognize that this problem is not only unique to Africa but conservationists around the world are racing against time to save other endangered species like the white rhino, sea turtles, jaguar, panda, white sharks among many others. What has gotten us here is human greed. It is the lack of respect for any other creature that walks on the face of the earth. We have forgotten that man may be supposedly the most intelligent on the web but every species has a role to play in the functioning of the food web.   We are destroying our planet at an unprecedented rate. We have cleared forests to build cities and expand our suburban neighborhoods, we have polluted the same rivers that give us life and turned our ears deaf to the conservationists’ voices of reason among us. History however, will judge us. Generations to come will hold us responsible for not protecting that which was entrusted to us. We owe it to them therefore, to be stewards of this beautiful planet until we can pass the torch to them.
    1039 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I am a lover of elephants and I have been lucky enough to watch them in their natural habitat. They are the most majestic animals I have ever come across and the sheer size of an adult bull or cow always leaves me in wonder. Their sense of family and interaction is an honor to watch.  There are two species of elephant; African elephant weighing up to 6, 000kg and its Asian counterpart weighing at around 5,000kg. Every elephant herd is led by a matriarch which is the oldest female in the herd (it’s a female world out there). Her role is to offer guidance to the heard and teach the young ones how to behave. So intelligent are they that they extend their trunks in greetings when they meet each other and are known to perform funeral rituals for their dead. Let me assure you that I am not here to bore you with facts about elephants but to bring to your attention the threat that faces these gentle giants.   On 30th April 2016 Kenya burnt over 100 tones of ivory stock piles which is a representation of about 8,000 elephants that have been lost to poaching in the recent years. This ivory was not only confiscated from poachers in Kenya but from traffickers using Kenyan airports and ports to export the illegal goods. According to the African Wildlife Foundation there are around 470,000 African elephants roaming the wild. Some of us may think that this is a huge number but the picture on the ground is more tragic. Every 15 minutes an African elephant is killed by poachers for its tusks. That means that if this trend continues the elephants will be extinct in the next two decades. Boom! Gone!   The historical burn of over 100 tones of ivory at Nairobi National Park Most of you might argue that we live in a world where it is survival for the fittest and Charles Darwin would definitely back up your argument. However, this is not nature taking its course but human greed fuelling massive killings. The largest markets for ivory products are China and the United States. What disgusts me the most is that it is the elite that are buying the ivory trinkets and carvings to cement their standing in society. The icing on this madness is their belief that the trinkets or carvings are good luck charms, an aphrodisiac (really?) and are a sign of wealth. How low the human race has sunk is beyond my comprehension. The cycle of ivory trade is one of pain and loss of lives. Park rangers are killed daily in the line of duty and war lords like Joseph Kony from Uganda sell ivory to buy arms and continue reigning terror among the innocents. Do not get me started on the crimes his army has committed against women and children as he seeks to quench his power hungry soul.   That is why the action of Kenya to burn over 100 tones of ivory is very significant. It sends a message that Kenya will not tolerate illegal trade in wildlife. It is a cry to the world to pay attention before elephants and rhinos become a tale like the dinosaurs. Many people especially in Kenya have been of the opinion that the ivory should have been sold at an estimation of 172 million USD and the money used for conservation efforts. I choose to disagree; great strides have been made in banning ivory trade in some states in America and parts of China. Releasing such amount of ivory to the market will only refuel the trade and result to more poaching. On the other hand guarding ivory stock piles is an expensive affair and would require 24/7 surveillance. The danger with this is that we have some rotten corrupt individuals who would not blink an eye when sneaking the ivory to the black market. So what better way to stick it up their faces other than burning the stock piles to ashes! We are simply saying elephants are worth more alive, let me explain;   Tourism in Kenya is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture. The $1 billion a year industry is a source of livelihood for thousands of Kenyans while our South African counterparts earn more than $ 7 billion every year accounting for around 7.9% of its GDP. I could go on and on about the benefits we derive as a continent from live animals than dead. I recognize that this problem is not only unique to Africa but conservationists around the world are racing against time to save other endangered species like the white rhino, sea turtles, jaguar, panda, white sharks among many others. What has gotten us here is human greed. It is the lack of respect for any other creature that walks on the face of the earth. We have forgotten that man may be supposedly the most intelligent on the web but every species has a role to play in the functioning of the food web.   We are destroying our planet at an unprecedented rate. We have cleared forests to build cities and expand our suburban neighborhoods, we have polluted the same rivers that give us life and turned our ears deaf to the conservationists’ voices of reason among us. History however, will judge us. Generations to come will hold us responsible for not protecting that which was entrusted to us. We owe it to them therefore, to be stewards of this beautiful planet until we can pass the torch to them.
    May 02, 2016 1039
  • 01 Mar 2016
    If you are one to pay attention to job and scholarship adverts you have probably come across the phrase “women are encouraged to apply”. Some go as far as raising the age requirement for women or lowering their required years of experience for a job. Where I come from (Kenya) the constitution allows for the election of women representatives under a category that no man is allowed to compete under. The exodus of all these began in September 1995 during the Fourth World Conference on Women where participating governments came together and passed what is  now famously know as the Beijing declaration. Their aim was to advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity. Women and girls were to have equal opportunities in accessing resources, education, health care, leadership positions and participating in the decision making process. But just how did the participating governments hope to achieve this? If you go through the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action document I can bet you my stipend (the whole 750$) that you will come across the word equity. I believe this was done in good faith but its implementation has lost sight of what it really means to achieve gender equity. It does not mean that women have to be given special preference to match up to the skill level of men nor do they want to hold jobs simply because they are female. Creating special parliamentary seats for women does not equal to better service delivery or representation of their needs. I think our systems have failed in implementing the goals that were envisioned in the Beijing declaration. Our women and girls do not need special favors just because of their gender nor does it mean we forget the boy child. Forgetting the boy child simply means years from now we will have to launch a new declaration on the empowerment of men. What they all need is mentorship and skill building from a young age. If we provide all the necessary tools and skills for the development of our young girls and boys there will be no need whatsoever to favor one sex over the other when opportunities arise. I will own up to using the gender card to get my way sometimes, like getting to do a class presentation first over the guys in my class or getting a seat in the bus when I am well capable of standing through a trip(hopefully I will still get a seat after this). I will even play the vulnerable card because what man does not want to act as the prince charming to a damsel in distress. Yet I never want my gender to play a role in earning a position or favors that put my skills and abilities into question. Maybe I am being a tad bit hypocritical but I want to believe that I have earned enough skills to compete on the same level with the opposite sex. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a lady accused of using her wiles to get good grades or earn a promotion. Some of these accusations maybe true but who are we to think that they are incapable of earning their way up. It is true that women worldwide face indomitable challenges more so in Africa in areas of education, health care and resources allocation. Gender mainstreaming and equity may offer solutions to these challenges but it does not mean compromising on quality so that we can all pat our backs on how well our society is doing. It is not giving special preference to women over men. I believe it is the nurturing of the skills and capabilities of both men and women from a young age and harnessing what each of them can do best. 
    884 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • If you are one to pay attention to job and scholarship adverts you have probably come across the phrase “women are encouraged to apply”. Some go as far as raising the age requirement for women or lowering their required years of experience for a job. Where I come from (Kenya) the constitution allows for the election of women representatives under a category that no man is allowed to compete under. The exodus of all these began in September 1995 during the Fourth World Conference on Women where participating governments came together and passed what is  now famously know as the Beijing declaration. Their aim was to advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity. Women and girls were to have equal opportunities in accessing resources, education, health care, leadership positions and participating in the decision making process. But just how did the participating governments hope to achieve this? If you go through the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action document I can bet you my stipend (the whole 750$) that you will come across the word equity. I believe this was done in good faith but its implementation has lost sight of what it really means to achieve gender equity. It does not mean that women have to be given special preference to match up to the skill level of men nor do they want to hold jobs simply because they are female. Creating special parliamentary seats for women does not equal to better service delivery or representation of their needs. I think our systems have failed in implementing the goals that were envisioned in the Beijing declaration. Our women and girls do not need special favors just because of their gender nor does it mean we forget the boy child. Forgetting the boy child simply means years from now we will have to launch a new declaration on the empowerment of men. What they all need is mentorship and skill building from a young age. If we provide all the necessary tools and skills for the development of our young girls and boys there will be no need whatsoever to favor one sex over the other when opportunities arise. I will own up to using the gender card to get my way sometimes, like getting to do a class presentation first over the guys in my class or getting a seat in the bus when I am well capable of standing through a trip(hopefully I will still get a seat after this). I will even play the vulnerable card because what man does not want to act as the prince charming to a damsel in distress. Yet I never want my gender to play a role in earning a position or favors that put my skills and abilities into question. Maybe I am being a tad bit hypocritical but I want to believe that I have earned enough skills to compete on the same level with the opposite sex. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a lady accused of using her wiles to get good grades or earn a promotion. Some of these accusations maybe true but who are we to think that they are incapable of earning their way up. It is true that women worldwide face indomitable challenges more so in Africa in areas of education, health care and resources allocation. Gender mainstreaming and equity may offer solutions to these challenges but it does not mean compromising on quality so that we can all pat our backs on how well our society is doing. It is not giving special preference to women over men. I believe it is the nurturing of the skills and capabilities of both men and women from a young age and harnessing what each of them can do best. 
    Mar 01, 2016 884
  • 08 Mar 2016
    I wonder when ethnic groups realized they were different, not because of their culture or practices but because of the color of their skin. When did skin color become more important than the blood that flows in our veins and when did the inner spirit that truly defines a person become second class? The emergence of the word race dates back to 17th century and is mostly used to categorize people primarily by their physical differences. I wonder who coined the word. I can imagine them sitting down in a dark room, smoking their pipes and sipping their fine scotch as they decided that the color of the skin, hair texture and facial features defined a man and his superiority. They must have had a water tight strategy because the propaganda spread like wildfire. It is no wonder the cosmetics industry has capitalized on this; there are countless lightening products in the market today and the buyers are not lacking. Think of all man has done, found cure to deadly diseases, travelled out of space, survived wars and natural disasters and yet he is unable to reconcile himself to the fact that he is one species; the human race. Not white, yellow, red, black, brown or whatever other classification you want to use. He is one species and we are all members of it I trust we have all watched or read the news on racial hate attacks or profiling. I used to think it cannot be that bad. The victims could rise beyond the hate, develop a hard skin and move on. After all, sticks and stones can break your bones but words cannot hurt you. Oh how terribly wrong I was, because when I came to be on the receiving end of the racial slur all I wanted to do was to crawl in a hole and hide. I wondered how someone could look at me and see an inferior being, a la couleur or even worse use the N word. I dreaded going out because it felt like I was walking into a lion’s den, I could feel the stares, feel them get ready to pounce as I walked on the streets and as if not ones to disappoint the shouts and crude remarks would start. I cannot tell you how many times I felt defiled or like a lesser human being.   I remember calling my best friend and bemoaning of how miserable and lonely I felt and I will never forget the words she said to me because they redefined my outlook on life here. She told me it would be a shame to live in a new country for two years and not know a soul. Hate is everywhere she argued but taking the victim role did not make me the better person. I had to reach out and open my heart to the new environment and the people. I thought she was crazy but I gave it a try and I have found acceptance for who I am and that somehow drowns the hate.   I will admit that I have gotten better at ignoring the shouts and the crude remarks. Maybe I have developed a thicker skin or I have come to the acceptance that every society has its rotten eggs. There are times I want to shout at the top of my voice or hit something or someone but that would only reinforce their belief that I am crazy plus I do not want to break my hand. So I ignore every word and go my way as if it doesn’t matter. But I still have questions, what resides in a heart that spews such venom or don’t they know it hurts? I am human too, I hurt and I crave for acceptance regardless of my skin color or my kinky hair. I bleed red, I breath oxygenand I am vulnerable with a heart that breaks just as easily. Yet in all these hate, I have found hope in the welcoming faces of total strangers and formed new friendships and I have learnt to never apologize for who I am because there can never be a more beautiful me.  
    882 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I wonder when ethnic groups realized they were different, not because of their culture or practices but because of the color of their skin. When did skin color become more important than the blood that flows in our veins and when did the inner spirit that truly defines a person become second class? The emergence of the word race dates back to 17th century and is mostly used to categorize people primarily by their physical differences. I wonder who coined the word. I can imagine them sitting down in a dark room, smoking their pipes and sipping their fine scotch as they decided that the color of the skin, hair texture and facial features defined a man and his superiority. They must have had a water tight strategy because the propaganda spread like wildfire. It is no wonder the cosmetics industry has capitalized on this; there are countless lightening products in the market today and the buyers are not lacking. Think of all man has done, found cure to deadly diseases, travelled out of space, survived wars and natural disasters and yet he is unable to reconcile himself to the fact that he is one species; the human race. Not white, yellow, red, black, brown or whatever other classification you want to use. He is one species and we are all members of it I trust we have all watched or read the news on racial hate attacks or profiling. I used to think it cannot be that bad. The victims could rise beyond the hate, develop a hard skin and move on. After all, sticks and stones can break your bones but words cannot hurt you. Oh how terribly wrong I was, because when I came to be on the receiving end of the racial slur all I wanted to do was to crawl in a hole and hide. I wondered how someone could look at me and see an inferior being, a la couleur or even worse use the N word. I dreaded going out because it felt like I was walking into a lion’s den, I could feel the stares, feel them get ready to pounce as I walked on the streets and as if not ones to disappoint the shouts and crude remarks would start. I cannot tell you how many times I felt defiled or like a lesser human being.   I remember calling my best friend and bemoaning of how miserable and lonely I felt and I will never forget the words she said to me because they redefined my outlook on life here. She told me it would be a shame to live in a new country for two years and not know a soul. Hate is everywhere she argued but taking the victim role did not make me the better person. I had to reach out and open my heart to the new environment and the people. I thought she was crazy but I gave it a try and I have found acceptance for who I am and that somehow drowns the hate.   I will admit that I have gotten better at ignoring the shouts and the crude remarks. Maybe I have developed a thicker skin or I have come to the acceptance that every society has its rotten eggs. There are times I want to shout at the top of my voice or hit something or someone but that would only reinforce their belief that I am crazy plus I do not want to break my hand. So I ignore every word and go my way as if it doesn’t matter. But I still have questions, what resides in a heart that spews such venom or don’t they know it hurts? I am human too, I hurt and I crave for acceptance regardless of my skin color or my kinky hair. I bleed red, I breath oxygenand I am vulnerable with a heart that breaks just as easily. Yet in all these hate, I have found hope in the welcoming faces of total strangers and formed new friendships and I have learnt to never apologize for who I am because there can never be a more beautiful me.  
    Mar 08, 2016 882
  • 11 Apr 2016
    The excitement! You could practically feel the buzz of anticipation in the air. Everything became before and after Germany. The visit became a measure of time. Everything went according to plan apart from my visa hitch which I am sure is common knowledge but that is a story for another day (I am greatly flattered to be confused for an Ethiopian lady but still..). The day came, we went, conquered (read shopped) and like everything with a beginning the end came and here we are. I immensely enjoyed the field excursions and the laboratory experiments. Not only were they eye opening but also very interactive. I am sure we all appreciate that a lot of work went into coordinating our activities and making sure our stay was as comfortable as possible and for that we are grateful. There are some things outside the class schedule however that have stayed with me. I was very concern about the immigration crisis especially in Germany before we travelled. We all know there has been backlash in some communities and I felt like the bulls eye. It is not like I could walk on the streets holding my passport or holding a placard showing I was there legally. Maybe this was me over analyzing things like I always do but I found comfort in the realization that no one cared who I was. People might have thought it, some even asked about it but at the end of the day I was treated with respect and I did not have to justify myself being in any place at any time. I was safe and I was able to make a few friends. It reminded me of home, of getting lost in the crowd and just being normal. It was refreshing after months of standing out like a sore thumb. I have travelled some and the norm is to find bottled water in my hotel room. So imagine my shock when we checked in to our rooms and there was no bottled water. Surely they must have forgotten, so I thought it was my rightful duty to remind them of this very important detail. The gentleman at the reception was kind enough to inform me that Germany has among the safest tap water in the world and went a step further to offer me a glass. This got me thinking, why do we pay taxes for our governments to provide services like supply safe drinking water and yet none of us is confident to drink tap water. We either boil it or buy mineral water. We need to demand better services which of course would require us knowing our constitutional rights but how many of us do? So they exploit us in our ignorance and we fill their pockets by buying more mineral water from unknown springs. I loved the commitment to keeping time. The assurance that if the meeting was at 9Am I did not have to worry about waiting for anyone. There is a popular African proverb that there is no hurry in Africa but we forget time waits for no man and it is money.  I am sure we all remember the long talk we had on the importance of keeping time before we travelled. What really stuck with me was equating time keeping to respect. It means you value and appreciate that the other person took the time out of their schedule to see you. Keeping time is you saying thank you, I appreciate you. Keeping time can also be equated to safety because you are not in a rush to go somewhere. In Kenya crossing the road has no set formula most of the time. In most cases no one really cares if the light is red or green unless a policeman is within the vicinity (people are more worried about paying a fine than safety). Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are all in such a hurry that they prefer the chaos to order. In Tlemcen most drivers are extremely kind and will slow down and let you cross with or without the light signals or a zebra crossing. What I found intriguing is that in the cities we visited people actually respect the significance of traffic lights. Safety. I cannot tell you how many times we stood by a red light with no oncoming vehicle and I was itching to cross to the other side but they say when you go to Rome do as the Romans do. I am sure you noticed some locals did not pay attention to the red light but the majority did and that matters because it implies that you are in a society that takes personal responsibility in ensuring safety and order which may look insignificant but plays a huge role in the efficient running of these cities. I am sure we all saw something that we know could work in our respective countries at no extra cost; something that would improve how our communities are run and make our relationships better. I guess it all boils down to personal conviction; the acknowledgement that you and I have a role to play in making this continent a better place without being policed. If we can start seeing ourselves as part of a bigger society and not individuals we can change our communities. If we can keep time someone else will learn from us eventually. If we can see a red light as a sign of safety and not wastage of time lives would be saved. If we can appreciate each other in our diversity maybe we will be a step away from world peace. If we fulfilled our role as citizens and demanded better service delivery and accountability maybe we will become economies in transition. A lot of maybes but we will never know unless we try.  
    831 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • The excitement! You could practically feel the buzz of anticipation in the air. Everything became before and after Germany. The visit became a measure of time. Everything went according to plan apart from my visa hitch which I am sure is common knowledge but that is a story for another day (I am greatly flattered to be confused for an Ethiopian lady but still..). The day came, we went, conquered (read shopped) and like everything with a beginning the end came and here we are. I immensely enjoyed the field excursions and the laboratory experiments. Not only were they eye opening but also very interactive. I am sure we all appreciate that a lot of work went into coordinating our activities and making sure our stay was as comfortable as possible and for that we are grateful. There are some things outside the class schedule however that have stayed with me. I was very concern about the immigration crisis especially in Germany before we travelled. We all know there has been backlash in some communities and I felt like the bulls eye. It is not like I could walk on the streets holding my passport or holding a placard showing I was there legally. Maybe this was me over analyzing things like I always do but I found comfort in the realization that no one cared who I was. People might have thought it, some even asked about it but at the end of the day I was treated with respect and I did not have to justify myself being in any place at any time. I was safe and I was able to make a few friends. It reminded me of home, of getting lost in the crowd and just being normal. It was refreshing after months of standing out like a sore thumb. I have travelled some and the norm is to find bottled water in my hotel room. So imagine my shock when we checked in to our rooms and there was no bottled water. Surely they must have forgotten, so I thought it was my rightful duty to remind them of this very important detail. The gentleman at the reception was kind enough to inform me that Germany has among the safest tap water in the world and went a step further to offer me a glass. This got me thinking, why do we pay taxes for our governments to provide services like supply safe drinking water and yet none of us is confident to drink tap water. We either boil it or buy mineral water. We need to demand better services which of course would require us knowing our constitutional rights but how many of us do? So they exploit us in our ignorance and we fill their pockets by buying more mineral water from unknown springs. I loved the commitment to keeping time. The assurance that if the meeting was at 9Am I did not have to worry about waiting for anyone. There is a popular African proverb that there is no hurry in Africa but we forget time waits for no man and it is money.  I am sure we all remember the long talk we had on the importance of keeping time before we travelled. What really stuck with me was equating time keeping to respect. It means you value and appreciate that the other person took the time out of their schedule to see you. Keeping time is you saying thank you, I appreciate you. Keeping time can also be equated to safety because you are not in a rush to go somewhere. In Kenya crossing the road has no set formula most of the time. In most cases no one really cares if the light is red or green unless a policeman is within the vicinity (people are more worried about paying a fine than safety). Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are all in such a hurry that they prefer the chaos to order. In Tlemcen most drivers are extremely kind and will slow down and let you cross with or without the light signals or a zebra crossing. What I found intriguing is that in the cities we visited people actually respect the significance of traffic lights. Safety. I cannot tell you how many times we stood by a red light with no oncoming vehicle and I was itching to cross to the other side but they say when you go to Rome do as the Romans do. I am sure you noticed some locals did not pay attention to the red light but the majority did and that matters because it implies that you are in a society that takes personal responsibility in ensuring safety and order which may look insignificant but plays a huge role in the efficient running of these cities. I am sure we all saw something that we know could work in our respective countries at no extra cost; something that would improve how our communities are run and make our relationships better. I guess it all boils down to personal conviction; the acknowledgement that you and I have a role to play in making this continent a better place without being policed. If we can start seeing ourselves as part of a bigger society and not individuals we can change our communities. If we can keep time someone else will learn from us eventually. If we can see a red light as a sign of safety and not wastage of time lives would be saved. If we can appreciate each other in our diversity maybe we will be a step away from world peace. If we fulfilled our role as citizens and demanded better service delivery and accountability maybe we will become economies in transition. A lot of maybes but we will never know unless we try.  
    Apr 11, 2016 831
  • 14 Mar 2016
    I have had a bit of trouble deciding on the topic for this week’s entry, not because I have run out of topics (far from it) but because with the symposium my mind has been overly stimulated to really settle down on one thing. I am thankful however, that this was accidentally decided for me when we went out for dinner with some colleagues and friends and our main discussion for the night became climate change and most specifically the need for behavior change if mitigation and adaptation measures are to be successful.   What I want to concentrate on is my dilemma on how efforts for mitigation and adaptation are going to be successful when decisions are being made at the top with no participation from those at the bottom especially in the African setting. Scientists and researchers have been able to come up with so much information and data on climate change in the last decades but unfortunately no one is decoding this scientific data into a language that the common man and most elite understand. Farmers, fishermen and pastoralists have all noticed a decline in either their yields or stock but most of them cannot directly attribute this to climate change.   The biggest challenge in the implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures is lack of ownership which is supposed to drive behavioral change. Every individual who inhabits planet earth needs to realize that we are all contributing to the emissions that continue to lead to climate variability and change. Simply put we are not living sustainably! I will admit that the concept of climate change is overwhelming even for me but If we can all do the best we can in living sustainably like cycle instead of driving, use public transport instead of private cars, recycle waste or water, turn off the lights or use natural products instead of those that are processed it will have a ripple benefit effect to the environment.   On the other hand we have to consider the societal and cultural norms that we are faced with especially here in Africa. Owning a car is considered as a sign of success while many think cycling is for the poor or the athletic. So how do you convince such societies to try public transport? Like a friend said public transport needs to be made attractive and you can only do that by making it reliable, secure and efficient. The public leaders and servants need to step out of their tinted, air conditioned fuel guzzling cars and live by example. This will only not help in the reduction of emissions but it will see a reduction in the amount of time and money lost in traffic jams.   I will admit the concept of sustainable development especially when coming from the west sounds hypocritical. What is to make Africa and other developing countries buy into this idea if the western economies unsustainably exploited resources to get their economies where they are. Even today most of the raw materials used in western factories come from the developing countries and the means of exploitation leave a lot to be desired. Africa provides a large market for products manufactured in the west like cars and processed goods and do not get me started on the dumping of e waste in the guise of donations. But we cannot afford to make this a blame game on who is doing this or that. When the sky falls like one of our colleagues stated it will fall on everyone.     I could go on and on about what I think is double talk and walk by the different stakeholders in regards to climate change but that is neither here nor there. What we need is to bring everyone on board and have a candid talk on the eventual consequences of our unsustainable living maybe not on us but the future generations. Farmers and pastoralists need to know that the long drought spells and unpredictable rainfall patterns are not a punishment form God but a result of emissions which they have contributed to even in the smallest of percentages. We need to provide alternatives like access to affordable renewable energy if the call to sustainable living is to be embraced. We cannot continue to heavily subsidize fossil fuels and expect the world to embrace renewable technologies. Companies that heavily emit green house gases need to be heavily taxed or closed down(drastic I know) and held accountable for their role in green house gases emissions. Banning of some products from our markets or closing down some markets only creates room for innovation and new discoveries.    If we all take it as our duty to act as stewards of this lovely planet and hold each other accountable we may not reverse the damage that has already been done but we will halt the acceleration of climate change. Until then we can continue attending conferences and conventions and even talk ourselves hoarse but nothing meaningful will come out of any of these if we do not believe we have a personal role to play.     The story of the humming bird by Prof Wangari Mathai, 2oo4 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate  The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel very overwhelmed, very powerless, except this little hummingbird. It says, ‘I’m going to do something about the fire!’ So it flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It puts it on the fire, and goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can. In the meantime all the other animals, much bigger animals like the elephant with a big trunk that could bring much more water, are standing there helpless. And they are saying to the hummingbird, ‘What do you think you can do? You are too little. This fire is too big. Your wings are too little and your beak is so small that you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.’ But as they continue to discourage it, it turns to them without wasting any time and it tells them, ‘I am doing the best I can.’ And that to me is what all of us should do. We should always be like a hummingbird. I may be insignificant, but I certainly don’t want to be like the animals watching the planet go down the drain. I will be a hummingbird; I will do the best I can.  
    771 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I have had a bit of trouble deciding on the topic for this week’s entry, not because I have run out of topics (far from it) but because with the symposium my mind has been overly stimulated to really settle down on one thing. I am thankful however, that this was accidentally decided for me when we went out for dinner with some colleagues and friends and our main discussion for the night became climate change and most specifically the need for behavior change if mitigation and adaptation measures are to be successful.   What I want to concentrate on is my dilemma on how efforts for mitigation and adaptation are going to be successful when decisions are being made at the top with no participation from those at the bottom especially in the African setting. Scientists and researchers have been able to come up with so much information and data on climate change in the last decades but unfortunately no one is decoding this scientific data into a language that the common man and most elite understand. Farmers, fishermen and pastoralists have all noticed a decline in either their yields or stock but most of them cannot directly attribute this to climate change.   The biggest challenge in the implementation of mitigation and adaptation measures is lack of ownership which is supposed to drive behavioral change. Every individual who inhabits planet earth needs to realize that we are all contributing to the emissions that continue to lead to climate variability and change. Simply put we are not living sustainably! I will admit that the concept of climate change is overwhelming even for me but If we can all do the best we can in living sustainably like cycle instead of driving, use public transport instead of private cars, recycle waste or water, turn off the lights or use natural products instead of those that are processed it will have a ripple benefit effect to the environment.   On the other hand we have to consider the societal and cultural norms that we are faced with especially here in Africa. Owning a car is considered as a sign of success while many think cycling is for the poor or the athletic. So how do you convince such societies to try public transport? Like a friend said public transport needs to be made attractive and you can only do that by making it reliable, secure and efficient. The public leaders and servants need to step out of their tinted, air conditioned fuel guzzling cars and live by example. This will only not help in the reduction of emissions but it will see a reduction in the amount of time and money lost in traffic jams.   I will admit the concept of sustainable development especially when coming from the west sounds hypocritical. What is to make Africa and other developing countries buy into this idea if the western economies unsustainably exploited resources to get their economies where they are. Even today most of the raw materials used in western factories come from the developing countries and the means of exploitation leave a lot to be desired. Africa provides a large market for products manufactured in the west like cars and processed goods and do not get me started on the dumping of e waste in the guise of donations. But we cannot afford to make this a blame game on who is doing this or that. When the sky falls like one of our colleagues stated it will fall on everyone.     I could go on and on about what I think is double talk and walk by the different stakeholders in regards to climate change but that is neither here nor there. What we need is to bring everyone on board and have a candid talk on the eventual consequences of our unsustainable living maybe not on us but the future generations. Farmers and pastoralists need to know that the long drought spells and unpredictable rainfall patterns are not a punishment form God but a result of emissions which they have contributed to even in the smallest of percentages. We need to provide alternatives like access to affordable renewable energy if the call to sustainable living is to be embraced. We cannot continue to heavily subsidize fossil fuels and expect the world to embrace renewable technologies. Companies that heavily emit green house gases need to be heavily taxed or closed down(drastic I know) and held accountable for their role in green house gases emissions. Banning of some products from our markets or closing down some markets only creates room for innovation and new discoveries.    If we all take it as our duty to act as stewards of this lovely planet and hold each other accountable we may not reverse the damage that has already been done but we will halt the acceleration of climate change. Until then we can continue attending conferences and conventions and even talk ourselves hoarse but nothing meaningful will come out of any of these if we do not believe we have a personal role to play.     The story of the humming bird by Prof Wangari Mathai, 2oo4 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate  The story of the hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel very overwhelmed, very powerless, except this little hummingbird. It says, ‘I’m going to do something about the fire!’ So it flies to the nearest stream and takes a drop of water. It puts it on the fire, and goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can. In the meantime all the other animals, much bigger animals like the elephant with a big trunk that could bring much more water, are standing there helpless. And they are saying to the hummingbird, ‘What do you think you can do? You are too little. This fire is too big. Your wings are too little and your beak is so small that you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.’ But as they continue to discourage it, it turns to them without wasting any time and it tells them, ‘I am doing the best I can.’ And that to me is what all of us should do. We should always be like a hummingbird. I may be insignificant, but I certainly don’t want to be like the animals watching the planet go down the drain. I will be a hummingbird; I will do the best I can.  
    Mar 14, 2016 771
  • 13 Feb 2017
    Every week we go to the market to buy groceries and this past week was no different. We mostly almost know what we are buying because frankly the choices are quite limited. One of my favourite things to do is picking cauliflower because of its colour and the contrast it gives in the sea of green and red vegetables. However, I could not make up my mind this week. The cauliflowers looked unhealthy and they had started yellowing and none appealed to me. I remember standing there and not wanting to make a choice and Diana insisting that her hands were full (how this related to making a choice is beyond me but I digress) and I needed to make up my mind. I did finally make a choice of 2 but I was not pleased with what we took home. I am almost sure other customers experienced my dilemma because according to a research done by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) food at the retail level is mostly bought because it looks good. That which does not appeal to the customers is left to rot or pulled off the shelves. It is no wonder then that a third of the food produced in the world goes to waste post harvest translating to 1.3 billion tons of food every year (FAO, 2011). A quarter of this wasted food could be used to feed approximately 900 million of the world hungry. This wastefulness does not begin at the retail or consumer level but starts with the farmer sorting, storing and transporting their produce. Research shows that farmers in developing countries lose as much as 15% of their income to post-harvest loss. The impact extends to water resources with around 25% of global fresh water and a fifth of farm land being used to grow crops that are never eaten.  These figures are staggering considering most of these wastage can be easily corrected through attitude and behavior change. Another solution lies in governments providing a suitable environment for innovations on ways to conserve food for longer periods and regulating market standards. Every time I have been to the market I have always noticed vegetables going bad and by now Diana considers my voiced concern as a rhetorical question. Unfortunately, this is not an issue that is unique to Algeria but something I have witnessed in the different countries I have visited as I am sure most of you would attest. It always baffles me that so much food goes to waste and is pulled down the shelves for disposal while we have so many people starving in our societies. France however is working towards changing this status quo through the introduction of legislation that requires retailers to donate unsold food or face a fine of 4,230 dollars. Other European countries like Germany, Britain and Denmark have also made strides in the reduction of food wastage. In Cologne for instance a “waste supermarket” was opened at the beginning of the month where only salvaged food is sold and consumers determine the price of the products. The owner of the store in an interview with DW confessed her aim was not so much as her selling food that would otherwise be considered waste but to stimulate a conversation on how much food the Germans waste and promote behavior change. On the other side of the globe the Kenyan president declared drought as a national disaster with the Kenya Red Cross estimating that 2.7 million people are facing starvation. It saddens me that we continue to lose lives and livestock because we cannot feed our population. The  more I think about it the more I become disgusted at our society that is so profit driven that you would rather have produce rot at the shelves or farms than donate it to the needy and at our government for failing to act in a timely manner. If we are to achieve the sustainable development goal 2 on Zero hunger by 2030 we not only need to promote sustainable agricultural practices but consumption habits as well. The governments need to come up with penalties to discourage retail wastage and drive awareness campaigns to change the way consumers view food and the consequences of food wastage for the rest of the population and the ecosystem.   Useful Links http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e.pdf http://www.dw.com/en/france-battles-food-waste-by-law/a-19148931 http://www.dw.com/en/first-german-supermarket-sells-waste-food-only/a-37426777
    734 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Every week we go to the market to buy groceries and this past week was no different. We mostly almost know what we are buying because frankly the choices are quite limited. One of my favourite things to do is picking cauliflower because of its colour and the contrast it gives in the sea of green and red vegetables. However, I could not make up my mind this week. The cauliflowers looked unhealthy and they had started yellowing and none appealed to me. I remember standing there and not wanting to make a choice and Diana insisting that her hands were full (how this related to making a choice is beyond me but I digress) and I needed to make up my mind. I did finally make a choice of 2 but I was not pleased with what we took home. I am almost sure other customers experienced my dilemma because according to a research done by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) food at the retail level is mostly bought because it looks good. That which does not appeal to the customers is left to rot or pulled off the shelves. It is no wonder then that a third of the food produced in the world goes to waste post harvest translating to 1.3 billion tons of food every year (FAO, 2011). A quarter of this wasted food could be used to feed approximately 900 million of the world hungry. This wastefulness does not begin at the retail or consumer level but starts with the farmer sorting, storing and transporting their produce. Research shows that farmers in developing countries lose as much as 15% of their income to post-harvest loss. The impact extends to water resources with around 25% of global fresh water and a fifth of farm land being used to grow crops that are never eaten.  These figures are staggering considering most of these wastage can be easily corrected through attitude and behavior change. Another solution lies in governments providing a suitable environment for innovations on ways to conserve food for longer periods and regulating market standards. Every time I have been to the market I have always noticed vegetables going bad and by now Diana considers my voiced concern as a rhetorical question. Unfortunately, this is not an issue that is unique to Algeria but something I have witnessed in the different countries I have visited as I am sure most of you would attest. It always baffles me that so much food goes to waste and is pulled down the shelves for disposal while we have so many people starving in our societies. France however is working towards changing this status quo through the introduction of legislation that requires retailers to donate unsold food or face a fine of 4,230 dollars. Other European countries like Germany, Britain and Denmark have also made strides in the reduction of food wastage. In Cologne for instance a “waste supermarket” was opened at the beginning of the month where only salvaged food is sold and consumers determine the price of the products. The owner of the store in an interview with DW confessed her aim was not so much as her selling food that would otherwise be considered waste but to stimulate a conversation on how much food the Germans waste and promote behavior change. On the other side of the globe the Kenyan president declared drought as a national disaster with the Kenya Red Cross estimating that 2.7 million people are facing starvation. It saddens me that we continue to lose lives and livestock because we cannot feed our population. The  more I think about it the more I become disgusted at our society that is so profit driven that you would rather have produce rot at the shelves or farms than donate it to the needy and at our government for failing to act in a timely manner. If we are to achieve the sustainable development goal 2 on Zero hunger by 2030 we not only need to promote sustainable agricultural practices but consumption habits as well. The governments need to come up with penalties to discourage retail wastage and drive awareness campaigns to change the way consumers view food and the consequences of food wastage for the rest of the population and the ecosystem.   Useful Links http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e.pdf http://www.dw.com/en/france-battles-food-waste-by-law/a-19148931 http://www.dw.com/en/first-german-supermarket-sells-waste-food-only/a-37426777
    Feb 13, 2017 734
  • 08 Jun 2016
    Who said environment is all things around us? Well, dating back to primary school days, teachers used to stress it like that; but does it include “us”- I mean if it’s all things around us, are we part of it or it’s part of us? What happens if people choose to focus on improving their economic status without considering anything around them, does it matter? At least we all know what has ensued in most of those countries that have done their “thing” without the chains of environmental sustainability- examples include European countries, China and the rest. One common feature on these countries is development which is a long distance away from Africa. Is Africa special, like one of those last-borns who have to be treated in some exceptional way regardless of whether it impedes their ability to learn by themselves? This and more was discussed in the second PAUWES debate held at the institute as we take the lead in building future African leaders.How it happenedAfter opening remarks by the head of subject matter team Mr. Andrew Mugumya, the debate was presided over by Ms. Eva Kimonye. The first speaker from proposers Mr. George Kimboowa took the stage. He started by defining sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without hindering the future. He pointed out that sustainability can be viewed in 2 different angles, i.e. ecological point of view and raw material supply. “No one is against economic growth but rather we have to handle it with care”. He acknowledged the fact that economic development is important but it feeds on the environment like a baby and mother. So, to ensure unlimited resource use, environmental sustainability should be put in the light first. He edified the audience about the advantages that come along with proper handling of the environment and how its negligence will drive this beautiful world to doom. He critiqued the research writings of Kenneth Arrow- 1998 that seemingly enforce the sense of “pollute first, clean up later”. “There is no clear evidence that emission levels will fall after countries become richer, generally it’s not clear how the reverse of the effects can be achieved”, he asserted. In a declining voice he called for a first place consideration of environmental sustainability before economic growth - submitted and left the floor. The second speaker, Mr. Martin Lyambai took the stage, he started by defining the environment as the air we breathe. He criticized the world order of consuming more in the name of becoming rich as this leads to depletion of resources and the repercussions are rather intolerable. He gave a case of deforestation happening in the world today, “Over 2 million acres every year are cleared! Look people, the carbon sink is going” he attested. Lake Chad is no more because the people prioritized economic development over the environment. He pointed out how it’s harder than the most expensive diamond today to find people fetching water from wells and rivers, yet it used to be the case some years back. He blamed all this to the copious pollution that has rendered well waters unclean for consumption. He went ahead to point out how the future is important and for that matter it’s imperative that environment sustainability should be at the fore front. A case for Canada selling breathing air to China was pointed out as one of the aftermaths of neglecting the environment to the expense of economic growth. Criticizing the scientific argument of recreating the environment, he added his voice to the believers that such is not possible. He pointed out the Kenya case of nuclear power development, alleging that this is not a sustainable solution to solve energy problems in this beautiful country because the risks are high! Giving an example of Chernobyl and other parts of the world where the effects of nuclear live on still up to date. “Environment has a long term economic growth but it’s worth it, if we don’t realize this, we’re going to cause more challenges for this beautiful planet” he stated. Flooding due to hydropower dams are some of the problems of fronting economic growth. He pointed out how the world is running out of very many precious plant species that would provide healing for the ever developing diseases. Opposers The first speaker from the opposers, Mr. Rolex Muceka- in his opening remarks, “For Africa economic growth should be paramount more than environmental sustainability”. “Look at the people in Africa! Dying of curable diseases because of lack of good hospitals to handle such cases.” Underscoring Tanzania as one of the countries where environment is considered first, he highlighted that people lack land for farming because the fertile soils are preserved. He asserted that a focus on the African scenarios makes it clear that there is a paradox; people are dying because of poverty, poor standards of living, insufficient food supply and many other related issues because the arable land that could be utilized for agriculture is being preserved in the name of environmental sustainability. He posed questions to the audience whose answers no one was ready to give. Is human life less important than the environment? What happened to the coined statements of “environment is everything around us”? If humans are part of the environment why are they left to perish in the name of environmental sustainability? He went ahead to point out economic statistics about Africa, “Three quarters of the people in Africa are poor, they live under 9$ earnings per month yet the continent is among the richest - endowed with significant quantities of resources”. Africa has the lowest GDP with a GDP that is less than that of china as a country! - humbling facts!In his concluding statements, he made it crystal clear that before one starts talking about environmental sustainability, there is a need to recognize that empowerment of economic growth is very crucial for Africa’s case. With 83% unemployment rates, you can’t start singing a boring song about how sweet the environment is. There is a need to focus on what we have and exploit our resources to the fullest. He submitted and left the floor for next speaker Mr. Cuthbert Taguta.He started by decrying the economies of African countries that are mainly characterized by accumulating debts, problems of trade balance and overdependence. He stressed that African countries are being used as ponies in a big game because borrowed money comes with leverages and costs. In his view, Africa should shift her focus to resource exploitation. “Taking a case of developed countries, none of them made it through borrowing, why should Africa take another route we’re not certain of? “, he said. The abundance of resources in Africa, water, minerals and the rest, should we live it to perish because the environment is more important than dying and starving people! Truth is we’re losing much by not exploiting our resources- we really need that money. If people are part of the environment as it’s claimed then you should take care of them first through economic growth.Who should determine the level of environmental sustainability for Africa? We should come up with our own set of rules. According to UN, some of the things that have kept Africa in abject poverty is not utilizing the resources they have. No one is against economic development but there ought to be an approach that caters for environment as well as economic growth. Proper planning is the issue here. He submitted and left the floor. Reaction from AudienceAmong the speakers from the audience, there was one who doesn’t mince words! He rejected the whole idea of environmental sustainability referring to it as a fallacy that was started by a famous Canadian Maurice Strong. He stressed that Maurice strong started spreading the gospel of environmental sustainability after he realized his retirement time had come yet he didn’t have enough in his pocket. He went ahead to clarify that no country has developed among the path everyone is talking about (environment first). Who would want to take a path that has never been taken by anyone? I am sure not many but there is. What is the cost of the environment? What is the cost of human life? Tough questions to answer!From the audience still, one speaker gave a case of a poor man dying because of lack of medication; you want to tell me that it’s ok for that man to die yet he has trees he could probably cut and sell for firewood. Africa is hungry! Should we stop exploiting the rivers we have? Ofcourse not!!In conclusion,The fact is, economic growth and environmental sustainability are both important and for proper performance of countries, it’s important that a holistic approach that handles both is devised for the point that none of them can exist in isolation without problems. For this we should not put a price tag on the environment instead we need policy makers and proper leaders to incorporate economic growth and environmental sustainability. As the editorial team, we take this opportunity to thank the entire students’ body and the different COP teams for making this debate happen. @Editorial_team
    730 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • Who said environment is all things around us? Well, dating back to primary school days, teachers used to stress it like that; but does it include “us”- I mean if it’s all things around us, are we part of it or it’s part of us? What happens if people choose to focus on improving their economic status without considering anything around them, does it matter? At least we all know what has ensued in most of those countries that have done their “thing” without the chains of environmental sustainability- examples include European countries, China and the rest. One common feature on these countries is development which is a long distance away from Africa. Is Africa special, like one of those last-borns who have to be treated in some exceptional way regardless of whether it impedes their ability to learn by themselves? This and more was discussed in the second PAUWES debate held at the institute as we take the lead in building future African leaders.How it happenedAfter opening remarks by the head of subject matter team Mr. Andrew Mugumya, the debate was presided over by Ms. Eva Kimonye. The first speaker from proposers Mr. George Kimboowa took the stage. He started by defining sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without hindering the future. He pointed out that sustainability can be viewed in 2 different angles, i.e. ecological point of view and raw material supply. “No one is against economic growth but rather we have to handle it with care”. He acknowledged the fact that economic development is important but it feeds on the environment like a baby and mother. So, to ensure unlimited resource use, environmental sustainability should be put in the light first. He edified the audience about the advantages that come along with proper handling of the environment and how its negligence will drive this beautiful world to doom. He critiqued the research writings of Kenneth Arrow- 1998 that seemingly enforce the sense of “pollute first, clean up later”. “There is no clear evidence that emission levels will fall after countries become richer, generally it’s not clear how the reverse of the effects can be achieved”, he asserted. In a declining voice he called for a first place consideration of environmental sustainability before economic growth - submitted and left the floor. The second speaker, Mr. Martin Lyambai took the stage, he started by defining the environment as the air we breathe. He criticized the world order of consuming more in the name of becoming rich as this leads to depletion of resources and the repercussions are rather intolerable. He gave a case of deforestation happening in the world today, “Over 2 million acres every year are cleared! Look people, the carbon sink is going” he attested. Lake Chad is no more because the people prioritized economic development over the environment. He pointed out how it’s harder than the most expensive diamond today to find people fetching water from wells and rivers, yet it used to be the case some years back. He blamed all this to the copious pollution that has rendered well waters unclean for consumption. He went ahead to point out how the future is important and for that matter it’s imperative that environment sustainability should be at the fore front. A case for Canada selling breathing air to China was pointed out as one of the aftermaths of neglecting the environment to the expense of economic growth. Criticizing the scientific argument of recreating the environment, he added his voice to the believers that such is not possible. He pointed out the Kenya case of nuclear power development, alleging that this is not a sustainable solution to solve energy problems in this beautiful country because the risks are high! Giving an example of Chernobyl and other parts of the world where the effects of nuclear live on still up to date. “Environment has a long term economic growth but it’s worth it, if we don’t realize this, we’re going to cause more challenges for this beautiful planet” he stated. Flooding due to hydropower dams are some of the problems of fronting economic growth. He pointed out how the world is running out of very many precious plant species that would provide healing for the ever developing diseases. Opposers The first speaker from the opposers, Mr. Rolex Muceka- in his opening remarks, “For Africa economic growth should be paramount more than environmental sustainability”. “Look at the people in Africa! Dying of curable diseases because of lack of good hospitals to handle such cases.” Underscoring Tanzania as one of the countries where environment is considered first, he highlighted that people lack land for farming because the fertile soils are preserved. He asserted that a focus on the African scenarios makes it clear that there is a paradox; people are dying because of poverty, poor standards of living, insufficient food supply and many other related issues because the arable land that could be utilized for agriculture is being preserved in the name of environmental sustainability. He posed questions to the audience whose answers no one was ready to give. Is human life less important than the environment? What happened to the coined statements of “environment is everything around us”? If humans are part of the environment why are they left to perish in the name of environmental sustainability? He went ahead to point out economic statistics about Africa, “Three quarters of the people in Africa are poor, they live under 9$ earnings per month yet the continent is among the richest - endowed with significant quantities of resources”. Africa has the lowest GDP with a GDP that is less than that of china as a country! - humbling facts!In his concluding statements, he made it crystal clear that before one starts talking about environmental sustainability, there is a need to recognize that empowerment of economic growth is very crucial for Africa’s case. With 83% unemployment rates, you can’t start singing a boring song about how sweet the environment is. There is a need to focus on what we have and exploit our resources to the fullest. He submitted and left the floor for next speaker Mr. Cuthbert Taguta.He started by decrying the economies of African countries that are mainly characterized by accumulating debts, problems of trade balance and overdependence. He stressed that African countries are being used as ponies in a big game because borrowed money comes with leverages and costs. In his view, Africa should shift her focus to resource exploitation. “Taking a case of developed countries, none of them made it through borrowing, why should Africa take another route we’re not certain of? “, he said. The abundance of resources in Africa, water, minerals and the rest, should we live it to perish because the environment is more important than dying and starving people! Truth is we’re losing much by not exploiting our resources- we really need that money. If people are part of the environment as it’s claimed then you should take care of them first through economic growth.Who should determine the level of environmental sustainability for Africa? We should come up with our own set of rules. According to UN, some of the things that have kept Africa in abject poverty is not utilizing the resources they have. No one is against economic development but there ought to be an approach that caters for environment as well as economic growth. Proper planning is the issue here. He submitted and left the floor. Reaction from AudienceAmong the speakers from the audience, there was one who doesn’t mince words! He rejected the whole idea of environmental sustainability referring to it as a fallacy that was started by a famous Canadian Maurice Strong. He stressed that Maurice strong started spreading the gospel of environmental sustainability after he realized his retirement time had come yet he didn’t have enough in his pocket. He went ahead to clarify that no country has developed among the path everyone is talking about (environment first). Who would want to take a path that has never been taken by anyone? I am sure not many but there is. What is the cost of the environment? What is the cost of human life? Tough questions to answer!From the audience still, one speaker gave a case of a poor man dying because of lack of medication; you want to tell me that it’s ok for that man to die yet he has trees he could probably cut and sell for firewood. Africa is hungry! Should we stop exploiting the rivers we have? Ofcourse not!!In conclusion,The fact is, economic growth and environmental sustainability are both important and for proper performance of countries, it’s important that a holistic approach that handles both is devised for the point that none of them can exist in isolation without problems. For this we should not put a price tag on the environment instead we need policy makers and proper leaders to incorporate economic growth and environmental sustainability. As the editorial team, we take this opportunity to thank the entire students’ body and the different COP teams for making this debate happen. @Editorial_team
    Jun 08, 2016 730
  • 09 May 2016
    I will be honest with you, most times I have no clue what my next blog will be about. It is hard to explain the writing process but unless inspiration strikes most times I just stare on a blank page with a blinking cursor. So as you can imagine it is always a pleasure and relief to come across a subject I can explore and hopefully stimulate a discussion on. I am not a movie lover; in fact you do not want to watch a movie with me because I have to know the ending before I watch one and most times than not I will be talking your ears off about the different characters. I will admit though there are times my nose is pulled out of a book long enough to watch one. This week it was John Q, a movie about a desperate father played by Denzel Washington trying to get his dying son on top of a heart transplant list. A really sad story with a happy dramatic ending, but it raised my interest on organ and tissue donation in Africa.   A quick search on Google gave me very little to go on. In fact, I mainly got statistics from South Africa whose donation ratio is estimated to be 2 to every 1 million. Shocking, I know! Kenya’s situation is worse with for example people suffering from corneal blindness getting their cornea transplants from the USA at a cost of 2000 USD which roughly translates to 200,000 KES. This is an exorbitant fee for most of those seeking a new lease in life so most are condemned to a life of blindness. All the organ banks in Kenya are mostly empty and those who donate are usually living relative trying to save the life of a loved one. The law in most African countries I came to find out is not clear on the guidelines for organ donation so those who can afford it opt to seek medical care outside the continent. So dire is the situation that the black market in organ harvesting is thriving in places like Egypt and South Africa where the poor and refugees are targeted. Their organs are either harvested through coercion, consent or downright theft.   It is clear that there is a big gap between the number of those waiting to receive organ and tissue transplants and those willing to be donors. So why are the majority of us not registered as organ donors when we die? I believe it is for a number of reasons mostly cultural, legal and religious. African cultures believe in the continuity of life and there is really no distinction between the soul, spirit and the body. Giving a part of your body is considered giving up a part of your whole being. On the other hand most religions believe in the continuity of the human spirit yet no one is talking about the benefits our mortal bodies could bring to this world. Over all there is very little information within our belief system for people to begin questioning about the possibilities that exist and what they can do to help. Sadly in this case belief marks the end of reasoning.   I admit signing up as an organ donor after death makes us confront our mortality and it is a hard truth to face. I have flirted with the idea of visiting an organ donation center in Kenya but I have never really committed to it. If I died tomorrow, donating my organs could help give up to seven people a chance to live longer; donating my soft tissue could improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people. I think that is an empowering and selfish thought at the same time. I acknowledge that our cultures and religious beliefs are deeply ingrained in us and sometimes our loved ones may prove to be the biggest obstacles to overcome. What I wish to do is to start a conversation on how we can make lives better even when we are gone or how we can ease our family into the idea that it is alright to share us with the world. I hope that you will visit your physician and have a candid discussion on the alternatives available in your country. Let us be part of the change and the better Africa we want to see even in death!    
    712 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I will be honest with you, most times I have no clue what my next blog will be about. It is hard to explain the writing process but unless inspiration strikes most times I just stare on a blank page with a blinking cursor. So as you can imagine it is always a pleasure and relief to come across a subject I can explore and hopefully stimulate a discussion on. I am not a movie lover; in fact you do not want to watch a movie with me because I have to know the ending before I watch one and most times than not I will be talking your ears off about the different characters. I will admit though there are times my nose is pulled out of a book long enough to watch one. This week it was John Q, a movie about a desperate father played by Denzel Washington trying to get his dying son on top of a heart transplant list. A really sad story with a happy dramatic ending, but it raised my interest on organ and tissue donation in Africa.   A quick search on Google gave me very little to go on. In fact, I mainly got statistics from South Africa whose donation ratio is estimated to be 2 to every 1 million. Shocking, I know! Kenya’s situation is worse with for example people suffering from corneal blindness getting their cornea transplants from the USA at a cost of 2000 USD which roughly translates to 200,000 KES. This is an exorbitant fee for most of those seeking a new lease in life so most are condemned to a life of blindness. All the organ banks in Kenya are mostly empty and those who donate are usually living relative trying to save the life of a loved one. The law in most African countries I came to find out is not clear on the guidelines for organ donation so those who can afford it opt to seek medical care outside the continent. So dire is the situation that the black market in organ harvesting is thriving in places like Egypt and South Africa where the poor and refugees are targeted. Their organs are either harvested through coercion, consent or downright theft.   It is clear that there is a big gap between the number of those waiting to receive organ and tissue transplants and those willing to be donors. So why are the majority of us not registered as organ donors when we die? I believe it is for a number of reasons mostly cultural, legal and religious. African cultures believe in the continuity of life and there is really no distinction between the soul, spirit and the body. Giving a part of your body is considered giving up a part of your whole being. On the other hand most religions believe in the continuity of the human spirit yet no one is talking about the benefits our mortal bodies could bring to this world. Over all there is very little information within our belief system for people to begin questioning about the possibilities that exist and what they can do to help. Sadly in this case belief marks the end of reasoning.   I admit signing up as an organ donor after death makes us confront our mortality and it is a hard truth to face. I have flirted with the idea of visiting an organ donation center in Kenya but I have never really committed to it. If I died tomorrow, donating my organs could help give up to seven people a chance to live longer; donating my soft tissue could improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people. I think that is an empowering and selfish thought at the same time. I acknowledge that our cultures and religious beliefs are deeply ingrained in us and sometimes our loved ones may prove to be the biggest obstacles to overcome. What I wish to do is to start a conversation on how we can make lives better even when we are gone or how we can ease our family into the idea that it is alright to share us with the world. I hope that you will visit your physician and have a candid discussion on the alternatives available in your country. Let us be part of the change and the better Africa we want to see even in death!    
    May 09, 2016 712
  • 20 Jan 2016
    Morocco establishes international tender for large-scale solar power project ESI Africa – 15 January 2016 – Click here for full article In North Africa, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy has established a new international tender for a large-scale solar power project with a total installed capacity of 400MW. The solar power project will include systems based on solar PV and solar thermal power generation technology, according to The North Africa Post.   L’Algérie et l’Inde veulent développer la coopération énergétique L’Econews – 14 January 2016 – Click here for full article Le ministre de l'Energie, Salah Khebri, a reçu jeudi, l'ambassadeur de l'Inde en Algérie, Kuldeep Singh Bhardwaj, avec qui, il a discuté des opportunités de coopération dans le domaine de l'énergie, indique un communiqué du ministère.   World Bank endorses financial aid for Liberian energy projects ESI Africa – 13 January 2016 – Click here for full article On Monday, the World Bank announced that it has endorsed a new funding contract that is worth a total of $27 million, which will be aimed at fast-tracking access to affordable and reliable electricity in Liberia   Les énergies renouvelables en Afrique ne sont pas une utopie Le Monde – 13 January 2016 – Click here for full article Face aux enjeux économiques, sociaux et environnementaux que présente la situation énergétique du continent africain, il est temps de développer un modèle fondé sur la compétitivité des énergies renouvelables et la participation financière des capitaux locaux. L’Afrique est à la veille d’un bond technologique dans les énergies comme elle en a connu un dans les télécoms   African Sunshine Can Now Be Bought and Sold on the Bond Market Bloomberg – 12 January 2016 – Click here for full article Africa’s off-grid solar industry has been turned into an asset class for the first time, bundling contracts for thousands of the sun-powered rooftop electricity systems to sell as bonds. Dutch investor Oikocredit International and Persistent Energy Capital LLC, a New York-based merchant bank, jointly decided to try to replicate the U.S. model of securitizing residential solar panels. They are working with the London-based developer BBOXX Ltd.   Formation de techniciens en énergie solaire photovoltaïque Afriquejet – 12 January 2016 – Click here for full article Éclairer l’Afrique à partir de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque - A partir du 16 janvier 2016, Bamako abritera une académie de formation de techniciens en énergie solaire. Cette formation s'adressera à des étudiants ayant un profil d’entrepreneur, d’acteur du domaine de l'énergie solaire ou de décideur politique de l’orientation énergétique dans leurs pays respectifs.
    686 Posted by David Paulus
  • Morocco establishes international tender for large-scale solar power project ESI Africa – 15 January 2016 – Click here for full article In North Africa, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy has established a new international tender for a large-scale solar power project with a total installed capacity of 400MW. The solar power project will include systems based on solar PV and solar thermal power generation technology, according to The North Africa Post.   L’Algérie et l’Inde veulent développer la coopération énergétique L’Econews – 14 January 2016 – Click here for full article Le ministre de l'Energie, Salah Khebri, a reçu jeudi, l'ambassadeur de l'Inde en Algérie, Kuldeep Singh Bhardwaj, avec qui, il a discuté des opportunités de coopération dans le domaine de l'énergie, indique un communiqué du ministère.   World Bank endorses financial aid for Liberian energy projects ESI Africa – 13 January 2016 – Click here for full article On Monday, the World Bank announced that it has endorsed a new funding contract that is worth a total of $27 million, which will be aimed at fast-tracking access to affordable and reliable electricity in Liberia   Les énergies renouvelables en Afrique ne sont pas une utopie Le Monde – 13 January 2016 – Click here for full article Face aux enjeux économiques, sociaux et environnementaux que présente la situation énergétique du continent africain, il est temps de développer un modèle fondé sur la compétitivité des énergies renouvelables et la participation financière des capitaux locaux. L’Afrique est à la veille d’un bond technologique dans les énergies comme elle en a connu un dans les télécoms   African Sunshine Can Now Be Bought and Sold on the Bond Market Bloomberg – 12 January 2016 – Click here for full article Africa’s off-grid solar industry has been turned into an asset class for the first time, bundling contracts for thousands of the sun-powered rooftop electricity systems to sell as bonds. Dutch investor Oikocredit International and Persistent Energy Capital LLC, a New York-based merchant bank, jointly decided to try to replicate the U.S. model of securitizing residential solar panels. They are working with the London-based developer BBOXX Ltd.   Formation de techniciens en énergie solaire photovoltaïque Afriquejet – 12 January 2016 – Click here for full article Éclairer l’Afrique à partir de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque - A partir du 16 janvier 2016, Bamako abritera une académie de formation de techniciens en énergie solaire. Cette formation s'adressera à des étudiants ayant un profil d’entrepreneur, d’acteur du domaine de l'énergie solaire ou de décideur politique de l’orientation énergétique dans leurs pays respectifs.
    Jan 20, 2016 686