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  • 30 Jan 2017
    I am currently taking a unit on flood and drought management and it is interesting to say the least but that is a story for another day. However, this module hits home for me because Kenya is currently going through a very dry season. The water reservoirs and hydro-dams are running below half capacity and those that live in the arid and semi-arid lands are in dire need of food relief. Their livestock which is their sole source of livelihood has not been spared either and the owners have to walk for long distances in search of water and pasture. What shocks me even more is that the country is hoping that the expected long rains in April will solve this crisis. I am always left wondering why we have a meteorological department when occurrences like drought and flood seem to catch us unprepared every single year. Kenya is prone to frequent drought occurrences especially in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that cover 80% of its territory. The ASALs are home to an estimated 11 million people and 70% of the national livestock herd. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Strategic plan 2013-2017, livestock keeping accounts for approximately 90% of the employment opportunities and nearly 95% of family incomes in the ASALs. In these areas the annual rainfall is in the range of 200 to 500mm and experience frequent droughts and heat waves (Kandji, 2006). Livestock exposure to heat waves increases their vulnerability to diseases directly affecting their reproductive health and meat and milk production which the ASALs communities heavily rely on for food and income (FAO, 2016).The further vulnerability of Kenya to climate change and temperature projections suggesting a rise of 2.5°C between 2000 to 2050 present these communities with the challenge of ensuring food security, access to water and dealing with livestock diseases. The above challenges call for the development of effective adaptation strategies to minimize the effect of climate change and variability on the livelihoods of the people living in ASALs (Bobadoye A.O, 2016). The current approaches and strategies need to be changed in order to build resilience and adaptation capacity among the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Nicholas Ozor, 2011). These communities will be required to embrace new skills and attitudes through knowledge transfer and capacity building a role that can be effectively filled by extension agents (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Extension agents have influence towards the decisions made by farmers and pastoralists and they therefore play a very important role in the interpretation of climate change and variability research and providing information on adaptation measures necessary to the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Emily Susko, 2013). Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and variability is crucial in protecting the livelihoods and in ensuring food security among the pastoralist communities (Dagmawi M. Abegaz, 2014). There is some acknowledgement by the government on the important role of extension agencies in the agricultural sector. However the livestock subsector only has 20% of the required staff quota making service delivery difficult. All these factors have created a gap in knowledge transfer and capacity development leading to dire consequences. It has not only posed a threat to food security but also presented a new set of challenges in accessing animal feed, water, exposing the livestock to diseases and heat stress and to the general economy with livestock estimated to contribute 5.5% of the country’s GDP (Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). According to the (ILRI, 2015) Corporate Report 2014-2015, Kenya lost USD 3.3 billon in the livestock sector due to drought between 2008 and 2011. As a result pastoralists continue to be pushed deep in poverty due to livestock losses which are their main source of livelihood. In conclusion the changes in climate call for the adoption of new attitudes and practices to increase the level of preparedness among pastoralists to extreme conditions like drought. The extension agencies should fulfill their mandate to carry out public education and provide information to pastoralists and promote resilience and collaboration between different stakeholders in addressing different challenges among them, climate change (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Failure to which the ASALS will forever be condemned to receiving hand outs for decades to come.      References  Bobadoye A.O, P. O. ( 2016). Pastoralist Perception on Climate Change and Variability in Kajiado in Relation to Meteorology Evidence. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol 5 No 1 . Dagmawi M. Abegaz, P. W. (2014). Extension Agents' Awareness of Climate Change in Ethiopia. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension , DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2014.946936. Emily Susko, M. S. (2013). Role of Extension in climate Adaptation in the United States. Silver Spring, Maryland. FAO. (2016). THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE; CLIMATE CHANGE,AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY. Rome. ILRI. (2015). Corporate Report 2014-2015. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute. Kandji, S. T. (2006). Drought in Kenya: climatic, economic and socio-political factors. New Standpoints , 17-19. Ministry of Agriculture, L. a. (2015). Strategic Plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Government of Kenya.
    857 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I am currently taking a unit on flood and drought management and it is interesting to say the least but that is a story for another day. However, this module hits home for me because Kenya is currently going through a very dry season. The water reservoirs and hydro-dams are running below half capacity and those that live in the arid and semi-arid lands are in dire need of food relief. Their livestock which is their sole source of livelihood has not been spared either and the owners have to walk for long distances in search of water and pasture. What shocks me even more is that the country is hoping that the expected long rains in April will solve this crisis. I am always left wondering why we have a meteorological department when occurrences like drought and flood seem to catch us unprepared every single year. Kenya is prone to frequent drought occurrences especially in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that cover 80% of its territory. The ASALs are home to an estimated 11 million people and 70% of the national livestock herd. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Strategic plan 2013-2017, livestock keeping accounts for approximately 90% of the employment opportunities and nearly 95% of family incomes in the ASALs. In these areas the annual rainfall is in the range of 200 to 500mm and experience frequent droughts and heat waves (Kandji, 2006). Livestock exposure to heat waves increases their vulnerability to diseases directly affecting their reproductive health and meat and milk production which the ASALs communities heavily rely on for food and income (FAO, 2016).The further vulnerability of Kenya to climate change and temperature projections suggesting a rise of 2.5°C between 2000 to 2050 present these communities with the challenge of ensuring food security, access to water and dealing with livestock diseases. The above challenges call for the development of effective adaptation strategies to minimize the effect of climate change and variability on the livelihoods of the people living in ASALs (Bobadoye A.O, 2016). The current approaches and strategies need to be changed in order to build resilience and adaptation capacity among the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Nicholas Ozor, 2011). These communities will be required to embrace new skills and attitudes through knowledge transfer and capacity building a role that can be effectively filled by extension agents (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Extension agents have influence towards the decisions made by farmers and pastoralists and they therefore play a very important role in the interpretation of climate change and variability research and providing information on adaptation measures necessary to the affected communities (Bobadoye A.O, 2016; Emily Susko, 2013). Adaptation to the impacts of climate change and variability is crucial in protecting the livelihoods and in ensuring food security among the pastoralist communities (Dagmawi M. Abegaz, 2014). There is some acknowledgement by the government on the important role of extension agencies in the agricultural sector. However the livestock subsector only has 20% of the required staff quota making service delivery difficult. All these factors have created a gap in knowledge transfer and capacity development leading to dire consequences. It has not only posed a threat to food security but also presented a new set of challenges in accessing animal feed, water, exposing the livestock to diseases and heat stress and to the general economy with livestock estimated to contribute 5.5% of the country’s GDP (Ministry of Agriculture, 2015). According to the (ILRI, 2015) Corporate Report 2014-2015, Kenya lost USD 3.3 billon in the livestock sector due to drought between 2008 and 2011. As a result pastoralists continue to be pushed deep in poverty due to livestock losses which are their main source of livelihood. In conclusion the changes in climate call for the adoption of new attitudes and practices to increase the level of preparedness among pastoralists to extreme conditions like drought. The extension agencies should fulfill their mandate to carry out public education and provide information to pastoralists and promote resilience and collaboration between different stakeholders in addressing different challenges among them, climate change (Nicholas Ozor, 2011). Failure to which the ASALS will forever be condemned to receiving hand outs for decades to come.      References  Bobadoye A.O, P. O. ( 2016). Pastoralist Perception on Climate Change and Variability in Kajiado in Relation to Meteorology Evidence. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol 5 No 1 . Dagmawi M. Abegaz, P. W. (2014). Extension Agents' Awareness of Climate Change in Ethiopia. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension , DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2014.946936. Emily Susko, M. S. (2013). Role of Extension in climate Adaptation in the United States. Silver Spring, Maryland. FAO. (2016). THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE; CLIMATE CHANGE,AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY. Rome. ILRI. (2015). Corporate Report 2014-2015. Nairobi, Kenya: International Livestock Research Institute. Kandji, S. T. (2006). Drought in Kenya: climatic, economic and socio-political factors. New Standpoints , 17-19. Ministry of Agriculture, L. a. (2015). Strategic Plan 2013-2017. Nairobi: Government of Kenya.
    Jan 30, 2017 857
  • 06 Feb 2017
    Last year we all took a module in African history and it was very enlightening and bore very lively discussions ranging from pre and post colonial Africa. Our professor was German which made most of us wonder if there was no African professor available to tell the African story. However, those hang ups were quickly forgotten and I can honestly say it was one of my best classes by far. Among the class assignments was group discussions and my colleagues and I were to discuss the politics of autochthony. Now, do not get lost in the jargon that is the word autochthony. It simply means the right to belong. According to Geschiere, 2009 autochthony seeks to establish an irrefutable primordial right to belong and is a tactic used by mostly politicians to exclude outsiders. The term was introduced to Africa by the French in the 1900’s in an effort to gain control over different groups and communities. They were therefore able to use it as a divide and rule tactic between the communities that confronted them in the territories they conquered. In recent past the politics of belonging have been used by authoritarian regimes to divide the opposition and neutralize the effects of multi-parties in the continent. Its manifestation is demonstrated through high levels of intolerance and hostility towards “strangers” who are seen as a threat or competition in access to limited resources. The xenophobia cases in South Africa are a perfect example where the fear is manifested among the lower level workers and the wealthy groups. Cases in xenophobic violence escalated rapidly after the end of the apartheid regime despite the anti-discrimination passages in the post apartheid regime which tried to introduce the idea of multi culturalism and nationalism. Sadly, the xenophobic flare ups continue to happen so often in South Africa leading to loss of lives and property for those who are considered as outsiders. After Henri Konan took office in Cote d’ivoire in 1993 he began to question the citizenship of individuals from the North. During this period citizens became “foreigners” if they did not have one parent who was born in Cote d’ivoire. By 1998 the law prohibited the “foreigners” from owning land, voting or running for public office. His predecessor General Robert Guei continued the xenophobic policies that targeted the northern Muslim minority. They were subjected to large scale human rights violation, rape, killings and discriminated against based on the way they dressed. Sadly, South Africa and Cote d’ivoire are not unique cases and the politics of belonging have been demonstrated across the continent for instance with the Nubians in Kenya and Bamileke in Cameroon to mention just a few. Curiously, the Greek meaning for autochthony means “springing from the land” which would explain why it’s politics is tied to land and the soil in the African context. The final ritual in the politics of autochthony is the burial where the dead have to be buried in their ancestral home. We may however feel far removed from these cases and yet we continue to drive the trend unknowingly. In my country, there is a popular phrase that politicians like to use whenever they are held accountable for  abuse of office. “My people are being attacked” is used to evade accountability for abuse of office and misuse of public funds. Yet this tactic continues to work in favour of the politicians by dividing the country in regions and along tribal lines. In conclusion, the politics of autochthony continue to divide the continent along tribal lines. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated and we continue to isolate people based on religion, tribe, clans and their country of origin. Yet what value does it add to us? We miss the opportunity to learn from other cultures and find a middle ground to work together for social and economic development and well being. The vacuum left is what the politicians have filled with the politics of belonging and we continue to buy into the ideology.      References Legum, C. & Mmari G.R.V. (1995). Mwalimu: the influence of Nyerere Geschiere, P. (2009). The perils of belonging: Autochthony, citizenship, and exclusion in Africa and Europe. University of Chicago Press Jennings, M., & Mercer, C. (2011). Rehabilitating nationalisms: conviviality and national consciousness in postcolonial Tanzania. Politique Africaine, 121, 87-106. Saha, Santosh C. The politics of ethnicity and national identity. Peter Lang, 2007.
    829 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Last year we all took a module in African history and it was very enlightening and bore very lively discussions ranging from pre and post colonial Africa. Our professor was German which made most of us wonder if there was no African professor available to tell the African story. However, those hang ups were quickly forgotten and I can honestly say it was one of my best classes by far. Among the class assignments was group discussions and my colleagues and I were to discuss the politics of autochthony. Now, do not get lost in the jargon that is the word autochthony. It simply means the right to belong. According to Geschiere, 2009 autochthony seeks to establish an irrefutable primordial right to belong and is a tactic used by mostly politicians to exclude outsiders. The term was introduced to Africa by the French in the 1900’s in an effort to gain control over different groups and communities. They were therefore able to use it as a divide and rule tactic between the communities that confronted them in the territories they conquered. In recent past the politics of belonging have been used by authoritarian regimes to divide the opposition and neutralize the effects of multi-parties in the continent. Its manifestation is demonstrated through high levels of intolerance and hostility towards “strangers” who are seen as a threat or competition in access to limited resources. The xenophobia cases in South Africa are a perfect example where the fear is manifested among the lower level workers and the wealthy groups. Cases in xenophobic violence escalated rapidly after the end of the apartheid regime despite the anti-discrimination passages in the post apartheid regime which tried to introduce the idea of multi culturalism and nationalism. Sadly, the xenophobic flare ups continue to happen so often in South Africa leading to loss of lives and property for those who are considered as outsiders. After Henri Konan took office in Cote d’ivoire in 1993 he began to question the citizenship of individuals from the North. During this period citizens became “foreigners” if they did not have one parent who was born in Cote d’ivoire. By 1998 the law prohibited the “foreigners” from owning land, voting or running for public office. His predecessor General Robert Guei continued the xenophobic policies that targeted the northern Muslim minority. They were subjected to large scale human rights violation, rape, killings and discriminated against based on the way they dressed. Sadly, South Africa and Cote d’ivoire are not unique cases and the politics of belonging have been demonstrated across the continent for instance with the Nubians in Kenya and Bamileke in Cameroon to mention just a few. Curiously, the Greek meaning for autochthony means “springing from the land” which would explain why it’s politics is tied to land and the soil in the African context. The final ritual in the politics of autochthony is the burial where the dead have to be buried in their ancestral home. We may however feel far removed from these cases and yet we continue to drive the trend unknowingly. In my country, there is a popular phrase that politicians like to use whenever they are held accountable for  abuse of office. “My people are being attacked” is used to evade accountability for abuse of office and misuse of public funds. Yet this tactic continues to work in favour of the politicians by dividing the country in regions and along tribal lines. In conclusion, the politics of autochthony continue to divide the continent along tribal lines. We have allowed ourselves to be manipulated and we continue to isolate people based on religion, tribe, clans and their country of origin. Yet what value does it add to us? We miss the opportunity to learn from other cultures and find a middle ground to work together for social and economic development and well being. The vacuum left is what the politicians have filled with the politics of belonging and we continue to buy into the ideology.      References Legum, C. & Mmari G.R.V. (1995). Mwalimu: the influence of Nyerere Geschiere, P. (2009). The perils of belonging: Autochthony, citizenship, and exclusion in Africa and Europe. University of Chicago Press Jennings, M., & Mercer, C. (2011). Rehabilitating nationalisms: conviviality and national consciousness in postcolonial Tanzania. Politique Africaine, 121, 87-106. Saha, Santosh C. The politics of ethnicity and national identity. Peter Lang, 2007.
    Feb 06, 2017 829
  • 07 Dec 2016
    During my undergraduate we had to take a module on Environmental Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The aim of the module was to show the existence of traditional knowledge on the sustainable use of natural resources among the different communities in Kenya and by extension Africa. Our forefathers had dependable knowledge on weather patterns, migration of animals, soil conservation and medicine and the management of resources in general. I have had the privilege of working with communities and it has always been clear that each holds unique knowledge and skills to ensure their survival and continuity. However, we live in a world where most of those who have been through school look down on the cultural and traditional knowledge and the younger generation are not keen to learn from the older generation. Hence this knowledge system is slowly dying from our society.   I am particularly more interested in the area of climate change and adaptation mostly because it affects the very core of our communities by threatening food security and livelihoods. If you speak to anyone in the rural areas whether a farmer or pastoralist they will tell you that they have noticed considerable changes in the weather patterns only they do not know what to attribute it to. The rainy seasons are unpredictable, shorter or more intense to cause flooding and the dry spells are more frequent and last longer. On top of this, their yields have decreased and new crop and livestock diseases have emerged pushing some to the blink of starvation. So the biggest question is why the research and information in print on how to build resilience and adapt to climate change is not reaching these communities and if it is, why is it not as effective?   Governments and international research institute are spending millions of dollars towards research and rightly so considering there is so much we still do not comprehend about climate change and its impacts. There are conferences and agreements being signed right left and center as we seek to minimize these impacts and build resilience of our people and the world. However, what good is it if this science is not being translated into action? The local farmers or pastoralists may not understand the scientific jargons but they can surely contribute into the localizations of solutions that fit their particular challenges. They possess knowledge on crop rotation and pest control, water resource management and soil conservation and on crops that are drought resistant and yet their contribution is undervalued. The creation of awareness should therefore come from a place of collaboration and not dictation if any sustainable solutions are to be found. We have so many projects on the continent that have not seen a day after the donors have left. They collapse because they ignore the contributions of the local people and the knowledge they possess and hence the lack of ownership and continuity.   Science and research plays an important role in our world today and will continue to do so in the future. However, we must not ignore the existing knowledge among our communities because to know the future we must understand our past. The answers we seek lie in integrating scientific and indigenous knowledge and finding what works for each community. Researchers and scientists cannot continue to take the role where they dictate the changes that need to be made in our society and assume that communities are without any knowledge. What we need is for all stakeholders to come together and have a platform where they can share knowledge and information. This will not only create ownership of projects but create sustainability where projects last beyond their funding phases and maybe development goals like the SDG’s will be attainable.
    825 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • During my undergraduate we had to take a module on Environmental Indigenous Knowledge Systems. The aim of the module was to show the existence of traditional knowledge on the sustainable use of natural resources among the different communities in Kenya and by extension Africa. Our forefathers had dependable knowledge on weather patterns, migration of animals, soil conservation and medicine and the management of resources in general. I have had the privilege of working with communities and it has always been clear that each holds unique knowledge and skills to ensure their survival and continuity. However, we live in a world where most of those who have been through school look down on the cultural and traditional knowledge and the younger generation are not keen to learn from the older generation. Hence this knowledge system is slowly dying from our society.   I am particularly more interested in the area of climate change and adaptation mostly because it affects the very core of our communities by threatening food security and livelihoods. If you speak to anyone in the rural areas whether a farmer or pastoralist they will tell you that they have noticed considerable changes in the weather patterns only they do not know what to attribute it to. The rainy seasons are unpredictable, shorter or more intense to cause flooding and the dry spells are more frequent and last longer. On top of this, their yields have decreased and new crop and livestock diseases have emerged pushing some to the blink of starvation. So the biggest question is why the research and information in print on how to build resilience and adapt to climate change is not reaching these communities and if it is, why is it not as effective?   Governments and international research institute are spending millions of dollars towards research and rightly so considering there is so much we still do not comprehend about climate change and its impacts. There are conferences and agreements being signed right left and center as we seek to minimize these impacts and build resilience of our people and the world. However, what good is it if this science is not being translated into action? The local farmers or pastoralists may not understand the scientific jargons but they can surely contribute into the localizations of solutions that fit their particular challenges. They possess knowledge on crop rotation and pest control, water resource management and soil conservation and on crops that are drought resistant and yet their contribution is undervalued. The creation of awareness should therefore come from a place of collaboration and not dictation if any sustainable solutions are to be found. We have so many projects on the continent that have not seen a day after the donors have left. They collapse because they ignore the contributions of the local people and the knowledge they possess and hence the lack of ownership and continuity.   Science and research plays an important role in our world today and will continue to do so in the future. However, we must not ignore the existing knowledge among our communities because to know the future we must understand our past. The answers we seek lie in integrating scientific and indigenous knowledge and finding what works for each community. Researchers and scientists cannot continue to take the role where they dictate the changes that need to be made in our society and assume that communities are without any knowledge. What we need is for all stakeholders to come together and have a platform where they can share knowledge and information. This will not only create ownership of projects but create sustainability where projects last beyond their funding phases and maybe development goals like the SDG’s will be attainable.
    Dec 07, 2016 825
  • 21 Jun 2016
    A day ago, the world refugees’ day was commemorated, the whole world took a moment to reflect on the agony experienced by men, women and children who suffer for the crimes they did not commit! If my voice was loud enough, I would vouch for a week of commemoration to remember them. Regrettably I don’t have the power to, nevertheless I do believe that the little we can, we must do. I choose to write about the refugees’ status in Africa in commemoration of our brothers and sisters whose dreams have been shattered to merely finding a place to stay. In Africa, people have moved for the past very many years in search for asylum and security. This has become so part of us that it is viewed as the new normal. Many African countries have been blanketed in wars for the past 25 years. Somalia is one of the countries in Africa that have long suffered from such civil wars. Since 1991, the country has been devastated by the constant mass shootings and people displacements. A total of 1.1 million internal displacement camps has been registered since the latest date (December 2015). Like Somalia, the case is not any different for South-Sudan, the youngest nation in Africa. Destruction of property, loss of lives and very hard living conditions force men, women and children to trek long distances in search for better and safer conditions. This trekking is made more difficult by the poor road systems, harsh weather conditions and insecurities from the surrounding forests and bushes that harbor dangerous wild animals. According to UNHCR, over 1.69 million people have been internally displaced in South-Sudan and 0.64 million people have fled the country to the neighboring countries. For every human, survival is a virtue and a right to life is an obligation. Therefore it is imperative that refugees are welcomed amicably with open hands, a sign that gives hope to them especially the young for they are the future generation. The UNHCR and other organizations have put efforts together to set up camps as new homes for refugees. This has been done in the neighboring countries and in regions outside the warzones. However, camps cannot be looked at as the silver bullet to solve the refugee crisis that is escalated by the persistent wars every now and then. There is a need to examine the causes from the source and seek sustainable solutions. Life in resettlement camps gets difficult with time as internal and external conflicts start grooming up, shortage of medical services, food and water. In the neighboring countries, camps later become a liability as there is a constant need to finance and manage them with help from the host governments, before a decision is made to resettle the displaced back to their countries. Sometimes the wars take a long time to stop hence the need to manage the camps as long as it takes. Amidst security threats and terror that the neighboring countries are next in line, it is important to have dialogue among the regional bodies as more measures are taken to restrain what is happening around them. According to the UN charter, all countries over the world have a role to respect and protect people. The African union commission to which 54 African countries are member states, supports the above too. However, some countries have closed off borders to refugees because of alleged security threats amongst other tantalizing economic and environmental issues. Kenya closed off her borders to refugee entrance following the constant attacks from Al-Shabaab. The country also closed off the existing refugee camps leaving over 600,000 people homeless. Criticisms from a number of organizations were heard from the different corners of the world citing the act as being harsh and inappropriate. Nevertheless, it is important to examine and understand the conditions and situations over which the East African country closed its borders.   tonnykukeera@gmail.com
    795 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • A day ago, the world refugees’ day was commemorated, the whole world took a moment to reflect on the agony experienced by men, women and children who suffer for the crimes they did not commit! If my voice was loud enough, I would vouch for a week of commemoration to remember them. Regrettably I don’t have the power to, nevertheless I do believe that the little we can, we must do. I choose to write about the refugees’ status in Africa in commemoration of our brothers and sisters whose dreams have been shattered to merely finding a place to stay. In Africa, people have moved for the past very many years in search for asylum and security. This has become so part of us that it is viewed as the new normal. Many African countries have been blanketed in wars for the past 25 years. Somalia is one of the countries in Africa that have long suffered from such civil wars. Since 1991, the country has been devastated by the constant mass shootings and people displacements. A total of 1.1 million internal displacement camps has been registered since the latest date (December 2015). Like Somalia, the case is not any different for South-Sudan, the youngest nation in Africa. Destruction of property, loss of lives and very hard living conditions force men, women and children to trek long distances in search for better and safer conditions. This trekking is made more difficult by the poor road systems, harsh weather conditions and insecurities from the surrounding forests and bushes that harbor dangerous wild animals. According to UNHCR, over 1.69 million people have been internally displaced in South-Sudan and 0.64 million people have fled the country to the neighboring countries. For every human, survival is a virtue and a right to life is an obligation. Therefore it is imperative that refugees are welcomed amicably with open hands, a sign that gives hope to them especially the young for they are the future generation. The UNHCR and other organizations have put efforts together to set up camps as new homes for refugees. This has been done in the neighboring countries and in regions outside the warzones. However, camps cannot be looked at as the silver bullet to solve the refugee crisis that is escalated by the persistent wars every now and then. There is a need to examine the causes from the source and seek sustainable solutions. Life in resettlement camps gets difficult with time as internal and external conflicts start grooming up, shortage of medical services, food and water. In the neighboring countries, camps later become a liability as there is a constant need to finance and manage them with help from the host governments, before a decision is made to resettle the displaced back to their countries. Sometimes the wars take a long time to stop hence the need to manage the camps as long as it takes. Amidst security threats and terror that the neighboring countries are next in line, it is important to have dialogue among the regional bodies as more measures are taken to restrain what is happening around them. According to the UN charter, all countries over the world have a role to respect and protect people. The African union commission to which 54 African countries are member states, supports the above too. However, some countries have closed off borders to refugees because of alleged security threats amongst other tantalizing economic and environmental issues. Kenya closed off her borders to refugee entrance following the constant attacks from Al-Shabaab. The country also closed off the existing refugee camps leaving over 600,000 people homeless. Criticisms from a number of organizations were heard from the different corners of the world citing the act as being harsh and inappropriate. Nevertheless, it is important to examine and understand the conditions and situations over which the East African country closed its borders.   tonnykukeera@gmail.com
    Jun 21, 2016 795
  • 29 Nov 2016
    I find myself drawing from my last class in water economics and one of the reasons could be because our professor had us do mini projects after every topic. However, this is a follow up for the post I did last week on the Nile River and the conflict that surrounds it. One of our recommendations to the long standing conflict between the riparian States on the utilization and allocation of the Nile River was the establishment of a water market. Our conclusion, based on the research we carried out was that the population increase in the 10 riparian countries and the pressure caused by climate change in the region among other factors would only make the Nile politics more volatile and hence the need for a lasting solution or a compromise between all States. Water market is a mechanism used to acquire and redistribute water and allows for water to be allocated according to the highest valued use. It involves the initial allocation of water rights specified in unit of measurement which based on the set regulations can be transferred to other user on a permanent or temporary basis. Water rights are based on the existing laws and could be land based or use based. Land based water rights are based on land ownership whereas use based rights are based on whether the user has legal access to the water source. Countries like the USA, Australia, and South Africa already have water markets set in place to help deal with water scarcity. Australia’s water market is estimated at 26 billion dollars and is considered to be the largest in the world. Here every user must operate within the set government limit on how much available water can be used. The large scale users of water also have to watch the water prices carefully like the stock market because each sector is competing with the other for a scarce resource. So can the same concept be employed to work between riparian States like in the case of the Nile? Of course there are challenges that will need to be overcome before a water market can be established for the Nile River especially because it would involve the establishment of water laws that all States agree to. Currently, the Nile Basin Initiative has limited capacity in legal, expertise and financial abilities. Moving forward, therefore there is need for an establishment of a legal institution that has the power to settle conflicts between the States and an open forum for sharing of available data and knowledge something the Cooperation Framework Agreement of 2010 sought to do. The establishment of an institutional framework will help determine the feasibility of water market transactions and the guidelines. This will in turn reduce uncertainty and suspicion between States by providing a structure for securing water rights, enforcing them and ensuring an operational market. A good example on the continent is in South Africa where the water markets were introduced in 1997-1998. This has been applied in the Lower Orange River where a water market has allowed for a transfer of water use from low value crops to high value crops and use of better irrigation technology. Water marketing can be seen as a way of allocating scarce water resources efficiently and offers empowerment to the users through property rights. In the case of the Nile, the water market would allow countries to decentralize decision making and involve other stakeholders who live along the river and rely on it greatly. This would also allow countries depending on the water rights allocated to know how much water they will use and what crops to grow. In the long run countries will have an opportunity to produce crops whose water need does not exceed the allocated amount and meet other water demands. This will not only promote water use efficiency in the basin but it will also promote agricultural and industrial trade between them and create better relations. Another possible scenario is that countries would have a chance to trade their water rights, for instance; Ethiopia could potentially trade some of its water rights to Egypt on a temporary or permanent basis based on the fact that they have other water resources available. Water is the most undervalued natural resource in my opinion even though we equate it to life and considering it an economic good could go a long way in improving how we allocate, use and manage it. However, this concept has its own challenges and critics but it could be a catalyst for better cooperation among the Nile riparian States.  
    795 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I find myself drawing from my last class in water economics and one of the reasons could be because our professor had us do mini projects after every topic. However, this is a follow up for the post I did last week on the Nile River and the conflict that surrounds it. One of our recommendations to the long standing conflict between the riparian States on the utilization and allocation of the Nile River was the establishment of a water market. Our conclusion, based on the research we carried out was that the population increase in the 10 riparian countries and the pressure caused by climate change in the region among other factors would only make the Nile politics more volatile and hence the need for a lasting solution or a compromise between all States. Water market is a mechanism used to acquire and redistribute water and allows for water to be allocated according to the highest valued use. It involves the initial allocation of water rights specified in unit of measurement which based on the set regulations can be transferred to other user on a permanent or temporary basis. Water rights are based on the existing laws and could be land based or use based. Land based water rights are based on land ownership whereas use based rights are based on whether the user has legal access to the water source. Countries like the USA, Australia, and South Africa already have water markets set in place to help deal with water scarcity. Australia’s water market is estimated at 26 billion dollars and is considered to be the largest in the world. Here every user must operate within the set government limit on how much available water can be used. The large scale users of water also have to watch the water prices carefully like the stock market because each sector is competing with the other for a scarce resource. So can the same concept be employed to work between riparian States like in the case of the Nile? Of course there are challenges that will need to be overcome before a water market can be established for the Nile River especially because it would involve the establishment of water laws that all States agree to. Currently, the Nile Basin Initiative has limited capacity in legal, expertise and financial abilities. Moving forward, therefore there is need for an establishment of a legal institution that has the power to settle conflicts between the States and an open forum for sharing of available data and knowledge something the Cooperation Framework Agreement of 2010 sought to do. The establishment of an institutional framework will help determine the feasibility of water market transactions and the guidelines. This will in turn reduce uncertainty and suspicion between States by providing a structure for securing water rights, enforcing them and ensuring an operational market. A good example on the continent is in South Africa where the water markets were introduced in 1997-1998. This has been applied in the Lower Orange River where a water market has allowed for a transfer of water use from low value crops to high value crops and use of better irrigation technology. Water marketing can be seen as a way of allocating scarce water resources efficiently and offers empowerment to the users through property rights. In the case of the Nile, the water market would allow countries to decentralize decision making and involve other stakeholders who live along the river and rely on it greatly. This would also allow countries depending on the water rights allocated to know how much water they will use and what crops to grow. In the long run countries will have an opportunity to produce crops whose water need does not exceed the allocated amount and meet other water demands. This will not only promote water use efficiency in the basin but it will also promote agricultural and industrial trade between them and create better relations. Another possible scenario is that countries would have a chance to trade their water rights, for instance; Ethiopia could potentially trade some of its water rights to Egypt on a temporary or permanent basis based on the fact that they have other water resources available. Water is the most undervalued natural resource in my opinion even though we equate it to life and considering it an economic good could go a long way in improving how we allocate, use and manage it. However, this concept has its own challenges and critics but it could be a catalyst for better cooperation among the Nile riparian States.  
    Nov 29, 2016 795
  • 22 Nov 2016
    My class has just concluded a module in Water Economics and as part of the course requirement we had to choose a project that would account for almost half of the final grade. My group and I decided to work on the Nile under the title “Challenges and Opportunities in the Nile Basin Conflict: Proposed Interventions for Conflict Resolution”. To be honest, I had never really taken time to understand the intricate politics that surround the Nile Basin and what I found not only captured my imagination and interest but also made for one of the best research topics I have done in a long time out of what I would call my areas of interest. The Nile is the longest River in the world covering 6,600Km originating from the White Nile and Blue Nile and has 10 countries laying claim to it (Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Republic Democratic of Congo). The estimated average annual flow of the river at the Aswan Dam in Egypt is 84 billion cubic meters with an estimated loss of 10 billion cubic meters to evaporation. The sharing of the water in the Nile River has mostly always been under contention with threats of war traded between the main contributor Ethiopia and the main user Egypt. The conflict on the utilization and allocation of the Nile can be partly attributed to the colonial treaties made by the British on behalf of its colonies. The treaties of 1902, 1929 and 1959 gave Egypt the veto powers over the Nile allocating it 55.5 billion cubic meters while Sudan took a share of 18.5 billion cubic meters. Through these treaties downstream countries were not to carry any development along the Nile or participate in any activities that would affect the water flow on the Nile. After gaining independence the countries wanted these treaties rendered absolute and a new sharing mechanism established. However, to date this dream is yet to be realized. The Nile has always been an important resource for Egypt and more so because of its geographic location and climatic conditions. It is estimated that about 99% of Egypt’s population live along the Nile River and depend on it for household and agricultural supply. This therefore, may explain the reason why Egypt is not enthusiastic about embracing new water sharing mechanism and agreement. However, with economic development and population increase in the Riparian States the status quo will have to change. Countries like Ethiopia are flexing their muscle with the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam along the Blue Nile which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters and an estimated power generation capacity of 6000 MW and other countries have stated their intention on future developments. Holding on to the colonial agreements therefore, is absolutely naïve for Egypt and yet the other Riparian countries have not been able to present a united front in challenging this position. One may ask what efforts have been made towards the resolution of the Nile conflict and rightly so. There have been many initiatives but the most notable one is the Nile Basin Initiative through which the Riparian States were able to develop the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) of 2010. The CFA outlines the principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources. This treaty seeks to promote and establish a framework to “promote integrated management, sustainable development, and harmonious utilization of the water resources of the Basin, as well as their conservation and protection for the benefit of the present and future generations”. It creates a forum where permanent institutional mechanisms can be established to facilitate cooperation among the Basin’s States in the sustainable management and development of the River Nile and in the resolution of conflict. However, the agreement was met with mixed reactions and Egypt and Sudan declined to sign which backtracked the efforts put by the Nile Basin Initiative towards finding a lasting solution in the allocation, use and conflict resolution in the basin. So why will Sudan and Egypt not sign? Even though all riparian States agreed to the contents of the agreement Egypt and Sudan were not in agreement with Article 14 which introduced the aspect of water security and therefore failed to sign the agreement. Article 14 (b) reads “not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.” However, Egypt and Sudan proposed an amendment to Article 14(b) to “not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin State” which was rejected by other States who viewed it as a bid by Egypt and Sudan to reinforce the colonial treaties therefore going against the vision of the Nile Basin Initiative. Egypt and Sudan saw Article 14 as one that threatened their rights and access to the water in River Nile and challenged the veto powers guaranteed by the 1929 and 1959 treaties. Furthermore Egypt wanted the definition of the Nile River System changed to include both environmental protection and water allocation which would mean that the Nile River would not only include the 84km3 but also 1600km3 rainwater that Egypt claims falls over the basin. The position of Egypt and Sudan was vehemently opposed by the other Riparian States and to date only six countries have signed the CFA (Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi) and only three States (Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda) have ratified it. It is surprising that Uganda which hosts the offices for the Nile Basin Initiative has not ratified the agreement highlighting the cracks that exist in the cooperation efforts. Another great challenge faced by the countries is the lack of data and an information sharing platform. The suspicion that exists between states has hampered any chance of working together and many continue to hold on to their hard lines. We submitted our findings and developed our own sharing mechanism that we felt could work for the Nile Riparian States. We made several assumptions and considered different variables in developing a mechanism for the Nile. You can expect that emotions ran high during the presentation with the majority of the class coming from the Nile Riparian States. Our conclusion as a group was that the Nile conflict is complex but all the States need to look at the Nile afresh and with a clear mind. Countries need to compromise in their demands and expectations bearing in mind that a successful agreement provides room for cooperation and water trading rights and development of a water market to the benefit all States.
    794 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • My class has just concluded a module in Water Economics and as part of the course requirement we had to choose a project that would account for almost half of the final grade. My group and I decided to work on the Nile under the title “Challenges and Opportunities in the Nile Basin Conflict: Proposed Interventions for Conflict Resolution”. To be honest, I had never really taken time to understand the intricate politics that surround the Nile Basin and what I found not only captured my imagination and interest but also made for one of the best research topics I have done in a long time out of what I would call my areas of interest. The Nile is the longest River in the world covering 6,600Km originating from the White Nile and Blue Nile and has 10 countries laying claim to it (Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Republic Democratic of Congo). The estimated average annual flow of the river at the Aswan Dam in Egypt is 84 billion cubic meters with an estimated loss of 10 billion cubic meters to evaporation. The sharing of the water in the Nile River has mostly always been under contention with threats of war traded between the main contributor Ethiopia and the main user Egypt. The conflict on the utilization and allocation of the Nile can be partly attributed to the colonial treaties made by the British on behalf of its colonies. The treaties of 1902, 1929 and 1959 gave Egypt the veto powers over the Nile allocating it 55.5 billion cubic meters while Sudan took a share of 18.5 billion cubic meters. Through these treaties downstream countries were not to carry any development along the Nile or participate in any activities that would affect the water flow on the Nile. After gaining independence the countries wanted these treaties rendered absolute and a new sharing mechanism established. However, to date this dream is yet to be realized. The Nile has always been an important resource for Egypt and more so because of its geographic location and climatic conditions. It is estimated that about 99% of Egypt’s population live along the Nile River and depend on it for household and agricultural supply. This therefore, may explain the reason why Egypt is not enthusiastic about embracing new water sharing mechanism and agreement. However, with economic development and population increase in the Riparian States the status quo will have to change. Countries like Ethiopia are flexing their muscle with the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam along the Blue Nile which has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters and an estimated power generation capacity of 6000 MW and other countries have stated their intention on future developments. Holding on to the colonial agreements therefore, is absolutely naïve for Egypt and yet the other Riparian countries have not been able to present a united front in challenging this position. One may ask what efforts have been made towards the resolution of the Nile conflict and rightly so. There have been many initiatives but the most notable one is the Nile Basin Initiative through which the Riparian States were able to develop the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) of 2010. The CFA outlines the principles, rights and obligations for cooperative management and development of the Nile Basin water resources. This treaty seeks to promote and establish a framework to “promote integrated management, sustainable development, and harmonious utilization of the water resources of the Basin, as well as their conservation and protection for the benefit of the present and future generations”. It creates a forum where permanent institutional mechanisms can be established to facilitate cooperation among the Basin’s States in the sustainable management and development of the River Nile and in the resolution of conflict. However, the agreement was met with mixed reactions and Egypt and Sudan declined to sign which backtracked the efforts put by the Nile Basin Initiative towards finding a lasting solution in the allocation, use and conflict resolution in the basin. So why will Sudan and Egypt not sign? Even though all riparian States agreed to the contents of the agreement Egypt and Sudan were not in agreement with Article 14 which introduced the aspect of water security and therefore failed to sign the agreement. Article 14 (b) reads “not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.” However, Egypt and Sudan proposed an amendment to Article 14(b) to “not to adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights of any other Nile Basin State” which was rejected by other States who viewed it as a bid by Egypt and Sudan to reinforce the colonial treaties therefore going against the vision of the Nile Basin Initiative. Egypt and Sudan saw Article 14 as one that threatened their rights and access to the water in River Nile and challenged the veto powers guaranteed by the 1929 and 1959 treaties. Furthermore Egypt wanted the definition of the Nile River System changed to include both environmental protection and water allocation which would mean that the Nile River would not only include the 84km3 but also 1600km3 rainwater that Egypt claims falls over the basin. The position of Egypt and Sudan was vehemently opposed by the other Riparian States and to date only six countries have signed the CFA (Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi) and only three States (Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda) have ratified it. It is surprising that Uganda which hosts the offices for the Nile Basin Initiative has not ratified the agreement highlighting the cracks that exist in the cooperation efforts. Another great challenge faced by the countries is the lack of data and an information sharing platform. The suspicion that exists between states has hampered any chance of working together and many continue to hold on to their hard lines. We submitted our findings and developed our own sharing mechanism that we felt could work for the Nile Riparian States. We made several assumptions and considered different variables in developing a mechanism for the Nile. You can expect that emotions ran high during the presentation with the majority of the class coming from the Nile Riparian States. Our conclusion as a group was that the Nile conflict is complex but all the States need to look at the Nile afresh and with a clear mind. Countries need to compromise in their demands and expectations bearing in mind that a successful agreement provides room for cooperation and water trading rights and development of a water market to the benefit all States.
    Nov 22, 2016 794
  • 31 May 2016
    I have thought about starting my own blog on COP for a while now. However, I have remained adamantly ‘lazy’ resulting in the decision to start dragging for some time now. It only took the realization that I was losing some of my ‘soft skills’, therefore, urgently needed to do something. I am particularly thrilled with what is happening in the technological field especially on electromobility. I believe the technology is not mature as for now, but a lot of R&D is ongoing that will see it viable and cheap in the next few years. Most technologies in their early years were expensive and deemed as luxury for the rich. But after more research, they ended up being cheap and of even better quality that the initial products. It is essential to look into the path taken by these technologies and relate it with the developments made in electromobility. Take the case of smartphones. Did you know that development of smartphones started way back in the early 1990s? Yes, several companies tried their hands on developing a combined telephone and computer. One of the flagship devices was Apple’s tablet Apple Newton PDA or MessagePad that had handwriting recognition. After being launched in 1993 at a retail price of $700, the end users complained that it had inaccurate handwriting. The high price also meant only a few hundred thousand units were sold before it was removed from the market in 1998. However, a breakthrough was made by the same company through introduction of the iPad. Apart from Apple, Nokia tried its hand on smartphone and launched Nokia Communicator in 1996. The NOKIA 9000 Communicator was considered a convenient device because of combined phone and computer. It had 8MB of memory and 33MHz processor. The screen was black and white LCD with a ‘high resolution’ of 640 × 200 pixel – was the best at the time. Imagine those specifications and you had to part with $800 to have that device. Now that everyone loves selfies, I am obliged to check out the evolution of the digital camera before I move back to the issue of electromobility. You will be surprised that Logitech, not Nikon or Canon, made the first digital camera. Their flagship, Logitech Fotoman, retailed at $980 in 1993! And the specifications were ridiculous compared to what we have in the market today; 1MB of internal memory holding 32 shots only at a resolution of 320 × 240 pixel. Was there anything special? Yes, you could ‘save’ money on developing photos. However, you could not preview the photos without connecting to your computer. Looking at all those and many more technologies, you will agree with me that we have not yet seen the best in electric cars. Traditional car companies have continuously aimed at perfecting the internal combustion engine. However, the need to go green is pushing them out of their comfort zone. We do not know what will come of it, but I have no doubt that electromobility will overcome the present challenges in the near future. When it happens, do not be surprised to see more electric vehicles on the roads even in your village in Africa than those using fuel. The G7 countries have set 2025 as the year subsidies on fossil fuel will be fully eliminated. Looking closely at the trend, more companies are also coming up in a bid to outdo the traditional car manufacturing companies with regards to development of electric cars. When the technology becomes mature, we will only look back and laugh at the flaws and the high price tag attached to the present electric cars. I also believe the rate of development is faster now than it was before super computers. Who thought that a smartphone sold for $980 in 1996 would have improved features to those we have in the market today at lower prices? For electric cars, we haven’t even started yet.  I hope you will one day drive me in your super car sometimes in the near future.
    782 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • I have thought about starting my own blog on COP for a while now. However, I have remained adamantly ‘lazy’ resulting in the decision to start dragging for some time now. It only took the realization that I was losing some of my ‘soft skills’, therefore, urgently needed to do something. I am particularly thrilled with what is happening in the technological field especially on electromobility. I believe the technology is not mature as for now, but a lot of R&D is ongoing that will see it viable and cheap in the next few years. Most technologies in their early years were expensive and deemed as luxury for the rich. But after more research, they ended up being cheap and of even better quality that the initial products. It is essential to look into the path taken by these technologies and relate it with the developments made in electromobility. Take the case of smartphones. Did you know that development of smartphones started way back in the early 1990s? Yes, several companies tried their hands on developing a combined telephone and computer. One of the flagship devices was Apple’s tablet Apple Newton PDA or MessagePad that had handwriting recognition. After being launched in 1993 at a retail price of $700, the end users complained that it had inaccurate handwriting. The high price also meant only a few hundred thousand units were sold before it was removed from the market in 1998. However, a breakthrough was made by the same company through introduction of the iPad. Apart from Apple, Nokia tried its hand on smartphone and launched Nokia Communicator in 1996. The NOKIA 9000 Communicator was considered a convenient device because of combined phone and computer. It had 8MB of memory and 33MHz processor. The screen was black and white LCD with a ‘high resolution’ of 640 × 200 pixel – was the best at the time. Imagine those specifications and you had to part with $800 to have that device. Now that everyone loves selfies, I am obliged to check out the evolution of the digital camera before I move back to the issue of electromobility. You will be surprised that Logitech, not Nikon or Canon, made the first digital camera. Their flagship, Logitech Fotoman, retailed at $980 in 1993! And the specifications were ridiculous compared to what we have in the market today; 1MB of internal memory holding 32 shots only at a resolution of 320 × 240 pixel. Was there anything special? Yes, you could ‘save’ money on developing photos. However, you could not preview the photos without connecting to your computer. Looking at all those and many more technologies, you will agree with me that we have not yet seen the best in electric cars. Traditional car companies have continuously aimed at perfecting the internal combustion engine. However, the need to go green is pushing them out of their comfort zone. We do not know what will come of it, but I have no doubt that electromobility will overcome the present challenges in the near future. When it happens, do not be surprised to see more electric vehicles on the roads even in your village in Africa than those using fuel. The G7 countries have set 2025 as the year subsidies on fossil fuel will be fully eliminated. Looking closely at the trend, more companies are also coming up in a bid to outdo the traditional car manufacturing companies with regards to development of electric cars. When the technology becomes mature, we will only look back and laugh at the flaws and the high price tag attached to the present electric cars. I also believe the rate of development is faster now than it was before super computers. Who thought that a smartphone sold for $980 in 1996 would have improved features to those we have in the market today at lower prices? For electric cars, we haven’t even started yet.  I hope you will one day drive me in your super car sometimes in the near future.
    May 31, 2016 782
  • 14 Nov 2016
    It feels like forever since my last entry and I apologize, the cold weather seems to have gotten the best of me and the classes have been quite fast paced. However, none of this excuses my not writing because it is a commitment I take on very seriously and frankly one that I immensely enjoy. The last couple of weeks have been jam packed with activities at the institute and it is only now that things are settling down after the departure of the recently graduated students. It has also been exciting meeting and getting to know the new students and it has brought a few memories for me from about a year ago. When I first arrived in Algeria, it was nothing like I expected and I almost took the next flight home but I am glad I stayed. For a while I clung on to the familiar and refused to embrace the new but we always have to embrace change either for our betterment or detriment. If for nothing else PAUWES for me has signified self growth in confidence, self awareness and assurance of what I am really passionate about but it did not happen overnight. It is so easy to feel lost in the crowd especially because you are meeting people from different academic backgrounds and cultures. We may be tempted to compare ourselves to the next person but we should never lose our uniqueness and identity. No two snowflakes are alike. We have to believe that each of us has something to bring to the table, after all we were chosen as the best in Africa so why should we question our worth? Of course, we have the social butterflies, those who start conversations with ease and seem to have it all figured out but sometimes wisdom is found in the quiet. I am in a class of 8 intelligent friends and classmates. We have shared a classroom for over a year and that for us has created a bond that will transition into our next phase in life. When we arrived our comfort and identity was in our countries and where we come from but country is the last thing on our minds now. We have become borderless. It has been amazing to witness the changes that have taken in each of us. If at any time in the near future I was asked to select a team to work with, they would be it for me in a heartbeat. I know who to call if a project on irrigation, water management, climate change, policy analysis or transboundary water management was commissioned. However, these relationships were not built overnight and took time to develop and so will yours. What you have to do is nurture them and help each other harness the potential that is within each of you. Do not take this a competition but rather a journey that is more fruitful because you are accompanied by the very best. Some of you have expressed worry because they can still not define their areas of interest for research or feel they have no tangible networks. I am here to tell you to relax. In the course of the next year you will be exposed to different units and even a more diverse pool of professors. If you keep your eyes and ears open you will find your perfect fit. That area of interest that evokes passion in you and everyone knows you can provide insight on it. Please do not hide, let your opinion be heard and let no question go unasked. Keep in touch with your professors especially if they are in your field of interest, ask for recommendations and keep building your networks because I promise it pays in the end. While you are here, step out of your comfort zone, forget the stereotypes and open yourself to learning something new and making meaningful connections and friendships. I am no expert but merely speak from experience but I hope my two cents can make the journey a little easier and better for you. Cheers!
    751 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • It feels like forever since my last entry and I apologize, the cold weather seems to have gotten the best of me and the classes have been quite fast paced. However, none of this excuses my not writing because it is a commitment I take on very seriously and frankly one that I immensely enjoy. The last couple of weeks have been jam packed with activities at the institute and it is only now that things are settling down after the departure of the recently graduated students. It has also been exciting meeting and getting to know the new students and it has brought a few memories for me from about a year ago. When I first arrived in Algeria, it was nothing like I expected and I almost took the next flight home but I am glad I stayed. For a while I clung on to the familiar and refused to embrace the new but we always have to embrace change either for our betterment or detriment. If for nothing else PAUWES for me has signified self growth in confidence, self awareness and assurance of what I am really passionate about but it did not happen overnight. It is so easy to feel lost in the crowd especially because you are meeting people from different academic backgrounds and cultures. We may be tempted to compare ourselves to the next person but we should never lose our uniqueness and identity. No two snowflakes are alike. We have to believe that each of us has something to bring to the table, after all we were chosen as the best in Africa so why should we question our worth? Of course, we have the social butterflies, those who start conversations with ease and seem to have it all figured out but sometimes wisdom is found in the quiet. I am in a class of 8 intelligent friends and classmates. We have shared a classroom for over a year and that for us has created a bond that will transition into our next phase in life. When we arrived our comfort and identity was in our countries and where we come from but country is the last thing on our minds now. We have become borderless. It has been amazing to witness the changes that have taken in each of us. If at any time in the near future I was asked to select a team to work with, they would be it for me in a heartbeat. I know who to call if a project on irrigation, water management, climate change, policy analysis or transboundary water management was commissioned. However, these relationships were not built overnight and took time to develop and so will yours. What you have to do is nurture them and help each other harness the potential that is within each of you. Do not take this a competition but rather a journey that is more fruitful because you are accompanied by the very best. Some of you have expressed worry because they can still not define their areas of interest for research or feel they have no tangible networks. I am here to tell you to relax. In the course of the next year you will be exposed to different units and even a more diverse pool of professors. If you keep your eyes and ears open you will find your perfect fit. That area of interest that evokes passion in you and everyone knows you can provide insight on it. Please do not hide, let your opinion be heard and let no question go unasked. Keep in touch with your professors especially if they are in your field of interest, ask for recommendations and keep building your networks because I promise it pays in the end. While you are here, step out of your comfort zone, forget the stereotypes and open yourself to learning something new and making meaningful connections and friendships. I am no expert but merely speak from experience but I hope my two cents can make the journey a little easier and better for you. Cheers!
    Nov 14, 2016 751
  • 24 Oct 2016
    On October 21st the UN appointed wonder woman as an honorary ambassador for girls and women empowerment in support to sustainable development goal number 5 on her 75th birthday. Wonder woman is a fictional character found in American comic books and is based on the Amazons of Greek mythology. Her character revolves around ensuring justice and peace, key traits that prompted the appointment. Understandably, there was backlash notably from some UN staff on the decision to bestow the fictional character honorary status. We live in a world where women are faced with the pressure to conform to the world’s definition of beauty and success. Most of this pressure comes from daily bombardment from the media of what an ideal or perfect woman should be in their fictional and reality shows. So it begs the question why would an organization like the UN settle for a fictional character to mark girls and women empowerment? The UN has championed numerous initiatives around the world in women empowerment and in promoting gender equality and there are many success stories based on real life stories and not fictional characters. There are women and men both young and old putting their lives on the line to fight against cultural, political and social restrictions and beliefs in a bid to empower others. Why then would there be need to honor a fictional character when we have real life heroines living among us? An online petition was launched by some UN staff who protested the appointment. Their concern and I quote “ …A woman of impossible proportions, scantily dressed in a shimmery, thigh baring body suit with an American flag motif is not an appropriate spokeswoman for an international gender equity role.” However, the ceremony still went on in the presence of silent protestors. Some consider the appointment a mockery to the challenges faced by women around the world ranging from domestic violence, sexual violence, slavery, war, poverty and unequal distribution of resources among many others. On the other hand some view this protest as simply that of feminists pushing their agenda. In the past we have had fictional characters like Winnie the Pooh ambassador of friendship 1998 and Tinker Bell as the ambassador for green 2009 but they did not elicit such criticism.  The UN has come under fire on issues of gender equity and empowerment, this year it was thought the secretary general position would finally go to one of the qualified 7 women applicants. Like we all know the job went to Antonio Guterres from Portugal who is equally qualified. I am not for giving positions to women for the sake of gender equality so that we can pat our backs on how far we have come. Competence in any position is very vital whether it is occupied by a man or woman. That said I think we have come so far and achieved so much in empowerment of women to let a fictional character represent that milestone!
    748 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • On October 21st the UN appointed wonder woman as an honorary ambassador for girls and women empowerment in support to sustainable development goal number 5 on her 75th birthday. Wonder woman is a fictional character found in American comic books and is based on the Amazons of Greek mythology. Her character revolves around ensuring justice and peace, key traits that prompted the appointment. Understandably, there was backlash notably from some UN staff on the decision to bestow the fictional character honorary status. We live in a world where women are faced with the pressure to conform to the world’s definition of beauty and success. Most of this pressure comes from daily bombardment from the media of what an ideal or perfect woman should be in their fictional and reality shows. So it begs the question why would an organization like the UN settle for a fictional character to mark girls and women empowerment? The UN has championed numerous initiatives around the world in women empowerment and in promoting gender equality and there are many success stories based on real life stories and not fictional characters. There are women and men both young and old putting their lives on the line to fight against cultural, political and social restrictions and beliefs in a bid to empower others. Why then would there be need to honor a fictional character when we have real life heroines living among us? An online petition was launched by some UN staff who protested the appointment. Their concern and I quote “ …A woman of impossible proportions, scantily dressed in a shimmery, thigh baring body suit with an American flag motif is not an appropriate spokeswoman for an international gender equity role.” However, the ceremony still went on in the presence of silent protestors. Some consider the appointment a mockery to the challenges faced by women around the world ranging from domestic violence, sexual violence, slavery, war, poverty and unequal distribution of resources among many others. On the other hand some view this protest as simply that of feminists pushing their agenda. In the past we have had fictional characters like Winnie the Pooh ambassador of friendship 1998 and Tinker Bell as the ambassador for green 2009 but they did not elicit such criticism.  The UN has come under fire on issues of gender equity and empowerment, this year it was thought the secretary general position would finally go to one of the qualified 7 women applicants. Like we all know the job went to Antonio Guterres from Portugal who is equally qualified. I am not for giving positions to women for the sake of gender equality so that we can pat our backs on how far we have come. Competence in any position is very vital whether it is occupied by a man or woman. That said I think we have come so far and achieved so much in empowerment of women to let a fictional character represent that milestone!
    Oct 24, 2016 748
  • 22 Aug 2016
    My name is Muthoni daughter of Kimonye and the Agaciku clan. Lately, I have been thinking deeply about whom I am and my identity as my father’s daughter and by extension as part of my community. I belong to the “house of Mumbi” which makes me a Kikuyu. I am named from my mother’s side of the family and my name Muthoni is derived from the name uthoni meaning “the place my father took dowry to get a wife.” Ironically, it is only my father that uses this name in my family. The Kikuyu believe that we all came from Mumbi and Gikuyu. They had 10 daughters but it was considered bad omen to count all your children so they referred to them as “nine daughters full” When the nine daughters reached marriageable age, Gikuyu and Mumbi could not find husbands for them so they made a sacrifice to Ngai who they believed lived on top of Mount Kenya or Kirinyaga as it was referred to back then. In response Ngai sent nine very handsome men to Gikuyu and so a tribe was born. The Kikuyu tribe is very matriarchal and all the clans that exist are named after one of the daughters of Gikuyu and Mumbi. I learned all this in my lower primary classes but sadly I have forgotten most of it and frankly the older generation no longer speak of it. The blame does not lie with them entirely but with the younger generation as well who are no longer inquisitive about their own culture. See, the Kikuyu are known to be among the tribes that have almost completely abandoned their culture for westernization. We have still retained our culture in naming children and to some extent in carrying out the marriage ceremony. Our language has also evolved from one filled with proverbs and sayings into a much simpler plain language. Most times when I sit down with my elders I have to ask them to interpret some words because I have no clue what they mean and I assure you my case is not unique. Every tribe in Kenya and by extension Africa has a story that defines them and their culture. There may be similarities if they belong to the same family like the Bantu or Cushites and Nilotes but there is uniqueness in every one of them. The Kikuyu belong to the Bantu family and I always find it fascinating that I can understand some words spoken by other Bantu tribes from other African countries. Such uniqueness and likeness should be celebrated and passed from one generation to the other. Instead our differences in culture and religion have been mostly used to divide and cause harm to those thought to be different from us. Many people will tell you that the colonial period and the contact with the outside world is to blame for eroding our culture and beliefs. That may be true to some extent but I think we have not worked hard enough to retain our systems. In my culture, a child belonged to the clan and anyone could raise them. Young boys and girls went to their aunts and uncles to be taught the way of life and what their community expected of them. Disputes were settled by the elders of the clan and the grandfathers and mothers would pass on the cultural beliefs through story telling. We had our own religion but somehow we came to believe that what we believed in and practiced culturally was archaic and wrong. Staying true to who we are as a people does not mean we will live in isolation from the rest of the world. We have so much to offer and we should not allow outside influence to take that away from us. We owe it to ourselves and the future generations to stay true to who we are and keep our roots firmly in the ground. To ask the older generation questions until we figure out who we are and gain the confidence to share it with the rest of the world.
    734 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • My name is Muthoni daughter of Kimonye and the Agaciku clan. Lately, I have been thinking deeply about whom I am and my identity as my father’s daughter and by extension as part of my community. I belong to the “house of Mumbi” which makes me a Kikuyu. I am named from my mother’s side of the family and my name Muthoni is derived from the name uthoni meaning “the place my father took dowry to get a wife.” Ironically, it is only my father that uses this name in my family. The Kikuyu believe that we all came from Mumbi and Gikuyu. They had 10 daughters but it was considered bad omen to count all your children so they referred to them as “nine daughters full” When the nine daughters reached marriageable age, Gikuyu and Mumbi could not find husbands for them so they made a sacrifice to Ngai who they believed lived on top of Mount Kenya or Kirinyaga as it was referred to back then. In response Ngai sent nine very handsome men to Gikuyu and so a tribe was born. The Kikuyu tribe is very matriarchal and all the clans that exist are named after one of the daughters of Gikuyu and Mumbi. I learned all this in my lower primary classes but sadly I have forgotten most of it and frankly the older generation no longer speak of it. The blame does not lie with them entirely but with the younger generation as well who are no longer inquisitive about their own culture. See, the Kikuyu are known to be among the tribes that have almost completely abandoned their culture for westernization. We have still retained our culture in naming children and to some extent in carrying out the marriage ceremony. Our language has also evolved from one filled with proverbs and sayings into a much simpler plain language. Most times when I sit down with my elders I have to ask them to interpret some words because I have no clue what they mean and I assure you my case is not unique. Every tribe in Kenya and by extension Africa has a story that defines them and their culture. There may be similarities if they belong to the same family like the Bantu or Cushites and Nilotes but there is uniqueness in every one of them. The Kikuyu belong to the Bantu family and I always find it fascinating that I can understand some words spoken by other Bantu tribes from other African countries. Such uniqueness and likeness should be celebrated and passed from one generation to the other. Instead our differences in culture and religion have been mostly used to divide and cause harm to those thought to be different from us. Many people will tell you that the colonial period and the contact with the outside world is to blame for eroding our culture and beliefs. That may be true to some extent but I think we have not worked hard enough to retain our systems. In my culture, a child belonged to the clan and anyone could raise them. Young boys and girls went to their aunts and uncles to be taught the way of life and what their community expected of them. Disputes were settled by the elders of the clan and the grandfathers and mothers would pass on the cultural beliefs through story telling. We had our own religion but somehow we came to believe that what we believed in and practiced culturally was archaic and wrong. Staying true to who we are as a people does not mean we will live in isolation from the rest of the world. We have so much to offer and we should not allow outside influence to take that away from us. We owe it to ourselves and the future generations to stay true to who we are and keep our roots firmly in the ground. To ask the older generation questions until we figure out who we are and gain the confidence to share it with the rest of the world.
    Aug 22, 2016 734