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  • 15 Oct 2019
    Five students from the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (incl. Climate Change) (PAUWES), Water Track, namely, Claydon Mumba (Water Policy), Oludare Durodola (Water Engineering), Francess Awunor (Water Policy), Margaret Kironde (Water Policy) and Victo Nabunya (Water Engineering), emerged as the best team in Africa and third overall during the 2019 Geneva Challenge. The team presented a project on "Rural Water Filtration Kit" (RUWAFIKI), that seeks to provide water purification solutions for rural livelihoods in Africa using localized materials such as moringa, activated carbon, and filter papers. RUWAFIKI is a water treatment kit that comprises of crushed moringa seeds; saw dust and; filter papers. The kit also consists of other accessories including a funnel, stirring stick, latex gloves, and a user manual with visual instructions on how to use the kit. A proposed design of the kit has been made containing all accessories and dimensions. Their proposal explored the conditions of Makondo Parish in Uganda where they were going to pilot this equipment since the region faced lots of water-borne diseases challenges. They noted that RUWAFIKI was an innovative solution that would enable households in Makondo to filter collected water so as to remove pathogens, improve odor and colour and would thus result in a reduction of the burden of waterborne diseases in the area.The kit is portable, easy to use, and very affordable. The project will be implemented in Makondo in coorporation with various local and international partners. Various performance tools and indicators would be used to monitor and evaluate the performance of the project in Makondo. The project directly contributes to the achivement of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): No poverty; Good Health and Well-being and; Clean Water. The Geneva challenge is an international competition for graduate students that stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives. This competition was launched in 2014 by the Graduate Institute in Geneva. The Geneva Challenge was supported by the late Kofi Annan and is currently supported by Ambassador Jenö C.A. Staehelin. The idea of this challenge is for graduate students to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world. The 2019 edition asked graduate students to address the complex issues arising from global health and how to tackle these challenges in order to foster social and economic development.  346 teams composed of 1,364 graduate students from 101 different nationalities registered to take part in the Geneva Challenge 2019. 100 project entries were submitted by 410 students from teams hailing from all over the world, with 16 semi-finalists teams. This year, the external Jury Panel chose five finalist teams, one per continent. Team RUWAFIKI (Rural Water Filtration Kit) was selected as the Best African team and was fully sponsored to defend their project before the Jury on Tuesday, 1st October, 2019 at a public event held at the Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland.     You can watch as short video of the team here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=i7VjvClw3N0
    686 Posted by Brian Oduor
  • Five students from the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (incl. Climate Change) (PAUWES), Water Track, namely, Claydon Mumba (Water Policy), Oludare Durodola (Water Engineering), Francess Awunor (Water Policy), Margaret Kironde (Water Policy) and Victo Nabunya (Water Engineering), emerged as the best team in Africa and third overall during the 2019 Geneva Challenge. The team presented a project on "Rural Water Filtration Kit" (RUWAFIKI), that seeks to provide water purification solutions for rural livelihoods in Africa using localized materials such as moringa, activated carbon, and filter papers. RUWAFIKI is a water treatment kit that comprises of crushed moringa seeds; saw dust and; filter papers. The kit also consists of other accessories including a funnel, stirring stick, latex gloves, and a user manual with visual instructions on how to use the kit. A proposed design of the kit has been made containing all accessories and dimensions. Their proposal explored the conditions of Makondo Parish in Uganda where they were going to pilot this equipment since the region faced lots of water-borne diseases challenges. They noted that RUWAFIKI was an innovative solution that would enable households in Makondo to filter collected water so as to remove pathogens, improve odor and colour and would thus result in a reduction of the burden of waterborne diseases in the area.The kit is portable, easy to use, and very affordable. The project will be implemented in Makondo in coorporation with various local and international partners. Various performance tools and indicators would be used to monitor and evaluate the performance of the project in Makondo. The project directly contributes to the achivement of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): No poverty; Good Health and Well-being and; Clean Water. The Geneva challenge is an international competition for graduate students that stimulate reflection and innovation on development from diverse disciplinary and contextual perspectives. This competition was launched in 2014 by the Graduate Institute in Geneva. The Geneva Challenge was supported by the late Kofi Annan and is currently supported by Ambassador Jenö C.A. Staehelin. The idea of this challenge is for graduate students to gather contributions that are both theoretically grounded and offer pragmatic solutions to a relevant international development problem stemming from an interdisciplinary collaboration between three to five enrolled master students from anywhere in the world. The 2019 edition asked graduate students to address the complex issues arising from global health and how to tackle these challenges in order to foster social and economic development.  346 teams composed of 1,364 graduate students from 101 different nationalities registered to take part in the Geneva Challenge 2019. 100 project entries were submitted by 410 students from teams hailing from all over the world, with 16 semi-finalists teams. This year, the external Jury Panel chose five finalist teams, one per continent. Team RUWAFIKI (Rural Water Filtration Kit) was selected as the Best African team and was fully sponsored to defend their project before the Jury on Tuesday, 1st October, 2019 at a public event held at the Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland.     You can watch as short video of the team here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=i7VjvClw3N0
    Oct 15, 2019 686
  • 11 Jul 2016
    This is going to be a quick one mostly because I am worn out and it is almost time to board my flight. It is past midnight and as I sit here in the waiting lounge I am hit by memories of when we were all here together. I can almost hear the voices and see where each of us sat last time we were here. Good memories those are. There is always comfort travelling in numbers because you know you have something to fall back on. This time I am travelling alone and I am both excited and a bit anxious to be doing this. I always look at such trips as a challenge to get out of my social shell and expand my networks and build on my communication skills and explore. That said this trip has been a long time coming and I have learnt so much along the way I thought I should share some of the lessons; The most important lesson is surrounding yourself with positive people. I have to confess that there are times I wondered if all the effort was worth it but I have two very important positive ladies in my life that would not let me give up midway. We are all filled with doubt once in a while but when we surround ourselves with positive people who believe in us and our abilities we can feed off their positive energy until we believe it ourselves. We need to form strong friendships that not only feed our emotional needs but also those that push us to greatness. I also came to realize that most times we do not receive because we never ask. We are so scared of what people are going to think or the correctness of our questions that we end up missing great opportunities. There are so many people willing to help us and hold our hand that all we need to do is ask. Sometimes the answer will be no but eventually a resounding yes will come our way down the line. We have to be willing to take that risk though by making ourselves vulnerable and putting our pride aside and asking for help. We are living in an age where there is so much evil going on that sometimes we forget the human goodness that surround us. I have been a recipient of kindness these past few months and it has completely blown my mind. There are so many people who have gone out of their way, friends and strangers that without them all this could not have been possible. It is heartwarming to be on the receiving end of such acts and I hope I can pay it forward. I think we will never realize what is on offer unless we ask. We have to show consistency in our commitment and reach out to those who have used the road before us. Life is a give and take and it is beautiful when you get to walk it with likeminded people cheering you on.
    666 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • This is going to be a quick one mostly because I am worn out and it is almost time to board my flight. It is past midnight and as I sit here in the waiting lounge I am hit by memories of when we were all here together. I can almost hear the voices and see where each of us sat last time we were here. Good memories those are. There is always comfort travelling in numbers because you know you have something to fall back on. This time I am travelling alone and I am both excited and a bit anxious to be doing this. I always look at such trips as a challenge to get out of my social shell and expand my networks and build on my communication skills and explore. That said this trip has been a long time coming and I have learnt so much along the way I thought I should share some of the lessons; The most important lesson is surrounding yourself with positive people. I have to confess that there are times I wondered if all the effort was worth it but I have two very important positive ladies in my life that would not let me give up midway. We are all filled with doubt once in a while but when we surround ourselves with positive people who believe in us and our abilities we can feed off their positive energy until we believe it ourselves. We need to form strong friendships that not only feed our emotional needs but also those that push us to greatness. I also came to realize that most times we do not receive because we never ask. We are so scared of what people are going to think or the correctness of our questions that we end up missing great opportunities. There are so many people willing to help us and hold our hand that all we need to do is ask. Sometimes the answer will be no but eventually a resounding yes will come our way down the line. We have to be willing to take that risk though by making ourselves vulnerable and putting our pride aside and asking for help. We are living in an age where there is so much evil going on that sometimes we forget the human goodness that surround us. I have been a recipient of kindness these past few months and it has completely blown my mind. There are so many people who have gone out of their way, friends and strangers that without them all this could not have been possible. It is heartwarming to be on the receiving end of such acts and I hope I can pay it forward. I think we will never realize what is on offer unless we ask. We have to show consistency in our commitment and reach out to those who have used the road before us. Life is a give and take and it is beautiful when you get to walk it with likeminded people cheering you on.
    Jul 11, 2016 666
  • 09 Aug 2016
     A Case Study of Okavango Basin   According to the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) the Okavango River rises in the headwaters of the Cuito and Cubango-Okavango Rivers in the highland plateaus of Angola. The river is drained by Cubango (referred to as Kavango in Namibia and Okavango in Botswana), Cutato, Cuchi, Cuelei, Cuebe, Cueio, Cuatir, Luassinga, Longa, Cuiriri and Cuito Rivers and the Okavango Delta. Flowing from the Angola highlands the Cuito and Cubango Rivers meet to form the Cubango-Okavango along the border of Namibia Angola before flowing through the panhandle to into the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Current and future challenges While Okavango is one of the least ‘developed’ river basins in Africa, there is an increasing pressure to develop the basin’s resources (Nicol, 2003).The fact that Okavango is a shared water resource between Angola, Botswana and Namibia means that each country not only has to deal with internal water challenges but also with trans-boundary water challenges as well. In addition it is a Ramsar site with rich biodiversity which has attracted international concerns bringing in stakeholders beyond the riparian countries (Peter Ashton, Public involvement in water resource management within the Okavango River Basin, 2005). These current and future challenges are discussed below in detail: Population Dynamics: The present population in the basin is 921,890 and is projected to increase to 1.28 million people by 2025 with 62% living in Angola, 16% in Botswana and 22% in Namibia (Commission, 2011).  The increase in urbanization partly because of the high population growth all around the basin presents a new challenge in meeting the present and future demand for water and sanitation. For example the centre of Rundu in Namibia is growing at a rate of 2.5% compared with the growth of 1.5% per annum in the rural areas of Kavongo. In 2009-2010 the Kavongo region was subject to severe flooding which was attributed to the increased population in the floodplains in Caprivi and Kavango and development of infrastructure (rail, road) that interfered with the natural flow of the river. The Namibian and Botswana sectors of the Okavango catchment represent a relatively arid environment and most communities tend to be located close to the available water resources. This concentration of human activities in close proximity to the water resources of the Okavango River and the Okavango Delta represents a growing dependency on these resources and could represent a potential threat to the ecological integrity of these systems if resource exploitation patterns are not carefully balanced by resource protection (Ashton & Neal, 2003; Turton et al., 2003). Climate change: an analysis of projected climate change effects predicts a rise in the temperature and rainfall in the basin. Higher temperatures of 2.3°C-3°C will affect the Southern basin more than the North with increasing evaporation. There is also a projected rise in rainfall of 0-20% with the greatest effect on the North (Commission, 2011). During the dry season an increase in evaporation may exceed the inflow from the catchment causing drier conditions whereas there would be increased flooding during the wetter seasons downstream. This presents a current and future challenge for the riparian countries. A collaborative study by Sweden, South Africa and the UK showed that the flow of the river would decrease by 26% by 2100 under the A2 scenario and 17% under the B2 scenario. International interest on the river basin: Okavango River Basin is a Ramsar site and therefore attracts a lot of international interest. The interest from international groups in protecting the wetland conflicts with some of the development plans for the three states. For example Angola was not able to secure funding for a dam along the Okavango River because of the fact that it is a Ramsar site. Land use change: there is an increased demand for land for crops along the river basin from the Angolan highlands and with the projected population growth the demand will only increase. There are expansive agricultural irrigation activities in Angola (15,000 ha) and Namibia (338,000 ha) along the basin which translates into the use of fertilizers and pesticides posing the danger of eutrophication and surface and ground water contamination from the use of pesticides. There has been proof of decline in forest cover over the last 25 years which affects the hydrological regime of the basin. Livestock numbers are expected to increase substantially in Angola and Namibia leading to overgrazing and encroachment. This will result to higher levels of erosion resulting to siltation which affects the water quality for those who are downstream. This will result to higher levels of erosion resulting to siltation which affects the water quality for those who are downstream. Conflict in Angola: Following the signing of the peace accord in Angola between the Government of Angola and the leaders of National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in 4th April 2002 it is clear that the country needs to rehabilitate all its resources for economic growth after 30 years of civil war. In the pursuit of economic growth the Angola government will seek to develop the country’s hydropower capacity and agricultural irrigation schemes (Peter Ashton, Public involvement in water resource management within the Okavango River Basin, 2005) and increased urbanization and industrialization will also put more pressure on the water resource. This presents a problem for those living in the lower Okavango basin since it will mean construction of hydro dams, irrigation pipeline schemes and water treatment infrastructure will have to be laid out. The Angolan portion of the Okavango basin contains some of the most remote and sparsely populated portions of the country. However, this region was a UNITA stronghold and some of the most ferocious battles of the civil war were fought here. A large number of mines have been laid along all of the roads and encircling each urban centre, as well as along many parts of the border with Namibia and at all bridges and river crossing points. As a result, road travel and access to the towns in the catchment (Menongue, Longa, CuitoCanavale, Mavinga, Savata and Caiundo) is extremely dangerous and air transport to Menongue remains the most reliable means of access to the catchment (Dr Chris Brown, CEO: Namibia Nature Foundation, personal communication, 12 May 2003). The long civil conflict in Angola prevented the collection of data in the basin region and the participation of local communities concerning the utilization of the basin (Mbaiwa, 2004). This is contrary to Namibia and Botswana where stakeholder participation is encouraged. The lack of data availability from Angola makes it very hard for the riparian countries to coordinate their planning and management efforts of the Okavango basin. The prolonged period of war in Angola also means that communication systems are not developed compared to Namibia and Botswana. Communication challenge: The cultural, linguistic diversity of the communities living along the basin poses another challenge in data collection and carrying out of research. According to the Summer Institute of Linguistic 2002, there are 13 different indigenous languages as well as five official languages. This represents a challenge in communication and the ability to incorporate the different cultural beliefs in water resource management in the three basin states.  Poverty: Unequal distribution of wealth in the three countries is partly to blame for the poverty level along the basin and so is the remoteness of the basin area. The majority of those living along the basin rely on natural resources to meet their needs through fishing, agriculture, charcoal burning and livestock keeping all of which have an impact on the vegetation cover and consequently on the water quality. If the trend remains the same the pressure on natural resources in Angola will increase nearly by 50% and by about 25% in Namibia and Botswana (Commission, 2011). This will result into further degradation and loss of wetland and forest cover. Weak institutions: The establishment of the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) in 1994 as a coordinating organization that acts as the technical advisor to the three member states regarding conservation, development and use of water resources of mutual interest was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, OKACOM has no legal authority, suffers from inadequate financing and has no enforcement mechanisms and each country maintains full sovereignty over its water rights. The commission is therefore unable to fulfill its mandate. In conclusion, the trans-boundary development and management challenges faced in the Okavango River Basin are not unique to it but are reflected across Africa with other shared water resources. The three states need to come to a consensus on how the Okavango River Basin will be managed and allow OKACOM to carry out its mandate independently in order to sustainably and equitably achieve social and economic development without compromising the environment. Different stakeholders local, national, regional and international need to be fully involved in planning and management of the basin if any meaningful gains are to be made in the protection and management of this water resource.   Works Cited Commission, T. P. (2011). Cubango-Okavango River Basin Transbooundary Diagnostic Analysis. Botswana: OKACOM. Mbaiwa, J. E. (2004). Causes and possible solutions to water resource conflicts in theOkavango River Basin: The case of Angola, Namibia and Botswana. Elsevier ltd. Nicol, A. (2003). The dynamics of river basin cooperation:The Nile and Okavango basins. In A. W. International., Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development:Hydropolitical Drivers in the Okavango River Basin. Pretotia. OKACOM. (2016). Retrieved January 9, 2016, from http://www.okacom.org/knowing-the-river/okavango-countries Organizations, A. N. (2007). Source book On Africa's River Basin Organization. Kampala: Warner Consultants Limited. Peter Ashton, M. N. (2003). An overview of key strategic issues in the Okavango basin. Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development: Hydropolitical Drivers in the Okavango River Basin , 31-63. Peter Ashton, M. N. (2005). Public involvement in water resource management within the Okavango River Basin. In Public Participation in the Governance of International Freshwater Resources (pp. 169-198). Tokyo: United Nations University Press. Ruud Jansen, M. M. (2003). The Okavango Delta Management Plan project:The need for environmental partnership. In G. C. African Water Issue Research Unit, Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development: Hydropolitical drivers in the Okavango River Basin (pp. 141-166). Pretoria. Tlou, T. (1985). A history of Ngamiland:1750–1906 The Formation of an African State. Gaborone: Macmillan Publishing Company. Turton, A.R., P.J. Ashton and T.E. Cloete. (2003). “An introduction to the hydropolitical drivers in the Okavango River basin”, in A.R. Turton, P.J. Ashton and T.E. Cloete, eds, Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development: Hydropolitical Drivers in the Okavango River Basin, Geneva: Green Cross International, Pages 6-30.    
    661 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  •  A Case Study of Okavango Basin   According to the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) the Okavango River rises in the headwaters of the Cuito and Cubango-Okavango Rivers in the highland plateaus of Angola. The river is drained by Cubango (referred to as Kavango in Namibia and Okavango in Botswana), Cutato, Cuchi, Cuelei, Cuebe, Cueio, Cuatir, Luassinga, Longa, Cuiriri and Cuito Rivers and the Okavango Delta. Flowing from the Angola highlands the Cuito and Cubango Rivers meet to form the Cubango-Okavango along the border of Namibia Angola before flowing through the panhandle to into the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Current and future challenges While Okavango is one of the least ‘developed’ river basins in Africa, there is an increasing pressure to develop the basin’s resources (Nicol, 2003).The fact that Okavango is a shared water resource between Angola, Botswana and Namibia means that each country not only has to deal with internal water challenges but also with trans-boundary water challenges as well. In addition it is a Ramsar site with rich biodiversity which has attracted international concerns bringing in stakeholders beyond the riparian countries (Peter Ashton, Public involvement in water resource management within the Okavango River Basin, 2005). These current and future challenges are discussed below in detail: Population Dynamics: The present population in the basin is 921,890 and is projected to increase to 1.28 million people by 2025 with 62% living in Angola, 16% in Botswana and 22% in Namibia (Commission, 2011).  The increase in urbanization partly because of the high population growth all around the basin presents a new challenge in meeting the present and future demand for water and sanitation. For example the centre of Rundu in Namibia is growing at a rate of 2.5% compared with the growth of 1.5% per annum in the rural areas of Kavongo. In 2009-2010 the Kavongo region was subject to severe flooding which was attributed to the increased population in the floodplains in Caprivi and Kavango and development of infrastructure (rail, road) that interfered with the natural flow of the river. The Namibian and Botswana sectors of the Okavango catchment represent a relatively arid environment and most communities tend to be located close to the available water resources. This concentration of human activities in close proximity to the water resources of the Okavango River and the Okavango Delta represents a growing dependency on these resources and could represent a potential threat to the ecological integrity of these systems if resource exploitation patterns are not carefully balanced by resource protection (Ashton & Neal, 2003; Turton et al., 2003). Climate change: an analysis of projected climate change effects predicts a rise in the temperature and rainfall in the basin. Higher temperatures of 2.3°C-3°C will affect the Southern basin more than the North with increasing evaporation. There is also a projected rise in rainfall of 0-20% with the greatest effect on the North (Commission, 2011). During the dry season an increase in evaporation may exceed the inflow from the catchment causing drier conditions whereas there would be increased flooding during the wetter seasons downstream. This presents a current and future challenge for the riparian countries. A collaborative study by Sweden, South Africa and the UK showed that the flow of the river would decrease by 26% by 2100 under the A2 scenario and 17% under the B2 scenario. International interest on the river basin: Okavango River Basin is a Ramsar site and therefore attracts a lot of international interest. The interest from international groups in protecting the wetland conflicts with some of the development plans for the three states. For example Angola was not able to secure funding for a dam along the Okavango River because of the fact that it is a Ramsar site. Land use change: there is an increased demand for land for crops along the river basin from the Angolan highlands and with the projected population growth the demand will only increase. There are expansive agricultural irrigation activities in Angola (15,000 ha) and Namibia (338,000 ha) along the basin which translates into the use of fertilizers and pesticides posing the danger of eutrophication and surface and ground water contamination from the use of pesticides. There has been proof of decline in forest cover over the last 25 years which affects the hydrological regime of the basin. Livestock numbers are expected to increase substantially in Angola and Namibia leading to overgrazing and encroachment. This will result to higher levels of erosion resulting to siltation which affects the water quality for those who are downstream. This will result to higher levels of erosion resulting to siltation which affects the water quality for those who are downstream. Conflict in Angola: Following the signing of the peace accord in Angola between the Government of Angola and the leaders of National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) in 4th April 2002 it is clear that the country needs to rehabilitate all its resources for economic growth after 30 years of civil war. In the pursuit of economic growth the Angola government will seek to develop the country’s hydropower capacity and agricultural irrigation schemes (Peter Ashton, Public involvement in water resource management within the Okavango River Basin, 2005) and increased urbanization and industrialization will also put more pressure on the water resource. This presents a problem for those living in the lower Okavango basin since it will mean construction of hydro dams, irrigation pipeline schemes and water treatment infrastructure will have to be laid out. The Angolan portion of the Okavango basin contains some of the most remote and sparsely populated portions of the country. However, this region was a UNITA stronghold and some of the most ferocious battles of the civil war were fought here. A large number of mines have been laid along all of the roads and encircling each urban centre, as well as along many parts of the border with Namibia and at all bridges and river crossing points. As a result, road travel and access to the towns in the catchment (Menongue, Longa, CuitoCanavale, Mavinga, Savata and Caiundo) is extremely dangerous and air transport to Menongue remains the most reliable means of access to the catchment (Dr Chris Brown, CEO: Namibia Nature Foundation, personal communication, 12 May 2003). The long civil conflict in Angola prevented the collection of data in the basin region and the participation of local communities concerning the utilization of the basin (Mbaiwa, 2004). This is contrary to Namibia and Botswana where stakeholder participation is encouraged. The lack of data availability from Angola makes it very hard for the riparian countries to coordinate their planning and management efforts of the Okavango basin. The prolonged period of war in Angola also means that communication systems are not developed compared to Namibia and Botswana. Communication challenge: The cultural, linguistic diversity of the communities living along the basin poses another challenge in data collection and carrying out of research. According to the Summer Institute of Linguistic 2002, there are 13 different indigenous languages as well as five official languages. This represents a challenge in communication and the ability to incorporate the different cultural beliefs in water resource management in the three basin states.  Poverty: Unequal distribution of wealth in the three countries is partly to blame for the poverty level along the basin and so is the remoteness of the basin area. The majority of those living along the basin rely on natural resources to meet their needs through fishing, agriculture, charcoal burning and livestock keeping all of which have an impact on the vegetation cover and consequently on the water quality. If the trend remains the same the pressure on natural resources in Angola will increase nearly by 50% and by about 25% in Namibia and Botswana (Commission, 2011). This will result into further degradation and loss of wetland and forest cover. Weak institutions: The establishment of the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM) in 1994 as a coordinating organization that acts as the technical advisor to the three member states regarding conservation, development and use of water resources of mutual interest was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, OKACOM has no legal authority, suffers from inadequate financing and has no enforcement mechanisms and each country maintains full sovereignty over its water rights. The commission is therefore unable to fulfill its mandate. In conclusion, the trans-boundary development and management challenges faced in the Okavango River Basin are not unique to it but are reflected across Africa with other shared water resources. The three states need to come to a consensus on how the Okavango River Basin will be managed and allow OKACOM to carry out its mandate independently in order to sustainably and equitably achieve social and economic development without compromising the environment. Different stakeholders local, national, regional and international need to be fully involved in planning and management of the basin if any meaningful gains are to be made in the protection and management of this water resource.   Works Cited Commission, T. P. (2011). Cubango-Okavango River Basin Transbooundary Diagnostic Analysis. Botswana: OKACOM. Mbaiwa, J. E. (2004). Causes and possible solutions to water resource conflicts in theOkavango River Basin: The case of Angola, Namibia and Botswana. Elsevier ltd. Nicol, A. (2003). The dynamics of river basin cooperation:The Nile and Okavango basins. In A. W. International., Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development:Hydropolitical Drivers in the Okavango River Basin. Pretotia. OKACOM. (2016). Retrieved January 9, 2016, from http://www.okacom.org/knowing-the-river/okavango-countries Organizations, A. N. (2007). Source book On Africa's River Basin Organization. Kampala: Warner Consultants Limited. Peter Ashton, M. N. (2003). An overview of key strategic issues in the Okavango basin. Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development: Hydropolitical Drivers in the Okavango River Basin , 31-63. Peter Ashton, M. N. (2005). Public involvement in water resource management within the Okavango River Basin. In Public Participation in the Governance of International Freshwater Resources (pp. 169-198). Tokyo: United Nations University Press. Ruud Jansen, M. M. (2003). The Okavango Delta Management Plan project:The need for environmental partnership. In G. C. African Water Issue Research Unit, Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development: Hydropolitical drivers in the Okavango River Basin (pp. 141-166). Pretoria. Tlou, T. (1985). A history of Ngamiland:1750–1906 The Formation of an African State. Gaborone: Macmillan Publishing Company. Turton, A.R., P.J. Ashton and T.E. Cloete. (2003). “An introduction to the hydropolitical drivers in the Okavango River basin”, in A.R. Turton, P.J. Ashton and T.E. Cloete, eds, Transboundary Rivers, Sovereignty and Development: Hydropolitical Drivers in the Okavango River Basin, Geneva: Green Cross International, Pages 6-30.    
    Aug 09, 2016 661
  • 06 Jun 2016
    If I was a New York Times blogger or Washington Post (I am allowed to dream) I think my editor would have had my head by now. I have a habit of writing my blogs at the last minute because funny enough that is when inspiration seems to strike me or that is when I can no longer stew on a topic and I have to write it down. You may ask why I continue to write if the pressure to deliver is so high but writing my weekly entries has taught me how to honor commitment and frankly I enjoy penning my thoughts down but I digress. A few days ago we were enjoying a few drinks with some of our colleagues and we discussed a lot of issues and cultural food was one of them. I came to realize that Cameroon and specifically the Bamileke have very diverse dishes to choose from, be it from the meat, vegetables and the roots. To be honest I was a bit jealous because my tribe (Kikuyu) is known for many things but diversity in their cuisine is not one of them.   Our discussion got me thinking about the food crisis that continues to face our world. According to the World Food Program 795-216 million people are undernourished and do not get enough food to lead a healthy and active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to human health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The report goes on to list the main causes of hunger as conflict, natural disasters, poverty and poor agricultural practices and over exploitation of resources.  Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world at 23.3% or almost one in every four people.   In Kenya an estimated 1.6 million people are considered food insecure with global rates of acute malnutrition is between 24-37% which is beyond the 15% emergency threshold provided by the World Health Organization. I cannot count how many times Kenyan citizens have come together under the umbrella of Red Cross to mobilize funds to feed the hungry in the Northern part of the country which is majorly an arid and semi-arid zone. Sadly, this has only served as a short term relief measure and a long term solution is yet to be fully implemented. Hence, in every few years the country is caught off guard and we end up losing lives and sources of income especially for the pastoralist communities.    On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), goal number two is to end hunger which is closely tied to goal number one which is to end poverty. The target is to ensure access by all people to safe nutritious food all year round by 2030. Governments hope to achieve this by doubling the agricultural productivity, ensuring secure and equal access to land, implementing resilient agricultural practices that will increase productivity and production and maintaining genetic diversity of seeds, plants, domestic animals among others like political reforms.    I think it is a shame that with all the advancements humans have made in the 21st Century feeding themselves sufficiently remains a big challenge. What I think should be on this list as well are communities adopting new food sources that are not traditionally considered as culturally acceptable. It is sad to have people die out of hunger when food surrounds them only because the said food is not acceptable in their culture. If we are to beat world hunger and especially in Africa we will have to think outside the box. We need to start considering other sources of food even as we implement other actions. Bugs like crickets, termites, beetles, and caterpillars are sources of food in parts of Central and West Africa and we could look into investing in breeding them and supplying our markets. I do not know how many of us me included would consider frogs, snakes or bats as delicacies without gagging but the truth of the matter is there are people who have been eating them for years and they are well and breathing so we shouldn’t be any different. The vision we have for 2030 does not have to seem like an unreachable goal but we can slowly work towards achieving it through gradual lifestyle and social changes.  
    654 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • If I was a New York Times blogger or Washington Post (I am allowed to dream) I think my editor would have had my head by now. I have a habit of writing my blogs at the last minute because funny enough that is when inspiration seems to strike me or that is when I can no longer stew on a topic and I have to write it down. You may ask why I continue to write if the pressure to deliver is so high but writing my weekly entries has taught me how to honor commitment and frankly I enjoy penning my thoughts down but I digress. A few days ago we were enjoying a few drinks with some of our colleagues and we discussed a lot of issues and cultural food was one of them. I came to realize that Cameroon and specifically the Bamileke have very diverse dishes to choose from, be it from the meat, vegetables and the roots. To be honest I was a bit jealous because my tribe (Kikuyu) is known for many things but diversity in their cuisine is not one of them.   Our discussion got me thinking about the food crisis that continues to face our world. According to the World Food Program 795-216 million people are undernourished and do not get enough food to lead a healthy and active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to human health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The report goes on to list the main causes of hunger as conflict, natural disasters, poverty and poor agricultural practices and over exploitation of resources.  Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world at 23.3% or almost one in every four people.   In Kenya an estimated 1.6 million people are considered food insecure with global rates of acute malnutrition is between 24-37% which is beyond the 15% emergency threshold provided by the World Health Organization. I cannot count how many times Kenyan citizens have come together under the umbrella of Red Cross to mobilize funds to feed the hungry in the Northern part of the country which is majorly an arid and semi-arid zone. Sadly, this has only served as a short term relief measure and a long term solution is yet to be fully implemented. Hence, in every few years the country is caught off guard and we end up losing lives and sources of income especially for the pastoralist communities.    On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), goal number two is to end hunger which is closely tied to goal number one which is to end poverty. The target is to ensure access by all people to safe nutritious food all year round by 2030. Governments hope to achieve this by doubling the agricultural productivity, ensuring secure and equal access to land, implementing resilient agricultural practices that will increase productivity and production and maintaining genetic diversity of seeds, plants, domestic animals among others like political reforms.    I think it is a shame that with all the advancements humans have made in the 21st Century feeding themselves sufficiently remains a big challenge. What I think should be on this list as well are communities adopting new food sources that are not traditionally considered as culturally acceptable. It is sad to have people die out of hunger when food surrounds them only because the said food is not acceptable in their culture. If we are to beat world hunger and especially in Africa we will have to think outside the box. We need to start considering other sources of food even as we implement other actions. Bugs like crickets, termites, beetles, and caterpillars are sources of food in parts of Central and West Africa and we could look into investing in breeding them and supplying our markets. I do not know how many of us me included would consider frogs, snakes or bats as delicacies without gagging but the truth of the matter is there are people who have been eating them for years and they are well and breathing so we shouldn’t be any different. The vision we have for 2030 does not have to seem like an unreachable goal but we can slowly work towards achieving it through gradual lifestyle and social changes.  
    Jun 06, 2016 654
  • 17 Jul 2016
    There are some things I remember growing up and I look back and smile fondly. I remember the good times and the not so good but there are some memories that have stayed with me. They have marked me and made me to the woman I am today. My father made sure we had everything we needed growing up and one of those things was an education. We had this great wall TV that was black and white (I never said I am young) and we spent every possible minute watching the one channel that would broadcast back then. My father however, saw it as his parental duty to regulate the amount of time we watched TV or videos (anyone remember the VCL’s?). I can still hear his voice in my head telling me he did not buy that TV for our entertainment but he wanted us to see what those who had gone through school had achieved and the possibilities we could have if we took our class work more seriously. These memories have been replaying in my mind more after I read the book “I am Malala”. It is a great read and one I can highly recommend. As you all know Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistan female education activist who became the youngest winner of the Nobel Prize in 2014. In 2012 the Taliban tried to kill her leaving her gravely wounded for standing up for the rights of children especially girls to go to school at a time when the Taliban were reigning havoc in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She had so much against her quest for an education I am surprised she didn’t just quit. Reading the story you understand where her unwavering strength comes from; a mother who dropped out of school and was determined her daughter would not do the same and a father who turned a deaf ear to cultural beliefs and practices to make sure his little girl got an education even when his life was threatened.  Education is a basic human need, one to which every child regardless of gender, culture or religion is entitled to. The highest level of illiteracy in the world is found…wait for it…in Africa. Big surprise there, NOT! Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 47% of out of school children worldwide with 57% of those children being girls. I could go on and give you the stark statistics in countries like Niger where the literacy level is at 19.1 %, Guinea 30.4% or South Sudan at 31.9%. I will also recognize the progress made by countries like Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda among others where the literacy level is above 70% but we are barely hanging in there quality wise. So how are we supposed to compete with the rest of the world when we have such a reality on the ground? The African child is faced with many challenges right form birth especially if they are born in the rural areas. I do not know why our ancestors thought the only job a woman could do was get married, bear children and take care of her husband. Who am I to say it was not working for them back then but it is clearly a custom whose time has passed. Today girls across Africa are forced out of school for early marriages or if the family cannot acquire school fees for all its children then the boy is given priority. Civil war or political unrest has seen many schools razed down and families flee to seek safety. Our governments have let us down and we have no one to blame apart from ourselves. We continue to watch from the sidelines as they squander the future of the next generations and by extension this continent. They continue to line their pockets with money meant for education and meanwhile the school infrastructure is falling apart, books available are outdated and the teachers are among the most poorly paid in the world. No wonder private schools are thriving but what happens to the 42% of the population living below the poverty line? To be honest I do not have answers to all these questions. I do not know what to do to ensure that every child has access to quality education. May be what we need is a political, social and cultural overhaul in order to have a clear plan on how to secure the future of our children. Sure there are other paths to follow in life like sports, arts, music and so on but education offers a fall back plan. It is a security cushion. I believe with all my heart that the greatest gift a parent could give their children is an education.
    651 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • There are some things I remember growing up and I look back and smile fondly. I remember the good times and the not so good but there are some memories that have stayed with me. They have marked me and made me to the woman I am today. My father made sure we had everything we needed growing up and one of those things was an education. We had this great wall TV that was black and white (I never said I am young) and we spent every possible minute watching the one channel that would broadcast back then. My father however, saw it as his parental duty to regulate the amount of time we watched TV or videos (anyone remember the VCL’s?). I can still hear his voice in my head telling me he did not buy that TV for our entertainment but he wanted us to see what those who had gone through school had achieved and the possibilities we could have if we took our class work more seriously. These memories have been replaying in my mind more after I read the book “I am Malala”. It is a great read and one I can highly recommend. As you all know Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistan female education activist who became the youngest winner of the Nobel Prize in 2014. In 2012 the Taliban tried to kill her leaving her gravely wounded for standing up for the rights of children especially girls to go to school at a time when the Taliban were reigning havoc in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She had so much against her quest for an education I am surprised she didn’t just quit. Reading the story you understand where her unwavering strength comes from; a mother who dropped out of school and was determined her daughter would not do the same and a father who turned a deaf ear to cultural beliefs and practices to make sure his little girl got an education even when his life was threatened.  Education is a basic human need, one to which every child regardless of gender, culture or religion is entitled to. The highest level of illiteracy in the world is found…wait for it…in Africa. Big surprise there, NOT! Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 47% of out of school children worldwide with 57% of those children being girls. I could go on and give you the stark statistics in countries like Niger where the literacy level is at 19.1 %, Guinea 30.4% or South Sudan at 31.9%. I will also recognize the progress made by countries like Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda among others where the literacy level is above 70% but we are barely hanging in there quality wise. So how are we supposed to compete with the rest of the world when we have such a reality on the ground? The African child is faced with many challenges right form birth especially if they are born in the rural areas. I do not know why our ancestors thought the only job a woman could do was get married, bear children and take care of her husband. Who am I to say it was not working for them back then but it is clearly a custom whose time has passed. Today girls across Africa are forced out of school for early marriages or if the family cannot acquire school fees for all its children then the boy is given priority. Civil war or political unrest has seen many schools razed down and families flee to seek safety. Our governments have let us down and we have no one to blame apart from ourselves. We continue to watch from the sidelines as they squander the future of the next generations and by extension this continent. They continue to line their pockets with money meant for education and meanwhile the school infrastructure is falling apart, books available are outdated and the teachers are among the most poorly paid in the world. No wonder private schools are thriving but what happens to the 42% of the population living below the poverty line? To be honest I do not have answers to all these questions. I do not know what to do to ensure that every child has access to quality education. May be what we need is a political, social and cultural overhaul in order to have a clear plan on how to secure the future of our children. Sure there are other paths to follow in life like sports, arts, music and so on but education offers a fall back plan. It is a security cushion. I believe with all my heart that the greatest gift a parent could give their children is an education.
    Jul 17, 2016 651
  • 22 Apr 2016
    The event started with introductory speeches from the different dignitaries including the PAUWES director, Professor Abdelatif Zerga. The main points that were mentioned in the speeches included energy issues in Africa, how researchers can establish strong links with the private sector and sustainability of energy projects through capacity building. It was an intriguing session, as speakers went on to give their unbiased views about energy issues in Africa pointing out their experiences in the different African countries. It got more interesting when the representatives from the private sector started challenging researchers. They were alleging that researchers do a lot of research that never materialize yet the private sector is interested in lucrative opportunities. “Private companies are not donor agencies” said Ms. Kagina after researchers were talking about insufficient and hard to get funding from the Private sector. She stressed further that, researchers focus a lot on paper publishing other than money making. "What’s research without publishing papers?”, asked one researcher. The discussion continued along the line of finding a holistic and common ground where research not only enriches knowledge of researchers but also directly impact on people’s lives on ground. In this way, the funding can be easy to win.Session 2 This session was fully packed with educative presentations from the different researchers that had attended the symposium. Among the presentations was one for a sizing analysis of a Linear Fresnel Solar. A Linear Fresnel solar is a solar technology that involves the use of mirrors (reflectors) known as Fresnel to focus the irradiations from the sun onto a fixed absorber located at a common focal point of the reflectors. These mirrors are capable of concentrating the sun’s energy to approximately 30 times its normal intensity. In the presentation, the researcher stated that four locations were considered namely; Hassi R'mel, Tamanrasset, Beni-Abbes, and El Oued, all in Algeria. It was found out that performance calculations hence sizing, varies from site to site with the Direct Normal Radiation (DNI). The presentation that followed was about thermodynamic modelling of thermal energy storage systems. In this, a methodology for comparing thermal energy storage technologies to electrochemical, chemical and mechanical energy storage technologies was presented. “The underlying physics of this model is hinged on the development of a round trip efficiency formulation for these systems”, stated the researcher. He added, “The charging and discharging processes of compressed air energy storage, flywheel energy storage, fuel cells, and batteries are well understood and defined from a physics standpoint in the context of comparing these systems. However, the challenge lays in comparing the charging process of these systems with the charging process of thermal energy storage systems for concentrating solar power plants (CSP).” The rationale behind the presenter’s analysis was to develop an electrical storage efficiency for molten salt thermal energy storage systems, such that it can be compared to battery energy storage technologies in the context of comparing CSP with thermal energy storage to solar photovoltaic with battery storage from a utility scale perspective. The results from the modelling using Andasol 3 CSP plant as a case study yielded a storage efficiency of 86% and LCOE of $216/ MWh. With these findings he anticipated that a thermal energy storage roadmap for the future generation will be facilitated. The 3rd presentation was about analyzing the best algorithm for a Heliostat Field Layout. A heliostat is a device that includes a mirror, usually a plane mirror, which turns so as to keep reflecting sunlight toward a predetermined target thereby compensating the sun’s apparent motions in the sky. The presenter showed the different state of art Heliostat field layout arrangements and the amount of radiation they can capture. The experiment was carried out using a simulation software. The results of the simulation indicated that all the analyzed layout generation algorithms give approximately similar solar field efficiencies when compared for the considered scenarios once they are optimized. More events followed on the different days, a series of highlights will be posted under this heading. @Editorial_team
    649 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • The event started with introductory speeches from the different dignitaries including the PAUWES director, Professor Abdelatif Zerga. The main points that were mentioned in the speeches included energy issues in Africa, how researchers can establish strong links with the private sector and sustainability of energy projects through capacity building. It was an intriguing session, as speakers went on to give their unbiased views about energy issues in Africa pointing out their experiences in the different African countries. It got more interesting when the representatives from the private sector started challenging researchers. They were alleging that researchers do a lot of research that never materialize yet the private sector is interested in lucrative opportunities. “Private companies are not donor agencies” said Ms. Kagina after researchers were talking about insufficient and hard to get funding from the Private sector. She stressed further that, researchers focus a lot on paper publishing other than money making. "What’s research without publishing papers?”, asked one researcher. The discussion continued along the line of finding a holistic and common ground where research not only enriches knowledge of researchers but also directly impact on people’s lives on ground. In this way, the funding can be easy to win.Session 2 This session was fully packed with educative presentations from the different researchers that had attended the symposium. Among the presentations was one for a sizing analysis of a Linear Fresnel Solar. A Linear Fresnel solar is a solar technology that involves the use of mirrors (reflectors) known as Fresnel to focus the irradiations from the sun onto a fixed absorber located at a common focal point of the reflectors. These mirrors are capable of concentrating the sun’s energy to approximately 30 times its normal intensity. In the presentation, the researcher stated that four locations were considered namely; Hassi R'mel, Tamanrasset, Beni-Abbes, and El Oued, all in Algeria. It was found out that performance calculations hence sizing, varies from site to site with the Direct Normal Radiation (DNI). The presentation that followed was about thermodynamic modelling of thermal energy storage systems. In this, a methodology for comparing thermal energy storage technologies to electrochemical, chemical and mechanical energy storage technologies was presented. “The underlying physics of this model is hinged on the development of a round trip efficiency formulation for these systems”, stated the researcher. He added, “The charging and discharging processes of compressed air energy storage, flywheel energy storage, fuel cells, and batteries are well understood and defined from a physics standpoint in the context of comparing these systems. However, the challenge lays in comparing the charging process of these systems with the charging process of thermal energy storage systems for concentrating solar power plants (CSP).” The rationale behind the presenter’s analysis was to develop an electrical storage efficiency for molten salt thermal energy storage systems, such that it can be compared to battery energy storage technologies in the context of comparing CSP with thermal energy storage to solar photovoltaic with battery storage from a utility scale perspective. The results from the modelling using Andasol 3 CSP plant as a case study yielded a storage efficiency of 86% and LCOE of $216/ MWh. With these findings he anticipated that a thermal energy storage roadmap for the future generation will be facilitated. The 3rd presentation was about analyzing the best algorithm for a Heliostat Field Layout. A heliostat is a device that includes a mirror, usually a plane mirror, which turns so as to keep reflecting sunlight toward a predetermined target thereby compensating the sun’s apparent motions in the sky. The presenter showed the different state of art Heliostat field layout arrangements and the amount of radiation they can capture. The experiment was carried out using a simulation software. The results of the simulation indicated that all the analyzed layout generation algorithms give approximately similar solar field efficiencies when compared for the considered scenarios once they are optimized. More events followed on the different days, a series of highlights will be posted under this heading. @Editorial_team
    Apr 22, 2016 649
  • 01 Jun 2016
    Human beings have a tendency of misusing resources when they are available in abundance but is it a culture? Have you ever had something and you ended up misusing it just because you knew you had it in plenty? Let me go deeper and ask, have you ever mistreated someone just because you thought they would never leave? It is unfortunately human nature to do so. Just look around and see the way people utilize resources. Look at how some leader’s abuse funds to how some companies mistreat interns/entry level employees by overworking while underpaying them. Let’s hit close to home and look at our daily habits. Every human has that one habit of misusing something just because they have it in abundance, be it adding an extra tea spoon of sugar just because you can afford to buy another packet, impulse buying accessories just because you can afford them or leaving the water tap running while you brush your teeth. Is it beginning to make sense and have you ever wondered why? Well for the better part of my youth, I didn’t bother to ask myself why. Resources were willingly and readily provided by my parents, whom I really appreciate and respect for doing so. This attitude however changed when I cleared my high school. In my culture, once you went through your rights of passage, you were expected to fend for yourself. Luckily shelter and food were provided but other expenses, such as leisure activities, be it going out with my palls to buying airtime, I had to sort myself. This meant that the little I made from my small hustle had to be utilized efficiently because I didn’t know when I would get my next pay. Being young, all out to have fun and fact that I was born and raised in the city of Nairobi, Kenya where without money one cannot “survive” meant that I had to come up with innovative ways to make money. It became a case of necessity being the mother of all invention. Fast forward to university and post university: I consider myself blessed to have done my industrial attachments, internships and gained some work experience as an engineer in multinational FCMG industries where I saw the impact of efficiency first hand on a personal, company and economic level. On a personal level, efficiency was important in terms of proper time management. On a company level, I happen to have been involved in some projects that improved on both energy and systems efficiency, subsequently seeing the company’s operation costs reduce by a significant percentage resulting to higher profit margins. On an economic level, well, it is obvious to state that the higher the profit margin, the higher the plough back which led to increased employment opportunities due to the expansion of the industry and higher direct tax paid to the government. So this brings me to the question, could our poor emphasis on efficient use of resources be one of the many reasons why Africa is still lagging behind in terms of clean energy access? I believe that this is definitely one of the reasons. Look at it from this point of view – Kenya, my homeland, has a Vision 2022 to increase electricity generation to over 5,000MW mostly from renewables. So as to achieve this target, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum comes up with a budget annually. In this budget we find allocations in expanding both the electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Well that’s awesome because it is evident that there is a strong correlation between clean energy access i.e. electricity and better quality of life. But here is the issue - currently, it is approximated that the loss of energy through waste and inefficiency ranges between 10%-30% of primary energy input across all the sectors in the country. If we consider that there is currently a total installed capacity of 2,295 MW, it would mean that 230MW-690MW is lost due to inefficiency across the distribution and utilization system. This is sad because if Kenya was more energy efficient, we would save on the capital intensive electricity generation infrastructure required to generate a similar capacity and divert the capital to more wanting sectors like the health sector. It will be even sadder if Kenya continues with this inefficiency trend while working towards the 5000MW target. Just to add insult to injury, according to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya’s industrial sector has an energy saving potential of US$ 20 Million annually. This means that the US$ 20M is literally going down the drain. I’m sure if Kenya were to attain proper efficiencies, such kind of money could be enough to set up a new processing industry every year and create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. So how can we promote this culture of using energy efficiently so as to improve on sustainability? Well, there are many ways to tackle this bad habit of inefficiency. One can take a zoomed out system approach and figure out why this inefficiency culture exists. For my argument, I choose to take a human use (demand side management) approach because I believe that in any system, a change in human behavior is the basic foundation for any logical change. In other words, if I may use computer science terms, humans are the ones who control whether it will be ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ or ‘Gold In, Gold Out’. Step one is change from within. There is a saying I once read that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Well look at energy efficiency as an opportunity to conserve the scarce resource so that one more person can have the opportunity to be connected to the National Grid. If you are more money minded like I am, take this as an opportunity to reduce on your utilities bills. Second step is to pass this habit of efficiency to the people around you by being an efficiency ambassador. You can throw in a few sensitization posters and meetings but the most effective way that has been proven to work, is through action. Actions speak louder than words. Through simple actions such as shutting off a dripping tap, switching off a light on a well-lit day while in the company of people or even offering to car pool to and from work with colleagues, you will make them realize that they are wasteful and that it’s their personal responsibility to ensure that resources are used efficiently. Sooner or later, through such continuous efforts the habit of conservation and efficiency will rub off on them. Third step is to incorporate energy efficiency technologies in your day to day operations. This is a way of handling the old dogs who cannot be taught new tricks. There are those around you who will, either willingly or unwillingly, not take up this energy efficiency habit. One will therefore have to find a way to conserve and efficiently use the energy either way. Approaches that can be used for such cases include installation of LED lighting, use of photocell sensors to turn on lights only when it is dark, motion and occupancy sensors to put on lights only when someone is in the room and push taps to dispense water for a specified time interval. If you are in a work place setting, encourage the management to adapt the building to be more energy efficient by taking advantage of natural resources for ventilation and lighting, solar lighting and heating. In an industrial setting, encourage the use of more efficient boilers, premium efficiency motors, and use of common means of transportation i.e. Staff bus instead of personal cars. This will definitely involve some high initial costs but the payback will be worth it due to savings made. Consequent steps will involve continuous improvement. Just like my secondary school teacher once told me, always ensure you are better than your previous assignment. Make sure you don’t give up and keep pushing to ensure energy efficiency around you is realized. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Be bold enough to make the world a better place by embracing efficiency as a first step in ensuring sustainable living.
    646 Posted by Amon Kevin Gachuri
  • Human beings have a tendency of misusing resources when they are available in abundance but is it a culture? Have you ever had something and you ended up misusing it just because you knew you had it in plenty? Let me go deeper and ask, have you ever mistreated someone just because you thought they would never leave? It is unfortunately human nature to do so. Just look around and see the way people utilize resources. Look at how some leader’s abuse funds to how some companies mistreat interns/entry level employees by overworking while underpaying them. Let’s hit close to home and look at our daily habits. Every human has that one habit of misusing something just because they have it in abundance, be it adding an extra tea spoon of sugar just because you can afford to buy another packet, impulse buying accessories just because you can afford them or leaving the water tap running while you brush your teeth. Is it beginning to make sense and have you ever wondered why? Well for the better part of my youth, I didn’t bother to ask myself why. Resources were willingly and readily provided by my parents, whom I really appreciate and respect for doing so. This attitude however changed when I cleared my high school. In my culture, once you went through your rights of passage, you were expected to fend for yourself. Luckily shelter and food were provided but other expenses, such as leisure activities, be it going out with my palls to buying airtime, I had to sort myself. This meant that the little I made from my small hustle had to be utilized efficiently because I didn’t know when I would get my next pay. Being young, all out to have fun and fact that I was born and raised in the city of Nairobi, Kenya where without money one cannot “survive” meant that I had to come up with innovative ways to make money. It became a case of necessity being the mother of all invention. Fast forward to university and post university: I consider myself blessed to have done my industrial attachments, internships and gained some work experience as an engineer in multinational FCMG industries where I saw the impact of efficiency first hand on a personal, company and economic level. On a personal level, efficiency was important in terms of proper time management. On a company level, I happen to have been involved in some projects that improved on both energy and systems efficiency, subsequently seeing the company’s operation costs reduce by a significant percentage resulting to higher profit margins. On an economic level, well, it is obvious to state that the higher the profit margin, the higher the plough back which led to increased employment opportunities due to the expansion of the industry and higher direct tax paid to the government. So this brings me to the question, could our poor emphasis on efficient use of resources be one of the many reasons why Africa is still lagging behind in terms of clean energy access? I believe that this is definitely one of the reasons. Look at it from this point of view – Kenya, my homeland, has a Vision 2022 to increase electricity generation to over 5,000MW mostly from renewables. So as to achieve this target, the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum comes up with a budget annually. In this budget we find allocations in expanding both the electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Well that’s awesome because it is evident that there is a strong correlation between clean energy access i.e. electricity and better quality of life. But here is the issue - currently, it is approximated that the loss of energy through waste and inefficiency ranges between 10%-30% of primary energy input across all the sectors in the country. If we consider that there is currently a total installed capacity of 2,295 MW, it would mean that 230MW-690MW is lost due to inefficiency across the distribution and utilization system. This is sad because if Kenya was more energy efficient, we would save on the capital intensive electricity generation infrastructure required to generate a similar capacity and divert the capital to more wanting sectors like the health sector. It will be even sadder if Kenya continues with this inefficiency trend while working towards the 5000MW target. Just to add insult to injury, according to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya’s industrial sector has an energy saving potential of US$ 20 Million annually. This means that the US$ 20M is literally going down the drain. I’m sure if Kenya were to attain proper efficiencies, such kind of money could be enough to set up a new processing industry every year and create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly. So how can we promote this culture of using energy efficiently so as to improve on sustainability? Well, there are many ways to tackle this bad habit of inefficiency. One can take a zoomed out system approach and figure out why this inefficiency culture exists. For my argument, I choose to take a human use (demand side management) approach because I believe that in any system, a change in human behavior is the basic foundation for any logical change. In other words, if I may use computer science terms, humans are the ones who control whether it will be ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’ or ‘Gold In, Gold Out’. Step one is change from within. There is a saying I once read that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Well look at energy efficiency as an opportunity to conserve the scarce resource so that one more person can have the opportunity to be connected to the National Grid. If you are more money minded like I am, take this as an opportunity to reduce on your utilities bills. Second step is to pass this habit of efficiency to the people around you by being an efficiency ambassador. You can throw in a few sensitization posters and meetings but the most effective way that has been proven to work, is through action. Actions speak louder than words. Through simple actions such as shutting off a dripping tap, switching off a light on a well-lit day while in the company of people or even offering to car pool to and from work with colleagues, you will make them realize that they are wasteful and that it’s their personal responsibility to ensure that resources are used efficiently. Sooner or later, through such continuous efforts the habit of conservation and efficiency will rub off on them. Third step is to incorporate energy efficiency technologies in your day to day operations. This is a way of handling the old dogs who cannot be taught new tricks. There are those around you who will, either willingly or unwillingly, not take up this energy efficiency habit. One will therefore have to find a way to conserve and efficiently use the energy either way. Approaches that can be used for such cases include installation of LED lighting, use of photocell sensors to turn on lights only when it is dark, motion and occupancy sensors to put on lights only when someone is in the room and push taps to dispense water for a specified time interval. If you are in a work place setting, encourage the management to adapt the building to be more energy efficient by taking advantage of natural resources for ventilation and lighting, solar lighting and heating. In an industrial setting, encourage the use of more efficient boilers, premium efficiency motors, and use of common means of transportation i.e. Staff bus instead of personal cars. This will definitely involve some high initial costs but the payback will be worth it due to savings made. Consequent steps will involve continuous improvement. Just like my secondary school teacher once told me, always ensure you are better than your previous assignment. Make sure you don’t give up and keep pushing to ensure energy efficiency around you is realized. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Be bold enough to make the world a better place by embracing efficiency as a first step in ensuring sustainable living.
    Jun 01, 2016 646
  • 08 Sep 2016
    Sitting behind my broken laptop, pressing the back space key on the key board………… I trust you know what it does. I paused for a moment and imagined, if only everything could be transformed to be as easy as pressing the back space key to erase something and then replace with what you want, life would be the best thing ever - I mean it is still the best thing but it would be more than that. More time would be saved, more money would be made, more networks would be created and most importantly better innovations would be exhibited by man in problem solving. Just imagine what you can do with an extra hour a day! The world today blames politics for most of the things that are going wrong and a lot of hopes are put in politicians to still come up with solutions. News flash! It is not going to happen. Politics will probably help to solve some of the problems but you know what it will not do, it will not call a taxicab for you but UBER will, politics will not connect you to 5000 friends but Facebook will, it will not help you build your professional network but amazingly LinkedIn will. I can go on and on to tell you apps that have changed the world in some way but that’s not the point. The point is, politics will not solve the world problems but rather a bunch of serious smart guys who will sit down to reimagine the solutions to the problems you and I face, in a technological way, will solve the world problems. Do these guys have to come from Mars? Of course not! (I remember growing up in my beautiful country, they used to tell us stories about green people – did they ever exist?). The people who will sit down to reimagine technological solutions to the problems we face today are “You and I”. Just a couple of steps and we will be good to go. Identify a problem, suggest a solution, brainstorm about it, set goals and things will start moving. It’s not easy is what we all say but hey, nothing is easy, wait when you are suffering from constipation – you will know that even giving a little shit is not easy sometimes. Looking at all the people we call the greatest in the field of technology, I don’t know what you think of them but I will tell you what I think, they are humans like you and I. They make mistakes like us and also have fears like we do. What makes them special is, they took the first step which you can do now, or as they say in French, “maintenant”. Zuckerberg founded Facebook from his dorm room, you can start up something from your hostel too! Bill Gates left school to go solve problems through his technological innovations. Remember, he did not just leave school but HARVARD.My friend, are you going to sit back and wait for politics to solve the world problems? Or like Bolt, you are going to wait for the start sign to get started? We must not sit and become spectators of events of our time, we must become the events our time. Let’s drive Africa towards the world of technology, let’s drive the world.    
    642 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • Sitting behind my broken laptop, pressing the back space key on the key board………… I trust you know what it does. I paused for a moment and imagined, if only everything could be transformed to be as easy as pressing the back space key to erase something and then replace with what you want, life would be the best thing ever - I mean it is still the best thing but it would be more than that. More time would be saved, more money would be made, more networks would be created and most importantly better innovations would be exhibited by man in problem solving. Just imagine what you can do with an extra hour a day! The world today blames politics for most of the things that are going wrong and a lot of hopes are put in politicians to still come up with solutions. News flash! It is not going to happen. Politics will probably help to solve some of the problems but you know what it will not do, it will not call a taxicab for you but UBER will, politics will not connect you to 5000 friends but Facebook will, it will not help you build your professional network but amazingly LinkedIn will. I can go on and on to tell you apps that have changed the world in some way but that’s not the point. The point is, politics will not solve the world problems but rather a bunch of serious smart guys who will sit down to reimagine the solutions to the problems you and I face, in a technological way, will solve the world problems. Do these guys have to come from Mars? Of course not! (I remember growing up in my beautiful country, they used to tell us stories about green people – did they ever exist?). The people who will sit down to reimagine technological solutions to the problems we face today are “You and I”. Just a couple of steps and we will be good to go. Identify a problem, suggest a solution, brainstorm about it, set goals and things will start moving. It’s not easy is what we all say but hey, nothing is easy, wait when you are suffering from constipation – you will know that even giving a little shit is not easy sometimes. Looking at all the people we call the greatest in the field of technology, I don’t know what you think of them but I will tell you what I think, they are humans like you and I. They make mistakes like us and also have fears like we do. What makes them special is, they took the first step which you can do now, or as they say in French, “maintenant”. Zuckerberg founded Facebook from his dorm room, you can start up something from your hostel too! Bill Gates left school to go solve problems through his technological innovations. Remember, he did not just leave school but HARVARD.My friend, are you going to sit back and wait for politics to solve the world problems? Or like Bolt, you are going to wait for the start sign to get started? We must not sit and become spectators of events of our time, we must become the events our time. Let’s drive Africa towards the world of technology, let’s drive the world.    
    Sep 08, 2016 642
  • 10 Oct 2016
    I was thrilled after reading the International Renewable Energy Agency report on solar PV and its potential for full-scale investment in Africa. The report, published September 2016, indicated that rapid declining cost of the technology is likely to trigger a boom in the installation of solar PV in most parts of Africa. The report highlighted that the price of solar PV module had gone down to between USD 0.52 and USD 0.72/watt in 2015. Isn’t that good news? Not only the price of PV but the balance of system costs has also rapidly declined by a whopping 62% since 2009.  This has brought total installation costs to as low as USD 1.30/watt. The cost is projected to drop by another 52% by 2025. There are some promising projections on the Continent’s capability to invest in solar. IRENA predicts possibility of having a solar PV generation capacity of 70 GW by 2030. In addition, Africa receives more solar irradiation than some countries that have heavily invested in solar. For example, solar irradiation in Africa is 52% to 117% more than Germany although the country had an installed capacity of more than 40 GW by 2015 as indicated in the IRENA Renewables 2016 Global Status Report. The question now remains how we can turn the idea into reality. IRENA has indicated that a conducive environment with the right policies can lead to the achievement of the objective in the shortest time possible. This shows that the main emphasis is no longer about the cost, but about allowing the development to take place. Solar PV is unique as it has the potential to reach rural communities that are yet to be connected to the grid. Already, a number of countries have started initiatives aimed at improving energy access through solar. For instance, M-Kopa is a Kenyan initiative run by a private company that provides solar solutions through Pay-As-You-Go technology and services. Other private companies such as D.Light are also warming up to countries that have adequate regulations. It is also essential for young entrepreneurs throughout the African continent to warm up to the opportunity and create jobs as they push away energy poverty.   I urge you to consider the independence of being able to produce your own clean energy that minimizes or totally eliminates dependence on the grid.  I believe it is time to embrace solar energy for grid, off-grid, mini-grid, and hybrid electrification solutions. Cover photo: Courtesy Rwanda Solar Project 8.5 MW east of the capital Kigali
    634 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • I was thrilled after reading the International Renewable Energy Agency report on solar PV and its potential for full-scale investment in Africa. The report, published September 2016, indicated that rapid declining cost of the technology is likely to trigger a boom in the installation of solar PV in most parts of Africa. The report highlighted that the price of solar PV module had gone down to between USD 0.52 and USD 0.72/watt in 2015. Isn’t that good news? Not only the price of PV but the balance of system costs has also rapidly declined by a whopping 62% since 2009.  This has brought total installation costs to as low as USD 1.30/watt. The cost is projected to drop by another 52% by 2025. There are some promising projections on the Continent’s capability to invest in solar. IRENA predicts possibility of having a solar PV generation capacity of 70 GW by 2030. In addition, Africa receives more solar irradiation than some countries that have heavily invested in solar. For example, solar irradiation in Africa is 52% to 117% more than Germany although the country had an installed capacity of more than 40 GW by 2015 as indicated in the IRENA Renewables 2016 Global Status Report. The question now remains how we can turn the idea into reality. IRENA has indicated that a conducive environment with the right policies can lead to the achievement of the objective in the shortest time possible. This shows that the main emphasis is no longer about the cost, but about allowing the development to take place. Solar PV is unique as it has the potential to reach rural communities that are yet to be connected to the grid. Already, a number of countries have started initiatives aimed at improving energy access through solar. For instance, M-Kopa is a Kenyan initiative run by a private company that provides solar solutions through Pay-As-You-Go technology and services. Other private companies such as D.Light are also warming up to countries that have adequate regulations. It is also essential for young entrepreneurs throughout the African continent to warm up to the opportunity and create jobs as they push away energy poverty.   I urge you to consider the independence of being able to produce your own clean energy that minimizes or totally eliminates dependence on the grid.  I believe it is time to embrace solar energy for grid, off-grid, mini-grid, and hybrid electrification solutions. Cover photo: Courtesy Rwanda Solar Project 8.5 MW east of the capital Kigali
    Oct 10, 2016 634
  • 17 Oct 2016
      The International day of the Girl was celebrated last week and to mark it a report on child brides was released by Save the Children and the findings are grim. Weddings in any culture are a source of joy and celebration. It is a passage of life that ensures continuity of life and brings families together. However, this is not always the case. Every seven seconds a girl under 15 years of age is married off often to an older man. I will let that sink in. UNICEF estimates that the number of girls married under 18 will increase from 700 million to 950 million in 2030. It is mind boggling that such statistics even exist in our world today. Top on the rank of countries where child marriages are prevalent according to the report is Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Somali, Niger, Chad, Mali and Central African Republic. So why are families pushing their children into early marriages? Poverty, war and cultural practices are among the many reasons why young girls or in this case children are left exposed to such practices. Sadly, what this does is expose the girls to a vicious cycle of poverty, domestic violence, and sexual assault and puts them at the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The girls are deprived of the chance for a normal childhood and they become a generation of children raising children. The European Union has not been spared either in dealing with cases of child marriages. The conflict in the Middle East has had some rarely discussed consequences like an increase in child brides as families marry off their daughters as a safety or coping mechanism. It is estimated that child marriages represent 35% of all marriages of Syrian refugees in 2015. Consequently, the influx of refugees in Europe has left governments in Germany, Netherlands and Denmark grappling with how to deal with child brides. In Germany it is estimated that 1000 marriages involve one or both of the parties being under the age of 18. So do they consider it as a question of protection and allow such marriages to exist or a matter of rights where such marriages are not recognized? The debate continues in some countries with some moving fast to close any legal loop holes in a bid to protect underage children. I will be honest with you, I get overwhelmed by some of the reports and stories I read. How are we to achieve the Sustainability Development Goals or our country specific development goals if part of a generation is condemned for being female? How do we expect to see change when we continuously bury our heads in the sand as the dreams of our children are stolen? I have come to appreciate the endless opportunities I have access to because my parents chose to give me an education and I believe herein lies the solution. We need to keep our girls in school and educate their communities on the importance of them remaining there. After all if you educate a girl you educate a community. Governments have an obligation to provide an education and put in place proper policies and laws that are implemented to ensure the protection and safety of both girls and boys. We do not have any other option than to act and bring this barbaric practice to an end, one girl every seven seconds is one too many! Stories published on the Every Last Girl report 2016 One:"Tamrea," a young girl from Ethiopia, is one example. She was married, pregnant and abandoned before she hit her teens."I was given to a husband at 12," she tells Save the Children. "I wasn't happy to get married at that age, but my father said there was nobody to look after me since my mum wasn't around. I wasn't happy. I was crying. I wasn't able to get used to what marriage was... When I became pregnant my husband left me." Two: A 13-year-old Syrian refugee in Lebanon called Sahar - not her real name - who was married to a 20-year-old man. Now 14, she is two months pregnant."The wedding day, I was imagining it would be a great day but it wasn't. It was all misery. It was full of sadness," Save the Children quoted her as saying."I feel really blessed that I am having a baby. But I am a child raising a child."   One of too many dreams stolen!
    633 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  •   The International day of the Girl was celebrated last week and to mark it a report on child brides was released by Save the Children and the findings are grim. Weddings in any culture are a source of joy and celebration. It is a passage of life that ensures continuity of life and brings families together. However, this is not always the case. Every seven seconds a girl under 15 years of age is married off often to an older man. I will let that sink in. UNICEF estimates that the number of girls married under 18 will increase from 700 million to 950 million in 2030. It is mind boggling that such statistics even exist in our world today. Top on the rank of countries where child marriages are prevalent according to the report is Afghanistan, Yemen, India, Somali, Niger, Chad, Mali and Central African Republic. So why are families pushing their children into early marriages? Poverty, war and cultural practices are among the many reasons why young girls or in this case children are left exposed to such practices. Sadly, what this does is expose the girls to a vicious cycle of poverty, domestic violence, and sexual assault and puts them at the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The girls are deprived of the chance for a normal childhood and they become a generation of children raising children. The European Union has not been spared either in dealing with cases of child marriages. The conflict in the Middle East has had some rarely discussed consequences like an increase in child brides as families marry off their daughters as a safety or coping mechanism. It is estimated that child marriages represent 35% of all marriages of Syrian refugees in 2015. Consequently, the influx of refugees in Europe has left governments in Germany, Netherlands and Denmark grappling with how to deal with child brides. In Germany it is estimated that 1000 marriages involve one or both of the parties being under the age of 18. So do they consider it as a question of protection and allow such marriages to exist or a matter of rights where such marriages are not recognized? The debate continues in some countries with some moving fast to close any legal loop holes in a bid to protect underage children. I will be honest with you, I get overwhelmed by some of the reports and stories I read. How are we to achieve the Sustainability Development Goals or our country specific development goals if part of a generation is condemned for being female? How do we expect to see change when we continuously bury our heads in the sand as the dreams of our children are stolen? I have come to appreciate the endless opportunities I have access to because my parents chose to give me an education and I believe herein lies the solution. We need to keep our girls in school and educate their communities on the importance of them remaining there. After all if you educate a girl you educate a community. Governments have an obligation to provide an education and put in place proper policies and laws that are implemented to ensure the protection and safety of both girls and boys. We do not have any other option than to act and bring this barbaric practice to an end, one girl every seven seconds is one too many! Stories published on the Every Last Girl report 2016 One:"Tamrea," a young girl from Ethiopia, is one example. She was married, pregnant and abandoned before she hit her teens."I was given to a husband at 12," she tells Save the Children. "I wasn't happy to get married at that age, but my father said there was nobody to look after me since my mum wasn't around. I wasn't happy. I was crying. I wasn't able to get used to what marriage was... When I became pregnant my husband left me." Two: A 13-year-old Syrian refugee in Lebanon called Sahar - not her real name - who was married to a 20-year-old man. Now 14, she is two months pregnant."The wedding day, I was imagining it would be a great day but it wasn't. It was all misery. It was full of sadness," Save the Children quoted her as saying."I feel really blessed that I am having a baby. But I am a child raising a child."   One of too many dreams stolen!
    Oct 17, 2016 633