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  • 21 Mar 2016
      I am a lover of history and you can say my love started some years back when I got the opportunity to study post independent African and European history in deep detail. I felt like I was getting a free tour through time and I could clearly see the chronology of events that have shaped our world to what it is today. However, regardless of how much I love history it also makes me angry and sad for mankind. This was my feeling when I took a course in African History late last year. I felt so frustrated and angry and that only bled into a feeling of helplessness and resignation.   Mama Africa, a beautiful continent rich in human, culture and natural resources yet mostly known for hunger ,civil wars, corruption and dysfunctional governments. It is like we are the joke of the world and we do not even realize it. I know that my short essay cannot do the political dynamics of Africa justice but you will agree with me that there is a common theme in all countries as far as politics are concern. We have leaders who are high on power and a people who are so busy trying to survive that they do not realize that they are being taken for a ride. I do not know when the rain started beating us but it has hit us hard.   There was so much hope after gaining independence but it now seems like that candle has burnt out. The promise of freedom and self governance was what bound us together and saw the freedom fighters through the dark days. The promise of turning that dream into reality was what made most of the leaders get elected into office. Yet those we elected to power have turned democratic positions into monarchies. Power seems like a more potent drug in Africa than anywhere else in the world. That Promised Land is still a mirage many decades after independence.   Every government has a responsibility to provide basic services to its citizens. Access to affordable health care, food, education, security and any other social service is not a privilege but a right. If you pay tax then you have the right to demand better services. Yet this is not the case in most African countries. We get surprised when services are provided and think it is normal for civil servants to steal from public funds. We defend those who steal from us in the name of ethnic and tribal lines and so we elect them back to office year in year out. We stand blindly behind those who commit crimes against humanity in the name of loyalty. We are easily bought.   I think the middle class is what ails this continent. We are so comfortable with our fancy lives that politics is no longer our thing. If the government cannot provide a service to us we go for private providers. We do not go to public hospitals anymore because they do not have the human resource or medicine; we take our children to private schools because the quality of education in public schools is so poor it is near collapse. We use private means of transport because public transport is chaotic and inefficient. I could go on and on. The icing on the cake is we do not vote because who has the time to make long queues only to vote in another dysfunctional government. So we have left the fate of our countries to the poor. I know what you are thinking, but the poor have rights too! I couldn’t agree more but they have also been turned into puppets by the political class; politics of the belly. Their votes are bought for a piece of bread or a packet of maize flour. This is what we have left our fate to; a greedy political class and a hungry population.   Many will argue that African countries are young in their democracy and I am no political analyst. However, the situation seems to have become worse than it was when we gained independence. We are the first to shout that the west should not interfere with African affairs and yet we lap on the crumbs they feed us. You think that’s crude? There is much more where that came from. We have the ability to be self sufficient; we can feed our people and educate our children. Provide basic medical care for pregnant women and infants. We can stand up against injustice and poor quality of services. The middle class should come off its high horse and help sensitize the poor on the power they hold in their votes. Just because the ruling party is from your region or tribe does not put food on your table. We need to shift from the “me mentality” and realize we are so much stronger together. That everything we need has been within our reach all along.
    628 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  •   I am a lover of history and you can say my love started some years back when I got the opportunity to study post independent African and European history in deep detail. I felt like I was getting a free tour through time and I could clearly see the chronology of events that have shaped our world to what it is today. However, regardless of how much I love history it also makes me angry and sad for mankind. This was my feeling when I took a course in African History late last year. I felt so frustrated and angry and that only bled into a feeling of helplessness and resignation.   Mama Africa, a beautiful continent rich in human, culture and natural resources yet mostly known for hunger ,civil wars, corruption and dysfunctional governments. It is like we are the joke of the world and we do not even realize it. I know that my short essay cannot do the political dynamics of Africa justice but you will agree with me that there is a common theme in all countries as far as politics are concern. We have leaders who are high on power and a people who are so busy trying to survive that they do not realize that they are being taken for a ride. I do not know when the rain started beating us but it has hit us hard.   There was so much hope after gaining independence but it now seems like that candle has burnt out. The promise of freedom and self governance was what bound us together and saw the freedom fighters through the dark days. The promise of turning that dream into reality was what made most of the leaders get elected into office. Yet those we elected to power have turned democratic positions into monarchies. Power seems like a more potent drug in Africa than anywhere else in the world. That Promised Land is still a mirage many decades after independence.   Every government has a responsibility to provide basic services to its citizens. Access to affordable health care, food, education, security and any other social service is not a privilege but a right. If you pay tax then you have the right to demand better services. Yet this is not the case in most African countries. We get surprised when services are provided and think it is normal for civil servants to steal from public funds. We defend those who steal from us in the name of ethnic and tribal lines and so we elect them back to office year in year out. We stand blindly behind those who commit crimes against humanity in the name of loyalty. We are easily bought.   I think the middle class is what ails this continent. We are so comfortable with our fancy lives that politics is no longer our thing. If the government cannot provide a service to us we go for private providers. We do not go to public hospitals anymore because they do not have the human resource or medicine; we take our children to private schools because the quality of education in public schools is so poor it is near collapse. We use private means of transport because public transport is chaotic and inefficient. I could go on and on. The icing on the cake is we do not vote because who has the time to make long queues only to vote in another dysfunctional government. So we have left the fate of our countries to the poor. I know what you are thinking, but the poor have rights too! I couldn’t agree more but they have also been turned into puppets by the political class; politics of the belly. Their votes are bought for a piece of bread or a packet of maize flour. This is what we have left our fate to; a greedy political class and a hungry population.   Many will argue that African countries are young in their democracy and I am no political analyst. However, the situation seems to have become worse than it was when we gained independence. We are the first to shout that the west should not interfere with African affairs and yet we lap on the crumbs they feed us. You think that’s crude? There is much more where that came from. We have the ability to be self sufficient; we can feed our people and educate our children. Provide basic medical care for pregnant women and infants. We can stand up against injustice and poor quality of services. The middle class should come off its high horse and help sensitize the poor on the power they hold in their votes. Just because the ruling party is from your region or tribe does not put food on your table. We need to shift from the “me mentality” and realize we are so much stronger together. That everything we need has been within our reach all along.
    Mar 21, 2016 628
  • 29 Aug 2016
    I use my skin care products religiously and I am loyal to several brands that have proven to be good for my skin over the years. Top on my list are Neutrogena and Clean and Clear facial scrubs that leave my skin feeling smooth and silky. So imagine my shock when I saw these products on the list of those causing harm to marine life and affecting the water quality. I will be honest; the research I have done on these products has been purely based on what I could gain from them and not what their use could potentially mean to the environment. However, a time comes when you can no longer ignore the facts glaring in your face. The past week has seen an active debate and discussion on the effects of microbeads on marine life and water supplies. Microbeads are small plastic particles found in different hygiene products. They provide color and texture; exfoliating dead skin particles from our skin. Microbeads are smaller than one millimeter and are made of polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, or nylon. The 5 Gyres institute estimates that a single tube of scrub can have more than 300,000 microbeads. They create a rough texture that is used in exfoliating scrubs and color in toothpastes. What complicates matters with microbeads is that they are non-biodegradable and its size makes it possible for it to pass through the waste water treatment systems. This means that the microbeads are washed into rivers and lakes and eventually make their way into the ocean where they contribute to the plastic soup.   Environmental activists claim that microbeads are clogging the water affecting marine life and eventually putting man at risk through the food chain. Beat the Microbead, an international campaign geared towards the complete phasing out of microbeads in hygiene products claims that the small size of the beads confuses the marine species to believe it is food. Microbeads also have the ability to absorb dangerous chemicals posing more threat to animals that consume them. Depending on the goodwill of companies to phase out the use of microbeads has not yielded any tangible results so far. As a result active restrictions on use of microbeads may be the next best alternative as some states in the USA have proven. Therefore, companies that produce products containing microbeads will have to reevaluate their products and redevelop new brands in order to conform to these new requirements. I am experiencing a personal struggle because I am an advocate for behavior change to promote environmental protection and conservation but this time round I need to heed my own advice. This time I am not writing about what other people should do but what I am supposed to do and that in itself is difficult. I am still using the said products but every time I do some guilt eats at me. I am not an extremist when it comes to sustainability but I believe in doing the little I can to make this world a better place. There are many other products on that list and groups like Beat the Microbead are pushing for legislation change in different countries to ban the use plastic microbeads in hygiene products. I need to believe that if a few of us can stop using these products before their production ceases can have even the slightest impact in protecting marine life. I also need to start doing my research on alternative products!   For more information: https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/science
    620 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I use my skin care products religiously and I am loyal to several brands that have proven to be good for my skin over the years. Top on my list are Neutrogena and Clean and Clear facial scrubs that leave my skin feeling smooth and silky. So imagine my shock when I saw these products on the list of those causing harm to marine life and affecting the water quality. I will be honest; the research I have done on these products has been purely based on what I could gain from them and not what their use could potentially mean to the environment. However, a time comes when you can no longer ignore the facts glaring in your face. The past week has seen an active debate and discussion on the effects of microbeads on marine life and water supplies. Microbeads are small plastic particles found in different hygiene products. They provide color and texture; exfoliating dead skin particles from our skin. Microbeads are smaller than one millimeter and are made of polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polymethyl methacrylate, or nylon. The 5 Gyres institute estimates that a single tube of scrub can have more than 300,000 microbeads. They create a rough texture that is used in exfoliating scrubs and color in toothpastes. What complicates matters with microbeads is that they are non-biodegradable and its size makes it possible for it to pass through the waste water treatment systems. This means that the microbeads are washed into rivers and lakes and eventually make their way into the ocean where they contribute to the plastic soup.   Environmental activists claim that microbeads are clogging the water affecting marine life and eventually putting man at risk through the food chain. Beat the Microbead, an international campaign geared towards the complete phasing out of microbeads in hygiene products claims that the small size of the beads confuses the marine species to believe it is food. Microbeads also have the ability to absorb dangerous chemicals posing more threat to animals that consume them. Depending on the goodwill of companies to phase out the use of microbeads has not yielded any tangible results so far. As a result active restrictions on use of microbeads may be the next best alternative as some states in the USA have proven. Therefore, companies that produce products containing microbeads will have to reevaluate their products and redevelop new brands in order to conform to these new requirements. I am experiencing a personal struggle because I am an advocate for behavior change to promote environmental protection and conservation but this time round I need to heed my own advice. This time I am not writing about what other people should do but what I am supposed to do and that in itself is difficult. I am still using the said products but every time I do some guilt eats at me. I am not an extremist when it comes to sustainability but I believe in doing the little I can to make this world a better place. There are many other products on that list and groups like Beat the Microbead are pushing for legislation change in different countries to ban the use plastic microbeads in hygiene products. I need to believe that if a few of us can stop using these products before their production ceases can have even the slightest impact in protecting marine life. I also need to start doing my research on alternative products!   For more information: https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/science
    Aug 29, 2016 620
  • 25 Apr 2016
    Is Africa a country? Do you live in the forest and my all time favorite do I live with lions (to be honest we have had a few lions escape the National park in Nairobi and taken to the streets).I am sure at one point in time you have had these bizarre questions posed to you. There are times I have wondered if I should dignify such ignorance with an answer and sometimes I have rolled my eyes to the back of my head. You would be forgiven to think we are still living in the Stone Age and not in the 21st Century where information is at our fingertips.    Half the world believes we are a continent of war and hunger. And who can blame them when that is all the media shows them. Naked little children carrying empty bowls with flies covering their dirty faces and women holding on to emaciated babies making long lines to get food rations. If you watch cable TV I am sure you have seen the countless commercials asking viewers to send dollars to some organization and help save a life! We are a continent in constant need of saving and feeding. Poor Africans! It is funny how some these organizations have come to capitalize on this level of ignorance. I believe the reason as to why we are branded as a continent of misery is because there is money to be made. So they tell our sob stories and in return they get their pockets lined with money by well wishers. You would think with all the charitable organizations camping in our countries our troubles would be over but nope! We are still stuck in the vicious cycle of begging and receiving.   To be honest such questions and statement used to irk me to no end but they do not bother me anymore. If someone is too lazy to use Miss Google then I am more than happy to educate them. For starters Africa is not a country but a continent with 54 states. Just because I am from Africa and Kenya to be more specific does not mean I know your friend from Mali or Namibia, I am not even quarter way done in getting to know people from my village. Do not get me started on the life changing stories that most people share once they visit a country in Africa. It is like Africa is a place where people come to have an epiphany on how precious life is and how privileged they are.   Granted Africans have also played the victim card pretty well, we are always tripping over ourselves to do what the outside world thinks is best for us. We have played a role in portraying the warped picture the world has of us. But we cannot continue to let our heads hang in shame every time someone thinks they know our continent just because they watched a few documentaries and heard stories from a friend of their friend who travelled for a life changing trip to Africa. We have to tell our own stories, stand tall and let the world know that we are a land of endless opportunities and immense potential. If we were so poor and miserable why do we have multinationals fighting it out to set base in our countries? Our soils are rich with minerals and the wild run free in our savannahs. So what if we have troubles here and there, who doesn’t? We are a continent with a heart and back bones of steel, resilient people who rise time and again even in the midst of tragedy and pain. We are a people diverse in their culture and beliefs and that makes us more beautiful and all the more special. However, we all know happy stories don’t sell, sensational stories do and the media foreign or domestic has made this an art. So the next time someone asks you if you live with a lion, give them a smile and get ready to school them on Africa 101!
    612 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Is Africa a country? Do you live in the forest and my all time favorite do I live with lions (to be honest we have had a few lions escape the National park in Nairobi and taken to the streets).I am sure at one point in time you have had these bizarre questions posed to you. There are times I have wondered if I should dignify such ignorance with an answer and sometimes I have rolled my eyes to the back of my head. You would be forgiven to think we are still living in the Stone Age and not in the 21st Century where information is at our fingertips.    Half the world believes we are a continent of war and hunger. And who can blame them when that is all the media shows them. Naked little children carrying empty bowls with flies covering their dirty faces and women holding on to emaciated babies making long lines to get food rations. If you watch cable TV I am sure you have seen the countless commercials asking viewers to send dollars to some organization and help save a life! We are a continent in constant need of saving and feeding. Poor Africans! It is funny how some these organizations have come to capitalize on this level of ignorance. I believe the reason as to why we are branded as a continent of misery is because there is money to be made. So they tell our sob stories and in return they get their pockets lined with money by well wishers. You would think with all the charitable organizations camping in our countries our troubles would be over but nope! We are still stuck in the vicious cycle of begging and receiving.   To be honest such questions and statement used to irk me to no end but they do not bother me anymore. If someone is too lazy to use Miss Google then I am more than happy to educate them. For starters Africa is not a country but a continent with 54 states. Just because I am from Africa and Kenya to be more specific does not mean I know your friend from Mali or Namibia, I am not even quarter way done in getting to know people from my village. Do not get me started on the life changing stories that most people share once they visit a country in Africa. It is like Africa is a place where people come to have an epiphany on how precious life is and how privileged they are.   Granted Africans have also played the victim card pretty well, we are always tripping over ourselves to do what the outside world thinks is best for us. We have played a role in portraying the warped picture the world has of us. But we cannot continue to let our heads hang in shame every time someone thinks they know our continent just because they watched a few documentaries and heard stories from a friend of their friend who travelled for a life changing trip to Africa. We have to tell our own stories, stand tall and let the world know that we are a land of endless opportunities and immense potential. If we were so poor and miserable why do we have multinationals fighting it out to set base in our countries? Our soils are rich with minerals and the wild run free in our savannahs. So what if we have troubles here and there, who doesn’t? We are a continent with a heart and back bones of steel, resilient people who rise time and again even in the midst of tragedy and pain. We are a people diverse in their culture and beliefs and that makes us more beautiful and all the more special. However, we all know happy stories don’t sell, sensational stories do and the media foreign or domestic has made this an art. So the next time someone asks you if you live with a lion, give them a smile and get ready to school them on Africa 101!
    Apr 25, 2016 612
  • 03 Oct 2016
    I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the new students to the institute and to the platform. It was very encouraging to see the high level of enthusiasm during the orientation week and I hope that will translate to more activity on the platform and off it. Like I said during the orientation session, the growth of the platform is dependent on how much effort each of us puts in our different roles. I am deeply convicted that this platform holds immense potential but it is our individual responsibility to unlock it. I am hopeful that all of you enrolled to a group on the Community of Practice (CoP) and if not there is still time to make up your mind and sign up! What I love about the different groups is that each offers the opportunity for members to harness their soft skills. Top on the list is communication within the group and between groups, administration and partners.   If you enjoy standing behind the camera and freezing memories in time, the Multimedia group is for you. For those who are intrigued by how the platform works from a technical perspective or how it can be constantly improved in terms of content then the Technical team or Evaluation team will be the perfect fit. If you enjoy writing and editing the work of your colleagues and participating in making the PAUWES newsletter search no more, the Editorial team has room for new members. If you want to be part of the policing community that makes sure the platform is secure and the code of conduct is observed in addition to inviting and welcoming new members the Community Management team will make good use of your skills. For the debaters and those regularly looking to constructively engage in discussions on current issues the Discussion Facilitation group always has room for more members. Last but not least, the Career Service team plays an equally important role in offering guidance as far as internships and networking are concern so if your fort is going through content on the internet or engaging experts and identifying suitable opportunities for your colleagues they will be more than happy to have you on board.   We hope that once you join a team you will able to identify the roles that suit you best and the soft skills you want to develop. If by any chance you want to take over the leadership of the group or the platform in a few months to come then state your intent and seek mentorship from those that already hold the positions. However, keep in mind that CoP is built on team work and each member whether a leader or not plays a vital role to its functionality and success. I will be honest with you; sometimes it is not easy to juggle between class work and the activities in the CoP groups. However, you slowly learn how to prioritize and work as a team to make sure goals are met.   The CoP platform is meant for PAUWES students and alumni, a place where we can safely interact with different stakeholders and companies in the fields of energy and water. I have made great networks from the platform, some that have worked out and others not so much. Overall I have come to the conclusion that anything I have done with regards to the platform has never been a waste of time. On the contrary, each communication and network has improved my skills and grown my confidence and I hope it will be the same for you. Do not let anyone influence your opinion of the platform, try it and give it time, nothing good is instantaneous and hopefully at a time like this next year you will be telling your success story to the new batch of students.
    604 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the new students to the institute and to the platform. It was very encouraging to see the high level of enthusiasm during the orientation week and I hope that will translate to more activity on the platform and off it. Like I said during the orientation session, the growth of the platform is dependent on how much effort each of us puts in our different roles. I am deeply convicted that this platform holds immense potential but it is our individual responsibility to unlock it. I am hopeful that all of you enrolled to a group on the Community of Practice (CoP) and if not there is still time to make up your mind and sign up! What I love about the different groups is that each offers the opportunity for members to harness their soft skills. Top on the list is communication within the group and between groups, administration and partners.   If you enjoy standing behind the camera and freezing memories in time, the Multimedia group is for you. For those who are intrigued by how the platform works from a technical perspective or how it can be constantly improved in terms of content then the Technical team or Evaluation team will be the perfect fit. If you enjoy writing and editing the work of your colleagues and participating in making the PAUWES newsletter search no more, the Editorial team has room for new members. If you want to be part of the policing community that makes sure the platform is secure and the code of conduct is observed in addition to inviting and welcoming new members the Community Management team will make good use of your skills. For the debaters and those regularly looking to constructively engage in discussions on current issues the Discussion Facilitation group always has room for more members. Last but not least, the Career Service team plays an equally important role in offering guidance as far as internships and networking are concern so if your fort is going through content on the internet or engaging experts and identifying suitable opportunities for your colleagues they will be more than happy to have you on board.   We hope that once you join a team you will able to identify the roles that suit you best and the soft skills you want to develop. If by any chance you want to take over the leadership of the group or the platform in a few months to come then state your intent and seek mentorship from those that already hold the positions. However, keep in mind that CoP is built on team work and each member whether a leader or not plays a vital role to its functionality and success. I will be honest with you; sometimes it is not easy to juggle between class work and the activities in the CoP groups. However, you slowly learn how to prioritize and work as a team to make sure goals are met.   The CoP platform is meant for PAUWES students and alumni, a place where we can safely interact with different stakeholders and companies in the fields of energy and water. I have made great networks from the platform, some that have worked out and others not so much. Overall I have come to the conclusion that anything I have done with regards to the platform has never been a waste of time. On the contrary, each communication and network has improved my skills and grown my confidence and I hope it will be the same for you. Do not let anyone influence your opinion of the platform, try it and give it time, nothing good is instantaneous and hopefully at a time like this next year you will be telling your success story to the new batch of students.
    Oct 03, 2016 604
  • 29 Mar 2016
    “I am sorry for your loss” I do not think there exists a less inadequate word in the face of grief and yet there is nothing else to say. We have all lost a loved one or know someone who has. It is like our eyes get opened and we suddenly realize that our loved ones are immortal and the anxiety starts. We spend endless nights worrying if we will lose someone else, after all the clock is ticking. The disbelief that you can never call them again, hear their laughter or their voice is the tip of the iceberg. The pain is so numbing it hurts to breath, your mind constantly whirls with thoughts that make little to no sense. You operate on autopilot, it is a nightmare you tell yourself and you have to eventually wake up only you never. I remember that day as if it was just yesterday, funny how you wake up and you do not realize your life is about to be forever changed.. I would watch him sleep and feel for any sign of life, sometimes I would wake him just to make sure. I must have looked like a fool thinking that my gaze and touch could keep him breathing just a little bit longer. I thought in all my selfishness I could will him to stay in the land of the living. When he finally breathed his last I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders especially when we had to leave him behind. I remember thinking what if he wakes up and he is all alone and freezing, maybe he was alive and the doctors couldn’t tell. I still left and the guilt ate at me, guilt over leaving him and wondering if we had done enough to get him the best care. Still you have to hide the pain because you are not the only one suffering or grieving and you have to be strong they say. It is the cycle of life. The condolences begin to pour in and for a minute you just want everyone to stop treating you like you are fragile China. Every one tip toes around the loss and treat you like a nut case waiting to crack at the mention of your loved one. You do not want to look in their eyes because you will see the pity while all you crave for is for someone to act normal around you. Then that day, when dust returns to dust comes. You realize things just got real, your loved one is never coming home again, never calling or picking your calls, you are never seeing them again. They are gone. Everybody else goes home and you are expected to go on with life, pick up the pieces and man up. You want to hide from the world, sleep all day, and forget you even have a job or friends. You worry that you won’t be able to keep their memory alive. You will forget their face, voice or the sound of their laughter. If you let it, depression will set in. It is an ugly monster so you have to fight it or seek help. They say time heals all wounds but I strongly refute this. The pain never goes away; the tears never truly dry nor does life ever go back to normal. But we take comfort in the hope that they are watching over us and they would want us to be happy. We soldier on and put on a brave face because that is who we are, resilient with an unbreakable spirit and heart. We can still love them from the other side of life; we can still say their name and keep their memory alive. And in all this maybe we can learn to treasure those who are still with us.
    599 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • “I am sorry for your loss” I do not think there exists a less inadequate word in the face of grief and yet there is nothing else to say. We have all lost a loved one or know someone who has. It is like our eyes get opened and we suddenly realize that our loved ones are immortal and the anxiety starts. We spend endless nights worrying if we will lose someone else, after all the clock is ticking. The disbelief that you can never call them again, hear their laughter or their voice is the tip of the iceberg. The pain is so numbing it hurts to breath, your mind constantly whirls with thoughts that make little to no sense. You operate on autopilot, it is a nightmare you tell yourself and you have to eventually wake up only you never. I remember that day as if it was just yesterday, funny how you wake up and you do not realize your life is about to be forever changed.. I would watch him sleep and feel for any sign of life, sometimes I would wake him just to make sure. I must have looked like a fool thinking that my gaze and touch could keep him breathing just a little bit longer. I thought in all my selfishness I could will him to stay in the land of the living. When he finally breathed his last I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders especially when we had to leave him behind. I remember thinking what if he wakes up and he is all alone and freezing, maybe he was alive and the doctors couldn’t tell. I still left and the guilt ate at me, guilt over leaving him and wondering if we had done enough to get him the best care. Still you have to hide the pain because you are not the only one suffering or grieving and you have to be strong they say. It is the cycle of life. The condolences begin to pour in and for a minute you just want everyone to stop treating you like you are fragile China. Every one tip toes around the loss and treat you like a nut case waiting to crack at the mention of your loved one. You do not want to look in their eyes because you will see the pity while all you crave for is for someone to act normal around you. Then that day, when dust returns to dust comes. You realize things just got real, your loved one is never coming home again, never calling or picking your calls, you are never seeing them again. They are gone. Everybody else goes home and you are expected to go on with life, pick up the pieces and man up. You want to hide from the world, sleep all day, and forget you even have a job or friends. You worry that you won’t be able to keep their memory alive. You will forget their face, voice or the sound of their laughter. If you let it, depression will set in. It is an ugly monster so you have to fight it or seek help. They say time heals all wounds but I strongly refute this. The pain never goes away; the tears never truly dry nor does life ever go back to normal. But we take comfort in the hope that they are watching over us and they would want us to be happy. We soldier on and put on a brave face because that is who we are, resilient with an unbreakable spirit and heart. We can still love them from the other side of life; we can still say their name and keep their memory alive. And in all this maybe we can learn to treasure those who are still with us.
    Mar 29, 2016 599
  • 05 Sep 2016
    There are so many products in the market each claiming to be better than the next that sometimes as a consumer I get dazed just looking at them. We must acknowledge that there exists a lot of exploitation in the production chain before a product finally finds its way on the shelves. There is exploitation of cheap labor in Asia where workers work for long hours with little pay and their working conditions are inhumane. Farmers in Africa get exploited by middlemen with very little representation in trade unions. Yet they work tirelessly to provide for their families and feed the world by extension. We have children working in cocoa farms in West Africa only for you to satisfy your chocolate craving. Forest cover continues to dwindle as the demand for furniture increases. The list is endless. It is in this light that the producers have found a way to ease our guilt as consumers and make us feel better about our consumption habits. We now have labels on products showing fair trade was practiced or for some showing no exploitation took place during the production chain. Yet who really verifies these claims? The fair trade marks are globally recognized symbols that show that products bearing these marks meet the internationally agreed social, environmental and economic standards. According to FAIRTRADE International buying these products support farmers and workers as they improve their lives and communities. Kenya has launched the fair trade mark as its first ethical label on products. I have to admit that the idea is noble. After all it seeks to protect and economically empower farmers and other workers against exploitation. However, this is only in paper. I am a daughter of a farmer who grows coffee and tea among other crops and the general feeling is that of resignation and of things never getting better. A few years back my country experienced a wave of farmers uprooting their coffee and tea plantations because they had been exploited for so long it made no economic sense to continue in the trade. To date, most continue to ravish in poverty as their products grace world markets. In short such marks do not make any sense to farmers if they do not translate into better income and living standards. We can make ourselves feel better by buying the so called certified products and even pay more for them but this money does not get to its rightful owners. So do we stop eating chocolate and drinking tea or coffee among many other products? Of course not! Maybe it is not the job of the consumer to determine what was fairy put in the market or not, after all there is government systems meant for this. What we should not do as consumers is pretend that paying more for products automatically eliminates the exploitation of hard working individuals in the production chain. It is hypocritical at the very least and only fattens the pockets of a few individuals.
    599 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • There are so many products in the market each claiming to be better than the next that sometimes as a consumer I get dazed just looking at them. We must acknowledge that there exists a lot of exploitation in the production chain before a product finally finds its way on the shelves. There is exploitation of cheap labor in Asia where workers work for long hours with little pay and their working conditions are inhumane. Farmers in Africa get exploited by middlemen with very little representation in trade unions. Yet they work tirelessly to provide for their families and feed the world by extension. We have children working in cocoa farms in West Africa only for you to satisfy your chocolate craving. Forest cover continues to dwindle as the demand for furniture increases. The list is endless. It is in this light that the producers have found a way to ease our guilt as consumers and make us feel better about our consumption habits. We now have labels on products showing fair trade was practiced or for some showing no exploitation took place during the production chain. Yet who really verifies these claims? The fair trade marks are globally recognized symbols that show that products bearing these marks meet the internationally agreed social, environmental and economic standards. According to FAIRTRADE International buying these products support farmers and workers as they improve their lives and communities. Kenya has launched the fair trade mark as its first ethical label on products. I have to admit that the idea is noble. After all it seeks to protect and economically empower farmers and other workers against exploitation. However, this is only in paper. I am a daughter of a farmer who grows coffee and tea among other crops and the general feeling is that of resignation and of things never getting better. A few years back my country experienced a wave of farmers uprooting their coffee and tea plantations because they had been exploited for so long it made no economic sense to continue in the trade. To date, most continue to ravish in poverty as their products grace world markets. In short such marks do not make any sense to farmers if they do not translate into better income and living standards. We can make ourselves feel better by buying the so called certified products and even pay more for them but this money does not get to its rightful owners. So do we stop eating chocolate and drinking tea or coffee among many other products? Of course not! Maybe it is not the job of the consumer to determine what was fairy put in the market or not, after all there is government systems meant for this. What we should not do as consumers is pretend that paying more for products automatically eliminates the exploitation of hard working individuals in the production chain. It is hypocritical at the very least and only fattens the pockets of a few individuals.
    Sep 05, 2016 599
  • 27 Apr 2016
    Day 2, Session 1This session was mainly focused on presentations concerning Economics and Finance plus potential assessment in relation to Renewable Energy scenarios . Among the presentations that were held included one that was solely on the exploration of the conditions for Renewable Energy transitions in Nigeria. The presenter highlighted the reasons behind the unequal distribution of the adoption of renewable energy across the thirty six states of the country. The multi-level socio-technical perspective (MLP) which involves the examination of the variation along three hypotheses: the niche hypothesis, the regime hypothesis and the landscape hypothesis was used. The presenter argued that while all three hypotheses are able to explain variation in the adoption of renewable energy technologies in Nigeria to some extent, the regime hypothesis plays a more prominent role. He explained that the hypothesis exposes clearly the structural dependence of states on oil and its influence on the adoption of renewable energy technologies. The presenter additionally discussed the crucial pathways in the development of renewable energy in Nigeria and beyond. After this topic, a presenter from Wits Business School, Johannesburg, South Africa followed with an investigation on the state of financing Renewable Energy projects (REPs). According his survey, the following results were obtained; firstly, with firms, the risk to lose the capital in financing Renewable energy projects located in semi-urban and rural areas is higher than projects implemented in urban areas. Secondly, it was found out that in investing capital, safety of the environment or impacting local economic development is not a priority for larger firms financing REPs. Thirdly, with smaller localised firms, in financing REPs, the capacity of renewable energy technologies (RETs) to contribute to sustainable economic development is an important consideration. As a solution for sustainable economic development improvement in semi-rural and rural communities, the presenter proposed the two hand renewable energy service company model of ESCO as efficient financial vehicles to increase sustainable economic development through the production of reliable and stable electricity in semi-urban and rural communities. The presentation that followed was about Smart Pricing Implementation where a simulator with ICT Infrastructure was used to approximate the system in operation. The presenter highlighted that due to a general lack of established designs, technologies and business models in developing countries, a generic platform for planning and evaluating alternative microgrid technologies and operating strategies is needed for the developing world context. He underscored that while microgrid testbeds have proved effective in many developed countries – notably within the European Union (EU) and North America – such a tool has not been developed specifically to address the variety of system architectures and technologies that arise in developing world settings. A testbed for developing world microgrids, now being planned in Rwanda was used in his study for the different case scenarios. Both DC and AC micro grids as well as Solar Home Systems (SHS), were to be represented in the testbed scenarios. The testbed would also calculate the economic effects of tiered pricing, where consumers would agree to different electricity prices in the same microgrid based on the level of service they choose. The presenter commended such a system as it modeled smart meters that provide precision monitoring and control to estimate economic returns from microgrids with different pricing schemes and different power clipping levels that correspond to the levels of service offered to consumers. Follow this heading for more interesting researches that were presented in the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Research and Innovations Symposium. @Editorial_team  
    590 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • Day 2, Session 1This session was mainly focused on presentations concerning Economics and Finance plus potential assessment in relation to Renewable Energy scenarios . Among the presentations that were held included one that was solely on the exploration of the conditions for Renewable Energy transitions in Nigeria. The presenter highlighted the reasons behind the unequal distribution of the adoption of renewable energy across the thirty six states of the country. The multi-level socio-technical perspective (MLP) which involves the examination of the variation along three hypotheses: the niche hypothesis, the regime hypothesis and the landscape hypothesis was used. The presenter argued that while all three hypotheses are able to explain variation in the adoption of renewable energy technologies in Nigeria to some extent, the regime hypothesis plays a more prominent role. He explained that the hypothesis exposes clearly the structural dependence of states on oil and its influence on the adoption of renewable energy technologies. The presenter additionally discussed the crucial pathways in the development of renewable energy in Nigeria and beyond. After this topic, a presenter from Wits Business School, Johannesburg, South Africa followed with an investigation on the state of financing Renewable Energy projects (REPs). According his survey, the following results were obtained; firstly, with firms, the risk to lose the capital in financing Renewable energy projects located in semi-urban and rural areas is higher than projects implemented in urban areas. Secondly, it was found out that in investing capital, safety of the environment or impacting local economic development is not a priority for larger firms financing REPs. Thirdly, with smaller localised firms, in financing REPs, the capacity of renewable energy technologies (RETs) to contribute to sustainable economic development is an important consideration. As a solution for sustainable economic development improvement in semi-rural and rural communities, the presenter proposed the two hand renewable energy service company model of ESCO as efficient financial vehicles to increase sustainable economic development through the production of reliable and stable electricity in semi-urban and rural communities. The presentation that followed was about Smart Pricing Implementation where a simulator with ICT Infrastructure was used to approximate the system in operation. The presenter highlighted that due to a general lack of established designs, technologies and business models in developing countries, a generic platform for planning and evaluating alternative microgrid technologies and operating strategies is needed for the developing world context. He underscored that while microgrid testbeds have proved effective in many developed countries – notably within the European Union (EU) and North America – such a tool has not been developed specifically to address the variety of system architectures and technologies that arise in developing world settings. A testbed for developing world microgrids, now being planned in Rwanda was used in his study for the different case scenarios. Both DC and AC micro grids as well as Solar Home Systems (SHS), were to be represented in the testbed scenarios. The testbed would also calculate the economic effects of tiered pricing, where consumers would agree to different electricity prices in the same microgrid based on the level of service they choose. The presenter commended such a system as it modeled smart meters that provide precision monitoring and control to estimate economic returns from microgrids with different pricing schemes and different power clipping levels that correspond to the levels of service offered to consumers. Follow this heading for more interesting researches that were presented in the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Research and Innovations Symposium. @Editorial_team  
    Apr 27, 2016 590
  • 30 May 2016
    The past few days have been particularly difficult for me and saw my dad get admitted to the hospital for about five days. I knew he was unwell and his sugar level had been abnormally high but I did not think it would warrant a stay at the hospital. So you can imagine my shock and panic when I received a message telling me he had been admitted.  I called him right away and he sounded very weak and tired and it made me all weepy because I knew he was hurting and there is nothing I could do about it. More frustrating for me was not being able to see him and verifying for myself that he was going to be alright, so I called him and my mum everyday and somehow I found some peace in that. Luckily I had a very strong support system around me and that helped some and he is now back home healthy as a horse.   During this period I remember writing to a good friend of mine and telling him I was thinking of turning down an internship offer I had received because I needed to get home immediately after the end of the semester. He was very empathetic  with me but reminded me that sometimes being away from our loved ones is the cost we have to pay to make them proud and better ourselves. It made me think of what all of us have had to give up by being here. Some left little kids and a partner behind and they have missed some important milestones in their young lives and yet they keep going. Some have missed important occasions like weddings, graduations, family gatherings and a chance to properly bid farewell to a fallen loved one. For some they have seen relationships crumble because they could not withstand the test of distance. So this brings me to the big question, is it really worth it?    I believe with all my being that the sacrifices I have made have been worth every moment I have missed. Forget the academics even though that is why we are all here but think of all other opportunities that have come our way. I feel like coming to this country was necessary for me in order to start the journey to self discovery and growth. I might have been working before but my level of confidence has tripled over the past couple of months and I have grown into my own person. I have had a chance to find things that I am deeply passionate about and made connections with people I never thought I could stand a chance of meeting. Strangers have become family even though different blood runs in our veins. I continue to learn and make mistakes but the bottom line is I simply refuse to leave the same way I came.   That is my hope for all of us. That we may find something we are good at or care enough about while we are here and channel all our energy into making ourselves better. Like Foster Ofosu from the African Development Bank said during the International Water and Energy Fair; no one owes us anything other than ourselves. We have to motivate ourselves and knock on those doors that we have been made to believe cannot open for one reason or another. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to exploit every opportunity provided so that when our time is done here every sacrifice we have made will be worth it. Eventually you will find that what you consider to be the greatest sacrifice now will prove to be one of the greatest investments you could ever make.
    589 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • The past few days have been particularly difficult for me and saw my dad get admitted to the hospital for about five days. I knew he was unwell and his sugar level had been abnormally high but I did not think it would warrant a stay at the hospital. So you can imagine my shock and panic when I received a message telling me he had been admitted.  I called him right away and he sounded very weak and tired and it made me all weepy because I knew he was hurting and there is nothing I could do about it. More frustrating for me was not being able to see him and verifying for myself that he was going to be alright, so I called him and my mum everyday and somehow I found some peace in that. Luckily I had a very strong support system around me and that helped some and he is now back home healthy as a horse.   During this period I remember writing to a good friend of mine and telling him I was thinking of turning down an internship offer I had received because I needed to get home immediately after the end of the semester. He was very empathetic  with me but reminded me that sometimes being away from our loved ones is the cost we have to pay to make them proud and better ourselves. It made me think of what all of us have had to give up by being here. Some left little kids and a partner behind and they have missed some important milestones in their young lives and yet they keep going. Some have missed important occasions like weddings, graduations, family gatherings and a chance to properly bid farewell to a fallen loved one. For some they have seen relationships crumble because they could not withstand the test of distance. So this brings me to the big question, is it really worth it?    I believe with all my being that the sacrifices I have made have been worth every moment I have missed. Forget the academics even though that is why we are all here but think of all other opportunities that have come our way. I feel like coming to this country was necessary for me in order to start the journey to self discovery and growth. I might have been working before but my level of confidence has tripled over the past couple of months and I have grown into my own person. I have had a chance to find things that I am deeply passionate about and made connections with people I never thought I could stand a chance of meeting. Strangers have become family even though different blood runs in our veins. I continue to learn and make mistakes but the bottom line is I simply refuse to leave the same way I came.   That is my hope for all of us. That we may find something we are good at or care enough about while we are here and channel all our energy into making ourselves better. Like Foster Ofosu from the African Development Bank said during the International Water and Energy Fair; no one owes us anything other than ourselves. We have to motivate ourselves and knock on those doors that we have been made to believe cannot open for one reason or another. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to exploit every opportunity provided so that when our time is done here every sacrifice we have made will be worth it. Eventually you will find that what you consider to be the greatest sacrifice now will prove to be one of the greatest investments you could ever make.
    May 30, 2016 589
  • 20 Jun 2016
    In the past week we have had indepth discussion on human rights and the situtation in our respective countries. In the end we were supposed to write a paper on a topic related to human rights and I choose human trafficking and specifically in my home country, Kenya. The situation is dire and it is sad to see that very little is being done to stop this henious crime. Please read on... Introduction Human trafficking is a violation of human rights and according to the Palermo Protocol it involves recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring of persons through coercion, fraud or abduction for the purpose of exploitation such as prostitution, organ harvesting, slavery or forced labor. In Africa human trafficking in form of slave trade to meet the high demand for labor dates back to the 16th Century and was based on the victims physical strength and abilities (Bales, 2004). However, in the 21st Century human trafficking has taken a complex, multi-faceted approach that involves many stakeholders at institutional and commercial level and it is driven by the demand for cheap labor and commercial sex (UNESCO, 2007). In sub-Sahara Africa women and children are the most vulnerable and common victims to human trafficking. Trafficking occurs both domestically and across borders and the illegal nature of the trade and the secrecy surrounding its activities makes it difficult to accurately quantify the number of victims at a local and global level. Human Trafficking in Kenya According to the International Organization for Migration, Kenya has been identified as a source, transit, and destination for human trafficking and smuggling. Kenya plays host to a big number of refugees from Somalia and South Sudan who are vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. The porous borders also mean that victims of human trafficking can easily be transported from and into Kenya. This means that human trafficking in Kenya occurs internally and internationally. Internal trafficking most commonly involves the transportation of persons from the rural to urban areas in search of better opportunities (National Crime Research Centre, 2014) where else the most common international destinations for trafficking victims are Europe, North America and in most recent times the Middle East.   It is in light of this that Kenya has put in place the necessary legal framework and regulations to counter human trafficking. To this effect the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act was adopted in 2010 and an a National Plan of Action (NPA) for Combating Human Trafficking 2013-2017 was put in place. In 2014 the government through parliament passed the Victim Protection Act which is supposed to offer protection and monitory support to those who have fallen prey to human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2015). The legislation is to help Kenya fulfill its mandate under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and notably, fulfill its obligation to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. The action plan is supposed to promote cooperation between Kenya and other countries and different stakeholders involved in the fight against human trafficking (Government of Kenya, 2012).  The government has also domesticated the United Nations Convention on Rights of the child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in its Children Act which obligates it to put in place bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction, sale and trafficking of children. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child requires the party states like Kenya to prevent abduction, sale, economic exploitation or trafficking of children.   The government in its fight against human trafficking is guided by the three approaches highlighted in the National Plan of Action as prevention, protection and prosecution (Government of Kenya, 2012). The preventive measures put in place include capacity building of the criminal justice experts and raising public awareness through campaigns that give information on human trafficking. The protection of victims is through rescuing efforts and offering support services for the rehabilitation of the trafficked persons.   Despite putting in place the above measures and legislations, Kenya has no long term prevention strategy in addressing the root causes of trafficking and neither do they have a clear understanding of what such a strategy should include (IOM, 2003).  Furthermore, it was not until 2010 when the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act was passed, that human trafficking was specifically addresses as an offence in Kenya’s national legislation (National Crime Research Centre, 2014). However, the government was not quick to implement the action plan or enhance its efforts in combating human trafficking activities in the country and therefore Kenya is ranked at Tier 2 out of 3 Tiers by the Traffic in Persons Report 2010.   Their efforts to implement the National Plan of Action approaches of prevention, protection and prosecution are undermined by corruption in the government and judicial system. Corruption among law enforcement authorities and all levels of government hinder efforts in prosecuting those involved in trafficking and protecting the victims against re-victimization based on their testimonies (U.S. Department of State, 2015). Corruption among immigration officials turn a blind eye to human trafficking networks operating beyond the Kenyan borders. The government’s unwillingness to hold its officials accountable in their involvement or facilitation of trafficking has also hindered the implementation of the legislations meant to address human trafficking.   The major root cause for trafficking in Kenya is poverty especially in the rural areas. Families in rural areas give up their children to traffickers in the guise of providing them with better living opportunities and conditions (Dottridge, 2002). According to a survey done by the National Crime Research Center in 2014, 70.5% of victims in domestic trafficking are sourced from rural areas and 21.6% from urban areas. Unemployment, low wages and poor living standards and corruption in urban centers have contributed to people adapting lifestyles that make them vulnerable to exploitation and they are easily drawn to prostitution, drugs and crime. Unemployment has also contributed to the young people risking their freedom and well being in pursuit of greener pastures outside the country with the help of unlicensed job agencies and traffickers.   Conclusion Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that goes beyond borders and requires cooperation between states, international organizations, civil societies and communities. Nonetheless, the biggest responsibility to protect persons from trafficking lies with the Government of Kenya even though the international community is required to offer expertise or monitory support especially when addressing the trafficking threat faced by the refugees found in Daadab and Kakuma camps in Kenya. Kenya has already put in place the necessary legislations to facilitate the fight against human trafficking and what remains is full government commitment towards their implementation and constant evaluation on what needs to be improved or changed to make sure they are one step ahead in the ever changing world of human trafficking. Human trafficking is almost an invisible crime that calls for commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders in order to spot and tame it.         Works Cited Bales, K. (2004). New Slavery. California: ABC-CLIO. Dottridge, M. (2002). Trafficking in children in West and Central Africa. Gender and Development, , 38-49. Governemnt of Kenya. (2012). The NAtional Plan of Action for Combating Human Trafficking, Strategic Framework 2013-2017. Nairobi: UNON. Integrity Research and Consultancy . (2014). Child Trafficking in Urban Kenya. London. IOM. (2003). Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? Geneva: International Organization for Migration. National Crime Research Centre. (2014). Human Trafficking in Kenya. Nairobi. U.S. Department of State. (2015). Trafficking in Persons Report. UNESCO. (2007). Human Trafficking in South Africa: Root Causes and Recommendations. Paris.  
    588 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • In the past week we have had indepth discussion on human rights and the situtation in our respective countries. In the end we were supposed to write a paper on a topic related to human rights and I choose human trafficking and specifically in my home country, Kenya. The situation is dire and it is sad to see that very little is being done to stop this henious crime. Please read on... Introduction Human trafficking is a violation of human rights and according to the Palermo Protocol it involves recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring of persons through coercion, fraud or abduction for the purpose of exploitation such as prostitution, organ harvesting, slavery or forced labor. In Africa human trafficking in form of slave trade to meet the high demand for labor dates back to the 16th Century and was based on the victims physical strength and abilities (Bales, 2004). However, in the 21st Century human trafficking has taken a complex, multi-faceted approach that involves many stakeholders at institutional and commercial level and it is driven by the demand for cheap labor and commercial sex (UNESCO, 2007). In sub-Sahara Africa women and children are the most vulnerable and common victims to human trafficking. Trafficking occurs both domestically and across borders and the illegal nature of the trade and the secrecy surrounding its activities makes it difficult to accurately quantify the number of victims at a local and global level. Human Trafficking in Kenya According to the International Organization for Migration, Kenya has been identified as a source, transit, and destination for human trafficking and smuggling. Kenya plays host to a big number of refugees from Somalia and South Sudan who are vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. The porous borders also mean that victims of human trafficking can easily be transported from and into Kenya. This means that human trafficking in Kenya occurs internally and internationally. Internal trafficking most commonly involves the transportation of persons from the rural to urban areas in search of better opportunities (National Crime Research Centre, 2014) where else the most common international destinations for trafficking victims are Europe, North America and in most recent times the Middle East.   It is in light of this that Kenya has put in place the necessary legal framework and regulations to counter human trafficking. To this effect the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act was adopted in 2010 and an a National Plan of Action (NPA) for Combating Human Trafficking 2013-2017 was put in place. In 2014 the government through parliament passed the Victim Protection Act which is supposed to offer protection and monitory support to those who have fallen prey to human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2015). The legislation is to help Kenya fulfill its mandate under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and notably, fulfill its obligation to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. The action plan is supposed to promote cooperation between Kenya and other countries and different stakeholders involved in the fight against human trafficking (Government of Kenya, 2012).  The government has also domesticated the United Nations Convention on Rights of the child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in its Children Act which obligates it to put in place bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction, sale and trafficking of children. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child requires the party states like Kenya to prevent abduction, sale, economic exploitation or trafficking of children.   The government in its fight against human trafficking is guided by the three approaches highlighted in the National Plan of Action as prevention, protection and prosecution (Government of Kenya, 2012). The preventive measures put in place include capacity building of the criminal justice experts and raising public awareness through campaigns that give information on human trafficking. The protection of victims is through rescuing efforts and offering support services for the rehabilitation of the trafficked persons.   Despite putting in place the above measures and legislations, Kenya has no long term prevention strategy in addressing the root causes of trafficking and neither do they have a clear understanding of what such a strategy should include (IOM, 2003).  Furthermore, it was not until 2010 when the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act was passed, that human trafficking was specifically addresses as an offence in Kenya’s national legislation (National Crime Research Centre, 2014). However, the government was not quick to implement the action plan or enhance its efforts in combating human trafficking activities in the country and therefore Kenya is ranked at Tier 2 out of 3 Tiers by the Traffic in Persons Report 2010.   Their efforts to implement the National Plan of Action approaches of prevention, protection and prosecution are undermined by corruption in the government and judicial system. Corruption among law enforcement authorities and all levels of government hinder efforts in prosecuting those involved in trafficking and protecting the victims against re-victimization based on their testimonies (U.S. Department of State, 2015). Corruption among immigration officials turn a blind eye to human trafficking networks operating beyond the Kenyan borders. The government’s unwillingness to hold its officials accountable in their involvement or facilitation of trafficking has also hindered the implementation of the legislations meant to address human trafficking.   The major root cause for trafficking in Kenya is poverty especially in the rural areas. Families in rural areas give up their children to traffickers in the guise of providing them with better living opportunities and conditions (Dottridge, 2002). According to a survey done by the National Crime Research Center in 2014, 70.5% of victims in domestic trafficking are sourced from rural areas and 21.6% from urban areas. Unemployment, low wages and poor living standards and corruption in urban centers have contributed to people adapting lifestyles that make them vulnerable to exploitation and they are easily drawn to prostitution, drugs and crime. Unemployment has also contributed to the young people risking their freedom and well being in pursuit of greener pastures outside the country with the help of unlicensed job agencies and traffickers.   Conclusion Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that goes beyond borders and requires cooperation between states, international organizations, civil societies and communities. Nonetheless, the biggest responsibility to protect persons from trafficking lies with the Government of Kenya even though the international community is required to offer expertise or monitory support especially when addressing the trafficking threat faced by the refugees found in Daadab and Kakuma camps in Kenya. Kenya has already put in place the necessary legislations to facilitate the fight against human trafficking and what remains is full government commitment towards their implementation and constant evaluation on what needs to be improved or changed to make sure they are one step ahead in the ever changing world of human trafficking. Human trafficking is almost an invisible crime that calls for commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders in order to spot and tame it.         Works Cited Bales, K. (2004). New Slavery. California: ABC-CLIO. Dottridge, M. (2002). Trafficking in children in West and Central Africa. Gender and Development, , 38-49. Governemnt of Kenya. (2012). The NAtional Plan of Action for Combating Human Trafficking, Strategic Framework 2013-2017. Nairobi: UNON. Integrity Research and Consultancy . (2014). Child Trafficking in Urban Kenya. London. IOM. (2003). Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? Geneva: International Organization for Migration. National Crime Research Centre. (2014). Human Trafficking in Kenya. Nairobi. U.S. Department of State. (2015). Trafficking in Persons Report. UNESCO. (2007). Human Trafficking in South Africa: Root Causes and Recommendations. Paris.  
    Jun 20, 2016 588
  • 04 Jul 2016
    It is an illness spoken in harsh tones and whispers. It is surrounded by shame and stigma you would be forgiven to think it is contagious. Mental illness. Unlike popular belief mental illness does not mean going cuckoo and collecting rubbish on the road as Nigerian movies would have you believe. According to Mayo clinic mental illness refers to a wide range of health conditions or disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples include depression, anxiety, eating disorders and addictive behaviors. The rich and famous have not been spared either like Jim Carrey, John Hamm and Angelina Jolie who have suffered from depression, Catherine Zeta and Demi Lovato from bio polar disorder and the list goes on and on to our family members and friends. I will be the first to own up to having suffered from depression some years back after the loss of a loved one and it is a dark place to be, even darker if you have no support system in place. So why do many cases of mental illnesses pass through the cracks and go undetected? To start with very few African countries have mental health policies and mental health illness is at the bottom of most governments priorities. Mental illness is considered a silent crisis. Some could argue we have more urgent things to handle like malaria, HIV & AIDS, hunger and I agree but mental health should be on top of the list of any country seeking to ensure maximum productivity of its people. The situation across Africa is traumatizing and there is not mush data to go on, take for example South Sudan where no mental illness hospital existed up until 2012 and those thought to be mentally ill were put in jail. In some parts of Ghana and East Africa those suffering from mental disabilities are chained to trees or inside the house with little to no care. Psychiatric institutions are like a scene from a horror movie. The patients lack basic sanitation and care and sadly there is no one to follow up on their therapy and treatment routines. They have been stripped off their human dignity. Families of those suffering from mental illness or disability are considered outcasts in the community and some hide their children out of shame and in a bid to fit in. Most of the African cultures associate mental illness to curses, witchcraft, and punishment form the gods or plain bad lack. Patients are taken through healing rituals that demean them and bleed their families financially dry as they seek answers to what could be ailing their loved one. I am sure you have also seen countless religious ceremonies meant to cast out demons. Africa is developing and we are getting more exposed to the outside world. As this happens we are continuously under pressure to perform and outdo others which could result into high stress, anxiety disorder and other addictive behaviors. Therefore, we need to provide a safe place for those suffering from mental illnesses to heal or to lead normal lives as much as possible. Governments and health officials need to be proactive in ensuring human rights are observed in psychiatric centers. We need to pour more resources into training health workers in this field and equipping the centers available. The idea of working together with religious and traditional healers should not entirely be dismissed but should be regulated and coordinated to ensure that there is no exploitation of the families or abuse of those in need of care. They should act as the bridge between the sick and professional care givers. Such a model has been tried in Kenya under the partnership of traditional healers and the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professionals and they have witnessed a rise in the number of patients refereed to the psychiatric centers by traditional healers. At a personal level we need to check on our families and friends. There are those who are always laughing but are in pain untold. There are those who drop off the grid and we don’t really care enough to check on what is going on. Sometimes when it comes to illnesses like depression, anxiety and eating disorders the best cure is knowing you have a strong support system. When the darkness seems to want to swallow you whole you hold on because others believe you can. I think those who suffer from mental illnesses are the strongest people we have because they have to fight every single day to remain anchored in the present when all they want is an escape.
    588 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • It is an illness spoken in harsh tones and whispers. It is surrounded by shame and stigma you would be forgiven to think it is contagious. Mental illness. Unlike popular belief mental illness does not mean going cuckoo and collecting rubbish on the road as Nigerian movies would have you believe. According to Mayo clinic mental illness refers to a wide range of health conditions or disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples include depression, anxiety, eating disorders and addictive behaviors. The rich and famous have not been spared either like Jim Carrey, John Hamm and Angelina Jolie who have suffered from depression, Catherine Zeta and Demi Lovato from bio polar disorder and the list goes on and on to our family members and friends. I will be the first to own up to having suffered from depression some years back after the loss of a loved one and it is a dark place to be, even darker if you have no support system in place. So why do many cases of mental illnesses pass through the cracks and go undetected? To start with very few African countries have mental health policies and mental health illness is at the bottom of most governments priorities. Mental illness is considered a silent crisis. Some could argue we have more urgent things to handle like malaria, HIV & AIDS, hunger and I agree but mental health should be on top of the list of any country seeking to ensure maximum productivity of its people. The situation across Africa is traumatizing and there is not mush data to go on, take for example South Sudan where no mental illness hospital existed up until 2012 and those thought to be mentally ill were put in jail. In some parts of Ghana and East Africa those suffering from mental disabilities are chained to trees or inside the house with little to no care. Psychiatric institutions are like a scene from a horror movie. The patients lack basic sanitation and care and sadly there is no one to follow up on their therapy and treatment routines. They have been stripped off their human dignity. Families of those suffering from mental illness or disability are considered outcasts in the community and some hide their children out of shame and in a bid to fit in. Most of the African cultures associate mental illness to curses, witchcraft, and punishment form the gods or plain bad lack. Patients are taken through healing rituals that demean them and bleed their families financially dry as they seek answers to what could be ailing their loved one. I am sure you have also seen countless religious ceremonies meant to cast out demons. Africa is developing and we are getting more exposed to the outside world. As this happens we are continuously under pressure to perform and outdo others which could result into high stress, anxiety disorder and other addictive behaviors. Therefore, we need to provide a safe place for those suffering from mental illnesses to heal or to lead normal lives as much as possible. Governments and health officials need to be proactive in ensuring human rights are observed in psychiatric centers. We need to pour more resources into training health workers in this field and equipping the centers available. The idea of working together with religious and traditional healers should not entirely be dismissed but should be regulated and coordinated to ensure that there is no exploitation of the families or abuse of those in need of care. They should act as the bridge between the sick and professional care givers. Such a model has been tried in Kenya under the partnership of traditional healers and the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professionals and they have witnessed a rise in the number of patients refereed to the psychiatric centers by traditional healers. At a personal level we need to check on our families and friends. There are those who are always laughing but are in pain untold. There are those who drop off the grid and we don’t really care enough to check on what is going on. Sometimes when it comes to illnesses like depression, anxiety and eating disorders the best cure is knowing you have a strong support system. When the darkness seems to want to swallow you whole you hold on because others believe you can. I think those who suffer from mental illnesses are the strongest people we have because they have to fight every single day to remain anchored in the present when all they want is an escape.
    Jul 04, 2016 588