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  • 24 Oct 2016
    On October 21st the UN appointed wonder woman as an honorary ambassador for girls and women empowerment in support to sustainable development goal number 5 on her 75th birthday. Wonder woman is a fictional character found in American comic books and is based on the Amazons of Greek mythology. Her character revolves around ensuring justice and peace, key traits that prompted the appointment. Understandably, there was backlash notably from some UN staff on the decision to bestow the fictional character honorary status. We live in a world where women are faced with the pressure to conform to the world’s definition of beauty and success. Most of this pressure comes from daily bombardment from the media of what an ideal or perfect woman should be in their fictional and reality shows. So it begs the question why would an organization like the UN settle for a fictional character to mark girls and women empowerment? The UN has championed numerous initiatives around the world in women empowerment and in promoting gender equality and there are many success stories based on real life stories and not fictional characters. There are women and men both young and old putting their lives on the line to fight against cultural, political and social restrictions and beliefs in a bid to empower others. Why then would there be need to honor a fictional character when we have real life heroines living among us? An online petition was launched by some UN staff who protested the appointment. Their concern and I quote “ …A woman of impossible proportions, scantily dressed in a shimmery, thigh baring body suit with an American flag motif is not an appropriate spokeswoman for an international gender equity role.” However, the ceremony still went on in the presence of silent protestors. Some consider the appointment a mockery to the challenges faced by women around the world ranging from domestic violence, sexual violence, slavery, war, poverty and unequal distribution of resources among many others. On the other hand some view this protest as simply that of feminists pushing their agenda. In the past we have had fictional characters like Winnie the Pooh ambassador of friendship 1998 and Tinker Bell as the ambassador for green 2009 but they did not elicit such criticism.  The UN has come under fire on issues of gender equity and empowerment, this year it was thought the secretary general position would finally go to one of the qualified 7 women applicants. Like we all know the job went to Antonio Guterres from Portugal who is equally qualified. I am not for giving positions to women for the sake of gender equality so that we can pat our backs on how far we have come. Competence in any position is very vital whether it is occupied by a man or woman. That said I think we have come so far and achieved so much in empowerment of women to let a fictional character represent that milestone!
    1541 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • On October 21st the UN appointed wonder woman as an honorary ambassador for girls and women empowerment in support to sustainable development goal number 5 on her 75th birthday. Wonder woman is a fictional character found in American comic books and is based on the Amazons of Greek mythology. Her character revolves around ensuring justice and peace, key traits that prompted the appointment. Understandably, there was backlash notably from some UN staff on the decision to bestow the fictional character honorary status. We live in a world where women are faced with the pressure to conform to the world’s definition of beauty and success. Most of this pressure comes from daily bombardment from the media of what an ideal or perfect woman should be in their fictional and reality shows. So it begs the question why would an organization like the UN settle for a fictional character to mark girls and women empowerment? The UN has championed numerous initiatives around the world in women empowerment and in promoting gender equality and there are many success stories based on real life stories and not fictional characters. There are women and men both young and old putting their lives on the line to fight against cultural, political and social restrictions and beliefs in a bid to empower others. Why then would there be need to honor a fictional character when we have real life heroines living among us? An online petition was launched by some UN staff who protested the appointment. Their concern and I quote “ …A woman of impossible proportions, scantily dressed in a shimmery, thigh baring body suit with an American flag motif is not an appropriate spokeswoman for an international gender equity role.” However, the ceremony still went on in the presence of silent protestors. Some consider the appointment a mockery to the challenges faced by women around the world ranging from domestic violence, sexual violence, slavery, war, poverty and unequal distribution of resources among many others. On the other hand some view this protest as simply that of feminists pushing their agenda. In the past we have had fictional characters like Winnie the Pooh ambassador of friendship 1998 and Tinker Bell as the ambassador for green 2009 but they did not elicit such criticism.  The UN has come under fire on issues of gender equity and empowerment, this year it was thought the secretary general position would finally go to one of the qualified 7 women applicants. Like we all know the job went to Antonio Guterres from Portugal who is equally qualified. I am not for giving positions to women for the sake of gender equality so that we can pat our backs on how far we have come. Competence in any position is very vital whether it is occupied by a man or woman. That said I think we have come so far and achieved so much in empowerment of women to let a fictional character represent that milestone!
    Oct 24, 2016 1541
  • 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!
    1156 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 1156
  • 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
    1352 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 1352
  • 10 Oct 2016
    I was closely following the proceedings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) held in Johannesburg on 24th September to 5th October 2016 with big expectations. CITES is an agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The international wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars ranging from the sale of live animals and plants, exotic goods, curios, medicine and food products. It is against this backdrop that the agreement plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of the trade for future generations. Currently, there are about 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants protected by CITES against over exploitation through international trade. The species are grouped into appendices I, II, III depending on their level of endangerment with those listed in appendix I enjoying the highest protection with a total ban in trade. Over the course of the conference the appendices were revised and there were some obvious winners and losers. The biggest winners were the African grey parrots, cheetahs, pangolins, and over 350 species of rosewood, silky sharks and other multiple animals and plants which now have added protection. The biggest losers in my opinion were the African elephants which are in dire need of maximum protection. My main interest was on the listing of the African elephants which is split between appendix I for East, Central and West Africa and II for Southern Africa. It is no secret that elephants are being pushed to the blink of extinction through poaching with reports showing a decline from 600,000 to 400,000 elephants in a decade. It is estimated that every 15 minutes an African elephant is lost to poaching as demand for ivory products continue to increase in Asia as a result of a more economically empowered middle class. Countries whose elephants are in appendix II can sell their ivory stock pile with permission from CITES and in my opinion herein lies the problem. In 1999 and 2008 Southern African countries sold their ivory stock pile legally to Asian countries and as a result stimulated ivory demand leading to increased poaching. The split listing of African elephants fails to put into consideration the biological populations and the fact that wild animals are not bound by political boundaries. As a result countries with elephants listed under appendix I face a continuous challenge in ensuring that their elephant populations are protected and that their countries are not used as transit point for ivory trade from the South. Unfortunately African countries did not present a united front during the conference and as a result we put the future of our elephants in the hands of foreign countries who are guided by the need to protect their ivory market. The human race needs to come to the realization that we are a species that is fully dependent and part of the natural system. This means that any imbalance in the natural environment has a direct impact on us and threatens our very survival and well being. What we are experiencing now is an unprecedented extinction of species fuelled by human greed, cultural beliefs, and economic empowerment of the middle class mainly in Asia and lack of international cooperation between governments. It is shocking that scientists estimate that we are losing 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals every 24 hours to extinction. If this is not a wakeup call, I do not know what else will make us pay attention and act before it is too late even for the human species.
    1067 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I was closely following the proceedings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) held in Johannesburg on 24th September to 5th October 2016 with big expectations. CITES is an agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The international wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars ranging from the sale of live animals and plants, exotic goods, curios, medicine and food products. It is against this backdrop that the agreement plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of the trade for future generations. Currently, there are about 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants protected by CITES against over exploitation through international trade. The species are grouped into appendices I, II, III depending on their level of endangerment with those listed in appendix I enjoying the highest protection with a total ban in trade. Over the course of the conference the appendices were revised and there were some obvious winners and losers. The biggest winners were the African grey parrots, cheetahs, pangolins, and over 350 species of rosewood, silky sharks and other multiple animals and plants which now have added protection. The biggest losers in my opinion were the African elephants which are in dire need of maximum protection. My main interest was on the listing of the African elephants which is split between appendix I for East, Central and West Africa and II for Southern Africa. It is no secret that elephants are being pushed to the blink of extinction through poaching with reports showing a decline from 600,000 to 400,000 elephants in a decade. It is estimated that every 15 minutes an African elephant is lost to poaching as demand for ivory products continue to increase in Asia as a result of a more economically empowered middle class. Countries whose elephants are in appendix II can sell their ivory stock pile with permission from CITES and in my opinion herein lies the problem. In 1999 and 2008 Southern African countries sold their ivory stock pile legally to Asian countries and as a result stimulated ivory demand leading to increased poaching. The split listing of African elephants fails to put into consideration the biological populations and the fact that wild animals are not bound by political boundaries. As a result countries with elephants listed under appendix I face a continuous challenge in ensuring that their elephant populations are protected and that their countries are not used as transit point for ivory trade from the South. Unfortunately African countries did not present a united front during the conference and as a result we put the future of our elephants in the hands of foreign countries who are guided by the need to protect their ivory market. The human race needs to come to the realization that we are a species that is fully dependent and part of the natural system. This means that any imbalance in the natural environment has a direct impact on us and threatens our very survival and well being. What we are experiencing now is an unprecedented extinction of species fuelled by human greed, cultural beliefs, and economic empowerment of the middle class mainly in Asia and lack of international cooperation between governments. It is shocking that scientists estimate that we are losing 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals every 24 hours to extinction. If this is not a wakeup call, I do not know what else will make us pay attention and act before it is too late even for the human species.
    Oct 10, 2016 1067
  • 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.
    1102 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 1102
  • 23 Sep 2016
    This week PAUWES is welcoming its third lot of students to pursue the various masters programs. Apparently, it is the largest group compared to the previous admissions. Even though I have not met the students in person, I take this rare opportunity to congratulate all of them for making it to the great Pan African University. I hope they are as excited as I was when I entered this lively, challenging and warm community one year ago. My first year has taught me that I made an excellent choice. I wish to convey my wishes to the first years directly as I have spotted some of them in COP (Community of Practice). I also wish to inform those that have used nicknames or even PAUWES as their names to edit their profile accordingly. This is because the platform is very critical for networking not only among PAUWES students, but also with organizations, intellectuals, and potential employers/partners. So I urge that you take it seriously and inform other students to join. I believe the intellectual adventure you will undertake under PAUWES will have profound impact in your life. It is thanks to your efforts that you have been able to create an education that is right for you. I also understand that making a choice is never easy. The choice you have made will stretch and shape your mind to the person you will become. In addition, studies in PAUWES offers a rich variety of intellectual opportunities by exposing students to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. This is because students are coming from various parts of Africa while lecturers from all parts of the world. I like using a few demonstrations here and there in order to drive the point home. Persons that have read wide may have come across Stephen Covey, the author of many inspirational books including 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He once said “The greatest risk is the risk of riskless living.”.  Thinking through that quote and analyzing the cause of human success, you realize that it is impossible to succeed without making decisions. It is also interesting to note that all the decisions made involve some level of risk. As a business person would say, a high risk decision often leads to more returns compared to low-risk decisions. Unfortunately, failure becomes nearly inevitable especially on high risk decisions. However, it is essential to ensure that the risk you take, if you fail to achieve the desired goals, you will only fall forward. Now I know you are wondering what I mean by all that. Falling forward simply means that you are more aware of your situation, and in a better position to succeed compared to your past worst moments. Now, what do you think of your chances as first years in PAUWES? For me, I believe PAUWES offers you a low risk opportunity with high returns. Nobody can offer your such an opportunity anywhere in the world. For this reason, I ask of you to get the best out of PAUWES. All the best!!
    1563 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • This week PAUWES is welcoming its third lot of students to pursue the various masters programs. Apparently, it is the largest group compared to the previous admissions. Even though I have not met the students in person, I take this rare opportunity to congratulate all of them for making it to the great Pan African University. I hope they are as excited as I was when I entered this lively, challenging and warm community one year ago. My first year has taught me that I made an excellent choice. I wish to convey my wishes to the first years directly as I have spotted some of them in COP (Community of Practice). I also wish to inform those that have used nicknames or even PAUWES as their names to edit their profile accordingly. This is because the platform is very critical for networking not only among PAUWES students, but also with organizations, intellectuals, and potential employers/partners. So I urge that you take it seriously and inform other students to join. I believe the intellectual adventure you will undertake under PAUWES will have profound impact in your life. It is thanks to your efforts that you have been able to create an education that is right for you. I also understand that making a choice is never easy. The choice you have made will stretch and shape your mind to the person you will become. In addition, studies in PAUWES offers a rich variety of intellectual opportunities by exposing students to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. This is because students are coming from various parts of Africa while lecturers from all parts of the world. I like using a few demonstrations here and there in order to drive the point home. Persons that have read wide may have come across Stephen Covey, the author of many inspirational books including 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He once said “The greatest risk is the risk of riskless living.”.  Thinking through that quote and analyzing the cause of human success, you realize that it is impossible to succeed without making decisions. It is also interesting to note that all the decisions made involve some level of risk. As a business person would say, a high risk decision often leads to more returns compared to low-risk decisions. Unfortunately, failure becomes nearly inevitable especially on high risk decisions. However, it is essential to ensure that the risk you take, if you fail to achieve the desired goals, you will only fall forward. Now I know you are wondering what I mean by all that. Falling forward simply means that you are more aware of your situation, and in a better position to succeed compared to your past worst moments. Now, what do you think of your chances as first years in PAUWES? For me, I believe PAUWES offers you a low risk opportunity with high returns. Nobody can offer your such an opportunity anywhere in the world. For this reason, I ask of you to get the best out of PAUWES. All the best!!
    Sep 23, 2016 1563
  • 12 Sep 2016
    I am an avid follower of Brandon the founder of Humans of New York (HONY). He makes regular posts highlighting the lives of people from different walks of life. Currently, his work has covered over twenty different countries since its inception in 2010. I would like to believe that I have read every piece he has posted since I bumped into his page. What I find interesting is that his photography and captions have been able to bring people from all over the world together, sometimes raising thousands of dollars for different causes. I will not bore you with the details of his work but my interest is on a post he did this past week on American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In the post Hillary gives an account of her struggle on finding a balance in her emotions and behaving in a way that is in line with society’s expectations of a woman. I quote “….It’s really quite funny. I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election. And people will love it. And I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.” Her statement generated a lot of discussion majorly because she is a presidential candidate but also because women from all walks of life could relate to her. We have definitely come a long way in the achievement of equal rights for women and their ability to access resources, education, health care, leadership position and participation in the decision making process since 1995. Yet women are constantly faced with society’s expectations on how they should behave whether it is in the work place or at home. If a woman does not show emotion, she is labeled as being cold but too much emotion gets her labeled a drama queen or a weakling. If she goes for what she wants she is too forward, laughing too hard will earn her the label of being too unladylike or uncultured. If she keeps to herself she will labeled as being anti social or moody. Somehow she is supposed to communicate what she wants without out rightly saying it. The list is endless. I would imagine that in the 21st Century our society would have let off the pressure and let the women charter their own path. I am not here to complain but state the facts as they are based on experience and what other women have to deal with every waking moment. I am not ignorant to the fact that men have to deal with a set of their own pressure but those are shoes I have never walked in. I am tired of conforming and restricting myself to a box just because society expects me to do so. So my advice to my fellow women is simple; laugh as hard as you can, cry your eyes dry if you have to, go after what you desire, let your emotions show and never apologize for it. In the end we are not here to please others but to live a full life that radiates joy and touches the lives of others. Our emotions are the rainbow that makes this world so colorful and we should never be ashamed of letting them show!
    1064 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I am an avid follower of Brandon the founder of Humans of New York (HONY). He makes regular posts highlighting the lives of people from different walks of life. Currently, his work has covered over twenty different countries since its inception in 2010. I would like to believe that I have read every piece he has posted since I bumped into his page. What I find interesting is that his photography and captions have been able to bring people from all over the world together, sometimes raising thousands of dollars for different causes. I will not bore you with the details of his work but my interest is on a post he did this past week on American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In the post Hillary gives an account of her struggle on finding a balance in her emotions and behaving in a way that is in line with society’s expectations of a woman. I quote “….It’s really quite funny. I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election. And people will love it. And I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.” Her statement generated a lot of discussion majorly because she is a presidential candidate but also because women from all walks of life could relate to her. We have definitely come a long way in the achievement of equal rights for women and their ability to access resources, education, health care, leadership position and participation in the decision making process since 1995. Yet women are constantly faced with society’s expectations on how they should behave whether it is in the work place or at home. If a woman does not show emotion, she is labeled as being cold but too much emotion gets her labeled a drama queen or a weakling. If she goes for what she wants she is too forward, laughing too hard will earn her the label of being too unladylike or uncultured. If she keeps to herself she will labeled as being anti social or moody. Somehow she is supposed to communicate what she wants without out rightly saying it. The list is endless. I would imagine that in the 21st Century our society would have let off the pressure and let the women charter their own path. I am not here to complain but state the facts as they are based on experience and what other women have to deal with every waking moment. I am not ignorant to the fact that men have to deal with a set of their own pressure but those are shoes I have never walked in. I am tired of conforming and restricting myself to a box just because society expects me to do so. So my advice to my fellow women is simple; laugh as hard as you can, cry your eyes dry if you have to, go after what you desire, let your emotions show and never apologize for it. In the end we are not here to please others but to live a full life that radiates joy and touches the lives of others. Our emotions are the rainbow that makes this world so colorful and we should never be ashamed of letting them show!
    Sep 12, 2016 1064
  • 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.    
    1324 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 1324
  • 05 Sep 2016
    Recently, an announcement regarding electricity access in Kenya was made by the World Bank. I was glad that the Kenyan government had increased electricity access to over 50% today from 23% in 2009. It is not only Kenya, but other countries within the East African region have also improved their electricity access. Rwanda increased access from 6% in 2009 to 22% in 2015. Tanzania improved from 2.5% in 2010 to approximately 24% in 2014. The improvements show that the individual governments have some form of comprehensive national strategies with regard to improving access to energy. For Kenya, I was particularly interested in the electricity access plan for the country to see if the achievement was in line with the Vision 2030. Unfortunately, it wasn’t; the access now should be 70%. I appreciate that there were challenges along the way that resulted to the shortfall. The challenges are not limited to Kenya. Take the case of Rwanda; the country is still a long way towards achieving 100% electricity access by 2020. The complexity that comes with implementation require our governments to apply more stringent measures, or apply better studies that provide more accurate projections. I want to believe that much more can be done as access to energy is a critical requirement in the achievement of most UN SDGs. The increased access to electricity in Kenya has been influenced by increased development in energy generation projects. One of the applauded projects, as many know, is the investment in geothermal power. With increased investment in Geothermal electricity, Kenya is getting global recognition as it is among the few countries with large generation capacities from geothermal. By the end of 2015, the country had a generation capacity of 600MW from geothermal contributing over a fourth of the total generation that stood at 2,333MW. Globally, looking at countries that invested in geothermal electricity in 2015 alone, Turkey set up the biggest plant at 159MW followed by the United States at 71MW, Mexico with 53MW and Kenya in the fourth position with 20MW. Japan came in fifth having added 7MW of geothermal electricity to its energy mix while Germany was 6th (6MW). Considering total electricity generation from geothermal, Kenya occupies the eighth position globally.  It is also noteworthy that the country is yet to fully exploit the 10,000MW of its geothermal capacity. The government aims to scale up electricity generation from to 5000MW by 2030. Even though the Kenyan electricity generation mix considers several renewables with geothermal being the main one, I believe that the country has largely ignored solar. Wind and solar currently contribute approximately 1% to the energy mix. I do not see this as fair considering drastic reduction of solar PV prices over the years. Fortunately, the Kenyan government is working to review its electricity grid code that will see increase in distributed generation especially on home solar through net-metering. There are also numerous solar-preneurs that are working to increase off-grid electricity alternative in the country. One notable one is the M-Kopa that provides a solar panel, LED light bulbs and rechargeable torch as well as a television set. For those that have solar firms, there is a Feed-in tariff of 12 dollar cents per kwh on solar electricity for solar farms with capacities above 0.5MW. Home solar will start taking shape hopefully in the next financial year when the new electricity code will take effect.
    1650 Posted by Eric Akumu
  • Recently, an announcement regarding electricity access in Kenya was made by the World Bank. I was glad that the Kenyan government had increased electricity access to over 50% today from 23% in 2009. It is not only Kenya, but other countries within the East African region have also improved their electricity access. Rwanda increased access from 6% in 2009 to 22% in 2015. Tanzania improved from 2.5% in 2010 to approximately 24% in 2014. The improvements show that the individual governments have some form of comprehensive national strategies with regard to improving access to energy. For Kenya, I was particularly interested in the electricity access plan for the country to see if the achievement was in line with the Vision 2030. Unfortunately, it wasn’t; the access now should be 70%. I appreciate that there were challenges along the way that resulted to the shortfall. The challenges are not limited to Kenya. Take the case of Rwanda; the country is still a long way towards achieving 100% electricity access by 2020. The complexity that comes with implementation require our governments to apply more stringent measures, or apply better studies that provide more accurate projections. I want to believe that much more can be done as access to energy is a critical requirement in the achievement of most UN SDGs. The increased access to electricity in Kenya has been influenced by increased development in energy generation projects. One of the applauded projects, as many know, is the investment in geothermal power. With increased investment in Geothermal electricity, Kenya is getting global recognition as it is among the few countries with large generation capacities from geothermal. By the end of 2015, the country had a generation capacity of 600MW from geothermal contributing over a fourth of the total generation that stood at 2,333MW. Globally, looking at countries that invested in geothermal electricity in 2015 alone, Turkey set up the biggest plant at 159MW followed by the United States at 71MW, Mexico with 53MW and Kenya in the fourth position with 20MW. Japan came in fifth having added 7MW of geothermal electricity to its energy mix while Germany was 6th (6MW). Considering total electricity generation from geothermal, Kenya occupies the eighth position globally.  It is also noteworthy that the country is yet to fully exploit the 10,000MW of its geothermal capacity. The government aims to scale up electricity generation from to 5000MW by 2030. Even though the Kenyan electricity generation mix considers several renewables with geothermal being the main one, I believe that the country has largely ignored solar. Wind and solar currently contribute approximately 1% to the energy mix. I do not see this as fair considering drastic reduction of solar PV prices over the years. Fortunately, the Kenyan government is working to review its electricity grid code that will see increase in distributed generation especially on home solar through net-metering. There are also numerous solar-preneurs that are working to increase off-grid electricity alternative in the country. One notable one is the M-Kopa that provides a solar panel, LED light bulbs and rechargeable torch as well as a television set. For those that have solar firms, there is a Feed-in tariff of 12 dollar cents per kwh on solar electricity for solar farms with capacities above 0.5MW. Home solar will start taking shape hopefully in the next financial year when the new electricity code will take effect.
    Sep 05, 2016 1650
  • 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.
    1180 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 1180