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  • 16 May 2016
    I have been battling about writing this piece for a long time, majorly because I do not think I can do it the justice it deserves. I have many memories from childhood and some are a bit fuzzy but not for this particular incidence. I can still see myself sitting on my favorite seat watching the international weekly news roundup. I remember watching as dozens of people migrated from their homes in search of safety and thousands were reported dead. To be honest I felt far removed from these events and I didn’t pay it much attention until recently. Since moving to Algeria I have come to meet people who know the horrors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. They have shared the stories of the survivors and those who were not so lucky to escape and in more times than one I have begged them to stop because it made me sick to my stomach. I have often wondered what the survivors would think of me and my cowardly reaction. I hide from hearing the truth while they lived it for 100 days with no escape. They begged them to stop but no one listened, not even the international community that turned a deaf ear to their plea for help.   Approximately 1,000,000 men, women and children were killed and estimated 150,000-250,000 women were raped between the months of 7th April to 4th July 1994 in what is commonly referred to as 100 days of slaughter. It must have felt like a life time hoping that help would eventually come and realizing the world did not consider them a priority and they would have to wait a little longer for salvation to come. I wonder how many died hoping the next day would be better or help would arrive, how many felt the pain of betrayal and abandonment as their flicker of faith in humanity died. It was a period where the name on your identity card could mean the difference between life and death. The target of the attacks was the Tutsi minority as well as any political opponents irrespective of their ethnic background. Families and neighbors turned against each other and the whole country was bleeding. I wonder what would have driven fellow countrymen to such hatred. The root cause has been speculated to be political incitement out of the economic and social inequalities in Rwanda during that time but questions still remain. It is hard to comprehend and 22 years later we may never really get the answers and the closure the victims seek.   Rwanda maybe a unique case in terms of magnitude but the political incitement and ethnic cleansing rituals is not. It is common place for African leaders to divide their countries in ethnic lines in a bid to stay in office or win elective seats. Kenya for example experienced post election violence in 2007 where the presidential elections were heavily disputed. As a result neighbors turned against each other and over 1000 people lost their lives ,thousands were displaced from their homes and property worth millions destroyed. We are now preparing for the 2017 elections and the atmosphere in the country is politically charged and sadly politicians continue to incite the public based on ethnic affiliations with no consequence at all. The tale is the same across the continent on politically incited crashes like in Angola, Central Republic, South Sudan, and Burundi among many others.   How I wish we could all learn from the blood bath in Rwanda 22 years ago. Rwanda has risen from the ashes to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. I like to give my best friend grief over their loyalty to President Paul Kagame but who can blame them really. He is the man who has guided his country to reconciliation and healing and steered the economy on the right direction. To many Rwandeses he is popularly known as a leader who holds those within government accountable for their actions and demands performance in service delivery. He may be a man of many faults like his critics have said but let’s give credit where it is due.   I do not understand politics; it is a dirty game after all. I will never understand how the loss of lives is brushed off as collateral damage so a few people can remain in power or take over the political class. It is like to become a politician you have to trade your conscious for an ice cold heart than has no respect for human lives. We like to blame the west for all our troubles but if we are to apportion blame we deserve the heaviest load on our shoulders. We sit on the sidelines as the politicians squander public funds and resources and invest them in the west. We cheer them when they attack other ethnic groups in a bid to consolidate power and when they are put on trial for crimes against humanity we buy their lies that democracy is under trial. No wonder the west continues to poke their noses in our business since we can’t seem to get our house in order. I wonder when we will decide enough is enough hopefully heavens forbid not after we experience the horrors of Rwanda. ************************************************************************************************************************************************ I asked some of my friends from Rwanda what they wished Africa could learn from the genocide and here is what they had to say; Umulisa Diana: Africa has to realize we are the authors of our own destiny. The west does not create problems for us we do that all by ourselves. We fight against each other and kill but at the end of the day when all the dust settles we are faced by the reality that no one has the solutions we so desperately seek apart from ourselves. We are all we need to rebuild this continent. Pascal Kwisanga: I am Pascal KWISANGA from Rwanda. I was born  in Rwanda and I had been in  Rwanda before the genocide, during the genocide and after the genocide. I was 5 years old when the genocide happened in        Rwanda, I saw a lot of things      and learnt from what   happened and  what is happening in Rwanda. Africaand the            rest ofthe world should learn from what happened        in Rwanda in 1994. Genocide has taken         the life  of a million victims of         Rwandans and other  friends and more thana million became orphans, widowers  and widows. I  know what it means to lose your beloved parents and relatives; it is painful more than you think. Having tribes or clans is not a problem in a society but the way they can be used and be manipulated to the point you can exterminate human-being because of       the actual regime's mindset, this is not humanity. It    is better to help your country as          citizen  not as         regionalism ortribalism to make your country be developed in different        ways.  We don't need  to be used by        the politicians  or actual governments to satisfy their  needs   to destroy our  relationship and friendship but we need to act as a           nation and build our    country together. Hope, unity  and forgiveness are the key weapons  to strengthen our nations.                                                                                                            ENOUGH SAID                  
    1155 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I have been battling about writing this piece for a long time, majorly because I do not think I can do it the justice it deserves. I have many memories from childhood and some are a bit fuzzy but not for this particular incidence. I can still see myself sitting on my favorite seat watching the international weekly news roundup. I remember watching as dozens of people migrated from their homes in search of safety and thousands were reported dead. To be honest I felt far removed from these events and I didn’t pay it much attention until recently. Since moving to Algeria I have come to meet people who know the horrors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. They have shared the stories of the survivors and those who were not so lucky to escape and in more times than one I have begged them to stop because it made me sick to my stomach. I have often wondered what the survivors would think of me and my cowardly reaction. I hide from hearing the truth while they lived it for 100 days with no escape. They begged them to stop but no one listened, not even the international community that turned a deaf ear to their plea for help.   Approximately 1,000,000 men, women and children were killed and estimated 150,000-250,000 women were raped between the months of 7th April to 4th July 1994 in what is commonly referred to as 100 days of slaughter. It must have felt like a life time hoping that help would eventually come and realizing the world did not consider them a priority and they would have to wait a little longer for salvation to come. I wonder how many died hoping the next day would be better or help would arrive, how many felt the pain of betrayal and abandonment as their flicker of faith in humanity died. It was a period where the name on your identity card could mean the difference between life and death. The target of the attacks was the Tutsi minority as well as any political opponents irrespective of their ethnic background. Families and neighbors turned against each other and the whole country was bleeding. I wonder what would have driven fellow countrymen to such hatred. The root cause has been speculated to be political incitement out of the economic and social inequalities in Rwanda during that time but questions still remain. It is hard to comprehend and 22 years later we may never really get the answers and the closure the victims seek.   Rwanda maybe a unique case in terms of magnitude but the political incitement and ethnic cleansing rituals is not. It is common place for African leaders to divide their countries in ethnic lines in a bid to stay in office or win elective seats. Kenya for example experienced post election violence in 2007 where the presidential elections were heavily disputed. As a result neighbors turned against each other and over 1000 people lost their lives ,thousands were displaced from their homes and property worth millions destroyed. We are now preparing for the 2017 elections and the atmosphere in the country is politically charged and sadly politicians continue to incite the public based on ethnic affiliations with no consequence at all. The tale is the same across the continent on politically incited crashes like in Angola, Central Republic, South Sudan, and Burundi among many others.   How I wish we could all learn from the blood bath in Rwanda 22 years ago. Rwanda has risen from the ashes to become one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. I like to give my best friend grief over their loyalty to President Paul Kagame but who can blame them really. He is the man who has guided his country to reconciliation and healing and steered the economy on the right direction. To many Rwandeses he is popularly known as a leader who holds those within government accountable for their actions and demands performance in service delivery. He may be a man of many faults like his critics have said but let’s give credit where it is due.   I do not understand politics; it is a dirty game after all. I will never understand how the loss of lives is brushed off as collateral damage so a few people can remain in power or take over the political class. It is like to become a politician you have to trade your conscious for an ice cold heart than has no respect for human lives. We like to blame the west for all our troubles but if we are to apportion blame we deserve the heaviest load on our shoulders. We sit on the sidelines as the politicians squander public funds and resources and invest them in the west. We cheer them when they attack other ethnic groups in a bid to consolidate power and when they are put on trial for crimes against humanity we buy their lies that democracy is under trial. No wonder the west continues to poke their noses in our business since we can’t seem to get our house in order. I wonder when we will decide enough is enough hopefully heavens forbid not after we experience the horrors of Rwanda. ************************************************************************************************************************************************ I asked some of my friends from Rwanda what they wished Africa could learn from the genocide and here is what they had to say; Umulisa Diana: Africa has to realize we are the authors of our own destiny. The west does not create problems for us we do that all by ourselves. We fight against each other and kill but at the end of the day when all the dust settles we are faced by the reality that no one has the solutions we so desperately seek apart from ourselves. We are all we need to rebuild this continent. Pascal Kwisanga: I am Pascal KWISANGA from Rwanda. I was born  in Rwanda and I had been in  Rwanda before the genocide, during the genocide and after the genocide. I was 5 years old when the genocide happened in        Rwanda, I saw a lot of things      and learnt from what   happened and  what is happening in Rwanda. Africaand the            rest ofthe world should learn from what happened        in Rwanda in 1994. Genocide has taken         the life  of a million victims of         Rwandans and other  friends and more thana million became orphans, widowers  and widows. I  know what it means to lose your beloved parents and relatives; it is painful more than you think. Having tribes or clans is not a problem in a society but the way they can be used and be manipulated to the point you can exterminate human-being because of       the actual regime's mindset, this is not humanity. It    is better to help your country as          citizen  not as         regionalism ortribalism to make your country be developed in different        ways.  We don't need  to be used by        the politicians  or actual governments to satisfy their  needs   to destroy our  relationship and friendship but we need to act as a           nation and build our    country together. Hope, unity  and forgiveness are the key weapons  to strengthen our nations.                                                                                                            ENOUGH SAID                  
    May 16, 2016 1155
  • 09 May 2016
    I will be honest with you, most times I have no clue what my next blog will be about. It is hard to explain the writing process but unless inspiration strikes most times I just stare on a blank page with a blinking cursor. So as you can imagine it is always a pleasure and relief to come across a subject I can explore and hopefully stimulate a discussion on. I am not a movie lover; in fact you do not want to watch a movie with me because I have to know the ending before I watch one and most times than not I will be talking your ears off about the different characters. I will admit though there are times my nose is pulled out of a book long enough to watch one. This week it was John Q, a movie about a desperate father played by Denzel Washington trying to get his dying son on top of a heart transplant list. A really sad story with a happy dramatic ending, but it raised my interest on organ and tissue donation in Africa.   A quick search on Google gave me very little to go on. In fact, I mainly got statistics from South Africa whose donation ratio is estimated to be 2 to every 1 million. Shocking, I know! Kenya’s situation is worse with for example people suffering from corneal blindness getting their cornea transplants from the USA at a cost of 2000 USD which roughly translates to 200,000 KES. This is an exorbitant fee for most of those seeking a new lease in life so most are condemned to a life of blindness. All the organ banks in Kenya are mostly empty and those who donate are usually living relative trying to save the life of a loved one. The law in most African countries I came to find out is not clear on the guidelines for organ donation so those who can afford it opt to seek medical care outside the continent. So dire is the situation that the black market in organ harvesting is thriving in places like Egypt and South Africa where the poor and refugees are targeted. Their organs are either harvested through coercion, consent or downright theft.   It is clear that there is a big gap between the number of those waiting to receive organ and tissue transplants and those willing to be donors. So why are the majority of us not registered as organ donors when we die? I believe it is for a number of reasons mostly cultural, legal and religious. African cultures believe in the continuity of life and there is really no distinction between the soul, spirit and the body. Giving a part of your body is considered giving up a part of your whole being. On the other hand most religions believe in the continuity of the human spirit yet no one is talking about the benefits our mortal bodies could bring to this world. Over all there is very little information within our belief system for people to begin questioning about the possibilities that exist and what they can do to help. Sadly in this case belief marks the end of reasoning.   I admit signing up as an organ donor after death makes us confront our mortality and it is a hard truth to face. I have flirted with the idea of visiting an organ donation center in Kenya but I have never really committed to it. If I died tomorrow, donating my organs could help give up to seven people a chance to live longer; donating my soft tissue could improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people. I think that is an empowering and selfish thought at the same time. I acknowledge that our cultures and religious beliefs are deeply ingrained in us and sometimes our loved ones may prove to be the biggest obstacles to overcome. What I wish to do is to start a conversation on how we can make lives better even when we are gone or how we can ease our family into the idea that it is alright to share us with the world. I hope that you will visit your physician and have a candid discussion on the alternatives available in your country. Let us be part of the change and the better Africa we want to see even in death!    
    1642 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I will be honest with you, most times I have no clue what my next blog will be about. It is hard to explain the writing process but unless inspiration strikes most times I just stare on a blank page with a blinking cursor. So as you can imagine it is always a pleasure and relief to come across a subject I can explore and hopefully stimulate a discussion on. I am not a movie lover; in fact you do not want to watch a movie with me because I have to know the ending before I watch one and most times than not I will be talking your ears off about the different characters. I will admit though there are times my nose is pulled out of a book long enough to watch one. This week it was John Q, a movie about a desperate father played by Denzel Washington trying to get his dying son on top of a heart transplant list. A really sad story with a happy dramatic ending, but it raised my interest on organ and tissue donation in Africa.   A quick search on Google gave me very little to go on. In fact, I mainly got statistics from South Africa whose donation ratio is estimated to be 2 to every 1 million. Shocking, I know! Kenya’s situation is worse with for example people suffering from corneal blindness getting their cornea transplants from the USA at a cost of 2000 USD which roughly translates to 200,000 KES. This is an exorbitant fee for most of those seeking a new lease in life so most are condemned to a life of blindness. All the organ banks in Kenya are mostly empty and those who donate are usually living relative trying to save the life of a loved one. The law in most African countries I came to find out is not clear on the guidelines for organ donation so those who can afford it opt to seek medical care outside the continent. So dire is the situation that the black market in organ harvesting is thriving in places like Egypt and South Africa where the poor and refugees are targeted. Their organs are either harvested through coercion, consent or downright theft.   It is clear that there is a big gap between the number of those waiting to receive organ and tissue transplants and those willing to be donors. So why are the majority of us not registered as organ donors when we die? I believe it is for a number of reasons mostly cultural, legal and religious. African cultures believe in the continuity of life and there is really no distinction between the soul, spirit and the body. Giving a part of your body is considered giving up a part of your whole being. On the other hand most religions believe in the continuity of the human spirit yet no one is talking about the benefits our mortal bodies could bring to this world. Over all there is very little information within our belief system for people to begin questioning about the possibilities that exist and what they can do to help. Sadly in this case belief marks the end of reasoning.   I admit signing up as an organ donor after death makes us confront our mortality and it is a hard truth to face. I have flirted with the idea of visiting an organ donation center in Kenya but I have never really committed to it. If I died tomorrow, donating my organs could help give up to seven people a chance to live longer; donating my soft tissue could improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people. I think that is an empowering and selfish thought at the same time. I acknowledge that our cultures and religious beliefs are deeply ingrained in us and sometimes our loved ones may prove to be the biggest obstacles to overcome. What I wish to do is to start a conversation on how we can make lives better even when we are gone or how we can ease our family into the idea that it is alright to share us with the world. I hope that you will visit your physician and have a candid discussion on the alternatives available in your country. Let us be part of the change and the better Africa we want to see even in death!    
    May 09, 2016 1642
  • 02 May 2016
    Session 4 The first presenter for this session, Dr. Bertrand Tchanche from the International Institute for Science and Sustainable Development (IISSD), Amiens, France; presented on the “Interdisciplinary Approach to Accelerate Energy Access across Africa”. He holistically explained the disparities in energy resources at national and regional levels in Africa and the energy situation characterized by: a mismatch between the supply deficit and the surplus of untapped potential of renewable energies (wind, hydro, biomass, solar, geothermal); the polluting effects of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) on the environment and the impact on global warming; and the fact that energy was not taken into account as a fundamental and essential factor for sustainable development in political economy. He suggested an interdisciplinary methodology to put in conjunction with engineering and social sciences. This will help overcome barriers to energy access and contribute to sustainable development of communities through appropriate methods that facilitate the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy technologies. His method being also organizational seeks to foster collaboration between different actors and institutions (governments, organizations, communities) in order to implement a regulatory, legal and administrative framework that encourages investors and make reliable and affordable renewable energy technologies. Thereafter came the second presenter, Jerome Ndam Mungwe, from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. The presentation titled was “Sustainable Energization of Rural Areas of Developing Countries. A comprehensive planning approach” highlighted that Access to modern energy and energy related services in developing countries is a double-faced challenge with 1.3 billion people unable to access electricity and 2.6 billion relying on traditional biomass for cooking. According to him, solutions to this challenge can neither be through the isolated promotion of individual technologies nor fuel switching, but rather through a systemic approach to a more comprehensive energy access strategy, with the supply of alternative energy carriers and planning of complete energy solutions via a more comprehensive and sustainable rural energy planning. He further explained that the current approaches to Sustainable Energization do not account for the current energy balance and have not been applied in the context of rural areas. In conclusion, he proposed a comprehensive seven step rural energy planning methodology for the sustainable energization of rural areas in developing countries, which takes into account the current energy balance and integrate energy drivers in the energy services supply network. The application of this approach in a rural context shows a great improvement in the quantity, quality, and variety of accessible and affordable energy services for a more sustainable development of rural areas. The presenter that followed was, Prof Yekeen A. Sanusi, from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria, in a presentation titled “Energy Poverty and its Spatial Differences in Nigeria: Reversing the Trend” who clearly pointed out that the high level of poverty in the developing countries is also manifested in energy. Using his home country as a case study, he said that despite the abundant natural resources in Nigeria, access to energy is very low; with attention only on hydro sources for electricity generation and other renewable energy sources attracting very little attention. He examined thoroughly, households’ access to energy, energy poverty, spatial disparity in energy poverty and established relationships between energy poverty and factors of energy access. Finally, Yusto M. Yustas, from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania schooled the conference participants on “Characterisation of Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Demand in Semi-Arid Rural Areas”. He pointed out that the semi-arid rural areas in Tanzania predominantly lack access to clean, reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy for cooking, lighting and electrification; with also scarcity in fertile lands. Thus, practices that lead to environmental degradation such as rapid deforestation due to agricultural land expansions, charcoal making and firewood collection in these areas are very common. He explained that biogas plants of continuous low solid anaerobic digestion design were introduced in the area to address the unsustainable energy supply but because of the climate in the region most of the installed plants turned unsustainable and unreliable, hence the need for more reliable renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind in the area.   @Editorial_team  
    1457 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • Session 4 The first presenter for this session, Dr. Bertrand Tchanche from the International Institute for Science and Sustainable Development (IISSD), Amiens, France; presented on the “Interdisciplinary Approach to Accelerate Energy Access across Africa”. He holistically explained the disparities in energy resources at national and regional levels in Africa and the energy situation characterized by: a mismatch between the supply deficit and the surplus of untapped potential of renewable energies (wind, hydro, biomass, solar, geothermal); the polluting effects of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) on the environment and the impact on global warming; and the fact that energy was not taken into account as a fundamental and essential factor for sustainable development in political economy. He suggested an interdisciplinary methodology to put in conjunction with engineering and social sciences. This will help overcome barriers to energy access and contribute to sustainable development of communities through appropriate methods that facilitate the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy technologies. His method being also organizational seeks to foster collaboration between different actors and institutions (governments, organizations, communities) in order to implement a regulatory, legal and administrative framework that encourages investors and make reliable and affordable renewable energy technologies. Thereafter came the second presenter, Jerome Ndam Mungwe, from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. The presentation titled was “Sustainable Energization of Rural Areas of Developing Countries. A comprehensive planning approach” highlighted that Access to modern energy and energy related services in developing countries is a double-faced challenge with 1.3 billion people unable to access electricity and 2.6 billion relying on traditional biomass for cooking. According to him, solutions to this challenge can neither be through the isolated promotion of individual technologies nor fuel switching, but rather through a systemic approach to a more comprehensive energy access strategy, with the supply of alternative energy carriers and planning of complete energy solutions via a more comprehensive and sustainable rural energy planning. He further explained that the current approaches to Sustainable Energization do not account for the current energy balance and have not been applied in the context of rural areas. In conclusion, he proposed a comprehensive seven step rural energy planning methodology for the sustainable energization of rural areas in developing countries, which takes into account the current energy balance and integrate energy drivers in the energy services supply network. The application of this approach in a rural context shows a great improvement in the quantity, quality, and variety of accessible and affordable energy services for a more sustainable development of rural areas. The presenter that followed was, Prof Yekeen A. Sanusi, from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria, in a presentation titled “Energy Poverty and its Spatial Differences in Nigeria: Reversing the Trend” who clearly pointed out that the high level of poverty in the developing countries is also manifested in energy. Using his home country as a case study, he said that despite the abundant natural resources in Nigeria, access to energy is very low; with attention only on hydro sources for electricity generation and other renewable energy sources attracting very little attention. He examined thoroughly, households’ access to energy, energy poverty, spatial disparity in energy poverty and established relationships between energy poverty and factors of energy access. Finally, Yusto M. Yustas, from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania schooled the conference participants on “Characterisation of Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Demand in Semi-Arid Rural Areas”. He pointed out that the semi-arid rural areas in Tanzania predominantly lack access to clean, reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy for cooking, lighting and electrification; with also scarcity in fertile lands. Thus, practices that lead to environmental degradation such as rapid deforestation due to agricultural land expansions, charcoal making and firewood collection in these areas are very common. He explained that biogas plants of continuous low solid anaerobic digestion design were introduced in the area to address the unsustainable energy supply but because of the climate in the region most of the installed plants turned unsustainable and unreliable, hence the need for more reliable renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind in the area.   @Editorial_team  
    May 02, 2016 1457
  • 02 May 2016
    I am a lover of elephants and I have been lucky enough to watch them in their natural habitat. They are the most majestic animals I have ever come across and the sheer size of an adult bull or cow always leaves me in wonder. Their sense of family and interaction is an honor to watch.  There are two species of elephant; African elephant weighing up to 6, 000kg and its Asian counterpart weighing at around 5,000kg. Every elephant herd is led by a matriarch which is the oldest female in the herd (it’s a female world out there). Her role is to offer guidance to the heard and teach the young ones how to behave. So intelligent are they that they extend their trunks in greetings when they meet each other and are known to perform funeral rituals for their dead. Let me assure you that I am not here to bore you with facts about elephants but to bring to your attention the threat that faces these gentle giants.   On 30th April 2016 Kenya burnt over 100 tones of ivory stock piles which is a representation of about 8,000 elephants that have been lost to poaching in the recent years. This ivory was not only confiscated from poachers in Kenya but from traffickers using Kenyan airports and ports to export the illegal goods. According to the African Wildlife Foundation there are around 470,000 African elephants roaming the wild. Some of us may think that this is a huge number but the picture on the ground is more tragic. Every 15 minutes an African elephant is killed by poachers for its tusks. That means that if this trend continues the elephants will be extinct in the next two decades. Boom! Gone!   The historical burn of over 100 tones of ivory at Nairobi National Park Most of you might argue that we live in a world where it is survival for the fittest and Charles Darwin would definitely back up your argument. However, this is not nature taking its course but human greed fuelling massive killings. The largest markets for ivory products are China and the United States. What disgusts me the most is that it is the elite that are buying the ivory trinkets and carvings to cement their standing in society. The icing on this madness is their belief that the trinkets or carvings are good luck charms, an aphrodisiac (really?) and are a sign of wealth. How low the human race has sunk is beyond my comprehension. The cycle of ivory trade is one of pain and loss of lives. Park rangers are killed daily in the line of duty and war lords like Joseph Kony from Uganda sell ivory to buy arms and continue reigning terror among the innocents. Do not get me started on the crimes his army has committed against women and children as he seeks to quench his power hungry soul.   That is why the action of Kenya to burn over 100 tones of ivory is very significant. It sends a message that Kenya will not tolerate illegal trade in wildlife. It is a cry to the world to pay attention before elephants and rhinos become a tale like the dinosaurs. Many people especially in Kenya have been of the opinion that the ivory should have been sold at an estimation of 172 million USD and the money used for conservation efforts. I choose to disagree; great strides have been made in banning ivory trade in some states in America and parts of China. Releasing such amount of ivory to the market will only refuel the trade and result to more poaching. On the other hand guarding ivory stock piles is an expensive affair and would require 24/7 surveillance. The danger with this is that we have some rotten corrupt individuals who would not blink an eye when sneaking the ivory to the black market. So what better way to stick it up their faces other than burning the stock piles to ashes! We are simply saying elephants are worth more alive, let me explain;   Tourism in Kenya is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture. The $1 billion a year industry is a source of livelihood for thousands of Kenyans while our South African counterparts earn more than $ 7 billion every year accounting for around 7.9% of its GDP. I could go on and on about the benefits we derive as a continent from live animals than dead. I recognize that this problem is not only unique to Africa but conservationists around the world are racing against time to save other endangered species like the white rhino, sea turtles, jaguar, panda, white sharks among many others. What has gotten us here is human greed. It is the lack of respect for any other creature that walks on the face of the earth. We have forgotten that man may be supposedly the most intelligent on the web but every species has a role to play in the functioning of the food web.   We are destroying our planet at an unprecedented rate. We have cleared forests to build cities and expand our suburban neighborhoods, we have polluted the same rivers that give us life and turned our ears deaf to the conservationists’ voices of reason among us. History however, will judge us. Generations to come will hold us responsible for not protecting that which was entrusted to us. We owe it to them therefore, to be stewards of this beautiful planet until we can pass the torch to them.
    1871 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I am a lover of elephants and I have been lucky enough to watch them in their natural habitat. They are the most majestic animals I have ever come across and the sheer size of an adult bull or cow always leaves me in wonder. Their sense of family and interaction is an honor to watch.  There are two species of elephant; African elephant weighing up to 6, 000kg and its Asian counterpart weighing at around 5,000kg. Every elephant herd is led by a matriarch which is the oldest female in the herd (it’s a female world out there). Her role is to offer guidance to the heard and teach the young ones how to behave. So intelligent are they that they extend their trunks in greetings when they meet each other and are known to perform funeral rituals for their dead. Let me assure you that I am not here to bore you with facts about elephants but to bring to your attention the threat that faces these gentle giants.   On 30th April 2016 Kenya burnt over 100 tones of ivory stock piles which is a representation of about 8,000 elephants that have been lost to poaching in the recent years. This ivory was not only confiscated from poachers in Kenya but from traffickers using Kenyan airports and ports to export the illegal goods. According to the African Wildlife Foundation there are around 470,000 African elephants roaming the wild. Some of us may think that this is a huge number but the picture on the ground is more tragic. Every 15 minutes an African elephant is killed by poachers for its tusks. That means that if this trend continues the elephants will be extinct in the next two decades. Boom! Gone!   The historical burn of over 100 tones of ivory at Nairobi National Park Most of you might argue that we live in a world where it is survival for the fittest and Charles Darwin would definitely back up your argument. However, this is not nature taking its course but human greed fuelling massive killings. The largest markets for ivory products are China and the United States. What disgusts me the most is that it is the elite that are buying the ivory trinkets and carvings to cement their standing in society. The icing on this madness is their belief that the trinkets or carvings are good luck charms, an aphrodisiac (really?) and are a sign of wealth. How low the human race has sunk is beyond my comprehension. The cycle of ivory trade is one of pain and loss of lives. Park rangers are killed daily in the line of duty and war lords like Joseph Kony from Uganda sell ivory to buy arms and continue reigning terror among the innocents. Do not get me started on the crimes his army has committed against women and children as he seeks to quench his power hungry soul.   That is why the action of Kenya to burn over 100 tones of ivory is very significant. It sends a message that Kenya will not tolerate illegal trade in wildlife. It is a cry to the world to pay attention before elephants and rhinos become a tale like the dinosaurs. Many people especially in Kenya have been of the opinion that the ivory should have been sold at an estimation of 172 million USD and the money used for conservation efforts. I choose to disagree; great strides have been made in banning ivory trade in some states in America and parts of China. Releasing such amount of ivory to the market will only refuel the trade and result to more poaching. On the other hand guarding ivory stock piles is an expensive affair and would require 24/7 surveillance. The danger with this is that we have some rotten corrupt individuals who would not blink an eye when sneaking the ivory to the black market. So what better way to stick it up their faces other than burning the stock piles to ashes! We are simply saying elephants are worth more alive, let me explain;   Tourism in Kenya is the second largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture. The $1 billion a year industry is a source of livelihood for thousands of Kenyans while our South African counterparts earn more than $ 7 billion every year accounting for around 7.9% of its GDP. I could go on and on about the benefits we derive as a continent from live animals than dead. I recognize that this problem is not only unique to Africa but conservationists around the world are racing against time to save other endangered species like the white rhino, sea turtles, jaguar, panda, white sharks among many others. What has gotten us here is human greed. It is the lack of respect for any other creature that walks on the face of the earth. We have forgotten that man may be supposedly the most intelligent on the web but every species has a role to play in the functioning of the food web.   We are destroying our planet at an unprecedented rate. We have cleared forests to build cities and expand our suburban neighborhoods, we have polluted the same rivers that give us life and turned our ears deaf to the conservationists’ voices of reason among us. History however, will judge us. Generations to come will hold us responsible for not protecting that which was entrusted to us. We owe it to them therefore, to be stewards of this beautiful planet until we can pass the torch to them.
    May 02, 2016 1871
  • 28 Apr 2016
    The first of its kind in our beautiful institute, call it the epitome of excellence. This is yet another platform to raise awareness of the issues around us. Yet still another opportunity to build African future leaders who can hold discussions and dialogue to come up with appropriate solutions to Africa’s problems through making informed decisions. With platforms like this Africa’s future is not just bright but about to glow. Discussing African matters not only focuses on Africa but also the world at large pointing out the different opportunities for collaboration. The countries of the world face the same problems. What we brand “African problems” now, were once “Europe’s problems” and these still exist but not at the same level as in Africa. This is a good thing as case studies are drawn, bringing together different people, laying out learning points and leading to easy ways to handle the different concerns in a better perspective. This is how it happened. We had opening remarks from the team leader Subject Matter, Mr. Andrew Mugumya. His words were not more than encouragement, appreciation and acknowledgement of the efforts by other Community of Practice (CoP) teams in making the debate possible. He gave the timetable for the debates (after every 3 weeks), with certificates to be awarded to participants. At this time, everyone was waiting for the moment when the two teams get to battle it out as they try to convince the audience that “Renewable Energy is the sole solution for Africa’s energy problems or just a nice tune that needs Conventional Energy sources as the soloist”. The moment came, Mr. Eric Otieno, presided over the debate, introduced the 2 sides; Proposers and Opposers, stated the rules of the debate and the ball was set rolling. The first speaker from the proposers, Mr. Yunus Alokore introduced the big elephant in the room. ‘Energy is simply the ability to do work” he stated, He went ahead to give a brief introduction of Africa’s energy problems and how this has impeded development in numerous ways. North Africa depends mostly on fossil fuels, this is unsustainable and there is currently a lot of pressure. The solution to all this is Renewable Energy (RE) and that explains why there is a multitude of RE projects as they’re trying to diversify the energy mix. He pointed out the incredible potential of RE in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and how the region continues to live under extreme energy poverty. “Access to energy in Africa at large is still a conundrum, mostly SSA, suffering from systems inefficiencies of the few available ones, low capacity factor and overdependence on a single energy form”. The sun is always available, the potential for biomass is high but the efficiency of use to ensure sustainability is still an issue. More than 1.5 M tons of oil in Nigeria is extracted every year, this has an effect on the water bodies in the country and the environment at large through pollution. This does not only happen in Nigeria but in many other parts of the world where conventional energy sources are dominant. Speaking about the costs of RE, he pointed out the increased funding efforts from the different multinational organizations – the world bank allocated more than 6 billion US $ on RE projects this year alone, Total allocated more than 6bn US $ to financing RE projects too. On buying costs, he gave an account of how the prices of the different RE products have been falling over the years. “So costs should not be a thing to worry about”. Organisations are willing to finance African governments in a direction of clean energies and RE is the solution. He also underscored that when one looks at the lifecycle of both energy systems i.e. RE and conventional energies, it is crystal clear that conventional systems are rather expensive. He submitted and left the floor. Then came the second speaker from the proposers; Ms. Vivian Ogechi. She started by giving the difference between electricity and energy. She acknowledged the fact that RE is a long term approach and for that we need to take baby steps. Citing the great Inga dam in Congo, “this has the potential to feed more than 80% of Africa’s population but due to inefficiencies, it can’t even feed the whole Congo as a country”. She went ahead to state that energy systems like Hybrids where renewable systems of different types are joined together can be a perfect solution to mother Africa’s energy problems. She highlighted some of the African countries where governments are taking steps to include RE in the energy mix (Ethiopia, Algeria and Kenya). She concluded that decentralized energy systems are the solution for the continent’s isolated rural settings. The first speaker from the opposers, took the stage; Ms. Irene Nantongo. “It is very wrong to state that RE is the sole savior for this beautiful continent”, she exclaimed. “What about conventional sources?” she expressed her dissatisfaction to the fact that such discussions come at a time when her beautiful country (Uganda) and other countries have discovered the “flowing wealth”- Oil. She stressed further that the motion is very wrong, citing examples of developed countries and how they never gave up on conventional energy. “Their energy mix is still dominated by fossils fuels, look at the US - conventional energies are still prominent in their energy mix!”. Intermittency of RE is a very big issue, “Does the sun shine every day?”, she asked. Considering the high cost of the RE technologies, a poor continent like mother Africa can’t take that route for now. She drew examples from some of the developed countries in Africa, alluding how clearly their energy mix is dominated by conventional energy. “Africa is rich in RE resources but we need to think wiser”- she submitted and left the floor.The second speaker from the opposers; Mr. Cleus Bamutura, took over the floor. “It is true Africa has the resources, but listen to these humbling facts - Africa’s share on the world total energy consumption is only 5%. Total energy consumed by Africa in one year is consumed by china in one month.” The question should not be sole savior but rather optimization of the different energy sources the continent has at its disposal. Through this, Africa’s energy problems will become history in no time. Our focus should be on setting up resilient energy systems and handling them sustainably. He went ahead to point out the doubtable reliability of renewables citing that they are season dependent. He criticized the debate motion mentioning that, the focus should be on looking for better energy systems rather than limiting our options to one energy source RE as the sole savior. He stated that reasons for dependency on RE are more of sustainability than cost. He further criticized the funding from the organisations alluding how there are many strings attached and that Africa needs to move forward without that. “Yes, RE drives to a direction of access to energy but the question we should ask ourselves is, energy for what?”, he submitted. Rebuttal from proposersOn the floor came the speaker from proposers, Mr. Yunus Alokore. “Human beings never moved from stone age because they ran out of stones”. This was a reaction to the opposers consistent pointing to the availability of conventional energy in Africa and how we can’t ignore them in preference to RE. He defended solar energy by giving a range of other RE sources like Geothermal and Wind that can be harnessed in tandem to overcome the problem of intermittency. Underscoring the Wind potential in Africa being equivalent to the current total installed capacity, and geothermal potential estimated at 15GW. He concluded that intermittency of RE should not be an issue once Africa embarks entirely on RE. Reactions from the audienceThe audience was given a chance to participate in this very engaging session. A lot was said but the contentious issue was the two words “sole savior”. The different speakers from the audience directed a lot of focus on this as they claimed Africa is plagued with a plethora of problems facing the energy sector ranging from poor governance to food insecurity. And hence it would be terribly wrong to single out a solo issue RE as the sole savior of the continent’s energy problems. In a nutshell, the debate was educative, entertaining and very informative. All the participants were satisfied with the richness of the discussions that gave them a detailed insight into Africa’s energy situation, resources and scenarios as well as proposed solutions to curb energy problems in the continent. The entire PAUWES community is looking forward to the next one. As the editorial team, we take this opportunity to thank the entire community for making this a success. @Editorial_team
    1059 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • The first of its kind in our beautiful institute, call it the epitome of excellence. This is yet another platform to raise awareness of the issues around us. Yet still another opportunity to build African future leaders who can hold discussions and dialogue to come up with appropriate solutions to Africa’s problems through making informed decisions. With platforms like this Africa’s future is not just bright but about to glow. Discussing African matters not only focuses on Africa but also the world at large pointing out the different opportunities for collaboration. The countries of the world face the same problems. What we brand “African problems” now, were once “Europe’s problems” and these still exist but not at the same level as in Africa. This is a good thing as case studies are drawn, bringing together different people, laying out learning points and leading to easy ways to handle the different concerns in a better perspective. This is how it happened. We had opening remarks from the team leader Subject Matter, Mr. Andrew Mugumya. His words were not more than encouragement, appreciation and acknowledgement of the efforts by other Community of Practice (CoP) teams in making the debate possible. He gave the timetable for the debates (after every 3 weeks), with certificates to be awarded to participants. At this time, everyone was waiting for the moment when the two teams get to battle it out as they try to convince the audience that “Renewable Energy is the sole solution for Africa’s energy problems or just a nice tune that needs Conventional Energy sources as the soloist”. The moment came, Mr. Eric Otieno, presided over the debate, introduced the 2 sides; Proposers and Opposers, stated the rules of the debate and the ball was set rolling. The first speaker from the proposers, Mr. Yunus Alokore introduced the big elephant in the room. ‘Energy is simply the ability to do work” he stated, He went ahead to give a brief introduction of Africa’s energy problems and how this has impeded development in numerous ways. North Africa depends mostly on fossil fuels, this is unsustainable and there is currently a lot of pressure. The solution to all this is Renewable Energy (RE) and that explains why there is a multitude of RE projects as they’re trying to diversify the energy mix. He pointed out the incredible potential of RE in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) and how the region continues to live under extreme energy poverty. “Access to energy in Africa at large is still a conundrum, mostly SSA, suffering from systems inefficiencies of the few available ones, low capacity factor and overdependence on a single energy form”. The sun is always available, the potential for biomass is high but the efficiency of use to ensure sustainability is still an issue. More than 1.5 M tons of oil in Nigeria is extracted every year, this has an effect on the water bodies in the country and the environment at large through pollution. This does not only happen in Nigeria but in many other parts of the world where conventional energy sources are dominant. Speaking about the costs of RE, he pointed out the increased funding efforts from the different multinational organizations – the world bank allocated more than 6 billion US $ on RE projects this year alone, Total allocated more than 6bn US $ to financing RE projects too. On buying costs, he gave an account of how the prices of the different RE products have been falling over the years. “So costs should not be a thing to worry about”. Organisations are willing to finance African governments in a direction of clean energies and RE is the solution. He also underscored that when one looks at the lifecycle of both energy systems i.e. RE and conventional energies, it is crystal clear that conventional systems are rather expensive. He submitted and left the floor. Then came the second speaker from the proposers; Ms. Vivian Ogechi. She started by giving the difference between electricity and energy. She acknowledged the fact that RE is a long term approach and for that we need to take baby steps. Citing the great Inga dam in Congo, “this has the potential to feed more than 80% of Africa’s population but due to inefficiencies, it can’t even feed the whole Congo as a country”. She went ahead to state that energy systems like Hybrids where renewable systems of different types are joined together can be a perfect solution to mother Africa’s energy problems. She highlighted some of the African countries where governments are taking steps to include RE in the energy mix (Ethiopia, Algeria and Kenya). She concluded that decentralized energy systems are the solution for the continent’s isolated rural settings. The first speaker from the opposers, took the stage; Ms. Irene Nantongo. “It is very wrong to state that RE is the sole savior for this beautiful continent”, she exclaimed. “What about conventional sources?” she expressed her dissatisfaction to the fact that such discussions come at a time when her beautiful country (Uganda) and other countries have discovered the “flowing wealth”- Oil. She stressed further that the motion is very wrong, citing examples of developed countries and how they never gave up on conventional energy. “Their energy mix is still dominated by fossils fuels, look at the US - conventional energies are still prominent in their energy mix!”. Intermittency of RE is a very big issue, “Does the sun shine every day?”, she asked. Considering the high cost of the RE technologies, a poor continent like mother Africa can’t take that route for now. She drew examples from some of the developed countries in Africa, alluding how clearly their energy mix is dominated by conventional energy. “Africa is rich in RE resources but we need to think wiser”- she submitted and left the floor.The second speaker from the opposers; Mr. Cleus Bamutura, took over the floor. “It is true Africa has the resources, but listen to these humbling facts - Africa’s share on the world total energy consumption is only 5%. Total energy consumed by Africa in one year is consumed by china in one month.” The question should not be sole savior but rather optimization of the different energy sources the continent has at its disposal. Through this, Africa’s energy problems will become history in no time. Our focus should be on setting up resilient energy systems and handling them sustainably. He went ahead to point out the doubtable reliability of renewables citing that they are season dependent. He criticized the debate motion mentioning that, the focus should be on looking for better energy systems rather than limiting our options to one energy source RE as the sole savior. He stated that reasons for dependency on RE are more of sustainability than cost. He further criticized the funding from the organisations alluding how there are many strings attached and that Africa needs to move forward without that. “Yes, RE drives to a direction of access to energy but the question we should ask ourselves is, energy for what?”, he submitted. Rebuttal from proposersOn the floor came the speaker from proposers, Mr. Yunus Alokore. “Human beings never moved from stone age because they ran out of stones”. This was a reaction to the opposers consistent pointing to the availability of conventional energy in Africa and how we can’t ignore them in preference to RE. He defended solar energy by giving a range of other RE sources like Geothermal and Wind that can be harnessed in tandem to overcome the problem of intermittency. Underscoring the Wind potential in Africa being equivalent to the current total installed capacity, and geothermal potential estimated at 15GW. He concluded that intermittency of RE should not be an issue once Africa embarks entirely on RE. Reactions from the audienceThe audience was given a chance to participate in this very engaging session. A lot was said but the contentious issue was the two words “sole savior”. The different speakers from the audience directed a lot of focus on this as they claimed Africa is plagued with a plethora of problems facing the energy sector ranging from poor governance to food insecurity. And hence it would be terribly wrong to single out a solo issue RE as the sole savior of the continent’s energy problems. In a nutshell, the debate was educative, entertaining and very informative. All the participants were satisfied with the richness of the discussions that gave them a detailed insight into Africa’s energy situation, resources and scenarios as well as proposed solutions to curb energy problems in the continent. The entire PAUWES community is looking forward to the next one. As the editorial team, we take this opportunity to thank the entire community for making this a success. @Editorial_team
    Apr 28, 2016 1059
  • 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  
    905 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 905
  • 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!
    828 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 828
  • 22 Apr 2016
    The event started with introductory speeches from the different dignitaries including the PAUWES director, Professor Abdelatif Zerga. The main points that were mentioned in the speeches included energy issues in Africa, how researchers can establish strong links with the private sector and sustainability of energy projects through capacity building. It was an intriguing session, as speakers went on to give their unbiased views about energy issues in Africa pointing out their experiences in the different African countries. It got more interesting when the representatives from the private sector started challenging researchers. They were alleging that researchers do a lot of research that never materialize yet the private sector is interested in lucrative opportunities. “Private companies are not donor agencies” said Ms. Kagina after researchers were talking about insufficient and hard to get funding from the Private sector. She stressed further that, researchers focus a lot on paper publishing other than money making. "What’s research without publishing papers?”, asked one researcher. The discussion continued along the line of finding a holistic and common ground where research not only enriches knowledge of researchers but also directly impact on people’s lives on ground. In this way, the funding can be easy to win.Session 2 This session was fully packed with educative presentations from the different researchers that had attended the symposium. Among the presentations was one for a sizing analysis of a Linear Fresnel Solar. A Linear Fresnel solar is a solar technology that involves the use of mirrors (reflectors) known as Fresnel to focus the irradiations from the sun onto a fixed absorber located at a common focal point of the reflectors. These mirrors are capable of concentrating the sun’s energy to approximately 30 times its normal intensity. In the presentation, the researcher stated that four locations were considered namely; Hassi R'mel, Tamanrasset, Beni-Abbes, and El Oued, all in Algeria. It was found out that performance calculations hence sizing, varies from site to site with the Direct Normal Radiation (DNI). The presentation that followed was about thermodynamic modelling of thermal energy storage systems. In this, a methodology for comparing thermal energy storage technologies to electrochemical, chemical and mechanical energy storage technologies was presented. “The underlying physics of this model is hinged on the development of a round trip efficiency formulation for these systems”, stated the researcher. He added, “The charging and discharging processes of compressed air energy storage, flywheel energy storage, fuel cells, and batteries are well understood and defined from a physics standpoint in the context of comparing these systems. However, the challenge lays in comparing the charging process of these systems with the charging process of thermal energy storage systems for concentrating solar power plants (CSP).” The rationale behind the presenter’s analysis was to develop an electrical storage efficiency for molten salt thermal energy storage systems, such that it can be compared to battery energy storage technologies in the context of comparing CSP with thermal energy storage to solar photovoltaic with battery storage from a utility scale perspective. The results from the modelling using Andasol 3 CSP plant as a case study yielded a storage efficiency of 86% and LCOE of $216/ MWh. With these findings he anticipated that a thermal energy storage roadmap for the future generation will be facilitated. The 3rd presentation was about analyzing the best algorithm for a Heliostat Field Layout. A heliostat is a device that includes a mirror, usually a plane mirror, which turns so as to keep reflecting sunlight toward a predetermined target thereby compensating the sun’s apparent motions in the sky. The presenter showed the different state of art Heliostat field layout arrangements and the amount of radiation they can capture. The experiment was carried out using a simulation software. The results of the simulation indicated that all the analyzed layout generation algorithms give approximately similar solar field efficiencies when compared for the considered scenarios once they are optimized. More events followed on the different days, a series of highlights will be posted under this heading. @Editorial_team
    970 Posted by Tonny Kukeera
  • The event started with introductory speeches from the different dignitaries including the PAUWES director, Professor Abdelatif Zerga. The main points that were mentioned in the speeches included energy issues in Africa, how researchers can establish strong links with the private sector and sustainability of energy projects through capacity building. It was an intriguing session, as speakers went on to give their unbiased views about energy issues in Africa pointing out their experiences in the different African countries. It got more interesting when the representatives from the private sector started challenging researchers. They were alleging that researchers do a lot of research that never materialize yet the private sector is interested in lucrative opportunities. “Private companies are not donor agencies” said Ms. Kagina after researchers were talking about insufficient and hard to get funding from the Private sector. She stressed further that, researchers focus a lot on paper publishing other than money making. "What’s research without publishing papers?”, asked one researcher. The discussion continued along the line of finding a holistic and common ground where research not only enriches knowledge of researchers but also directly impact on people’s lives on ground. In this way, the funding can be easy to win.Session 2 This session was fully packed with educative presentations from the different researchers that had attended the symposium. Among the presentations was one for a sizing analysis of a Linear Fresnel Solar. A Linear Fresnel solar is a solar technology that involves the use of mirrors (reflectors) known as Fresnel to focus the irradiations from the sun onto a fixed absorber located at a common focal point of the reflectors. These mirrors are capable of concentrating the sun’s energy to approximately 30 times its normal intensity. In the presentation, the researcher stated that four locations were considered namely; Hassi R'mel, Tamanrasset, Beni-Abbes, and El Oued, all in Algeria. It was found out that performance calculations hence sizing, varies from site to site with the Direct Normal Radiation (DNI). The presentation that followed was about thermodynamic modelling of thermal energy storage systems. In this, a methodology for comparing thermal energy storage technologies to electrochemical, chemical and mechanical energy storage technologies was presented. “The underlying physics of this model is hinged on the development of a round trip efficiency formulation for these systems”, stated the researcher. He added, “The charging and discharging processes of compressed air energy storage, flywheel energy storage, fuel cells, and batteries are well understood and defined from a physics standpoint in the context of comparing these systems. However, the challenge lays in comparing the charging process of these systems with the charging process of thermal energy storage systems for concentrating solar power plants (CSP).” The rationale behind the presenter’s analysis was to develop an electrical storage efficiency for molten salt thermal energy storage systems, such that it can be compared to battery energy storage technologies in the context of comparing CSP with thermal energy storage to solar photovoltaic with battery storage from a utility scale perspective. The results from the modelling using Andasol 3 CSP plant as a case study yielded a storage efficiency of 86% and LCOE of $216/ MWh. With these findings he anticipated that a thermal energy storage roadmap for the future generation will be facilitated. The 3rd presentation was about analyzing the best algorithm for a Heliostat Field Layout. A heliostat is a device that includes a mirror, usually a plane mirror, which turns so as to keep reflecting sunlight toward a predetermined target thereby compensating the sun’s apparent motions in the sky. The presenter showed the different state of art Heliostat field layout arrangements and the amount of radiation they can capture. The experiment was carried out using a simulation software. The results of the simulation indicated that all the analyzed layout generation algorithms give approximately similar solar field efficiencies when compared for the considered scenarios once they are optimized. More events followed on the different days, a series of highlights will be posted under this heading. @Editorial_team
    Apr 22, 2016 970
  • 18 Apr 2016
    This is for the generation born before the millennium. Those who know what it means to sit down and write a letter to a loved one or friend. Those of who like me had pen pals growing up and waited for days on end for their letters or postcards to get to you. For those who made long queues to make a minute call on the telephone booths and those who may know that a telegram is charged per word. This is for those of us who sat around the fire and listened to our grandparents talk the night away as they relived their lives. The millennium came with its blessings and curses. For one communication has been made easier and we no longer have to look for smoke signs or wait for a life time before we get a reply to a letter, with a press of a button you can communicate to anyone in the world in real time. Take for example the social media facebook, twitter (I still cannot come up with a sensible 140 character message), pintrest, snapchat, instagram, whatsApp, viber………and the list goes on and on. All these platforms have brought the world to us, created an easier way to keep up with family and friends, opened up new opportunities that we could have only dreamt of. We have shared our milestones and failures on these platforms, our joy and pain, our dreams and aspirations and even our fears; they have simply become our public diaries. These are milestones that the human race should be proud of but they have also marked the death of face to face conversation and time we take in nurturing relationships. We are more content in having a multitude of followers and friends who know nothing about us other than what we let them see. Have a look around you at the airports, restaurants, banks, buses, classes, everywhere you go people have their heads bent on their phones. We have the world at the tip of our fingers but the world is passing us by. We are so busy hash tagging our lives that we do not even realize that the most important relationships we have are crumbling because we are not putting as much effort into them as we should. I find it sad that you can be seated in a room and instead of engaging in a conversation everybody is busy on their phones or laptops typing their worries away. If you visit most homes today, everyone is glued to their phones instead of looking up and connecting with the people who really mater, family. Nobody speaks anymore and few really listen.  In my opinion phones have made most of us ill mannered and rude. Some of us compulsively check our phones for notifications you would think we are in charge of some secret mission. In fact we are so far gone in this addiction that they have gone ahead and found a name for it “nomophobia”; the fear of being without a phone. My close friends and I have a rule. If any of us touches their phone when we go out to eat you pay the bill for everyone on the table. Some may consider this an extreme measure that is unnecessary but we realized we have to nurture the relationships we share and listen to what the other person is saying without any distraction. It is time we drew the line and took back our lives and valuable time. We must make a conscious decision to unchain ourselves from the slavery that has become our phones. It is alright to let a call or a chat message go unanswered unless it is an emergency just because you want to share that moment with a loved one. It is time we took our lives and reclaimed the relationships we have lost or neglected. I believe it is time for us to stop measuring our worth on how many friends we have or the number of likes we get!
    1384 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • This is for the generation born before the millennium. Those who know what it means to sit down and write a letter to a loved one or friend. Those of who like me had pen pals growing up and waited for days on end for their letters or postcards to get to you. For those who made long queues to make a minute call on the telephone booths and those who may know that a telegram is charged per word. This is for those of us who sat around the fire and listened to our grandparents talk the night away as they relived their lives. The millennium came with its blessings and curses. For one communication has been made easier and we no longer have to look for smoke signs or wait for a life time before we get a reply to a letter, with a press of a button you can communicate to anyone in the world in real time. Take for example the social media facebook, twitter (I still cannot come up with a sensible 140 character message), pintrest, snapchat, instagram, whatsApp, viber………and the list goes on and on. All these platforms have brought the world to us, created an easier way to keep up with family and friends, opened up new opportunities that we could have only dreamt of. We have shared our milestones and failures on these platforms, our joy and pain, our dreams and aspirations and even our fears; they have simply become our public diaries. These are milestones that the human race should be proud of but they have also marked the death of face to face conversation and time we take in nurturing relationships. We are more content in having a multitude of followers and friends who know nothing about us other than what we let them see. Have a look around you at the airports, restaurants, banks, buses, classes, everywhere you go people have their heads bent on their phones. We have the world at the tip of our fingers but the world is passing us by. We are so busy hash tagging our lives that we do not even realize that the most important relationships we have are crumbling because we are not putting as much effort into them as we should. I find it sad that you can be seated in a room and instead of engaging in a conversation everybody is busy on their phones or laptops typing their worries away. If you visit most homes today, everyone is glued to their phones instead of looking up and connecting with the people who really mater, family. Nobody speaks anymore and few really listen.  In my opinion phones have made most of us ill mannered and rude. Some of us compulsively check our phones for notifications you would think we are in charge of some secret mission. In fact we are so far gone in this addiction that they have gone ahead and found a name for it “nomophobia”; the fear of being without a phone. My close friends and I have a rule. If any of us touches their phone when we go out to eat you pay the bill for everyone on the table. Some may consider this an extreme measure that is unnecessary but we realized we have to nurture the relationships we share and listen to what the other person is saying without any distraction. It is time we drew the line and took back our lives and valuable time. We must make a conscious decision to unchain ourselves from the slavery that has become our phones. It is alright to let a call or a chat message go unanswered unless it is an emergency just because you want to share that moment with a loved one. It is time we took our lives and reclaimed the relationships we have lost or neglected. I believe it is time for us to stop measuring our worth on how many friends we have or the number of likes we get!
    Apr 18, 2016 1384
  • 11 Apr 2016
    The excitement! You could practically feel the buzz of anticipation in the air. Everything became before and after Germany. The visit became a measure of time. Everything went according to plan apart from my visa hitch which I am sure is common knowledge but that is a story for another day (I am greatly flattered to be confused for an Ethiopian lady but still..). The day came, we went, conquered (read shopped) and like everything with a beginning the end came and here we are. I immensely enjoyed the field excursions and the laboratory experiments. Not only were they eye opening but also very interactive. I am sure we all appreciate that a lot of work went into coordinating our activities and making sure our stay was as comfortable as possible and for that we are grateful. There are some things outside the class schedule however that have stayed with me. I was very concern about the immigration crisis especially in Germany before we travelled. We all know there has been backlash in some communities and I felt like the bulls eye. It is not like I could walk on the streets holding my passport or holding a placard showing I was there legally. Maybe this was me over analyzing things like I always do but I found comfort in the realization that no one cared who I was. People might have thought it, some even asked about it but at the end of the day I was treated with respect and I did not have to justify myself being in any place at any time. I was safe and I was able to make a few friends. It reminded me of home, of getting lost in the crowd and just being normal. It was refreshing after months of standing out like a sore thumb. I have travelled some and the norm is to find bottled water in my hotel room. So imagine my shock when we checked in to our rooms and there was no bottled water. Surely they must have forgotten, so I thought it was my rightful duty to remind them of this very important detail. The gentleman at the reception was kind enough to inform me that Germany has among the safest tap water in the world and went a step further to offer me a glass. This got me thinking, why do we pay taxes for our governments to provide services like supply safe drinking water and yet none of us is confident to drink tap water. We either boil it or buy mineral water. We need to demand better services which of course would require us knowing our constitutional rights but how many of us do? So they exploit us in our ignorance and we fill their pockets by buying more mineral water from unknown springs. I loved the commitment to keeping time. The assurance that if the meeting was at 9Am I did not have to worry about waiting for anyone. There is a popular African proverb that there is no hurry in Africa but we forget time waits for no man and it is money.  I am sure we all remember the long talk we had on the importance of keeping time before we travelled. What really stuck with me was equating time keeping to respect. It means you value and appreciate that the other person took the time out of their schedule to see you. Keeping time is you saying thank you, I appreciate you. Keeping time can also be equated to safety because you are not in a rush to go somewhere. In Kenya crossing the road has no set formula most of the time. In most cases no one really cares if the light is red or green unless a policeman is within the vicinity (people are more worried about paying a fine than safety). Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are all in such a hurry that they prefer the chaos to order. In Tlemcen most drivers are extremely kind and will slow down and let you cross with or without the light signals or a zebra crossing. What I found intriguing is that in the cities we visited people actually respect the significance of traffic lights. Safety. I cannot tell you how many times we stood by a red light with no oncoming vehicle and I was itching to cross to the other side but they say when you go to Rome do as the Romans do. I am sure you noticed some locals did not pay attention to the red light but the majority did and that matters because it implies that you are in a society that takes personal responsibility in ensuring safety and order which may look insignificant but plays a huge role in the efficient running of these cities. I am sure we all saw something that we know could work in our respective countries at no extra cost; something that would improve how our communities are run and make our relationships better. I guess it all boils down to personal conviction; the acknowledgement that you and I have a role to play in making this continent a better place without being policed. If we can start seeing ourselves as part of a bigger society and not individuals we can change our communities. If we can keep time someone else will learn from us eventually. If we can see a red light as a sign of safety and not wastage of time lives would be saved. If we can appreciate each other in our diversity maybe we will be a step away from world peace. If we fulfilled our role as citizens and demanded better service delivery and accountability maybe we will become economies in transition. A lot of maybes but we will never know unless we try.  
    1818 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • The excitement! You could practically feel the buzz of anticipation in the air. Everything became before and after Germany. The visit became a measure of time. Everything went according to plan apart from my visa hitch which I am sure is common knowledge but that is a story for another day (I am greatly flattered to be confused for an Ethiopian lady but still..). The day came, we went, conquered (read shopped) and like everything with a beginning the end came and here we are. I immensely enjoyed the field excursions and the laboratory experiments. Not only were they eye opening but also very interactive. I am sure we all appreciate that a lot of work went into coordinating our activities and making sure our stay was as comfortable as possible and for that we are grateful. There are some things outside the class schedule however that have stayed with me. I was very concern about the immigration crisis especially in Germany before we travelled. We all know there has been backlash in some communities and I felt like the bulls eye. It is not like I could walk on the streets holding my passport or holding a placard showing I was there legally. Maybe this was me over analyzing things like I always do but I found comfort in the realization that no one cared who I was. People might have thought it, some even asked about it but at the end of the day I was treated with respect and I did not have to justify myself being in any place at any time. I was safe and I was able to make a few friends. It reminded me of home, of getting lost in the crowd and just being normal. It was refreshing after months of standing out like a sore thumb. I have travelled some and the norm is to find bottled water in my hotel room. So imagine my shock when we checked in to our rooms and there was no bottled water. Surely they must have forgotten, so I thought it was my rightful duty to remind them of this very important detail. The gentleman at the reception was kind enough to inform me that Germany has among the safest tap water in the world and went a step further to offer me a glass. This got me thinking, why do we pay taxes for our governments to provide services like supply safe drinking water and yet none of us is confident to drink tap water. We either boil it or buy mineral water. We need to demand better services which of course would require us knowing our constitutional rights but how many of us do? So they exploit us in our ignorance and we fill their pockets by buying more mineral water from unknown springs. I loved the commitment to keeping time. The assurance that if the meeting was at 9Am I did not have to worry about waiting for anyone. There is a popular African proverb that there is no hurry in Africa but we forget time waits for no man and it is money.  I am sure we all remember the long talk we had on the importance of keeping time before we travelled. What really stuck with me was equating time keeping to respect. It means you value and appreciate that the other person took the time out of their schedule to see you. Keeping time is you saying thank you, I appreciate you. Keeping time can also be equated to safety because you are not in a rush to go somewhere. In Kenya crossing the road has no set formula most of the time. In most cases no one really cares if the light is red or green unless a policeman is within the vicinity (people are more worried about paying a fine than safety). Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are all in such a hurry that they prefer the chaos to order. In Tlemcen most drivers are extremely kind and will slow down and let you cross with or without the light signals or a zebra crossing. What I found intriguing is that in the cities we visited people actually respect the significance of traffic lights. Safety. I cannot tell you how many times we stood by a red light with no oncoming vehicle and I was itching to cross to the other side but they say when you go to Rome do as the Romans do. I am sure you noticed some locals did not pay attention to the red light but the majority did and that matters because it implies that you are in a society that takes personal responsibility in ensuring safety and order which may look insignificant but plays a huge role in the efficient running of these cities. I am sure we all saw something that we know could work in our respective countries at no extra cost; something that would improve how our communities are run and make our relationships better. I guess it all boils down to personal conviction; the acknowledgement that you and I have a role to play in making this continent a better place without being policed. If we can start seeing ourselves as part of a bigger society and not individuals we can change our communities. If we can keep time someone else will learn from us eventually. If we can see a red light as a sign of safety and not wastage of time lives would be saved. If we can appreciate each other in our diversity maybe we will be a step away from world peace. If we fulfilled our role as citizens and demanded better service delivery and accountability maybe we will become economies in transition. A lot of maybes but we will never know unless we try.  
    Apr 11, 2016 1818