Categories

View By Date

Tags

Statistics

  • 70
    Blogs
  • 12
    Active Bloggers
69 blogs
  • 20 Jun 2016
    In the past week we have had indepth discussion on human rights and the situtation in our respective countries. In the end we were supposed to write a paper on a topic related to human rights and I choose human trafficking and specifically in my home country, Kenya. The situation is dire and it is sad to see that very little is being done to stop this henious crime. Please read on... Introduction Human trafficking is a violation of human rights and according to the Palermo Protocol it involves recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring of persons through coercion, fraud or abduction for the purpose of exploitation such as prostitution, organ harvesting, slavery or forced labor. In Africa human trafficking in form of slave trade to meet the high demand for labor dates back to the 16th Century and was based on the victims physical strength and abilities (Bales, 2004). However, in the 21st Century human trafficking has taken a complex, multi-faceted approach that involves many stakeholders at institutional and commercial level and it is driven by the demand for cheap labor and commercial sex (UNESCO, 2007). In sub-Sahara Africa women and children are the most vulnerable and common victims to human trafficking. Trafficking occurs both domestically and across borders and the illegal nature of the trade and the secrecy surrounding its activities makes it difficult to accurately quantify the number of victims at a local and global level. Human Trafficking in Kenya According to the International Organization for Migration, Kenya has been identified as a source, transit, and destination for human trafficking and smuggling. Kenya plays host to a big number of refugees from Somalia and South Sudan who are vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. The porous borders also mean that victims of human trafficking can easily be transported from and into Kenya. This means that human trafficking in Kenya occurs internally and internationally. Internal trafficking most commonly involves the transportation of persons from the rural to urban areas in search of better opportunities (National Crime Research Centre, 2014) where else the most common international destinations for trafficking victims are Europe, North America and in most recent times the Middle East.   It is in light of this that Kenya has put in place the necessary legal framework and regulations to counter human trafficking. To this effect the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act was adopted in 2010 and an a National Plan of Action (NPA) for Combating Human Trafficking 2013-2017 was put in place. In 2014 the government through parliament passed the Victim Protection Act which is supposed to offer protection and monitory support to those who have fallen prey to human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2015). The legislation is to help Kenya fulfill its mandate under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and notably, fulfill its obligation to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. The action plan is supposed to promote cooperation between Kenya and other countries and different stakeholders involved in the fight against human trafficking (Government of Kenya, 2012).  The government has also domesticated the United Nations Convention on Rights of the child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in its Children Act which obligates it to put in place bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction, sale and trafficking of children. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child requires the party states like Kenya to prevent abduction, sale, economic exploitation or trafficking of children.   The government in its fight against human trafficking is guided by the three approaches highlighted in the National Plan of Action as prevention, protection and prosecution (Government of Kenya, 2012). The preventive measures put in place include capacity building of the criminal justice experts and raising public awareness through campaigns that give information on human trafficking. The protection of victims is through rescuing efforts and offering support services for the rehabilitation of the trafficked persons.   Despite putting in place the above measures and legislations, Kenya has no long term prevention strategy in addressing the root causes of trafficking and neither do they have a clear understanding of what such a strategy should include (IOM, 2003).  Furthermore, it was not until 2010 when the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act was passed, that human trafficking was specifically addresses as an offence in Kenya’s national legislation (National Crime Research Centre, 2014). However, the government was not quick to implement the action plan or enhance its efforts in combating human trafficking activities in the country and therefore Kenya is ranked at Tier 2 out of 3 Tiers by the Traffic in Persons Report 2010.   Their efforts to implement the National Plan of Action approaches of prevention, protection and prosecution are undermined by corruption in the government and judicial system. Corruption among law enforcement authorities and all levels of government hinder efforts in prosecuting those involved in trafficking and protecting the victims against re-victimization based on their testimonies (U.S. Department of State, 2015). Corruption among immigration officials turn a blind eye to human trafficking networks operating beyond the Kenyan borders. The government’s unwillingness to hold its officials accountable in their involvement or facilitation of trafficking has also hindered the implementation of the legislations meant to address human trafficking.   The major root cause for trafficking in Kenya is poverty especially in the rural areas. Families in rural areas give up their children to traffickers in the guise of providing them with better living opportunities and conditions (Dottridge, 2002). According to a survey done by the National Crime Research Center in 2014, 70.5% of victims in domestic trafficking are sourced from rural areas and 21.6% from urban areas. Unemployment, low wages and poor living standards and corruption in urban centers have contributed to people adapting lifestyles that make them vulnerable to exploitation and they are easily drawn to prostitution, drugs and crime. Unemployment has also contributed to the young people risking their freedom and well being in pursuit of greener pastures outside the country with the help of unlicensed job agencies and traffickers.   Conclusion Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that goes beyond borders and requires cooperation between states, international organizations, civil societies and communities. Nonetheless, the biggest responsibility to protect persons from trafficking lies with the Government of Kenya even though the international community is required to offer expertise or monitory support especially when addressing the trafficking threat faced by the refugees found in Daadab and Kakuma camps in Kenya. Kenya has already put in place the necessary legislations to facilitate the fight against human trafficking and what remains is full government commitment towards their implementation and constant evaluation on what needs to be improved or changed to make sure they are one step ahead in the ever changing world of human trafficking. Human trafficking is almost an invisible crime that calls for commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders in order to spot and tame it.         Works Cited Bales, K. (2004). New Slavery. California: ABC-CLIO. Dottridge, M. (2002). Trafficking in children in West and Central Africa. Gender and Development, , 38-49. Governemnt of Kenya. (2012). The NAtional Plan of Action for Combating Human Trafficking, Strategic Framework 2013-2017. Nairobi: UNON. Integrity Research and Consultancy . (2014). Child Trafficking in Urban Kenya. London. IOM. (2003). Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? Geneva: International Organization for Migration. National Crime Research Centre. (2014). Human Trafficking in Kenya. Nairobi. U.S. Department of State. (2015). Trafficking in Persons Report. UNESCO. (2007). Human Trafficking in South Africa: Root Causes and Recommendations. Paris.  
    1115 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • In the past week we have had indepth discussion on human rights and the situtation in our respective countries. In the end we were supposed to write a paper on a topic related to human rights and I choose human trafficking and specifically in my home country, Kenya. The situation is dire and it is sad to see that very little is being done to stop this henious crime. Please read on... Introduction Human trafficking is a violation of human rights and according to the Palermo Protocol it involves recruitment, transportation, transfer or harboring of persons through coercion, fraud or abduction for the purpose of exploitation such as prostitution, organ harvesting, slavery or forced labor. In Africa human trafficking in form of slave trade to meet the high demand for labor dates back to the 16th Century and was based on the victims physical strength and abilities (Bales, 2004). However, in the 21st Century human trafficking has taken a complex, multi-faceted approach that involves many stakeholders at institutional and commercial level and it is driven by the demand for cheap labor and commercial sex (UNESCO, 2007). In sub-Sahara Africa women and children are the most vulnerable and common victims to human trafficking. Trafficking occurs both domestically and across borders and the illegal nature of the trade and the secrecy surrounding its activities makes it difficult to accurately quantify the number of victims at a local and global level. Human Trafficking in Kenya According to the International Organization for Migration, Kenya has been identified as a source, transit, and destination for human trafficking and smuggling. Kenya plays host to a big number of refugees from Somalia and South Sudan who are vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers. The porous borders also mean that victims of human trafficking can easily be transported from and into Kenya. This means that human trafficking in Kenya occurs internally and internationally. Internal trafficking most commonly involves the transportation of persons from the rural to urban areas in search of better opportunities (National Crime Research Centre, 2014) where else the most common international destinations for trafficking victims are Europe, North America and in most recent times the Middle East.   It is in light of this that Kenya has put in place the necessary legal framework and regulations to counter human trafficking. To this effect the Counter Trafficking in Persons Act was adopted in 2010 and an a National Plan of Action (NPA) for Combating Human Trafficking 2013-2017 was put in place. In 2014 the government through parliament passed the Victim Protection Act which is supposed to offer protection and monitory support to those who have fallen prey to human trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2015). The legislation is to help Kenya fulfill its mandate under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and notably, fulfill its obligation to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. The action plan is supposed to promote cooperation between Kenya and other countries and different stakeholders involved in the fight against human trafficking (Government of Kenya, 2012).  The government has also domesticated the United Nations Convention on Rights of the child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in its Children Act which obligates it to put in place bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction, sale and trafficking of children. The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child requires the party states like Kenya to prevent abduction, sale, economic exploitation or trafficking of children.   The government in its fight against human trafficking is guided by the three approaches highlighted in the National Plan of Action as prevention, protection and prosecution (Government of Kenya, 2012). The preventive measures put in place include capacity building of the criminal justice experts and raising public awareness through campaigns that give information on human trafficking. The protection of victims is through rescuing efforts and offering support services for the rehabilitation of the trafficked persons.   Despite putting in place the above measures and legislations, Kenya has no long term prevention strategy in addressing the root causes of trafficking and neither do they have a clear understanding of what such a strategy should include (IOM, 2003).  Furthermore, it was not until 2010 when the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act was passed, that human trafficking was specifically addresses as an offence in Kenya’s national legislation (National Crime Research Centre, 2014). However, the government was not quick to implement the action plan or enhance its efforts in combating human trafficking activities in the country and therefore Kenya is ranked at Tier 2 out of 3 Tiers by the Traffic in Persons Report 2010.   Their efforts to implement the National Plan of Action approaches of prevention, protection and prosecution are undermined by corruption in the government and judicial system. Corruption among law enforcement authorities and all levels of government hinder efforts in prosecuting those involved in trafficking and protecting the victims against re-victimization based on their testimonies (U.S. Department of State, 2015). Corruption among immigration officials turn a blind eye to human trafficking networks operating beyond the Kenyan borders. The government’s unwillingness to hold its officials accountable in their involvement or facilitation of trafficking has also hindered the implementation of the legislations meant to address human trafficking.   The major root cause for trafficking in Kenya is poverty especially in the rural areas. Families in rural areas give up their children to traffickers in the guise of providing them with better living opportunities and conditions (Dottridge, 2002). According to a survey done by the National Crime Research Center in 2014, 70.5% of victims in domestic trafficking are sourced from rural areas and 21.6% from urban areas. Unemployment, low wages and poor living standards and corruption in urban centers have contributed to people adapting lifestyles that make them vulnerable to exploitation and they are easily drawn to prostitution, drugs and crime. Unemployment has also contributed to the young people risking their freedom and well being in pursuit of greener pastures outside the country with the help of unlicensed job agencies and traffickers.   Conclusion Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that goes beyond borders and requires cooperation between states, international organizations, civil societies and communities. Nonetheless, the biggest responsibility to protect persons from trafficking lies with the Government of Kenya even though the international community is required to offer expertise or monitory support especially when addressing the trafficking threat faced by the refugees found in Daadab and Kakuma camps in Kenya. Kenya has already put in place the necessary legislations to facilitate the fight against human trafficking and what remains is full government commitment towards their implementation and constant evaluation on what needs to be improved or changed to make sure they are one step ahead in the ever changing world of human trafficking. Human trafficking is almost an invisible crime that calls for commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders in order to spot and tame it.         Works Cited Bales, K. (2004). New Slavery. California: ABC-CLIO. Dottridge, M. (2002). Trafficking in children in West and Central Africa. Gender and Development, , 38-49. Governemnt of Kenya. (2012). The NAtional Plan of Action for Combating Human Trafficking, Strategic Framework 2013-2017. Nairobi: UNON. Integrity Research and Consultancy . (2014). Child Trafficking in Urban Kenya. London. IOM. (2003). Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven? Geneva: International Organization for Migration. National Crime Research Centre. (2014). Human Trafficking in Kenya. Nairobi. U.S. Department of State. (2015). Trafficking in Persons Report. UNESCO. (2007). Human Trafficking in South Africa: Root Causes and Recommendations. Paris.  
    Jun 20, 2016 1115
  • 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!
    1106 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 1106
  • 04 Jul 2016
    It is an illness spoken in harsh tones and whispers. It is surrounded by shame and stigma you would be forgiven to think it is contagious. Mental illness. Unlike popular belief mental illness does not mean going cuckoo and collecting rubbish on the road as Nigerian movies would have you believe. According to Mayo clinic mental illness refers to a wide range of health conditions or disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples include depression, anxiety, eating disorders and addictive behaviors. The rich and famous have not been spared either like Jim Carrey, John Hamm and Angelina Jolie who have suffered from depression, Catherine Zeta and Demi Lovato from bio polar disorder and the list goes on and on to our family members and friends. I will be the first to own up to having suffered from depression some years back after the loss of a loved one and it is a dark place to be, even darker if you have no support system in place. So why do many cases of mental illnesses pass through the cracks and go undetected? To start with very few African countries have mental health policies and mental health illness is at the bottom of most governments priorities. Mental illness is considered a silent crisis. Some could argue we have more urgent things to handle like malaria, HIV & AIDS, hunger and I agree but mental health should be on top of the list of any country seeking to ensure maximum productivity of its people. The situation across Africa is traumatizing and there is not mush data to go on, take for example South Sudan where no mental illness hospital existed up until 2012 and those thought to be mentally ill were put in jail. In some parts of Ghana and East Africa those suffering from mental disabilities are chained to trees or inside the house with little to no care. Psychiatric institutions are like a scene from a horror movie. The patients lack basic sanitation and care and sadly there is no one to follow up on their therapy and treatment routines. They have been stripped off their human dignity. Families of those suffering from mental illness or disability are considered outcasts in the community and some hide their children out of shame and in a bid to fit in. Most of the African cultures associate mental illness to curses, witchcraft, and punishment form the gods or plain bad lack. Patients are taken through healing rituals that demean them and bleed their families financially dry as they seek answers to what could be ailing their loved one. I am sure you have also seen countless religious ceremonies meant to cast out demons. Africa is developing and we are getting more exposed to the outside world. As this happens we are continuously under pressure to perform and outdo others which could result into high stress, anxiety disorder and other addictive behaviors. Therefore, we need to provide a safe place for those suffering from mental illnesses to heal or to lead normal lives as much as possible. Governments and health officials need to be proactive in ensuring human rights are observed in psychiatric centers. We need to pour more resources into training health workers in this field and equipping the centers available. The idea of working together with religious and traditional healers should not entirely be dismissed but should be regulated and coordinated to ensure that there is no exploitation of the families or abuse of those in need of care. They should act as the bridge between the sick and professional care givers. Such a model has been tried in Kenya under the partnership of traditional healers and the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professionals and they have witnessed a rise in the number of patients refereed to the psychiatric centers by traditional healers. At a personal level we need to check on our families and friends. There are those who are always laughing but are in pain untold. There are those who drop off the grid and we don’t really care enough to check on what is going on. Sometimes when it comes to illnesses like depression, anxiety and eating disorders the best cure is knowing you have a strong support system. When the darkness seems to want to swallow you whole you hold on because others believe you can. I think those who suffer from mental illnesses are the strongest people we have because they have to fight every single day to remain anchored in the present when all they want is an escape.
    1106 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • It is an illness spoken in harsh tones and whispers. It is surrounded by shame and stigma you would be forgiven to think it is contagious. Mental illness. Unlike popular belief mental illness does not mean going cuckoo and collecting rubbish on the road as Nigerian movies would have you believe. According to Mayo clinic mental illness refers to a wide range of health conditions or disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples include depression, anxiety, eating disorders and addictive behaviors. The rich and famous have not been spared either like Jim Carrey, John Hamm and Angelina Jolie who have suffered from depression, Catherine Zeta and Demi Lovato from bio polar disorder and the list goes on and on to our family members and friends. I will be the first to own up to having suffered from depression some years back after the loss of a loved one and it is a dark place to be, even darker if you have no support system in place. So why do many cases of mental illnesses pass through the cracks and go undetected? To start with very few African countries have mental health policies and mental health illness is at the bottom of most governments priorities. Mental illness is considered a silent crisis. Some could argue we have more urgent things to handle like malaria, HIV & AIDS, hunger and I agree but mental health should be on top of the list of any country seeking to ensure maximum productivity of its people. The situation across Africa is traumatizing and there is not mush data to go on, take for example South Sudan where no mental illness hospital existed up until 2012 and those thought to be mentally ill were put in jail. In some parts of Ghana and East Africa those suffering from mental disabilities are chained to trees or inside the house with little to no care. Psychiatric institutions are like a scene from a horror movie. The patients lack basic sanitation and care and sadly there is no one to follow up on their therapy and treatment routines. They have been stripped off their human dignity. Families of those suffering from mental illness or disability are considered outcasts in the community and some hide their children out of shame and in a bid to fit in. Most of the African cultures associate mental illness to curses, witchcraft, and punishment form the gods or plain bad lack. Patients are taken through healing rituals that demean them and bleed their families financially dry as they seek answers to what could be ailing their loved one. I am sure you have also seen countless religious ceremonies meant to cast out demons. Africa is developing and we are getting more exposed to the outside world. As this happens we are continuously under pressure to perform and outdo others which could result into high stress, anxiety disorder and other addictive behaviors. Therefore, we need to provide a safe place for those suffering from mental illnesses to heal or to lead normal lives as much as possible. Governments and health officials need to be proactive in ensuring human rights are observed in psychiatric centers. We need to pour more resources into training health workers in this field and equipping the centers available. The idea of working together with religious and traditional healers should not entirely be dismissed but should be regulated and coordinated to ensure that there is no exploitation of the families or abuse of those in need of care. They should act as the bridge between the sick and professional care givers. Such a model has been tried in Kenya under the partnership of traditional healers and the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professionals and they have witnessed a rise in the number of patients refereed to the psychiatric centers by traditional healers. At a personal level we need to check on our families and friends. There are those who are always laughing but are in pain untold. There are those who drop off the grid and we don’t really care enough to check on what is going on. Sometimes when it comes to illnesses like depression, anxiety and eating disorders the best cure is knowing you have a strong support system. When the darkness seems to want to swallow you whole you hold on because others believe you can. I think those who suffer from mental illnesses are the strongest people we have because they have to fight every single day to remain anchored in the present when all they want is an escape.
    Jul 04, 2016 1106
  • 30 May 2016
    The past few days have been particularly difficult for me and saw my dad get admitted to the hospital for about five days. I knew he was unwell and his sugar level had been abnormally high but I did not think it would warrant a stay at the hospital. So you can imagine my shock and panic when I received a message telling me he had been admitted.  I called him right away and he sounded very weak and tired and it made me all weepy because I knew he was hurting and there is nothing I could do about it. More frustrating for me was not being able to see him and verifying for myself that he was going to be alright, so I called him and my mum everyday and somehow I found some peace in that. Luckily I had a very strong support system around me and that helped some and he is now back home healthy as a horse.   During this period I remember writing to a good friend of mine and telling him I was thinking of turning down an internship offer I had received because I needed to get home immediately after the end of the semester. He was very empathetic  with me but reminded me that sometimes being away from our loved ones is the cost we have to pay to make them proud and better ourselves. It made me think of what all of us have had to give up by being here. Some left little kids and a partner behind and they have missed some important milestones in their young lives and yet they keep going. Some have missed important occasions like weddings, graduations, family gatherings and a chance to properly bid farewell to a fallen loved one. For some they have seen relationships crumble because they could not withstand the test of distance. So this brings me to the big question, is it really worth it?    I believe with all my being that the sacrifices I have made have been worth every moment I have missed. Forget the academics even though that is why we are all here but think of all other opportunities that have come our way. I feel like coming to this country was necessary for me in order to start the journey to self discovery and growth. I might have been working before but my level of confidence has tripled over the past couple of months and I have grown into my own person. I have had a chance to find things that I am deeply passionate about and made connections with people I never thought I could stand a chance of meeting. Strangers have become family even though different blood runs in our veins. I continue to learn and make mistakes but the bottom line is I simply refuse to leave the same way I came.   That is my hope for all of us. That we may find something we are good at or care enough about while we are here and channel all our energy into making ourselves better. Like Foster Ofosu from the African Development Bank said during the International Water and Energy Fair; no one owes us anything other than ourselves. We have to motivate ourselves and knock on those doors that we have been made to believe cannot open for one reason or another. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to exploit every opportunity provided so that when our time is done here every sacrifice we have made will be worth it. Eventually you will find that what you consider to be the greatest sacrifice now will prove to be one of the greatest investments you could ever make.
    1103 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • The past few days have been particularly difficult for me and saw my dad get admitted to the hospital for about five days. I knew he was unwell and his sugar level had been abnormally high but I did not think it would warrant a stay at the hospital. So you can imagine my shock and panic when I received a message telling me he had been admitted.  I called him right away and he sounded very weak and tired and it made me all weepy because I knew he was hurting and there is nothing I could do about it. More frustrating for me was not being able to see him and verifying for myself that he was going to be alright, so I called him and my mum everyday and somehow I found some peace in that. Luckily I had a very strong support system around me and that helped some and he is now back home healthy as a horse.   During this period I remember writing to a good friend of mine and telling him I was thinking of turning down an internship offer I had received because I needed to get home immediately after the end of the semester. He was very empathetic  with me but reminded me that sometimes being away from our loved ones is the cost we have to pay to make them proud and better ourselves. It made me think of what all of us have had to give up by being here. Some left little kids and a partner behind and they have missed some important milestones in their young lives and yet they keep going. Some have missed important occasions like weddings, graduations, family gatherings and a chance to properly bid farewell to a fallen loved one. For some they have seen relationships crumble because they could not withstand the test of distance. So this brings me to the big question, is it really worth it?    I believe with all my being that the sacrifices I have made have been worth every moment I have missed. Forget the academics even though that is why we are all here but think of all other opportunities that have come our way. I feel like coming to this country was necessary for me in order to start the journey to self discovery and growth. I might have been working before but my level of confidence has tripled over the past couple of months and I have grown into my own person. I have had a chance to find things that I am deeply passionate about and made connections with people I never thought I could stand a chance of meeting. Strangers have become family even though different blood runs in our veins. I continue to learn and make mistakes but the bottom line is I simply refuse to leave the same way I came.   That is my hope for all of us. That we may find something we are good at or care enough about while we are here and channel all our energy into making ourselves better. Like Foster Ofosu from the African Development Bank said during the International Water and Energy Fair; no one owes us anything other than ourselves. We have to motivate ourselves and knock on those doors that we have been made to believe cannot open for one reason or another. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to exploit every opportunity provided so that when our time is done here every sacrifice we have made will be worth it. Eventually you will find that what you consider to be the greatest sacrifice now will prove to be one of the greatest investments you could ever make.
    May 30, 2016 1103
  • 03 Oct 2016
    I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the new students to the institute and to the platform. It was very encouraging to see the high level of enthusiasm during the orientation week and I hope that will translate to more activity on the platform and off it. Like I said during the orientation session, the growth of the platform is dependent on how much effort each of us puts in our different roles. I am deeply convicted that this platform holds immense potential but it is our individual responsibility to unlock it. I am hopeful that all of you enrolled to a group on the Community of Practice (CoP) and if not there is still time to make up your mind and sign up! What I love about the different groups is that each offers the opportunity for members to harness their soft skills. Top on the list is communication within the group and between groups, administration and partners.   If you enjoy standing behind the camera and freezing memories in time, the Multimedia group is for you. For those who are intrigued by how the platform works from a technical perspective or how it can be constantly improved in terms of content then the Technical team or Evaluation team will be the perfect fit. If you enjoy writing and editing the work of your colleagues and participating in making the PAUWES newsletter search no more, the Editorial team has room for new members. If you want to be part of the policing community that makes sure the platform is secure and the code of conduct is observed in addition to inviting and welcoming new members the Community Management team will make good use of your skills. For the debaters and those regularly looking to constructively engage in discussions on current issues the Discussion Facilitation group always has room for more members. Last but not least, the Career Service team plays an equally important role in offering guidance as far as internships and networking are concern so if your fort is going through content on the internet or engaging experts and identifying suitable opportunities for your colleagues they will be more than happy to have you on board.   We hope that once you join a team you will able to identify the roles that suit you best and the soft skills you want to develop. If by any chance you want to take over the leadership of the group or the platform in a few months to come then state your intent and seek mentorship from those that already hold the positions. However, keep in mind that CoP is built on team work and each member whether a leader or not plays a vital role to its functionality and success. I will be honest with you; sometimes it is not easy to juggle between class work and the activities in the CoP groups. However, you slowly learn how to prioritize and work as a team to make sure goals are met.   The CoP platform is meant for PAUWES students and alumni, a place where we can safely interact with different stakeholders and companies in the fields of energy and water. I have made great networks from the platform, some that have worked out and others not so much. Overall I have come to the conclusion that anything I have done with regards to the platform has never been a waste of time. On the contrary, each communication and network has improved my skills and grown my confidence and I hope it will be the same for you. Do not let anyone influence your opinion of the platform, try it and give it time, nothing good is instantaneous and hopefully at a time like this next year you will be telling your success story to the new batch of students.
    1102 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I would like to take the opportunity to welcome the new students to the institute and to the platform. It was very encouraging to see the high level of enthusiasm during the orientation week and I hope that will translate to more activity on the platform and off it. Like I said during the orientation session, the growth of the platform is dependent on how much effort each of us puts in our different roles. I am deeply convicted that this platform holds immense potential but it is our individual responsibility to unlock it. I am hopeful that all of you enrolled to a group on the Community of Practice (CoP) and if not there is still time to make up your mind and sign up! What I love about the different groups is that each offers the opportunity for members to harness their soft skills. Top on the list is communication within the group and between groups, administration and partners.   If you enjoy standing behind the camera and freezing memories in time, the Multimedia group is for you. For those who are intrigued by how the platform works from a technical perspective or how it can be constantly improved in terms of content then the Technical team or Evaluation team will be the perfect fit. If you enjoy writing and editing the work of your colleagues and participating in making the PAUWES newsletter search no more, the Editorial team has room for new members. If you want to be part of the policing community that makes sure the platform is secure and the code of conduct is observed in addition to inviting and welcoming new members the Community Management team will make good use of your skills. For the debaters and those regularly looking to constructively engage in discussions on current issues the Discussion Facilitation group always has room for more members. Last but not least, the Career Service team plays an equally important role in offering guidance as far as internships and networking are concern so if your fort is going through content on the internet or engaging experts and identifying suitable opportunities for your colleagues they will be more than happy to have you on board.   We hope that once you join a team you will able to identify the roles that suit you best and the soft skills you want to develop. If by any chance you want to take over the leadership of the group or the platform in a few months to come then state your intent and seek mentorship from those that already hold the positions. However, keep in mind that CoP is built on team work and each member whether a leader or not plays a vital role to its functionality and success. I will be honest with you; sometimes it is not easy to juggle between class work and the activities in the CoP groups. However, you slowly learn how to prioritize and work as a team to make sure goals are met.   The CoP platform is meant for PAUWES students and alumni, a place where we can safely interact with different stakeholders and companies in the fields of energy and water. I have made great networks from the platform, some that have worked out and others not so much. Overall I have come to the conclusion that anything I have done with regards to the platform has never been a waste of time. On the contrary, each communication and network has improved my skills and grown my confidence and I hope it will be the same for you. Do not let anyone influence your opinion of the platform, try it and give it time, nothing good is instantaneous and hopefully at a time like this next year you will be telling your success story to the new batch of students.
    Oct 03, 2016 1102
  • 15 Aug 2016
    It is funny how you can be going about your day and you have no idea that the universe is conspiring to turn your life around. In the past week I have known sorrow deep enough to drown in after I lost someone dear to me and my very close friend lost his father but I have also witnessed unadulterated love as one of my closest friends became a first time father. It is actually comical listening to him go on and on about how the daughter is not allowed to date until she is forty and you can bet I take great pleasure in tormenting him with just how karma will get him back for all his sins. As you can imagine it has been emotionally frustrating to be so far from home when all I want is to be surrounded by friends and family. To give and receive comfort. Regardless of the happenings my internship at the UNU-FLORES has been good and a great learning experience. I have also had immense pleasure of exploring the city and its rich history especially during the reign of Augustus the Strong. I have visited the castles and some of his hunting grounds and it felt like I was literally walking through history. I studied European history and as many of you may be aware Germany and France are at the center of it. I was always greatly fascinated by leaders like Otto Von Bismarck and Napoleon Bonaparte and left to wonder how men like Adolf Hitler could have possibly risen to power. Walking through Berlin brought all the history I could remember back to life and I took great pleasure in walking through it and knowing what it all meant. Yet even as a foreigner you can tell that the past is still influencing the present either by how people interact or even by what is left unsaid. I like to travel and being here is a testament to that. I honestly believe that travelling to new places opens up your mind to new possibilities and limitless opportunities. The biggest challenge however is in making new ties and friendships and carving a place for yourself in people’s lives. Sometimes it is difficult to establish roots when you do not intend to stay at a place for too long but other times you meet adventurous spirits like yourself and a connection is formed. Yet you have to keep trying because part of learning and growing as a person is getting to know how to break the social barriers and stereotypes. I love watching animation movies and if you are like me I am sure you have watched “The Lion King” which holds so much truth even in real life. There is so much in this life to be done and seen and it can all seem so daunting. In the midst of it all we have to remember who we are and what defines us and keep those we care about close. Life will change whether we want it to or not, that is just the circle of life but we can all ease into it through making subtle changes. In the end we have all loved and lost, gotten it right or wrong but that is what makes this life so intriguing.
    1094 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • It is funny how you can be going about your day and you have no idea that the universe is conspiring to turn your life around. In the past week I have known sorrow deep enough to drown in after I lost someone dear to me and my very close friend lost his father but I have also witnessed unadulterated love as one of my closest friends became a first time father. It is actually comical listening to him go on and on about how the daughter is not allowed to date until she is forty and you can bet I take great pleasure in tormenting him with just how karma will get him back for all his sins. As you can imagine it has been emotionally frustrating to be so far from home when all I want is to be surrounded by friends and family. To give and receive comfort. Regardless of the happenings my internship at the UNU-FLORES has been good and a great learning experience. I have also had immense pleasure of exploring the city and its rich history especially during the reign of Augustus the Strong. I have visited the castles and some of his hunting grounds and it felt like I was literally walking through history. I studied European history and as many of you may be aware Germany and France are at the center of it. I was always greatly fascinated by leaders like Otto Von Bismarck and Napoleon Bonaparte and left to wonder how men like Adolf Hitler could have possibly risen to power. Walking through Berlin brought all the history I could remember back to life and I took great pleasure in walking through it and knowing what it all meant. Yet even as a foreigner you can tell that the past is still influencing the present either by how people interact or even by what is left unsaid. I like to travel and being here is a testament to that. I honestly believe that travelling to new places opens up your mind to new possibilities and limitless opportunities. The biggest challenge however is in making new ties and friendships and carving a place for yourself in people’s lives. Sometimes it is difficult to establish roots when you do not intend to stay at a place for too long but other times you meet adventurous spirits like yourself and a connection is formed. Yet you have to keep trying because part of learning and growing as a person is getting to know how to break the social barriers and stereotypes. I love watching animation movies and if you are like me I am sure you have watched “The Lion King” which holds so much truth even in real life. There is so much in this life to be done and seen and it can all seem so daunting. In the midst of it all we have to remember who we are and what defines us and keep those we care about close. Life will change whether we want it to or not, that is just the circle of life but we can all ease into it through making subtle changes. In the end we have all loved and lost, gotten it right or wrong but that is what makes this life so intriguing.
    Aug 15, 2016 1094
  • 25 Jul 2016
    Climate change is real and happening now with severe and diverse impacts being felt all over the world. While Africa is the least contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, she is the most vulnerable and has been the hardest hit by the impacts of climate variability and climate change. There has been a rise in annual temperature and changes in rainfall patterns particularly frequency in floods and droughts. The impacts of climate change effects are economic, environmental and social. Africa’s vulnerability to climate change is amplified because we are heavily reliant on rain fed agriculture. Research has shown that rainfall in Africa (one of the global very water scarce regions) could drop by about 10% for the period 2000-2050. A fall in the rainfall received poses a great challenge because over 90% of arable land in sub-Saharan Africa is under rain-fed agriculture (Misra, 2014). Research indicates that about 67% of this land will be lost to agricultural droughts by the year 2025 and the output is projected to drop by about 50% by the year 2020 (A, 2014). This means that African countries are going to be put under more pressure to ensure that their populations are not undernourished and food insecure which is already a challenge at present. The current and projected impacts of climate change on food security in Africa calls for proper adaptation mechanisms to be put in place. Adaptation involves reduction in risks and vulnerability through the actions of adjusting practices, behavior, processes in order to respond to the risks posed by climate change (John R.Porter, 2014). Adaptation to climate change will involve changes in the decision making structures (social or institutional) that influence the making and implementation of policy. This policy changes should strengthen the conditions that favor effective adaptation including investing in new infrastructure and technologies (Jane Kabubo-Mariara, 2015).  They will also safeguard the agricultural sector against the effects of climate change and go a long way in alleviating food insecurity in the region. There is also the need to merge climate change scientific research with existing indigenous knowledge on the climate. In various African communities agro-pastoralists are known to predict drought through the observation of the flora, fauna, moon and wind (John R.Porter, 2014). At present there is a mismatch between the uptake capacity of communities and the volume of scientific information released on climate change. Therefore, there is a need for proper dialogue and consensus between the researchers and local communities as to how best to disseminate information on climate change adaptation and mitigation measures so that the communities benefit. To this regard there should be exploration of the indigenous knowledge in the traditional prediction mechanisms in these communities and how this can be integrated into scientific information for the benefit of rural communities. The rural communities’ adaptive capacity should also be enhanced through creation of awareness on the impacts of climate change and capacity building initiatives on adaptation and mitigation mechanisms. The adaptation of crops will also play a vital role in ensuring food security for Sub-Sahara Africa as well. This would involve the altering of cultivation, sowing and adapting to new crop species that are drought resistant or require little water to survive (Heather E. Thompson, 2010). In Africa most of the farmers practice small scale farming and therefore intercropping (Mouk Bernard, 2012) would play a big role in increasing the productivity per unit of land. Studies show that adaptation of new crop species and altering planting seasons can increase the yields up to 23% (John R.Porter, 2014). Funding also needs to be availed by the government and the private sector so that there is more research done in breeding drought tolerant crop varieties. To ensure that the continent is on the right track in implementation of the climate change adaptation mechanisms the different initiatives and mechanisms put in place will have to be regularly monitored and evaluated. This will help in providing sufficient information on what the impacts of these initiatives are towards ensuring food security. It will also allow for incremental changes to be made as more data and information becomes available on the impact of climate change on food security.  References A, Z. (2014). Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security: A Literature Review in Sub Saharan Africa. Journal of Earth Science & Climate Change , 5:225. doi: 10.4172/2157-7617.1000225. Heather E. Thompson, L. B.-F. (2010). Climate Change and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability,2(8), 2719-2733; doi:10.3390/su2082719. Jane Kabubo-Mariara, M. K. (2015). Climate Change and Food Security in Kenya. Nairobi: Environment for Development Center. John R.Porter, L. X. (2014). Food Security and Food Production Systems in Climate Change 2014:Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. United Kingdom and New York: Cambridge University Press, . Misra, A. K. ( 2014). Climate change and challenges of water and food security. International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment , 153–165. Mouk Bernard, O. A. ( 2012). Case Study on Climate Compatible Development (CCD) in Agriculture for Food Security in Kenya. Nairobi: African Centre for Technology studies.  
    1072 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • Climate change is real and happening now with severe and diverse impacts being felt all over the world. While Africa is the least contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, she is the most vulnerable and has been the hardest hit by the impacts of climate variability and climate change. There has been a rise in annual temperature and changes in rainfall patterns particularly frequency in floods and droughts. The impacts of climate change effects are economic, environmental and social. Africa’s vulnerability to climate change is amplified because we are heavily reliant on rain fed agriculture. Research has shown that rainfall in Africa (one of the global very water scarce regions) could drop by about 10% for the period 2000-2050. A fall in the rainfall received poses a great challenge because over 90% of arable land in sub-Saharan Africa is under rain-fed agriculture (Misra, 2014). Research indicates that about 67% of this land will be lost to agricultural droughts by the year 2025 and the output is projected to drop by about 50% by the year 2020 (A, 2014). This means that African countries are going to be put under more pressure to ensure that their populations are not undernourished and food insecure which is already a challenge at present. The current and projected impacts of climate change on food security in Africa calls for proper adaptation mechanisms to be put in place. Adaptation involves reduction in risks and vulnerability through the actions of adjusting practices, behavior, processes in order to respond to the risks posed by climate change (John R.Porter, 2014). Adaptation to climate change will involve changes in the decision making structures (social or institutional) that influence the making and implementation of policy. This policy changes should strengthen the conditions that favor effective adaptation including investing in new infrastructure and technologies (Jane Kabubo-Mariara, 2015).  They will also safeguard the agricultural sector against the effects of climate change and go a long way in alleviating food insecurity in the region. There is also the need to merge climate change scientific research with existing indigenous knowledge on the climate. In various African communities agro-pastoralists are known to predict drought through the observation of the flora, fauna, moon and wind (John R.Porter, 2014). At present there is a mismatch between the uptake capacity of communities and the volume of scientific information released on climate change. Therefore, there is a need for proper dialogue and consensus between the researchers and local communities as to how best to disseminate information on climate change adaptation and mitigation measures so that the communities benefit. To this regard there should be exploration of the indigenous knowledge in the traditional prediction mechanisms in these communities and how this can be integrated into scientific information for the benefit of rural communities. The rural communities’ adaptive capacity should also be enhanced through creation of awareness on the impacts of climate change and capacity building initiatives on adaptation and mitigation mechanisms. The adaptation of crops will also play a vital role in ensuring food security for Sub-Sahara Africa as well. This would involve the altering of cultivation, sowing and adapting to new crop species that are drought resistant or require little water to survive (Heather E. Thompson, 2010). In Africa most of the farmers practice small scale farming and therefore intercropping (Mouk Bernard, 2012) would play a big role in increasing the productivity per unit of land. Studies show that adaptation of new crop species and altering planting seasons can increase the yields up to 23% (John R.Porter, 2014). Funding also needs to be availed by the government and the private sector so that there is more research done in breeding drought tolerant crop varieties. To ensure that the continent is on the right track in implementation of the climate change adaptation mechanisms the different initiatives and mechanisms put in place will have to be regularly monitored and evaluated. This will help in providing sufficient information on what the impacts of these initiatives are towards ensuring food security. It will also allow for incremental changes to be made as more data and information becomes available on the impact of climate change on food security.  References A, Z. (2014). Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security: A Literature Review in Sub Saharan Africa. Journal of Earth Science & Climate Change , 5:225. doi: 10.4172/2157-7617.1000225. Heather E. Thompson, L. B.-F. (2010). Climate Change and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Literature Review. Sustainability,2(8), 2719-2733; doi:10.3390/su2082719. Jane Kabubo-Mariara, M. K. (2015). Climate Change and Food Security in Kenya. Nairobi: Environment for Development Center. John R.Porter, L. X. (2014). Food Security and Food Production Systems in Climate Change 2014:Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. United Kingdom and New York: Cambridge University Press, . Misra, A. K. ( 2014). Climate change and challenges of water and food security. International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment , 153–165. Mouk Bernard, O. A. ( 2012). Case Study on Climate Compatible Development (CCD) in Agriculture for Food Security in Kenya. Nairobi: African Centre for Technology studies.  
    Jul 25, 2016 1072
  • 10 Oct 2016
    I was closely following the proceedings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) held in Johannesburg on 24th September to 5th October 2016 with big expectations. CITES is an agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The international wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars ranging from the sale of live animals and plants, exotic goods, curios, medicine and food products. It is against this backdrop that the agreement plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of the trade for future generations. Currently, there are about 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants protected by CITES against over exploitation through international trade. The species are grouped into appendices I, II, III depending on their level of endangerment with those listed in appendix I enjoying the highest protection with a total ban in trade. Over the course of the conference the appendices were revised and there were some obvious winners and losers. The biggest winners were the African grey parrots, cheetahs, pangolins, and over 350 species of rosewood, silky sharks and other multiple animals and plants which now have added protection. The biggest losers in my opinion were the African elephants which are in dire need of maximum protection. My main interest was on the listing of the African elephants which is split between appendix I for East, Central and West Africa and II for Southern Africa. It is no secret that elephants are being pushed to the blink of extinction through poaching with reports showing a decline from 600,000 to 400,000 elephants in a decade. It is estimated that every 15 minutes an African elephant is lost to poaching as demand for ivory products continue to increase in Asia as a result of a more economically empowered middle class. Countries whose elephants are in appendix II can sell their ivory stock pile with permission from CITES and in my opinion herein lies the problem. In 1999 and 2008 Southern African countries sold their ivory stock pile legally to Asian countries and as a result stimulated ivory demand leading to increased poaching. The split listing of African elephants fails to put into consideration the biological populations and the fact that wild animals are not bound by political boundaries. As a result countries with elephants listed under appendix I face a continuous challenge in ensuring that their elephant populations are protected and that their countries are not used as transit point for ivory trade from the South. Unfortunately African countries did not present a united front during the conference and as a result we put the future of our elephants in the hands of foreign countries who are guided by the need to protect their ivory market. The human race needs to come to the realization that we are a species that is fully dependent and part of the natural system. This means that any imbalance in the natural environment has a direct impact on us and threatens our very survival and well being. What we are experiencing now is an unprecedented extinction of species fuelled by human greed, cultural beliefs, and economic empowerment of the middle class mainly in Asia and lack of international cooperation between governments. It is shocking that scientists estimate that we are losing 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals every 24 hours to extinction. If this is not a wakeup call, I do not know what else will make us pay attention and act before it is too late even for the human species.
    1067 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I was closely following the proceedings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) held in Johannesburg on 24th September to 5th October 2016 with big expectations. CITES is an agreement between governments whose aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The international wildlife trade is worth billions of dollars ranging from the sale of live animals and plants, exotic goods, curios, medicine and food products. It is against this backdrop that the agreement plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of the trade for future generations. Currently, there are about 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants protected by CITES against over exploitation through international trade. The species are grouped into appendices I, II, III depending on their level of endangerment with those listed in appendix I enjoying the highest protection with a total ban in trade. Over the course of the conference the appendices were revised and there were some obvious winners and losers. The biggest winners were the African grey parrots, cheetahs, pangolins, and over 350 species of rosewood, silky sharks and other multiple animals and plants which now have added protection. The biggest losers in my opinion were the African elephants which are in dire need of maximum protection. My main interest was on the listing of the African elephants which is split between appendix I for East, Central and West Africa and II for Southern Africa. It is no secret that elephants are being pushed to the blink of extinction through poaching with reports showing a decline from 600,000 to 400,000 elephants in a decade. It is estimated that every 15 minutes an African elephant is lost to poaching as demand for ivory products continue to increase in Asia as a result of a more economically empowered middle class. Countries whose elephants are in appendix II can sell their ivory stock pile with permission from CITES and in my opinion herein lies the problem. In 1999 and 2008 Southern African countries sold their ivory stock pile legally to Asian countries and as a result stimulated ivory demand leading to increased poaching. The split listing of African elephants fails to put into consideration the biological populations and the fact that wild animals are not bound by political boundaries. As a result countries with elephants listed under appendix I face a continuous challenge in ensuring that their elephant populations are protected and that their countries are not used as transit point for ivory trade from the South. Unfortunately African countries did not present a united front during the conference and as a result we put the future of our elephants in the hands of foreign countries who are guided by the need to protect their ivory market. The human race needs to come to the realization that we are a species that is fully dependent and part of the natural system. This means that any imbalance in the natural environment has a direct impact on us and threatens our very survival and well being. What we are experiencing now is an unprecedented extinction of species fuelled by human greed, cultural beliefs, and economic empowerment of the middle class mainly in Asia and lack of international cooperation between governments. It is shocking that scientists estimate that we are losing 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals every 24 hours to extinction. If this is not a wakeup call, I do not know what else will make us pay attention and act before it is too late even for the human species.
    Oct 10, 2016 1067
  • 12 Sep 2016
    I am an avid follower of Brandon the founder of Humans of New York (HONY). He makes regular posts highlighting the lives of people from different walks of life. Currently, his work has covered over twenty different countries since its inception in 2010. I would like to believe that I have read every piece he has posted since I bumped into his page. What I find interesting is that his photography and captions have been able to bring people from all over the world together, sometimes raising thousands of dollars for different causes. I will not bore you with the details of his work but my interest is on a post he did this past week on American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In the post Hillary gives an account of her struggle on finding a balance in her emotions and behaving in a way that is in line with society’s expectations of a woman. I quote “….It’s really quite funny. I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election. And people will love it. And I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.” Her statement generated a lot of discussion majorly because she is a presidential candidate but also because women from all walks of life could relate to her. We have definitely come a long way in the achievement of equal rights for women and their ability to access resources, education, health care, leadership position and participation in the decision making process since 1995. Yet women are constantly faced with society’s expectations on how they should behave whether it is in the work place or at home. If a woman does not show emotion, she is labeled as being cold but too much emotion gets her labeled a drama queen or a weakling. If she goes for what she wants she is too forward, laughing too hard will earn her the label of being too unladylike or uncultured. If she keeps to herself she will labeled as being anti social or moody. Somehow she is supposed to communicate what she wants without out rightly saying it. The list is endless. I would imagine that in the 21st Century our society would have let off the pressure and let the women charter their own path. I am not here to complain but state the facts as they are based on experience and what other women have to deal with every waking moment. I am not ignorant to the fact that men have to deal with a set of their own pressure but those are shoes I have never walked in. I am tired of conforming and restricting myself to a box just because society expects me to do so. So my advice to my fellow women is simple; laugh as hard as you can, cry your eyes dry if you have to, go after what you desire, let your emotions show and never apologize for it. In the end we are not here to please others but to live a full life that radiates joy and touches the lives of others. Our emotions are the rainbow that makes this world so colorful and we should never be ashamed of letting them show!
    1064 Posted by Eva Kimonye
  • I am an avid follower of Brandon the founder of Humans of New York (HONY). He makes regular posts highlighting the lives of people from different walks of life. Currently, his work has covered over twenty different countries since its inception in 2010. I would like to believe that I have read every piece he has posted since I bumped into his page. What I find interesting is that his photography and captions have been able to bring people from all over the world together, sometimes raising thousands of dollars for different causes. I will not bore you with the details of his work but my interest is on a post he did this past week on American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In the post Hillary gives an account of her struggle on finding a balance in her emotions and behaving in a way that is in line with society’s expectations of a woman. I quote “….It’s really quite funny. I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message, and screaming about how we need to win the election. And people will love it. And I want to do the same thing. Because I care about this stuff. But I’ve learned that I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that.’ Which is funny, because I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.” Her statement generated a lot of discussion majorly because she is a presidential candidate but also because women from all walks of life could relate to her. We have definitely come a long way in the achievement of equal rights for women and their ability to access resources, education, health care, leadership position and participation in the decision making process since 1995. Yet women are constantly faced with society’s expectations on how they should behave whether it is in the work place or at home. If a woman does not show emotion, she is labeled as being cold but too much emotion gets her labeled a drama queen or a weakling. If she goes for what she wants she is too forward, laughing too hard will earn her the label of being too unladylike or uncultured. If she keeps to herself she will labeled as being anti social or moody. Somehow she is supposed to communicate what she wants without out rightly saying it. The list is endless. I would imagine that in the 21st Century our society would have let off the pressure and let the women charter their own path. I am not here to complain but state the facts as they are based on experience and what other women have to deal with every waking moment. I am not ignorant to the fact that men have to deal with a set of their own pressure but those are shoes I have never walked in. I am tired of conforming and restricting myself to a box just because society expects me to do so. So my advice to my fellow women is simple; laugh as hard as you can, cry your eyes dry if you have to, go after what you desire, let your emotions show and never apologize for it. In the end we are not here to please others but to live a full life that radiates joy and touches the lives of others. Our emotions are the rainbow that makes this world so colorful and we should never be ashamed of letting them show!
    Sep 12, 2016 1064