Monday, January 16, 2012
First are national elections. The last general elections ended in a catastrophe. If the 2012 elections are again violent, Kenya’s image as a peaceful, mature democracy may be tarnished for a generation. Investors and tourists would be even more reluctant to come to Kenya and quick to dismiss the “friends of Kenya” (including your blogger) who strongly believe in the strengths of this country and its medium-term potential. In news headlines, Kenya would join the ranks of other unstable African countries, and drift away from emerging economies such as India and Indonesia.
Second is implementation of the Constitution. Even though all eyes are on the presidential race, elections will be held simultaneously for parliament and the brand-new forty-seven counties governors and assemblies. This will not only make it the most challenging logistical effort in Kenya’s electoral history but also establish a new system of devolved government an alter Kenya's structure as a country. Kenyans bring to this process tremendous enthusiasm and energy, but the devil lies in the detail. The specific design of fiscal architecture, accountability systems and the management of this massive transition will determine whether Kenya can weather the economic storm in a way that enhances social equity, service delivery, citizen engagement, and so deliver the promise of institutional transformation.
Third is the next global economic crisis. It is clear that the world economy will be in turmoil in 2012.The only uncertainty is about the extent of the crisis. Europe’s inability to solve its debt problems is directly affecting economic prospects in developing countries.Flowers and vacations are luxury goods, which Europeans are likely to sacrifice as their income drops. Unfortunately for Kenya, these are among the main sources of foreign exchange. During 2008/09, Kenya was able to weather the global financial crisis by using fiscal and monetary stimuli. But today, Kenya’s economy is in a weaker position and fiscal buffers need to be rebuilt before they can be used again. Also, these economic challenges come at a time when more resources are needed, including for decentralization and the war in Somalia.
Kenya is at a similar turning point in its history. There is a direct relationship between the 2007/08 post-election violence and the adoption of the new Constitution, with its radical provisions for improved governance and devolution. 2012 will be the first big test of whether the “New Kenya” can deliver free, fair and peaceful elections as part of a new institutional structure and at the same time provide continued growth during a global economic crisis. Let us hope that Kenya’s politicians keep these challenges and opportunities in mind as they finalize their wishes and resolutions for the New Year. (World Bank)
Monday, September 26, 2011
According to the Nobel committee, Maathai made significant contributions “to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”The Kenyan environmentalist founded the Green Belt Movement (GBM) in 1977 – planting tens of millions of trees throughout her homeland.
Maathai served as an assistant minister in President Mwai Kibaki's government from 2003 to 2005.
Maathai is survived by her three children and a granddaughter. (Wiki, Various News Sources)
Thursday, September 15, 2011
A Journey Magazine into Science, Reason & Rationality [January 2012 Vol. 5.]
Boaz Adhengo has been named editor of the Balozi Journal, which will examine numerous issues within the broad categories of: 1) Science, 2) Reason, and 3) Rationality. Mr. Adhengo is excited about the new assignment.
Please feel free to donate to this new effort.
One of the first articles in the journal includes the tome below:
The Range of Religious Freedom
By Paul Marshall
Belief in the supernatural dimension is central to all world religions Religion by its nature defies precise definition. However, the central commonality to all world religions is the belief in the supernatural dimension. Thus, it can be said that the most significant element of a religious worldview is this belief in a divine being or power, which is greater than humankind and the natural world. This being or power is believed to be responsible for the creation of the world, for providing a moral framework for human life and being the ultimate destiny of a human person at the end of their mortal life.
Monday, September 12, 2011
The cause of the explosion was still unclear, but local officials said it was likely caused by a cigarette butt that ignited gasoline leaked from the pipeline. Local television broadcast images of smoldering bodies as firefighters battled the blaze, and showed badly burned slum residents emerging from the flames.
It is believed the fire started after a fuel tank spilled fuel into an open sewer that flows through the slum. As slum residents tried to scoop up the fuel, someone tossed a cigarette into the sewer. (Wash Post, 9/12/2011)
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Boaz established the AAEA Kenya Office in 2010. His role as director will complement the Jahwar Amber Fund and AAEA. AAEA will provide outreach support for the fund and the fund's journal will provide an additional platform for disemination of AAEA information.
Boaz is the man for the job because he has the unique entrepreneurial qualities to make both institutions a success. We hope that others will support his efforts by making donations to the fund and AAEA.
The next issue of Balozi Journal will focus on “Genetically Modified Organisms,’ highlighting the possible debates en route to ending famine and drought in Africa at large, using successful Kenyan examples and documented cases. This owes to the fact that at this time of the year, Kenya is recording numbers of starved children and the whole region is suffering from food insecurity, which warrants a probable debate on such issues.
Articles are welcomed for submission to be considered on the next issue of Balozi Journal, which is managed by the AAEA Kenya Office.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Tom Mboya was a friend and mentor to Barack Obama, Sr. Tom Mboya was assassinated in July 5, 1969 due to his political activities.
The cast stone the statue is standing on, the fountain and the flamingo birds underneath symbolise the planes for which Tom Mboya paid tickets for Kenyan students to study abroad during the famous airlifts of the 1960s. The 10 metres high statue has been erected two metres away from the scene where he was shot 42 years ago. The statue is on Moi Avenue formerly Government Road, near Stanbank House and faces the National Archives and Ambassadeur Hotel. The statue has been dressed in Ghanaian regalia, which the late Kwame Nkuruma presented to Mboya. (The Star, 8/3/2011, The Latest Kenyan News, 2/26/2011)
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
UNEP is behind the World Trade Organization or the World Health Organization. With a 2010 budget of 83 million dollars, it is one of only two UN agencies to be headquartered in Africa. Only 58 states, out of a total of 193 in the world, are members. Each convention has its own secretariat, which scarcely communicates with the others.
Between 1992 and 2007, 540 meetings have been called under 18 international treaties, generating more than 5000 decisions. The convention on climate change, adopted in 1992, has collected about 100 billion dollars for its budget. But beyond the facade of everything being unanimous, talks on how to harmonize the system have been deadlocked for years. (AFP, 2/25/2011)
Friday, February 11, 2011
Gration, a retired Air Force major general, was one of the first prominent military officials to embrace Obama as a presidential candidate, and he traveled with the then senator to Africa in 2006. Gration grew up in Africa, the son of missionaries, and speaks Swahili.
He has a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University and earned a master's degree in national security studies from Georgetown University in Washington in 1988. (Wash Post, 2/11/2011, Wiki)
Saturday, November 20, 2010
By Norris McDonald
Today is our 25th anniversary. We was incorporated on November 20, 1985. The African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA) is the outreach arm of the Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy (Center).
You can see a listing of many of our activities during that time at our original website, which we converted to Multiply when the original Msn Groups platform ended). There is more activity information at our History page. My career has been very satisfying. From my beginning in the Fall of 1979 at the Environmental Policy Center (now Friends of the Earth) until today, the adventure has been incredible. I started out in the Washington, D.C.-based environmental movement. Jimmy Carter was president and was just finishing a rough 4-year run. I shook his hand at the Democratic National Convention in New York in 1980 not knowing that Washington was about to get a completely new makeover. The Reagan era was interesting and quite the challenge for the environmental movement. I still remember his 'no standard standard' for appliance efficiency standards. I also remember the Air Florida crash and the Metro subway accident on the day that I was walking back from the U.S. Department of Energy after testifying on appliance standards.
Well, without sounding like the old guy in the room sharing old war time stories that nobody really wants to hear, the situation today is as exciting as ever. We are embarking on trying to build biomass power plants in Mississippi, California and in Kenya. The adventure continues and I am having more fun than ever. Our team is lean and mean and green.
I have kept the AAEA small on purpose and will continue to do so. I almost died from respiratory failure in 1991 and 1996 (intubated for 4 days in ICU each time). After getting divorced and full custody of my son when he was 2 years old, I decided that I wanted to stick around to see my son grow up. But I also wanted to continue with my entrepreneurial environmentalism. So keeping it small worked. Although I still struggle with a chronic acute asthma that could kill me any day, my son is now 18 and I am still 'doing my green thing.' Life is good. Hey, and we just opened a new Center Hollywood blog this week (Also see AAEA Hollywood). Oh, and if you're feeling generous, feel free to click on our Donation button on our sites.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
AAEA Kenya, in cooperation with National Clean Fuels (NACF), intends to develop a ten-megawatt woodchip-to-methane-to-electricity plant in Kogelo, Kenya. We are recommending the construction and operation of a wood chip to electricity plant with accompanying substation and electricity transmission and distribution lines. The Center and NACF is presenting this proposal to the Kenyan government and other local stakeholders in order to get approval to proceed with the project.
AAEA President Norris McDonald and NACF principal Maurice Stone met with Kenyan Ambassador Elkanah Odembo at a National Black Chamber of Commerce Conference in Los Angeles, California to discuss the power plant project.
|Maurice Stone, Ambassador Elkanah Odembo, Norris McDonald|
Monday, October 18, 2010
Click on the Donate button and donate.
The purpose of the project is:
1. To support civil society organizations in the rural areas and the Government of Kenya to participate meaningfully in the climate change debates at the international level, including Conferences of Parties (COP).
2. To strengthen the civil society to campaign for good policies that are designed to help Kenya’s poor to adapt to climate change
3. To re-examine the present critique of the economic development as a main source of environmental crises;
4. To explore the thought and representations of crisis awareness of rural Kenya, especially on ecological aspects;
5. To determine the ways in which mitigation ideas of the relationship between humanity, nature and science provide a starting point for a renewal of environmental ethics and for rethinking ideas of sustainability
Medical Advisory Support Services for the Maringo Community in Kenya
Objectives of the Project:
The objective of this project is therefore to organize a medical seminar that will be delivered freely to a target group. It is planned that this medical seminar will follow up with arranging for the implementation of a medical camp where minor illnesses could be treated and sensitization on key medical issues can be addressed. The main beneficiaries will be the youth and parents of Maringo village who have greater trust on ‘Mwarubaini” for its popularity on having a capability to treat forty diseases as confirmed by herbal doctors.
Increased Access For Women in Kenya
Access to education for girls remains a challe
nge in Kuria district due to poverty, retrogressive cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and a general negative attitude towards educating girls. It is important that these causes are addressed to ensure gender equity in education. This program works towards eliminating the root causes of inequalities in access to education.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
"Peace Art: The Forbidden Expression"
Boaz Adhengo writes:
"My purpose of writing this book is to describe the complex ‘Peace Art’ as it occurs in Africa and specifically, Kenya. My understanding of Peace Art is not universally accepted. Some researchers’ prefer less expressive, more cognitive behavior models to describe this concept. More so, conflict and chaotic relation of art, a look into the opposite. It is more of a proposal into collective action, into resourceful organization of art into action. The approach into this writing is purely creative but informing, merging existing examples with experience into a digestible piece that will not warrant a meeting."Purchase the Book via Amazon.com
Monday, August 9, 2010
Dana Alston was 47 years old when she died 11 years ago on August 7, 1999.
Dana Alston, left, was a leader of the original environmental justice movement that started in the 1980's. She was one of the organizers of the first National Environmental Justice Leadership Summit in 1992. She participated in the meetings to convince the U.S. EPA to open an Office of Environmental Justice. She was a committed environmental justice activist and the movement clearly benefited from her leadership. We remember you Dana. And we will never forget you.
Dana Alston received a Bannerman Fellowship in 1992 in recognition of her leadership in the development of the environmental justice movement. The Bannerman Fellowship Program was founded in 1987 on the belief that the most effective approach to achieving progressive social change is by organizing low-income people at the grassroots level. In 2002, the Fellowship Program was renamed the Alston/Bannerman Fellowship Program in honor of Dana Alston.
Dana died on August 7, 1999 at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Dana was a native of New York and lived in Washington, D.C. She was in San Francisco for treatment of kidney disease and consequences of a stroke when she died.
Her son, Khalil Alston-Cobb, now 17, resides in Clinton, Maryland. He is (or was at 16) a skateboard enthusiast (see videos). Here is how Khalil describes himself on his MySpace page:
"I like Skateboarding, Playing videogames, listening to music, talking to Gurls, surfing the Web, and Chillin wit the Homies."Khalil is also on Twitter. He has a great skateboarding video on MonsterArmy.com. He is listed on Children of the Struggle. Dana would be very proud of her teenage son. All who knew her are not surprised that Khalil is an energetic and productive young man.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Morocco’s officially inaugurated a wind farm in the town of Melloussa this week. The project has 165 turbines and a production capacity of 140 megawatts, enough power for 140,000 homes. The farm is touted as Africa’s largest wind farm and cost $300 million to construct. Besides significantly reducing CO2 emissions, the farm is expected to save over 125,000 metric tons of oil annually. Like many parts of the world, Morocco relies on imported oil and coal for its energy needs. The Kingdom of Morocco is the only North African country without its own oil.
Funding for the project came from the European Investment Bank, Official Credit Institute of Spain, the Moroccan National Office of Potable Water and Germany’s Kreditanstalt fur Wienderaufbau. This is not the first wind project for Morocco. The first farm was constructed in 2000 and several others have been added over the years. (Triple Pundit, 6/30/2010)
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Kenya’s energy firm, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has commissioned a 35 megawatt (MW) third unit at the Olkaria II power plant in Naivasha, about 90 km southwest of the capital Nairobi.
It was co-financed by European investment Bank (EIB) which put in 40.8 million U.S. dollars, the International development Association (IDA) with 27. 6 million dollars and the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) which provided 20 million dollars with KenGen providing the rest of funds.
The new unit was completed in record 27 months as per schedule and went to commercial operation on May 12.
With the additional power, the Olkaria II power station, the largest geothermal plant in Africa, has a combined output of 105 MW.
KenGen is adding green energy capacity mainly through geothermal energy, which is environment friendly and has no carbon emissions. (Coast Week, June 25-July1, 2010)
Friday, June 18, 2010
By Boaz Adhengo
It all about World Cup and it is all about fun! The situation at shanty slums in Nairobi is worsening, as the financial crunch is increasing. Free education has not been able to bare fruits, and the Institute for African Ecology and Philosophy’s past proposal on community policing are losing relevancy, as poverty takes over. The World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world; an estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 World Cup held in Germany. The current World Cup is being held in South Africa, between 11 June and 11 July 2010, and the 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil. It is therefore an event that unites different people, of different backgrounds and abilities, into a focused celebration, understanding and life sharing moments, including eco ethics.
For this reason, Project Nabuur Stiftung/AAEA Kenya, through its life sponsor, the Leah Foundation, has been donating footballs to local communities where informal settlements are located. The board identified Kayole, Huruma, Mathare, Korokocho, Babadogo and Kibera as the priority areas. Thus, fifty balls have been given in a shared pattern with hopes that after the World Cup TV broadcast, we shall be able to organize our Eco Ethics Festival, with sports as the uniting element. Ghetto Radio is involved in the same quest. They have decided to follow up our football donation with live broadcasting of the event. They will provide twelve projectors for the six shanties while the local youth will organize themselves into security teams for the sake of protecting the equipments from theft or subsequent damages. We thank our membership for their ideas during our 1st Kor Bondo Lecture in Maranda, from where this generous outreach has come. We look forward to more involvement as we welcome the Africa Partners in Safari in our launch of our MoU for the coming year.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Biden's trip to Nairobi is focusing on regional issues, particularly the security and humanitarian situation in Somalia and the prospects for secessionist southern Sudan. Biden will meet with South Sudan's president Salva Kiir will discuss the January referendum on self-determination in southern Sudan. The widely-predicted decision by the southern oil-rich half of Sudan to acquire independence would have wide-ranging effects on the region.
There is also concern in Washington that one of Kenya's other troubled neighbors, Somalia, is becoming a new haven for Al Qaeda operatives. Vice President Biden will discuss this situation with Kenyan President Kibacki. (The White House)
Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade en route to US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger's residence, Nairobi, Kenya, June 9, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Audio Slideshow: Dr. Biden Sees the Neighborhoods of Kenya
Dr. Jill Biden toured the Kibera area of Nairobi, Kenya. It’s one of the largest slums in the world at just about 1.5 million people living in an area about 2 square miles total. Very few people have electricity or running water and many of the residents are living with HIV.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Kenya Office Director Boaz Adhengo presented a poster at a conference at the Multi-Media University of Kenya. The conference theme was “Climate Change and Natural Resource Use in Eastern Africa: Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation.” This was the third Scientific Conference of the Ecological Society for Eastern Africa in conjunction with the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance. The conference convened from the May 19-22 and will brought together key stakeholders in the environmental philosophy of East Africa. Though the major defining strategy was to discuss climate change within its multiple realms, there were also avenues for analyzing energy and the business dilemmas that steer development in ways that are not sustainable.
Adhengo's poster drew from a paper that he presented in 2009, “Ethical Implications of Ecotourism on Sustainable Development.” The poster is designed to draw the participant into understanding the patriotic role that humans must adhere to, for we are citizens of the world, and climate change has no borders. Destruction looks for no visas, for it is interdependent, interconnected and cross cutting. Adhengo believes we must work as a team as much as we preserve our aesthetics.
Monday, May 10, 2010
USDA Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter Visits Kenya Tours Food Program Sites
George McGovern Visits School Sites in Nairobi Meets with Farmers in Rural Areas
USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service’s Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter, right, will join former Senator George S. McGovern, left, in Kenya May 10-16 to visit World Food Program sites and observe, first-hand, how nutrition programs fit into broader food security initiatives in Africa. The World Food Program is an important participant in USDA’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. McGovern currently serves as the Ambassador to the World Food Program and was recognized in 2008, along with Sen. Robert Dole, by the World Food Prize for his leadership in forging the link between the productivity of American farmers and the needs of hungry children around the world.
Vetter and McGovern will visit school feeding sites in Nairobi and rural areas and meet with communities that are establishing homegrown school feeding programs. Additionally, they will meet with small farmers who participate in the World Food Program’s local and regional procurement program. Vetter will also have the opportunity to visit agricultural development projects in the dairy and cassava sectors.
The McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, helps support education, child development, and food security for some of the world’s poorest children. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance, for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education.
USDA and FAS Food Aid Programs
Contact: Katie Gorscak
Tsavo National Park
One of the paths used
Walking down a path
Monday, May 3, 2010
Anselm Croze, left, took over the business that was started by his mother. He collects all sorts of glasses and recycles them into wonderful products. He does this at Kitengela, where the family home is situated. Thus, in this huge track of land, he houses all their staff, has a small conservatoir for wild animals (ostrich, turtles, wathogs, monkeys, camels) and is a full fledged tour attraction facility. Croze is a graduate of Business Administration, but glass creativity is a passion that he has developed into a profession.
Anselm Croze was born in Cumbria in northern England. He came to Kenya with his father, Harvey Croze, an environmental zoologist who worked in the Serengeti. Anselm remembers home-schooling in a tent in Tanzania; later, he was the one little mzungu kid amongst many black urchins in a small, one-room rural school, running around, getting into dirt and trouble. Later still, he drove a taxi around Ann Arbor, Michigan, because he had run out of money to pay his university fees in the U.S.A. He understands hardship quite well, and he understands the value of practical methods of showing solidarity.
Anselm Croze presides over the hot glass division of Kitengela Glassworks. At Kitengela, Anselm combines his passion for the environment with his passion for glass art; he places his art in his environment with the same creative joy with which he weaves the environment into his art. Many Kenyan homes have some of Kitengela’s luminous hand-crafted glasses, vases, platters, and bowls in shades ranging from deepest blue and emerald green to delicate pastels the colour of illuminated water from the sea. All are created from 100% recycled, reclaimed, and salvaged materials. A lucky few are able to make the trek out to the busy hive of activity that is the source of the art.
Anselm is planning no less than a revolution: an African hot-glass movement in which handcrafted glass from every region across the continent, complete with regional specializations and signature colours, will present itself to the world as another indicator of Africa’s global-level creativity, another way in which African cultural production continues to innovate, re-imagining and renewing itself.
The way to the workshop is over rutted roads with more craters than the moon and through wafting billows of dust. That certain features of the landscape are not geological formations takes a while to notice. The visitor’s eye wanders over the seductively wide horizons of the Kitengela plains and then zooms back to a strange mound in the middle of the openness.
His sometimes disturbing artwork is out in the open, harmonizing surprisingly with the grass and rocky outgrowths and trees. His is not the only artwork on display, because he believes in artistic collaboration and engages in many joint projects with other artists. But his is certainly the animating spirit behind the exuberance and the rigour of the art.
At Kitengela, Glassworks, groups of men in protective overalls with old socks on their hands toil and sweat surrounded by roaring furnaces and bubbling glass. The men wield curious long-handled metal pipes with dexterity and controlled haste. These they sometimes plunge, twisting, into the hearts of the fires roaring around them before sitting to twirl and pad the glass into shape ,or dunking them in the buckets of cold water next to their workstations. The workshop sounds like a living thing, with water hissing, fires crackling, and the footsteps of the glassworkers syncopating as they wield their long pipes, tipped with glowing bulbs of molten glass, like fiery dreams waiting to be imagined into life. Work proceeds like a strange and dangerous ballet: The fires are very hot, the space is not very big, and the glass must be shaped before it cools—which happens very quickly with recycled glass. The men move with an eerie awareness of each other—their metal rods swinging through the dark interior like fireflies bobbing in the evening light.
Kitengela Glassworks supports the Bosco Boys Home (where Anselm recruits many of his glassmaking trainees), as well as the local high school, with material and financial support. More importantly, Anselm Croze is intent on passing on his skills and his love of glass and making beauty to as many Kenyans as possible; given the abundant evidence in his Kitengela Hot Glass retail outlets, this is a skill that is economically beneficial as well as soul satisfying.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
In the photo below, some relatives of AAEA Kenya Office Director Boaz Adhengo met in Kansas last week to strategize about how to implement American-Kenyan cooperative projects. They call themselves Kenyans Living In Kansas.