All Articles Tagged "kenya"
Malik Obama, half brother to United States President Barack Obama has entered the runnings as governor in Kenya’s nationwide elections. While he’s unsure what sort of impact his blood relation to America’s first Black president will have on his campaign, he insists that he is his own man, the Associated Press reports.
“I’m going into it as Malik Obama. I can’t run away from my name and association with my brother, but I have the feeling that people somewhat want to see who the brother of Obama is,” the president’s half brother said during a phone interview with the AP.
Malik Obama’s campaign promises even appear to somewhat echo those expressed in his brother’s 2008 campaign. He is rallying for change.
“I hope that you all out there will support me and vote for me for this important position so that we can bring change to the county of Siaya,” 54-year-old Obama said recently while campaigning.
This is Obama’s first time running for political office and he is campaigning as an independent candidate for position as the first governor in Kenya’s western county of Siaya. His competitors are said to be part of well-funded political parties.
Kenyans will cast their votes today for regional offices. It is their first nationwide election since 2007. The country’s newly implemented constitution created 47 political divisions, referred to as counties, which will all be run by governors.
Siaya’s hopeful governor, Malik Obama and U.S. President, Barack Obama share the same father, but have different mothers. President Obama is also reported to have several other relatives residing in Kenya.
Welcome to the “Work It!” column, where we take a look at business innovation of every kind.
Being an innovator in your field can be as easy as K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Sis. A singular vision focuses your efforts on becoming the best at what you do, and reduces your chances of being sidetracked or scattered. Ory Okolloh’s rise from blogger activist to policy manager for Africa for Google is a perfect example of the difference having a vision can make on your career.
Watch Vision Work
Okolloh realized early on that her true passion was using technology to ensure African voices were heard.
In 2006, Okolloh co-founded Mzalendo.com (“patriot” in Swahili) to track the Kenyan Parliament. The country’s TV and print media took weeks or months to sort through legal developments in the country. Meanwhile, Okolloh’s blog meticulously tracked the actions of political leaders and kept records of parliamentary bills in real time.
During Kenya’s controversial 2007 presidential election, which was marked by outbreaks of violence, she co-founded another site Ushahidi (“Testimony”). This time she focused on helping citizen journalists report incidents of violence and peace efforts. Before the experts dubbed the process “activist mapping, ” Okolloh’s site leveraged web, mobile, e-mail, SMS, Twitter, and Google Maps to visualize what was happening on the ground.
Ushahidi evolved from a website into a nonprofit tech company developing software platforms for citizen journalist initiatives. The organization was called on to launch humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, a wildfire outbreak in Russia, and snowstorms in Washington DC.
The Perks of Being An Expert
Okolloh’s success in online activism allowed her to move on from blogging to become a spokesperson for citizen journalism, youth activism, and technology in Africa. In a world where non-experts are championed, Okolloh is an anomaly.
The trend of the moment is to know a little something about everything. It’s true; non-experts are able to pull from a variety of sources to come up with creative solutions. However, the old-fashioned approach of focusing on what you’re good at still has its benefits.
Thoroughly understanding the space where you work allows you to recognize needs others wouldn’t. Working where your passion and strengths intersects, ensures that you enjoy what you do, and won’t mind putting in the extra work required to be the best.
“One of the best pieces of advice I received while I was at the university was to get paid to do what you love to do, so that’s my philosophy, and much of the time you find it’s not mutually exclusive and your natural talents is what you end up loving to do. But passion – you spend so much time working, ideally you want to love it.”
- Ory Okolloh, “Africa’s Most Successful Women: Ory Okolloh,” Forbes
A clear vision for your career begins with looking inside. Start thinking about what you love, and how you can use your strengths to pursue it.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
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We know mothers, particularly black ones, can get a little arts and crafts creative when it comes to naming their children but Millicent Owuor takes the prize today. I’m not mad that he 20-year-old from the village of Kogelo in Kenya named one of her sons, born yesterday, Barack but my heart goes out to his twin brother who got the short end of the stick by being named after the President’s republican challenger Mitt. I mean, you essentially just named your child a loser — or after one anyway.
According to The Standard, Owuor delivered her newborn boys at Siaya District Hospital, not far from where President Obama’s 90-year-old step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, grew up and still lives. That detail will no doubt instill pride in little Barry as he grows older and learns about the historic man he was named after. As for little Mitt Mitt all I can say is keep your head up homie. Maybe you’ll grow up to be filthy reach like your predecessor.
Birther Movement Bull: Officials in Kansas Voting On Whether Or Not To Keep President Obama On Ballot For November
After having the White House release his birth certificate and the state of Hawaii verifying that President Barack Obama was indeed born there on multiple occasions, you would think people would leave this Birther Movement bull behind and acknowledge that YES, this black man was born here and is the President of the United States. But then again, we know some folks just have to keep up drama and trouble to make themselves feel important. Such is the case in Kansas right now, where the same tired allegations that President Obama was born in Kenya were brought up again by a Manhattan, Kansas resident. The resident, a man named James Montgomery, argued to the State Objections Board that he doesn’t think the President has an actual valid birth certificate, and by doing so, he’s trying to push the Board to take President Obama’s name off of the ballot for the November election. That of course, will only leave one candidate left to vote for–and that’s fool a** Mitt Romney.
According to Kansas CBS affiliate KWCH, the three member objection board, who didn’t want to rule on Thursday when they heard arguments, decided to wait and obtain more information and certified documents from Hawaii before ruling. They are scheduled to meet up again on Monday to make a decision. The President’s campaign didn’t send a representative to the hearing, but instead sent a letter in replacement, letting everyone know that this matter had been touched on at an exhausting level, and the President’s place of birth had already been verified. According to KWCH, the Board dismissed an earlier objection in April to the President’s candidacy, and a ruling couldn’t be made because the President hadn’t been made the Democratic Party’s candidate (they had to wait until the Democratic National Convention). Now they are going to look over more information and come to a decision next week.
If they have common sense, they’ll keep his name on the ballot. But then again, we know the lengths some racist folks will go to suppress the vote. It’s an absolute shame that we’re still talking about this crap after the President has been more than forthcoming with his birth certificate and doing what was necessary to prove he was born here. I wish folks would use the same energy to persuade Mitt Romney to show his taxes and fully explain what his policies are since we only have 53 days until the election. Ugh. But hey, this is just a prime example why we need to get out here, make sure we have the right forms of ID ready and vote, and get everybody who can vote to do the same. Because this foolishness? I’m about sick of…
Did you hear about this mess?
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If you go to Kenya, you may find that beer is the dominant drink choice for most of the population. But according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Diageo Plc, the world’s biggest distiller, is implementing a new campaign ad to bring women drinkers away from the beer and to their new product Snapp. Their ads feature the “Snapp Sisters,” independent minded women with a high taste for everything, including the beverages that they drink.
“Women are thinking about themselves in a new light,” Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo’s head of marketing in Africa told Bloomberg Businessweek. “They’re relying on their own means.”
Snapp speaks to the glamorous, sophisticated woman. The apple flavored drink contains five percent alcohol and is a cocktail-like option for female drinkers. It costs about the same price as a beer in the country, but is translucent and fizzy. Although it comes in a bottle similar to Smirnoff Ice, Diageo recommends serving it in tall Champagne flutes.
As the economy picks up speed across Africa, more people are moving into the middle class and more women are becoming financially independent. Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy, with a projected annual economic growth rate of 10 percent by 2030.
Diageo, which is based in London, is known for Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie whisky although Tusker and Serengeti beers and Guinness comprise its big sellers in Africa. The company owes nearly 14 percent of its sales to Africa. Last year, sales on the continent rose to about $2.1 billion.
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For several women in Njabini, Kenya, clothes, jewelry and yoga mat bags are the key to financial empowerment. The Boston Globe reports on a steadily growing company called Njabini Apparel which is working to employ landless and physically disabled women and provide financial stability to the area.
“One of my desires is to see as many women empowered as possible because being here so long, I can tell you there are so many women that need to be empowered,” Mike Behan, one of the co-founders of Njabini Apparel said to the Boston Globe. Behan is a 21-year-old rising senior at Northeastern University. “Many men are not responsible in their families and that means that all the responsibilities are left to the women — feeding the children, clothing the children, paying the school fee.”
Behan first visited Njabini as a volunteer with the non-profit Flying Kites. With help from the non-profit, he and two other volunteers—Tom Mwangi and Erin O’Malley— started the apparel company in 2010. Since then, they have been able to employ eight women in the local community. To qualify as an employee the women must have at least one child under the age of 12, be physically disabled or landless, and live within 10 miles of Njabini. The company’s eight employees each make four times the average national income which is about $780. In addition, Njabini Apparel buys as much fabric and materials from the local area as possible and also provides employees with seminars and programs to encourage monthly budgeting, saving and business development.
Over the past two years the company has also been able to secure three project-specific grants to create outreach and educational programs. In December 2011 they started a pilot credit program for non-consumption-based assets loans. Njabini employees as well as other members of the community are able to receive $2,000-30,000 for small business projects.
“…to the women, they’re definitely not microloans,” Behan said. “They’re really flexible. It’s tailored to what each woman wants to accomplish.”
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By Charlotte Young
For the small business women in Kenya, dreams of starting a successful business are statistically far and few between. The Business Daily Africa reports that not only do women believe that their businesses will fall, they’re not wrong. Most of the businesses die almost at inception, a fact that is calling to question the sustainability of a Kenyan-based loan provider.
The study, conducted by the Kenya Institute of Management, interviewed 110 entrepreneurs in Nairobi.
Jackline Sagwe, the head of business intelligence and research at KIM tells the Business Daily Africa that the group was “assessed on knowledge and skills, the use of marketing and technology in growing their business” and the all-important entrepreneurial spirit.
It discovered that one in three start-up businesses are estimated to fail and that women rank at the very top of the failure, with business startups that will most likely to fail in the first six months of setup.
So what’s the problem? Researchers say it’s the lack of business savvy. Most of these women start off generic and overdone businesses such as selling clothes. Not only are the women likely to sell the same thing as their neighbors, there’s not much attempt to improve or diversify the products to make them stand out against the fierce competition, and virtually no use of technology.
As such, 48 percent of entrepreneurs interviewed have less than a 50 percent of a chance to make it past the incubation stage.
All of the research combined creates a very dim picture for The Youth and Women Enterprise Fund.
Since its start up in 2006, it has provided loans to over 12 million Kenyans between the ages of 18-35. Women have received about Sh1.29 billion from the Women Enterprise Fund. With all of the failure, The Fund, which is already struggling with high default rates, is unlikely to regain the Sh475 million it lent to entrepreneurs in Nairobi.
Now faced with the prospect of entering into risk-sharing agreements with financial institution, the Fund is considering a tool to better critique business proposals. It may be too late to save some of the struggling businesses, but perhaps for those still dreaming, a better system in place will nurture future business efforts.
At this moment, if you were to start your period, while you would probably be extremely annoyed, it wouldn’t be a burden that kept you from doing the things you needed to. You would take your usual steps: get your sanitary pads or tampons in order, and if you were out, you’d make a quick trip to the store and fill up. But if you are a young woman from Kenya, if your period were to start at this moment, you might have to make an important life decision: food, or sanitary pads?
Many young women in underdeveloped countries can’t seem to afford the sanitary protection we seem to take for granted (not that it isn’t a GRIP here), and because of it, a lot of young girls wind up having to miss school so they don’t stain their uniforms, or resort to wearing rags, some dirty, and run the risk of getting infections. If that makes you concerned, you’ll be happy (we hope) to know that you can help make a difference.
HURU International (Huru means “free” in Swahili by the way) is an organization that helps to provide the women of these underdeveloped countries with sanitary kits that keep them clean and dry, and allow them to go to school and more without letting their menstrual cycle become something that puts their lives on hold. They’ve partnered with o.b. in their efforts, and have started the Share it Forward program. o.b. will donate $1 to HURU everytime a person who shares their message (which you can find HERE) on Facebook. If you’re feeling extra generous, know that $25 is enough to get one girl the kit she needs. Anything helps, so you know what to do.
To check out more about HURU International, and hear one young Kenyan girl’s testimonial about what Share it Forward did for her, hit up the Huffington Post.
Dr. Wangari Maathai was an activist from the African nation of Kenya who used her political power, education and fierce fighting spirit to preserve the purity of her native environment, while implementing sustainable measures in a way that uplifted women. For these grand achievements, Maathai was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2004, becoming the first African woman to win this prize in a moment of pride that inspired the entire continent. She succumbed to cancer late Sunday, leaving as her legacy the reminder that impoverished people and environmental vulnerability are inextricably linked in Africa, and that both needy entities are worth fighting for. Her life is a testimony to the fact that rapid growth in developing countries does not require the destruction of its lands through the rapacious stripping of resources fueled by greed.
Maathai’s work demonstrated that preserving the environment and developing depressed areas economically can and should go hand in hand for the overall betterment of society. And she was not afraid to get tear gassed or beaten by police while demonstrating to preserve the rights of citizens and the sustainability of their lands. She waged her many political battles through the influential organization she founded, The Greenbelt Movement.
Dr. Maathai started The Greenbelt Movement in 1977 to promote her ideals and in the process her organization facilitated the planting of 45 million trees in her native Kenya. Although much of her work focused on her homeland, Maathai’s ideas have spread internationally, leading to the launch of similar programs across the African continent.
Through attaining her PhD — a first for a woman from east and central Africa — Dr. Maathai gained access to European spheres of influence, which enabled her to join powerful organizations like The United Nations Environmental Program. These ties gave her the prestige to promote her Greenbelt Movement, which “went pan-African in 1986, with successful offshoots in at least six African countries,” according to AllAfrica.com.
The importance of The Greenbelt Movement is twofold, because rapid deforestation due to overdevelopment was not only leading to permanent desertification in Kenya; it was also deepening the cycle of poverty caused by the poor degrading the lands by mistreatment in order to survive — while simultaneous diminishing this fragile source of livelihood. Maathai’s Greenbelt Movement both preserved the land from erosion, and gave people jobs planting trees (particularly women) that helped them lead better lives. The New York Times has more on this gentle revolutionary, who it deems an “environmentalist, feminist, politician, anti-corruption campaigner, human rights advocate, [and] protester”:
By Charlotte Young
In two separate but equally terrifying incidents, tragedy stuck East Africa’s Tanzania and Kenya this past weekend.
First in Tanzania, IPPmedia.com reports that a marine accident in Zanzibar killed 240 people on Saturday, with the death toll continuing to rise as bodies are pulled out of the ocean. An MV Spice Islander boat capsized in the Nungwi area of Zanzibar after loading its passengers. The passenger’s manifest states that 610 passengers boarded the boat at Zanzibar port and 166 boarded at Dar es Salaam. The boat has the capacity to carry about 600 passengers.
The Director of Zanzibar Port Authority, Mustafa Aboud Jumbe has accepted no blame for the incident, claiming that the authority is not responsible for supervising marine transport services of passengers or cargo.
“This is the duty of the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), which was established by the law to oversee marine and surface transport sectors,” Jumbe told Tanzanian newspaper Nipashe.
Mussa Ali Mussa, the Zanzibar Police Commissioners announced the death toll on Sunday. Many of the unidentified dead have been buried in the Kama area–west district. Recovered bodies are being buried immediately, although records will be kept for relatives seeking their loved ones.
To assist with the rescue mission, the National Social Security Fund (NSSSF) has donated funds to assist the government and burial activities. The government will hold a special prayer on Monday at the Maisara grounds in honor of the people who died in the tragic incident.
In neighboring Kenya, a leaking gasoline pipeline in Nairobi exploded on Monday killing at least 61 people and leaving over 100 injured. According to the Associated Press the flames spread about 300 yards from the pipeline incinerating everything in its path, “leaving charred bodies and blacked bones in the charred homes.”
Policeman Wilfred Mbithi, who is in charge of operations in Nairobi, told the AP that he’d lost count of the number of bodies. Many people had jumped into the now oil soaked river in attempts to put out their flames.
Report says that Kenyatta National Hospital is urgently in need of blood donors and blankets. At least 112 burn victims have arrived at the hospital so far. Many of them are children with more than a third of their bodies burned, some are unrecognizable.
The cause of the explosion on Monday is still unknown.