Archive for July, 2011

The ‘sense’ in Alfred Mutua’s drought speech.


The whole world is aware of the drought situation in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. Well, it is a really sad situation and the whole world is trying to respond in the way that they can.

I was going through my Twitter page yesterday and everyone was talking about the drought speech given by Alfred Mutua (The Kenyan Government Spokesperson) and I couldn’t comment on the issue because I had not heard the speech. Thankfully, someone I know posted the video on Facebook (Thank God for social media) and now I can finally comment. Before I state my point, all the comments  had seen on the speech were negative comments.

Funny enough, after listening to the speech I came to the conclusion that his speech raised SOME valid points; emphasis on the word ‘some’ because i don’t agree with everything he said but as I previously said a couple of points he raised were valid and this is just my opinion – Feel free to disagree if you want. ( I have included the video in this post for those who have not watched it). I feel that people are too busy being emotional and sentimental to hear the bits of the speech that make sense.

THE POINTS I THOUGHT AS VALID:

1. He mentioned the system of distribution and logistics . This is true and this happens all the time not just in Kenya but in other countries that face similar situations. Sadly, the people he is representing are the ones to blame for this logistics problem especially considering the fact that this is not the first time that part of the world has experienced drought. The government should have come up with a better distribution system years ago.

2. He also mentioned the issue of getting food to the Somalia refugees and I know this sounds ridiculous but he has a point. having people Walk for over 500 km to become  refugees when there are alternative ways of feeding them is  a point people should look into. The WFP and other agencies are considering food drops and alternative means of getting food to people. I like that he said it is not moral to wait for refugees to go and die in Kenya when they could have been fed where they were. (Bearing in mind that not all refugees make it to the host countries alive, these deaths could have been avoided). As it is, the refugee camps in Kenya are already over crowded, why put a strain on the already strained UNHCR and their efforts in these camps? However, people who flee do it on their own accord.

3. He made mention of locals (cartels and individuals) who profit from situations like this. This is the best point he raised (In my opinion), It is quite sad that these things happen. It happened in Somalia and Sudan as well. Many aid agencies have complained about having to deal with people who want to desperately profit from humanitarian crises. These people make it difficult for those who are trying to get food to people who need them just because they want to use food as a political and economic tool.

4. Bad  media –  I’d like to  ask the people who think his speech was rubbish if they feel it is okay for the media to take advantage of situations like this. yes, there is drought in Kenya but it is very wrong to say the  entire country lacks food and that people should not travel there. Remember that the country also makes money from tourism.

 

I find it weird that the government claims that no one has died as a result of this drought, I do not believe that as well as a few other things he said. I just thought I should point out that while he was trying to make the Kenyan government seem ‘perfect’ he indeed raised valid points.

Year of the Youth!!!


Yesterday, the UN high level meeting for the youth kicked off at the General Assembly in New York. I wish I could have attended that, I have a lot to say about the youth of today and what roles they can play in development. Sadly I’m stuck on writing my dissertation so all I can do is blog about it.

I’m glad they realize how powerful young people are or can be, recent events in the Middle East is proof that the youth can start a revolution. It is important in my opinion to foster mutual cooperation and dialogue among the youths of today.

Super Model Alek Wek at the UN youth forum

The meeting is supposed to last only two days and is part of  a series of events that have been organized to mark the International Day of the Youth (12th August).

So far unemployment has been talked about in detail. I will give a report tomorrow on the final call of actions the meeting concludes with!

THANK YOU!!!!


I woke this morning and as usual the first thing i grabbed was my phone, I saw that i had several Twitter mentions…three minutes later after scrolling through all the mentions I was filled with excitement because my blog…this blog had been voted ‘Most Educational Blog’ in the Nigerian Blog Awards. It came as a surprise to me because before creating this blog I was fully aware of the fact that it would not be the kind of blog many people will want to read regularly but I did it anyway.

As some of you know I am super interested in development issues in Africa especially HIV/AIDS (apologies to those who follow me on twitter and have to put up with my many UNAIDS RTs) and poverty reduction. Many of the blogs people RT on twitter are fun, fashion and other blogs that tell stories. I guess my thanks should go to the Nigeria Blog Awards Committee for creating the category of ‘Most Educational’ where blogs like mine can fit in. This is very reason why i started this blog: To end ignorance and educate people in the little way that I can. Also a big thank you Lloyd Membere!!!

If you voted for me (with or without pressure from me and Lloyd Membere) thank you so much!!!! I appreciate it and will keep writing on educational stuff.

See how short this post is? The only thing i can go on and on about is development stuff….

Spotlight On: TREE AID


I got inspired to do a spotlight category because there are a lot of  NGO’s out there carrying out development work in developing countries. Some of them get more credit than others, some get more credit than they deserve and some get credit for nothing at all. I’d like to dedicate this section to NGOs, FBOs (Faith Based Organizations)  and CBOs (Community Based Organizations) that take part in development efforts at the grassroot level. The NGO I will talking about today is Tree Aid.  You can tell a  lot about them from the name. Obviously, they are an environmental organization and I have been blessed with the opportunity of volunteering for them so when I say they work really hard you know I am not making it up. Their philosophy is simple: ‘For communities in Africa, trees mean life’ also ‘tackling poverty and environmental protection are inseparable’.

Their work is focused on dry lands in the Sahel and so far they have carried out and continue to carry out projects in 4 countries namely: Burkina Faso (they have a regional office there), Mali, Ghana (North) and  Ethiopia. Their key programme areas are: Natural resource management (they work with rural communities in the Sahel to ensure that the environment is improved through using sustainable practices that are affordable), Access rights to land and trees , Food security and Nutrition (through sustainable natural resource management) and Enterprise (in recognition of the fact that communities need to earn income in order to look after their families and improve their standard of living).

I admire the work that they do especially because it goes way beyond planting trees. If you donate to charities you might wanna look into this because it will be worth your money. Their website is www.treeaid.org.uk you could check them out for yourselves. I always advice people not to donate to just any organization, inasmuch as you want to help humanity the fact remains that not everyone who asks for money has the best intentions. Thank God for technology, check out what organizations do and what people have to say about them before donating or supporting campaigns.

Influx of Somali refugees to Kenya


Violence erupted in Dadaab refugee camp last week. Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya is home to thousands of refugees from Somalia. The violence resulted in the death of one refugee and injuries were sustained by several other refugees. You are probably wondering why there was violence in a refugee camp in the first place and what the aid workers were doing to quell the violence. Well, according to UNHCR the riot began when illegal structures built around a food distribution point got destroyed and the Kenyan police used teargas (as usual) and later live ammunition.

In my opinion, overcrowding is partially to blame. Over 370,000 people stay in the camps in Dadaab (obviously the world’s largest refugee camp), more people keep coming into the camps so eventually a ‘survival of the fittest’ issue becomes a reality. They cannot be sent back be the Kenyan authority because it will be a violation of refugee law; if a system of regulation is not created then we are sure to hear of more violence and even worse. Some refugees have settled down in unregulated areas, we can only hope that the Government of Kenya in partnership with NGOs can settle these problems. Somali refugees do not only run to Kenya for refuge, Ethiopia is home to about 110,000 Somali refugees.