August 17, 2014

Why Mathare By-Election was Peaceful

ODM Mobilizing Voters

ODM Mobilizing Voters


The recent Mathare by-election campaigns were held in peaceful atmosphere despite open and rampant voter bribery across board. The By-Election was occasioned by successful petition by Stephen Kariuki of ODM against George Wanjohi of TNA. The by-election attracted a total of nine candidates all targeting more than 80,000 registered voters from different ethnic background.
The leading political alliances Jubilee and CORD managed to invest a lot of resources in ensuring that their candidates captured the vacant seat. There are four reasons why the by-election was peaceful.
First during the previous elections in Mathare, there was always presence of gangs such as Mugiki, Taliban or violent youths ready to be hired by politicians. This time round, none existed to be hired by politicians.
Secondly, the heat generated before the Saba Saba rally which ended peacefully also encouraged the local residents to maintain peace. When the TNA candidate opted to woo only Kikuyu voters this became counterproductive even amongst his supporters. This resulted even in many young Kikuyu voters shunning Wanjohi of TNA for Stephen Kariuki of ODM who is a Kikuyu too.
Thirdly, of late there have been many forums organized by various organizations such Sisi ni Amani Kenya, Inuka, Sauti Yetu Debates and other government led initiatives which all played an important role in integrating people from different ethnic background to meet regularly
Fourthly, when President Uhuru visited Mathare for a church service cum campaign trip for TNA candidate at Redeemed Gospel Church he never openly told the residents to vote Wanjohi rather he talked more about referendum politics and which Raila did later. The President body language betrayed his mission in Mathare thus helping cool the temperature down.
The heavy presence of police cannot be attributed to the peaceful election but can be praised for ensuring law and order was maintain during elections. However it was disappointing to note that most political party agents did not know how a BVR Kits operate. At the end of it all, Mathare has a new MP…Hon. Stephen Kariuki.

August 17, 2014

Mathare, Informal Financial Services

Mitchel, a member of women go round from Mathare

Mitchel, a member of women go round from Mathare

Not everybody is a friend of banks and especially in the informal settlements where communities’ have circumvented established financial institution and devised ways of accessing credit facilities outside government controlled channels. Informal financial services vary from shopping of credit without paying an interest, shylock and merry-go-round initiatives.
It is common to meet a group of women meeting in homes or social places within Mathare to discuss ways of sharing collected money without think of banking. But what makes this kind of arrangement better than a variety of services offered by commercial banks? Eunice Wanjiku a member of unregistered women group believes that financial institution are not good for startup initiatives found in the Mathare like selling groceries, second hand clothes or starting chang’aa a local beer businesses. She quips “can you imagine a bank giving me Kshs.5,000 to start chang’aa business?, this is impossible. My previous engagement with a financial institution nearly made me develop ulcers. I will never take a loan from a bank again. They nearly sold my house”
There are many different types of businesses which are profitable according to the locals but unfortunately one cannot get easy credit to invest from established financial institutions. Fortunately, people have developed alternative strategies of attracting credit like forming merry-go-round and table banking initiatives. These groups are formed by likeminded and people who know each other very well. Here, loans are given out of trust with little intrusion from the lending group on the exact nature of your business. Mish, a young enterprenuer consulted fellow women and is in the process of getting Kshs.10,000 which she will refund with 5% interest over a period of six months. She was frustrated by commercial banks which asked so many questions and required her to save for at least three months before she could access the loan.
Requirements to access start-up business loans suitable for slums based businesses are minimal and this has contributed to mushrooming of shylock businesses within slums. In some places, community members own more than one or two expensive electronic item such as phones of TVs which they use for accessing loans from shylocks. Here the interest is quite high with the value of your item being determinant of how much you can access. The local shylocks are very strict and merciless. Failure to pay of time your valued good is sold to friends at a throw away price.
Our financial institutions have a long way to go in understanding how informal financial transaction operate and varied opportunities which needs to be tapped. In the informal settlements, most loans are on short term basis between 1 week to six months and default rates are quite low compared with commercial banks.

August 13, 2014

Devolving Accountability Discussion: Sauti Yetu Debates

Sauti Yetu Debate forum at Kiamaiko

Sauti Yetu Debate forum at Kiamaiko

Mathare Constituency is home to one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Nairobi and also in Kenya. When the Constituency Development Fund was making allocations for 2013/2014, it was announced that the constituency is host to more than 70,000 people who live below poverty.
Since 2013, there has been a lot of movement surrounding Women Fund, Youth Fund and Uwezo Funs plus 30% of government tender set aside to for youth and women. To access these funds, communities need to be engaged and involved. Participation by community members depends on how well informed is community will be.
For the last three years, Inunka Kenya under the banner of Sauti Debates have been organizing Community Forums in Mlango Kubwa, Hospital, Mabatini,Ngei, Huruma and Kiamaiko wards in Mathare Constituency to create awareness amongst community members and engage elected leaders in discussing priority areas. Experience from these debates has shown that five mains issues that have kept on emerging are security, education, health, environment and poor governance.

Facilitator, Tony in action at Kiamaiko Sauti Yetu Debate

Facilitator, Tony in action at Kiamaiko Sauti Yetu Debate

Observing these debates in session one will appreciate the willingness by community members to participate in these sessions. Regular leaders who have co-operated to participate in these forums are Hon. Andrew Macharia of Mlango Kubwa, Hon. Dan Mutiso Ngei, Hon. Jimmy Kinuthia while Mabatini Ward County Rep. Hon Odalo (Rafuok) has not been having an easy time with high expectations from community which sometimes has even resulted into almost physical confrontation.
It is clear from Sauti Yetu Debates that community members knows what the problem is, while leaders hide behind the policy guidelines governing management of the funds. On the other hand, it is Hon. Andrew Macharia from Mlango Kubwa has hinted in traducing bills at the Nairobi County Assembly parliament that the community would benefit from. Community members have had difficult time understanding the role of elected leaders hence leading to high expectation beyond their mandate. Sauti Yetu Debates have been able to fill in the information gap that is experienced during debate. Currently Sauti Yetu Debates is being handover to experience community based organization to continue organizing such forums in future.

August 6, 2014

Interview with Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute: August 2015

matharevalley:

The first step towards real freedom for Africa through scientific independence

Originally posted on Post2015.org - what comes after the MDGs?:

This post by Planet Earth Institute is a Q&A with their founder and Chairman, Alvaro Sobrinho, on his vision of Africa’s scientific independence and the Post -2015 debate.

Álvaro Sobrinho, one of Angola’s leading business figures and philanthropists, and Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute, talks about his plans to make Africa a global science hub.

Dr Sobrinho, you have launched a campaign for ‘Africa’s Scientific Independence’, which is also the mandate of the Planet Earth Institute, the charity that you helped establish. Can you tell us a bit about what you mean by that term?

Well, currently, Africa is hugely dependent on the scientific knowledge and expertise of others. As Africans, whether Governments, businesses or societies, we are too often consumers, not producers of scientific innovation or research. As such, we are unable to make the best use of our abundant human and natural resources we are blessed with…

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July 16, 2014

Understanding Solid Waste Data

Data Presentation by Isaac Muasa from Spatial Collective Ltd

Data Presentation by Isaac Muasa from Spatial Collective Ltd


One of the most common feature in Mathare is the large amount of uncollected garbage in the community. Spatial Collective Ltd, has been gathering data on solid waste management with assistance of the community and groups engaged in handling of solid waste.

Collection of data related to solid waste in urban areas especially in the informal settlement can be a complex affair. Garbage collection is big and territorial business in the informal settlements with some groups enjoying near monopoly in their zones.
Groups engaged in this business are both registered and unregistered while we have people handling garbage collection as a private business.

Spatial Collective Ltd, has been collecting data on solid waste from both residents and groups engaged in management of solid waste. Spatial Collective Ltd has managed to gather for the first time comprehensive data on solid waste management in Mathare Constituency. Change is the management of solid waste can be realized if the community, stakeholders and the Nairobi County government understand the situation.

Spatial Collective Ltd has started a series of forums to share the data with the groups, community and other stakeholders. Today (16/72014) was the first such meeting and 37 groups from Mathare participated in the forum. Currently 43 groups from Mathare Constituency are involved.
A platform to spearhead a clean community, “MTAA SAFI” been started, which will involves a multi-social media approach.

One can be part of the campaign by subscribing WhatsApp: +254 707482472; Facebook.com/Mtaasafi: http://www.mtaasafi.com. – Simon

July 4, 2014

Ombudman’s Mathare Launched

2014-06-04 11.52.37The living condition in places like Mathare and the level of neglect by the government warrants quick measure by the residents to hold public servants accountable.
In some quarters it is said that 60% of Nairobi residents live under deplorable conditions.No existence of important service is a common feature.

Launching of the local Ombudsman Committee, ten members in Mathare has come at time when we have several government services being devolved at ward levels. The Mathare Constituency Ombudsman Committee will be based at Mathare Valley Polytechnic next to Mathare Chief’s Camp.
It is hoped that unlike before when resident did not know where to report, this time round things will be different.

Cases of police harassment, lack of responding on time to emergencies like fire outbreak are common. Kenyans are yet to fully trust that systems work like the judiciary and accessing proper justice for slum dwellers in still a pipe dream in Kenya.

With the office coming closer to the people, it is time for people to seize the opportunity and hold all public servant accountable. When forceful evictions occur this time round, we hope it will be investigated and proper action be taken against any public official abetting the vice.

Case Handling Levels see the website: (http://www.ombudsman.go.ke).

June 25, 2014

Moving beyond Limited Access Orders: towards a post-2015 MDG agenda

matharevalley:

Questions on MDGs and their achievement

Originally posted on Post2015.org - what comes after the MDGs?:

This post is written by Shehryar Toru, researcher at SDPI in Pakistan, part of the Southern Voice Initiative. In this post, he challenges how goals and targets are currently designed.

As the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals is fast approaching, progress on several goals has been widely debated. The UN’s Millennium Development Goals Report2013 claims that several development targets have been or will be achieved. However, opponents criticise the over-ambitious targets of the MDGs, and argue that the achievements made should be credited to the export-driven economic growth and industrialisation of countries like India and China.

The progress on MDGs is rather dismal in the context of Pakistan. With the exception of Goal 7, progress on all other indicators is “off-track”, and goals are unlikely to be met by the end of 2015. A national report by the Commonwealth Foundation on A civil society review of progress…

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May 21, 2014

Witchdoctors Mutilating Albino People in Tanzania

matharevalley:

Human beings have strange ways

Originally posted on The Nahmias Cipher Report:

Allyson Cartwright, Contributing Journalist
Last Modified: 22:25 p.m. DST, 19 May 2014

Mariamu Staford, age 28, Tanzania - Albino Mutilation Victim

Mariamu Staford, Age 28, Tanzania, Albino Mutilation Victim

TANZANIA – On May 12, a Tanzanian woman named Munghu Lugata, 40, was viciously mutilated and subsequently died of her injuries in the small village of Gasuma in northwest Tanzania.  Lugata was found with one of her legs sawed off as well as several fingers, according to BBC News. Tanzanian police suspect she had been the target of witchdoctors due to her albinism.

Two practicing witchdoctors, a man and woman named Gudawa Yalema and Shiwa Masalu, were arrested following the attack. This is just one of many attacks that have occurred globally against people with albinism.

People with albinism have been targeted throughout history because of the defect that leaves their skin, hair, and eyes without pigmented. There had been murders of albino people in the province of Simiyu where…

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May 20, 2014

Post-Muscat: On track for equity, finance and measurability in the post-2015 education goals?

Originally posted on Post2015.org - what comes after the MDGs?:

Written by Pauline Rose, professor of international education at the University of Cambridge and former director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report on the World Education blog.

It was a great pleasure to attend UNESCO’s Global Education Meeting in Muscat this week to present the 2013/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report. It was encouraging to receive feedback that the report is considered by many as an important reference point not only for progress towards the current goals but also for helping to inform the post-2015 global education framework.

There has been considerable progress in developing a post-2015 framework since the global meeting in Dakar in March last year. Until a few months ago, there were serious concerns about whether an education framework would be developed. It is now clear that there is a joint commitment for a new education framework to be integrated with a broader development framework.

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May 20, 2014

World Health Assembly 2014 — 3 things to look out for in Geneva

Originally posted on Post2015.org - what comes after the MDGs?:

Written by Cécile Vernant, head of EU advocacy for Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung on the Devex blog

“This week, the World Health Assembly in Geneva brings with it a packed agenda and a whole host of questions around a number of key issues for global health policy makers.

In a critical period for the crafting of the post-2015 framework, this WHA will provide important signposts as to the likely focus and priorities ahead of September’s U.N. General Assembly in New York. A key focus of these discussions is likely to center on maternal and child health, especially given the lack of progress made on the health Millennium Development Goals.

As we head toward an exciting week of discussion and debate, there are three key issues to watch out for:

1. Charting a course for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.

Of all the issues up for discussion during the WHA, reproductive…

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