Thursday, 5 November 2015

ONE Youth Ambassadors making milestones in ending Global Poverty

                  ONE Youth Ambassadors is an initiative that seeks to empower more than 100 activists across Europe to carry out the fight against extreme poverty. They campaign locally, nationally and online. ONE thinks that the youth is a state of mind, therefore they seek applications from anyone between 16 and 35 years old with the odd space available for outstanding candidates who are over 35 but still young at heart.
    Ambassadors would become leaders for the ONE Campaign in their communities and beyond, and carry out a variety of creative, ambitious, and innovative actions in support of their advocacy work, particularly around the European elections. 

                               Their tasks include writing to and meeting their local Members of Parliament and candidates for the European elections, lobbying members of the European Parliament, meeting with influential decision-maker, campaigning using social media, organizing and delivering local events/presentations, writing letters to local media, recruiting new members and attending ONE events.

       ONE believes this is a critical moment in the fight against extreme poverty. From 1990 to 2000, global extreme poverty dropped from 43% of the worlds’ population to 33%. From 2000 to 2010, extreme poverty worldwide went down again to 21%thereby cutting it in half over the past twenty years. If this trend continues, extreme poverty can be virtually eliminated by 2030.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Angry Kibera NYS members demonstrate and burn toilet

       Today morning, 23rd June, there was tension and heavy police presence in the Kibera neighbourhood of Nairobi County, Kenya, as the youth from the National Youth Service (NYS) protested against Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru. On Monday evening, the youth set ablaze a public toilet that had been built by the NYS. 
                      A police headquarters statement noted that the youth numbered about 300 and started demonstrating yesterday evening 7pm at Kibera’s Olympic stage, where they lit bonfires and barricaded the road.
                                                                            Part of the public toilet that was burnt
         They wore NYS- branded t-shirts and marched to Parliament buildings and Office of the President chanting; “Hatutaki siasa, tunataka maendeleo” (We don’t want politics, we want development). This is a common cry for the Kenyan youth in general who occasionally feel shortchanged by the government when it comes to jobs and other opportunities.
                             I hope that a long term solution is found as the events unfold so that no more damage occurs especially in Kibera that hosts one of the world's largest informal settlements, and requires massive upgrades.

he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:
he National Youth Service (NYS) is the pride and backbone of our nation whose focus has been to help the youth discover and develop their potential since 1964. - See more at:

Monday, 22 June 2015

Racism/ Indoctrination? Dylan Roof, 21, kills 9 in South Carolina, USA

               At Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States, on the evening of June 17, 2015, the members were having a Bible Study. A 21 year old young man, Dylan Storm Roof, opened fire and shot nine black people dead including the senior pastor who is also a South Carolina state senator, Clementa C. Pinckney. A tenth victim was also shot but survived. The church is one of the United States' oldest black churches and has long been a site for community organization around civil rights.
                Joseph Meek Jr., of Lexington, S.C., told the Associated Press regarding Roof, “He said blacks were taking over the world. Someone needed to do something about it for the white race”. According to his roommate, Roof expressed his support of racial segregation in the United States and had intended to start a civil war.

Left: Dylan Storm Roof

                 One image from Roof’s Facebook page showed him wearing a jacket decorated with the flags of two nations noted for their white supremacist and racial segregation policies, apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. Another online photo showed Roof sitting on the hood of his parents' car with an ornamental license plate with a Confederate flag on it.

Right: Roof with a jacket decorated with the flags apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

       Roof attended several schools in two counties, including White Knoll High School in Lexington, in which he repeated the ninth grade, finishing it in another school. After that point, he apparently stopped attending classes, and according to his family, he dropped out of school and spent his time alternating between playing video games and doing drugs.
      This was yet another heartbreaking story from the US regarding racism, mass shooting, gun ownership and gun violence. My best wish and prayers similar to most people around the world is that we don’t get to hear and watch such news again. Unfortunately your guess is as good as mine so long as these issues aren’t addressed and children aren’t brought up properly.


Cr3w Teflon among talented young MASK Award winners

                The 2015 Mobile Arts School in Kenya (MASK) winners were announced this past May at the Michael Joseph Centre, Safaricom House, in Nairobi, Kenya. 

      Right: Cr3w Teflon manager Chris Alando, MASK founder Alla Tkachuk and two of Cr3W Teflon members Ben Vic & Timmy Tim
            Themed 'Young People - The Creative Nation', the Mask Prize builds national awareness of innovation amongst young Kenyans. It provides a platform to practise and share their innovation and creativity with other young people in Kenya and the West.
           For the second year in a row, cr3w Teflon wins another MASK Award. In 2014, the group won an award in the video category for their song 'Children's Anthem', and added to that with this year's music prize for the song 'Star' that they jointly shared with Hanna Nebiyu, 16, also from Nairobi.

                                The school prize was this year won by six schools: Naivasha Unity Primary School (Naivasha), Anidan Children's Home (Lamu) and Nairobi's Cogri Art Club, NPG Academies Primary School, Riara Primary School and Riara Spring Primary School. 
         In the visual category, First Prize went to Paula Karanja, 20, Nairobi; Second Prize, Churchill Ongere, 23, Kisumu; Third Prize: Richard Kuria, 22, Bungoma; Fourth Prize, Edwin Wainaina, 18, Nairobi; Fifth Prize, Paul Kidero, 19, Nairobi; Sixth Prize, Samson Lazima Jali, 18, and Louis Tamlyn, 19, Nairobi, all in Kenya.
        Left: Paula Karanja, winner of the first prize in the visual category.
The young artists walked away with prizes totalling around Sh300,000, donated by Rivers Foundation (UK) and Ann Brenner (USA). The winning artworks are then exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London and Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

My Harrowing Experience Working Within Kibera Informal Settlements

          While working with Carolina For Kibera (CFK) for two months as a Communications Assistant in 2014, I had anticipated the good and the bad that I had seen first hand a number of times before, watched on TV and also heard others talk about.
        Being the photographer and story writer responsible for several occasions, I once accompanied colleagues to Lindi, one of the Villages in Kibera during CFK's regular Taka ni Pato (Trash is Cash) program. The program works to promote and support community-run environmental programs that create jobs for both youth and women in Kibera slum. Waste management in Kibera is quite poor as garbage is thrown in trenches, sewage openings and all over the neighborhood.
             When one walks through the neighborhoods it takes a strong and resistant heart to stay in that environment for long. The stench from a combination of human waste, animal waste, piled rubbish mixing with and staying in water for days or weeks, rotten food on walking paths and public areas, all show the inhumane living conditions of which their bodies have been desensitized. 

          It is sincerely heartbreaking to think or imagine the reality that any human being lives in such a place on a daily basis. My conscience was a bit satisfied that I was part of a good cause to one of the worst of the worst places in one of the world's largest informal settlements. such scenes can only make one want to do more good for the extremely underprivileged around the world.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Oscar Pistorius: From Triumph to Uncertainty

             Nicknamed "Blade Runner", "the fastest man on no legs", the story of a South African sprint runner Oscar Pistorius was inspirational, motivating and attracted worldwide admiration. 

          He was born with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs, which were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles when he was 11 months old, but he's renowned for having competed in global events for single below-knee amputees and for able-bodied athletes since he was a teen.

    He attended Constantia Kloof Primary School and Pretoria Boys High School, where he played rugby union in the school's third XV team. He played water polo and tennis at provincial level between the ages of 11 and 13. In addition, Pistorius took part in club Olympic wrestling, and trained at Jannie Brooks's garage gym in Pretoria, South Africa.

        His accomplishments include: In the Paralympic Games - Bronze 2004 Athens 100 m (T44), Gold 2004 Athens 200 m (T44) Gold 2008 Beijing 100 m (T44) Gold 2008 Beijing 200 m (T44) Gold 2008 Beijing 400 m (T44) Silver 2012 London 200 m (T44) Gold 2012 London 400 m (T44) Gold 2012 London 4 × 100 m relay (T42–T46). When asked by a journalist for his "sporting motto", he said: "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have".

              In February 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. At his trial in 2014 he was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of culpable homicide and one firearm-related charge, of reckless endangerment related to discharging a firearm in a restaurant. Pistorius was found not guilty of two firearm-related charges relating to illegal possession of ammunition and firing a firearm through the sunroof of a car. 

         On 21st October 2014, Judge Thokozile Masipa gave Pistorius a five year jail sentence. Pistorious was definitely admired for his determination and passion by many people worldwide, I included, and encouraged for his landmark athleticism. We sincerely hope to see the best come out of all these. Condolences once again to Reeva Steenkamp's family and may God continuously strengthen them.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Cr3w Teflon, Kenyan prolific teen musicians, feted with Mask award

           Cr3w Teflon was founded in August 2011, by then 16 year old rappers Accurate (Ben Vic),Timmy Tim (Timothy Ahere) & Biior, later joined by Singer/Lead Vocalist Kavi. Their mission was to change the face of new generation music, embrace and impact society. “We wanted to take it to a whole other level- take South Sudan to Brooklyn and hold our own; bring Kenya to Paris and still pass the message”, says Accurate. They have broken into the music industry and redefined urban beats; with the help of other talented crooners including Camp Mulla (and the 25Flow Movement), Abbas, Octopizzo, Kavi and others.          
                The Mobile Arts School in Kenya (Mask) organization held its annual creativity competition and announced this year's winners at Nairobi University's Department of Art and Design. The winners included Darubani Talent Academy from Maasailand and Nyumbani Lawson Secondary School who won the school category, Cr3w Teflon who won the video category for their song "Children's Anthem" and Louis Nderi who won for his photography. In addition to winning a Sh50,000 prize, the art pieces will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London in September 2014.              
            Members of Cr3w Teflon Accurate (left) and Timmy Tim (3rd from left) with Alla Tkachuk (2nd from left)

             Originally recording at Phoenix Records, the talented teen group has branched into music with a positive influence to change youth mentality and prove that armed with heart and a will, anyone can achieve greatness. Their singles “Cold World” and "Kilimani's Barz" moved audiences from Nairobi to Dallas. Their first release of 2012, Children’s Anthem, produced by Cypher Studios and Globesolute, distributed by a leading global music group,ISland Def Jam,managed to merge African and American music.It was Released to support a global campaign,andit fofilled its promises by giving audiences sweet easy melodies compounded by hard-hitting messages that made audiences press play again and again.

                     Mask, which was started in 2006, has worked with schools in Kenya providing more students with the skills they need to develop their creativity and innovation. The Mask prize awards, which was presided over by founder Alla Tkachuk, hopes to promote creativity among young people and schools and was open to anyone under 25. The theme for this year's competition was “The creative nation” which Tkachuk said was to highlight that “creativity has the ability to generate new ideas that bring out change”.