Friday, 19 October 2012

Mashujaa Day: We are own heroes

Mashujaa (Heroes) Day, formerly Kenyatta Day, on October 20. It is going to be the third national day celebrated under our new Constitution, which recognizes only two other national days on the calendar Jamhuri Day and Madaraka Day.

Today marks a great milestone to us Kenyans. A day our country is being reborn, a day that inspires by the opportunities that will make each day afford us to wake-up and live another day striving to reach our goals as a nation.

Goals that will make us make strides, in our social, political and economic endeavors; Strides that will raise our education standards to provide opportunities for the youth, homes for the homeless, and food for the hungry.

What each one of us ought to know is that, we are our own heroes each and every day. It is the positive difference you make in your family, community, society and the nation at large.

We hold on to the hope to achieve that change to which they fought for, every day. The realities of the problems that face our country have solutions and or can be improved.

Investing our energy to reach a point where we can all listen and concentrate on achieving our common goals as Kenyans.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Changing the way I think inside

"Life is like playing chess with God. Your moves are called Choices and His moves are called Challenges. Go for someone who is not only proud to have you, but will also take every risk and chance just to be with you"

Photo via Brian Tracy
The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. - Chris McCandless, quoted in Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild"

At the end of the day, what you had perhaps projected to happen to accomplish might be positive or negative, it is not a reason to give up

Learning something every day; some an eye-opener, some the bitter truth, but all are good. Shape my attitude and thinking

 Where there is a shadow somewhere there is light. I will be walking much stronger."

"Sometimes there is no next time, no second chance, and no time out. Sometimes it is now or never. Go for it!"

"If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again." – Flavia Weedn"

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Day of the Girl Child - making progress equitable and broad-based

Photo via 

The world celebrates the first International Day of the Girl Child today October 11, 2012, with a call of eliminating child marriages by it being a key political priority for governments to protect the rights of girls and women.

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki several times he has cited school drop -out as a result of teenage pregnancy, early marriage and negative social cultural attitudes as impediments to fully empower them noting that education was key to their woes.

“Education holds the key to unlocking many of their obstacles facing women and girls. However, attaining and ensuring completion of education by girls is still a challenge due to dropout rates as a result of teenage pregnancies, early marriages, and negative social cultural attitudes.”
Photo via 

Liesl Gerntholtz, director of the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. Says, 
“The first global Day of the Girl should usher in a renewed global commitment to put a stop to marriages of children below age eighteen. Governments should work harder to prevent child marriage and to increase awareness of the harm that they cause.”

Gender parity is an issue to address because it is important to ensure education provided opportunities for the women. “More importantly the concern is whether the education provided to girls is free from gender bias and whether it provides equal access to the job market.”

According to the 2007 MDG Civil Society report education for women has been identified as key to their participation in national development. Education is crucial because it enhances the life opportunities of women, and their families. Girl’s education is critically important not only for harnessing the nation’s human resource for development, but also for raising the self-esteem and confidence, and widening the life choices of females, their access to information and knowledge.

 "behind every successful woman there is always a father who recognized the value of his daughter."
   with low levels of schooling are more likely to be married early & child marriage has been shown to virtually end a girl’s educationEmpowering girls and safeguarding their rights is at the heart of the issue. Child Marriages MUST end. When girls are able to stay in school & avoid being married early,they can build a foundation 4 a better life 4 themselves & their families

Pertinent questions that need to be addressed with urgency, is that access to education is not enough, to see real change for women in Kenya, Africa and the world as a whole.

The Human Rights Watch says: Child marriage almost inevitably disrupts girls’ education and exposes them to domestic violence.

Girls who marry young are more susceptible to early pregnancies and reproductive health complications associated with early pregnancy.

In order to effectively address the problem of child marriages, Human Rights Watch recommends that states:

  • Enact legislation that sets the minimum age for marriage at 18, and include requirements for the verification of the full and meaningful consent of both spouses.
  • Take the necessary legislative and other measures to ensure that anyone who intentionally forces an adult or a child to enter into a marriage is appropriately penalized, and that marriages concluded under force may be voided, annulled, or dissolved without undue burden placed on the victim(s).
  • Safeguard by law a victim’s right to seek financial compensation after voiding, annulling, divorcing, or otherwise dissolving the marriage and protect the rights of children born out of such a marriage.
  • Provide training to law enforcement officials on gender discrimination and violence against women, including investigations into child marriages.
  • Ensure that government or nongovernment efforts at discouraging child marriages do not directly or indirectly punish victims of child marriages by excluding them from health, education, employment or other services that protect, fulfill, and promote their human rights.
A girl who marries later is more empowered to choose whether, when & how many children to have
  • Recognize marital rape as a criminal offense.
  • Increase and improve access to reproductive healthcare for all girls and women in rural and urban areas by allocating greater resources from national health expenditure and more personnel.
  • Ensure that access to emergency obstetric care, including monitoring of labor, trained birth attendants, newborn care, and contraception, is available to all girls and women in rural and urban areas.
  • Raise awareness among health workers and the public on the importance of registering births, including home deliveries.
  • Provide continuing formal education and vocational training opportunities for married girls and women.

Photo via 

“Child marriage is almost always also forced marriage. It disrupts girls’ education and exposes them to domestic violence and preventable health crises,” said Gerntholtz. “By working to tackle and end the marriage of children, the UN and global governments will help protect the rights of women and girls worldwide.”

In conclusion, Governments need to understand the local context in development policy by placing people at the centre of development is more than an intellectual exercise.

It means making progress equitable and broad-based, enabling women to become active participants in change and ensuring that achievements are not attained at the expense of future generations.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sema Kenya: BBC Swahili debate show premier in Kenya

BBC Swahili will launch a national televised debate show in Kiswahili, Kenya’s national language, Sunday 7 October.

Renowned BBC journalist, Joseph Warungu will present Sema Kenya, which means Kenya speaks. Warungu is former head of the BBC’s African news and current affairs department where he was responsible for flagship show Focus on Africa and oversaw a team of over 60 reporters across the continent.

 The show will travel around the country bringing officials and well known public figures together with ordinary people to spark an open national conversation. It will run up to and through the general elections on 4 March 2013. The first programme will broadcast from Mombasa with security, land issues and drug abuse up for discussion.

 “The audience drives the debate on Sema Kenya”, said David Okwembah, Managing Editor of the BBC East Africa Bureau.

“People will have their say on what should be discussed every step of the way, and given a chance to get answers to issues that truly matter to them”.

The programme will also raise awareness of the six ballots – rather than the usual three - taking place on the same day in March 2013. Kenyans will elect the President, members of parliament, senators, county governors, women representatives and county assembly members. It will also explore and discuss recent electoral and constitutional reforms. 

Between broadcasts, the discussion will continue throughout the country on the internet, SMS and social media. 64% of Kenyans have access to a mobile phone, and are some of the highest users of Twitter on the continent.  
Sema Kenya will work with local civil society organisations to give communities with low media access a voice in the debate.

At a pilot show in September that focused on women’s representation in government, student leader Edward Okumu, 22, said “Many other shows tend to value what the panel has to say over the audience.  Sema Kenya is a good way to engage the audience as well.”

Amina Bakari, 61, agreed. “The show was very inclusive, especially considering how marginalised women are in Kenya.”

Sema Kenya will broadcast Sundays at 1pm on radio and 6pm on television, and will air on broadcasting partners KTN, BBC Swahili, and six radio stations, including three vernacular stations. The BBC made its first broadcast to Africa more than 80 years ago. The combined audience on radio and television makes the BBC the largest international broadcaster in Africa.

BBC Swahili is a multimedia broadcaster providing TV, radio and online content to Kiswahili-speaking audiences.  BBC Swahili radio content is available on BBC FM stations and/or partner radio networks in Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.