All posts by Ulli

Promoting Indigenous Plants (year 2000 text)

Amaranthus Lividus plant
Amaranthus Lividus, Photo: Ton Ruikens under licence CC-BY-SA 2.0

Promotion of lndigenous and Traditional Fruits and Vegetables as Micro-nutríent Sources
Even Amaranthus lividus Can Enrich the Diet
Many plants common in Kenya are used by the local population. Dyes, resins, fuel and oils, sometimes even medicines and nutrients are made from them. Although the eating of wild vegetables and fruits has a long tradition in Kenya, the individual nutritive values and physiological qualities of each were not always known. Continue reading Promoting Indigenous Plants (year 2000 text)

Women’s Rights Improved

 

Waiting area at FIDA office
Women frequently want to remain anonymous when consulting with a FIDA lawyer, so in the photo the waiting area is almost deserted

When talking about women’s rights as I tour Kenya quite a few mention the women’s lawyer organization FIDA as a political player. And FIDA was also a recommended project for the World Expo 2000.

When visiting FIDA’s headquarters in Nairobi the first I see is their everyday business. Continue reading Women’s Rights Improved

… and therafter not much has happened

800px-Mombasa_old_town_view
Mombasa Old Town, Photo: “FredD” (via Wikicommons by-SA3.0 license)

In the beginning of 2015 the travel advisory by the German Foreign Ministry said: „After number of terrorist attacks in the recent past we strongly discourage travels to the old city of Mombasa and the whole province of Lamu including the Lamu archipelago.”

So I did not visit the Kenyan coast. But in the National Museum of Nairobi I find the architect Kassim Omar who was in charge of the conservation efforts in the old towns of Lamu and Mombasa. The EU spent two million Euros on it. They improved roads, educated young craftsmen and restored 22 houses. Those were more houses than planned, emphasizes Kassim Omar. The house owners payed a quarter of the costs to benefit from the program. And Kassim Omar was hoping for an even better second phase of the programme – which never happened. He says:

The lessons that we learned from the initial phase was that rather than giving a free grant we could get further by turning this into a revolving fund so that it benefits another person. That is what we had put as part of the recommendations for phase 2, but unfortunately we did not manage to go further.”

What was the result of the evaluation by the EU when the project was terminated in 2002? Omar does not know. The evaluators come and went – and that was it. Omar feels sorry about it. (hear sound byte). The EU office for Kenya was also not able to provide me with the evaluation.

20 years after the restauration of the two dozen houses the old town of Mombasa is decaying according to an article in the Kenyan newspaper “The Nation”: ”Buildings, some over 200 years old, within the gazetted area are crumbling, yet the national and county governments do not seem to care. National Museums of Kenya Assistant Director Athman Hussein said even though at least Sh300 million (around 3 million Dollars, USch) is required for restoration of the buildings, the government has not allocated even a penny for the works.

According to remarks by Kassim Omar one other hope of the Expo project has not fully come true. Most of the youth who were educated in the old crafts needed for the restoration of the houses have moved to other professional fields. „Some have decided to rather drive a taxi in Dubai,“ says Omar a bit annoyed.

Mombasa and Lamu Old Towns (year 2000 text)

 

Old Crafts Create New Jobs

Old Building in Mombasa
Old Building in Mombasa, Photo: Wolfgang Seifarth (Wikicommons by-sa3.0)

The high, rhythmic ringing sound of the hammer with which he strikes the blunt end of the chisel lets Steenie Leny day dream. It’s less than a year since he was sitting on the side of the road leading to large hotels with a few carved animal figures spread in front of him, waiting for tourists with money to spend. The work was boring and not particularly lucrative. Today everything is different. Continue reading Mombasa and Lamu Old Towns (year 2000 text)

Women Lawyers (year 2000 text)

Women of the World

African women lawyers for women’s rights

When 14-year-old Zinzi Mutamiri from Mutoko in Zimbabwe could no longer hide her pregnancy, the headmaster immediately expelled her from school. The completion of final school examinations was also denied to hey after the birth of her daughter. In contrast, there was no action taken against the 20 years elder father of the baby child, who taught at the same school. Continue reading Women Lawyers (year 2000 text)

Streetwise (year 2000 text)

Streetwíse

Vocational and life training school for street children in Nairobi

“On the street you constantly have trouble, with the police, with other boys. You have to beg, steal, run away, fight. But at Streetwise you’re secure. Here you are happy.”Carefully14-year-oldlames places a freshly painted clay pot on the ground as he talks. The young Kenyan used to be one of Nairobi’s approximately 60,000 street children. Before he came to Streetwise: a few workrooms, a classroom, washroom and toilets. Continue reading Streetwise (year 2000 text)

Solar Lamps (year 2000 text)

SOLUX: Small Solar Lamps for Developing Countries

Light remote from power sources

It is characteristic of proximity tot/the equator that darkness comes very quickly. As in Kenya, where night falls shortly after six o’clock without prolonged twilight. As though someone had turned off the light at the switch.
But in most rural areas there are no light switches. For the evening meal, therefore, many families light a lamp filled with kerosene or petroleum. Night after night hundreds of thousands of these light sources burn. Continue reading Solar Lamps (year 2000 text)

Micro Irrigation Pumps Project (2000 text)

lndependence made easy

It sounds like a fairy-tale. Helen Murangiri bought her first oil-seed press in 1995. She had noticed this hand-operated machine at a small agricultural exhibition put on by the Kenyan non-governmental organization ApproTec She asked a neighbouring farmer to grow sunflowers for her, and a few months later 3 employees were pressing 20 litres of high-quality pure sunflower oil daily. Continue reading Micro Irrigation Pumps Project (2000 text)