Join 326 other followers
- August 2022
- March 2022
- August 2020
- February 2020
- October 2019
- November 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- March 2018
- May 2017
- March 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- September 2015
- May 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- May 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- October 2012
- September 2012
- July 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- September 2010
An update on drought and hunger in Kenya.
(This information reports from what our local staff tells us and also information provided by Kenyan news broadcasts.)
Many regions of Kenya are now reporting severe drought, reduced rains and loss of crops. This approaching rainy season is predicted to bring less rain than past seasons.
Some of the areas most affected by the drought are those traditionally dependent on nomadic animal husbandry, and considered more desert and open savannah rather than agricultural areas. There has been some significant investment by development groups in these areas, for example building green houses in Turkana. However the greener, usually more productive agricultural areas such as Bungoma county are now suffering from a hotter drier climate. The farming families depend on rain and local water sources for their water. The drying up of rivers and bore holes are problems many years in the making exacerbated by the warming climate.
Small Solutions Big Ideas and our partner One Planet Education Network have been implementing programs to improve soil and water retention for almost 4 years. Traditional practices wear out the soil through over use of fertilizers and an absence of organic soil additives. Our region (Bungoma) has suffered from shorter rains, which has reduced crop volume and quality. If one drove down the hills to the flat lands the crop failures are even more severe. Our job is to continue to educate the community and spread better agricultural practices, as well as advocate for government measures to restore clean water sources for this community.
Sandra Thaxter President Small Solutions Big Ideas.
This is the end of January. The ususal weather at this time of year is dry, no rain. Since late December the country has experienced heavy and frequent rains. This has not ever happened within the memory of most residents. There was an El Nino effect in 1997 which cause unusual rains, but the rains were not as heavy as these. There was flooding in some counties, in this Western location there were no floods but considerable erosion of hills and roads, even a landslide at Mount Elgon. Could we say it is Climate Change? There is no other explanation.
Last night it rained, heavily, lightning and thunder shattering the comforting croaking, and chirping of night creatures. I slept through with many crazy dreams about having a stone I wanted to place in the arrangement along the stairway of this porch somewhere in New Hampshire house with a deck. When it rains hard, the power goes out, and all our laptops and cell phones will be still dead in the morning.
Another night of heavy rain. Most farmers are now just preparing their fields for planting in the next few weeks. If this rain is followed by drought, or the March rains come late and less, there will be problems with the crops. It is true that right now the cows are happy. But if there is too much rain, the roads become mud, gardens turn into a swamp, and toilets back up into homes or the yard. The forecast is for this to be over by Friday. But people are still worried.
We have asked students and local people about the heavy rains. Most are concerned about their planting which happens in mid-March. If the fields are too wet they will not be able to plant. Some of the October plantings did not succeed because of the rains. This were beans, potatoes and sukuma wiki. So we are in the unknown as far as managing the impact of weather.
Clean Energy Africa #13 — Comparing Africa’s and the US’s Population and Energy Increase to 2050 David Zaremba
Comparing Africa’s and the US’s Population and Energy Increase to 2050Clean Energy Africa #13 – October 21, 2019 Note: This is a re-write of my posting two weeks ago, Population Increase in Africa.
With feedback from readers and further thinking on the subject, I thought it best that I focus exclusively on the main point, namely, that it is the increase in population in the US, rather than the 23 times larger increase in population in Africa, that is going to contribute most to the heating up of the planet. I would appreciate it if you would circulate this as widely as possible.
In the discussion on global warming, one current issue of concern is the increase in world population. As I discuss in this article, this is only a part of, and not even the significant part of, the equation. To get a more accurate perspective, let us compare the population increase in Africa and the United States and then compare this to the projected increase in energy use and CO2 admissions of Africa and the United States during the next 30 years to 2050.
The recent UN Population Division estimates for the world’s population increase indicate that the number of people in the world will increase from 7.795 billion in 2020 to 9.74 billion in 2050, an increase of 1.94 billion people. Africa’s population will increase from 1.34 billion people to 2.49 billion people, an increase of 1.15 billion people.
This means that in the next thirty years Africa will add 59% of the increase in the world’s population.
I think that this is unrealistic. The classic case is the UN Population Division’s estimates for Niger, which has the second to highest fertility rate in the world. The UN Population Division estimates that there are 24 million Nigeriens in 2020, will be 66 million people in 2050, and 165 million people in 2100. Here are the CIA Factbook’s comments on Niger’s geography: “landlocked; one of the hottest countries in the world; northern four-fifths is desert, southern one-fifth is savanna, suitable for livestock and limited agriculture.” Will Niger ever be able to support seven times more people than it does today, particularly as global warming makes this country hotter? Something will have to give. Will it be death by starvation, massive annual food imports, immigration to other countries, a much faster demography transition to a lower birthrate than estimated by the UN Population Division, or a combination of these possibilities?
Regardless of this, the UN Population Division’s estimates are those are being used by those concerned with population increase and global warming. Therefore like most others concerned with these issues, I am using their projections.
In the next thirty years the United States is projected to increase its population from 331 million people to 379 million people for an increase of 48 million Americans. For every American added during this period, 23 Africans will be added.
Since I have been living in Kenya for the last 12 ½ years, I am going to use Kenya as the example for an African country. Using the CIA World Factbook as a source, I calculate that in electricity consumption, the average American uses as much electricity as 496 Kenyans.
I calculate that in oil consumption, the average American uses as much oil as 183 Kenyans. Moreover American use significant amounts of natural gas, while Kenyans use so little, it is recorded as “0” in the CIA Factbook.
Then in CO2 admission, the average American produces the same amount as 264 Kenyans.
Kenya is a lower middle income country and the wealthiest country in eastern Africa. For the much poorer Burundi, the average American uses the same amount of electricity as 10,188 Burundians (only 7.6% of Burundians have electricity at all) and the same amount of oil as 1,331 Burundians. An American produces the same amount of CO2 admissions as 880 Burundians.
If we are generous and use a Kenyan as an average for an African, and Americans keep their same consumption per capita for the next 30 years, this implies that the increase in American consumption to 2050 will be 22 times the amount of electricity that will be needed in Africa, 8 times the amount of oil, and produce 20 times the amount of CO2. In other words, even though Africa will provide 59% of the world’s population increase to 2050, the additional 48 million Americans will contribute 20 times more CO2 than all of those additional 1.1 billion Africans. If consumption in Africa were to double in the next three decades, the United States alone would still contribute 10 times more than all of Africa.
In other words, the problem is not the population increase in Africa where each African uses few resources, but the over-consumption of resources by Americans. Therefore the Americans need to look at themselves since they are the major cause of global warming. Unfortunately I see little evidence that Americans are implementing anything close to what is necessary. Yes, there is absolutely negative leadership from the Republicans, but everyone seems to expect that continued economic growth in the United States can continue. Unfortunately the reality is that the US economy must contract significantly more than it did during the Great Depression. There is no need to look at the substantial population increase in Africa to solve the problem of global warming. Rather the focus must be on the United States itself.
TDear Americans: This is a call to action. .______
o be added to or removed from this listserve, please send your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.______________________________________David ZarembkaPhone 254 (0)726 590 783
Reports from Kenya: www.davidzarembka.comEmail: email@example.com____________
US Side Participant Ellen: The girls on the call this morning were very clear about the many challenges young girls in Kenya face in school and in their social lives. They voiced the problems on topics such as self esteem, peer pressure, the challenges they face when they have their period, teen pregnancy and STDs and being separated from boys because they could be seen as a threat from the parents and society. I was very interested in the later. To me the current situation of boys vs girls social environment can pit them against each other. Boys should be girl’s allies! They should work together, play together and be there for each other for their mutual benefit. Boys should be their friends, their protector and most important learn to be equals. I believe the parents are the ones enforcing this social rule on their girls and boys and we need them to get involved to create change. Maybe by meeting the boys and their families and creating a community around them.
Good Morning Friends of Small Solutions Bukokholo Kenya Education Center
We apologize if you were not able to connect to our call this morning. We had issues with the tools for sharing conversations online. We tried Zoom, but the sound on the Kenya side, and the faces and voices of the girls from four different schools could not be heard. I will send the teacher some funds to try some new plug in microphones.
Then we tried Skype. We had a video, but the sound feedback and buzzing was too much. This happens, but we moved ahead with WhatsApp.
So we had a clear voice connection with Whatsapp. Ellen Reis joined us while girls shared the discussions they have been holding in small groups at their schools.
It is very moving to hear the voices of these girls talk about the social and cultural issues that make their life difficult, and become barriers to school attendance and make their daily life challenging.
I was most moved by their desire to have normal friendships with boys. They described the attitudes of adults that prevent them from developing friendships with boys. In school, in their classrooms, playgrounds, and walking to and from school or doing errands in their village, they are discouraged from talking to or walking with boys. Parents and others believe that if they are with a boy and are of the age to be sexually active that they are putting themselves in harms way. They are likely to accuse them of having a sexual relationship with these boys.
The girls seem to long for normal friendships with boys who are their own age. They know they are good smart boys who can help them with their school work, or possibly protect them from more dangerous older men who are looking for girls for sex. They want to be friends with them.
They talked about the attitude of parents. Sometimes it is not providing materials so that they can manage their menstrual flow, or their parents’ fear of friendships with boys, their belief in FGM as a necessary procedure for girls. One girl mentioned parents who push their daughters into prostitution for the money. They also mentioned that many men do not believe in the necessity of using medicine to control STIs. Most girls use pills to protect themselves from pregnancy, not condoms as I had thought. So they are afraid of contracting STIs.
I was impressed at their awareness of the need to understand their emotions. They said that often they don’t recognize or understand the strong feeling they have when they are attracted to a boy, and understand that it is a normal feeling and don’t have to act on it. The said that they know that boys like sex. But they would like to be just friends with them, not a girlfriend. They know that they can understand and learn to manage their feelings.
Using Math and Design Based Thinking to Create: Classes for children, learning to create projects in Scratch Junior or Scratch, using MakeyMakey. These projects can be animations, games, puzzles, simulations. Our approach to learning is design based knowledge construction, and thinking about thinking process. These classes will be tailored to those who are interested. We like working with small. If you are interested in these classes, now or in 2018 please contact us. Susan McPhee, Alan Papert and Sandra Thaxter are the instructors.
Small Solutions has held taught Scratch classes at FRS in previous years. We would like to solicit interest before scheduling. We donate 25% of all church members class fees to FRS. This year we are working on the theme of Re-Imagining the future. Children in Kenya thought about the homes they wanted, how their city should look. These projects could range from imagining the cars of the future, to simulating sea rise or species extinction, to creating games to meet future environmental challenges.
Sandra Thaxter has been working with Scratch for 7 years, Alan Papert had a career as a design engineer and was part of the Turtle Seymour Papert children’s programming research. Susan McPhee is a programmer and enthusiast of Scratch Junior. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our website for more information http://smallsolutionsbigideas.org
Makey Makey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween:
Scratch and Scratch Junior are a child friendly programming environment developed at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch is an expanding set of tools and programs that connects to MakeyMakey, Lego Robotics, Arduino and Music streaming.
Small Solutions Big Ideas is dedicated to providing children with learning opportunities that expand their thinking and awareness. We are enthusiasts of after-school informal learning environments. We structure each class to adapt to the children signed up. Classes are small 8 to 10 students, and students receive individual attention. We use Scratch programming as an environment for children to build programming skills, but learn how to design complex tasks, such as designing a game, or animating a narrative story, or simulating a natural process. We also use hands on materials and activities to create and design. 3D design is available for students who are interested in that medium.
THE GREEDY FROG.
Written by Subeta
There were those days when frogs were the most beautiful reptiles on earth. There voices were so sweet and they had also smooth shiny skin and strong graceful legs. These made other animals liked them. They also liked singing to other animals.
There lived one frog called Lende. Lende had such a nice voice that all animals gathered at her hut, after every morning’s work for songs and stories.
However, in those days good things never missed there bed side. Lende was very greedy for food, This made her hate other animals. She had a fellow greedy friend called Kaza.
Kaza could not leave Lende ́s home without eating. She always made long unending stories in order to wait for food.
One day Kaza decided to pay her long time friend Lende a visit to hear her beautiful stories and songs. She was also hungry as she had not eaten for the past three days. She had timed her arrival at lunch time when she was very sure that Lende has prepared food. She drew closer to her friends house. The sweet smell of boiling pumpkins filled her stomach.
I will use all tricks to get that greedy friend of mine to give me food. Kaza said to herself and knocked at the Lende’s door before it could be opened. She peeped through the hole in the wall and saw her friend hiding food. No sooner had she began, than he said! Oh! my friend, the God of the earth and sky has just saved me!
What happened to you my friend? Lende asked in disbelief. I almost got a snake bite! A snake, as long as from this place where I am seated to that hot pot under your bed, just crossed my way as I made the last stride away from it. Kaza replied, pointing at the food Lende had hidden.
“You must be lucky,” replied disappointed Lende. In a flash Kaza got up from his seat and quickly walked to the pot of pumpkins as he demonstrated how long the snake was.
Oh! my friend, this pot is so hot , what is it that you are cooking under the bed? “, Kaza asked.
Lende was so disappointed and embarrassed that she brought out the food and they all ate together . Kaza ate as fast as she could and even faster than her friend. After the food was all finished she stood up pretending to be going for a short call.
Once outside she hurriedly left for home. The following day, another friend also decided to march in without knocking the door. Lende had prepared porridge and potatoes for lunch. My friend saw that porridge seems sweet. The visitor said, “it is so sweet that we don’t even need sugar to make it sweeter”, she added.
Lende tried hiding the porridge but she slid and burned her soft and smooth skin. The visitor was so hungry that she had never allowed the porridge to go like that. She bent over Lende and with her long and rough tongue, cleared all the porridge on her friends skin each time removing with it the skin and part of Lende’s flesh.
Mr. Hare was another problem to Lende because he could smell food from far and walk into his house talking about it.
“Ooh! what a delicious meal for you have cooked” said the hare. I will come with my children to help you eat the food. Lende got fed up with her friends and decided to swallow hot stone to spoil the sweet voice brought so many visitors. As the stone rolled down her throat it burned her that she could not bear with the pain any more. She jumped near by pool of water to drink some water to cool her pain that had gotten worse by now. However, she tried getting out of water the pain got worse that even breathing was a problem. She therefore, decided to stay permanently in water to keep cooling her throat and so to avoid many visitors. That is why up to now frogs have very rough voice, skin and also stays in water.
LESSON learned from the story:
Greedy does not pay but instead can give a permanent body harm.
The story helps as to mentor ourselves and fit in the current society of 21st century.
We should not be selfish instead be kind to others.
written by Subeda wanjala from Bukokholo RC Primary school grade 8, 2018
Through the generosity of our donors, this young woman is being trained in nutrition. She has gained notably superior marks in her work. She will come back to the Bungoma community and share her knowledge and services. This strengthens the impact of our programs, and builds goodwill and trust in the community. Everyone benefits.
Receive many greetings from this end of the great rift valley of our beloved country Kenya. I hope and trust that you’re doing well in the United States of America. I’m also doing well here in my training school as I say once again that, thank you so much for your immeasurable support that enabled to be where I ‘am.
I’m learning new things about nutrition of which historically, people of my community are not upholding them. For instance, I have to help my community on the side of maintaining good health. For example, one should choose a diet moderate in sugar and salt. This is because, too much consumption of sugar leads to hypertension, diabetes and too much consumption of salt leads to goiter. They should choose a diet of whole grains, vegetables especially; they are given too much food to children, weaning starts too early or late without following health procedures and they are often sick.
Solutions on how to curb the above problems,
I will encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies for at least 6 months before complimenting them.
I have to teach mothers to complement their babies at 6 months so that they can get enough food and breast milk
Mothers should vaccine their children in order to protect their immunity.
As a dietitian, I will use the following dietary assessment to assess the diet of people in the community.
Food Frequency Questionnaire:
This is whereby a person is given a list of around 100 food items to indicate his or her intake per day, week, and month.
24 hour dietary recall;
Trainer interviewer asks the subject to recall all food and drinks taken in the previous 24 hours.
Its aim is to discover the usual food intake pattern of an individual over a relatively long period of time.
Food intake should be recorded by the subject at a time of consumption
Observed food consumption:
The unused in clinical method practice but is recommended for research.
I will go ahead to advice people of my community to plant plenty of guava trees and teach them about the importance of eating a balanced diet e.g fats, minerals, vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates.
According to analysis of diet survey data, the measure of nutrient provided by the diet is calculated by basing on calories supplied by the food such as that food rich in nutrients relative to the energy content are termed a food with high nutrient density. E.g !kg carbohydrate(CHO)- 4 Kilo calories (kca)
1kg proteins – 4 kilo calories (kca)
1g fats – 9 kilo calories (kca)
1g alcohol – 7 kilo calories (kca)
In our community, there are children, who are malnourished due to,
Not getting enough breast milk
Given too little food and
Overfeeding among other diet requirements
Here is my performance report: