When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country in March 2020, many companies closed thus rendering many Kenyans jobless. Other small businesses also had difficulties staying afloat with measures such as lockdown and dusk to dawn curfew put in place.
Therefore, to cushion the most vulnerable members of the community, the Kenya government put in place social protection measures such as the cash transfer program through which beneficiaries earn Ksh. 1000 per week.
Kazi Mtaani was another program that was introduced as a source of livelihood to the Kenyan youth who were hard hit by the effects of the pandemic. In our latest documentary #LesseningTheBurden, we spoke to stakeholders and beneficiaries to understand the trickle-down effect (if at all) of the two programs.
Michuki Memorial Park is a significant, historically rich recreational facility that is undergoing renovation all thanks to concerted efforts of the Ministry of Environment, the Kenya Forest Service, the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, among other stakeholders.
Michuki Memorial Park is situated along Nairobi River between Globe Cinema roundabout and the far end of Uhuru Highway.
The park is a monumental legacy of former minister for environment and Natural Resources the late John Michuki who passed on in 2012. Michuki Park's story is that nothing is impossible. For the last four months, the park has been undergoing a tremendous transformation that has given it a whole new look.
Click this link: https://youtu.be/IyAzguJSVDk to watch our latest documentary.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Joseph Wairagu has once again issued a stern warning to cartels involved in fleecing the water sector in Nairobi and other regions.
Speaking in Kiambu County on Tuesday, The PS said the Ministry is well aware of the cartels who have been drying taps especially in Nairobi and other major towns in the country, and they are drafting measures to put an end to the menace which has deprived of many Kenyans the ease to access clean and safe water.
Residents of Nairobi City County, for instance, have had major water challenges, with some estates going without water for up to weeks and even months due to rationing and malicious interruption of water supply.
“The government is working on measures to operationalize the water sector and that will happen very soon, and we have mapped out all the water browsers, we want to use an app so that we can track them,” said the PS while commissioning the Minja Nyakabugi Water Project in Githunguri, Kiambu County.
He added that once the digitization process which will also happen in other Counties is complete, the cartels will be completely locked out of their shoddy business.
“Water services will be like the digital taxi (Uber) services and it is just a matter of time before we catch up with these cartels and kick them out,” said the PS.
The Minja Nyakabugi Water project was funded by the national government to a tune of Ksh. 6 million through the water for schools program and will benefit about 2500 people in Githunguri Constituency. It was implemented by the Athi Water Works Development Agency (AWWDA).
Mr. Wairagu directed Athi Water Works Development Agency to increase water distribution networks in the area and sort out issues of sewerage for Ginthunguri. He also requested the support of the residents and stakeholders in the implementation of Ruiru II Dam in Githunguri which will serve Ruiru, Juja, and Nairobi.
The PS was accompanied by the area MP, Hon. Gabriel Kago Mukuha, Athi Water Works Chief Manager Water and Sanitation Infrastructure Development – Eng. Joseph Kamau and other Senior Officials
After 99 days of shutdown, the Kenyan air space finally opened Wednesday, July, 15th 2020 for domestic flights which were officially launched at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), presided over by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, James Macharia.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had a fortnight ago, ordered that local flights resume in a bid to revive the Kenyan economy which has been hit hard by the Corona Virus pandemic. However, one of the major concerns hovering around the resumption of the flights was the safety of passengers and crew as planes move from one point to another.
The Kenya Airports Authority and other stakeholders in the sector had insisted that as a matter of urgency and for the safety of everyone, all measures had to be put in place before aircraft could be cleared for take-off to any destination across the country. Some of the measures include wearing of facemasks at all times while at airports and airstrips, temperature checks, and social distancing before boarding.
And it is the latter that had elicited mixed reactions from Kenyans, with some questioning the rationale behind allowing passengers to sit closely in an aircraft while the same is not allowed in public transport vehicles and even the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
According to Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka, aircrafts are designed in such a way that it is safer to sit closely next to each other than in any other mode of transport, and even in a hospital environment. Kilavuka opines that air circulation in the cabin is near perfect, hence, it is fresh for everyone.
“The way the aircraft is designed in terms of air circulation and filtration system is even better than the hospital environment, and even in terms of design, the way the seating arrangements are, you almost have a shield between you and the person seated in front of you,” said Kilavuka.
He however emphasized the need for strict adherence to other preventive measures such as wearing facemasks at all times while aboard a plane even though he believes that the risks of transmission in the cabin are significantly reduced.
The way the manufacturers have designed air circulation is that it moves from up going down and out through filters, so it has reduced the risks. Indeed, there might be some risk between people sitting next to each other but remember we are requiring people to also wear face masks,” Kilavuka added.
Kenya Airways launched its local flights on Wednesday with two flights per day on the Nairobi – Mombasa route while one flight per day set for Kisumu – Nairobi route.
“We came up with a robust protocol that would ensure that as far as possible you do not have a chance of catching the Corona Virus in the airport or aviation ecosystem,” said Gilbert Kibe, Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
In May 2020, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in an economics chart that social distancing would cripple most airlines despite the types of aircraft or capacity.
“Depending on the aircraft type and the seat configuration, social distancing could reduce the available seat capacity by 33-50%. And when such policies are pursued, the seat load factor of an aircraft is artificially capped,” read the IATA chart, in part.
Residents of Dandora Estate and other informal settlements in Nairobi are set to benefit from free water, the government has announced. The effort is aimed at increasing water supply in high population areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Principal Secretary Ministry of Water & Sanitation accompanied by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director General Major General Mohammed Badi said the Government will ensure that taps have a continuous supply of water.
“The clean water will be provided for free to all the residents and the water kiosks will be operated and managed by the organized Community-Based Organizations within the area." Said PS Irungu
The Gitari Marigu Water Supply Project is one of the 20 boreholes and 51 elevated tanks being implemented by the Athi Water Works Development Agency as part of the interventions that will see additional water supply to the informal settlements.
The areas set to benefit from this initiative include Kibera, Mukuru, Kawangware, Kayole Soweto, Korogocho, Mathare, Kangemi, and Dandora.
The borehole which is producing 384,000 litres per day will serve 6,000 residents of that area.
Report by Elijah Mwangi.
NAIROBI - Kenya Airways on Thursday dispatched a cargo flight in their 787 Dreamliner passenger aircraft from Nairobi to London, loaded with 40,000 kgs of fresh agricultural produce. KQ said the initiative to convert four wide-body passenger aircraft to fit cargo operations is aimed at reducing the impact of COVID-19 on operations.
The flight, which departed Nairobi's JKIA at 10 am Thursday, is in addition to KQ 2764 – a Boeing 787 Dreamliner which took off from Nairobi to Johannesburg on Sunday 12 April 2020, packed with medical supplies and other essential items.
The Corona Virus pandemic has led to a drastic fall in demands for passenger flights as countries battle to curb the spread of the deadly disease. This has however led to a significant increase in cargo flights throughout the globe.
"There is a demand for cargo aircraft across the world and we will continue to play our part by keeping essential supplies moving during this time. Some of our grounded passenger aircraft will, therefore, complement the work of the cargo freighters to facilitate this," KQ said in a statement.
The airline aims to be among the catalysts of economic growth during the coronavirus pandemic and says it will play a role in the rebound, one step at a time.
"Looking at the entire value chain when it comes to producing what was uplifted today, we are pleased to be supporting the different players in that chain and will continue to do so as part of our purpose which is, contributing to the sustainable development of Africa," KQ's statement further reads.
Kathleen Kang'ethe, the lead captain for the London trip said while the coronavirus pandemic has almost halted every operation throughout the world, there is still hope.
“I have been with Kenya Airways for 19 years I joined in 2001... The crisis, unfortunately, has brought everything pretty much to a standstill, but we are able to continue with cargo business. I’m happy to be flying the Dreamliner to London carrying agricultural produce and flowers, let’s keep hope alive," she said.
More on the vídeo below
The Kenya Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to reported mistreatment of Kenyans living in China. This is after a video emerged on social and mainstream media on Thursday showing foreigners of African descent, including Kenyans, being evicted from hotels and Chinese apartments over claims of importing the deadly coronavirus.
The Ministry says in a statement that it has noted the concerns that arose from the situation and treatment of the Kenyan nationals in China and that the Kenyan Embassy in Beijing is closely monitoring the situation and will respond to all the challenges.
"The Ministry's attention has been drawn to information concerning the situation of some Kenyan nationals in China specifically with regard to a recent decision by the Government of China to undertake stringent testing of foreigners and Chinese nationals alike, to forestall imported and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in Guangzhou and other areas of China," reads the statement, in part.
Adding that "Unfortunately, these measures have in some instances precipitated unfair responses against foreigners particularly of African origin, from some members of the local community in Guangzhou, especially landlords. The Ministry through its Embassy in Beijing is seized of this matter and has officially expressed concern about these developments and is working with the Chinese authorities to tackle the matter expeditiously."
The video caused an uproar on social media, with Kenyans expressing their anger at the mistreatment of their fellow Kenyans in China, and called for swift government action.
Here is the statement in full.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
PRESS RELEASE ON THE SITUATION AND TREATMENT OF KENYANS IN CHINA
The Ministry's attention has been drawn to information concerning the situation of some Kenyan nationals in China specifically with regard to a recent decision by the Government of China to undertake stringent testing of foreigners and Chinese nationals alike, to forestall imported and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in Guangzhou and other areas of China.
Unfortunately, these measures have in some instances precipitated unfair responses against foreigners particularly of African origin, from some members of the local community in Guangzhou, especially landlords.
The Ministry through its Embassy in Beijing is seized of this matter and has officially expressed concern about these developments and is working with the Chinese authorities to tackle the matter expeditiously.
The Ministry has received assurances from the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi that the Government of China takes a serious view of the situation and that the local authorities in wGuangzhou have been tasked to take immediate action to safeguard the legitimate rights of the Africans concerned.
In view of this commitment and cooperation, we expect an early and comprehensive resolution of this matter to the benefit of Kenyan nationals in China. Our Embassy in Beijing remains available to attend to any challenges that may arise and to do so in liaison with the Chinese authorities. All Kenyans in China are therefore encouraged to remain in touch with the Embassy either directly or through their Kenyan community leaders.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
10TH APRIL, 2020
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Bramwell Bushuru says he is the only Kenyan living and working in Saint Helena Island. St. Helena is an island in the South Atlantic Ocean, bordering two countries, Brazil to the far left and Angola to the far east. The Island belongs to the territory of the United Kingdom. Bushuru who works there as an air traffic controller says they have also been hit hard by the Corona virus pandemic. “Most events here have been cancelled,” he says.
Watch his story here;
She is among the few women who have taken up jobs that were previously left for men. Now at the helm of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya as the second vice president, she has defied the odds to do what she interestingly believes is her calling. Both naturally, and by talent. While the country still battles cultural inequality within the engineering sector, Emelda has what it takes; and has put it into practice for 30 years...and counting, at the Kenya Power and Lightening Company.
Emelda Odhiambo’s story is inspiring. It is a journey that started in 1989 when she joined KPLC in the business development department. And now, she doubles up as the second vice president of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya – the organization that seeks to promote and develop the engineering profession.
Her thirty-year journey has been a roller coaster and even as she currently heads the project contract department, she remembers her struggles, inspirations and above all, the zeal that pushed her through to this place.
“My journey started in 1977 when I went to Form 1 and I realized that there that I had some special qualities that could not be tamed to the level of what my parents who were primary school teachers wanted me to do,” she says.
Emelda’s experience in a male-dominated field began way back at Nakuru High School, a mixed school then, where they were only three girls in a class of 150 students. And this experience inspired her to pursue greater heights. “While at high school and even the university, I realized that it was possible and we could achieve those grades achieved by our male colleagues,” says the electrical engineer.
ALSO WATCH: The role of Engineers in The Big 4 Agenda
It was through hard work and determination that she scored good grades that saw her join the University of Nairobi in 1984 where she studied Electrical Engineering, graduating in September 1987. Since then, she has diligently served in this male-dominated field.
“The grades that I had were so high that I could not do other courses, I was able to compete with men, and there were no major obstacles.”
“So I wanted to soar the height.”
Statistics from the Institution of Engineers of Kenya indicate that the number of women in professional engineering makes up about 7 percent of the total population of engineers. Further, out of the 14524 graduate engineers in Kenya, only 1346 are female. And during the 26th Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) conference scheduled for September 3rd, 2019 in Mombasa, gender imbalance is among the key challenges that were addressed.
Emelda has worked in various sections at KPLC including business development; dealing with customers, design, and construction. She has also been into maintenance. But the journey has not been without challenges, with the major one being the perception that an engineer is basically, a man! A stereotype they are fighting to overcome.
“One of the challenges we face is the idea that an engineer is male. Even when we are in the office, people still doubt us…until you show that you are equal to the task,” Imelda narrates.
However, she believes in the power of dreams and determination that anyone can be anything. That it is possible to be a woman engineer. “I have been here for thirty years and I have not grown beards.”
“You do not require muscles to be an engineer with the current technology,” she advises, adding that most of the construction and engineering facilities are now automated.
As the 26th IEK conference concluded last week, Emelda says the first day of the conference had been set exclusively to women as they seek to empower each other to take up challenging roles in the sector.
“I always tell women that if they are not on the table, they will always be on the menu so we have to discuss issues of inclusivity – and women have to be part of this discussion,” she concludes.
The 26th IEK international conference whose theme was overcoming the 21st-century challenges brought together engineers, academia and other participants to discuss the roles and responsibilities of the engineering fraternity in surmounting the current and future challenges facing humanity for socio-economic development. The conference was held from 3rd to 6th September 2019.