Gender and Electoral Politics in Kenya: The Case of Gusii Women, 1990-2002

Dr. Charles Otoigo Choti

Assistant Professor of History

Dept. of History

Clark Atlanta University

223 James P. Brawley Dr. SW

Atlanta, GA 30314.

Phone: 301-755-8806

 

This study examines the nature and extent of Kenyan women’s participation in the multiparty electoral politics of the 1990s.  Specifically, it analyzes the electoral impact of the multi-party democratic political dispensation on Kenyan women.  The study is based on a case study of seven politically active Gusii women who were individually interviewed on issues related to their respective personal, political careers, and electoral experiences.  Utilizing the qualitative research techniques, the study established that the marginalization of women in electoral politics is a result of a combination of factors, namely colonial legacy, socialization and Gusii cultural rigidity on gender roles, poverty, political violence, and lack of political careerism and staying power. The research findings show a paucity of women holding electoral positions reflecting the existence of a very unfavorable political climate for women’s political initiative.  In addition, it reveals that the democratization process, beginning with the introduction of multiparty politics in 1991 has not, necessarily, empowered Kenyan women in terms of electoral gains. 

 

           


 

Decentralization for sustainable local economic development:  Exploring the potential and key challenges in Kenya

Dr. Margaret Gachuru

University of Nairobi Kenya

Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, School of The Built Environment, University of Nairobi.

Email: gachurum@yahoo.com

 

Decentralization can be defined broadly as the transfer of authority and responsibility for public functions and service delivery from the central government to local level government entities or private sector.  Championed by the World Bank as the key to achieving sustainable growth in developing countries, decentralization can play important roles in broadening participation in political, economic and social activities. It helps in alleviating bottlenecks in decision making by allowing participatory planning in local economic development and in the implementation of development projects.  When decision making is pushed to the local level, it reflects sensitivity to local conditions and local needs, and there is potentially increased probability of enhanced transparency and accountability, which are a major concern in developing countries.In Kenya, decentralization of fiscal resources began in the 1990s, and currently, there are a number of decentralized or devolved programmes, including, Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF), the Constituency Developemnt Fund (CDF), District Roads Maintenance Levy Fund, the Constituency/District HIV/AIDS Fund, Bursary Funds, Poverty Eradication Funds, Youth and Women Funds, among others.  To some extent, some of these devolved programs have contributed to local economic development, and the CDF for instance has helped in the construction of schools, health facilities and other local programs that benefit local communities.  Moreover, devolved programs have contributed to formation of groups, which are not only contributing towards local economic development, but also work together to push for change.  Participatory planning has also been enhanced by the implementation of Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP), that was initiated as a way to involve communities in local resource planning, and therefore to influence decision making. But despite its achievements and the potential that decentralization has for local economic development, there are many challenges that threaten successful implementation and achievement of meaningful outcomes.  The LASDAP process has for instance not been as inclusive as was intended, and is often manipulated by local council officers to suit their own personal objectives.  Other shortcomings of devolved funds include, lack of proper procedures for utilization of funds, lack of proper legal and institutional framework for administration of the funds, and lack of community education and information about the funds and procedures for application and use of the allocated funds.  Furthermore, investment decisions are frequently made without regard to wider development plans and objectives, leading to duplication and wastage of resources.But despite the many hurdles, decentralization has been acknowledged as the way forward especially for developing countries, and provides an opportunity for local communities to make decisions that affect their local space.  This paper discusses decentralization as a development strategy for Kenya, and investigates the various bottlenecks to achieving sustainable progress in decentralization of financial resources, programs and service delivery in Kenya.  The paper further discusses the options available in pursuing realization of the full potential of decentralization.  The role of the Kenyan academics and professionals in addressing and influencing the outcomes of decentralization, and how the needs of people at the local level can be meaningfully addressed is also discussed.

Keywords:  Decentralization; devolved; local economic development; local people

           


 

Beyond ‘Imperial Presidency’ in Kenya: Interrogating the Commissions and Omissions of Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki Regimes and Implications for Development

Maurice Amutabi, Ph.D.

Department of History, Central Washington University, 400 University Way

Language and Literature Building, 100T

Ellensburg, WA 98926

E-mail: amutabim@cwu.edu; amutabi@yahoo.com

 

This paper will use a historical trajectory to examine the impact of presidential politics in development in Kenya, using Kenyatta, Mo and Kibaki regimes. My argument is that corruption and inefficiency of the three regimes has made Kenya very vulnerable, now regarded as one of the fragile states on the African continent. Kenyatta inherited colonial structures that were designed to serve British imperial and financial interests, and these structures have remained intact and have brought certain material advantages to privileged few. A recurring problem for the three regimes has been the unresolved land issue and factiousness of the state.  I suggest that the expansion of representational technologies and capacities has meant that people now put together their sense of past, present and the future, their very destinies and their sense of self, in collusion with new mediascapes. These new mentalities and self imagings have been generated, largely outside spaces of political control such as the internet which address the challenges of this new historical period. Proliferations of FM radio stations and gutter press have also added to this. As a consequence, new critical discourses abound. New approaches such as postmodernism, multiculturalism and postcolonialism—the latter being the framework that informs and integrates the various disparate elements and threads of our argument in this essay – have also helped to ask new questions. All of these developments represent the triumph of multiplicity and the carnival of difference now overtaking lives of Kenyans. And, they incite, in the Foucauldian sense, new tasks and new challenges for the practices of political and cultural reproduction generally and the practices of political recruitment in Kenya. I believe that addressing these critical issues in a discursive manner, using a historical framework is pivotal in understanding Kenya’s development imbroglio in the past 45 years. This is particularly useful at a time in which there are deepening patterns of political balkanization and ethnic tensions as well as emerging class tensions ----perhaps a product of the uncertainty precipitated by the proliferation of difference as a consequence of globalization. The last years of Kenyatta and Moi were notably unproductive, and replete with succession intrigues. Kibaki’s last years in office are not likely to be different. The three are similar: Kenyatta was old and suffered ill health which made him insecure. Moi lacked charisma and did not have a solid intellectual base; while Kibaki has been a political pariah of sorts, largely as a result of his approach to politics. Kenyatta and Moi were convinced of the dangers of constitutionalism and tried to impose total control over the information available to Kenyans through VOK and KBC through single party rule.  Alternate political voices were mercilessly suppressed. The harshest measures were directed against the university community and trade unions. To prepare better ground for Kenya’s future development, we need to unpack and expose past mistakes in order to learn from them.

 

           


 

Understanding the University-Going Process in Kenya

Truphena M. Choti

University of Maryland, College Park, 14904 McKisson Ct

Silver Spring, MD 20906

Tel. 240-273-8373

Email: truchoti@yahoo.com

 

The main objective of this qualitative case study is to create an understanding of how Kenyan high school students conceptualize university education opportunities and possibilities within their socio-cultural context.  The in-depth interviews with students, parents and teachers were conducted in Kenya in 2008. The findings of this study show that the family context, school context, community context, and the socio-political contexts interact to influence how students aspire and prepare for higher education.  The paper examines parenting styles, parental involvement and expectations, and socialization of students towards academic success. The contributions of the school environment, role of teachers and peers are also examined.  In addition, personal ambition and spiritual guidance are some of the factors that emerged to influence student aspirations.  However, structural inequality in the distribution of educational resources, rigidness of the curriculum and overemphasis on examinations, extreme poverty and local politics emerged as some the barriers to students encountered on their university pathways.  Hence, students adopted unique strategies characterized by strict study schedule, group networks and holiday tuition to gain entry into university. This research contributes original material on the university going process in Kenya and, hopefully, provides impetus for further research in this hitherto unexplored area.  What students know about higher education including their plans on how to pay for their university costs is worthwhile in helping Kenyan policy makers and scholars in understanding the needs of prospective undergraduate students entering Kenyan universities. 

 

Key words: University education; high school students; challenges andstrategies

 

           


 

What shall we eat and when?  Addressing Food Insecurity in the 21st Century

2009 KESSA Conference

Christine Mathenge

Austin Peay State University

Geosciences, P.O. Box 4418

Clarksville, TN, 37040

 

The occurrence of food shortages and famine appears to be an increasingly common scenario in the 21st century.  Although there have been significant improvements in agricultural productivity, better management of soil fertility, better yielding crops, more drought and disease resistant crop varieties, increased diversity in available foods, better animal husbandry and other technological advancements, the number of people that are unable to feed themselves has risen steadily over the past decade.  This paper examines three perspectives and highlights a number of issues that are deeply embedded in the larger question of food insecurity.  Future technological innovations including biotechnological solutions may stabilize food supplies at the regional level.  The private sector holds potential to improving resource allocation and access to food at the individual and household levels.  National and regional food policies may be analyzed and reformulated with an objective to stabilize and strengthen food distribution systems, including the role for regional bodies like the East African Community.  The role of entitlements and increasing vulnerability of local communities to food insecurity is hinged on land tenure and tenure security.   Addressing this larger question of food insecurity although multifaceted and complex appears essential in facilitating Kenya’s future economic advancement.  Can these complexities be addressed in time to transform Kenya into a food secure nation?

 

Key Terms: food insecurity, food access, entitlement

 

           


 

Survey of Traditional Agriculture in western Kenya

Prof. Rick Bein

Department of Geography

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), USA

Email: rbein@iupui.edu

&

Dr. Gilbert M. Nduru

Department of Geography

Moi University, Kenya

Email: gilnduru@gmail.com

 

Although most livelihoods in western Kenya are based in agriculture, resent climatic trends have been perceived to limit lucrative crop production. Utilization of indigenous crops has begun to help alleviate the impact of droughts and other crop hazards. Local demand for indigenous food stuffs appears to be increasing as a part of food production, security, nutrition and the health of Kenyan populations. A variety of indigenous farming practices that take advantage of the limited favorable conditions over space and time are practiced and make use of the rich genetic variation of indigenous crops. This paper demonstrates that traditional crops are more resilient and their expanded cultivation would help alleviate the challenge of food insecurity in Kenya.

Key words: Traditional agriculture, agro-biodiversity,  Indigenous crops, Food security

 

           


 

Reporting Health in Kenya: A case study of Malaria and HIV/AIDS in Kenya’s Print Media

Alakie Asige,

Westminster University London, UK.

 


 

 

Rethinking Cultural Capital: A better Kenya is possible

Mwendah M’Mailutha

Ph.D. student in the School of Media and Communication

Studies at Bowling Green State University

112 University Hall,

Bowling Green, OH 43403.

Email: mmwenda@bgsu.edu

 

How can we understand and evaluate the relationship between cultural capital and the latent national frustration in response to the political and economic stagnation in Kenya? Successive administrations have deliberately shirked the responsibility to build a strong and dynamic national identity. Rent-seeking and political gaming on behalf of “my people” has reduced Kenya to an interminable stasis. I argue that we need to develop a more nuanced cultural understanding of the national political economy, one that takes into account important characteristics of cultural capital and national identity. That is, a resonant analysis of how political and economic success is tightly welded into collective identities that are more encompassing than the accursed tribe.

 

Keywords: Cultural capital; Rent-seeking; Political-Gaming; Collective Identity; Tribe

 

           


 

Mass Customisation as a Business Strategy for Five Star Hotels in Nairobi, Kenya.

Rosemarie A. Khayiya PhD

School of Hospitality & Tourism Management;

Department of Hospitality Management,

Kenyatta University, P.O. Box 43844-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel. +254-810901-19 EXT. 57022

mailto:Email:%20khayiyarosemarie@yahoo.co.uk

 

The study sought to empirically establish the suitability of mass customisation as a business strategy for five star hotels in Nairobi, Kenya.The study used a sample survey design. Findings of the study revealed that mass customisation aspects varied on the degree to which they influenced the length of stay and reason for visiting the five star hotels. Notably, though all the variables considered did contribute to length of stay and reasons for visiting the five star hotels, only a few were significant on Chi-square analysis. Furthermore, some of those factors which were insignificant under Chi-square tests were found to be significant in the multiple regression models. Additionally, controlling specific variables helped determine the critical predictor variables of the reason for visiting the five star hotels. The study also established that the hotels were not flexible enough to accommodate the customer requests. Finally, study findings showed that the initial cost of implementing mass customisation strategies was prohibitive.

 

Keywords – Hotels; Business Strategy; Mass Customisation.

           


 

The Development Prospects of Fair Trade Coffee in Kenya
Jeffrey Walters

Carleton University, 3-54 Glen Ave
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1S 2Z9

Email: jwalters@connect.carleton.ca

 

The processes of deregulation and liberalization associated with neo-liberal globalization have left small scale agricultural producers vulnerable to global price fluctuations.  In an effort to combat the debilitating effects of market liberalization in coffee on small-scale producers, fair trade has come to the forefront.  Fair trade seeks to mitigate the problems free trade has brought to Southern producers through the provision of minimum price guarantees and strengthening the bargaining power of producers in the global marketplace. Proponents of fair trade tout it as a viable development strategy, which can alleviate poverty and empower a significant number of people in the South.  This sentiment is captured in the fair trade movement’s slogan, “Trade, not aid”.  This presentation critically examines the dominant fair trade discourse through the case of fair trade coffee in Kenya.  Due to operating within global capitalist markets (rather than outside of them, as proponents suggest) fair trade is constricted by supply and demand factors, fails to consider gender adequately, and does not empower producers to a significant extent.  The global economic slowdown will only serve to exacerbate the internal tensions within fair trade, making it even less likely fair trade will function as a widespread poverty reduction tool.

Key Words: Fair Trade, coffee, globalization

           


 

Conservation perspectives: International wildlife priorities, individual animals, and wildlife management strategies in Kenya

Stella Capoccia, Ph.D. Candidate

Rutgers University

Department of Geography

 

This work falls in the main KESSA category of “Scientific, Technological, and Environmental perspectives and development;” it may also be sub-categorized as Rural Development under KESSA’s “Urban and rural development,” and under KESSA’s “Politics and development”This research looks at the role that international wildlife priorities play on wildlife management and conservation in Kenya. In particular, this work explores how a focus on animals as individuals and their protection unfolds in the larger conservation strategy. Over the last few decades, wildlife non-government organizations (NGO) played a major hand in the development of Kenya’s wildlife management and conservation. In the late 1980s, a fierce international debate took shape around the fate of the African elephant. An initiative was proposed to ban ivory sales under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species; in the final moments, international wildlife protection campaigns, combined with the sponsorship by the Kenyan government, proved decisive in the decision to enact a full ban on ivory sales worldwide. Today, Kenya remains the last country on the African continent that maintains a full ban on hunting, initiated in 1977, yet a new wildlife bill is challenging that ban. Recent discussions to reinstate hunting, cropping and/or culling have been met with a strong anti-hunting campaign lead by wildlife NGOs. At the time of the ivory ban, international campaigns were well documented (Duffy 2000; Bonner 1993) but today, they receive limited attention. This research updates work by Rosaleen Duffy and Raymond Bonner by addressing the ways in which, and to what degree do, international wildlife campaigns influence wildlife management on a case-by-case basis and in larger conservation strategies.

 

Keywords: Kenyan Geography/ Animal Geographies/ Wildlife

           


 

Quality of Education: A tool for Development: A case study of Kenya’s Educational Reforms

Peter C. Otiato Ojiambo Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2012 C Orchard Downs, Urbana, IL, 61801

Email: pojiambo@illinois.edu

Phone: 217-333-7921

 

There has been a widespread belief that educational development would lead to accelerated economic growth, more wealth and income distribution, greater equality of opportunity, availability of skilled human power, a decline in population growth, national unity and political stability. This belief has made many individuals and nations to invest immensely in education. In many of their works on this subject, Schultz (1981), Harbison (1973), Pscharopolos (1998) posit that the wealth of nations depends on the development of its human resources and not so much on its physical resources. Education in this regard is considered the route to economic prosperity, the key to scientific and technological advancement, the means to combat the unemployment, the foundation of social equality, and the spearhead of political socialization and cultural diversity. In this paper, a critical qualitative inquiry is made of various educational reforms that have been undertaken in Kenya in both colonial and post-colonial period and their correlation to national development. Specifically, the paper examines historical development of Kenyan education and its challenges in meeting its national developmental goals. In order for education to foster development this paper recommends the need to: develop a clear educational policy and to correlate it to national character and societal needs; provide adequate educational financing; conduct periodic educational reviews; involvement of relevant stakeholders; separate the management of the education process from the national political process. Change and management of the educational process should include: examining its historical trends, theoretical considerations, objectives, curriculum and administrative demands.

 

Key words: Education, Reforms and Development

 

           


 

Tropicality and Disease: Malaria, History, and the Production of Medical Knowledge on Kenya.

Osaak A. Olumwullah

 

Though considerable progress has in recent years been made in understanding the basic microbiology and pathogenesis of infectious diseases in Africa, and the world has witnessed expansion in new approaches to their treatment and/or eradication, much remains unknown or poorly understood about the language and concepts researchers use to both represent these diseases to the world, and enunciate their findings. Through a ‘reading’ of malaria research in Kenya, this paper will attempt to address these two issues by locating them in a twentieth-century drama whose theoretical moorings are late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century medical thought-styles in tropical medicine and epidemiology. These thought-styles, it will be suggested, have since the end of the nineteenth century vied for narrative control in the conceptualization, and production, of medical knowledge on malaria. The paper, broadly defined, is therefore on the socio-political nature of scientific thought as it has popularly been narrated with regard to malaria. The relationship between ways of narrating the science of malaria, the paper further suggests, has had far-reaching consequences for medical research ethics. It will be argued that whatever the passions and intensity that have been brought to bear on issues like informed consent in medical research, at core is the problem of ethics not as a matter of abstractly correct behavior, but of relations between people: How, for example, poverty, racism, and gender inequality do constrain agency, the ability to make choices. Recent debates in international forums and learned journals notwithstanding, issues about ethics in medical research have a long history. To understand and contextualize these issues, the paper concludes, calls for the location of current debates in medical thought processes that have governed the relationship between Africa and the West since the late fifteenth century.


 

Gender Representation in the Education Sector in Kenya: Identifying Opportunities for Policy and Action

Prof. Olive M. Mugenda

Vice-Chancellor

Kenyatta University

P.O Box 43844-00100, Nairobi

Email: kuvc@ku.ac.ke

 

The Global Platform for Action (Beijing, 1995), the Ougadougou Declaration and Framework for Action in 1993, The 5th Dakar Conference on Women in 1994, and the 1993 Pan African Conference on the Education of Girls among others have advocated for women’s right to equal educational opportunity. These Conferences have aroused African states and regional organizations to recognize the need to address the issues of gender disparities in education and their implications on development. Further, the promotion of women empowerment as expressed in the performance indicators of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number three has a lot of bearing on the achievement of the other MDGs, and the Kenya Vision 2030 which aims to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing “middle income country” providing a high quality life to all its citizens by the year 2030. This paper addresses these concerns and the glaring gender disparities based on the participation of females at all levels of education in Kenya. Quantitative and qualitative data collection is utilised together with  the retrospective and survey research design; in addition to content analysis of related documents. Primary respondents are students, staff and managers from universities and other tertiary institutions. Conclusions drawn focus on identifying opportunities for policy and action, based on gender trends in education and their implications on the development process. This culminates in a National Plan of Action for advocacy and policy formulation in the promotion of female participation in all level of education in Kenya.

 

Key words: Gender, Education, Development

 

           


 

Naomi and Ruth of Kenya: Searching for a Tribe in the Face of powerlessness and foreignness at Home

Rev Elivered Nasambu-Mulongo, Ph.D. Candidate

Biblical Studies and Interpretation

TST-University of Toronto

 

The 2008 post election violence that claimed the lives of more than 1500 Kenyans is a sad story of patriarchy whose victim is a Kenyan woman, whose powerlessness and foreignness keeps her from full participation in all levels of development of her country. It invites Biblical readings and scholarship that confront the colonial, patriarchal, racist, classist and missionary readings of biblical texts that have long placed the Kenyan woman at the margins of society besides making her insecure and vulnerable. I use examples of Kenyan women’s experiences to argue that traditional critical readings, African theologies and some feminist theological discourses are inadequate to address Kenyan women who are marginalized by the missionary Bible, colonialism and patriarchy, the seatbelts of violence and tribalism. Drawing from Bosadi womanhood as propounded by the leading South African biblical scholar, Prof Mmadipoane Masenya, I use the story of Naomi and Ruth in the Biblical book of Ruth to argue that Kenyan women can be like Naomi and Ruth by forging unity to confront what impedes both of them from forging their own course in the midst of emphasis on tribal differences and power imbalance. I propose that it is possible for Kenyan women to forge unity for their own sake and benefit in the face of patriarchy.

 

           


 

Constitution-Making in Contemporary Kenya:  Lessons from the 20th Century

Robert M. Maxon

Department of History, West Virginia University

P. O. Box 6303, Morgantown, WV 26506-6303

Phone: 304-292-2421 Ext 5223

Email: rmaxon@wvu.edu

 

The paper will address a critical issue facing Kenya’s in the 21st century:  the need to draft and implement a new constitutions that will meet the aspirations of the nation’s peoples and facilitate its development agenda.  The need for a new constitution has been high on the political agenda since the 1990s and featured prominently in the election campaigns of 2002 and 2007.  Nevertheless, little has been accomplished as the failed efforts to craft a new constitution that culminated in the 2005 referendum have left Kenya at a dead end, despite promises from politicians.  The paper seeks answers to the current constitutional stalemate in the experiences of the past, specifically the 1950s and 1960s.  It will focus on four then critical issues which help to highlight the problems of constitution-making that continue to stall the process in Kenya.  The issues are the failure of Kenya’s political elite to reach consensus on constitutional goals and the means to attain them.  The fact that expert assistance, particularly from non-Kenyan individuals, produced negligible impact on the constitution-making process should also be understood.  Thirdly, majimbo or utaguzi, while not lacking in support among Kenya’s elite, has never enjoyed the support of the majority of the population.  Finally, a key element in the lack of success of past efforts to provide a Kenya with a workable constitution that would stand the test of time was the failure to implement key elements of democratic governance.

 

           


 

Voices Unheard: Concerns of Young people in the wake of HIV prevention in Kenya

Kezia Njoroge

Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University

Drottinggatan 4, floor 4, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden

 

This paper explores concerns expressed by the young people on sexuality. It is based on secondary analysis of qualitative data generated from school youth, teachers and parents from Kajiado and Meru Districts in Kenya. The social ecological conceptual model used, explained the contextual factors influencing young people sexual behaviour. Different qualitative methods were employed to generate data, connect people and capture complex issues. The data was collected from two hundred and ninety students and two community dialogues. Young people wrote questions on adolescence, sexuality and related problems or questions they could not ask their parents or friends. This allowed them to express their concerns rather than researchers directing the questions. Questions generated were discussed with parents and teachers where the adults reflected on their own silences and denials on sexuality. Predominant concerns were love, sexual urge, desires and emotions, issues not so commonly addressed by adults openly. The community dialogue enabled the adults to reflect and suggest solutions. Honest and open communication among the adults is needed in building the foundation for young people to mature into healthy adults. This can be achieved if interventions, including research address the cultural influences and the complex contextual factors underlined in Social Ecological Model.

Keywords:  Sexuality, Prohibitive silence, Kenya

           


 

Refugees with disabilities in Africa

Edward Manyibe, Ph.D., CRC.

Assistant Professor, Langston University, 4205 N. Lincoln Blvd

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Phone: 405.962-1673 (O), (520) 548-4835

Email: eomanyibe@lunet.edu

 

Refugees with disabilities in Africa are among the most marginalized. There are 80 million individuals with disabilities in Africa some of whom are refugees. Of the 80 million individuals with disabilities only 2% have access to any form of rehabilitation services.  This presentation will examine the situation of persons with disabilities in Africa with emphasis on refugees.  Rehabilitation challenges facing refugees and service providers will be addressed and possible solutions will be recommended.

 

           


 

Community Preparedness to Chemical Releases and Environmental Emergency Response

Beatrice Miringu, M. En.

Environmental Specialist,

City of Toledo, OH USA

Email: beatrice_miringu@hotmail.com

 

Accidental release of toxic chemicals has adverse effects on the environment and it is a threat to public health and safety. The severity of a chemical release or environmental emergency to public health and safety is greatly dependent on the level of awareness in the general population and the first responders. On January 11, 2009, a chemical release claimed over 120 lives and injured more than 200 in a rural community in Kenya. This presentation will looks at how communities should prepare for such disasters and advocates for public education and community outreach programs.

 

           


 

I hate politics. I like pragmatism

Fred Olwendo

Bowling Green State University

 

Kenya is a “failed state”, economically speaking. Kenyans in their millions cannot afford their basic needs like food, water and shelter, let alone decent education or health care. Countless Kenyans are daily succumbing to death from poverty and starvation. Yet Kenya is a rich country. It is claimed to be one of the best economies in Africa. Its reputation as one of the best tourist destinations in the world is not in dispute. Politically, Kenya could reasonably qualify as an island of peace compared to its neighbors; it is one of the most progressive democracies in Africa. The Kenyan athletes continue to dominate the world scene, scooping medals left right and center, especially in the marathon races. Yet, with all these endowments, ordinary Kenyans have, on the contrary, continued to live a life of misery as they are ravaged by hunger, poverty, homelessness, and disease, among others. Be that as it may, however, it is the contention of this paper that at the center of this tragedy is a trend for which the Kenyan masses are not responsible. As I argue, the underlying cause of this “failed state” syndrome is because the wealth of the country is under the tight grip of a “selected few”, specifically the political elites and the politically connected. This paper argues that a deliberate effort must be undertaken to delink politics and the socio-economic life line of the county as a way to stop Kenya from sliding further into this socio-economic abyss. 

 

           


 

Kenya’s Post-Independence Public Health Milestones

Joshua Otiso, MT, MPH

Bowling Green State University and The University of Toledo

The Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health

 

Upon her attainment of independence on 12th December 1963, the Kenyan Government pledged to fight three ‘enemies’ of development namely illiteracy, poverty, and disease.  Ultimately, illiteracy, poverty, and disease are inseparable as they synergistically affect the lives of Kenyans.  However, in this analysis I will explore the aspect of disease, with emphasis on the Public Health realm rather than clinical care.  Forty six years post-independence, Kenyans continue to suffer from infectious diseases, and chronic diseases are now on the rise.  Furthermore, since Kenya is the economic nerve center for East and Central Africa, it is at risk of other health threats such as epidemic and pandemic diseases.  While Public Health is a fairly new concept in Kenya, its positive impacts on the health of Kenyans are beginning to be realized.  With increased understanding and adequate government support, Public Health will be the main conduit for protecting the health of Kenyans, now and in the future

           


 

Managing Ethnic Diversity in Kenya

Vincent Khapoya, Ph.D.

Oakland University

 

Drawing from Donald Rothchild’s work on ethnic bargaining in Kenya, I would briefly discuss the genesis of tribalism, how and why the issue has been addressed - unsuccessfully, so far. I’ll examine a variety of approaches that have been tried in multi-ethnic societies elsewhere and then suggest what Kenyans need to do if they are to avoid in the year 2012 the devastation of the kind of violence that we saw in 2008.

 

           


 

Theories of Poverty and their relevance to Kenya

Meshack Sagini, Ph.D.

Langston University

4205 N. Lincoln Blvd

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

 

A plethora of scholarly and interdisciplinary print and online literature from research universities and poverty centers were reviewed to articulate the theories, causes, effects and solutions to poverty in the world. To a large extent, and based on the rigorous analysis of authoritative sources, the theories and causes of poverty are closely associated with structural, cultural and institutionalist influences. This comprehensive analysis is a theoretical and interdisciplinary discourse about the roots, causes, effects of and solutions to poverty in society and what cultural and institutional mechanisms exit for its amelioration. Throughout history, issues of poverty in Oklahoma, the U.S. in general, Africa and Kenya in particular have been associated with a deep tension between English and the American creed of life, liberty and property, including the intrinsic worth and dignity of the human beings and the continuous struggle to search for the Republic’s “soul”. Some scholars view this struggle between the haves and the have not’s as an allegorical expression of the West’s enlightenment’s values versus its inherent and contradictory dilemma of poverty.  Others see the situation to be “a tangle of pathology”, a web tangle, the social dislocation of the underclass, the fluctuating conflict between market forces of laissez-faire vis a vis government regulation, while others see it as a form of global paradox. Regardless of who says what, when, how and why, the wisdom and challenge of our time is not to conspire for silence and inaction, though that is a possibility, it is to strategically search our intellect for moral authority that will pragmatically and synergistically enable our institutions to look for positive, lasting, and cost-effective solutions. Preparing, mobilizing and utilizing available resources for statewide debate, rationalization and articulation of the scourge of poverty is commensurate with the finest and noblest mission of our excellent policy makers in the state/country.

           


 

Women’s Leadership for Transformation In Kenya: Resolving Conflicts, Building Peaceful Communities

Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, Ed.D

Assistant Professor of Organizational Leadership

Eastern University, Saint Davids, PA 19087

Email: fngunjir@eastern.edu

 

Africa is a continent that has experienced many man-made calamities in the last few decades – the worst of which are HIV/AIDS and war. Women seem to be the most affected by both calamities, paying an inordinately high price as the victims of war, displacement, and the effects of HIV/AIDS. This proposal focuses on women’s response inter-ethnic conflicts in Kenya, as women, mothers, leaders and community members invested in restoring sanity to their nations. Kenyan women refuse to be silent victims, some among them insist on being victors by rising to leadership for the transformation of their communities (Ngunjiri, Forthcoming).  “The relationships between women and war is complex and contradictory…men are presented as heroes and villains of war, whereas women are portrayed in subordinate roles as passive, vulnerable, defenseless victims of violence and intimidation” (Ross-Sheriff & Swigonski, 2006) (p. 129) This project will demonstrate the work and leadership of Kenyan women utilizing the resources at their disposal to resolve conflicts and build peace.  The paper is based on interviews with select women leaders from Kenya who were involved in the peace process after the last general elections.

 

Keywords: Peace building, conflict resolution, transformational leadership

 

           


 

Development of Built Environment Guidelines

for Sustainable Ecotourism in East African Countries: An Application for Kenya

Anthony Mutai, PhD. Candidate

Bowling Green State University-Indiana University

College of Technology

 

With the increase on environmental concerns, and coupled with a strong desire to escape from the traditional vacation, the market for ecotourism is ever increasing. However although ecotourism is touted as a tool to promote sustainable development and conservation of protected areas, unplanned developments have resulted in negative impacts to the natural and cultural environments on which they operate.  This study utilized concepts of sustainable tourism development together with information from the following four environmental standards to establish general guidelines for the development of ecotourism facilities in East Africa: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED 2.0), British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), ISO 14001, and Green globe 21.  The alternative technologies that can be used to address the problem of negative environmental and social-cultural impacts related to ecotourism developments were examined and organized to form the guidelines. The organization of the guidelines was based on the objectives of Agenda 21 on sustainable development, that basically emphasizes maintaining, and enhancing biodiversity, minimization of resource use, protecting nature, and increasing the safety and comfort of building occupants.

 

           


 

The Globalization of Nairobi, Kenya

Kefa M. Otiso, PhD

Bowling Green State University

School of Earth, Environment and Society,
Department of Geography Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-0217.
E-mail: kmotiso@bgsu.edu

 

Nairobi has globalized significantly in the past two decades in response to domestic and global economic, social, cultural and political forces.  In particular, the World Bank-IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programs of the 1980s and 1990s played an important role in liberalizing the economy of Kenya to the benefit of domestic and global capital.  As a result, Nairobi has witnessed significant development and reinforcement of its global trade, transport, communications, financial, and investment linkages since the 1980s due to greater tourist flows to Kenya and the ongoing concentration of multinational corporations, international NGOs, and UN agencies in the city.  Moreover, the city’s global distribution and consumption (and to some extent production) role has benefitted from (i) the increased emigration of Kenyans to richer countries and the subsequent increase in remittances, (ii) continuing regional political instability in East and Central Africa and the ensuing relocation of wealthy Somalis, Rwandese, & Congolese to the city and, (iii) the increasing role of Nairobi in aspects of the global underground economy.  Nevertheless, the city’s increased globalization has heightened its socioeconomic cleavages, with the local and global elite increasingly retreating to gated residential, office, commercial, and leisure spaces even as the relative deprivation of average Nairobians has increased; raising serious questions about city’s, and indeed Kenya’s, future social and political stability.  Besides these negative consequences, the paper also explores positive aspects of Nairobi’s globalization and ends with lessons for other globalizing Kenyan and African cities.

 

                

 

           


 

Content, Bandwidth & Development in the Age of the Internet

Matunda Nyanchama, PhD, CISSP

Principal, Agano Consulting Inc.

Email: Mnyanchama@aganoconsulting.com; matunda@matunda.org

 

The Internet has been part of Kenyan reality for close to 15 years. There are approximately 3 million Kenyans with Internet access. This number is expected to rise dramatically with the opening up of the country to affordable bandwidth with the planned completion of the SEACOM Optical Fibre Project in June 2009.  Affordable bandwidth would speed up communications, spur ecommerce and bring the region fully to the information age with its attendant benefits.This paper will address some of these benefits and risks associated with the coming of affordable Internet. Perils include increased gap between information haves and have-nots, given that most (up to 80%) of the Kenyan population lives in the rural areas with little or no access to electricity and cannot afford the cost of computing equipment and connectivity charges. Yet another hazard pertains to Internet content. To date, Africa’s contribution to Internet content is miniscule, leaving it as a net consumer in this respect. Much of today’s content is also undesirable and, by nature, polluting! Some studies suggest that pornography and gambling dominate Internet use. This paper will explore ways to jumpstart Internet content creation by countries such as Kenya. We will focus on areas of cultural content and means of its creation, both as a means of perpetuation of identity as well as a means of economic gain. We will present case studies from countries such as India and the United States of America and how cultural industries have made effective use of the Internet and allowed these countries to assert themselves globally. We will propose investment models for jumpstarting such cultural industries, again illustrating with experiences of others.

 

Keywords: cultural industries, Internet content, bandwidth, economic development.

 

           


 

Technology and Place of Diaspora in the New Kenya

Shem J. Ochuodho, MSc (EE), PhD, LLD (Hon)

Senior Advisor

Ministry of Telecommunication & Postal Services1

Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS)

Email: shemochuodho@yahoo.com

 

Kenya is at cross-roads. A country that hitherto befitted the term ‘pearl of Africa2’ is fast sliding into abyss. Some believe that unless decisive action is taken in time, Kenya could become a failed state. They contend that the signs are already there: impunity, rampant pilferage of resources, insecurity, breakdown of law and order, upswing of illegal vigilante groups, chronic nepotism, worsening inequality, joblessness, rampant poverty, widespread famine, hopelessness, etc. Yet Kenya is so strategic both regionally and globally that it should not dip further. After all, for many years, hasn’t she been the near-sole example of political stability and peace – an island of modern civilization? To its credit, Kenya has a very strong private sector and human capital, comparable to very few in Africa. It has vast natural resources, and relatively good weather. Its unwritten foreign policy has over the years earned her many friends, most among its neighbours. It has been envy to many emerging countries not only in peacekeeping, but also sports (especially athletics and cricket) and a supply-basket of skilled professionals and entrepreneurs. It is imperative that a way be found – urgently so – to reverse the tide. Two attributes have a major role to play: technology and the Diaspora. Many contend that Kenya’s slow but gradual slide is due to leadership poverty. In this paper, we assert that technology and Diaspora will not only help Kenya get back onto the path of growth and prosperity, but also inculcate good leadership.

 

Key words: Technology, Diaspora and Leadership.

 

 

           


 

Post-Moi era discourse patterns in Kenyan universities: a call for paradigm shift.

Alex Chege, PhD

Rhetoric and Composition

General Studies Writing Program, Bowling Green State University, Ohio

Email: cmwangi@bgnet.bgsu.edu

Phone: (office): 419-372-6842

 

The Kenyatta and Moi regimes in Kenya are known for their ruthless suppression of discourse, especially in higher education. Examples are galore of university lecturers and students who were harassed, arrested, detained without trial, and even some who died under suspicious circumstances for their perceived opposition to the political establishment. But, the same period, 70s, 80s, and to some extent the 90s, experienced the most vibrant engagement among intellectuals and university students in the socio-political issues affecting the country at the time. However, in a surprising turn of events, since the late 90’s, when democracy started taking root in the country following the return of political pluralism, the intelligentsia appear to have retreated, leaving the task of nurturing the nascent democracy to politicians, the media, the civil society, the clergy, and ordinary people. The silence is even more disturbing during the Kibaki regime, a time that one would have expected the intelligentsia to take advantage of the opened-up democratic space credited to the administration to join in the fight against the status quo—one that is characterized by tribalism, corruption, and economic inequalities. I argue that the Kenyan intelligentsia has a significant role to play in the fight for social change and that for this to happen a pedagogical and conceptual paradigm shift is imperative. 

 

           


 

Participatory HIV/AIDS education: Integration and Implementation of HIV/AIDS education in the curriculum: A Kenyan case Study

Wanjiru Maina

Email: Shirumaina@yahoo.com

&

Rachael Nyamai

Email: rkakinya@yahoo.com

Globally, the HIV and AIDS epidemic remains a major public health, social, economic and development challenge. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be disproportionately affected (UNAIDS 2006). HIV and AIDS threaten the achievement of key developmental goals, especially in Africa. Education ranks among the most effective and cost-effective means of HIV prevention. Therefore, most countries are making efforts to strengthen their education systems, which offer a window of hope to an AIDS free society. In Kenya HIV/AIDS education is taught in both primary and secondary schools. However studies conducted indicate that the implementation of the HIV/AIDS Curriculum in Kenya has remained problematic with some noting that the ‘integration and infusion’ approach where HIV/AIDS topics are included in other subjects is not effective. Other studies have noted that teachers themselves lack both the competences and commitment to teach these topics in an already over-crowded and examination-driven curriculum. The issues of training have also been noted as a problem as little or no training has been provided.  This paper is based on the findings A PhD study conducted in Kitui district in Kenya between July 2006 to March 2008. The study employed a participatory model of learning in HIV/AIDS education. Methods for data collection included observations, interviews with teachers, Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with students, and document analysis. The purpose of this study was to analyze the situation in regard to the implementation of the HIV/AIDS education in Kenyan schools. It also sought to find out the teaching approaches advocated for by the ministry of education, the levels of training of teachers to implement the HIV/AIDS curriculum and the approaches which were being used by teachers in the implementation of the curriculum.  In the presentation we will discuss from the analysis (i) The teaching of HIV/AIDS education in schools, (ii) Teachers’ levels of training and preparedness in handling the curriculum, (iii) Availability of teaching materials, (iv) Levels of interaction between pupils, teachers and parents, (v) The focus on sexual abstinence as opposed to comprehensive education and, (vi) Difficult areas of communication in HIV/AIDS education

 

           


 

Empowering and Mobilizing Kenyan Youth to be Productive Citizens: A Guide for Collaborative Action among Kenyans in Diaspora

Dr. Jerono P. Rotich*, Pastor. Sammy Ngetich*, Ms. Bellah Kiteki+, & Dr. Paul Ankomah*.

North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University*, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro+

 

Kenyan youth from all walks of life, ages and regions were active participants in the post election violence that erupted in 2007.  Most of these individuals were either forced to participate, obligated to protect themselves or to avenge the death of their parents/loved ones. Others simply got involved due to idleness and attractiveness to populist rhetoric of politicians. Many of the youth manned road blocks, looted shops, and committed atrocities. Others threatened the security and safety for many defenseless Kenyans.  Irrespective of whatever role the youth played in the ensuing violence, it is evident that Kenyan youth currently have limited opportunities and face challenges that if not timely addressed could lead to serious problems. Thus, there is an urgent need to redirect this currently untapped and wasteful youthful energy and momentum towards positive personal and community development. This presentation focuses on diaspora collaborative approaches that can educate, engage, prepare and provide support and opportunities for harnessing the youthful energies to make them useful citizens, true agents of peace and catalyst for development. This paper will share three preliminary diaspora initiated collaborative projects:  sports camp, fellowship and an international radio program delivered through Kass FM international. This paper used the Kenyan hearth (Jiko) with its three (3) cooking stones at its framework for developing the collaborative partnerships. Preliminary findings alluded to the importance of building positive youth/adult partnerships in this process cannot be stressed enough.

 

Key Words:  Kenyan Youth, Kenyans in Diaspora, Collaborative projects 

           


 

Novel carbamates for malaria vector control: Impact of recent developments and the future of insecticide use in malaria mosquito control.

James M. Mutunga1, Troy D. Anderson1, Joshua A. Hartsel2, Sally L. Paulson1, Dawn M. Wong, Paul R. Carlier2 and Jeffrey R. Bloomquist1.

Departments of Entomology1 and Chemistry2, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg VA 24061.

 

Kenya, and Africa in general, continues to suffer immensely from morbidity and mortality due to malaria.  Recently, there have been advances to mosquito control through integrated vector management (IVM).  Use of insecticides, an important component of IVM, has led to the reduction of malaria in Kenya and other African countries; an advance towards realizing the millennium development goals (MDGs). Despite such progress, lack of alternative insecticides for indoor residual sprays (IRS) and insecticide treated bednets (ITNs); coupled with insecticide resistance to pyrethroids, threatens chemical mosquito control.  Our research focus is to develop highly selective insecticides that might be used in parallel with pyrethroids.  Using mosquito acetylcholinesterase (AChE) protein homology modeling, we report the re-engineering of carbamates to increase selectivity and mitigate resistance development in Anopheles gambiae.  Anticholinesterase activities of each carbamate were evaluated for both human and mosquito AChEs and compared to those of propoxur (Baygon®, a WHO standard). We demonstrate novel carbamates of greater selectivity (>8000-fold) towards An. gambiae AChE, compared to 3-fold with propoxur.  We report both intrinsic and contact mosquito toxicity of these compounds and demonstrate comparable toxicities to that of conventional carbamates.  With such high levels of selectivity, potency and toxicity, these novel carbamates provide valuable leads to developing of alternative mosquitocides for use in insecticide treated bednets and indoor residual sprays.  Our findings are important in the search for new mosquito selective-insecticides that can be used in malaria control programs.

 

Key words: Malaria, anticholinesterases, selectivity

           


 

The Economic and Social role of the Co-Operative Movement in Kenya: Towards Stability and Profitability.

Henry Osando

Bowling Green State University

College of Education and Human Development

School of Intervention Services

Department of Rehabilitation Counseling

Email: hosando@bgnet.bgsu.edu

 

The economic and social role of the co-operative movement in the world is enormous. Co-operatives are the only enterprises that put people at the center of their business and not capital. They are defined in terms of three basic interests; ownership, control and beneficiary (vested in the hands of the user).  It is estimated that over 800 million people in the world are members of a cooperative, providing 100 million jobs, 20% more than multinational enterprises.  In 1994, United Nations estimated that the livelihood of nearly 3 billion of the world population was made secure by cooperative enterprise (ICA).  In Kenya, the cooperative movement’s contribution to economic and social needs of people for the last 100 years cannot be overemphasized.  The Cooperative movement is one of the nationally organized institutions available to all cadres of people.  There is the potential for its growth owing to member loyalty and government support.  However, the inadequate legislation (cooperative Society’s Act No.12, 1997) opened room for mismanagement of society’s assets coupled with lack of support from the then regime. The above and other factors weakened the cooperative movement which is the leading in Africa in terms of national Savings.  In 2003, the Ministry of Cooperative Development was re-established (after being scrapped) and the Cooperative Act (No.12, 1997) amended to strengthen supervision of the societies.  There are both external and internal threats facing these institutions which support directly and indirectly an estimated 63% of the Kenyan population.  However with the adoption of proper and viable strategies as discussed herein, the cooperative movement will regain its lost glory and return to profitability.  By putting Cooperative principles and ethics in practice, they promote solidarity and tolerance and create wealth.

Key words: Co-operative, the Act, national savings, beneficiary, principles, ministry

           


 

A Quantitative Analysis of the role of the U.S Media in Perpetuating Beliefs and Attitudes about Kenya and Africa in the United States

Dane Kiambi

Miami University

610 S. Locust St. #60

Oxford, OH 45056

Email: kiambidm@muohio.edu

Phone: (513) 593-0619

 

The role of U.S. media in perpetuating certain beliefs and attitudes about Kenya and Africa in America and the West is a disturbing phenomenon to many. While reporting on the 2007-2008 post election violence in Kenya, the U.S. media heightened the sensationalized reporting on Africa when TV stations like CNN choose to repeatedly run clips of dead bodies at the City Mortuary without caring to neither verify whether the dead were victims of the post election violence nor inform the viewers that what they were watching were file clips recorded a few weeks ago. As Kenya embarks on branding itself abroad, there is need to quantify the extent to which the style of news presentation in the West can make or break Kenya. Every time chaos breaks out home, the American news media will be there to gather the news in readiness to generalize Kenya as another “troubled spot.” An understanding of the impact that negative news has on Kenya in the West would jolt the Kenyan political class and citizenry to recognize that a calm, violence-free environment is key to building a long-lasting Kenyan brand abroad.  A study to examine the influence of print news was conducted on three groups of students at Miami University. With the available topoi supporting the argument that the style of reporting by the U.S. media perpetuates certain attitudes and beliefs about Africa, explanations can be arrived at to explain why the hypothesis – that there is a difference between those who read a positive and negative story – was not supported. Print news is unlikely to change the mind of a participant/ reader who grew up watching on TV emotion laden visual images of famine and war about Africa. The likelihood that such visual images have been ingrained in the mind of Americans is quite high.

 

Key words: Branding Kenya, U.S. media on Kenya, Beliefs and attitudes about Africa.

 

           


 

Telemedicine for Kenya

Sam Tombe

Email: tombesam@gmail.com

 

Creating a sharable patient information system for government and private hospitals in Kenya promises to be a key step in making high quality health care more readily available, accessible, affordable because such a system would support timely medical exams, patient consultations, disease diagnosis, and drug dispensing and provision of other medical procedures.  Moreover the collection, storage and sharing of telemedical data among specialists for medical assessment will greatly facilitate patient doctor interaction and disease management. Easily searchable records could speed up life saving care. Real time telemedicine through video-conferencing could facilitate delivery of clinical care to patients in remote facilities. Through specialized peripheral devices attached to computers or other video-conferencing equipment, interactive medical examinations and treatments could be administered remotely to patients who would otherwise be deprived of such services limiting their chances of survival.

A strategic investment to put in place a system geared towards achieving the above goals will consequently enable the country to maintain a healthy populace more cost-effectively in the long term because it facilitates the maximum use of limited healthcare services to save lives across the country. This will also put any nation in a strategic position to develop economically in this era of technological advancement. With the Kenya ICT board’s mission to place the country among the top ten global ICT hubs, there could be no better time to leverage the soon to be functional infrastructure right from its onset.

 

           


 

Reacculturation: Experiences of Kenyans relocating from the US at the end of their studies

Wairimu Wanjau Mutai, PhD, PC

Phone: 410 617 7609

Email: wwmutai@loyola.edu

 

This phenomenological study was aimed at the lived experiences of individuals who had studied in the US as international students and then relocated back to Kenya at the end of their studies. Its purpose was to better understand the process these individuals went through in planning to relocate and then living in this “new” culture. The researcher also sought to find out more on resources that had proved helpful (or not) to the participants in their encounters. All the participants had relocated to Kenya less than 5 years prior to this study being carried out. This was a qualitative study done using the phenomenological approach. The researcher interviewed 9 participants on their relocation experiences and sought common themes in their accounts. The goal was to better understand what experiences they had and what meaning they placed on these. Structured interviews were used in this process.

Several common themes were found in the participants’ accounts, including their struggle with reverse culture shock, the need for planning, and the need for modified support structures in Kenya. Implications of the findings on educators as well as the counseling field will be presented, along with implications of the study for current international students. Questions for further research will also be presented.

 

Key words: Relocation, Reverse culture shock, Re-acculturation

 

           


 

Perceptions of prospective and current Kenyan international students of international student life in the US

Wairimu Wanjau Mutai, PhD, PC

Phone: 410 617 7609

Email: wwmutai@loyola.edu

 

This study was set up to explore how current and prospective Kenyan international perceived international student life in the US to be. It was based on observations and prior studies that suggested a disconnect in the perceptions of the two groups.

Q methodology was utilized in this study. There were 40 participants, who were all Kenyans. Half of these were prospective international students still residing in Kenya at the time of the study, and planning to begin their studies in the US within 12 months of that time. The other half was made of current international students, who were in their first or second year of study. Brief semi-structured interviews were used with some participants to better understand the emergent factors. Four factors emerged from this study. It was interesting to note that only 2 of these were made up of purely one of the two groups. Information gleaned can be helpful for international student offices in their orientation process, as well as for prospective students’ planning to relocate. Current students may also find a normalizing factor in the results. Implications of the findings on educators as well as the counseling field will be presented, along with implications of the study for current international students. Questions for further research will also be presented.

 

Key words: International students, Kenya, Perceptions

           


 

Speaking our mother tongues: Gender, education and development among women’s groups in Kenya

Catherine Cutcher

Ph.D. Candidate

Department of Educational Studies

College of Education

Ohio University

Email: cutcher@ohio.edu

 

The purpose of this research is to analyze popular education and leadership development among grassroots women’s organizations in Kenya. From November 2007 - 2008, I engaged in ethnographic research among women’s organizations in the Nairobi, Taita and Lamu Districts of Kenya.  Data was collected through participant observation, focus groups, individual interviews, and document analysis.  Popular education is a field of growing concern among educators, activists, and others who call for informal education in the absence of effective schools.  The formal education of women and girls has been neglected in Africa due to cultural, political, and economic barriers.  Tensions have arisen between indigenous, Islamic, colonial, and contemporary educational systems.  Kenya reveals a 60% illiteracy rate among adult women. To respond to challenges facing their communities, Kenyan women must be educated and empowered to take action. Women’s organizations are uniquely placed to deliver popular education services. This project analyzes how women’s organizations preserve indigenous knowledge systems and work to educate rural and urban populations.   Women’s groups organize projects in literacy, business, finance, civic education, health, environmental restoration, sustainable development, peace, and gender equality. I seek to understand how women’s organizations build capacity in communities by raising the consciousness of ordinary citizens and enhancing their skills in problem-solving and collective action. By observing their processes of popular education, I analyze the contributions of women’s groups to social, political, economic, and environmental change in Kenya. 

 

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