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Archive for March 4th, 2012

Women in Kenyan Dump Use Garbage to Create Money-Making Art

Posted by Administrator on March 4, 2012

Chairwoman Lucy Wambui Mwangi

Chairwoman Lucy Wambui Mwangi

A women’s group living in a Kenyan trash dump is on the verge of setting up a European market to sell the crafts they produce from mounds of steaming, stinking garbage. The Menyore Women’s Group has been performing magic for 16 years by turning garbage into works of art. And the proceeds have opened the door to education for their children.

Chairwoman Lucy Wambui Mwangi says It is an honorable life that she highly recommends. “We are very happy to recycle. Some of the women wait for their husbands to support them and some women go to the bar, drink, and do immoral things. I raised five children and have grandchildren — I am so happy when they visit me. In society, we are recycling — we are turning bad things into good things, and we thank God for that,” she said. Mwangi and her 29 colleagues live in this sprawling garbage dump on the outskirts of the Kenyan town of Nakuru. This morning, she and her team pick out nuggets of gold: mostly polythene bags and detergent packages. They return to their compound and begin scrubbing the materials they will use to make their various curios. The women then fold, twist, cut, roll, knot and weave the cleaned trash into a wide variety of shapes and colors. Chairwoman Mwangi describes their creative process. “We work based on colors most of the time. We choose colors that white people from abroad like, so we base everything on color. White people like certain colors. We choose things that are very beautiful, that we think they can like.” The women sell most of their products in their compound to tourists who visit the dumpsite. There are also outlets in Nakuru and South Africa. Mike Brawan is a nominated councilor in Nakuru and founder of a church here. He worked with the women to launch the group in 1995. “The place has a lot of diseases and sicknesses and the life span over there is very, very short. So I thought we can do something with them that can bring some income rather than them just being there and being beggars.” He says the next step is for the women to go international. “When I go to Britain I can carry a bag full of necklaces, and now we are getting a market over there, that is willing to open a small market, which we can start selling those necklaces and those bags, and the money can come straight-away to the women and change their life,” Brawan stated. Brawan says the business has funded hundreds of dumpsite children to attend primary school. Almost 40 study in secondary schools and one is a student at the University of Nairobi, a feat Brawan calls a “big, big blessing.”

Watch Video here: http://www.voanews.com/templates/widgetDisplay.html?id=139515888&player=article

Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/east/Women-in-Kenyan-Dump-Use-Garbage-to-Create-Money-Making-Art-139515733.html

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Kenyans in diaspora have the right to vote

Posted by Administrator on March 4, 2012

By Samuel Kivuitu

It is commendable to note the concern shown for Kenyans in diaspora. They have always been entitled to register as voters and to vote, but do so within Kenya for reasons which politicians know.

It is encouraging to read about the efforts been made to enable them to realise this dream.

The only hitch is that these efforts are not being done by an independent and responsible body but by a Government ministry or ministries with presidential candidates.

That does not correspond with the Constitution nor can it be welcome to election candidates who are outside the Government circles. Besides, these Kenyans are not the only ones who are disadvantaged during election.

And yet the kind gusto with which their election fate is being pushed may be detrimental to these other groups.

During national elections many police officers are engaged in guarding the election equipment, materials and officials. Others provide necessary security for the exercise. This they do in areas where they are not registered as voters.

As a result they never vote. Same fate befalls the military personnel who are never likely to be at the right places to vote. Even the election officials, especially, the returning officers, their deputies and assistants, and with the new IEBC’s practice, the presiding officers. The total numbers of these groups run to more than 100,000 voters. But, even if they were fewer, the Constitution and the laws demand that they be facilitated to vote.

Besides those officials there are others who have to be provided for.

These are, for example, those who most travel out of the country on the Election Day, the sick in hospitals, the prisoners and the nomadic communities who, for legitimate reasons, cannot possibly be at their registered polling stations. It must also be observes that it is time we made it easy (simple) for voters with disabilities e.g. the blind and deaf to cast their votes in a manner which is conducive to their conditions or state.

The diaspora vote may be attractive on account of the numbers. But these poor localised Kenyans have a right to vote. It is not negotiable. Indeed, whereby for the diaspora Kenyans, the voting window is required to be opened progressively, thus allowing for flexibility and option, the rights of these others is absolute.

Mr Kivuitu is former chairman of the Electoral Commission of Kenya

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