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The future face of climate change on Earth day

The future face of climate change does not look pretty especially when the most sang carbon price climate change policies are not doing as much as they had promised. The European Union is silent despite the fact that the carbon price has fallen to 3 euros per tonne as Australia is on their carbon emissions. In the developing countries that are implementing programs like REDD this means that they ail end up doing much than the developed countries– cost wise. Their opportunity cost is higher. If the carbon price remains low, the emissions will continue and the developing countries will soon realise they are paying a higher cost from not deforesting. This means that the face of future climate change is more likely to be uglier than it is now.

 

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Happy women’s day 2013

Being a woman is a wonderful thing. It is challenging and mostly feels as if someone is telling a bad story from the end to the beginning. Yesterday I was in a debate of what feminism is and whether some women are feminist even if they don’t know it yet. It just downed on me that it will be a long time before we talk about women’s issues without the association they evoke to feminism. Feminism has outlived its purpose and I think it is time to move on.

Today more than ever the inequality between men and women is hidden in so many spheres of life that just talking about jobs, income and glass ceiling is not enough. There is an opportunity for women to include themselves in much more than the outcomes of policies, technologies and debates. Women should be involved  in the process, in the trial and error and often discouraging processes of day-to-day lives that has positive results.  Women see things differently and if they brought these differences to develop their communities,  probably so much would be achieved with less. Women and men need to have opportunities to change their communities and bring policy reforms in their communities but as it is there is still a big gap. Empowering women and including them in policy making is a good start.

To all the women - Happy women's day. Your achievements and struggles are appreciated.
To all the women – Happy women’s day. Your achievements and struggles are appreciated.

 

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World Toilet Day -The relationship between clean water, sanitation and health

I couldn’t believe it when someone posted on Facebook ”Today is World Toilet Day. Who came up with that? Don’t we have enough days off the calendar already?”. Maybe it is because water and sanitation is what you would call my sector of interest. If we do not address inadequate  sanitation  especially in the developing countries, we will continue to lag behind in meeting all the other development goals. Sanitation affects health, productivity, environment, equity and education among others. The measure of a country’s development can be measured by the health of its population and sanitation plays a major role in determining the health of a population.

 

According to the World Health Organisation, about 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to improved water supply sources and 2.4 billion people do not have access to any type of improved sanitation facility. A total of 3.5 billion people- half of the world’s population. The most affected people are in the developing countries particularly South Asia, East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The United Nations notes that lack of access to water and adequate sanitation falls heavily on girls and women and marginalized populations such as slum dwellers, women, children and the disabled. If you are a woman and you are poor, this is a double tragedy and triple tragedy  if you live in the informal settlements.

Lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation effects on health are hefty. Studies have shown that lack of sanitation contribute to up to 10% of the global disease burden. Water and sanitation related diseases can be categorised as follows: waterborne caused by the ingestion of water contaminated by human or animal excreta; water-based caused by parasites; water related caused by microorganisms with life cycles dependent on water sources; water collection and storage caused by contamination that occurs during or after collection; and toxin-related caused by toxic bacteria linked to eutrophication of surface-water bodies. Disease causing pathogens (disease-causing organisms) associated with lack of clean water and adequate sanitation includes: viruses, bacteria, protozoa and parasitic worms. These pathogens are responsible for the transmission of diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, cholera and hepatitis A.

There are over 4 billion cases of diarrhea each year resulting into 2.2 million deaths and representing 15% of all under the age of five child deaths in developing world as a result of lack of clean water and responsible. Diarrheal diseases can solely be prevented by providing clean water, adequate sewage disposal services, hygiene and health education (WHO 2011). In addition lack of clean water and inadequate sewage disposal has been associated with increased lower respiratory tract infections (LRI) among young children. Increasing provision of clean water and adequate sanitation can reduce LRI burden on the society. In addition to the diseases that are transmitted through faecal oral transmission, polluted water can also contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. These heavy metals can be toxic to humans depending on their concentration and duration of exposure. Therefore, clean water and adequate sanitation provision in a country can reduce child mortality, improve women’s health especially maternal health and reduce the disease burden of infectious diseases. Globally,  the economic benefits accrued from investment in water and sanitation have been estimated by the WHO as US$7 billion savings a year by  health agencies and US$340 million savings by individuals. Time savings and value of deaths averted from providing convenient drinking water and sanitation services could be used to fund other development infrastructure.

I hope next year more people will celebrate the World Toilet Day more hopeful that sanitation is not lagging so behind after the Millennium Development Goals goal on water has been reached as the current state indicates.

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International Women’s Day 2011

Each year around the world, the March 8th marks an important day not just for the women but for the whole society. March 8th is the International Women’s Day (IWD). March is set aside to mark the achievements of women around the world. Organizations, governments and women’s groups take part by choosing different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues. It is completely up to each country and group as to what appropriate theme they select.

http://www.internationalwomensday.com

Today I spent my International Women’s Day working really hard and taking time to reflect on different issues that I consider important to me as a woman.

I reflected a lot on the UN’s theme of Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women. It reminds me of a very lively discussion I had sometime back about involvement of women in development and the use of Master Suppression Techniques as identified by Professor Berit Ås, Norway. It is a technique used by people higher up in hierarchies to keep others, particularly women, in inferior positions.

As a communication and public relations practitioner working in environmental sanitation, I find a lot of promising opportunities to empower women. For example, echoing the conclusion of the sanitation actors’ gender training workshop organized by SEI in Stockholm, in sanitation projects, women can be encouraged to take leadership roles and play a greater part in decision-making. However, many needed changes in norms and attitudes may be more effectively addressed through activities beyond sanitation sector interventions, including income-generation activities and training to enhance independence and self-esteem.
Equal access to education, training and science and technology is indeed a pathway to decent work.

I have been going around the country mapping Civil Society Organizations work in urban development in Kenya and I see all these opportunities in all the sectors and I am particularly encouraged by the women who have dared to empower their communities and create a new generation of all-rounder-women.

It is not the strength but the will to do more; to be a better in their workplaces, in their homes and in their societies.

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Thankful on my birthday

As I celebrate my birthday today, I reflect on all the blessings in my life.

I have so many things to thank God for. I thank God for his goodness to me, I am thankful for my family, my friends, my colleagues and a whole lot of people who have come to my rescue without me even knowing it.

I am thankful for all the wonderful things in my life, I am thankful for everything I have. I am thankful for health, for clean water, for food that I never lack, for all the fun I have.

I am thankful for all the hard times I have been through because they have made me closer to God, they have strengthened me and helped me to appreciate that I am human and that suffering is part of life.

I am super thankful for all the opportunities to improve myself, for the knowledge and wisdom. I am thankful for the conscience and for my parents and all those who taught me to differentiate between the right and the wrong.

I am thankful for my faith because even when there is no reason to believe I still believe and hope. It is a grace and I am super thankful for it. Faith is the engine that drives my life and I thank God for it.

I thank God for the passion I have for children.

I pray that I may grow in God’s  faith, hope, and love.

I am thankful for everything

I need no life-changing fortune

To be grateful for what I have

No need to pursue happiness

When for my simple life I am glad

To be thankful for what is and accept what cannot be

To realise that in illness and infirmity

There is someone worse-off than me

I need no huge sum of money; no luxury yacht

To feel successful, victorious and proud of what I’ve got

The love of friends and family make me feel so incredibly blessed

Not having wealth or richness is no reason to be depressed

I need no gems or luxuries to feel good inside

A spiritual uplift I can get just being in the countryside

My wealth lies in the love around me and my spirituality

My wealth lies in my gratitude for the life God has given me

I watch with awe and wonder, a world with so much to offer

I am grateful for my ability to be of help to others

No comparisons I will make of my life with yours

When the time is right for me, God will open up new doors

Fate has dealt me this hand for which I am most grateful

How could I be unappreciative with so many reasons to be thankful?

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Awe-inspiring moment

Barely a month since I attended the world breaking global hand washing day that almost broke me with fatigue but it was the most awe-inspiring thing I have done so far in the water and sanitation sector.

I can still feel that the children filled with energy and excitement all around me- about the day’s events. The total number of the people was 19,352 among them being 18, 302 children surpassing the current 15,000 people record set in 2009 in India.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBnx3rR4Tf0

Awe-inspiring excitement
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New Guiness World Record; Every Hand counts

I am planning to celebrate this year’s Global Handwashing Day(15th October 2010) by being part of the team that is attempting to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the Most Number of People Washing Hands at a Single Location.

I am part of the team organizing for 20,000 people to wash their hands at a single location.

The Global Handwashing Day is a campaign to motivate and mobilize millions around the world to wash their hands with soap. The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of hand washing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention. The Global Hand washing Day is celebrated on October 15. The first Global Handwashing Day took place on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 when the UN General Assembly designated 2008 the International Year of Sanitation, and it has been celebrated ever since.

Hygiene, sanitation, and water are pillars of development and a large-scale increase in the practice of hand washing with soap would make a significant contribution to meeting the Millennium Development Goal 5: reducing deaths among children under five by two-thirds by 2015. Handwashing has both health and education impact because it prevents diseases, is cost effective and can mean more school days for children.

Clean Hands Save lives- A life that could be yours or your child’s.

Every hand counts!