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Jun 18, 2024 at 09:00AM
The University of Nairobi’s new chancellor says the continent has vast potential – but to realise the promise of AI and green jobs, rich countries must honour their commitmentsAfrica has all the potential to meet pressing climate challenges with innovative solutions, according to one of the world’s renowned environmentalists. With its vast natural capital and youthful population, “this is Africa’s century,” according to Prof Patrick Verkooijen, chief executive of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), and the new chancellor of the University of Nairobi.But Verkooijen emphasises that support and investment from the global north is essential, highlighting that 65% of the world’s uncultivated land is in Africa, a continent with immense promise in its population, set to make up one in four people globally by 2050. Continue reading...
Jun 17, 2024 at 08:00AM
Unease and anger are rising over proposals to build country’s first facility on Kilifi coast, home to white sand beaches, coral reefs and mangrove swamps Kilifi County’s white sandy beaches have made it one of Kenya’s most popular tourist destinations. Hotels and beach bars line the 165 mile-long (265km) coast; fishers supply the district’s restaurants with fresh seafood; and visitors spend their days boating, snorkelling around coral reefs or bird watching in dense mangrove forests.Soon, this idyllic coastline will host Kenya’s first nuclear plant, as the country, like its east African neighbour Uganda, pushes forward with atomic energy plans. Continue reading...
Jun 05, 2024 at 08:00AM
Sickle cell is an agonising blood disease that kills thousands of children each year in Africa. As a ‘sickler’ in my 30s, I’m one of the lucky onesIn my first year of high school, a girl called Barbara Diero and I were often mistaken for sisters. We had similar features: tall, slender and dark-skinned, with matching hairstyles. Both of us also bore the burden of sickle cell disease, which forged a deeper bond.The disease manifested differently in each of us. Barbara suffered painful leg ulcers and slower speech and movement, while my symptoms were less conspicuous. “We will fight this,” I’d tell her, and she would smile her beautiful, infectious smile, which would become a cherished memory. Continue reading...
May 28, 2024 at 09:40PM
British soldiers stationed in Kenya have been accused of rights violations and offences including murderKenya has launched public hearings into allegations of human rights violations and abuses of power by British troops based in the former colony.The British Army Training Unit Kenya (Batuk) is an economic lifeline for many in the central town of Nanyuki, where it maintains a permanent base, but soldiers stationed there have also been accused of committing offences including murder. Continue reading...
May 26, 2024 at 04:00PM
Lilian Seenoi-Barr, who arrived from Kenya in 2010, will make history when she receives chain of office in DerryLilian Seenoi-Barr will make history on 3 June when she receives the chain of office at Derry’s guildhall and becomes Northern Ireland’s first black mayor.It will be the culmination of a personal and political journey that began in 2010 when she arrived as a refugee from Kenya and became part of the region’s growing multi-ethnic identity. Continue reading...
May 24, 2024 at 08:20PM
Missouri state representative Ben Baker’s daughter and her husband were reportedly ambushed when leaving a churchThe daughter and son-in-law of a US Republican politician are among three Christian missionaries who have been killed by gang members in Haiti as it emerged that the long-awaited deployment of an multinational security force tasked with rescuing the Caribbean country from months of bloodshed had been delayed.Ben Baker, a Republican state representative from Missouri, announced the news of the couple’s murder on Facebook late on Thursday, writing: “My heart is broken in a thousand pieces. I’ve never felt this kind of pain.” Continue reading...
May 21, 2024 at 09:04PM
An advance group of Kenyan officers, part of a larger UN-backed ‘support mission’ to stabilize Haiti, landed in Port-au-PrinceKenyan special forces police who have spent time battling al-Shabaab fighters in east Africa are expected to arrive in Haiti in the coming days, as the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, warned the Caribbean country was “on the precipice of becoming an all-out failed state”.A small advance group of Kenyan officers – part of a larger UN-backed “multinational security support mission” designed to stabilize Haiti after months of mayhem – landed in the capital, Port-au-Prince, late on Monday as the city’s airport reopened nearly three months after a gang uprising forced it to close. Continue reading...
May 21, 2024 at 07:00AM
Every year, hundreds of Kenyans head off to study at elite universities in the US and UK. On graduating, many find themselves in a strange position: unable to fit in abroad, but no longer feeling like they belong back homeIt was 30 December and the girls were all in Kilifi. Bottles on the table, music piping through a speaker, the beach and the Indian Ocean less than 200 metres away from the villa. Some of the girls had partied together in New York and Miami and Ibiza, and now they were on the Kenyan coast.Like thousands of other young people across Africa who belong to a very specific social class, they had attended top universities in the UK and the US. After graduation, some had gone back to their countries and walked into fancy jobs in finance or consulting. Others had stayed abroad and lived in London, New York, Paris and the world’s other financial centres. Every December, they would go back home to visit. Continue reading...
May 07, 2024 at 11:00AM
People living in Nairobi’s Mathare slum fear that if catastrophic flooding does not bring down their homes, the government will Jane Kalekye trudges through the narrow muddy alley to her tin-roof house in Mathare, one of Kenya’s largest slums. Ever since the devastating floods that forced her out of her home last month, she and other residents who live by the rubbish-choked Mathare River, which runs through their area of Nairobi, have begun an anxious countdown.It is only a matter of time before their homes are brought down, they say, either by another bout of flooding, or by the government’s ongoing demolition of houses along riverbanks prone to flooding. Continue reading...
May 07, 2024 at 07:00AM
With the world’s humanitarian system in crisis, many NGOs now recognise that local charities can deliver much more at far less costBefore civil war engulfed her Ethiopian home region of Tigray in 2020, Tsega Girma was a prosperous trader who sold stationery and other goods. But when hungry children displaced by the conflict started appearing in the streets, she sold everything and used the proceeds to buy them food.After that money dried up, Tsega appealed to Tigray’s diaspora for donations. At the height of the war, her Emahoy Tsega Girma Charity Foundation provided meals to 24,000 children a day. Continue reading...
May 06, 2024 at 10:00AM
Martin Kanja, AKA Lord Spikeheart, covers everything from colonialism to his grandmother in music that mixes African culture with metal. He hopes to help more artists like him break throughAs a teenager, Martin Kanja spent countless late nights listening to heavy metal on a local radio show. The furious riffs, shrieks, growls and distorted sounds drowned out his angst. “What drew me to the music was how it was so ‘physical’ – very present, very now – there was no space for negative thoughts or feelings,” says Kanja, who soon decided he too wanted to be a metal artist.In 2010, when he was 19, he left his home town in Kenya’s midwestern city Nakuru for the capital, Nairobi, figuring it was his best bet for a foothold in the underground scene. Continue reading...
May 01, 2024 at 09:16PM
Kenya Red Cross rescues more than 90 people from hotels and lodges as heavy rainfall continuesScores of tourists have been evacuated by air from Kenya’s Maasai Mara national reserve after more than a dozen hotels, lodges and camps were flooded as heavy rains battered the country.Tourist accommodation facilities were submerged after a river in the Maasai Mara broke its banks on Wednesday morning. The reserve, in south-west Kenya, is a popular tourist destination because it features the annual wildebeest migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Continue reading...
Apr 29, 2024 at 09:03PM
In Kenya's southern town of Mai Mahiu, a dam burst its banks, killing at least 42 people, authorities said. There has been heavy rain across east Africa driven by El Niño, a naturally occurring climate pattern usually associated with increased heat worldwide. Kenya's government has said almost 200,000 people have been displaced and at least 100 people killed since March. Neighbouring Tanzania has also been affectedDozens of people killed as dam bursts in Kenya Continue reading...
Apr 29, 2024 at 04:18PM
Houses washed away and road cut off as dam collapses amid heavy rains and floods across countryAt least 45 people died when a makeshift dam burst its banks near a southern town in Kenya’s Rift valley in the early hours of Monday, police said, as torrential rains and floods hit the country.The disaster raises the total death toll over the March-May wet season in Kenya to more than 100, as heavier-than-usual rainfall pounds east Africa, compounded by El Niño weather pattern. Continue reading...
Apr 27, 2024 at 06:35PM
Total deaths reach 76 and more than 130,000 displaced as weeks of flooding also affects east African neighboursSeventy-six people in Kenya have died because of flooding triggered by torrential downpours since March, the government has said, warning residents “to brace for even heavier rainfall”.Kenya and its east African neighbours have been battered by stronger than usual rain in recent weeks, compounded by the El Niño weather system. Continue reading...
Apr 19, 2024 at 11:00AM
The national blood deficit is most pressing in places like Turkana, where malaria, anaemia and violence make heavy demands on transfusion services – and doctors are pinning their hopes on innovationIn his small cubicle in Lodwar County referral hospital in north-west Kenya, Edward Mutebi, the technician in charge of the hospital’s blood bank, greets a nurse from the maternity ward. “We want more blood,” the nurse says. “The previous allocation was not enough.”Mutebi dashes into an adjacent room and hands the nurse a pack of blood from a freezer, leaving the paperwork for later. Back at the maternity ward, it is a race against time as doctors try to stabilise a mother who has lost too much blood during delivery. Her haemoglobin level is dangerously low. Continue reading...
Apr 16, 2024 at 01:43PM
Workers in Africa have been exploited first by being paid a pittance to help make chatbots, then by having their own words become AI-ese. Plus, new AI gadgets are coming for your smartphones• Don’t get TechScape delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the full article hereWe’re witnessing the birth of AI-ese, and it’s not what anyone could have guessed. Let’s delve deeper.If you’ve spent enough time using AI assistants, you’ll have noticed a certain quality to the responses generated. Without a concerted effort to break the systems out of their default register, the text they spit out is, while grammatically and semantically sound, ineffably generated.The images pop up in Mophat Okinyi’s mind when he’s alone, or when he’s about to sleep. Okinyi, a former content moderator for OpenAI’s ChatGPT in Nairobi, Kenya, is one of four people in that role who have filed a petition to the Kenyan government calling for an investigation into what they describe as exploitative conditions for contractors reviewing the content that powers artificial intelligence programs. Continue reading...
Apr 10, 2024 at 01:00PM
Despite criticism for the use of potentially harmful chemicals, companies are still selling the products around the worldIt was just before Christmas, and eight-year-old Gloria Moraa sat holding a mirror as her aunt painted her curls with chemicals that would straighten every strand. “All the young girls would get matching hairstyles for the holidays, and relaxers were fashionable back then,’’ says Moraa, now 28, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya.She no longer straightens her hair because she thought it was starting to thin. But over the years, Moraa used almost every relaxer on the market, with one goal: making her coily hair silky. The ingredients didn’t matter. Continue reading...
Apr 03, 2024 at 03:00PM
Amid alarming rates of the illness, many living with it are seen as cursed. Now these myths are being challengedCourage Vidzengsi had her first epileptic seizure when she was eight. Jerking uncontrollably, she bit her tongue and fell to the ground at the children’s recreation centre. As her seizures became more frequent, her family took her from their home in the city of Bamenda back to her family’s village in Cameroon’s Northwest Region.There they saw a traditional healer, known as a “Gambé man”, who would “cleanse” the young girl. Continue reading...
Apr 03, 2024 at 08:00AM
I’m working to help vulnerable women in my home country of Kenya, but millions around the world face deep-rooted injusticesIn February, Asenath Rotich became a widow, after the death of her partner, marathon runner and world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, in a road accident. Unlike the majority of more than 8 million widows in Kenya, Rotich’s future is being provided for. The government has built her a house and is working to secure a job for her so she can care for her two children.In contrast, consider the recent case of Silvia that was shared with me by a community radio journalist. Silvia is a 39-year-old widow with five children, whose home in Siaya County was demolished during a land ownership dispute. Despite widespread media coverage and public outcry, justice remains elusive for her. Continue reading...

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