The casualties of Kenya’s Garissa University College terror attack have risen to 147, according to media reports. The attack was carried by Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group.
The bodies of the guards of the university were found strewing near the university’s gate, reported the Daily National.
A police official at the location said, “There was a shootout between the attackers and police officers who were guarding the students’ hostels.”
“The attackers shot indiscriminately inside the university compound,” he added.
The Kenya Defence Force (KDF) and police have entered the university’s compound to rescue the injured. Moreover, the students who were seriously injured were flown to Nairobi for the further treatment.
“One of the attackers had been arrested as he tried to flee from the scene,” tweeted an official from Kenya’s interior ministry
When she woke up one morning in February, Catherine Kagendo realized that one of her cows could not stand.
“It was lying on its side, had lost its appetite and was breathing heavily,” she told Reuters from her farm in Meru, in eastern Kenya.
With her husband, she decided to turn to WeFarm, a text-based network of small-scale farmers, for help.
Within an hour, their text — “one of my lactating cows cannot stand” — generated a flurry of suggestions, from “feed your cow with minerals rich in calcium” to “make sure the cow shed is clean and well-drained so the animals don’t slip.”
“I realized our cow had milk fever, so gave it calcium-rich feed and it was standing again within hours,” Kagendo explained.
She is one of many Kenyan small-scale farmers who lack good information — mostly due to a lack of internet access — on how to manage problems from dry spells to diseases, local farm experts say.
As a result, such farmers often lose their harvest or animals, they said.
But WeFarm, a farmers’ network launched in Kenya in 2014 and more recently expanded to Uganda and Peru, allows people to ask a question by text message and receive advice from their peers.
The service, whose Scottish co-founder Kenny Ewan describes it as “the internet for people with no internet,” is free to use and only requires a mobile phone.
Farmers text questions to a local number, and WeFarm transmits the message to users with similar interests in the area, tapping into their knowledge.
“We want farmers to get answers to their problems without needing to access the internet, so the information is available to all,” said Mwinyi Bwika, head of marketing at WeFarm.
Although the platform also exists online, over 95 percent of users choose to use it offline, he said.
Kagendo said that when her animals were ill or her maize crops too dry, she used to have to hire an extension officer to help solve the problem.
“But we had to pay a fee ranging from 500 to 2,000 Kenyan shillings ($5-$20), and most of the time the officer didn’t even explain their diagnosis,” she said.
That cut into her family’s income and left them no better able to understand the diseases facing their cattle and their crops.
“We cannot even afford a smartphone to go online, so finding credible information was near impossible,” she said.
According to Bwika, small-scale farmers often lack the information they need because of a lack of cash — most live on less than a dollar a day — as well as poor internet connection and low literacy levels.
“Ewan realized that farmers living just a few miles from each other were facing the same challenges, but with no way to communicate about them. So, he created a platform to connect them,” Bwika said.
Joseph Kinyua, another farmer from Meru who grows vegetables, said he spends at least 30 minutes per day using WeFarm.
“It’s taught me anything from using pest control traps to ensuring that my sprinklers don’t put out too much water,” he said. “And I know the methods are proven and tested by other farmers.”
The knowledge has helped improve the quality of the kale he grows, he said, enough that “I can now sell a kilo at the market at 70 shillings [$0.70] compared to 50 [$0.50] previously.”
While the platform might receive dozens of replies to a question, it only sends out to the user a selection of answers judged correct, Bwika said.
But it uses the questions and advice received to help track disease outbreaks or extreme weather spells, and shares those insights with governments and non-governmental organizations, Bwika said.
“In doing so, we hope to prevent disease outbreaks and track problems before they occur,” he said.
Not everyone shares this optimism, however.
Mary Nkatha, a farmer from Meru, said she found it hard to implement some of the recommendations she received from WeFarm without the practical guidance of an expert.
“If I am told to inject my cow with something, how do I make sure I do it in the right place? And where do I find the equipment?” she asked.
Fredrick Ochido, a Kenya-based consultant on dairy farming, also worries that the platform may be entrenching farmers’ poor use of technology, rather than helping them keep up with new trends.
The WeFarm platform has over 100,000 current users in Kenya, Uganda and Peru, and its operators hopes to reach one million farmers in the next year. They also aim to expand the effort to other countries, including Tanzania. (VOA)
The score is a combined measure of respondents in 139 countries who were asked whether they had given money to a good cause, volunteered their time and helped a stranger
Globally, donating money and helping a stranger fell by nearly 2 percent
Myanmar held the top position of the World Giving Index as the most generous country
New York, USA, September 6, 2017: The world’s poorest continent continued to grow more generous according to a yearly index of charitable giving called World Giving Index released on Tuesday, bucking the trend of otherwise declining signs of charity worldwide.
Africa was in a 2016 survey the only continent to report a continent-wide increase of its index generosity score when compared to its five-year average.
The score is a combined measure of respondents in 139 countries who were asked whether they had given money to a good cause, volunteered their time and helped a stranger.
“Despite the many challenges our continent is facing, it is encouraging to see that generosity continues to grow,” said Gill Bates, Southern Africa’s CEO for the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) that commissioned the poll.
Numbers for donating money dip
But globally, donating money and helping a stranger fell by nearly 2 percent, while volunteering dropped about 1 percent, the index showed.
From the United States to Switzerland and Singapore to Denmark, the index showed that the planet’s 10 richest countries by GDP per capita, for which data was available, saw declines in their generosity index score.
Myanmar leads the world
Myanmar, for the fourth consecutive year, held the top position of the World Giving Index as the most generous country.
Nine in ten of those surveyed in the Southeast Asian nation said they had donated money during the previous month.
Indonesia ranked second on the combined measure of generosity, overtaking the United States which held that position in last year’s index.
Big jump for Kenya
A star performer, CAF said, was the East African nation of Kenya, which jumped from twelfth to third place in a single year.
Yemen, the Middle East’s poorest country, which has been grappling with the effects of civil war ranked bottom of the World Giving Index.
The index is primarily based on data from a global poll of 146,000 respondents by market research firm Gallup. (VOA)
Indian Kenyans are now officially recognized as the 44th tribe in the country
The community has gone through major hurdles in the many years of its presence
In the political and social spheres, the Indian Kenyans were never considered an important part of the country to uplift
New Delhi, July 26, 2017: Indian Kenyans community has been recognized as the 44th tribe in the country. But the people have had to wait and fight a long battle to earn it.
Signs of Indian Diaspora in Kenya can be traced back to 17th century. The migration of labor from India to Kenya during the British Empire’s conquests was in considerable numbers. After the emergence of nationalism, Indians were part of the freedom struggle for Kenya.
Sana Aiyar, a historian, estimates that 2% of the total population was Indian diaspora at the time of Independence of Kenya. They were employed in sectors like wholesale and manufacture. More Indians were concentrated in the capital, Nairobi, estimated at 30% of the total.
Indians poured into Kenya in various professions. Punjabis served as labor for construction of railways in the country. Gujaratis established businesses and became prominent in the markets. Many Indians also came to East Africa to serve the British Army.
Soon, the presence of Indians and Europeans led to the formation of a social heirarchy wherein the Europeans acquired the top of the pyramid, Indians/ Asians at the middle while the native people were left at the bottom.
But Indians were not given political representation. For a long period of time, having been faithful and passionate for Kenya, Indians were not acknowledged. While Indians of Kenyan descent considered their individual identity more closely associated with Kenyan culture, they remained invisible to the governments. In the political as well as social life, Indian Kenyans were never recognized as an integral part of society at large.
Quoted in the New York Times report, Kenyan Parliament’s First Asian descent member said that despite enjoying the economic life in Kenya, Indian Kenyans are excluded from the political and social life.
[bctt tweet=”Signs of Indian Diaspora in Kenya can be traced back to 17th century.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]
Now officially recognized as the 44th tribe of the country, Indian Kenyans can now have a confident sense of identity and get accultured with the Kenyans more comfortably. With the recognition, Indian diaspora’s effort in independence and nation-building has been accepted.
– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394