Peter Tabichi gives away 80 percent of his salary to support poor students [Jon Gambrell/AP]
A maths and physics teacher from a secondary school in a remote village in Kenya’s Rift Valley has won the $1m Global Teacher Prize for 2019, organisers have said.
Peter Tabichi, who is giving away 80 percent of his salary to support poor students, received the prize at a ceremony on Saturday in Dubai, hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman.
“Every day in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter … This prize does not recognise me but recognises this great continent’s young people. I am only here because of what my students have achieved,” Tabichi said.
“This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything,” he added after beating nine finalists from around the world to claim the award.
The Dubai-based Varkey Foundation, which organises the event and handed out the prize for the fifth time, praised Tabichi’s “dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his students’ talent”.
All this combined, it said in a statement, “has led his poorly-resource school in remote rural Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions”.
Tabichi, 36, teaches at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani village, in a remote, semi-arid part of Kenya’s Rift Valley, where drought and famine are frequent.
Around 95 percent of the school’s pupils “hail from poor families, almost a third are orphans or have only one parent, and many go without food at home,” the statement added.
“Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common,” the statement read.
To get to school, some students have to walk 7km along roads that become impassable during the rainy season.
The school, with a student-teacher ratio of 58 to 1, has only one desktop computer for the pupils and poor internet, but despite that Tabichi “uses ICT in 80 percent of his lessons to engage students”, the foundation said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Tabichi in a video message, saying “your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent”.
Dr Natalia Kanem, Chief of UNFPA, “We are steadfastly committed to our three goals: Zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and the elimination of harmful practices including violence that affect women and girls”. Credit: UNFPA Tanzania
By Siddharth Chatterjee
NAIROBI, Kenya, Teenage pregnancy in Kenya is a crisis of hope, education and opportunity.
The New Year has begun. Can 2019 be a year of affirmative action to ensure hope and opportunity for Kenya’s adolescent girl?
Consider this. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says that when a young adolescent girl is not married during her childhood, is not forced to leave school nor exposed to pregnancies, when she is not high risk of illness and death nor suffering maternal morbidities, when she is not exposed to informal work, insecurity and displacement; and is not drawn into an insecure old age-she becomes an asset for a country’s potential to seize the demographic dividend.
So what is the demographic dividend?
It means when a household has fewer children that they need to take care of, and a larger number of people have decent jobs, the household can save and invest more money. Better nutrition, education and opportunities and more disposable income at the household level. When this happens on a large scale, economies can benefit from a boost of economic growth.
One of the goals of development policies is to create an environment for rapid economic growth. The economic successes of the “Asian Tigers” during the 1960s and 1970s have led to a comprehensive way of thinking about how different sectors can work together to make this growth a reality. This helps explain the experience of some countries in Asia, and later successes in Latin America, and optimism for improving the economic well-being of countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Republic of Korea is the classic example of how its gross domestic product (GDP) grew over 2,000 percent by investing in voluntary family planning coupled with educating the population and preparing them for the types of jobs that were going to be available.
With over 70% of Kenya’s population less than 30 years of age, the country’s favorable demographic ratios could unlock a potential source of demand and growth, Kenya is currently in a “sweet spot”. Fertility levels are declining gradually and Kenyans are living longer. There is reason for optimism that Kenya can benefit from a demographic dividend within 15 to 20 years. It is estimated that its working age population will grow to 73 per cent by 2050, bolstering the country’s GDP per capita 12 times higher than the present, with nearly 90 percent of the working age in employment.
The key to harnessing the demographic dividend is enabling young people and adolescent girls in particular, to enjoy their human rights and achieve their full human potential. Every girl must be empowered, educated and given opportunities for employment, and above all is able to plan her future family, this is the very essence of reaping a demographic dividend.
Each extra year a girl stays in high school, for example, delivers an 11.6 per cent increase in her average annual wage for the rest of her life.
The UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem has said: “We are steadfastly committed to our three goals: Zero preventable maternal deaths, zero unmet need for family planning, and the elimination of harmful practices including violence that affect women and girls”.
So what can be done?
First, end all practices that harm girls. This means, for example, enforcing laws that end female genital mutilations and child marriage.
Second, enable girls to stay in school, at least through high school. Studies have shown the longer a girl stays in school, the less likely she is to become pregnant as an adolescent and the more likely to grow up healthy and join the paid labour force.
Third, reach the marginalized and impoverished girls who have traditionally been left behind.
Forth, make sure girls, before they reach puberty, have access to information about their bodies. Later in adolescence, they need information and services to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Finally, take steps to protect girls’ – and everyone’s – rights.
by Samuel Okiror The Guardian – Global Development
May 8 2018
In Kenya, Rwanda and Somalia death toll reaches 300, with hundreds of thousands more people displaced, adding to crisis in region stricken by drought…
Heavy rains and severe flash floods have left more than 300 people dead and displaced thousands of others across parts of east Africa, with Kenya and Rwanda being the worst hit.
“We are concerned about the flooding that has displaced so many people in Somalia, Kenya and Rwanda,” said Farhan Aziz Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary general in a statement to the Guardian.
“Our hearts go out to all the people who have been harmed by the rains and flash floods,” he said.
In Kenya ongoing torrential rains have damaged infrastructure, preventing or limiting humanitarian access to many of the affected areas and cutting off people’s access to markets in several places.
“Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that heavy rainfall in Kenya has caused severe flooding in at least 32 counties, out of 47, across the country. An estimated 100 people have lost their lives and 260,000 others have been displaced,” said Haq.
Euloge Ishimwe, of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said it is a “double jeopardy” for the affected communities, as many of them are already struggling to recover from the devastating drought in 2017, after which more than 2.6 million Kenyans were in urgent need of food aid.
“The livelihoods and resilience of the affected communities had already been weakened… With the flooding, we are worried that these communities will be further rendered more vulnerable.”
The extreme weather has compounded a cholera outbreak in the country as well as an epidemic of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus, and is increasing the risk of large-scale outbreaks.
The number of cholera cases reported since the beginning of 2018 stands at 2,943, with 55 deaths, according to the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Unocha).
In a statement, Unocha said education and health facilities have been damaged in the flooding, and the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said roads and train lines had been destroyed. Extensive damages and losses have been reported to fields and livestock, with at least 8,700 hectares (21,5000) acres of farmland destroyed and more than 19,000 animals killed.
August 16 at 10:30 AM | NAIROBI — Kenya’s opposition leader doubled down Wednesday on his claim that this month’s presidential election was rigged in favor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying he would take his allegations of fraud to the country’s supreme court.
Raila Odinga, 72, lost to his longtime rival Kenyatta in the Aug. 8 vote, according to the official results, but Odinga has refused to concede after his fourth electoral loss. His followers took to the streets in the wake of the official announcement, and more than 20 people have been killed in clashes with police.
Odinga amplified his charges Wednesday, saying that the country’s election commission carried out widespread fraud bigger than in “any democratic election, anywhere in the world.” He told his supporters that he would take his case to Kenya’s supreme court.
“For the third time in a decade, the candidate who lost the election has been declared the president,” Odinga said. He has not shown any evidence of fraud.
Odinga said his supporters “won’t accept it until they have answers to the disturbing questions that have been raised.”
In a news conference, Odinga encouraged continued opposition to the election results and Kenyatta’s presidency, saying those who accept the outcome are “prepared to live under autocracy.”
Kenya is the wealthiest country in East Africa and has emerged as a pillar of stability in a fragile region, which includes war-torn neighbors Somalia and South Sudan. But Kenya remains riven by tribal rivalries that come to a head in every election cycle, largely between Kenyatta’s Kikuyu tribe and Odinga’s fellow Luos.
That rift predates the country’s independence in 1963, and some worry that Odinga’s refusal to concede will further complicate reconciliation efforts. In his reelection speech, Kenyatta urged the nation to “remember that we are brothers and sisters.”
But in the wake of the 2007 elections, the International Criminal Court accused Kenyatta of fostering the wave of ethnic violence that left more than 1,000 people dead. Those charges were later dropped for lack of evidence. In his first term, however, Kenyatta did little to assuage tribal tensions, leaving many of Odinga’s supporters feeling excluded and angry.
When Kenyatta was declared the winner last Friday, some young men set fire to tires in the streets of Nairobi slums and threw rocks at police. The Kenya National Human Rights Commission accused security forces of using “excessive force which is unlawful and unacceptable” against demonstrators.
Although international election monitors said last week that they saw no sign of rigging or manipulation, Kenya’s election commission has not published the official result forms online, fueling speculation among Odinga’s supporters that the panel is covering up some form of fraud.
On Wednesday, the European Union called for the release of those forms, saying in a statement that they “would enable all stakeholders to examine the accuracy of the announced results and point to any possible anomalies.”
Meanwhile, Kenyan tax authorities attempted to raid the office of the Africa Center for Open Governance, a nongovernment group that was critical of election preparations. Officials had said that the open governance organization and the Kenya National Human Rights Commission were being suspended for not formally registering with the government. But within hours, the Interior Ministry reversed that suspension.
In a letter, the ministry said it would give the two groups 90 days to resolve “any outstanding noncompliance issues,” without specifying what those issues were.
Michelle Kagari, deputy director of Amnesty International for the region including Kenya, called the suspensions “a cynical attempt to discredit human rights organizations.”
But after a week of paralysis, with businesses closed and streets empty, Nairobi had come back to life. On television, tourism officials said reservations were steady. Traffic jams had returned to the city center. Even in Kibera, the sprawling slum where much of last week’s violence occurred, Odinga supporters said they were ready to move on. Packed minibuses streaked through the slum’s main arteries.
“We just want our lives to go back to normal,” said David Kinara, 60, an Odinga supporter and a Kibera resident. “There is nothing much we can do.”
“Life has to go on because if it does not, everyone is vulnerable,” said Owino Kotieno, another Odinga supporter and Kibera resident. “You are vulnerable from police brutality and hooligans.”
In 2013, Odinga also claimed that the election was rigged and took his case to the supreme court. After several months, he lost his case.
I was privileged to have participated in a two-day conference on women and migration in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6-8 June. The conference was sponsored by six Catholic Religious Congregations, accredited as non-governmental organizations to the United Nations. Over 90 participants from about 10 African countries attended the conference. Some of the participants were currently engaged in work with migrants, some were migrants, while others were interested in learning more about migration issues. Seven Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from Kenya, Congo-Kinshasa and Zimbabwe/South Africa provinces participated in the conference. Sister Joan Burke, SNDdeN (Kenya) was among the local organizing team. I personally found this conference both informative and challenging.
We had input from representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Organization for Migration, Kenyan Government, Kenyan Bishop Conference, and other organizations and individuals (including refugees and migrants). It was moving to hear from refugees who are now volunteers. I was also very impressed to hear the delegate from the Kenyan Government commend the efforts of Catholic Religious women and men in providing services to migrants and refugees, and their work against human trafficking. He expressed the interest of the government collaborating with them in future.
Input from the different presenters stimulated discussions among participants on issues such as providing adequate protection to migrants and refugees, victims of human trafficking, as well as addressing some of those factors that force people to migrate. During the conference, we went into working groups and worked on different topics for example: environment and migration, migration and public health, human trafficking, and advocacy. I joined 24 other participants to form a group centered on “Countering Trafficking in Person.” The group came up with a 7-Point Action Plan through which we were challenged to continue to work on, within our networks, as we return to our respective countries or regions.
Kenya has arrested an unspecified number of suspects and recovered a gun linked to the shooting of Italian-born conservationist Kuki Gallmann at her conservation park over the weekend, the interior minister said on Monday.
The 73-year old author of the memoir “I Dreamed of Africa” was shot in the stomach on Sunday in her 100,000-acre (400 square km) ranch and nature conservancy in Laikipia in the north.
Gallmann was recovering in intensive care at a Nairobi hospital, where she underwent a seven-hour operation, after being airlifted from Laikipia, her family said on Monday.
“We have recovered a gun which is now undergoing ballistic tests to confirm whether it was the gun used to shoot Kuki,” Joseph Nkaissery, the interior minister, told a news conference.
He did not say how many suspects the police were holding. He described the attack on Gallmann, who was in a vehicle at the time of the attack, as an “isolated” act of banditry.
A wave of violence has hit Kenya’s drought-stricken Laikipia region in recent months. Armed cattle-herders searching for scarce grazing land have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches from poor-quality communal land.
At least a dozen civilians and police officers have been killed in the violence.
Kenya dispatched its military to the area last month to help restore calm and disarm communities. The minister said the operation was going as planned.
Many residents of the area accuse local politicians of inciting the violence before elections in August. They say the men are trying to drive out voters who might oppose them and win votes by promising supporters access to private land.
(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Larry King)
A Kenyan Muslim teacher has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for radicalizing primary school children in Kilifi County in the coastal region.
Samuel Wanjala Wabwile alias Salim Mohamed was however acquitted on Thursday of being a member of and recruiting six children for Somalia-based militia group Al Shabaab.
Wabwile was accused of promoting extreme jihadism including violence as a means of advancing religious change by teaching children to fight at a mosque where he was an Imam.
In her judgment, Mombasa Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache said the accused preyed on the pupils’ feeble mind to impart his ideological beliefs.
“The accused took advantage of the poverty rate in the region by offering the children some food using it as a bait to trap them, most children walked bare feet and their uniforms were tattered,” said Ms Mochache, adding that Wabwile “deserves no mercy, he needs protection from himself, he has already sold his soul to the devil and was on the process of selling others souls.” Continue reading Kenyan Teacher Jailed For Radicalizing pupils→