Thursday, August 11, 2011

In response to;

Of Ugali and Sukuma wiki: The Gravy Train That is the #Feedke initiative

In respose to > @msupastar i agree with your opinion, we cannot do without the government but we are too complacent to ever put pressure on the government to ACT on any issues that affect us. WE are ok with watching the news and sighing at the number of unemployed youth who go raping old people or at the activists screaming along the streets about the rising food prices. We shake our heads and  wonder if they have nothing better to do.  We ask if their families get embarrassed. So sunk are we in this quicksand that we give the government power to be tyrannical in the administration of ... well anything.  We have been unable to make the government accountable to us and this will be the case with the corporate initiative #kenyansforkenya. T he noble initiative which is now gearing to 1bn makes me wonder how can corporate come up with an initiative yet claim they have only been two weeks in the initiative and so they cannot offer the sustainable solution. If we do not ask about the progress how will we know they are even helping solve the problem? Flagging off trucks every weekend is not enough solution, if they are trying to buy consumers trust in their brands they need to come up with sustainable solutions and it’s up to us Kenyans for Kenya to make them do that.
In my opinion, the initiative should have already mapped down the course of the long term solution by asking Kenyans who have the skills to go for community appraisal and focus group meetings to discuss the solution for the communities. These may not be the only activities that can be done but they are a step towards the right direction. I do not ignore the fact that the people in the affected  are suffering from starvation but if that is what will make them see the need to quit fighting over cattle and instead settle and engage in agricultural activities that will ensure they do not suffer again, then we need to have tough love for our kenyans and help them make choices of their future. Sometimes pain opens our eyes to realizing the right choice and this initiative will be of greater impact if it helps the community initiate their own projects that will curb the problem.
Back to the post that inspired this response, to the person who said we have given the government the middle finger, that maybe so. But could we ensure they do not  get the last laugh by making sure that the corporate initiative provides a long term solution. The Kenyans for Kenya initiative is a communal call that involves Kenyans  and supporters all over the world and because of that reason we need to put pressure on the corporates to let us know what long term solution they are mapping out. And maybe the next time the unga revolution announces they will be demonstrating, may we join in the cause using the channels available to us. And start asking for better service from our government.
After the ranting and raving, lets look at what we can achieve within the limitations of resources: we need to engage the target communities. Interrogate their challenges, their needs and what they think are solutions. A person sitting in an office in Nairobi may not necessarily know what the starving guys in Turkana is facing and what he thinks are the solutions. The wearer of the shoe in many occasion is the one who knows where the shoe pinches most. So yes, lets talk to these guys.
Two the only viable solution to fighting these ever occurring event called famine (the drought is natural sooooo, it will still be here even a zillion years from now) is to find low cost high impact project which will be delivering meals to these guys’ supper table without – and this caveat is important – affecting the environment negatively.  We need to invest in modern agriculture. Guys need to divest from cash based agriculture and start considering food husbandry. Let's teach Kenyans the beauty of tending to food husbandry and not just flowers to be sold to some blue-eyed romantics in Birmingham, Kalamazoo, Charlesroi, Marseille or some exotic sounding towns that Ethuro of Sibilio in North Turkana has not heard of. Lets’ start thinking of tending to potatoes, sukuma wiki, arrow roots, tapioca, millet, sorghum etc etc etc! Lets abandon what Koigi in his article in Daily Nation calls “colonial” agriculture. As much as these are all macro-interventions, the lesser the exposure to the government the better. The idea here is to empower the local communities.
Talking about community empowerment, we need to increase their skills in being able to identify and solve local issue. They should be granted the necessary tools and avenues that allow them to be able carry out autopsies of events and from them learn how they can be immune to the events if they ever occur again! In closing, all I can say is that some Kenyans begged for fish, rather than just giving them fish, lets teach them how to fish, provide the pond on where to fish and even the fish and the right environment to allow the existence of the fish.
As for the corporate, let's give credit where it's deserved. They did their best given the circumstances. Now I hope they will not end up turning this goodwill into some obscene curry train where they milk for personal (profit –driven) gain! Can we now do away with the emotions (the “aw sniff sniff, that is so awful” moments) and lets get to arrest the issue once and for all. No more finger pointing, just getting the facts right and exploiting them for better of all Kenyans in altruistic manner.
I rest!