Category Archives: Kenya

A flourishing container economy in Kenya

Article published in Göteborgsposten
By Kimani Chege

Nairobi. Lately, shipping containers have revolutionised business in Kenya. The containers are renovated and put to new uses, such as shops, offices and homes. They are appreciated for their safety, their relatively low cost and for being reasonably easy to move.

Josphat Mwangi who sells food and household items in a refurbished container appreciates the location right behind a police station, as well as the durability. Nobody can break in, because the shipping container is made from such sturdy materials, he says.

Continue reading A flourishing container economy in Kenya

App saves lives in Nairobi’s informal settlements

Article published in Göteborgsposten
Aug 24 2017
By Kimani Chege

Kenya. Kenya is one of the countries in the world with high mortality rates for women and children. Although the situation has steadily improved since 2004, still 510 of 100 000 women die in childbirth, according to the UN.
Grace Gathigia luckily wasn’t among them. She became a mother six weeks ago.
-It’s not easy being pregnant in an informal settlement. I’m glad I survived and gave birth to a healthy child in a clinic, and then continuous care from local health care workers. Some of the women pregnant at the same time as me lost their children during pregnancy, or shortly thereafter, she says.

More boreholes dangerous for Nairobi

Article published in Göteborgsposten
21 November 2016
By Geoffrey Kamadi

Nairobi. Tap water in Nairobi is a very unreliable resource. In many areas water flows from the taps three days a week – but sometimes people will go without water for up to two weeks.

The lack of water means that people buy water from wandering salespeople instead – who in turn get their water from an increasing number of boreholes.  This has led to an exploitation of the city’s groundwater, which could become a big problem further down the line as there is a risk the city will start to sink and the infrastructure might become unstable.

“We see that not only is there a risk of the city sinking, but also that the exploitation of the groundwater affects the forces that keeps the earth’s crust together. This means that even small quakes kan cause significant damage, especially in a densely populated city like Nairobi”, says Robert Orima who is responsible for laws being followed at The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), an authority that coordinates activities that might have an environmental impact in the country.

Nairobi is especially vulnerable as the city rests on what used to be marshland. The ground has layers of clay and silt in the layer closest to the topsoil, which means the geological foundation particularly unstable.
The exploitation of the groundwater also carries other problems. Robert Orima says that when more groundwater is pumped up, the concentration of salt is higher in the small amount of water that remains.
“This water is mainly being used for  irrigation, which creates problems for agriculture”, he says.

Christopher Agwanda, groundwater expert at The Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), is also concerned that the ecosystem will be disturbed by increased amount of boreholes.

-Holes near outlets and sewers can mean that contaminated water trickles down to the groundwater, and when the boreholes aren’t properly made other surface contaminations can also seep through.

-One of our greatest challenges is illegal boreholes. The migration from the countryside means that we’re overpopulated, and our water infrastructure is four decades old, so that’s why we’re seeing an increasing amount of boreholes, says Christopher Agwanda and adds that the majority of all boreholes are made without permission.

Article published in Göteborgsposten, 21 November 2016. Full article (in Swedish) here:{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}C3{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}A4rlden/fler-borrh{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}C3{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}A5l-farligt-f{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}C3{9e78cf8d5a9ae6e82d29a8df4b273023a3380ebfd48f1a18a2e2cfa634ecec51}B6r-nairobi-1.3976838



The importance of disciplining your children

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet
September 19, 2016
By Maina Wairuru

Kenya. Njau and Lydia Dancun  live with their four daughters in Uthiru, a suburb of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.  They work hard to make sure their children can go to school, and when it comes to raising them, discipline is the most important cornerstone.  Njau is worried about his 16-year old daughter, Wairimu, who was suspended from school for two weeks last year after skipping class.

“We really wanted to hammer it home to the girls that a lack of discipline can never be tolerated. Therefore we made sure that the principal punished them by letting them clean the school” says Njau. “Considering how hard I work to be able to pay the school fees it is not acceptable that they skive.”

The parents are raising their children based on Christian values and they do not want them to socialise with friends whose family does not go to church, as they might not share the same values. The daughters are only allowed to watch television when the parents are at home, and never after 10pm.
“Later then that the shows are often inappropriate. I’ve noticed that they pick up bad habits from what they watch” says Njau, and talks about a pair of inappropriate trousers that Wairimu bought. The trousers were confiscated and demonstratively used as a rag to clean the floor.

Article published in Svenska Dagbladet, 19/9-2016. Full article (in Swedish) here: