Bikeshare Programs Confessions From Kenya


Dani Simons, Director of Marketing and External Affairs with NYC Bike Share explains the process of using the bicycles, in this case returning a bike,  at a dock and lock station at the Brooklyn Navy Yards Sunday, May 12, 2013 in New York. The expanding bike share system allows those who join to ride bicycles and return them from the same or different docks in parts of New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Dani Simons, Director of Marketing and External Affairs with NYC Bike Share explains the process of using the bicycles, in this case returning a bike, at a dock and lock station at the Brooklyn Navy Yards . The expanding bike share system allows those who join to ride bicycles and return them from the same or different docks in parts of New York. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The call for bike enthusiast and stakeholders to participate in a Bicycle sharing business brainstorming by the Nairobi Innovation week has made me excited and hyped up for the discussion and subsequent presentations. In 2014, we sat down as colleagues enjoying trying out a bunch of stuff, with the goal of starting an activity that would keep us busy and at the same time generate an income for us.

We went on a browsing spree looking the coolest ideas in the startup world. It took a few months and finally we hit the jackpot. We got an idea which was pretty easy to start and ultimately easy to manage. What we thought.

Armed with our low risk venture, hoping to get high in returns. BikeshareKE was the name. We had managed to save some crowdfunding capital that we got from our online campaign in partnership with M-Changa and 1% club. So capital wasn’t the problem what so ever.

After acquiring 3 bicycles and starting the “money making making venture”.  we started out on a roll. We even had time to come up with those cute infographics that startups are popular with. The reception was amazing. and we were drunk it.

there are many reasons for startup failure. It might not be my job to lie to you that I know all of them. That’s why Google is still King in this web mess of banking on someone’s information. Maybe its because they turn the mess into mess-age. Back to my contemplations. For starters, we forgot the classic reason why bikes go missing, that’s because they get easily stolen.

Going through the positive feedback that we had with our loyal customers. We had to be cautious on winding up/closing shop and also to see how we could retain the klout’ that we had gathered over the months. Sometimes failure doesn’t need to have a  gentleman’s excuse. Ask Kenya airways, they can’t explain their losses and they manage fleets of aero-mobiles.

Still, we are hopeful that the innovation week( https://twitter.com/InnovWkNairobi) will help those interested in Bikeshare programs to be able to compete in teams for the winning idea. The winning idea will then go through training and mentor-ship at the ( https://twitter.com/c4dlab). There might be seed funding from the organizers United Nations, C4dlab and University of Nairobi. Opportunities are still coming up for innovators in this retro-based cycling exercise.

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UNICEF Topples Barclays Bank in Race to Clinch Title Sponsor Spot for Innovation Week


As preparations for the second Nairobi Innovation Week hit homestretch, the five-day event has strategically attracted up to twelve major sponsorship and partnerships.

At the same time, 400 out of the expected 1500 local and international delegates have confirmed to attend the second edition running from August 1 through 5 this year.

Comprising four Government ministries and eight corporates, clinching the leading sponsor spot this year happens to be the world body for child protection and education, UNICEF.

Standing with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) is the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Cooperatives, and Ministry of Information, Communications & Technology, who are coming in as strategic partners.

Coming hot on the heels are agencies such as Equity Bank and the Embassy of Israel who are both holding the Silver sponsor spot.

Kenya Commercial Bank, I Choose Life, Konza Tecnocity, University of Nairobi Alumni Association and National Bank are boasting as Bronze sponsors.

Other partners in the making include Intel, Oracle, IBM, the Kenya Intellectual Property Institute(KIPI), among others.

Incidentally, hardly has the dust for clamoring among corporates to sponsor the Innovation Week settled than the Organising Committee lines up a new team of tech savvy speakers who are expected to spearhead discussions bordering on championing innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.

Leading the pack of over 30 invited speakers at the Innovation Week 2016 is the new Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology, Mr Joe Mucheru.

Other government leaders to speak include the Communications Authority of Kenya Director General, Engineer Francis Wangusi; Kenya Vision 2030 Director General, Prof Gituro Wainanina; Konza Technopolis Development Authority chief executive, Engineer John Tanui; Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Adan Mohammed, among others.

Representing the private sector, Dr Laila Macharia, Vice Chair of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) is expected to moderate a VVIP panel on the third day of the event, which will also be the official opening.

Other great minds slated to play important roles at the rising innovation exhibition event include Equity Bank managing director and chief executive, Dr James Mwangi; Barclays Bank of Kenya managing director, Jeremy Awori; Transilio, Inc. chief technology officer and executive vice president, Dr Evans Baiya, among others.

 

Courtesy Moses M.O. Omusolo

Western Sahara state


On may 25th,

A handfull of Kenyans mainly youths and academia

marked the African Liberation day at the newly renovated Kenya National Theater.  The theme for the 2016 event was African Women and Youth on the Frontline: Revolutionary Pan-africanism is the only Solution. African Liberation Day is usually marked each year around different parts of the continent. It marks Africa’s progress against imperialism and the determination for the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.

Moving on to the plight of the remaining African colony seeking for independence in africa. This being the Western sahara state. Read more about the states facts  state. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Sahara

Listening to the presentations being made by the enthusiastic speakers motivating the audience of the possibilities available for the “United states of Africa”. I came to learn of the struggles of this Spanish colonized state in the outskirts of the NW Africa. This got me thinking of what happened to Tibet and if China really gave them independence?

With this dilemma, I lay this Monday to rest.

 

Israel, Kenya Innovation Connect


Start Tel Aviv Website Pic

 

“If you haven’t met the Israel ambassador to Kenya, you are missing out. As an individual, he is quite a character. “

The university of Nairobi has joined forces with the Israel embassy to launch the start Tel Aviv challenge. they had earlier set some agreements on innovation in 2015. this challenge is the latest effort by the Israel govt to include Kenya in its start up community.

The challenge is open to everyone. This is a fact that most Kenyan citizens don’t really know especially since the University of Nairobi operates a public innovation center that is open to the public. so once a challenge is launched at the university of nairobi and you see the c4dlab logo at the bottom know you and your startup can automatically apply for the opportunity unless stated otherwise. The challenge is also sponsored by UN Women and iHUb.

The key criteria for judging the winners of the challenge are

  1. Involvement of women in the startup
  2. visibility
  3. Quality
  4. Innovation

There is financing option for the winners in the local challenge. The winners will get a chance to present their startups to the Israel community later in the year. The trip will be fully financed for the winners.

 

TedBurry with Fena

SoundCloud Monitizing with Soundcloud Go


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Photo courtesy @ifuor

When rapper Drake decided to unload a 3-minute barrage on the unsuspecting Meek Mill last summer, he chose SoundCloud as his platform of choice for the attack. The diss song, “Back to Back,” now has more than 124 million listens, a sign that the streaming can attract a sizable audience for a single track.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Berlin-based SoundCloud now wants to make money from its legion of music fans. The company is launching a paid subscription service March 29 called SoundCloud Go, which will let people listen to the current assortment of freestyles, fan-made remixes and unofficial singles as well as the major label releases found on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Like its competitors, SoundCloud Go costs $10 per month and is available for iOS and Android. The subscription will let users download songs for offline listening and will eliminate ads across the service.

The content that is currently free on SoundCloud will remain free, but artists and podcasters will have the option to put future tracks behind the Go paywall, according to wired.

SoundCloud is entering a crowded market that has already forced one longtime player, Rdio, out of business. But the company seems to be betting that its access to lots of alternate versions of songs will help it stand out. It’s also become a repository for work from major artists that doesn’t fit on a traditional album. Kanye West released a gospel song on the platform on Easter Sunday, for instance. YouTube is making a similar gambit with YouTube Music, a new standalone music streaming app that lets people listen to label-distributed tracks as well as fan-made covers.

Still, it’s not clear whether those songs will be enough of a differentiating factor for Soundcloud. According to the verge… SoundCloud Go is currently missing lots of albums from mainstream artists like Kanye West, Katy Perry, Rihanna and The Beatles.

 

courtesy TIME

Intense Footage Shows Aftermath of Blasts at Brussels Airport


The video shows screaming passengers and shellshocked survivors

At least 31 people were killed by simultaneous terrorist attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, with two explosions in the Brussels airport and one on the subway system. A video taken after the blast in Zaventem Airport depicts the chaos that ensued after the terrorist attacks.

In the video, several people can be heard screaming, “someone help me,” and telling each other to “stay down” after the blast. The camera pans to show people lying on the ground. The footage shows rubble, smoke and abandoned suitcases.

Source: Intense Footage Shows Aftermath of Blasts at Brussels Airport

National Treasury Quenches EUROBOND Floating


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Eurond debate, UON photo courtesy Vimal Shah

“Treasury Bonds are medium to long term debt instruments, usually longer than one year issued by the government to raise money in local currency.” The Eurobond was a T-Bond floated in the foreign financial market.

The university of Nairobi hosted a public debate on the state of the much publicized Eurobond funds and how they were organised. The aim of the debate was to clarify issues and give answers on the issue of the Eurobond. The debate was organised at Taifa hall, which has been the centre of public solutions and as the University’s vice chancellor( Prof. M. Mbithi) put it ” scientific knowledge is the pillar for a healthy nation”.

Among the debaters was the PS(principal secretary) National treasury Dr. Kamau Thugge whose background is quite impressive, a former Lenana high school alumni, later Colorado college John Hopkins university, university of Maryland (phd), worked at Pennsylvania as a lecturer before working for the IMF for 25 years.

Floating the Eurobond came at an opportune time and a first for the country as it sought to solve a number of issues. These included:

  • to diversify funding sources other than domestic borrowing
  • to reduce borrowing from the private sector
  • to diversify from bilateral sources of funds which normally attract a “catch” to the funds
  • to stabilize the exchange rate and contain the weakening shilling
  • to maintain low inflation

The government had tried to float the eurond during the 2007/2008 period but it was impossible and unsuccessful. This was NOT due to the post election violence but due to the global economic crisis at the time.By the end of the debate, it was clear that the money got to the treasury. the money being $2billion dollars or 196.9 billion shillings not exactly 250 billion due to the time it was floated and the charges for the process from JP Morgan and Citi bank. Dr. Kamau had assumed that by telling the public, they  had sent $999 million to the dollar reserve at the U.S.A federal reserve bank… they( the Kenyans would know what that meant). The panel later made it clear that they are not aware how money is allocated to ministries in the treasury, which is another debate all together.

By Staff

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Afrika Hand made symposium 2015


Long gone are the days when genuine artists could not get access to Financial loans due to security terms. ask me why?

the Afrika hand made symposium is currently going on in Nairobi, at the French, Alliance Franciase. It has brought together many product Designers from across the continent.

What more can I say if you have watched the video.

By Neville Mugambi.

Another arts Festival brewing in Kenya


Cefa art against poverty programme

Cefa art against poverty programme staff and stakeholders

The music industry in Kenya is what we call a side hustle. It is difficult or rather hard to make it as a secular musician in the region compared to gospel music counterparts. Though this narrow classification in the music industry might just change.

There might be hope for the industry if you come to understand the motivation behind this new arts festival dubbed The Africa nouveax Festival . It’s backed by some famous and successful artists, The Italian based and European Union funded.

Africa nouveax stakeholders at their new office in Westlands Nairobi.

Africa nouveax stakeholders at their new office in Westlands Nairobi.

“Ordinarily, I prefer whisky though you can never get it at art exhibitions,” murmured one of the attendees at the launch of the festival ” … wine seems more like a starter.” He finished. I had never had the guts to think along those lines, out loud. Maybe that’s what artists do, they express themselves in ways you never thought about. I mean, there I was, all formal and collected and these guy is complaining that they are serving free wine.

TedBurry with Fena

Digital artist, TedBarry with Fena

Back to the festival… The motivation behind this festival, a child of sorts of the successful Blankets and wine concert…

a well timed moment during the launch

a well timed moment during the launch

is the aspect of not focusing on the Musician but art as an industry in the region(African continent). That being said. I hope to meet you in the next festival and talk art or wine if you prefer.

By Neville Mugambi. photography courtesy of Greshon(CEFA)

Health sector

Mental Health and its Taboos


Health sector

Health sector

Since 2013 when honorable Hasan Njoho, Governor of Mombasa county came into power. Most of his politics was centered in mental health and rehabilitation centers in the county. this has had tremendous impact on the level of awareness of drug abuse in the nation. It made his job more secure. Currently, politicians are following suit, addressing alcoholism and even drug abuse under the umbrella organization ( National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA)).

The current Cabinet Secretary for Health James Wainaina Macharia has also made a few steps in keeping up with the times. you can get an over view of the health system here http://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/spa8/02chapter2.pdf. Private companies are also trying to innovate in this sector and its not getting anywhere where the govt hasnt been, from the many conferences and product launches I have been to.

Looking at 2015. Kenya television network popularly known as KTN has been put on the spot for stigmatizing mental health victims by highlighting their plight on public television. though some beg to differ. highlighting the plight of these victims/ patients can be beneficial to them since some good Samaritan can help them get the proper treatment. one interesting lecturer by Dr Catherine Syengo Mutisya-Consultant Psychiatrist Nairobi Mental Health Services & Nairobi Parenting Clinic K.M.A. Center, 3rd Floor, Mara road
UPPER HILL- tries to simplify the challenges the families face dealing with the disease.

Dr catherine argues that… families are often the main support for people affected by mental illness, and have a right to be treated as ‘partners in care’. They need information about the illness and treatment provided, and about training and support to help themselves as well as the person who is ill.

The thing is… after rehabilitation, it is still a taboo to talk about it. So the kids are still in the granary, not filling themselves with food but locked up in shackles, away from the society so as not to tarnish the name of the clans. And there is nothing NACADA can do about it since they are too busy advertising drugs that we the youth dint even know existed. and now we know.

By Job Ruto guest publisher