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NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Extraordinary times call for extraordinary decisions! The Covid-19 pandemic is one such.All have been advised to employ social distancing to curb spread of the coronavirus.Employers have released staff and, in some cases, asked them to work from home.This may be confusing, as many have never worked from home.Human resource departments might not have had adequate time to orient staff before offices were vacated following a government advisory.It is still possible to be productive from home. Start with a plan: Not everything can be done from home, but in the contributions of continuity of business plans in the extraordinary times, ensure you have the most important tasks taken care of. Ensure your plan resonates and is aligned with the priorities of your organisation.Create a working space: Business has to continue, but differently and uniquely. Figure out a space that you could convert into a temporary office. It could be your living room, bedroom or even garage, but the environment needs to be conducive enough to enable you to deliver. Where necessary, make children understand your need to be alone. Do not assume that they already understand, even though they could be knowing they are home because of the pandemic. This will help reduce distractions.Embrace technology: Do not take the technology at your exposure for granted. Be ready to learn and embrace new ways of doing things. Also take your time to learn the new communication platforms such as Blue Jeans and zoom, and help your colleagues to learn the same remotely whenever necessary. Working on Google docs will enable you to deliver. This could also be the time your employer could be looking out for the swiftest and most creative minds.Consult: Consultation is easier in a physical office where you can walk to a colleague or just call an extension. But that luxury is gone. Frequent calls to your supervisor may not even be appreciated. However, try not to take random decisions without involving relevant authorities. Quarantine is not excuse for recklessness.Create time for family: We have to deliver, but that does not mean complete hibernation. Take breaks and show up. Take this opportunity to show your people, especially children, what you do. You could involve them in your work, where possible, to help them appreciate your job.Know netiquette: The only means of operation at this time is internet. Acquaint yourself with the relevant internet etiquette by ensuring your microphone and video are on mute while not speaking in a conference call, as the background destructions annoy and are a sign of disrespect to your team.Evaluate your achievements: Take stock of what you have achieved every day, as this will motivate you. Accept the change: We are absorbing the extraordinary shock that has been brought by Covid-19. Even with the uncertainty, worrying is not the solution. Take the right measures while trying to deliver. Ann Kobia is a HR and organisation development specialist at Pan African Climate Justice Alliance.
KWALE, Kenya - Ashura Shehe Boi, 41, is struggling to take care of her seven siblings after their mother died in 2013 from a stroke she suffered when her house was razed down and the family evicted from their ancestral land. A few kilometres away from her home, there are graves of Juma Gomba and Juma Zaidi, both who were arrested, tortured and died for opposing evictions of their families.At another home, Hassan Salim Dongo is at a bitter man after losing his son, Feisal Hassan, who died from burns after their house was torched by goons hired by the owner of Kwale International Sugar Company (KISCOL) in Msambweni, Kwale County. This happened under the watch of security officers. Another child agednine years is living with scars sustained when he was burnt in their house during the fateful day. A medical examination report signed by a Mr Chebii, a medical officer, on October 7, 2010 shows that Hassan suffered burnt scars on the chest, breasts, elbow and hip. Life with evictions, arrests and threats have become the order of the day for the locals of six areas of Msambweni in Kwale.The people here are fighting for LR. No. 5004/30/R, the 49,000 acres of land in Mabatani, Nyumba Sita, Vidziani, Gonjora, Fahamuni and Kingwede areas.According to land records, the land was at independence registered as a trust land belonging to the Digo community which has lived there since time immemorial and have no other place to call home. But the troubles of the families who now number to 4,000 families with an estimated population of 10, 000 began in 2008 when armed security officers supervised the burning down of their houses, cutting down of their coconuts, mangoes, maizeplants and trees and forcefully evicted them at the dead of the night. “My mother Fatuma Shehe Boi suffered a stroke as a result of shock when she saw her house burnt. She had kept gold in our house but it was all lost. She was bedridden from 2008 and died in 2013 leaving me with the task of taking care of my seven siblings,” Ashura says. Suleiman Bakari Shauri, 65, chairman of the Vidziani Farmers Group which the affected families formed to fight for their rights is a bitter man and accuses politicians, senior government officials and owners of the Kwale International Sugar Company Ltd (KISCOL) for their woes. “My parents who died recently aged 80 and 61 respectively were born and lived here all their lives. It beats reason that now we are being evicted from our ancestral land. Our problems began when former president Mwai Kibaki visited here in 2007 and promised to give the owner of KISCOL 15,000 acres of land for a sugarcane nucleus estate for his factory,” Shauri says. He says the 15,000 acres are located close to Ramisi sugar factory but the owner has now laid claim on the neighbouring 49,000 acres that are being occupied by the 40,000 families.According to a search done at the Department…
NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - new study has revealed that use of hand-pumped boreholes to access deeper groundwater is the most resilient way of adapting to droughts caused by climate change for rural communities in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa.This comes amid concerns by scientists that the resource, which is hidden underground, is not well understood on the continent especially in the Sub Saharan Africa region.According to a new study that compared performances of rural water supply techniques during drought periods in Ethiopia, scientists from the British Geological Survey (BGS) in collaboration with their colleagues from Addis Ababa University found that boreholes accessing deep (30 meters or more) groundwater were resilient to droughts.The study, which was published in the Nature scientific Journal on March 4, further found that boreholes fitted with hand-pumps, had highest overall functionality during the monitoring period compared to motorised pumps in.“While motorised boreholes generally also access even deeper groundwater, repairs [in rural settings] are more difficult and may take longer, resulting in lower levels of functionality as compared to hand-pumps,” explained Dr Donald John MacAllister, the lead author and a hydrogeologist from the British Geological Survey.At the same time, the scientists observed that springs, open sources and protected wells experienced large declines in functionality, undermining, in particular, the water security of many lowland households who rely on these source types. “By comparison, motorised, and crucially hand-pumped, boreholes which access deeper groundwater performed best during the drought,” said Seifu Kebede, a former Associate Professor of Hydrogeology for Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, and one of the researchers. Prof Kabede has since moved to the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. In collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Addis Ababa University and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), experts at the BGS examined the performance of a wide range of water source types, using a unique dataset of more than 5000 individual water points collected by UNICEF in rural Ethiopia during the 2015-16 drought.In August last year, another study headed by scientists from the University College London (UCL) refuted earlier beliefs that groundwater was susceptible to climate change, and instead confirmed that extreme climate events characterised by floods were extremely significant in recharging groundwater aquifers in drylands across sub-Saharan Africa, making them important for climate change adaptation.“Our study reveals, for the first time, how climate plays a dominant role in controlling the process by which groundwater is restocked,” said Richard Taylor, a Professor of Hydrogeology at the UCL.However, experts believe that for African continent to take advantage of the groundwater resources, there is need to invest in research, in order to understand the nature of aquifers underground, how they are recharged, their sizes, their geography, how they behave in different climatic conditions, the quality of water therein, and how they can be protected.According to Prof Daniel Olago, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Geology, University of Nairobi, in Africa, groundwater in Africa remains a hidden resource that has not been studied exhaustively. “When people…
KAMPALA, Uganda (PAMACC News) - As climatic conditions continue to disrupt normal rainfall patterns, drying up rivers and streams, the African Ministers’ Council on Water is now seeking to understand groundwater, following numerous studies that have shown that it is key to building resilience.“The volume of groundwater in Africa is estimated at 0.66 million km3, which is more than 100 times the annual renewable freshwater resources, but since it is hidden underground, it remains under-valued and underutilized,” said Dr Paul Orengoh, the Director of Programs at African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW).This comes after a recent study led by scientists from University College London (UCL) and published in the Nature Journal suggested that groundwater in the Sub Saharan Africa region was resilient to extreme climate conditions, making it a key resource for climate change adaptation. To examine how groundwater is replenished, Prof Richard Taylor of UCL together with several other scientists from different institutions abroad and in collaboration with their counterparts in Africa examined how different aquifers behaved with different rainfall patterns."Our results suggest that the intense rainfall brought about by global warming strongly favours the renewal of groundwater resources,” said Prof Taylor noting that over half the world's population is predicted to live in the tropics by 2050, and therefore dependence on groundwater as a resource will continue to rise.And now, AMCOW has formed an initiative that will help member states understand their water resources, manage it sustainable, and use it for poverty alleviation in their respective countries.“The AMCOW Pan-African Groundwater Programme shortened as APAGroP seeks to improve the policy and practice of groundwater in Africa for better lives and livelihoods in all the 55 member countries,” said Orengoh.Studies have shown that at least 320 million people in Africa lack access to safe water supplies, and therefore developing groundwater resources sustainably, according to experts, is a realistic way of meeting this need across Africa. APAGroP therefore comes in to bridge the knowledge deficits gap around groundwater on the continent.Through the initiative, AMCOW seeks to support Member States to develop, manage, and utilize water resources to assure water, food and energy security in Africa. “WASH has historically attracted prime attention. Strategy is raising the priority given to water for food, energy and industrial production,” said Orengoh.Speaking at the recently concluded African Water Association (AfWA) forum in Kampala Uganda, Dr Callist Tindimugaya, the Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda said that there is need to to support and implement APAGrop- from transboundary to local scale.“APAGrop should have a strong link with all Regional Economic Communities, River Basin Organisations and member states for easy implementation,” he said. “These regional organisations and member states can contribute through actual implementation on the ground, capacity building, resource mobilization, and advocacy,” noted Dr Tindimugaya.Apart from regional platforms and member states, AMCOW seeks to work in close collaboration with consumptive sectors, which include agriculture, water supply, industry, among others through appropriate platforms.Others are research-to-use organizations and associations such as…
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