Same Script Different Cast

Remember that Whitney Houston song featuring Deborah Cox? Well, this post has nothing to do with love and heartbreak…:D

In an effort to revive the music skills I had almost ten years ago I went through old documents to find my Grade One music lesson books. As I pulled the books out, a CAT paper fell out.

It was interesting to how I thought and answered questions almost ten years ago. My 3b answer… really really off. That lecturer must have been shaking his head as he marked that. However, I think No.4 is almost valid…

This CAT and a recent online course I took on ‘Indigenous People and Integrated Water Resource Management’ made me think about various projects set up by various institutions in an effort to develop communities.

Most African communities have for a long time been considered ‘backward’ and in need of ‘modern systems or development’. For a long time in Kenya and the world over, blanket plans would be made for development projects and the conservation of various elements of the environment. Meaning that different regions would have the same project or plan being implemented without putting much thought on the differences in location, climate, geography, culture and the existing systems that are already in place.

Many don’t seem to understand that before colonialism, there were systems that worked. For example in Kenya, the Pokot have had a water distribution system that was developed more than 300 years ago and the Mijikenda have conserved forests through setting them apart as sacred places of worship… Getting into a community without considering the systems already in place would be madharau and therefore more and more managers are incorporating traditional/indigenous practices to modern solutions for sustainability of the projects that are being put in place.

Managers of any resource have a responsibility to first understand the environment in which they are operating. Who are the people? What do they do? How do they do it? Why do they do it? As a manager, I think that x and y are the problems in this community but what does the community say their problems are… you could be correct and find that x and y indeed are their problems. However, more often than not, you’ll find that their main issues are a and b…x and y may be an issue but not a core issue to the subject community. A manager must seek to understand the target community to ensure that solutions provided are sustainable.

We must always remember that just because a solution worked in one location, it will not necessarily work in all other locations. People are different with different needs and therefore require different solutions. In environmental management, different script different cast would be most likely to work because, one size does NOT fit all.

More reasons why projects fail:

10 reasons why your WASH project is going to fail

Failed Projects in Africa

 

 

 

Anti-Groundwater Extraction?

A few Friday’s ago, I saw an advertisement in the local dailies that I thought was ridiculous. I would have loved to share the image but I’ll just tell you about it. It was a drilling company that offered to end all ‘my water issues’ by drilling boreholes.

 

Let me start by saying that, my friend Po thinks that I’m anti-groundwater use but I completely disagree. What I am however is, anti-reckless-use-of-natural resources-whose-quantities-we-are-not-sure-of-and-lack-clear-means-and-methods-of-monitoring-their-extraction-and-use. A mouthful… I know…

Allow me to explain why with a background  from groundwater.org

Groundwater is found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers.

Aquifers are typically made up of gravel, sand, sandstone, or fractured rock, like limestone. Water can move through these materials because they have large connected spaces that make them permeable. The speed at which groundwater flows depends on the size of the spaces in the soil or rock and how well the spaces are connected.

Groundwater can be found almost everywhere. The water table may be deep or shallow; and may rise or fall depending on many factors. Heavy rains or melting snow may cause the water table to rise, or heavy pumping of groundwater supplies may cause the water table to fall.

Groundwater supplies are replenished, or recharged, by rain and snow melt that seeps down into the cracks and crevices beneath the land’s surface. In some areas of the world, people face serious water shortages because groundwater is used faster than it is naturally replenished. In other areas groundwater is polluted by human activities.

 

Surface water on the other hand, is water that you can see such as lakes and streams. It is found above the earth’s surface.

So, instead of quickly turning to other options such as ground water and making it our main alternative, we need to keep the responsible authorities  on their toes for the proper management of the available surface water. Case in point, the river below…

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I don’t understand why it had all these watermelons during a drought.

See, when you have sufficient surface water. By that I mean, surface water of good quality and quantity, then there is barely need to extract groundwater. If you harvest rainwater in addition to the good quality surface water, then there’s no need to even think about groundwater.

Because, if we head in the groundwater direction and let our rivers turn into sewers, let the rainwater go to waste… we just may have research titles similar to the ones below in a few years…

Excessive Use of Groundwater Resources in Saudi Arabia: Impacts and Policy Options by Abdulla Ali Al-Ibrahim

or news articles such as

NASA Data Reveals Most Major Aquifers Depleting Faster Than They Recharge by Linnea Bennett

and

Beijing has fallen: China’s capital sinking by 11cm a year, satellite study warns

I understand that in some countries it is the only option. However, it is important that as the extraction is taking place, the amount being withdrawn is less or equal to the amount of groundwater recharge, for posterity.

It’s been a minute…

Or two! Almost a whole month since I last posted.

My first update… Green Element is now on Instagram! Wooohooo! Being a social media averse person, it took me a while to make this decision. I can confidently say that it was a good decision…well, at least so far. It is a nice place to showcase photos. You can check out the page here.

Second update… well, not really an update but a good suggestion. 😉  Check out Kevin Kimwelle, a Kenyan born architect who designs environmental friendly buildings. He has been nominated for building the ‘Most Beautiful Thing in South Africa’ on Design Indaba. You can read more about his project and vote for him here.

And because good things come in three’s… or so I hear… here’s the 3rd update.

Green Element turned 1!

Thank you for reading… 🙂

Nairobi Safari Walk

Last Sunday, Kadogo, an old friend of mine,  and I decided to catch up over nature. She came up with the most brilliant idea of meeting up at the Nairobi National Park (Kenya’s first national park), to do the Nairobi Safari Walk.

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At the entrance, they have this little cabinet:

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I opened it and burst into laughter when I saw the mirror. The last thing I expected to see was my reflection. Such a creative way of passing the message that You and I pose the biggest threat to biodiversity.

These are some of the interesting things we saw…

Creative signposts

Pygmy hippo

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Spot the giraffe… 🙂

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Yum!

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One of these worms/ caterpillars escaped on MY DRESS. I probably need to mention that many things with more than 4 legs or less than 2 legs, terrify me!

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Rhino (Not sure whether it’s black or white)

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Such a peaceful and refreshing walk. You can also opt to go on a game drive or visit the Animal Orphanage whilst there.

Read more about the safari walk here.