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




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… 🙂

Not another conference

Conferences, workshops and trainings are a great way of  advertising, meeting new people, gaining new information and insight on various topics. They are an even greater method of promoting tourism, because a majority of the time these activities are out of town.

In my world, we have had and have myriads of conferences, workshops, trainings and different kinds of fora that deal with issues to do with sustainability, environment, climate change, wetlands, renewable energy, biodiversity, water… the list goes on and on. I have attended a few of these and though a majority of the time I am working, I mostly enjoy them.

However, a trend I’ve noticed over time, is that there are some people who attend literally every training being organised. One of my former colleagues calls them, ‘serial conference attendants’. How effective are these events to the ‘attendants’ and the organisations that they represent?

Albert Einstein, one of my most favourite people, once said, ‘The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing’.

So here goes my questioning:

i. At the end of every conference, training or workshop there are action points. Is there any follow up structure to find out whether the participants made use of the knowledge obtained? Where is the proof of action that has taken place on the ground as a result of the various events?

ii. In an era of 4G internet, webinars and online courses, why must we meet physically so frequently to discuss issues that have previously been discussed… then come up with solutions that had once been suggested but never implemented?

iii. Instead of all the expenses (per diem, flights, accomodation) associated with such meetings, why can’t these funds go towards active action like investing in innovative sustainable solutions such as large scale use of biogas or something? Has anyone done a cost benefit analysis of conferences, workshops and trainings?






Return in Swahili is Rudisha… and that’s what David Lekuta Rudisha, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion, world champion and world record holder in the 800 metres, did on Tuesday; he returned the 800 M Gold Medal home. See what I did there… 😉 :). I wrote this on Tuesday and thought it was fresh until I saw a similar statement in one of the local dailies yesterday :/. Oh well, Great minds think alike. 🙂

In the spirit of the current Olympic Games being held in Rio, try out this fun test to see what amazing Amazon animal athlete you are. I’m a jaguar, the all star. 


Climate Change. IV. Action

Action is taking place all over the world. Okay, at least that’s what it looks like…o_O. We have agreements signed and documents ratified (feels so nice to use that word…ratified). There’s the Kyoto Protocol, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and locally we have the National Climate Change Response Strategy.

We need to understand that climate change is a natural process that is being hastened (like a crawling child running in a 100 metre sprint) by anthropogenic (human) activities such as deforestation. There is hope though, especially if you choose to plant a tree. Or two trees. Or a forest. Keep planting trees when you find the opportunity to. Trees act as carbon sinks so they reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Choose to recycle, reduce and reuse. This would mean that industries would produce less and again reduce the amount of carbon released to the atmosphere and also reduce the amount of waste released into our waterways which are already under stress.

Choose to use renewable energy. There’s so much to choose from. Solar, Wind, Biogas… I can proudly say that Kenya is a leader in this sector. The Climatescope 2015 report, places Kenya at position 6 in the world and only South Africa and Uganda compete with Kenya at position four and nine on the continent, in the top 10 list.


Choose to use energy efficiently and energy efficient products. Switch off lights when not in use, use energy saving bulbs, buy products that have an energy efficiency rating (the closer the rating is to A, the better). This will also save you a few coins. 😉

Choose to harvest rainwater for household uses such as loo flushing, house cleaning and garden use. It reduces the growing strain and stress on surface and ground water.

Choose to speak out against actions that are not sustainable. We need to leave this earth better than we found it. Not just because nature is beautiful but for our children and our children’s children. If our great great  grandparents had the same habits that we have today…. Hmmmmm… Wacha tu…

It’s not all gloom and doom if we make the right choices… 🙂

Enjoy the video below… 😀