Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Freedom to Create Prize Opens Today!

Celebrating Courage and Creativity The annual Freedom to Create Prize celebrates artists who use their talents to build social foundations and inspire the human spirit Entries for 2011 Freedom to Create Prize open today Thursday 24 March and will close on Friday 15 July 2011 All art forms are eligible to enter into two prize categories, the Main Prize and the Imprisoned Artist Prize, for a total prize fund of US$ 100,000 For further information visit our new website at

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Making Health Progress: Clinic for Neurophysiology in Hargeisa

Essa Kayd, a chief neurodiagnostic specialist of Somaliland origin based in Boston, U.S. announced he will be opening a state of the art Clinic for neurophysiology in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. The clinic will be a joint investment between Kayd and Ethiopia’s leading neurologist Dr. Sisay Gizaw from Addis Ababa Medical School. Kayd received his education in Ottawa University and Harvard Medical School. Mr. Kayd is the chief Neurodiagnostic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School in Boston. He occasionally travels to Africa to offer his time; gives training to leading doctors in the continent. He is also trains physicians at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Medical School. Brigham and Women’s Medical Hospital is ranked one of the top hospitals in the US by U.S. News & World Report Top Hospitals. He has been helping Addis Ababa’s main hospital for the past several months, where he noticed most of their patients were Somalis who had travelled miles for the treatment. He opened his first clinic in Addis Ababa early this year and plans to open one in Hargeisa in early April. Before they open their clinic, the two doctors will be offering three day neurodiagnostics training at Edna Adan Hospital in Hargeisa. Interested individuals are advised to call Edna Hospital or contact Dr Essa Kayd Email: or Tel: 1-617-304-1270

Read more here


An interesting research paper that summarises some of the main findings from a large research project undertaken by the Social Policy Research Group in the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University.

The research that this document reports on considers how the low quality of tuition offered in schools in poor communities can entrench exclusion and marginalisation. Within this system of overlapping divides, most of these categories cannot be transcended easily. Race is a social construct but a sticky one, while language and culture are, to a large extent, also social identities into which you are born. Moving to a more affluent neighbourhood is not a reliable strategy to escape poverty, as it tends to be the consequence of social mobility rather than the cause of it. This leaves education as the only viable avenue for poor people who want to enter the top end of the labour market, with all its attendant economic benefits. Education therefore has a significant role to play both in providing opportunities to individuals as well as through its potential to unravel the apartheid-era social structure and create a more cohesive and less polarised society.
Thus, while there is much scope for education to challenge and transform individual lives and social structures, at least in principle, this study demonstrates why we are seeing so little evidence of this. Our research shows that by the age of eight there are already very large gaps in the performance of school children in the top 20% of the population (top quintile) versus those in the bottom 80% (bottom four quintiles). In other words, by an early age there are already stark distinctions between the prospects of children from poorer communities and those from more affluent communities.
According to our research, the education system generally produces outcomes that reinforce current patterns of poverty and privilege instead of challenging them. Unsurprisingly, we find that the inequalities in schooling outcomes manifest via labour market outcomes, perpetuating current patterns of income inequality.

Read more here

Monday, March 28, 2011


Two hundred and fifty top performers in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary School examination will have their university fees paid by the Equity Bank University Sponsorship, Leadership and Mentorship programme.

The top boy and girl in the 2010 KCSE in every district that Equity Bank operates will benefit from the Bank’s internship programme, meant to nurture and develop them to become future transformational leaders.

To date, 1,050 students have benefitted from this program since its inception in 1998.The students get the rare chance for internship with Equity Bank before proceeding to university for studies. This year, Equity Bank will spend Kshs 180 million towards the programme at a cost of KShs 720,000 on each of the 250 students, which will support their university education and upkeep.

The launch of this year’s program by Equity Bank is momentous as it comes hot on the heels of the launch of the Wings To Fly scholarship fund, a nine year joint initiative between the Equity Group Foundation and The MasterCard Foundation to assist disadvantaged, but academically gifted Kenyan students pursue secondary school education. The Kshs.4 billion partnership covers tuition, books, uniforms and pocket money and shopping for 5,600 students who could not have proceeded to secondary school. This year, 1200 children received their scholarships and 400 of them joined national schools.

Speaking at the launch of this year’s program, Dr James Mwangi, the Equity Bank Managing Director and CEO said: “The achievement of quality education for Kenyan students should no longer be seen as an end in itself. Education should be holistic, imparting students with the right skills, values and mindset aimed at making them responsible and accountable citizens of this country”

He added: “The ultimate aim of the Equity University sponsorship, leadership and mentorship programme is to nurture and create social transformational leaders who will act as change agents from the grassroots to the national level,”

Dr Mwangi, who is also the chairman of Kenya’s economic blueprint Vision 2030 Delivery Board said the program was one among the several interventions that the Bank had come up with to compliment the government’s efforts in its crusade to enhance development of skills that are relevant to the growth of the economy and achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

Dr Mwangi said the Equity Group Foundation would also assist the beneficiaries apply for scholarships in “Ivy League” institutions like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and Stanford. Already, 10 of the beneficiaries of last year’s program have joined Harvard, Yale, MIT and London School of Economics. An additional four scholars have received admissions to Amherst College, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania and Williams College in the US while one won the President’s UK scholarship Award tenable in several top UK universities.

Upon completing their university education, the scholars have an opportunity to join the Bank for permanent employment where they get a chance to utilize their skills and knowledge. The scholars are trained in not only all aspects of the banking which will form their major pre-occupation, but also on other aspects like leadership, interpersonal skills, mentorship, communication and work ethics.

Read more here

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Apply for the Machel-Mandela Internship Programme – Open to Young African Graduates

The Brenthurst Foundation is inviting applications from young graduates for the newly-established Machel-Mandela Internship Programme, named in honour of former South African President Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel.

The Machel-Mandela Internship programme aims to be the most prestigious of its kind in Africa. It will help sharpen the Brenthurst Foundation’s focus on Africa’s burgeoning youth population and help nurture Africa’s future leaders.


The internship will be available full-time for a minimum of six months and a maximum of two successful candidates will be selected per year. The intern may be from Africa or abroad and will be based at the Brenthurst Foundation’s headquarters in Parktown, Johannesburg. Interns will work directly with and assist the Foundation’s staff on a range of projects and activities, some of which will require foreign travel.

A stipend per month will be provided. Other expenses (travel, accommodation) may also be provided depending on the circumstances of the successful candidate and subject to agreement by the Brenthurst Foundation.


* Under 30 years of age
* An Undergraduate or Masters level degree
* Excellent spoken and written English. African and other languages an asset
* Excellent communication skills
* Enthusiastic and reliable, a self-starter who requires minimal oversight and management
* Able to balance deadlines and attention to detail
* Fluency in all basic IT skills
* Copy-editing and proof-reading skills an asset
* A passion for Africa and a keen interest in new thinking and strategies to strengthen Africa’s economic performance
* Broad knowledge of African politics and economics
* Familiarity with the work of the Brenthurst Foundation (please consult the website).


Please address your application to Ms Leila Jack and e-mail it to quoting ‘Machel-Mandela Intern’ in the subject line.

You will need to send:

* An up-to-date CV with references’ details
* A covering letter – no more than 500 words, outlining your interest in the position and the skills you can bring to bear
* A writing sample – this can be any piece of work, for example an essay or a published article, of any length.

The deadline for applications is 23 March 2011.

Read more here

Friday, March 18, 2011

Keeping Up with the Qaddafis

The Foreign Policy magazine has an interesting piece on the Qaddafis...

"The family that fights the United Nations together, stays together."

The article mentions Aisha Qaddafis only daughter and a lawyer, was appointed as a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations in July 2009, focusing on the issues of HIV/AIDS and violence against women in Libya. She was fired from that position on Feb. 23, following the beginning of the violent crackdown on anti-government protestors.

Such events are mind boggling! Why didn't they(UN) do their due diligence before bestowing upon her the ambassadorial role?

Read more here

Monday, March 14, 2011

The price of protection

Condom use is said to be one of the safest methods in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. It's also used in the prevention of other sexually transmitted diseases and even unwanted pregnancies, but only if used correctly. For some years now they have been supplied free of charge in government hospitals and designated public facilities but not lately. A few kilometers away from Isiolo town, people are finding it hard to access the much needed commodity. They have come up with crude ways of addressing the issue. Violet otindo with more on this story.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Youth Migration - World Bank Essay Competition 2011

Young people are on the move. Improvements in transportation, technology development and increased international trade, as well as issues such as unemployment, war, health and economic hardship have prompted more young people to migrate within and across national borders in search of work, education and a better quality of life. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that young people between 15 and 30 years of age account for about one-third of all migrants

Nearly all young people are affected by migration in some way. Some are migrants themselves or are considering migrating abroad or within their home country. Others experience migration through the departure of friends or family members, and still others, in receiving countries, encounter the political debate on immigration and integration policies in their country and may experience cohabitation with new immigrants. Young people are major stakeholders in migration and yet youth are largely absent in the debate on international migration policies and the effects of migration on development.

The World Bank International Essay Competition 2011 would like to hear your views on the opportunities, challenges and implications of youth migration.

Questions to address in your essay / video :

1) How has migration (international or internal, in a sending or a receiving country) affected you, your family, your community, or your country?

2) How do you perceive the benefits of migration (increased opportunities for young people, remittances) versus the risks (brain drain, illegal immigration and exploitation of young immigrants)?

3) What actions can you recommend for broadening opportunities for young migrants in their countries of destination and their countries of origin?

We encourage you to draw on personal experiences when possible and focus on providing your own creative solutions for managing migration in a way that most benefits young people. You do not have to be a migrant yourself to respond on this essay, as you may refer to the experience of your friends and family or other migrants who enter, leave or move within your country. As migration is a multi-dimensional issue, please feel free to explore any aspect of migration that you relate to most, such as :

Rural to urban migration
international migration policy
role of diasporas
forced migration
integration of immigrants
migration and development
skilled migration / brain drain

Who Can Participate

The International Essay Competition is open to all young people, students and non-students alike, between the ages of 18 and 25, from all countries of the world.

If you are at least 18 and not older than 25 on May 15, 2011, you are eligible to participate.

Please note that if you were a finalist or winner of a previous World Bank International Essay Competition, you are no longer eligible to compete.

Read more here

Photo by Flickr Garpoune

World Bank Strategy for Africa

With Africa facing an unprecedented opportunity to transform itself and improve the lives of its people, the World Bank is responding with a new, ambitious strategy which could help African economies take off, the way the economies of Asia did 30 years ago. The new approach, endorsed by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today, marks a significant shift in the way the organization views Africa and its own role as a supporter of the continent’s progress. Laid out in three main business lines, the program was crafted over more than a year through extensive research and international consultations, especially with the people of Africa.

The plan, titled “Africa’s Future and the World Bank’s Support to it”, shifts from a more general focus on seeking economic stability and sound fundamentals to emphasize the need for attention in three key areas:

  • Competitiveness and employment - The plan will assist countries to diversify their economies and generate jobs, especially for the 7-10 million young people entering the labor force each year. It will help to close the gap between infrastructure needs and investments -- currently about $48 billion annually -- and support efforts to make it easier for business to operate. In addition, the plan will focus on building the skills of workers.

  • Vulnerability and resilience - Africa’s poor are directly affected by shocks -- economic, health-related, natural disasters and conflict -- which keep them in poverty. By focusing on better health care, dealing preemptively with the effects of climate change through improved irrigation and water management, and strengthening public agencies to share resources more fairly and build consensus, the plan seeks to reduce the number of shocks and limit the damage from those that do occur.

  • Governance and public sector capacity - Critical services, in education, health and basic infrastructure, are too often either not delivered or delivered badly because of weak management of public funds. The Bank’s program of support aims to give citizens better information on what they should expect from their governments, as well as the capacity to report on instances when services are not delivered properly. The Bank will also work directly with governments to help them improve their systems and capacity to deliver basic services and manage accounts.

Read more here Full Report available here

Read more here World Bank Strategy for Africa Website

Cathedral in Malabo Equatorial Guinea Photo by the Kots

Youth organisations ask "What About Us?" of Nigerian presidential candidates


Facilitating a debate that focuses on the key issues affecting a critical voting demographic, with the age group of 30 and under representing 70% of the population. The debate will be a direct conversation with Nigerian youth, inviting presidential candidates to answer questions posed by young Nigerians in Nigeria and around the world via social media networks including Facebook and Twitter, texts and phones, about key topics of concern.

What they seek to do:

Building on momentum from a mass voter registration drive, a coalition of several youth empowerment groups and blogs, including Vote or Quench, Enough is Enough Nigeria coalition, Sleeves Up, and Nigerian Leadership Initiative, is calling for the first-ever presidential youth centered debate in Nigeria. Looking ahead to the April elections, the debate would focus on the key issues affecting a critical voting demographic, with the age group of 30 and under representing 70% of the population.

The debate will be a direct conversation with Nigerian youth, inviting presidential candidates to answer questions posed by young Nigerians in Nigeria and around the world via social media networks including Facebook and Twitter, texts and phones, about key topics of concern. For the first time, the candidates will have platform to share their agenda with the nation in a live-televised format, laying out specific and concrete solutions. The debate is tentatively scheduled for the last week of March, 2011.

"It is easy for politicians to promise change without having a clue about the realities Nigerian youth face every day. However, we know that their decisions now will largely determine our future so we want to know where they stand. This time around, we are engaged, aware and empowered, and believe that our vote should be earned and not expected,” the group said in a joint statement.

Read more here

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Inspiration Zone:Wendy Yvonne Nomathemba Luhabe

Wendy Luhabe from South Africa Pioneering Social Entrepreneur, Chairman/Director of Companies, Author

From corporate employment to social entrepreneurship and the boardrooms: bridging the gap between women and the economy. Wendy has a portfolio of interests and has been a social entrepreneur since 1991 after 10 years in corporate marketing. Her first business was in Human Resources Development to bridge the gap between management and employees to optimise performance.

In 1994 Wendy pioneered the founding of Women Investment Portfolio Holdings which listed in 1999 on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange in the Investment Trust section (de-listed March 2003), an initiative that revolutionized the participation of women in the economic landscape of South Africa and the first women owned company to be listed.

In February 2002 Wendy launched a R120 million Private Equity Fund for women owned proprietary enterprises, another first for South Africa. She is the recipient of two Honorary Doctorates in Commerce. She is currently chairman of Vendome SA, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the International Marketing Council (IMC). She is on the board of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, a Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award International Foundation for the leadership development of young people, a member of the Club of Rome in Europe, a Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg and on the board of the International Institute of Management Development in Switzerland.

Over the past 10 years Wendy has received international recognition from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland as a Global Leader for Tomorrow, the Osaka Junior Chamber in Japan as an Outstanding Young Person, Leadership in Practise by Unisa Business School in South Africa and Woman of Worth from the Jewish Achievers Awards in South Africa. She is featured regularly in various media (Sunday Times, Financial Mail) as one of South Africa's most powerful women and in 1999 was honoured as one of 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World. Since January 2000 she has been featured as one of the likely candidates for Presidency even though she has no political aspirations.

She is married to Mbhazima Shilowa, the last Premier of Gauteng Province and they have two sons and two grandchildren. Wendy has interests in writing, conversations, culture and metaphysics. She has lived overseas, has travelled extensively and wrote her first book "Defining Moments", to demonstrate that the world needs diversity to thrive and progress.

Wendy mentors and coaches anyone who asks her and readily shares her business experience of 28 years.

Read more:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Thousand Suns

A Thousand Suns tells the story of the Gamo Highlands of the African Rift Valley and the unique worldview held by the people of the region. This isolated area has remained remarkably intact both biologically and culturally. It is one of the most densely populated rural regions of Africa yet its people have been farming sustainably for 10,000 years. Shot in Ethiopia, New York and Kenya, the film explores the modern world's untenable sense of separation from and superiority over nature and how the interconnected worldview of the Gamo people is fundamental in achieving long-term sustainability, both in the region and beyond.

Read more
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