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Archive for December 22nd, 2011

CAXORINNE VENTURES LTD – A Kenyan company making heads turn in Germany

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2011

By Chief editor Korir, API


Every Christmas season many German towns arrange International Christmas Markets that last for three weeks to one month. They call them “WEIHNACHTSMARKT” and comprises of sellers from many nations of the world.

Selling African sculptures in Europe is something new for many business ventures. A company already in the field doing business in Germany must be appreciated for, not only being interested in promoting the business for gain, but also for spreading African culture through their trade and marketing Kenya’s tourism in the European continent.

This writer visited Munster, a city in West Germany where the Municipality had organised International Christmas Market days in this month of December, and while there came accross, a Kenyan company which was flourishing in the centre of it all – making heads turn in the market place, attracting christmas shoppers who wanted to purchase the African art in the names of Lions, Giraffes, handmade special earings and all other high-class beautifully handmade items.

CAXORINNE ventures is now making headway into many European countries in the heart of Europe.

The Kenya Ministry of Tourism should promote such independent companies because while they do private business, the companies like this one we encountered is also marketing Kenya as a tourism destination. The company had chosen to hang a Kenyan flag inside their store, a signal to christmas shoppers that the company is Kenyan. While at the store, this writer met with many shoppers who wanted to know more about Kenya from the company. Seemingly, they were happy to purchase hand-made art of many different types of animals found in Kenyan National Parks, and yet they were asking questions on how they can travel to Kenya and see the same animals “LIVE”.

The Ministry of Tourism should explore ways to work together with such companies for the benefit of the country’s tourism and its expansion.

For the benefit of our readers, African Press has now contacted hoping to get more details on how the company plans to continue utilising their new-found international market connections and if they intend to continue promoting Kenya’s tourism, and if they also intend to partner with European companies in future to strengthen their activities.

While at the market-stand in the city, API wanted to interview the Company’s Managing Director Corinne (Kenyan lady), but was informed that she was on a marketing tour of Stuttgart City to strengthen new business connections.

Some of the Handcrafts made by Kenyans exhibited in Munster Christmas market – Germany in the month of December 2011. The exhibition ended on the 23rd of December. Many Europeans Nations were represented. Kenya had only one representant in the name of Caxorinne Ventures Ltd :

For a larger size: Click directly on the photo! - Handcraft by Kenyans - Handcraft by Kenyans

 ————————— - Kenyan made handcraft - Kenyan made handcraft

 ————————- - Kenyan made hearings - Kenyan made hearings

—————– - Elephant -


——————– - Handcraft made by Kenyans - Handcraft made by Kenyans

———————- - handcrafts made by Kenyans - handcrafts made by Kenyans

The European nations and the only African Nation Kenya during the exhibition in Germany is shown in the film below:
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How to remove a landmine manually

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2011

SECURITY: Mixed report on mine action progress

BANGKOK,  – Landmine clearance and donor support for mine action reached an all-time high in 2010, but more countries – four – deployed antipersonnel mines than in any year since 2004, according to NGOs.

In addition, Kasia Derlicka, director of the 90-plus country network, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, said money for survivors was still insufficient.

Photo: Wendy Bruere/IRIN
A deminer with Handicap International demonstrates how to remove a landmine manually in Casamance, Senegal

“The movement has come a long way over the past 20 years in stigmatizing landmine use and creating an international mine ban norm, even among non-signatories… but the way ahead is still long.”

She spoke to IRIN from the ongoing Meeting of States Parties in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to assess progress on wiping out cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.

From contamination to clearance, highlights from the meeting and the Landmine Monitor 2011 report include:

  • A total of 159 governments – 80 percent of the world’s nations – have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Finland is the newest signatory as of 28 November. Thirty-seven states, including China and the United States, have not joined.
  • Landmine action attracted record monies in 2010 – US$637 million – but the percentage allocated to survivor assistance has stagnated over the past decade at 9 percent;
  • Annual total clearance of mined areas reached a record high in 2010 – at least 200sqkm – resulting in the destruction of more than 388,000 anti-personnel mines and over 27,000 anti-vehicle mines, mostly in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Croatia, Iraq and Sri Lanka;
  • Israel, Libya and Myanmar have laid antipersonnel mines thus far in 2011. Syria laid new mines along the Lebanese border in October 2011, after the Landmine Monitor 2011 report went to print. None of these countries has joined the treaty;
  • Non-state armed groups in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar and Pakistan laid new mines in 2010 – down from six countries in 2009;
  • Requests for landmine clearance deadline extensions “have become the norm rather than an exception”, the report says. Requests must be submitted to a committee of members of the Mine Ban Treaty before the annual meeting. Twenty-seven countries – half of the most affected member states – have thus far requested extensions. None has been denied;
  • Eighty-seven states have completely destroyed their landmine stockpiles, including Iraq as of June 2011. Belarus, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine failed to meet the four-year deadline in 2010 to destroy their stockpiles as set by the Mine Ban Treaty;
  • Myanmar addressed the meeting for the first time as an observer on 29 November, saying landmine use deserved “careful consideration” , while defending the country’s right to mine;
  • A total of 4,191 new casualties – 75 percent civilian – was recorded in 2010, a 5 percent increase from 2009. Half the reported casualties occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, with Afghanistan being the most mine-affected country worldwide;
  • More attention has been given to survivors’ access to health and rehabilitation services, but such improvements were partly offset in places where armed conflict made it more difficult for survivors to access those services.


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Philippines among top five countries most at risk – Identifying disasters

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2011

Philippines among top five countries most at risk

JOHANNESBURG,  – A new disaster risk index launched by the UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn could help donors and aid organizations better understand why some countries are more at risk of calamity than others, and shape their responses when disaster strikes.

The World Risk Index (WRI), explained Jörn Birkmann, scientific head of the WRI project at the UN institute, is unique in defining risk as the interaction between a natural hazard and the vulnerability of a particular community. It helps plan not only short-term responses but also long-term interventions.

WRI takes into account social, political, economic and ecological factors to determine the capacity of an affected community to respond. It looks at four main components, which in turn take into account at least 28 variables.

1. Exposure to a natural hazard (sudden as well as slow-onset natural disasters like droughts).

2. Susceptibility, which is understood as the likelihood of society and ecosystems to be damaged should a natural hazard occur. Existing economic, infrastructure, nutrition and housing conditions are taken into account.

3. The capacity to cope, which looks at the state of governance, disaster preparedness and early warning systems, medical services, and social and material security levels. “Governance is a critical issue as it is politically sensitive which is why it is overlooked by many similar indices, but the fact is you need a stable government that has the capacity to deliver to help people become resilient,” said Birkmann. He illustrated his point by contrasting the impact of the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. “Owing to higher coping and adaptive capacities, such as building laws, there were significantly fewer victims in Japan.”

4. Adaptation strategies – implying the capacities and strategies which help communities address the expected negative consequences of natural hazards and climate change.

The five most vulnerable countries                   Vulnerability (%)
Afghanistan 76.19
Niger 75.8
Chad 75.14
Sierra Leone 73.50
Eritrea 72.88

“Information on coping capacities is relevant for short-term responses, but where long-term programmes and planning is concerned, it is useful for NGOs to know about the area’s adaptation capacity,” said Peter Mucke, managing director of Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft (Alliance Development Works), a consortium of five German NGOs which worked with the UN University on the study. “So while we come to know which countries need short-term responses like food, at the same time we need know where we have to provide food-for-work programmes or strategies to provide water in the long term.”

Afghan example

Afghanistan, which according to the WRI has the world’s poorest adaptive capacity and the second lowest coping capacity, tops the list of countries most vulnerable to disasters.

The tool is uncomplicated. “The index gives you all that information at a glance – showing the strength of a particular area’s capacity to adapt or cope in percentages, which is useful to communicate the strengths and weakness of a particular area when you are seeking funding from donors,” said Birkmann.

For instance, Afghanistan’s lack of capacity to cope is shown at 93.4 percent; its adaptation capacity 73.55 percent; and vulnerability 76.19 percent. WRI uses the various percentages, and also factors in sea-level rise predictions, to calculate an overall risk figure: The Pacific island of Vanuatu comes out as the country most at risk of a disaster.

No risk index can be flawless: In the case of Vanuatu, people will only be at risk of a metre-rise in sea level in 100 years – by which time the country’s population may have changed considerably from the 2005 figures used by WRI.

WRI is dependent on the availability and quality of the data it uses. It covers 173 out of 192 countries. Somalia is not included.

WRI’s methodology could be used to focus in on any community of any size in the world.


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Tormented: Shantytown dwellers and evictions

Posted by African Press International on December 22, 2011

Residents of Port Harcourt’s shantytowns say they live in fear being forcibly evicted

PORT HARCOURT,  – Over 200,000 people living in shantytowns on the waterfront in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, southern Nigeria, could be forcibly evicted if local authorities carry out their threat to demolish the settlements, say human rights group Amnesty International and local activists.

“I will demolish [the] waterfronts. All of them,” Rivers State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi told reporters on 27 October. Residents are considered “temporary occupants” and government is only legally required to give seven days’ notice to vacate, he said, adding demolitions are needed to reduce crime in the area and make way for new developments.

In a report in October 2011 Amnesty said if people are forcibly evicted without adequate consultation, sufficient notice, compensation or alternative accommodation, many will be left homeless and risk losing their livelihoods.

Despite Amaechi’s statements, Rivers State’s Commissioner for Urban Development, Tammy Danagogo, said notice will be given and consultations will take place before people are asked to move.

Residents are unconvinced. “There is no proper information – we don’t have any idea of when they will demolish,” said Fubara Samuel, a waterfront resident and housing rights activist.

Njemanze, a waterfront community of 17,000 near Abonnema Wharf, was demolished in August 2009, but only some residents received few days’ notice. “Njemanze showed they can [demolish] without warning. You know it will happen, but you don’t know when, and it’s the same for people at Abonnema Wharf. How do you prepare for that if you don’t know where to go?” said Aster Van Kregten, a researcher at Amnesty International.

Danagogo told IRIN that low-cost housing will be made available to those who need it. But Amnesty International reported that when Njemanze was demolished no alternative accommodation was offered and many children were left homeless, some of whom still live under a flyover.

SLIDESHOW: Shantytown dwellers face eviction

Photo: Wendy Bruere/IRIN
View the Slideshow

In many cases, families broke up as parents returned to villages while the youths stayed in Port Harcourt, Kregten said. “Young girls who used to live with their families in Njemanze are now earning a living in prostitution.”

Activists also doubt promises that the area will be developed – after two years the land where Njemanze used to be is still vacant. “People used to live there, now it is a rubbish dump,” Samuel said.

“Nobody is against development, but we need to know what they will use [the land] for,” said Marcos Irinmaka, waterfront resident and president of Concerned Citizens, a local NGO formed to fight forced evictions.

Planning for eviction

Danagogo said the Abonnema Wharf settlement will be demolished in early 2012. On 11 November, a Nigerian NGO, Social and Economic Rights Action Centre, obtained an interim injunction against the Rivers State government, halting the proposed demolition. Five days later, Danagogo told IRIN he was “not aware” of any injunction.

Regardless of whether the demolition of Abonnema Wharf goes ahead, waterfront communities live with the uncertainty of not knowing when their turn will come. “Old men and women say they live in fear. They ask me, ‘How can we sleep?'” said Samuel.

Mistrust of the government has been exacerbated by security forces shooting at people protesting demolition of the Bundu waterfront on 12 October 2009. Amnesty International reported that 12 people were shot and at least two were killed, but so far no official investigation has taken place. Further demolitions were then halted, but if they go ahead, “people will protest again – it is certain,” Samuel said.

Remuneration not the solution

Home owners will be compensated for their houses, Danagogo said, but Samuel said tenants will be left struggling as the waterfronts offer the cheapest housing in Port Harcourt. Kregten noted that some home owners in Njemanze had been paid compensation, but others are yet to receive anything.

Even with the promise of compensation, many owners are still reluctant to leave, partly because they are Ijaws – indigenous people who traditionally rely on the water for their livelihoods, such as fishing, ferrying and collecting mangrove timber. “We all say we are not selling – our houses are not for sale,” said Gift Jim-George, who built her house herself on reclaimed land in Abonnema Wharf.

“Moving houses, even if the government provides alternative accommodation, will not solve the problem, because in a new place we will find it hard to sustain our lives – we are not farmers. Residents of this waterfront will still come back, because our livelihoods depend on it,” said Jim Tom-George of the Abonnema Wharf Home Owners Association.

“We are like fish in a river,” said waterfront resident David Mark. “[But] they want to send us to the forest where we cannot survive.”


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