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Kenya learns to cook with solar power - even when the sun doesn't shine
10 April 2017 - In this sunny part of Kenya (Busia County), solar cookers -- which trap sunlight to heat food -- have surged in popularity in recent years. But a big problem remains: How to cook when the sun doesn't shine? Communities are now starting to sort out solutions . . . In Busia County, in western Kenya, as many as 1,500 households have turned to solar cooking, mostly over the last four years, according to county Ministry of Energy figures. The switch to more efficient cooking aims to cut deforestation in Kenya, and health problems related to cooking over smoky fires. Those who have bought the new systems say another attraction is that they require only about a third of the usual time to cook food or heat water -- a big savings of women's time. (more)

Solar boreholes, irrigated crops throw lifeline to Kenyan herders
22 March 2017 - At the only borehole with water for miles around, the troughs are under siege in Saretho village as hundreds of camels, cattle, sheep, and goats await their turn. On the other side of the solar-powered well, women and children fetch water for household use ... Two years ago, the scene would have been different. Without the solar-powered pump they have now, the villagers found the local boreholes difficult and costly to operate. But since the Kenya Red Cross installed a solar system in 2014, they no longer have problems getting water. Elsewhere in the county, a group of former pastoralists have taken to growing fruit and vegetables. Its chairman Mathar Shale said he hasn't kept livestock since he started planting bananas, tomatoes, and cabbages. 'I can earn 70,000 shillings ($680) in a good month,' he said. (more)

Roaming telescope brings Kenyan kids views of night sky
19 February 2017 - Thousands of schoolchildren in Kenya are getting a rare opportunity to look at the stars. The Traveling Telescope visits some of this East African country's most remote areas, showing students the night sky and the describing the science of astronomy with telescopes and virtual reality goggles. The telescope 'has been around for more than 400 years and yet very few people have looked through one,' said Susan Murabana, who founded the Traveling Telescope project in 2013 with [astronomer] Daniel Chu Owen. They would like to expand the project across Africa. (more)

Kenyan irrigation app aims to cut water waste, crop losses
24 January 2017 - Dealing with more unpredictable and irregular rainfall associated with climate change is a challenge for many farmers, and one made worse by water-wasting, inefficient irrigation systems, experts say. But scientists from Kenya's Meru University of Science and Technology have come up with one way to deal with the problem: a mobile app that monitors the need for water in fields and controls irrigation equipment to deliver just what is needed. (more)

Eco-huts attract tourists, and cash, to Kenyan herding communities
19 January 2017 - 'Eco-manyattas' [are] an environmentally friendly version of a traditional Maasai one-room hut normally built with mud and wood. The eco-manyatta, a solid structure made of bricks and cement, comes equipped with a solar panel, a digester to produce biogas, a water harvesting tank, and a bathroom . . . While maintaining the oblong shape of the traditional building, it is well ventilated thanks to windows in the bedroom and sitting area. And solar power means it has lighting both day and night. The modern manyattas do not require frequent repairs . . . The Twala women's group has decided to add more eco-manyattas on its 40-acre (16-hectare) plot of land in Laikipia County in Kenya's Rift Valley, to expand tourism as a source of income. Since they started welcoming guests in 2007, they have hosted close to 1,000 visitors. Kenyans and foreigners are attracted by the opportunity to experience the Maasai tribal culture but cannot be accommodated in old huts. Nina Kosen Soila, managing director of Eco-Manyatta Afrika, said the tourism business of the Twala women's group was bringing more money into the community -- especially to the benefit of women . . . This can offer girls a different perspective on life, she added. With a higher income, their mothers can pay their school fees and avoid them being married off due to poverty. (more)

Africa's first grid-connected biogas plant powers up
10 January 2017 - A commercial farm in Kenya has become Africa's first electricity producer powered by biogas to sell surplus electricity to the national grid, cutting the carbon emissions associated with oil-powered generation. The Gorge Farm Energy Park in Naivasha, Kenya, produces 2 megawatts (MW) of electricity -- more than enough to cultivate its 706 hectares (1,740 acres) of vegetables and flowers, and with sufficient surplus to meet the power needs of 5,000-6,000 rural homes. (more)

Solar irrigation cuts drought risk, emissions for Kenya's farmers
28 November 2016 - In the scorching sun, Alphonce Abok keeps an eye on his fields of watermelons growing near the banks of the Sound River, one of the major channels feeding into Lake Victoria. Not so long ago, he said, his efforts failed as he couldn't get enough water to the crop. In July, however, he purchased a solar-powered irrigation pump that he now hopes will give him a much more reliable harvest. ... (more)

Kenya earns 20 pct more from horticulture exports in first 9 months
7 November 2016 - Kenya's earnings from horticulture exports rose 20 percent to 77.81 billion shillings ($766 million) in the first nine months of this year from a year earlier, the country's statistics office said on Monday, 7 November. The data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed flower exports contributed 53.88 billion shillings, or 69 percent of the earnings, with the rest coming from the export of fruits and vegetables. (more)

Taste of solar power builds appetite for more in Kenya, survey finds
1 November 2016 - In Kenya, one of the countries leading Africa's push toward solar energy use, experimentation with solar lighting is fast expanding into broader use of renewable power for business, energy experts say. A survey of just under 200 users of pioneering rural solar mini-grid systems found that at least 10 percent who bought basic solar lighting and electricity now wanted to move up the 'energy ladder' and begin using clean energy to make their businesses or farms more profitable, according to the mini-grid company and a philanthropic investment group. (more)

Tech classes open a fresh window of opportunity for women in rural Kenya
21 October 2016 - A digital literacy programme is helping women and girls in Kenya to learn new skills and earn extra income, irrespective of age or education level. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Nandi Hills, Kenya: Local people enjoy Transcendental Meditation, Consciousness-Based Education
1 May 2014 - The beautiful Nandi Hills area of Kenya is located near the equator at 2,000 metres above sea level, overlooking the famed Rift Valley. In 2009 people in some of the villages in this rural part of Kenya began learning Transcendental Meditation (TM). There are now over 700 people in Nandi Hills practising the simple, natural technique. The District Chief once commented that 'Fairfield (in Iowa, USA, the home of Maharishi University of Management) may be ''TM Town'', but I want Nandi Hills to be ''TM Town 2''.' Many children in the area have learned Transcendental Meditation, and one of the school principals has been trained as a TM teacher. Inspired by the positive changes and academic progress of the children, many adults are also learning the technique, including most of the children's mothers. (more)

Kenya: Nandi Hills a bright spot with hundreds practising Transcendental Meditation
19 June 2013 - In the beautiful greater Nandi Hills area of Kenya, about 250 km west of Nairobi, a community hall under construction this year is nearly completed. Recent visitors reported that the roof was going up on the single storey, 300 square metre building. The new centre was designed and is being built in accord with the principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture, and will serve as a hub for people in the area to practise Transcendental Meditation together, generating peace and harmony in the region. (more)

A Maharishi Vastu community centre begins to rise in Kenya
15 January 2013 - Construction has begun on a community hall fully in accord with the principles of Maharishi Vastu architecture, to accommodate the activities of the Transcendental Meditation programme and serve the meditating community of Nandi Hills, Kenya--as a gathering place and a source of coherence and peace. (more)

Kenya: Women and girls in Nandi Hills thriving on Transcendental Meditation
27 July 2012 - In the beautiful Nandi Hills region of Kenya, above the famed Rift Valley, a village continues to thrive and grow through the Transcendental Meditation programme. Among the meditators is a large, enthusiastic group of women--more than 55 mothers and grandmothers--many of whom meet several times a week to meditate together. Transcendental Meditation 'has brought a lot of happiness and a lot of love in our homes,' said one mother. 'It has brought us together as a community.' (more)

Kenya: Fulfilling the desire of 'these serious and sincere young people' for an enlightened education
24 March 2012 - After visiting a primary school in Kenya where all the students practise Transcendental Meditation, Dr Bevan Morris said, 'You just want [the students] to have everything in the world. Your heart pours out to them. They're very serious and sincere young people and you want to do everything, give everything to them, that they could have an enlightened education' through the gift of Maharishi's system of education. (more)

Kenya: Headmistress praises students' increased confidence after learning Transcendental Meditation
24 March 2012 - The former headmistress of a school for girls in Nairobi, Kenya recently spoke at length about the dramatic effects the school saw when Transcendental Meditation was first offered there. She said that a lot of the girls, before they learned to meditate, wouldn't speak up in class; they would never speak in front of a group. In contrast, 'after they learned, they became confident and began to speak in an articulate fashion.' The girls also began to enjoy their math and physics classes. (more)

Kenya: Transcendental Meditation welcomed by local leadership in Nandi Hills
24 March 2012 - Nandi Hills, Kenya is a beautiful and special place, said Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management, who visited there recently on his tour of Africa. 'This is a place where there is a great concentration of the practice of Transcendental Meditation.' Many in the community practise Transcendental Meditation, and community leaders have expressed the desire for it to be 'a Transcendental Meditation town'. (more)

Kenya: Warm welcome for Consciousness-Based Education pioneer from community, primary school
24 March 2012 - Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management, received a warm welcome from a primary school in Nandi Hills, Kenya, in which many students practise the Transcendental Meditation Technique. In addition to students and parents, the district school chief welcomed the visitors as well. Dr Morris said that it is not just the children who are affected by the school's implementation of Consciousness-Based Education, 'the community is deeply involved in practising Transcendental Meditation.' (more)

Kenyan educator on Transcendental Meditation: 'This is something universal'
24 March 2012 - Arriving in Nairobi, Kenya on his 14-country tour of Africa, Dr Bevan Morris, President of Maharishi University of Management, focused on presenting the benefits of Consciousness-Based Education and Transcendental Meditation for Kenyan students and schools. In meetings with education leaders, he gave a talk to an organization that develops curriculum for schools. The director was very interested in the presentation and later commented: 'This is something universal. This is something that relates to the human being, to any human being. It's about the brain and the development of the brain. It's about intelligence and the development of intelligence.' (more)

Washington, DC conference on Kenya highlighted Maharishi's programmes for Africa
27 July 2010 - A conference for Kenyans living in the United States featured experts in the health and education programmes offered by the Global Country of World Peace presenting their benefits for traditional African communities. The conference was held in Washington, DC, and titled Gotabgaa, 'our homeland family'. (more)


Flops
Short Summaries of Top Stories


Fears for refugees health in Kenya as food aid rations halved
6 December 2016 - Food rations to more than 400,000 refugees in Kenya have been halved due to severe funding shortages, and existing supplies will run out completely at the end of February, the United Nations said on Tuesday. Kenya hosts 434,000 refugees from 21 countries, mainly from war-torn neighbouring South Sudan and Somalia, in two overcrowded camps on its northern borders. (more)

From cattle raiders to heavy rains: Kenya's displaced families under threat
31 December 2015 - In Baringo country, the impacts of climate change have been devastating. Droughts have exacerbated cattle raiding, while now heavy rains threaten to wash away makeshift homes. 2015 has been another dry year and what were once rivers look more like dusty roads. Water scarcity has led to diminishing lands for pasture. And this, in turn, has led to a rise in cattle raiding. Traditionally, cattle raiding was as way of raising a dowry, but it has since taken on a more criminal and violent nature, often leading to deaths and displacements. In Baringo county, around 1,500 families are reportedly displaced due to cattle raids, and prolonged dry spells have exacerbated this trend. (more)

Kenya tourist numbers down by a quarter so far in 2015
12 June 2015 - The number of visitors to Kenya fell by 25 percent in the first five months of 2015, according to tourism board figures, showing just how badly the industry has been damaged by a spate of Islamist militant attacks that have killed hundreds. Tourism is a vital foreign exchange earner for the east African nation, which boasts palm-fringed beaches and safari trails, but a two-year slump has forced hotels to shut, cut job numbers, and sent the shilling to 3-1/2-year lows. (more)

Al-Shabab militants kill 147 at university in Kenya
2 April 2015 - Al-Shabab gunmen rampaged through a university in northeastern Kenya at dawn Thursday, killing 147 people in the group's deadliest attack in the East African country. The masked attackers armed with AK-47s singled out non-Muslim students at Garissa University College and then gunned them down without mercy, survivors said. Others ran for their lives with bullets whistling through the air. Four militants were slain by security forces to end the siege just after dusk. Most of the 147 dead were students. (more)

Four rhinos killed in Kenya's worst poaching attack in years
13 July 2014 - Two armed gangs killed four rhinos for their horns in rural Kenya this week in possibly the worst rhino poaching incident in the country in more than 25 years, the spokesman for Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said on Friday. Poaching across sub-Saharan Africa is on the rise as armed criminal gangs kill elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns, usually to be shipped to Asia for use in ornaments and medicines. The poaching on Wednesday night took place at the private Ol Jogi ranch near Nanyuki, about 200 km (120 miles) north of Nairobi. Paul Muya, a spokesman for KWS which has overall responsibility for wildlife in Kenya, told Reuters the rhino bodies were found on two separate sites on the 58,000-acre ranch and the poachers escaped with three of the animals' eight horns. One conservationist said the Ol Jogi raid was the worst poaching incident in Kenya since five white rhinos were killed in one swoop in Meru Park in 1988. Muya said he also believed it to be the biggest attack since then. 'They've got high levels of security there, so the implications are that really rhino are not safe anywhere,' said the conservationist. (more)

Red Cross: 22 dead in attacks on Kenyan coast
6 July 2014 - Twenty-two people were killed in overnight attacks by gunmen in two counties on the Kenyan coast, where al-Qaida-linked militants last month claimed responsibility for killing 65 people, the Kenya Red Cross said Sunday. The Saturday night attacks took place in the towns of Hindi in Lamu county and Gamba in Tana River, Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gulet said. Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants from Somalia claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to the Lamu county commissioner Njenga Miiri, a group of about 15 gunmen raided the Malamandi village of Hindi and started shooting at residents. The gunmen also attacked Gamba police station, Kenya's police chief David Kimaiyo said. The nine victims in Gamba included five inmates said to be non-Muslim, who were killed when the gunmen attacked the police station, said a senior police officer who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media. Three other inmates escaped with the gunmen. Kenya has suffered a spate of gun and explosive attacks since deploying its troops in October 2011 to fight al-Shabab militants. (more)

At least 20 killed in tribal clashes in Kenya - police
22 June 2014 - At least 20 people were killed in inter-clan violence in northern Kenya on Sunday, the police said, further destabilising one of Kenya's most volatile regions. The clashes between the Degodia and Gare communities started in mid-May and has led to more than 40 deaths in Wajir county that borders Somalia, local media reported. The fighting was the latest in a series of tit-for-tat killings that are ostensibly part of a longstanding grazing land and water dispute between the two tribes. Wajir area is widely seen one of the least stable parts of Kenya, with bandits roaming vast tracts of arid land and Somali al Shabaab Islamist militants staging cross border raids. An influx of weapons across Kenya's borders, in particular from Somalia, has intensified the ferocity of attacks between rival communities in recent years. (more)

Kenyan police operation strands 300 children
20 June 2014 - As Kenya continues to round up and detain refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers in a controversial anti-terrorism operation, fears are mounting over the fate of around 300 children separated from parents arrested during the sweeps. Some of these children are reported to be held in a Nairobi stadium used as a temporary detention facility, without a parent or guardian. 'Our concern is the separation of some 300 children, including babies as young as a few months, from their mothers and fathers or customary care-givers and foster parents,' said Emanuel Nyabera, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesman in Kenya. Since early April, some 4,000 arrests have been made in Operation Usalama Watch, mostly of Somali nationals, but also Kenyans of Somali origin as well as nationals of other countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo. Around 2,000 of those arrested have been transferred to the country's two refugee complexes. Some 359 have been deported to Somalia. 'During visits to temporary foster families in the urban areas, UNHCR and partners found some of these children in a desperate situation,' Nyabera said. (more)

Death toll climbs to 80 from illegal alcohol in Kenya
7 May 2014 - Eighty people have died after drinking from a batch of illegal liquor in Kenya and police have detained several people for questioning, officials and police said on Wednesday. Consumption of illicit alcohol is common in Kenya. Deaths often occur but this is the largest number of people killed in a single incident for several years. 'Investigations into the source of the drinks (are) ongoing,' the National Disaster Operation Centre said on its Twitter feed, putting the toll this week at 80 in the central and eastern regions of Embu, Kiambu, Makueni, and Kitui. More than 60 had been reported dead on Tuesday. Dozens of people were also hospitalised, some of them after going blind. In 2005, 45 people were killed from illegal alcohol laced with methanol to boost its strength, while in 2000, about 130 people died from a toxic batch. (more)

Kenya struggles to stop terrorist attacks
4 May 2014 - One person was killed and several wounded when two homemade bombs exploded on buses along one of the busiest highways in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, police said Sunday, as this East African nation struggles to stop a series of terrorist attacks. Sunday's blasts were on two buses packed with commuters along Thika Highway, said Moses Ombati, the deputy police chief in Nairobi. Eliud Lagat, the deputy head of the bomb disposal unit said the blasts were caused by improvised explosive devices. The explosions come a day after two blasts at the Kenyan coast killed four people. Police said a grenade thrown at a bus stop in the coastal town of Mombasa killed the four. The second blast at a public beach did not cause any fatalities, police said. Kenya has been hit by a wave of gun and explosives attacks since it sent troops to neighbouring Somalia to fight the Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, in 2011. The Al-Qaida-linked militants have vowed to carry out terrorist attacks in Kenya to avenge the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia. (more)

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