Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Police Scandal, the Stigma of Twins, and Another Blog to Read!

2011 has barely begun and I am already overwhelmed by the news and developments emerging from Kenya. I learn something new every time I put together one of these blogs, and I hope that you do too.

Last week Kenyans were shocked when a video of police officers executing three men on a busy Nairobi street emerged. The video brings to stark light the ongoing problem of extrajudicial executions and abuses committed by the Kenyan police. For more information, read this detailed report by Human Rights Watch (which I wrote about in a previous blog) about police abuse in Kenya.

Launched last year, the Map Kibera Project aims to create the first map of one of the world’s largest slums. Local residents have been trained and equipped with GPS devices to survey the twelve “villages” that comprise Kibera. The project’s staff hopes that the map will be a powerful tool for residents to learn more about the health, security, education, and water/sanitation facilities available in their community.

While generally considered a blessing in Western cultures, the birth of twins is regarded as unlucky among certain African tribes, including some in Kenya. Women who bear twins are subject to scorn and stigma. Read the story of Gladys, who has given birth to 6 sets of twins and was abandoned by her husband and family as a result.

The healthcare of animals might seem frivolous in light of Kenya’s many public health challenges, but agricultural experts say that access to better medicines for livestock is crucial to reducing poverty. Read more about the launch of 150 veterinary supply stores throughout Kenya.

Finally, I hope that you will spend some time at the Mashada website, which is one of Kenya’s most popular blog spots and online discussion forums. I do not agree with all of the commentary, but it’s a great forum to learn more about the voices and opinions of Kenyans on current issues, many of which I’ve discussed in this blog.

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