Friday, March 18, 2011

World Forests Day and Bamboo industries in Kenya

I read this entry and really thought it was an informative entry especially for those interested in forest conservation and bamboo industries.

'Short' Development of Bamboo in Kenya
By Bernard Kigomo, KEFRI

The regional development of bamboo started in Kenya but more vehemently in 1985. Kenya has had a long relationship with INBAR since its establishment in India and
now in China where it has moved recently. KEFRI for a while now has made
world collections of bamboo species and established these as trials in the
country. There are published records of what can grow and where of about 12
of the over 20 tried species. Data on growth of the various successful
bamboo species has been collected, documented, published and shared. Growing
and management of bamboo was the early occupation of bamboo development in
Kenya. Kenyan expertise has been able to assist Sudan and Ethiopia to
develop its capacity in the growing and management of bamboo.

Recently the development of bamboo has moved to the concern of processing
and use of bamboo in several front areas. A project has therefore been going
on since 5 years ago mainly between Kenya, Ethiopia and UNIDO to improve
capacity of local people in the use of bamboo in Ethiopia and Kenya. Groups
in Kinale, Olenguruone and Kakamega have been focal points of these hands on
training through this project. The first phase of this project has ended.
This project has attempted to create awareness on bamboo development at
policy levels by arranging tours in Asia/China and Ethiopia for the
management of KFS (selected Board members and 10 senior managers), KEFRI
(Senior staff and selected Board members) and Ministry (Two PSs, Minister of
MF&W)and several 5 NGO executives who were partners to this project. This
project has produced several guidelines on production, management and
processing of bamboo that it has shared with a number of outlets. Joint
training of trainers has enabled to have capacity for regional training in
bamboo growing and furniture, handicraft and basketry making. We have had
several training sessions for CBOs locally, three training sessions in Rwanda
and presently two KEFRI experts are holding a two week course in Uganda for
Sakin, and NGO, with the support of UNIDO.

Another effort through the government support has been training groups
coming from Coast, Central and western Kenya, lo0caly and at the KEFRI
workshop at Karura. Three groups in southern Nyanza have been trained in
use of bamboo in furniture making and weaving by KEFRI through the IDRC
support to Maseno University. The Southern Nyanza bamboo project of Maseno
University has aimed at introducing bamboo as alternative to tobacco and the
utilization of the planted bamboo.

The results of these efforts have started showing with several individuals
and youth groups organizing themselves to focus on products development from
bamboo. Several architectural students in the local universities are already
working on the use of bamboo in housing. The potential is great but has
been least tapped realizing the use made of bamboo in Asian countries,
especially China and India, among other oriental countries.

The government through KFS and KEFRI is already coming up with a country
bamboo strategy and the two have been agonizing on the issue of lifting the
ban on bamboo harvesting to provide means of sustainable harvesting before
the eventual flowering of the bamboo culms/stems. Bamboo is a grass and
flowers and die.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Responsible leadership. Mature leadership. That is what is lacking in Kenya.You can be strategic in your engagements but miss the point in being responsible as a leader.When a person in leadership engages in anything other than noble talk in a public space,he reduces himself to the street urchin who sometimes has no idea what he engaged in the previous day.
Kenya has been through enough turmoil.A responsible leader is the one who takes the high road of not trading words in public.What would happen if one of these leaders takes the high road and publicly declares,'l have chosen a high road.l will not engage in cheap propaganda that cheapens me even further.'So for a second, pause...what would happen if our leaders took the high road?

Monday, February 28, 2011


Leadership...A lot has been said about this subject and will continue to be said. Today in Kenya at 1pm, people from all walks of life will take time out to sing the national anthem as a sign of patriotism. This is a strong statement that is being sent to our leadership,specifically the political leadership. Like the rest of the countries that are running revolutions, this has been a mostly Facebook campaign that has materialized into action.

The leadership of this country needs to wake up and ask themselves, why would a simple campaign motivate hundreds of thousands of Kenyans to desire to sing their national anthem? What is it the political class is doing that is driving Kenyans to this? I know patriotism is one of them but it is mostly the fact that the leadership is not living up to its bargain three years after signing the national accord.If they did, Kenyans would not feel the urge to congregate to sing their anthem.

This campaign should not be taken lightly. It is the genesis of other campaigns. While this one is led entirely by very patriotic Kenyans who really want their country governed properly, the next campaign by others may take a different turn if the political class doesn't catch on this message.

The Facebook avenue is getting quite popular.What with more than 50 per cent of Kenyans with phones, it should tell you something. One can also surf the internet on most of these phones. So really, this is a ready platform that comprises of eager Kenyans willing to show where they stand on issues pertaining to this country. The best indicator for future behavior is best told by past actions.A brilliant leader should know better than take this campaign lightly.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Hmmm!!! what to do when a project goes horribly crazy? Pick yourself up baby and move on. Salvage what you can and keep moving.I am reminded that failures stay as failures and winners are those that stood up, amended their strategies and moved on.So today in spite of all the negativity l feel, l will pick myself up and move.I will make it good.I will be vindicated.I am willing to put in the work and the effort.Yes, even though the holidays are here, l will salvage what l can and move on because that is only when l can hold my head high in the midst of all the screaming negativity.I will make it with God's help.I will be vindicated.Majaliwa.