Dialogue and Civic Spaces

Democracy

Paying homage to Binyavanga Wainaina

Article

If life was a highway, then Binyavanga drove on the fast lane.

If he skidded, he hardly took the gas off the pedal. "(Ferdinand Omondi, BBC)

 

Democratic Governance

Civic Voices on the State of Eritrea

Report

Hbs Nairobi supported the convening of a diverse group of 16 Eritrean professionals and intellectuals in December 2018 to discuss the implications of the sudden amelioration of the relationship between Eritrea and Ethiopia earlier in the year. Over the 6 months which followed the workshop, participants engaged in intense consultations and decided to publish their joint reflections just a day ahead of Eritrea’s Independence Day on 24 May 2019.

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Participation

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Arts & Education

Celebrating Whispers 15 Years On: How Satire Can Further Civic Discourse

This year, 2018, marks 15 years since the death of Wahome Mutahi (1954 – 2003), who was one of Kenya’s most prolific fiction writers, as well as a playwright, columnist, political satirist, pundit and public opinion leader. He was popularly known as Whispers after the name of the column he wrote for The Daily Nation from 1982 to 2003, offering a satirical view of the trials and tribulations of Kenyan life. According to George Ogola in The Idiom of Age in a Popular Kenyan Newspaper Serial, at a time when the state had all but monopolized public sites of expression in the country, Whispers kept the Kenyan popular media porous, opening up spaces for the discussion of social and political issues that could otherwise only be ‘whispered’. It became the most visible site of social, cultural and political expression for the last two decades at a time when freedom to such expression was highly constrained by the state.

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The Ocean Atlas illustrates the important role played by the ocean and its ecosystems – not only for people living on the coasts but for all of us. It aims to give a current insight of the state and the threat of the seas, that are our livelihoods.

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The Evolution of Kenyan Art and the Kenya Arts Diary

Supported by the Heinrich Boell Foundation and coordinated by Nani Croze of Kitengela Glass, the Kenya Arts Diary has become a popular annual art exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya and identified with the Heinrich Boell Foundation. The diary has built a new physical but portable space whose multi-functionality allows local artists to display their craft, advertise their skills, join a regional network, and find belonging.

First published in 2011, the Kenya Arts Diary is a catalogue - complete with descriptors - of photography, installations, oils, acrylics, patch-work quilts, wood, cement and scrap metal sculptures, some from “stitched found objects”. The Diary also carries artists’ bios and a directory that provides artists’ contacts and announces the range of collectives and studios where contemporary artists pursue their passions.

 

 

Energy Futures in Eastern Africa

Publication
Whereas the momentum of economic development in the 20th century depended on abundant fossil fuels and centralized electric power, countries are now revisiting their energy strategies to reduce the risks of unpredictable climate change. Our countries are not exempt from this dilemma. Should they continue to power their transition from agricultural to industrial societies by exploiting fossil fuels and centralized power? Or is a different energy system possible? Which investments will get priority? Who will benefit from whatever energy system is put into place, and who will be the biggest losers? 
 
Produced by the Society for International Development (SID) with the support of  Heinrich Böll Stiftung, East and Horn of Africa Regional Office, this booklet presents and explores possible scenarios that could unfold in four Eastern African countries. The analysis and three stories presented imagine practical future scenarios for energy and how these would affect energy poverty in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.

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