Themes

Healthy soils are crucial to human nutrition and the fight against hunger. But worldwide 24 billion tons of fertile soil is lost annually. Barbara Unmüßig calls attention to the growing threat to one of Earth’s most important resources.

The United Nations has declared 2015 to be the International Year of Soils, and April 19-23 marks this year’s Global Soil Week. Such events, though not exactly glamorous, do not receive nearly the amount of attention they deserve.

Stretching the length of time seems like a very attractive idea for Kenyan legislators today. About 21 weeks to an August 2015 legislative deadline, consensus inside and out of Parliament has not been reached on a formula to ensure equitable gender representation in subsequent parliaments in line with Article 27(8) of the Constitution.

Representatives of various lobby groups attended and presented their various formulae and strategies toward gender-equitable representation in national parliament at the Heinrich Boell Stiftung’s Gender Forum on 26th March 2015

Out of the eleven elections that have been held in Kenya since independence, the 2013 election will remain significant in Kenya’s electoral history. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 set the legal framework for promoting gender equality, which has seen a record eighty six woman elected and nominated to the eleventh Parliament. This number surpasses the total number of women representatives in the fifty years of independence combined. In the last ten parliaments, Kenya has had a total of eventy five women, fifty of them elected while the other 25 were nominated. With an increase from 9.8% to 19% representation, Kenya is now ranked 76th of the top 100 countries in the World Classification of Women in National Parliaments. The marked

Progress, a result of years of hard work by different stakeholders in the women’s movement, deserves celebration.

“Over 80 per cent of Kenya’s population of 40 million derives their livelihoods from agriculture and pastoralism. Four million small farm households produce three-quarters of the country’s food. The key actors are women, who account for 75 per cent of the labour force in small-scale agriculture, manage 40 per cent of small farms and play the major role in food preparation and storage. Yet Kenya’s farmers face massive challenges. Their landholdings are small, productivity is low and most have little access to inputs, financial services and markets to sell any surplus produce. Poverty and hunger remain deep and persistent. Around 48 per cent of Kenyans, especially subsistence farmers and pastoralists, live in poverty and over 40 per cent – around 16 million people - lack sufficient food”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that approximately 125 million girls and women alive today had been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 29 countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East where FGM is prevalent. On the 26th of February 2015, Heinrich Boell Foundation’s Nairobi office once again convened the monthly Gender Forum at the Nairobi Safari Club, with the agenda of addressing FGM in Kenya. In a highly emotional ambience, people from different backgrounds in Kenya came together to discuss FGM in Kenya and what can be done to fight the vice.

We are using the world’s soils as if they were inexhaustible, continually withdrawing from an account, but never paying in. At the start of the International Year of Soils 2015, the Soil Atlas - Facts and Figures about Earth, Land and Fields – demonstrate why the protection of soil is important to us all.

It’s now the second time that the Nairobi office of the Heinrich Boell Stiftung has hosted the launch of the Kenya Arts Diary. This year’s Launch and Arts Exhibition on October 21 attracted a large crowd of artists and art lovers. The German ambassador, Andreas Peschke who was the guest of honor, officially launched the 5th Edition of the Kenya Arts Diary an invaluable documentation and rare collection of art from Kenya and the region. The Diaries flew off the shelves in unexpected numbers, indicating the all around success of the evening

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Kenyans like to look towards South Korea for clues on how to successfully stimulate economic development. Having a similar starting point in the early 1960ies, South Korea is now the world’s 14th largest economy with Kenya trailing far behind. How did the small Asian nation do it? The article by Jungwook Kim from the Korean Development Institute explores to what extent the model of Public Private Partnerships played a role in bridging the gap between demand and supply of finances. And what alternative exist for infrastructure delivery.

This edition of the Perspective brings with it a wealth of facts on renewable energy, green economies, climate change and reflects on the challenges different African nations and entities are faced with, in their quest for a self-sufficient and sustainable green society. It is a rich compilation of expert commentaries and contributions coming from different parts of Africa, telling African stories.

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