Kenya's capital, Nairobi , takes its name from a Masai word meaning "place of cool waters". In parts of the city, however, this term is less descriptive than ironic -- as demand for water is outstripping supply. The challenge of stretching water supplies ever further is coming to the fore on Thursday as countries around the globe mark World Water Day.
Rights activists in Kenya have intensified their campaign against a proposed anti-terrorism law -- this after a travel advisory issued by the United States warned of possible terrorist attacks in the East African country during the upcoming World Cross-Country Championships.
Kibera, Kenya's biggest slum, and reportedly one of Africa's largest, has been basking in world media attention recently. At the recent World Social Forum, in the Kenyan capital, thousands of delegates marched through the teeming slum, calling on governments to give serious attention to the plight of a majority of their people forced to live in such terrible squalor as in Kibera.
An overflowing pit latrine empties its contents in a thick stream of worm-infested filth at the doorstep of Catherine Kithuku's home in Matopeni, a slum on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Less than 10 such latrines serve a population of 2Â 000 to 3Â 000 people in this area.
"Yes, I get the ARVs, but I cannot afford to put a simple meal on the table," says Wa Kimani. "This is why I had to register at two treatment sites, so that I could get ARVs [anti-retroviral drugs] twice: utilise one set from one site, then sell the other batch from the second site, so that I can get something small to put in my stomach."
For women who are victims of rape, recovery from the violation is typically arduous and draining. When they're unable to get treatment to prevent possible HIV infection the process is even more fraught, however -- something with which Kenya is grappling. Known as post-exposure prophylaxis, the anti-HIV treatment is available in just seven of the 73 government district hospitals in Kenya.
Micro-credit facilities for men could emerge as a powerful tool to check the alarming increase in cases of violence against women in Kenya. Experts say that with easy access to small loans for income generating activities, men would have less time on their hands to be abusive.
<img src="http://www.mg.co.za/ContentImages/257998/special_rep_icon_template.jpg" align=left>With only a quarter of Kenyans who need anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) receiving them from the government, the race is on to ensure that many more people get treatment to fend off Aids-related diseases. But ARV recipients also need enough, good food, without which ARVs cannot work properly.
Since gaining independence in 1963, Kenya has held four elections. But, perhaps the most decisive ballot of all has been cast by citizens who voted with their feet -- leaving Kenya for countries that seemed more promising. Concerns about corruption, economic decline and insecurity have prompted an exodus of professionals.
"I did not like doing this but the women would come to me crying, some saying that they already had ten children or more, and that they could not care for additional children," says Mariam, an abortion practitioner in Kenya. "One even threatened that if I refused, she would hang herself in my hut." Mariam's story highlights the shortcomings of reproductive health care in refugee camps.
For the moment, it is the homecoming that wasn't. Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf left Kenya on Monday to relocate his transitional government to Somalia. However, the flight carrying the head of state was subsequently diverted to Djibouti. Reports indicate that poor runway lighting in the southern Somali town of Jowhar prevented the plane from landing.
Calls for debt relief to be awarded to African countries have become de rigueur in non-governmental circles and a good many news publications. But does the matter crop up during dinner conversations across the continent? Is it sufficiently important to crowd out sports talk among people riding minibus taxis on their way to work?
Few would dispute that community radio stations play a valuable role in informing people about events in their neighbourhood -- and give a voice to those who might be denied a platform by larger media organisations. It's a shame, then, that governments often hamper the development of community radio.
A survey commissioned by the Kenya Human Rights Commission to ascertain public awareness of human rights has revealed a widespread reluctance to report incidents of alleged torture to officials in the East African country. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they would not report incidents of alleged torture, while 40% were willing to do so.
Amnesty International (AI), the British-based human rights watchdog, has accused Kenyan authorities of violating the rights of terror suspects in the East African country -- and called for an immediate end to these alleged abuses. "We do not support terrorism. However, measures to prevent terrorism can only be effective if they also guarantee and protect human rights," said a researcher on Kenyan issues for AI.