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Nairobi Single Mothers Lobby Group calls out Muthoni Ouko for opposing Dishi Na County program

by James Nyabola

Nairobi Single Mothers Lobby Group has called out Muthoni Ouko for opposing Dishi Na County program.

The Patron of the Nairobi Single Mothers Lobby Group Edward Githaiga, said that Muthoni Ouko has taken to court the issue of hot lunches in schools because she had earlier planned on launching the same kind of enterprise.

Muthoni Ouko was fired by the previous Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko because of misappropriation of bursaries that involved private companies being paid as schools. She was re-appointed as Minister of Education by former speaker Mutura without vetting which was unprocedural appointment. This therefore means that the salaries she received are irregular earnings. We appreciate Justice Mugure for refusing to grant Muthoni her interests. She wanted Governor Sakaja’s Dishi Na County program stopped. She is after her own personal and selfish gains at the expense of the welfare of Nairobi’s children. We also ask ODM Party not to associate with her since she went there to get political clout. We speak against corruption in our Government institutions. Our organization remains committed to transparency, justice and accountability.

Nairobi Single Mothers Lobby Group, Secretary General Maria raised the issue of embezzlement of bursary funds by Muthoni Ouko not only in the previous County Government regime but again also in this current County Government regime. The amounts embezzled run into tens of millions of shillings. This misuse of funds affects countless children that desperately need assistance.

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INDEPENDENT MEDICO LEGAL UNIT URGES THE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION

Wangeci Grace Kahuria Executive Director IMLU

By WENDY KEZIAH

In a report launched on Friday served as a testament to the unwavering commitment of IMLU to uphold the principles of dignity and justice in the face of adversity. Over the course of several months, the organization diligently monitored 22 protests, meticulously documenting 303 distressing alerts that underscored the urgent need for intervention and reform.

“We extend our gratitude to everyone who played pivotal role in the successful completion of the comprehensive report conducted by IMLU on gross human rights violations during January the January September 2023 protests. This significant initiative, diligently overseen by IMLU’s secretariat, human rights monitors, and professionals, represents a critical endeavor in exposing the multifaceted dimensions of human rights abuses in Kenya protests. “Noted Wangeci Grace Kahuria Executive Director IMLU.

IMLU’s commitment to providing psycho-social support to survivors emerged as a beacon of hope amidst the darkness of tragedy and loss. In a world fraught with uncertainty and despair, the organization remains steadfast in its mission to offer solace and support to those grappling with the aftermath of unspeakable trauma.

“We express gratitude to the victims who trusted IMLU despite facing death, torture and pain, as well as the families that cooperated with us amid grieving the loss of their loved ones. Special thanks to the victims who sought justice beyond IMLUs direct service provision by going to police stations to obtain OBs despite the loss of trust”. Said madam Kahuria

The report itself serves as a sobering indictment of systemic failures and institutional shortcomings that perpetuate cycles of violence and impunity. Through meticulous analysis and documentation, IMLU has unearthed a disturbing reality, the disproportionate toll exacted on individuals who fall victim to the indiscriminate use of force and brutality.

Additionally, the report reveals a chilling pattern of violence, with many individuals succumbing to injuries inflicted by bullets or suffering fatal mauling a stark reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive reforms and intervention strategies aimed at safeguarding vulnerable populations.
Her impassioned plea fo0r expanded training initiatives resonated deeply, underscoring the urgent need to equip responders with the tools and resources needed to effectively address instances of violence and unrest. By investing in training and capacity-building efforts, stakeholders can empower communities to confront the root causes of violence and foster a culture of accountability and respect for human rights.

She also continued to state that despite vigorous denials of severe violations, the distressing reality is that torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings persist at alarming rate.

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HEALTH CS LEADS THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF KEMRI 14th ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC AND HEALTH CONFERENCE

Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Hon.Susan Nakhumicha giving her speech during the official opening of KEMRI Annual Scientific Health(KASH)

BY NJOKI KARANJA

The Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Hon.Susan Nakhumicha today initiated the official opening of the KEMRI Annual Scientific and health(KASH) conference and the launch of the Human Genetics and Genomics Society of Kenya.
The four days conference whose theme is geared on harnessing Biomedical Research Innovations and Big Data for Health System Resilience, Local Manufacturing,and Commercialization commenced at a hotel in Nairobi.

The CS commended the organizers for focusing on key areas such as building a Regional Biopharmaceutical Innovation and production ecosystem and building a regional Medtech Innovation and Production Ecosystem.
She said that the sessions are pivotal in shaping the landscape of medical manufacturing in our region, fostering collaboration, and driving innovation that will undoubtedly contribute to the health security of our nations.

Mr Rajnickant Chandulal Vora D.C.K Chandulal Vora and Companies LTD with Health CS Hon .Susan Nakhumicha after the official launch of Kasha.

The Director General (KEMRI) Prof.Elijah Songok gave an overview of what is expected of the four days confrences.indicating other sub themes that are expected to reflect on the diverse and dynamic landscape of biomedical research, addressing pressing issues that impact global health. From One Health and the control of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) to the intersection of climate change and health.
He said ,”topics such as mental health, trauma, and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs,innovations in infectious and parasitic disease control, discuss the vital nexus of nutrition and food security, and unravel the potential of Omics and forensic”.

He added that other focus will be directed to emerging technologies, vaccines, and product development, emphasizing the pivotal role of health systems, big data, and digital health in shaping the future.
According to the Chairperson Board of Directors KEMRI Dr.Abdullahi Ali in his speech said Research and development will allign with the government’s strategic emphasis on enhancing local manufacturing for advancement of healthcare.

KASH chair Dr Cecilia Mbae said the theme underscores the commitment by Kemri to advancing healthcare through cutting-edge research and utilisation of transformative technology.
“We believe that through collaborative efforts and innovative research and development, we can contribute significantly to the realization of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Kenya”.Dr Abudhuahi said.
The conference brings together researchers, collaborators both local and international, various stakeholders, partners and policy makers to share information.

Among the prominent collaborators and entrepreneur in the health sector was Mr Rajnikant Chandulal Vora who has positively collaborated with the team to work alongside the Gates Foundation to develop the above patent.Advised the team on the partnership with various organizations including UNICEF, PFSCM, AMSP and others for the procurement of medical devices for global supply.
The health pioneer and entrepreneur gave insights and pioneers local manufacturing health products and technologies (UCH) which will not only empower Kenya as a country but also the health sector at large .

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MiniPay, Celo, and Mento Labs Revolutionize Financial Inclusion at Africa Tech Summit

Mr. Marcus CEO Mento labs, Middle Product Marketing Manager Opera Dr.Tosin Onikosi and Product Marketing manager Celo, Kate Eldaly

By Maximilla Wafula

In a groundbreaking development towards financial inclusion, Opera, in collaboration with Celo and Mento Labs, proudly announces the achievement of surpassing 1 million users for the MiniPay wallet across Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. This milestone will be celebrated at the Africa Money and DeFi Summit in Nairobi on February 14-15, 2024.

Empowering Financial Inclusion

MiniPay, a self-custodial dollar stablecoin wallet seamlessly integrated into the Opera Mini browser, is empowering users to save, send, and receive funds instantly on their mobile phones with minimal transaction fees. Built on the Celo blockchain, MiniPay’s mission is to bring the benefits of decentralized finance (DeFi) to millions across Africa.

The strategic partnership between MiniPay, Celo, and Mento Labs is focused on fostering financial inclusion and economic stability in Africa. Mento’s decentralized cUSD stablecoins, integrated into the MiniPay ecosystem, play a crucial role in mitigating currency volatility, providing a reliable store of value, especially in regions affected by hyperinflation.

User-Friendly Design and Collaboration

Charles Hamel, Product Director at MiniPay, highlights the user-friendly design, making MiniPay accessible for users of all experience levels to benefit from decentralized finance. Jason Rodrigues, Head of Founder Programs at the Celo Foundation, expresses excitement about supporting the mission, aiming to provide real-world users with access to inclusive financial tools seamlessly.

Markus Franke, CEO at Mento Labs, adds enthusiasm for supporting the MiniPay rollout, emphasizing speed, reliability, and financial inclusivity as core project values.

Africa Money and DeFi Summit Highlights

The Africa Money and DeFi Summit will feature a Fireside Chat Keynote titled “Onboarding Millions of Users Across Africa to Web3.” This session, scheduled for February 14 at 10:30 am, will provide insights into the future of decentralized finance, offering a unique perspective on empowering individuals across the African continent.

Attendees are invited to explore MiniPay at Booth #77, where live demonstrations and engaging conversations will showcase the transformative impact of fast, easy, and affordable payments.

Encouraging User Adoption

MiniPay encourages users in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana to download or update the Opera Mini browser, set up a MiniPay wallet, and start enjoying the benefits of sending more and paying less.

Opera Mini, launched in 2006, continues to offer a superior internet experience with features like data compression, offline file sharing, and a built-in ad-blocker, connecting millions worldwide.

Opera, a global web innovator with over 25 years of innovation, provides a range of products and services, including desktop and mobile browsers, gaming, crypto, and classifieds apps.

Celo, an emerging Ethereum layer-2 blockchain, supports a rich ecosystem with over 1,000 projects worldwide in DeFi, ReFi, and NFT sectors.

Mento Labs, the development team behind Mento, enables real-world use cases of digital assets, supporting four decentralized stable assets and providing customized solutions for partners to launch and operate digital assets globally.

This collaboration signifies a remarkable step towards a more inclusive and accessible financial landscape, bringing the benefits of Web3 to the heart of Africa. The future holds promise as MiniPay, Celo, and Mento Labs continue to revolutionize financial inclusion on the continent.
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World Bank Partners with Government to Enhance Investor-readiness of local Startups and SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprises and local startups can now access business training programmes after the World Bank and the Kenya government facilitated formalisation of business development services. The Association of Startup and SMEs Enablers of Kenya (ASSEK), which launched operations with 40 members has now grown its membership to 150 entrepreneur support organisations (ESOs) now tasked with creating tailor-made business programmes that support sector-specific needs of local businesses.
Speaking in Nairobi during the ASSEK Ecosystem Enablers Forum 2024 that was attended by ESO founders and chief executives, ASSEK Chief Executive Mercy Kimalat said ASSEK is now well-placed to support SMEs and Startups’ growth plans through provision of business training that enables the later to enhance their productivity as well as improve on the quality of their services and products.
“We have transformed SMEs and Startups by matching them with the right coach and mentor to help them grow. This is done by ensuring they have access to international opportunities though the stakeholders that we have partnered with. This has enabled many to sell their services and products regionally and beyond,” she said.
Ms Kimalat said SMEs and startups trained through their programmes would also benefit from seed funding adding that the small businesses will have access to diversified funding tailored to their needs through the ASSEK network who also de-risks them through seed grants and providing technical support.
Assek, she said, was actively involved in formulation of Startup Bill, a framework that creates incentives for local and international investors to catalyse local innovations thereby benefiting local innovators by helping fasttrack development of new products for the market.
“The key objective of ASSEK is to boost job creation and growth. This forum facilitates a collaborative discussion focused on realigning the collective vision for ASSEK, identifying emerging opportunities, and fostering an environment conducive to meaningful networking,” she said.
The establishment of the Association, five years ago, has resulted in increased inclusion in the ecosystem, standardisation of approaches, collaboration in attracting investment opportunities, job creation, value addition to local and international stakeholders enabling the innovation space in Kenya as well as policy-makers, enterprise support organisations (ESO’s), financial supporters and more. Assek is also spearheading the formation of a regulatory body for ESOs which will ensure startups and SMEs receive professional business support and investor-linkages thereby enabling them to scale at a faster rate.

Currently, most small businesses rely on family savings and bank loans with no access to professional business support to help them access standardisation services and product improvement services that would help them gain international market access.

About ASSEK
The Association of Startup and SMEs Enablers of Kenya (ASSEK) is an association that brings together and represents the interests of Entrepreneur Support Organisations that support the development and growth of startups and SMEs.

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CoP-Kenya Commemorates the 2024 international day for the prevention of Violent extremism

by Wendy Keziah

Champions of Peace Kenya in a consortium and in partnership with the National Counter Terrorism centre is currently implementing a national prevention and countering violent extremism programme in 25 counties in Kenya. Nairobi amongst the regions.

Promoting peace and observing the International Day of preventing violent extremism uniting against extremism to foster global security and tolerance as the world today commemorates the International day of preventing violent Extremism as and When Conducive to terrorism on the 9th of December , the global community reaffirms it’s commitment to combating radicalization and fostering peace.
This annual observance serves as a reminder of the imperative to address the root causes of terrorism and promote dialogue, understanding, and tolerance across borders. Understanding the Significance violent extremism continues to pose a significant threat to global security and stability, with its manifestations varying across regions and communities,whether driven by ideological, political, or socioeconomic factors, and the consequences of extremism reverberate far beyond the individuals directly involved, impacting entire societies and undermining fundamental rights and freedoms.

Global Initiatives and Collaborative efforts in response to the multifaceted challenges posed by violent extremism, international organizations, governments, and civil society entities have mobilized efforts to prevent radicalization and promote resilience. Initiatives such as community engagement programs, educational initiatives, and interfaith dialogue have emerged as crucial components of comprehensive strategies to counter extremism.
Addressing Root causes and building resilience a fundamental aspect of preventing violent extremism lies in addressing its underlying causes. Socioeconomic disparities, political grievances, marginalization, and lack of opportunities can fuel feelings of disenchantment and vulnerability, making individuals susceptible to radical ideologies. By tackling these root causes and promoting inclusive societies, communities can build resilience against extremist narratives. Harnessing technology for positive change the rise of digital platforms has transformed the landscape of radicalization, providing avenues for the dissemination of extremist propaganda and recruitment tactics.
In their statement ,technology also presents opportunities for counter-narratives, online monitoring, and community engagement efforts aimed at preventing radicalization and promoting digital literacy. The role of civil society and community engagement at the heart of preventing violent extremism lies the involvement of local communities, religious leaders, educators, and civil society organizations. By fostering trust, promoting dialogue, and addressing grievances at the grassroots level, communities can effectively challenge extremist narratives and empower individuals to resist radicalization.

In addition, to Ensure accountability and Promoting Rehabilitation in addition to preventive measures, they stated that it’s essential to ensure accountability and provide support for victims of extremism while offering pathways for rehabilitation and reintegration for those who have been radicalized. Rehabilitation programs that address psychological, social, and ideological dimensions are crucial in facilitating the reintegration of individuals into society.
“Looking ahead Sustaining Momentum for Peace as we observe the International Day of Preventing Violent Extremism, it is imperative to recognize that the fight against extremism is an ongoing endeavor that requires sustained commitment, cooperation, and innovation. By fostering a culture of peace, inclusivity, and dialogue, we can collectively build a world where tolerance triumphs over division and where the ideals of peace and security prevail.In commemorating this day, let us reaffirm our shared resolve to prevent violent extremism in all its forms and work towards a future where every individual can live free from fear and oppression”.read the statement.

Cop-K is a non governmental organization with bias to grass root programming , the vision of the organization is to ensure stable, peaceful and secure communities. It also works with communities, families , government, corporate entities and non state Actors in preventing and countering violent extremism as well peace building efforts in ensuring the country remains stable, peaceful and secure.

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Government to construct 16,000 new classrooms in preparation for Grade 9 transition, says PS Belio Kipsang

The Government will construct 16,000 classrooms across the country in readiness for the transition of learners to grade nine next year, the Principal Secretary for Basic Education, Dr. Belio Kipsang has said.

Dr. Kipsang spoke this in a speech read on his behalf by the Director Projects Coordination and Delivery for Projects, Mr. Elijah Mungai at Olympics Primary School in Kibra Subcounty in Nairobi yesterday.

The Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank, Ms Mamta Murthi had visited the school. In attendance included Manager, Practice, Education at World Bank Group, Meskerem Mulatu, Senior Educational Specialist at the World Bank office in Nairobi, Ms Ruth Charo, Deputy County Commissioner, Mr. Odidi Otieno, and the Regional Director for Education in Nairobi, Ms Margaret Lesuuda among other senior officials in education.

Dr. Kipsang said the government plans to construct 10 additional classrooms to cater for the learners who will transit to grade nine next year.

“We welcome the World Bank to support and partner with the government to build even more classrooms in this school,” Dr. Kipsang said.

Ms Murthi praised Kenya for the strong education outcomes of the children schooling stimulates.

Murthi said Kenya the schooling system in Kenya was ably imparting in learners the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that students ought to acquire.

She said Kenya was also doing well in the enrolment rate of children in schools, noting that education was a critical factor in determining the future of a country.

The Deputy County Commissioner, Mr. Odidi Otieno said the government worked through its structures to ensure 100 per cent transition of learners from Primary to secondary education.

The Headteacher of Olympics Primary School, Mr. Cyrus Okumu said that the school had developed a friendly learning environment and an excellent instructional for learners in the school.

He attributed the huge learner population of 5108 to a supportive teaching and non-teaching staff that made learning enjoyable.

“Children keep coming back to school because of the good learning experiences good pedagogy creates,” Mr. Okumu said.

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Relieve to the nine private security companies

By Irene Mwende

The nine private security companies that their licenses were terminated by the private security Regulatory Authority ( PSR) Director General Fazul Mohamed can now freely carry on with their services.

Addressing the media on behalf of the Umbrella association of private security Secretary General PROSAK Delano Kiilu noted they had promised an update on the taking rogue by the horns using the PSRA Act of 2016.

“The drafters of the Act envisaged a dispute between the Regulator and it’s subjects . section 43,5 of the Act wher the practioner is aggrieved by a discussion of the Regulator can appeal to the Cabinet Secretary,” said Kiilu

Secretary General PROSAK Delano Kiilu further mentioned the Act provides the moment the appeal is lodged with the Cabinet Secretary .

“The Authority including it’s secretariat will stand stopped, prohibited and barred from dealing with that matter until the CS determines the dispute ” he added

He further highlighted the Act further requires the CS to appoint a three man Ad-hoc team to advise him on the dispute and determine it within 30 days.

“We have since formally filed an appeal with the CS and advised the PSRA it now stopped, prohibited and barred from the matter till the CS determines hi discretion within 30 days,” said Kiilu.

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BRANCH MFB AND SOLV KENYA PARTNER TO EMPOWER KENYAN MSMES WITH LOANS AND MARKET-LINKAGE OPPORTUNITIES

Rose Muturi Managing Director Branch MFB Dan Karuga CEO Sole Kenya

By Benard Mulwa

Branch MFB Kenya’s 1st Neo-bank and Solv Kenya, a full-stack B2B marketplace for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), have entered into a strategic partnership to extend loans, business development support and market linkages to Kenyan MSMEs.

The partnership aims to unlock new growth potential for MSMEs by bridging the credit gap, providing financial guidance and accelerating business linkages for entrepreneurs across the country.

Under the arrangement, Branch MFB will provide loans and working capital of up to Kshs. 1 million for MSMEs on Solv Kenya’s platform, facilitating their cash flow and stock financing from suppliers and distributors.

Speaking during the partnership announcement, Branch East Africa Managing Director Rose Muturi said seamless access to digital financial services will help address liquidity challenges for MSMEs.

This partnership, she said, goes beyond simply providing instant digital loans to enterprises. It is about empowering MSMEs with market linkages and support to build sustainable businesses and contribute to Kenya’s economic growth.

“Access to credit facilities and business support is key to unlocking the full potential of our MSMEs. The partnership is a significant step forward in achieving this goal. By combining our expertise, we will provide Kenyan entrepreneurs with the comprehensive support they need to scale their businesses and contribute to a more vibrant Kenyan economy,” Ms. Muturi said. 

Solv Kenya has a diversified portfolio on its platform, cutting across various supply chains ranging from food, consumer goods, construction, alcoholic beverages, animal feeds, electronics, airline and travel. MSMEs participating in the enrolled value chains are able to obtain stock financing from Branch MFB through the Solv digital platform.

African Lead SC Ventures and Chief Executive Officer Solv Kenya Dan Karuga said the partnership enables them to de-risk lending to MSMEs while opening them up to a diversified portfolio across various supply chains.

“This partnership is a perfect alignment of our technological expertise and a testament to the power of collaboration in driving innovation and growth in Africa’s digital economy. We are confident we will unlock new capital streams for SMEs, enabling them to scale efficiently.  Together, we aim to reach out to more MSMEs and offer them convenient and affordable credit solutions that suit their needs,” Mr. Karuga said.

MSMEs are important contributors to economic growth in Kenya, constituting 98% of all business entities in the country. The sector remains highly informal, as only 20% of the over 7.4 million MSMEs operate as licensed entities. The partnership will provide significant embedded financing solutions for these MSMEs that are often excluded from the formal economy.

“At Branch, we remain committed to cooperating with other industry players to offer financial solutions. Our partnership with Solv Kenya creates a significant embedded financing solution for MSMEs,” Branch International CEO Matt Flannery Said. 

The sector provides enormous opportunities for socio-economic transformation, absorbing low-skill and economically excluded individuals, such as women, persons with disabilities, and those with low levels of education.