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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Election Monitoring Roundtable in Nairobi

RIC-NET mananger participated in the the East Africa Election Process Monitoring Workshop at the Ndemi Place, Ndemi Road off Ngong Road, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Workshop was organised as the first in a sequel of proposed round table discussions, to provide a platform for engaging the upcoming elections processes in the East Africa region. Rwanda and Tanzania will hold elections in August and October 2010 respectively while Uganda will follow in 2011 and Kenya in 2012. The Workshop therefore brought together HIVOS partners and other interested parties to map out common interests and concerns; outline possible interventions and strategies; and formulate roadmaps through which each stakeholder could engage in the elections processes. Of particular importance to the Workshop was appropriate and innovative ways of using ICTs as tools for effective monitoring and management of the elections processes.

Tamme Hansma the HIVOS Programme Officer, Human Rights and Democratisation (East Africa) made a few opening remarks. After introductions, the Facilitator, Ms Koki Muli gave an overview of the electoral cycle and process, which essentially set the pace and parameters for the Workshop. Jenny de Boer of TNO ICT, Tanya Notley of Tactical Tech, Ezekiel Massanja of LHRC, Reinier Battenberg of Fruits of Thought and Erik Hersman of Ushahidi made presentations on the work of their respective organisations. During plenary discussions and group work sessions, Participants were able to engage with the presenters, the presentations and with one another thus enriching the Workshop’s outcomes.

The Workshop was closed by Ms Will Janssen, HIVOS Representative.

The Workshop was facilitated by Ms Koki Muli while Ms Njeri Kang’ethe recorded the proceedings. Participants were drawn from HIVOS’ Partners and other interested parties and senior HIVOS’ staff.

Some of the outcomes of the Workshop were the strategies that were formulated by the Participants; and which to a great extent, informed the country action plans/roadmaps. These strategies were:-

•For every country, voter education must be a key intervention at every phase of the electoral cycle/process
•Law/Policy Reforms – points of entry must be found for each country e.g. Tanzania review process, Kenya Constitutional Review/Boundaries etc
•Whilst use of donors’ resources e.g. databases is encouraged, CSOs must maintain their autonomy
•Ways must be sought to collaborate with election management bodies to ensure co-operation and avenues of building on synergies rather than working at cross purposes
•CSOs must employ innovative ways of inspecting voter registration, e.g. sampling, collateral surveys
•A comprehensive, sustainable monitoring process that includes conduct of the media, politicians, voters themselves and other stakeholders should be put in place.
•For every country a contingency plan should be put in place to deal with what ifs of an election, e.g., parallel votes.
•Ways and means should be sought to formulate citizens’ manifesto for every country
•Ways and means of owning means of independent opinion polls should be sought
•There is need to establish a regional steering committee that coordinates the commonalities of the strategies arrived at; lessons learnt, etc.

This should be replicated at the national level so that CSOs speak with one voice.

At the close of the Workshop that was from Thursday 4th – Friday 5th March 2010, country roadmaps were in place and the Participants had already diarised plans of action. Ms Will Janssen, HIVOS regional representative, offered the option that HIVOS will provide staff input to assist in keeping the momentum going.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

RIC-NET ATTENDS SNV Rwenzori Portfolio LCB

The meeting was in line with RIC-NET working as a Local Capacity Builders for SNV client CSOs. RIC-NET though without an MOU with SNV has worked on two documentation project in Economic development sector (Horticulture sector) i.e. the oil sector and pineapple wilt. This sector wishes to enhance increase in Production, Income and Employment (PIE).

An LCB is a local institution with shared interest to provide some advisory services to SNV client CSO.
RIC-NET intends to work with SNV in the documentation of content and information in the sector of education and economic empowerment these could include Newsletter, Brochures, Flyers, short video.

The meeting recognized that LCB need to have a stronger capacity in the sector their going to offer capacity building and be a legal entity, with clean project and good track record of financial management.

The issue of documentation of local lessons learnt and reporting was recognized still needing capacity building for both clients and LCBs. The information generated is co-owned by both parties.
The values that should be taken care of are: Diversity, Quality, Respect, Trust, Equity and People centeredness.
The following issues where to be taken serious by LCB: make time management an issue and report timely, advisory services was available at SNV that could be utilized by LCBs.
On the way forward:
• SNV should conduct an induction on work process methodologies
• MOU should be arranged for all activities that will come up in April to July 2010.
• A regular meeting for LCB bi-annually for feedback process among LCB, suggested date is 1st week of October 2010.
• RIS: special meeting on strengthening the RIS system; suggested date is May 2010.
• An on going mainstreaming of cross cutting issues on climate change and malaria.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tanzania – NGO introduces fuel-saving stoves in local market

A non-governmental organisation, E + Co, plans to introduce new cooking stoves and water filtration technologies in Tanzania in a mission to reduce greenhouse gase emission.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday, E+Co manager Erick Wurster said the project is also meant to curb deforestation and improve air quality by manufacturing or importing charcoal and wood fuel efficient biomass stoves.

Mr Wurster explained that according to World Health Organisation (WHO), it is estimated that 27,000 deaths occur every year in Tanzania from firewood and charcoal stoves and destroying an average of 121,000 hectares of forests.

He said that air pollution from cooking with solid fuel on primitive stoves was a key risk factor in childhood acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia as well as many other respiratory, cardiovascular and ocular diseases.

He said the problem is set to amplify given that more than 95 per cent of Tanzania’s population relies on dangerous and inefficient cooking fuel.

Mr Wurster said that the new technology will include `Envirofit stoves’ and `Quality Jiko’ to be imported from China. Later, he said, Tanzanians would be trained on how to manufacture the stoves locally. He said after introduction of the stoves, the project will extend to water filtration systems, replacing the need to boil water using firewood.

He said his organisation decided to introduce the technology in Tanzania since non-renewable consumption of biomass for cooking and boiling water in the country, leads to deforestation and indoor air pollution which has significant public health and environmental implications.

He said the organisation aimed at empowering local small and medium enterprises to supply clean, modern and affordable energy for households and business use.

Source – The Citizen