Friday, February 27, 2009

Corruption or Bureaucracy

The first 2 boxes of medical supplies arrived safely last week and were handed over for minimal handling charge. Yesterday evening Kenya Airways fantasticly flew the last 9 boxes of medical kit into Nairobi and Bramuel was there ready to collect.

Unfortunately the same handling agent who passed over the first 2 boxes now believes they need an additional $200 to release the goods. The KRA agent is asking for the additional funds despite documentation from us stating these goods are nil value charitable donations and despite having formal documentation from the NGO Council regarding the ArrowWeb Hospital.

[4 March 2009 Update; official word is that the charges are all required as standard by the KRA (not
duty) but include a GOK fee? .. a small Kenya Airways handling/standard fee plus the KRA agent's fee??]

The boxes of donated medical goods, from the Motorsport Medical Services, are for the ArrowWeb Hospital, in the Embakasi division around Nairobi which was established to help the community of an estimated 798,000 people plagued by poor health and living conditions. The project to improve the hospital is being ran online using the Netherlands-based NABUUR "virtual village" system where volunteers can simply log in from home to assist. The Kayole-Soweto project involves, specifically for this project, the input of over 60 professional members (including myself) from Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Poland, India, Uganda, Tanzania, Malaysia, South Africa, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Thailand.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A2HW .. aid to hospitals worldwide!

This organisation are amazing and I just met with their fabulous Northern UK person, Mary Wright. 44 containers of large unit medical equipment sent to 27 countries in 2008 alone !!!!!

A2HW volunteers clean, refurbish and pack medical equipment from their premises in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK ready for shipping to hospitals, laboratories and schools all over the world.

Checks are made in the UK to establish the recipients' requirements and to gain assurance that the supplies will arrive at their intended destination.

No charge is made for any goods supplied. was put together after the CEO was leaving hospital after a heart attack and saw an xray machine out the back of a UK hospital. He asked the hospital if he could have the machines instead of the hospital having to pay tax on sending it to a landfill site!

A2HW now have numerous warehouses FULL of equipment from over 70 UK hospitals. They're opening another warehouse near where I live to service the northern hospitals.

ArrowWeb Hospital will be our first choice of recipient but the incredible, online project management system NABUUR itself has many many other hospital projects. Pass the word.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Doing good with carbon offsetting

This is Edward and the ladies of a community in Siaya district, W Kenya; a community group that just had a demo by Solar Cookers International, Kenya. The demo was given in a local market place with local authority figures present and these wonderful "guardians" of nearly 350 orphans.

Edward has asked for help in raising funds for a large scale cooker and some small ones to aid in training.

Thanks to Ben & Katalin, volunteers from 2008, we learnt that companies who are now paying to "offset" their carbon footprint provide the very funds to be used on projects worldwide to reduce carbon footprints; help the environment etc. Deforestation in Kenya is a major issue and as well as introducing solar cooking we plan to help create / replace tree nurseries.

We only have to look at Australia recently to understand the effect of climate change. "Professor Chris Field, speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, claimed that the increase in warming ..will.. result in severe environmental disasters at a far faster pace and intensity..."

(image from CO2 Balance)

CO2 Balance
are working toward reducing carbon footprints. We'd like to thank them for all their help with this community and suggest you pass on knowledge of their services to others who can use funding for environmental and sustainable development projects.

Further info on solar cooking :
  • Solar-cooking one meal a day, three times a week has been proven to reduce fuelwood consumption and related smoke by one third.
  • The family-size (small) CooKit by SCI saves more than four times its value in fuelwood each year. With careful use and storage, a CooKit can be used for two years, reducing fuelwood consumption by two tonnes.
  • Solar cookers can pasteurize household drinking water, making it safe to drink.
  • The solar cooking process is smokeless, reducing respiratory diseases and eye irritation.
  • Solar cooked foods retain vitamins, nutrients and their natural flavours; there is no smoky taste; the foods cook slowly in their own juices. Nutritious, slow-cooking traditional foods (beans, root crops, and some grains) are restored to the family diet.
  • Clean up is easy as the food never burns or sticks to the cooking pot.
  • Solar cooks frequently report that the money they save on cooking-fuel can be used for many essentials, such as extra food, school supplies, and medical care.
  • Without having to gather wood or dung, breathe smoke, and tend a fire – all associated with traditional cooking – solar cooking is easy and safe for people with AIDS and other illnesses, the elderly, disabled and young orphans.
  • Solar cookers represents a new sustainable opportunity for women to capitalize on an underserved market and better meet their own cooking energy needs.
  • Solar cooking saves time as there is less need to tend a fire or collect firewood. A person can cook while at work, at the market, or tending crops. Young girls can attend school instead of searching for fuelwood.
  • Solar energy is free and abundant in many areas of Kenya, providing a safe, clean, healthy supplement to traditional fuels.
Using the sun to cook food or pasteurize water is a concept unknown or very new to most Kenyans. SCI facilitates initial training to solar cooking. Practical demonstrations are coupled with information sessions targeting local opinion leaders such as chiefs and other government officers, leaders of women’s groups, health professionals and representatives of development agencies. Local foods and water sources are used in the cooking and pasteurization demonstrations. The demonstrations and information continue to include women’s groups, market women, teachers, and frontline health workers.

In Kenya, women are the primary cooks and therefore the best spokespersons so SCI uses a participatory approach recruiting representatives to participate in developing marketing strategies appropriate for local conditions and sharing successful approaches with their peers. Once trained, the solar cooker representatives, with support from SCI, continue with product demonstrations and make cash and installment sales. SCI provides basic marketing materials and supplies such as flyers, leaflets, distinctive aprons, shirts and bags and gives commissions while capacity building within the community.

This is PURE sustainable development and we're proud to support it!

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