united-nations:

The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) is taking place in Nairobi, Kenya this week.  Illegal Wildlife trade is the 3rd largest illicit trade in the world and is estimated to be worth $15–20 billion annually. UNEA sets the agenda to combat Wildlifecrime. Learn more at: http://www.unep.org/unea/wildlife.asp

united-nations:

The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) is taking place in Nairobi, Kenya this week.

Illegal Wildlife trade is the 3rd largest illicit trade in the world and is estimated to be worth $15–20 billion annually. UNEA sets the agenda to combat Wildlifecrime.

Learn more at: http://www.unep.org/unea/wildlife.asp

Youth Soccer Promotes Peace and Reconciliation in Kenya

Youths participate in an annual soccer tournament and sports day in the village of Kogelo in western Kenya, Nov. 4, 2012. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Karin L. Von Hippel serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

At a massive youth soccer tournament last weekend in Nairobi, the competition was peaceful, and the hope in Kenya is that the election season also will be peaceful.

Kenyans want to avoid the kind of violence that occurred after the 2007 elections. In Nairobi’s Mathare slum, one of Africa’s poorest and largest and a hotspot of violence in 2007, more than 20 people have died as a result of inter-ethnic fighting in recent months. Bob Munro, who created the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) in 1987, thought that a big tournament might be a good way to ease tensions.

Munro has an impressive track record. MYSA was designed, in part, to employ sports to help youngsters gain self-confidence and leadership skills. Besides offering athletics, the nonprofit supports activities that fight child labor, creates libraries and study halls, and helps kids with disabilities… more »

In a video message, President Barack Obama tells the people of Kenya that the upcoming elections are a historic opportunity for Kenyans to stand together, as a nation, for peace and progress, and for the rule of law.

Technology Advances U.S. Diplomacy Goals

In this photo taken, Nov. 8, 2011, a woman poses with her Blackberry mobile phone in Johannesburg. The woman says she cherishes her phone as a link to family and friends, and also sees it as a radio, a library, a mini cinema, a bank teller, and more. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

When we apply technology at its best to public service at its most critical, we can make powerful differences in the lives and well-being of people.

Advances in communications and information technology are allowing us to do just that, whether we are using crowd-sourcing or Twitter, or reaching people via mobile phones or Skype. We are assisting survivors in the wake of natural disasters. We are monitoring elections to ensure they are free, safe and fair. We are reaching more people in non-permissive environments. Technology has become not only our virtual eyes and ears, but our helping hands, in a variety of ways.

Take Ushahidi (“witness” in Swahili), a crowd-sourcing platform developed by Kenyan citizens in 2008 that uses technology to collect, verify, and map information from citizens on a variety of issues. That can include incidents of violence,… more »

Helping Refugee Children in Kenya

FilmAid runs SGBV awareness class in action, Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Anne C. Richard serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

It is hard to be a refugee, but I think it must be even more difficult to be a refugee child, trying to learn and grow and enjoy childhood despite living in some of the most challenging circumstances on earth. On a trip to Kenya, I visited with refugee children in two very different locations: in the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya and in a safe house in Nairobi for girls who are victims of violence.

In the large (103,000 inhabitants and growing) Kakuma Camp that shelters refugees from Somalia, South Sudan and other nearby countries, aid workers grapple with a big problem: there is little respect for the rights of children. Many children are forced to work, others are neglected or expected to raise little siblings and some suffer from other forms of exploitation. Too many have been orphaned or separated from their parents. Nearly all the children live precarious… more »

Igniting Africa’s Tech Revolution

This Ugandan entrepreneur receives financing to expand his business courtesy of USAID's Development Credit Authority, a sponsor of DEMO Africa. [Photo by Morgana Wingard]

About the Author: Stephanie Grosser serves as a Program Analyst at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The recent growth of tech start-ups in sub-Saharan Africa is starting to create a buzz.

And what’s not to be excited about? Tech companies created in Africa, by Africans, to address local and global problems have untold potential to change the world. After judging a recent Global Innovations in Science and Technology boot camp in West Africa, venture capitalist Scott Hartley said, “Providing guidance for the top one percent of innovators likely improves the lives of the 99 percent.”

Personal computer usage in Africa is exceptionally low at two percent and Internet penetration is only about 14 percent. However, with indications that tech start-ups, tech… more »

Engaging Africa’s Innovators: Apps4Africa 2012 Business Challenge

Participants pose for a photograph at the DEMO Africa Forum in the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, October 25, 2012. From left to right: Tom Genton, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of State Bureau of African Affairs; Jon Gosier, CEO of Appfrica; Bahiyah Robinson, Appfrica; Barbara Birungi, Appfrica; Emmanuel Owusu Addai, Farmerline (Ghana), Apps4Africa 2011 West Africa regional winner; Marieme Jamme, Appfrica; Eric Mutta, Mini Shop Tanzania, Apps4Africa 2011 East Africa regional winner; and Thomas DeBass, Director of the Secretary of State's Office of Global Partnership Initiatives. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Tom Genton is a Senior Advisor in the Bureau of African Affairs, Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

It’s a whirlwind of energy inside the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. I’m surrounded by innovators, investors, and media from around the world at the first-ever DEMO Africa forum. Over the next few days, more than 40 African innovatorsand technology start-ups will get the chance to unveil their products to the world for the first time. In cooperation with Appfrica International, the U.S. State Department will be announcing the launch of the third annual Apps4Africa contest — Apps4Africa 2012: Business Challenge — which we hope will inspire African innovators to develop mobile, web, and desktop applications… more »

Promoting Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Africa

Director of Global Partnerships Thomas Debass participates in a panel discussion at the DEMO Africa Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, October 24, 2012. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Thomas Debass serves as Director for Global Partnerships in the Secretary’s Office of the Global Partnership Initiative.

Last night I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya to attend and participate in the first-ever DEMO Africa event. As the plane was landing, I was struck by how history has a way of turning one on his head. While I was a graduate student in the late 1990s at Virginia Tech, I launched an African-focused web portal start-up with a friends. We had a good business plan, solid team, and the hunger to succeed, but we struggled to gain traction and credibility in an ecosystem that viewed innovation and Africa as an oxymoron. Ultimately, the venture failed but the experience… more »

A Conservationist, Woman Leader, and Peacemaker

Members of the Turkana tribe near Shaba in Kenya, 2012 [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Wenchi Yu serves in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

Since 2008, the drought-induced food crisis that affected many countries in the Horn of Africa not only cost the regional economy billions of dollars, but also exacerbated regional instability, insecurity in distressed communities, and tribal competition for scarce resources.

Josephine Ekiru, a 26-year-old conservationist from the Turkana tribe near Shaba in Kenya, was determined to do something for her community after witnessing the devastating impact of frequent conflict on both the region’s people and wildlife. She started by talking to the women in her community, hearing about their common concern of losing husbands and sons in the conflicts. She also reached out to women of the other major tribe, the Borana, with which the Turkanas were in conflict. After years of work, she gained trust from both groups. In May 2010, Josephine’s work helped unite the two tribes… more »

Photo of the Week: Observing World Food Day


A Kenyan man shows millet he has grown at his farm in Siranga in western Kenya, July 18, 2012. [USAID/Kenya photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote’s Associate Editor.

Every year on October 16, the international community unites around World Food Day to increase awareness about global hunger. Today, nearly one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, and more than 3.5 million children die from undernutrition each year. As President Barack Obama said in his message recognizing World Food Day, “The United States has a moral obligation to lead the fight against global hunger, and we have put food security at the forefront of global development efforts. Through initiatives like Feed the Future, we are helping partner countries transform their agriculture sectors by investing in smallholder farmers — particularly women — who… more »