Thursday, 29 April 2010

cycling out of poverty

while i was in kisumu i had the good pleasure (& fortune) to meet luuk. he is the executive director of cycling out of poverty (CooP). CooP promotes bicycle use under the vision that on one hand the bicycle offers opportunities to generate income and cycle out of poverty, and on
the other hand that the bicycle is an environmental friendly means of transport.

"Cycling out of poverty (CooP) is a foundation founded in February 2007. CooP operates in 7 African countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Malawi, Togo, Ghana and Burkina Faso) by setting up bicycle projects such as bicycle-credit programmes (for students, entrepreneurs and women), bicycle ambulance programmes and small bicycle workshops. The focus of CooP is to make (modified) bicycles accessible to poor African families. The targeted outcome is the reduction of social and economical poverty and an improved access to essential services like education, health and drinking water."

luuk figures that this program can move the needle on all of the 8 millennium development goals (MDGs)

more from CooP:

"CooP and Uvumbuzi Cycling in Kenya launched a bicycle intervention programme in Kisumu in 2009. This programme, under the name of Cycling Blue for Kenya, was supported by KLM Netherlands and consists of:
  • a cycling to school programme whereby families of students challenged in their access to school can get a bicycle on credit,
  • a bicycle workshop where unemployed youth will be skilled and employed in bicycle maintenance, design and small scale production,
  • a training centre to train youth, particularly boda boda riders, in job opportunities related to the labour market to diversify their income generating activities. (in development)

In July 2009 CooP launched the African Bicycle Network (ABN) with 11 founding civil society organisations (CSOs) working in one way or another with bicycle interventions in the African context. The network’s aim is to provide a platform to harness the knowledge, experiences and expertise which is already there in many CSOs, to improve the quality of life of people in Africa through non-motorised transport. The network will be a focal point for regional integration to advocate and lobby for sustainable development with emphasis on non-motorised transport. The goal for this network is to offer strong support to pioneers, currently working on limited resources with scares information, and empower them to reach these objectives in their own cities and countries.

By our experiences and those of the CSOs in the African Bicycle Network we noticed that many entrepreneurs are indicating that the local bicycles in Africa don’t satisfy their requirements. Entrepreneurs need durable bicycles, with load carrying capacity fit to their specific line of work.
Therefore, CooP started a process of designing a modified bicycle fit for the Kenyan market. Students from the Delft University of Technology have designed and produced a CooP bike, with an extended carrier in front. This is a modified bicycle, which means that it is made by modifying existing (imported) bicycles. The production of this CooP bike in Kisumu will start
on a small scale in May 2010.

CooP’s vision is that it should be possible to actually produce large number of bicycles in Kenya from local materials. That is why CooP starts a design competition in the Netherlands in May 2010 (funded by the Dutch ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment) to come up with ideas for bicycles made of innovative materials. The ideas and designs generated via this competition could easily be integrated in our envisioned programme for Bicycle Innovation Centres in Kenya (if you want more info, let me know, i have a cool PDF for you) and actually be produced in Kenya. (in development)

another organization you can drop some money on and feel good about it!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

i love being a girl

my post and my experiences & conversations in kisumu has made me reflect on the video below. a friend (gracy) posted it on her blog and i stumbled across it a few months ago. i promptly made my entire office watch it. (one of the things i love most about my office is this video is the kind o thing that the whole office will stop working to watch, people will get chills, say amen, and it will prompt some awesome discussion about how we can change the world).

please watch it. i have watched it a number of times now and each time i feel more connected to the people around me and myself. its like a great big hug.

i think it also combats this weird socialization of the need to be neat. some innate need (german roots?) i have to tie things up with a pretty bow. i love that she is saying that being messy is part of the beauty of being alive. i am an emotional creature!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

lake nakuru -- flora and fauna

this weekend i hire jennifer from pride of nairobi tours to take me to lake nakuru national park. i really debated what to do. i was exhausted from my crazy week of travel and work, but i think it was worth it . . . i had one of the best game drives of my life, and jennifer is a delight to hang out with.

here is jennifer with david a vendor at this stop
i ended up buying a soap dish . . .
because heaven knows i need more african soap dishes . . .

she knows all the recommended view points :)
(sometimes the tourist marketing is just a bit over the top)

views from the point

david and his daughter
i'm not totally sure why he made a scary face
it was totally intentional, and i think he might have roared.
he was actually a really sweet guy.

i was fascinated by these gardens
it corn/maize that surrounds cabbage . . .
everyone seemed to be doing it.

for those who know my passion for "flower confidential"
it was super interesting for me to be here, where so many of the world's flowers are grown
these are the grow huts

apparently the volcano really messed up the flower industry here
about 50,000 people were laid off


this is a rest stop on the highway

these are storks
how did our mythology come to include having these
hideous birds bring babies to mommies and daddies?
can you imagine how scared the baby would be
plus you can't smell through this picture,
but they stink really bad!

at our hotel

just outside our hotel on our evening game drive we saw this little baby
steenbuck . . . jennifer estimated that she was less than 24 hours old

lake nakuru and some acacia

there is a white rhino in the background


acacia at sunset

acacia's and a rhino

the road from my perspective

lake nakuru is famous for pink flamingos

i walked really close to these two
i think zebra and giraffe are my favorite things to see in the wild
tho, cats are pretty sweet too!

secretary bird

white rhino

sunset from my room

sunRISE from the parking lot
i really love sunrise
i wish i saw them more often

heading down the road to check out some animals
this amazing fog was rolling down the side of the mountain

sometimes i have to say, mother nature is creative and a bit crazy . . .
i mean, who comes up with this stuff
it seriously is mind blowing
but thanks for creating all this
because it is really really really awesome!

acacia . . .
seriously, these are the coolest trees

water buffalo migrating to the lake

they use the same path!

and because they run, you can see the dirt they carry on the hooves spread over the road

water buffalo paths

this rhino was just chillin out
as the sun rose
but jennifer decided to make her move

i am not exaggerating when i say, you could smell her from where i was at
think dairy farm

we decided not to go down this road
it had rained super hard the night before

jennifer was convinced that these birds,
that would not get off the road and kept yelling at us,
were alerting us to a lion being near
we never saw one
but i suspect there was one near . . .


this is a masi giraffe
they have darker spots
so beautiful!

rhino and a stork
probably the ugliest animals ever

some of the most beautiful!

zebra, giraffe, water buffalo

this guy is reguritating food from one of his 4 stomachs

this guy is getting a drink
according to jennifer
giraffes have HUGE hearts
and they can't put their heads down for long or too much blood will rush to their brain
and they will die.
this means that they sleep standing up
with their heads up
for like 10 mins at a time
i'd go nuts!

i was really facinated by her feet


these guys!
baboons are so crazy
they totally took over the road
and were really stubburn about getting off the road

it was okay, because there was this brand new baby who i was so facinated by
it was really amazing watching these two parents care so tenderly for her

i was pretty focused on the baby, and
didn't notice the baby being made right in the middle of the road
sheese, there are kids around!

he didn't seem to care

learning the ropes
as it were

who knew they were so mangy?!

this mommy ran three legged,
protecting her baby from our car for a LONG time
it is a really new baby . . .
again probably born within the last few hours