Excuse me, but…

…what’s the use of having an exhibition on waste management INSIDE the UN compound in Gigiri (Nairobi, Kenya)? Inside where you need to obtain a visitors pass first to eventually get some interesting informations? And btw, why should we inform the experts if instead the wananchi should be addressed?

Similar frustration comes when you’re thinking about all these organizations and institutions in Kenya that are not networked. Although it just takes a few phone calls and a round table to meet and discuss some things.
Think of water projects, think of shared GIS maps & other digital data, think of sharing contacts and other interesting informations you won’t find online. At least, aren’t all these projects aimed at improving the country? Yet, many only start from scratch and still waste a lot of time on getting organized & networked.

Tell you what: I tend to start believing in a structurized environment where change should actually be dictated by the government in terms of gazetted acts.

I was thinking about a battery project where we put a deposit of let’s say Ksh 1 or 2/= on every battery sold in Kenya and then return them to manufacturers for recycling / reuse. The good part: the mbeca-incentive. The bad part: battery recycling @ Eveready? Hmm…

==> There are a lot of interesting, really modern and high-tech things/technological projects going on in Kenya these days – but many of these fancy & expensive brochures that have been printed with the help of the UNDP or other donors have no real meaning to me as they WILL (!) only be used for lighting up the jiko in rural areas. And the brochures, as it seems, are the first output which is generated.

My advice to all over-funded organizations out there: GET A LIFE…and start producing some practical output that people really need.

6 comments » Write a comment

  1. Very well said! Conferences, exhibits, and workshops are usually full of excellent ideas, resources, experts, etc. But until all that can be channelled to the people who need it and produce tangible results, it means nothing. Too much bureacracy and image and not enough local/grassroots involvement. There’s this great book called “Sex Lives of Cannibals” which talks about this same issue– though it’s hard to guess from the title!

  2. It’s an industry! BP/Shell are not going to be part of an attempt to outlaw the internal combustion engine just as much as these guys are never going to actually fix or help fix the problem.

  3. Good point there. “..why should we inform experts if instead the wananchi should be addressed.”

    The battery recycling for cash sounds like a good idea, now the bigger question comes in, how do we implement it?

  4. The battery recycling for cash sounds like a good idea, now the bigger question comes in, how do we implement it?

    Return them like soda bottles – the deposit is given back to you on return.

    Where to return them to? Petrol stations. Less likely, some of the major/larger stores.

    Who picks them up? Battery recycling is a government function, so one a (month?) an agency has to go around a region, pickup a load, and return to– where?

    Considering that trash is not regularly picked up even in Nairobi, you can see where the weakest link is…

  5. Well, yeah, is it really a government job? I was thinking about a private company that collects and recycles these.

  6. In the US, collection and recycling is not a govt function, nor is it a corporate function. The govt does require that batteries be recycled, not just trashed, but how are they supposed to oversee this? Answer: They don’t.

    Although they don’t actively advertise that they do it, Radio Shack and some electronic shops have agreed to collect batteries from consumers. They don’t make any money for doing this, doing it only as a good service.

    What I don’t know is what happens to the batteries after that. I suppose some third-party comes around to do a bulk collection. Then what?

    How is battery recycling work in Germany?