Knowledge Centres for sanitation and waste management

Just a short note on an interesting e-mail I’ve received today on the ecosanres Yahoo!Group on ecological sanitation: The (dutch NGO) WASTE “on behalf of the Programme Board of the INTEGRATED SUPPORT FOR A SUSTAINABLE URBAN ENVIRONMENT (ISSUE) programme” puts out an open tender for Knowledge Centres with tasks related to sanitation and waste mangement.

This is an invitation for a bid for the provision and distribution of ‘knowledge’ for the implementing partners of the ISSUE programme for a period ending on December 31, 2010. …Interested parties who have the pre-requisite experience in running and managing Knowledge Centres are requested to submit technical and financial proposals and any other supporting documentation not later than 1 August 2008.

Why is this interesting?

  1. “Countries specifically asked to respond are: India, Vietnam, Benin, Kenya or Tanzania, Malawi or Zambia”
    Please note the “or”. As in: “one regional office will do.” Kenya vs Tanzania. Obviously, an opportunity for Kenyan experts.
  2. You may probably know that I am an admin at the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (website, whose link i will not repeat because our website is currently being relaunched and still too shabby to be shown around…*cough* *cough*) and we or at least I quite frequently come across ppl who are willing to do something but are lacking the adequate funding and/or don’t know how to apply for funds. Neither do I! However, what I do know is that funds – as limited as they are – will be made available once there are suitable local partners. So, what is actually required (I think!) are much more local networks that will help those funding agencies to approach a local market. And with “funding agencies” I am not only talking about the usual suspects aka dev aid orgs who make a living out of “helping” the poor. Instead, think of businesses from abroad, companies from the US and Europe who would like to invest into an African market and often don’t know whom to approach at first hand. Such a “knowledge centre” for the reproduction and dissemination of knowledge could be a perfect incubator (ok, now that is vc lingua already) for healthy businesses.
  3. The assignments runs from 2008 till 2010, the end of the ISSUE
    programme. The total budget (3 years) for each KEN will be approximately:
    Latin America (Costa Rica):? ? 235000 Euro
    South East Asia (Vietnam):? ? 170000 Euro
    South Asia (India):? 145000 Euro
    West Africa (Benin):? 145000 Euro
    East Africa (Kenya or Tanzania):? 170000 Euro
    Southern Africa (Zambia or Malawi? 140000 Euro

Guys, what I am talking about is this upcoming market of sustainable toilet facilities that will rock communities across the globe in future. Just think of the Adopt-A-Light initiative (and what the GoK did to them once they realized there’s money to be made).
“Knowledge Centres”? – to me – are local networks that provide much more than just a nice budget for a two years period. Hence this open tender is a first qualification programme to see who will be able to pool other consultants/manufacturers in and who will prepare the market for the future.

In other words: THERE’S MONEY TO BE MADE FROM “WASTE”. Think about it next time you toss out stuff out of your car window or go to toilet.

(disclaimer: “sanitation as a business” is my favourite subject ….pole :-)

AOB: Link of the week – PicLens – an advanced image viewer plugin for FF that will provide you with a “haiiaaaaaa”-effect. Try it!

nimekuchagua wewe

Ingawa wapo wengi wazuri mamiii, lakini nimekuchagua wewe, tabia zako sawa na sura yako, nimeridhika kuwa na wewe…(“Afro”, Les Wanyika.)

It was a blessed morning, and something had made me get up early. Last night’s dream brought back pictures of an older Nairobi , the city whose sights & sounds had been lingering in my head for a while. For quite a while.

Finished watching “The Last King of Scotland ” last night. Despite of the story that somehow tries to paint a closer picture of Idi Amin’s rule in Uganda, one thing about that flick instantly made me fall for it: Ishmael Jingo ‘s “Fever” – a track the world has been blessed with since Duncan Brooker (where are you, man?) unearthed it some time ago and put it on his still marvelous “Afro Rock Vol.1” compilation we had been talking about earlier .

If there’s one thing that best describes situations, it should be music.

Ryszard Kapuscinski, the legendary polish journalist that died earlier this year just a few days after my Mzee, added another point that had left me thinking. In his book “The Soccer War“, he mentions the bars and pubs people had been attending during those days back in July 1960 when Patrice Lumumba was the man. Kapuscinski, who was supposed to fly to Nigeria only, took a flight to Cairo instead, another one from Cairo to Khartoum, and from there he and some other journalists somehow managed to drive into a completely lost Congo.

Would you take such a journey upon you only to spend the biggest time of the day locked up in a hotel somewhere in a boring 1960 Stanleyville , or Kisangani as it is called nowadays?

“The African Bar”, Kapuscinski goes on explaining Lumumba’s approach on people, “is like the Roman Forum (…). This is where people started listening to Lumumba’s speeches…(…)”.

So you’re sitting there, reading these lines and thinking to yourself: did this actually change since 1960?
Maybe there are less idealists out there since Lumumba – and where Kapuscinski still talks of Partisans who fought for uhuru & other theoretical goals, today’s world seems to be made up of HipHop proclamations and cyberwars. Welcome to the 21st century.

It’s one of those days that I start dreaming and think about how life must have been in the 1970s Nairobi. Life, as in nightlife. Clubs? Music? Styles?

It certainly was different from what I witnessed while growing up in a very futuresque Tokyo (Japan) in the 1970s. And what exactly is it with Nairobi – this once “Green City in the Sun”?

“Nairobi”, the lady asked me, “why would you want to live in a city like Nairobi? I stayed there for a few month and didn’t like it. All those houses with barbed wires and high fences – I wouldn’t like living behind a fence…”“Well”, I replied, “neither would I…but maybe you never saw its real beauty” .

Home is where your heart is, and mine is still somewhere out there (with a very Kenyan “somewhere there”, the hand pointing in no particular direction).

@AfroM & EGM: what happened to the Nairobi Architecture Group? Maybe a FlickrGroup?

AOB: doing a search on Nairobi via reveals blogs like Paul‘s that somehow remind me of my own blogged worlds (this & this, this & this, etc.)…his blog definitely is a must-see for all Nairobians in exile! :-)