Are you a great Receptionist? We are hiring!

bird lifeBackground

Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT), is a grassroots organization founded in 2009 whose mission is to foster social, economic and environmental justice in the greater Turkana Basin through promotion of sustainable management of resources and protection of the natural environment with stakeholder participation

The Receptionist will be part of a highly efficient and motivated team. This position will be based in Lodwar and will be responsible for providing secretarial, clerical and administrative support in order to ensure that the office is running in an effective and efficient manner. He/she works within the guidelines, policies and mission of the organization and will and is responsible for providing office and clerical services. Failure to provide these services in an efficient and effective manner will result in disruptions in the provision of services

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Provide office support services in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness within the Office.

Main Activities

  • Receive, direct and relay telephone messages and fax messages
  • Direct the partners and the general public to the appropriate staff member
  • Pick up and deliver the mail
  • Open and date stamp all general correspondence
  • Maintain the general filing system and file all correspondence
  • Assist in the planning and preparation of meetings, conferences and conference telephone calls
  • Make preparations for staff and board meetings
  • Maintain an adequate inventory of office supplies
  • Provide word-processing and secretarial suppor

2. Perform clerical duties in order to maintain Hamlet administration

Main Activities

  • Develop and maintain a current and accurate filing system
  • Monitor the use of supplies and equipment
  • Coordinate the repair and maintenance of office equipment

3. Performs receptionist functions

Main Activities

  • Answer all incoming calls and handle caller’s inquiries whenever possible
  • Re-direct calls as appropriate and take adequate messages when required
  • Greet, assist and/or direct visitors and the general public

4. Support the Executive Director and other staff

Main Activities

  • Assist the Executive Director and other staff as requested
  • Provide administrative services for the Executive Director

5. Perform other related duties as required

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Have proficient knowledge in Office administration
  • Demonstrate team work
  • Have analytical and problem solving skills
  • Have decision making skills
  • Have effective verbal and listening communications skills
  • Have computer skills including the ability to spreadsheet and word-processing programs at a highly proficient level stress management skills
  • Have Time Management skills
  • Ability to interact with people of all ages and cultural backgrounds
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Sound computer skills
  • Effective oral and written communication skills with exceptional attention to details
  • Ability to work flexible hours
  • Possess cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a commitment to and passion for FoLT’s mission

Applications should be sent to danson@friendsoflaketurkana.org or Diana@friendsoflaketurkana.org by 20th March 2016.

US Government Opposes IFC Investment in Africa Oil

LoiyangalaniThe United States Treasury Department has said no to the IFC’s proposed equity investment of up to $50 million in Africa Oil Corporation. In a statement dated 9th July 2015, The Board of The Treasury expressed ‘serious concerns’ about this particular investment by the International Finance Corporations.

While recognizing the importance of the recent oil discovery around Lake Turkana, The Treasury’s reservations were triggered by their observation of how mismanagement of the ‘windfall revenue from hydrocarbon production’ can cause more harm than good to a country’s economy. The statement says in part:

The United States appreciates that the development of a hydrocarbon sector is a key priority for the Government of Kenya given the sector’s expected contributions to economic growth, poverty reduction, and government revenue. The United States notes, for example, that the development of the South Lockichar project alone is expected to generate more than $1.3 billion in revenue per year during the height of production, or slightly more than two percent of current GDP, using 2013 data. As the United States has seen in other countries, however, windfall revenue from hydrocarbon production, if not appropriately managed, can also cause harm to an economy.

The Treasury lists four key concerns that have driven them to opposing the investment:

  1. IFC’s lack of disclosure to the Board of key documentation that would have allowed a more thorough assessment of the risks associated with this proposed investment, which is all the more troubling given the project’s potential – together with that of downstream pipeline and port infrastructure – for significant impacts on critical habitats and marginalized communities.
  2. The United States disputes the observation in paragraph 2.5 of the project document that aspects of Africa Oil’s other exploration activities, which may similarly be in critical habitats or land claimed by marginalized communities, fall outside the scope of the IFC’s proposed investment.
  3. the United States is concerned by what it views as a lack of sufficient financial additionality. The United States notes that Africa Oil, a predevelopment stage company with no
    cash flow, is publicly listed on two separate stock exchanges, with a market capitalization of nearly $800 million, signifying ample investor demand given its potentially lucrative holdings. As such, the United States is not persuaded that the IFC’s investment is a necessary component of this project’s success.
  4. The United States is concerned that IFC feels as though an equity investment is necessary to put in place environmental and social (E&S) management systems when IFC’s performance standards should already apply to Africa Oil through the involvement of Helios Investment Partners LLP, Africa Oil’s largest shareholder and current IFC investee.

The United States government, thus, as represented by The Treasury, has entered a NO vote against this investment.

You can download and read the actual statement here…

We Are Hiring! Is Communications Your Thing? Come Work for Us

Do you know media and communications like the back of your hand? Then you are the one we are looking for.

Friends of Lake Turkana is looking to hire a Media and Communications Officer to be based in Lodwar with frequent travel around the Lake Turkana basin. The officer will be part of a highly efficient and motivated team. The individual will be expected to properly manage and widely share relevant knowledge pivotal to FoLT’ s mission. The officer will directly contribute towards this objective.

The Media and Communications Officer will be responsible for raising awareness of FoLT among her partners and clients, developing and disseminating information to the general public, media, government, NGOs and other key stakeholders. The job-holder shall significantly contribute to the development of communication strategies for key programmes and campaigns and coordinates their implementation in terms of national, regional and international advocacy, media and online engagement.

Given FoLT’s work with communities, the individual will need to be considerate, respectful and highly capable of seamlessly engaging on community issues in an effective and clear manner. This position requires a meticulous, discerning, motivated and service-oriented individual, with excellent writing skills, who wants to contribute to expanding to economic, social and environmental justice both locally and globally.

For the full description of the position and how to apply, Click HERE (PDF)

Sarima a Ghost Town as Festivities Begin Next Door

On our second day in Loiyangalani, we take a little detour to a small village, Sarima, not too far off the shores of Lake Turkana . Our impromptu trip is based on curiosity triggered by news reports of a raid that occurred in Sarima just 2 weeks before the annual Lake Turkana Cultural Festival. Upon arrival at the airstrip, it is evident that security is tight with red beret officers in strategic spots around the town and in the site where the festivities happen. The security could also be attributed to the presence of local government officials to officiate the festivities.

View of the shores of Lake Turkana from the road. Copyright,FoLT.

We drive out of Loiyangalani town and towards the magnificent Lake Turkana, a sight to behold. One can never really get tired of this view. The Jade sea does feel like an oasis in the dessert sitting beside rugged, rocky and scarcely vegetated land. The scorching heat with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees centigrade make one even more aware of this dessert climate and forces us to keep the windows open despite the dust rising in our trail. Guiding us on this trip is a local activist, a young man who feels strongly about protecting the rights of his people, the Turkana, majority of whom are hardly educated enough to know what they are entitled to as citizens of this country.
 
He tells us of the secrecy and hush-hush that followed the recent attack on a village occupied predominantly by the Turkana community. As we try to understand the context behind the attack in which 5 were killed on the spot with about 15 injured. We find out that a 6th person died while undergoing treatment. En route to Sarima, we pass a stop-over where a gentleman dressed in a bright orange uniform waves his arms to stop us. The guard hands us a register book to sign as we move along. It’s a little strange as our guide tells us that this is the norm since those in charge of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project took over the land in a lease agreement with the Kenyan Government. The strange part is that the route we are using is also a gazetted government highway, one of the options for drivers driving to this destination from the Capital or passing through the Rift Valley. Now it is treated like a privately owned road.

Goats grazing on low-lying foothills in Loiyangalani. Copyright, FoLT.

Upon arrival in Sarima, the empty silence is eerie. For a traditional village in the Northern parts of Kenya, Sarima is rather large…most of the villages I’ve come by are quite small with up to ten homes or just a little above that…this, I’m told was just recently occupied by hundreds of people. The silence and emptiness is a result of villagers escaping to the other side of Loiyangalani in fear of their lives. The attack that had them moving away was launched at dawn and the victims were defenseless women and children.
 

Links with Lake Turkana Wind Power Project

The recent conflict in Sarima has been linked with compensation contention by residents. Our guide, whose name will remain anonymous let’s us in on a theory to explain the sudden and bloody violence. Loiyangalani is home to the grand Lake Turkana Wind Power project, this wind farm is highly financed and is predicted to be the largest single wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, with investments to the tune of Ksh76 billion. Now this is obviously a heavily funded project and really admirable move towards renewable energy. One of the requirements of this wind power project is a huge acreage of land, 40,000 acres to be specific. All this land is located west of Marsabit county, which they have already acquired via the Kenyan Government on a lease.
The contention is really on compensation for the relocation of residents from their current location according to our source.

Allegedly, they were promised compensation and were to agree on terms but the local representatives were unbecoming with the information. A new village has already been constructed less than a hundred meters from their current location, though it is yet to be completed. The residents of Sarima, were to start moving to their new homes but refused to do so before they received their compensation. We walked into the new settlement and it is also very quiet, filled with partly and fully constructed thatch houses. It is rather disconcerting to realize that based on the new housing, their living standards don’t get to change much. One would expect more modern housing in place of the traditional make-shift thatch houses.

Traditional huts in Loiyangalani. Copyright, FoLT.

As we stroll into the new settlement, it’s obvious that there are still very few people who have moved in already. It could also be because the weekend’s festivities marking the beginning of the Lake Turkana Cultural Festival have began and majority of the people have moved towards the museum to attend. We come across a mud-house with metal sheet roof among the thatched ones and realize upon close inspection that it’s some kind of make-shift shop with occupants who we stop to greet. We walk ahead and spot a vehicle driving into the gate, go around and then leave. Seems like some kind of inspection.

A man who looks familiar, comes towards us as the cameraman we left behind approaches and asks who we are and what we are there for. Our guide explains that we are Journalists he is just showing around and we mean no harm. The man suddenly becomes aggressive asking us to leave and seeming to want to hit our guide. He claims that said guide is always trying to stir trouble and should just leave people alone. They almost get into a fight before a third man comes and stops them so we promptly leave.

Young boy standing in front of a village in the outskirts of Loiyangalani town. FoLT

On our way out, we meet the chief’s wife, walking back towards the new settlement with her daughter,the daughter looks between 10-12yrs old. We shake hands in greeting and get introduced. She speaks only in Ng’aturkana so the guides translates what she says to us. She is holding a 500ltr coke bottle filled with water and so is her daughter. We find out that they walked for miles to get water suitable for drinking. “At ‘the camp’ there is water but it is not fit for consumption.” she says  It’s a rather harsh life they live here in Marsabit, one of the poorest counties in the country. Basic rights such as access to safe drinking water are hard to come by and one can’t help but wonder how over 5 decades, the Kenyan government hasn’t ensured this basic human right for those people living in the frontiers.

We chat with the two for a short while before the chief shows up. He is a friendly, elderly man in uniform. With the high temperatures , you would think the regular chief’s uniform would be altered to suit different locations,but he doesn’t seem to mind. He updates us on the situation and tells us that the villagers who fled the violence are willing to return as soon as things calm down. As their leader he needs to stay around and make sure that happens. There are currently a few administrative police who have been sent to patrol the area and ensure no further attacks occur.

Some residents of Loiyangalani stand outside a run-down building in town. FoLT

We thank him for his time and wish them the best of luck, as we only can, and head back to where the festivities are ongoing. It is rather ironic that just a 30-minute drive away from the festivity something so tragic happened and nobody was talking about it in the town. We can only hope that action was being taken (behind the silence) to capture the raiders and ensure that justice is served for the lives lost in meaningless violence. On the rough and rugged road back, we fall silent in contemplation. It is sad to imagine that good fortune can come with such tragedy, when justice is not served to people, it is difficult to find peace. Peace is vital for humans to thrive, but a just society is also very important. Being aware of, and fighting for one’s rights is something that no one should shy away from, but sacrificing life should never be an option in the fight for justice and human rights.

If the information we were given is accurate, it is regretful that women and children died in what is purported to be a scheme to scare them by greedy people, who didn’t wish to give the residents of Sarima village what was rightfully theirs. It is indeed our hope that these allegations are countered with fact-driven information to make it all clear. The rights of all Kenyans are the same and no one, regardless of their social standing, education or level of awareness should be treated differently.

A woman and child stand by the Lakeside to view the beautiful, Lake Turkana sunset. Copyright, FoLT.

The people of Sarima deserve justice and they, along with Kenyans need answers that will ensure the end of this senseless violence. We hope to see a safe, more peaceful and even more developed Northern Kenya in the near future, the kind of peace that being close to the shores of Lake Turkana gives at sunset.

A Rainy Monday in Southern Turkana: Part 2, by Shalom Ndiku

Charles (R) and David (L) on the return drive to Lodwar as we overtake a convoy of tankers transporting fuel up north. © FoLT

 

As we drive back to Lodwar, a rehashed experience on the bumpy road we had almost forgotten, I think of the change that has come to Turkana. Not only is the national spotlight brightly shining on this pocket of northwestern Kenya, but also regional and international interests are directed towards it. The hope of oil, development, and inclusion in the larger Kenyan story is yearned for – eagerly. However, the complexity of how all this can be achieved successfully meets several barriers. 

 

First, an open dialogue on the historical injustices that have been rendered against the people of Turkana must commence, with the goal of curing the wrongs done. 

 

Second, the communities must be actively engaged and informed about the extraction of oil, coupled with the entire development process, and all potential implications in the industry both internationally and regionally. This duty lies with the government and the investors pumping millions into the ground for Turkana’s black gold. 

 

Third, there is a strong need for concerted efforts by all political stakeholders – both at the county and national level – to engage around these issues objectively without seeking payoffs, side deals, under the table handouts, and being true to the principles of integrity and good governance in the Constitution. 

 

Fourth, the incidental consequences of the development ought to be considered fully. For example, with the pursuit of oil, jobs have been created and businesses around the exploration area are thriving, but as a resultant the same jobs were lost and businesses affected due to international trends with oil prices. Can the effects of these likely uncontrollable consequences be mitigated? Furthermore, the question of security – both nationally, but more relevantly in southern Turkana – should be addressed in a manner that ensures that development does not exacerbate pre-existing sources of conflict. 

 

Finally, a lack of up to date laws regulating communal land, petroleum exploration and development, local content, environmental degradation related to oil extraction and revenue sharing ought to be passed. Additionally, there is a strong need to ensure that the institutions created by these laws possess the requisite capacity to tackle the challenges posed to this nascent sector, the roles of all stakeholders – public and private – are clear, and they are fully in line with constitutional provisions. 

 

The bridge over the full Turkwel River upon entry into Lodwar from the south. © FoLT

 

The drive back was much slower; David’s earlier haste had lessened. The sparsely occupied landscape dotted with shrubs and acacia trees that we had left behind was now replaced by buildings – including a good number being constructed, noisy boda bodas, tall poles connecting electricity lines, and a heavy evening foot traffic during our entry into Lodwar.  As we crossed the bridge over the Turkwel River, where the space is only wide enough for one line of cars – I realized that in the transition towards oil development and production in the years down the line, a strong, sturdy and stable bridge had to be created to ensure that all involved – particularly the citizens of Turkana – benefited fully as the transition into a economic hub and source of wealth takes place.  

 

 

 

The views expressed here by the author are entirely personal and are in no way those of the Friends of Lake Turkana or any other organization affiliated with him. 

Unless stated otherwise, all the photographs were taken by and belong to the Friends of Lake Turkana which reserves all rights to the images.

 

 

 

A Rainy Monday in Southern Turkana: Part 1, by Shalom Ndiku

A RAINY MONDAY IN SOUTHERN TURKANA: Part I

On the ground in Lokichar

 

by SHALOM NDIKU

Research and Policy Officer (FoLT)

 

Towards the tail end of the flight, we are promptly informed that the descent to Lodwar will commence soon. Sitting on the aisle seat, I stretch my neck and stare out the window; it’s a new and welcoming sight I’ve not seen before. Instead of the oft-dry shrubby and hilly terrain that is typical of Turkana, traces of greenery and pockets of land are now filled with temporally seasonal water bodies and rivers that snake across the rugged terrain and disappear into the fading horizon in the east. 

 

My colleague Sheila Bett is in love with the way the land looks from above after a few days of heavy rain as she snaps multiple photos and finds it all breathtaking. Charles Wanguhu, also on the trip with us, is a key partner from the Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (KCSPOG). He cannot hide his anxiety resultant from the fact that with the rains, we may not be able to make it to the oil fields for a potential site visit and update from our local contacts on the ground.  

 

The descent into Lodwar Town in the early morning after heavy showers the night before. © by Sheila Bett for FoLT

 

After landing in drizzly Lodwar, a two-hour drive to the southern town of Lokichar – the home of Kenya’s new Black Gold – awaits us. After a necessary security brief, the journey starts. Given that Turkana’s seasonal rivers are erratically behaving due to the heavy downpour that’s fallen the night before, we need to depart with haste in order to return before the likely afternoon showers come down and result in overflowing rivers that block the roads. 

 

Stranded travelers at the banks of the flooded laga few minutes after Lodwar. © FoLT

 

Less than half an hour into our southerly departure from Lodwar, we come across a heavily flooded and fast flowing laga – the local nomenclature used for these seasonal rivers – that looks threatening if anyone dares to cross it. Our unfortunate fate is shared with a number of Land Cruisers and trucks seeking to cross over the river. After witnessing a few of them cross over meticulously and carefully, David, our experienced and bold driver, follows suit and before we know it, we are on the other side. 

 

 

A Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to the County Government of Turkana makes the daring effort to cross the flowing laga. © FoLT

 

As one approaches Lokichar the lagas are less and less imposing, becoming easily crossable the further south we go. It seems like the heavier rains fell in the central part of Turkana County. The highway that connects Turkana to the rest of Kenya is a neglected road that is heavily dilapidated, in need of immediate reconstruction and serves as a vital lifeline for essential goods for those in Lodwar and further north in Kakuma and Lokichoggio. As a part of the LAPSSET project, a Vision 2030 flagship component, this road is to be redone. Time will have to tell whether this shall be done with haste and efficiency. The one certainty is that with all the road-related developments that have taken place over the last 15 years in Kenya, neglecting Turkana County speaks loudly to the priority areas those with the power to dictate where developments happen deem valuable.

Half an hour into the journey, I realize that Sheila is napping. Her head, rested against the window on her right taps against the glass with each occasional bump on the road. The pothole induced tapping is more frequent than it should be for a national road traversing lands holding a substantive amassment of black gold. 

 

We suddenly turn left and branch off the main highway into the oil exploration fields. David assures us that this short cut is much quicker. The difference in our environment gradually changes. The roads become less rough and murramed, meaning that it becomes much smoother to drive on and less bumpy.  Sheila’s prior bobbing ceases immediately – she now naps with greater ease. The tapping sound on the glass is gone. Additionally, the traffic increases with Toyota pickups traversing the territory, stewards clad in luminously yellow vests stand watch every few kilometers, and every now and then we drive by a number of 10,000 liter black plastic tanks emblazoned with the word “KENTANK” in a fading yellow font placed about ten meters from the road. These tanks are securely surrounded by a fence and stand there to cater to the water-related needs of all the lives in the area, both human and animal. Unlike the drier seasons, this time round, not many members of the community have flocked around the water points given the abundance of rain. It is evident that we are now in “Tullow Country”.

 

 

The electric fence that runs all along Tullow’s Kapese Camp a few kilometers outside Lokichar town. © FoLT

 

Within a short period of time, we pull up to Tullow’s camp at Kapese, the camp is heavily secured – a large fence runs for a long distance to our left and right. One often looks at certain fences and can quickly conclude that those on the inside of the fence were hell-bent on keeping outsiders out when they conceptualized it. This is definitely one of those fences. A guard walks up to us and strikes up a conversation with Charles. 

Bold and customized emblazoned text on the security guard’s uniform at the gate to the Kapese camp. © FoLT

 

“We wanted to know if it’s possible to get in?” Charles requests. 

Responding to Charles’s question with another question of his own, he retorts, “Do you have an appointment?”

“Yes, we were in contact with your Nairobi office and we received the green light to enter here.” Charles looks at the guard confidently, certain of his statement and awaits a reaction. 

“Unfortunately, you must have an appointment approved by management on this specific site. Do you have one with someone here?”

“No.” 

“Then I cannot let you in, because after you make a request to enter the site, you have to wait for approval which can take a day. Go to our office in town and try your luck there.” 

 

David rapidly reverses the Land Cruiser away from the Kapese Camp’s gate and heads towards Lokichar. It’s almost lunchtime, we do not want to arrive and find the place closed or empty during this mid-point of the workday when most employees take a break from work. Entering Lokichar town, anyone familiar with it quickly notices how rapidly it is growing – a greater presence of vehicles, increasing foot-traffic, more outsiders from other counties, and an increase in evidence of privatized property – particularly the fencing of buildings and demarcated plots within and around the town. 

 

Two Administration Police officers in jungle green uniforms guard the Tullow office and in tow is the oft-sighted choice of weaponry used by the crème de la crème of Kenya’s law enforcement – the Kalashnikov or AK-47. An unarmed guard – technically armed given he has a rungu a few feet from his feet – from a private company seems to be a bonus to the two AP officers who would be better placed to deal with potential threats. Entering the office, we are met by an overly courteous and polite employee who hospitably gathers three chairs around the office for us to sit on. 

 

Charles informs him that we intended to visit the Kapese camp today but were referred to this office to make an appointment. The employee informs us that to do that, he will have to drive over to the camp himself and request the relevant supervisor for the appointment. We request him to call the supervisor instead, given that it is the early afternoon and we want to be back in Lodwar before the rains block the roads. Interestingly, he does not have the supervisors number. Odd indeed. As we depart from the office, he updates us about the great work Tullow is doing, including offering scholarships to exceptional secondary school students in Turkana and hands us a number of pamphlets and posters that hold simple to understand information on the basics of oil and gas. 

 

 

Lokichar’s main street during the school holidays. ® Business Daily

 

The day continually heats up as lunchtime arrives. Prior experience has taught us that Mashallah Hotel is Lokichar’s best source of a tasty meal. We head there and are directed to the back area in a makuti-roofed enclave with tables full of patrons ravishingly devouring an assortment local favorite delicacies. The place is abuzz with activity as waiters crisscross the floor and customers bark loud orders and shout requests to no one in particular. After giving our orders to the waiter, Charles informs us that a local contact of his shall be joining us soon to provide an update on the latest happenings on the ground. 

 

Some minutes pass and the meals arrive. Sheila observes with bemusement how every single time she comes to Turkana, she is served with a 500ml soda bottle instead of the more common and conventional 300ml bottle – an interesting trend in the cold-beverage-culture of Lokichar. In this heat, a larger beverage is welcome, and when the two community members – Ekidor and Ricardo – arrive and join us for lunch, their first priority is a thirst quencher in the form of two large 500ml sodas.

 

From the outset, Ekidor is the more talkative of the two. Ricardo, albeit his silence, is attentively engaged in the discussions and shows it by nodding and maintaining eye contact with us as his colleague speaks. “Life for us here in Lokichar continues, but is getting worse by the day.” Ekidor speaks emotionally and what I read to be frustration seems to envelop his words. 

“Many people have lost their jobs and livelihoods, therefore as they return to their homes, they end up being idle which is not ideal. In recent times theft has increased as well.” 

 

Ekidor notes that a majority of the community members affected by these developments are close relatives and people he knows well. He notes how a number of camps have even been shut down, affecting a number of casual laborers, which a majority of the community members are. Despite pleas to the government by the community members and concerted protests against the loss of jobs, nothing seems to be happening to address this unfortunate eventuality, according to him.

 

“What is the oil company using as a reason to justify the termination of jobs and employment?” Sheila asks. 

Ekidor pauses pensively and as he contemplates a response to Sheila’s answer, Ricardo informs us that he has to attend a community meeting elsewhere in town. As Ricardo walks out of Mashallah, our attention reverts back to Ekidor who is now itching to address Sheila’s question.

 

“Tullow has given two reasons for this. First, it says that the price of oil has been falling, thus this affects them. Secondly, it states that the end of the first phase of the oil extraction – exploration – has come to an end and the jobs in that phase are over. Only during the second phase of development shall jobs be available again for locals.” 

 

Economically, Ekidor readily admits that earlier on, the oil exploration created a hub of activity within Lokichar. Businesses thrived, be it shops, hotels, restaurants, bars or butcheries – the windfall was felt as money exchanged hands more frequently. However, this ballooning of the boom began to deflate before the eyes of those who call Lokichar home. 

 

“In the past, if a business person made KES 20,000 profits in a certain period, one would not be surprised that it has reduced to KES 2,000 today over the same period.” Ekidor concludes that despite the challenges faced, some positives still exist. For example, he highlights the Tullow Scholarship Program for exceptional secondary students in Turkana County that has proven beneficial. Additionally, he notes that the skills training for some community members, including studying abroad is commendable. 

 

It is 3pm. We must head back, though a casual stare out into the horizon seems to indicate that the rains are not an imminent threat for the moment. But to err on the side of caution, we do not want to take any chances. We thank Ekidor for his time and willingness to share this information with us. It is people like him that make the work of organizations like ours easier, it also helps us understand what the reality is on the ground, and thus directs our advocacy efforts around research, communication and policy issues. 

 

Exiting Mashallah Hotel, it dawns on me how the larger headlines on the plummeting prices of crude oil a few months ago bore a far reaching effect. Ekidor’s outpouring of the challenges faced by the community and local businesses in Lokichar reveals that such a massive domino effect rolls all the way from the boardrooms of powerful oil ministers in Saudi Arabia or Russia with endless power and flows of Saudi Riyals and Russian Rubles to the ordinary Kenyan in southern Turkana eking a living and now finds herself jobless as an oil camp is shut down and does not need her skills as a cook. 

 

 

 

Community voices from the Lake Turkana Basin communities (International Rivers)

International Rivers, a partner organization to Friends of Lake Turkana, sent a researcher to the Lake Turkana Basin late last year to gather the sentiments and expectations of the people dependent on Lake Turkana in light of the ongoing Omo River developments. What resulted was the documentary, ‘Community Voices of Lake Turkana’ and a report ‘Come and count our bones’. The two were launched in early January in the International Rivers website and go a long way to show the human impacts of these developments that did not consider downstream communities.

Lake Turkana is a lifeline for over 300,000 Kenyans within the basin and the predicted impacts of Gibe III dam and irrigation plantations further south of River Omo will have adverse effects on their social and economic lives and likely spark violence over the consequently fewer resources.

More on this here

YOUR NATURE, AFFECTS OUR NATURE

Not Only is the GIBE III Dam likely to affect Lake Turkana in a negative way, but also the huge Sugarcane and cotton plantations that Ethiopia have planned will deplete the water source for Lake Turkana immensely and reduce Lake Turkana in size, affecting the whole of Turkana and beyond!!!

~ YOUR NATURE AFFECTS OUR NATURE! ~

‪#‎BeyondTurkana‬