Driver Wanted

The Driver/Messenger will perform a range of functions including driving and maintaining organization vehicle; undertaking messenger duties and providing general assistance related to the efficient operation of the office

REPORTING RELATIONSHIP
Reports to the Administrative Assistant

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
· Drives motor vehicle and maintains same in good working condition
· Cleans vehicle and checks for such essentials as gas, oil, water and tyre pressure and makes entries in log booking concerning trips, purpose of same, mileage, fuel and any delays occurring on roads
· Uses vehicle to collect and deliver mail, equipment, furniture, office supplies and other items on behalf of the organization.
· Records delivery of items in dispatch book
· Transports relevant personnel to/from official meetings, seminars, workshops and functions
· S/he will be expected to work after hours and occasionally on weekends
· Any other relevant duties as assigned by supervisor or designated person

SKILLS AND ABILITIES
· Competent driver
· Recording tasks undertaken and reporting on activities
· Time Management
· Good communication skills
· First Aid Management skills
· Some knowledge of motor mechanics
· Ability to drive a light good vehicle
· Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with other employees and the public

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE
· Possession of a valid driving license entitling holder to drive a light goods vehicle
· Must be in the possession of a clean driving record
· Must be a Kenyan citizen
· Must have a Good conduct certificate
· Must have held driving license continuously for at least seven (7) years
· Must have at least four (4) years experience in a similar position
· Basic knowledge of the mechanical functions of a vehicle will be an asset
· Possession of a defensive driving certificate will also be an asset
· Willingness to work in a multicultural environment

Applications should be sent to danson@friendsoflaketurkana.org by 10th February 2017

Turkana’s citizen journalists featured on Aljazeera

Two citizen journalists from Turkana, Carol Akai and Bedan Lomor were featured on the Aljazeera. 

citizenjournalist

Carol and Bedan were part of a project by Cordaid, a nongovernmental development and aid agency and Content House, a local production house. They were trained to become Citizen Journalists in order to empower them to become voices of their communities.
The results are six short documentaries chronicling stories including the acquisition of land for oil exploration, the early administrative history of the region, threats to Lake Turkana, marriage customs and the role of women in the community.

We look forward to more stories from our citizen journalists.

Check out their videos below.

Flying on Lake Turkana to Turkana

Award winning Nigerian Environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey together with FoLT team during a trip to Lokichar. (From left) Ikal Angelei, Nnimmo Bassey, Joyce Lukwiya, Andrew Orina, Daudi Emase
Award winning Nigerian Environmentalist Nnimmo Bassey together with FoLT team during a trip to Lokichar. (From left) Ikal Angelei, Nnimmo Bassey, Joyce Lukwiya, Andrew Orina, Daudi Emase

By Nnimmo Bassey

Sometime in 2017 Kenya will begin to pump crude oil in commercial quantities. For some years now prospecting companies have been poking holes around Turkana, Kenya, looking for the so-called black gold. One of the places the oil companies planned to seek their treasure is Lake Turkana, a UNESCO heritage site and the largest desert lake in the world. Many writers have written about this lake – famous for appearing blue from the sky, but greenish when viewed from the ground…….

Read more

 

Turkana County teams up with Nigeria’s Niger Delta to discuss Oil & Gas

nigertoturkanaTurkana County is raising the stakes in negotiating equity for its people as grassroots organisation Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT) teams up award winning Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey to tackle some key issues in Kenya’s fledgling oil sector.

One of the pertinent questions that have emerged since the discovery of oil in Turkana, is whether Kenya can and will avoid the failures of other resource rich countries like Nigeria where the oil host communities in the Niger Delta still live in abject poverty.

The oil producing giant of Africa has experienced disparate growth between positive economic indices and low human capital development not to mention the magnitude of environmental degradation from oil production.Friends of Lake Turkana have recognized and aim to achieve, is the need for an in-depth understanding of what Kenya can learn from countries like Nigeria, with over 50 years of oil production experience.

Nnimmo Bassey’s visit to Turkana County, is aimed at stimulating new ways of thinking and analysing the dynamics of oil exploration in Kenya. From the 26th-30th of August 2016, Bassey will chair forums on democracy, governance, transparency and accountability in the Oil & Gas industry with a diverse group of stakeholders in Turkana.

His visit will give an opportunity to the people of Turkana to gain firsthand knowledge from the Niger Delta experience and hopefully, inform current developments in Kenya’s Oil & Gas sector.

Bassey, who is also a critically acclaimed author, poet and architect, is currently the head of Nigeria’s Environmental Rights Action and Chair of the Friends of the Earth International. His seminal book, To Cook a Continent (2012) tackles destructive fossil fuel industries and climate change in Africa. In 2009, TIME magazine listed him as one of their Heroes of the Environment. The following year, he won the Right Livelihood Award also known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize.’ Some of his poetry collections include: We Thought It Was Oil But It Was Blood (2012) and I Will Not dance To Your Beat (2011).

Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT), is committed to fostering socio-economic and environmental justice in the Lake Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia. Our objective is to achieve this through consistent advocacy for the protection and conservation of Lake Turkana and its environs as well as increased participation of communities in environmental protection, policy formation, sustainable management and use of natural resources.

Please contact us on info@friendsoflaketurkana.org for more details.

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)

We are Asking UN World Heritage Committee to Save our Lake

Starting tomorrow June 28 till July 8, 2015, the UN World Heritage Committee will meet to discuss the fate of Lake Turkana. In this meeting, the members will decide if to inscribe Lake Turkana into the list of World Heritage in Danger.

This committee has failed several times to inscribe this precious lake in this list despite having acted in the to protect World Heritage sites threatened by dams, including in those in China and Honduras. To us, our Lake is not just a Heritage site, it is our lifeline. Without it many lives will be lost. We, as the local communities, are demanding that this treasure be protected from a human-made disaster.

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The main reason why Lake Turkana is in danger is because of the building of the Ethiopian Gibe Dams, particularly Gibe III, and the associated large-scale agricultural irrigation projects in the Lower Omo basin.

We are calling on the World Heritage Committee to finally inscribe Lake Turkana in the endangered list during their meeting. You too can join the petition that our friends at International Rivers have posted online. Click here to sign the petition

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.