Aug 28, 2011

The generation factor

Guys born in the 50’s and 60’s must have been boom babies, a generation of our fathers who had twelve siblings or thereabouts all from one mother. Unlike their folks, many boom babies opted to beget only up to five or six; forget about the mad ones who went beyond six.

Even though raised in tough colonial times, boom babies are the most brilliant breed of a generation as prevalent in society today. Some of them though turned themselves into educated idiots who came back from the likes of India with nothing more than what they took there.

Interestingly, we are sons and daughters of boom babies. I am told they call us generation Y, guys born after 1975 and before 1986. Our collective IQ is deeply rooted in the 8.4.4 system of education.

The 70’s and 80’s were dead years technologically across the world but full of political drama, perhaps the reason Y bears marks of rampant street activism. You don’t need a mention of recent UK riots to dig this.  

We certainly had it easier than boom babies but 8.4.4 really never stopped whipping our damn asses only to cool us down with maziwa ya Nyayo.  

Generation X or dot com as double villagers will loosely refer to them is a generation raised on a silver platter. These kids grew on bread smeared with butter and rode on buses to their private schools.

Substance has however remained insignificant to the spoiled brats; after all they are the cut and paste wizards with extra ordinary affinity for quick success.

From play stations to ipods and iphones, their sense of entertainment cannot be over-emphasized and social media has been a talisman of sorts to X. With 'face-tweet' and You-Tube on the bargain, Y stands no chance against X in the 21st century, let alone boom babies with their tantrums.

That my friend is the end of this lesson. Now answer the following question;

Which generation does/did your grandmother belong to?


Aug 18, 2011

Gratitude to the Kenyans for Kenya crew

The Kenyans for Kenya campaign has remarkably been heart touching and successful. Although this is not the first time it was happening, this year’s campaign was all inclusive and more strategic that before. It is encouraging to hear that the targeted donation of KSH 1 billion will not just be used for immediate relief but also for more sustainable ways of curbing hunger.

The most exciting thing about this whole campaign was that every Kenyan had and still has a chance of making a difference in somebody’s life. One thing though that should be admired by all is how corporate organizations put aside their competition to raise funds for hunger stricken Kenyans. In fact this time they only competed to save lives albeit in camera.

Kenya Red Cross however deserves the biggest applause for effective coordination of the campaign and distribution of food stuffs. The vigor with which it has continually dedicated itself is something to be emulated by the Kenyan government. It may seem like it’s their duty to do what they do but its not easy considering the difficult circumstances under which they operate.

The government was deservedly put to shame by the private sector but this does not give anybody bragging rights. The blame game does not therefore help, otherwise you don’t give and blame. Instead, everybody should keep urging our government to be awake and more accountable to its people. It should already be harvesting water from the ongoing rains for instance.

Our media should also keep up its good job of spreading the word especially about Kenyans for Kenya. Kenyans may also need to consider people in their immediate neighborhoods who may be suffering from hunger even as they empathize with those hard stricken in arid areas.


Aug 9, 2011

The CBK governor should cut the jargon

The Central Bank of Kenya governor Professor Njuguna Ndungu has continually failed to communicate to Kenyans. It is hard for any ordinary Kenyan to follow his press briefings because they are just so full of financial jargon.

It was difficult to understand what he meant when he went public explaining why the Kenyan shilling has been depreciating against major world currencies. If his communique was only supposed to be understood by a selective few other than the general public, then he had no point of addressing a press conference. He could easily have sent press statements to media houses and save us the trouble of having to listen to his jargon.

Its time he understood that CBK’s target audience is not just the media and financial institutions. Any communication to the general public ought to be easy and comprehensive. It may be expected that the media will always unpack his jargon but more often than not, it only replicates what he says.

Financial information is not a reserve of a few. Ordinary Kenyans are major stakeholders in the economy too and they deserve to get the whole picture of what is happening to the economy. Professor Ndungu will therefore need to find an effective way of communicating to all stakeholders. CBK might just have to consider hiring communication specialists as well. 


Aug 4, 2011

PR practitioners gone rogue

Despite Public Relations (PR) being a popular course taught in Kenyan colleges today, it may soon not be a career of choice for many students. PR is ordinarily communication and activities designed to promote good-will and understanding among the publics and the media. The practice of PR by most companies and institutions is however not portraying well our PR practitioners.

In most cases PR practitioners are the spokesmen and faces of their organizations. They also take charge of customer relations and public information activities. It doesn’t seize to amaze though how worse customer service can get in some companies despite having fully equipped PR departments.

The way KPLC handled its power rationing communication for instance was not the best way whatsoever. There surely had to be a way of preparing customers for the bad news. Dropping the bomb-shell as they did especially on the backdrop of re-branding and committing to enhanced customer service was a raw deal to its customers.

Dr. Alfred Mutual is another example of bad PR practice. No offense to the government spokesman but it is hard to admire his professional skills; especially because he is the senior most PR practitioner in Kenya. He has deliberately perfected himself as a cunning sophist who only understands PR as spin.

PR can only add value when it’s not reduced to just a mare self defense and clean up affair as eminently done in Kenya. A few companies take PR seriously though, but more needs to be done. Practitioners need to carry themselves professionally; otherwise PR students will have no one to look up to.


Index Insurance key to the agricultural sector

The effects of global warming are now on their worst following the severe drought that is being experienced in parts of Kenya and the horn of Africa. Droughts have consistently destroyed our crops and killed livestock which are the mainstay of our economy. We haven’t quite found a reliable solution to this annual calamity but index insurance may soon be the sustainable way to mitigate its effects.

Index insurance is a brilliant idea which if effected will be a significant risk management tool especially in our agricultural sector. The policy which was recently launched in Geneva will compensate financial loss for properties exposed to climate related risks such as drought.

This is obviously good news to farmers who suffer losses every year due to outcomes beyond their influence. Livestock holders in north eastern Kenya where drought is eminent should brace themselves for this insurance policy which may just be a solution to their perennial problem. Rural smallholder farmers too should not suffer unnecessary losses any more when they can easily be compensated.

More insurance companies need to come out and float this product to Kenyans. This, coupled with large scale farming projects as pronounced by government in Turkana last week will go a long way in eradicating famine in Kenya.