Kiswahili Wikipedia

Kiswahili wikipedia needs your help in case you speak Kiswahili. Find out about what you can do to improve it.

Read more!


Breaking Silence: Updating Kiswahili blog

UPDATE: The transcript of the IRC chat is here.

I am currently updating my Kiswahili blog.

Do not forget that the Internet chat with Reporters Withouth Border Internet director, Julien Pain about the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissents is today. More information...

Read more!


Helsinki conference ended today

The Helsinki Process on Globalisation and Democracy was initiated in 2000 by the Finnish and Tanzanian governments to address critical issues relating to globalization and democracy such as health, security, small arms, corruption. The Helsinki Process seeks to strengthen North-South cooperation and encourage a multi-stakeholder networking involving labour unions, academic institutions, civil society, private sector, media, and governments. The ultimate goal of this conference was to build commitment for the implementation of of neccessary steps towards eradicating poverty.

The conference ended today at with concluding remarks by co-Chairs of the Helsinki Process
and commitments to change.

Read more!

Tanzanian President

Tanzanian president, Benjamin Mkapa, speaking at Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, yesterday.

Read more!

press conference yesterday

Read more!

There are 2 bullets for every person in the world

"Small arms are weapons of mass destruction. They kill half a million people every year." "There are 2 bullets for all of us in the world today."
"In order to achieve the millennium development goals, development has to be understood in the context of right and not aid or charity."
- Irene Khan, Secretary-General of the Amnesty International
"I am an oxymoron because I am a prince who is promoting civil society."
"Globalization debate should focus on the creation of universal moral majority."

Read more!

Pastoralism is no longer viable in Africa

"Pastoralism is no longer viable in Africa. Conflicts in Somalia, Northern Kenya, even Darfur, are to some extent related to the fact that pastoralism as an economic model is not viable. The Maasai in Tanzania are very peaceful that is why there hasn't been intense conflicts between farmers and the Maasai...they have abandoned pastoralism as a way of life to become security guards in urban centers in Tanzania."

"There is an assumption in the developing world, particularly in Africa, that moving to urban centers is a neccessary step if one needs to succeed..."

"For Africa to prevail, it need to prevail against two major problems: HIV/AIDS and chaotic organization of political systems."
- Mrs. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT.

Read more!


Why talk?

I am introducing a guest blogger from Malaysia, Vkii. Vkii is the editor of the Malaysian online newspaper, Malysiakini.

Hi! I´m Vkii and I am from Malaysia. I know Macha by reputation only previously but here in Helsinki I have met him finally. If you ask me - cool dude with cool principles.

The Helsinki Conference is all about talking. But believe me, here the talk serves a purpose. You have to talk FIRST. Then only can u sort out your differences. And that is what the world is about. Differences.

So let´s talk about them. Let´s meet. It is the first step. The whole problem may not be solved just by talking with each other but at least we will know how the others FEEL. And that is the bridge that will take us a step closer to an answer.

Let`s recognise that there are a lot of us in this world and each and every one has a right to be here. There is going to be friction (it is inevitable. we`re humans) but that is not insurmountable.

Know that we can work together, know that we can sort out differences. know that all can be satisfied. Know also that this can be achieved.

Have first faith in the talk.

Read more!

Tanzania's first photoblogger

One of my memorable moments today was when Muhiddin Issa Michuzi, Tanzanias leading photojournalist, decided to enter the blogosphere. On this photo I am "officially" welcoming him to the Tanzanian blogosphere. Another journalist, Charles Nzo, is seriously working on his blog right now here in Helsinki.

Read more!

What is the difference between Bono and God?

The former Irish president, Mary Robinson, cracked this joke: The difference between God and Bono is that God does not think that he is Bono!

Read more!


Earlier today, Mary Robinson, the former Irish president of Ireland (her Irish name is Máire Bhean Mhic Róibín), and the Director of Ethical Globalization Iniative, said that the world leaders have a very serious moral obligation to ensure that poverty is tackled, not with wordy reports but concrete actions.
Speaking during the plenary session on the Helsinki Process Outcome and the Way Forward at the Helsinki Conference 2005, she said, "The world is not short of good report or good ideas. There is a sense of frustration about these reports, we don’t get to the stage of implementation."
What makes the Helsinki Process a unique iniative, she observed, is its inclusive approach, which emphasizes the role of a vast range of stakeholders such as trade unions, academic institutions, governments, civil society, the media, private sector, etc., and its commitment to putting human rights and dignity at the center of the globalization debate.
**Photo: Mary Robinson speaking to reporters this afternoon.

Read more!

This is Finland

This is my second day in Helsinki. I am not planning to say anything related to what president Chirac said in July this year about Finish food.

Finland is a very interesting country. It is a country where an epic poem led to a succesful independence movement. I remember attending a moving theatrical performance of Kalevala by Parapanda Theatre Lab at the National Museum in Tanzania in 2000. The building where the conference sessions are taking place, Finlandia Hall, was designed by the famous Finish architect, Alvar Aalto.
Finland, which gave Nokia to the world, is the least corrupt country in the world according the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.
It is also the the most Globally Competetive country in the world according to the World Economic Competetiveness Index.
Despite Finland being one of the most wired nation in the world, blogging hasnt become popular yet. The Finish world for blog is verkkopäiväkrija. One of the leading bloggers in Finland is an America IT professional.

Read more!


Tanzanians attending the Helsinki Conference 2005.

* Photo by Muhidin Issa Michuzi.
Michuzi, a leading photojournalist with the Daily News in Tanzania, started photoblogging today...my latest disciple!

Read more!


Benjamin Mkapa, the outgoing Tanzanian president and Tarja Halonen, the Finish president speaking this morning during the plenary session, Implementing Commitments: Mobilising for Change. They reiterated the fact that the current global economic and social structure requires massive readjustment. They emphasized that The Helsinki Process is a step towards building a multi-stake holder approach to addressing poverty in the world.

Read more!

Are Africans so poor?

During the discussion on women, globalization, and economy yesterday, Mama Maria Shaba, the chairwoman of Tanzania Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, asked participants to redefine poverty. She argued that African have been told that they are poor for so long that they end up believing to be poor while they are neccesarily not poor.
She asked, "If we are so poor why do western multinationals so busy investing on the continent? If we are so poor that we cannot even pay back our debt, why do western nations and banking institutions keep on lending us?"

Read more!


Helsinki Conference Live Webcast

I am in Helsinki already for the Helsinki Conference 2005. I missed the Global Media Workshop. But had a good conversation with the editor of the Malaysian online newspaper, Malaysiakini, S, Vicknesan.
I am still trying to figure out the conference schedule, rooms, etc, and to locate people that I want to interview. There is a live webcast of the conference.
There a lots of participants from Tanzania...which is good for me. There is a feeling I miss back in the US from being away from Kiswahili speakers....I have been speaking Kiswahili non-stop. I have to get ready for the reception later this evening. I have posted a longer piece on my Kiswahili blog. I will probably write a longer one today for this blog after the reception or tommorow.

Read more!


Blogging Helsinki Conference 2005

I was supposed to be leaving tommorow for Finland. But since my passport has not been delivered, and tommorow being a public holiday (it will be delivered tuesday morning), I will leave on Tuesday. I am going to attend the Helsinki Conference 2005, which is a result of a joint initiative between the governments of Tanzania and Finland addressing issues of democracy and globalization. The first conference was in 2002.
Lots of activities related to the general theme of the conference have been taking place. For example, a number of organizations have arranged various events in Helsinki around the theme: Democratising Globally. Also, there is a Youth Conference.
As part of the Helsinki process, civil society actors from both the North and South are brought together to tackle the negative impacts of globalization through a participatory mechanism called the Citizens' Global Platform.

Take a look a the list of speakers and the conference program.
I will report on the conference and other related activities on this blog, my primary blog (in Kiswahili), Jikomboe, and also Global Voices weblog.

Read more!

Reinforcing Journalism in the Information Society

A conference organized by the Highway Africa News Agency, Reinforcing Journalism in the Information Society, is taking place in South Africa, 12-14 September 2005.

Read more!

Prof. Kelly Askew on Taarab

Here is a very informative interview between Prof. Kelly Askew and Afropop Worldwide on Taarab, Kiswahili poetry, national identity, etc., in Tanzania.

Read more!


Is Tanzania waging propaganda war against Kenya?

I wonder what will be the future of the East African Community. Read the entire article...

Read more!

Foreign "AID": Who benefits?

For obvious reasons, I was not suprised when I read this article in the Guardian. Of £3m to Malawi relief projects by the British government through the Department of International Development, £586,423 was spent on hotels for a US consultancy agency, the National Democratic Institute and £126,062 was spent on meals!
Pens and notebooks for one project in Malawi were bought in the US while they were available locally. Read full article...

Read more!