Sunday, March 27, 2011

Karibu to Nairobi

As Rachel mentioned, I arrived here safe and sound with no complications. I've really enjoyed my time here in Nairobi so far. the city is much more developed than any of the other places I have been. There are numerous shopping malls and grocery stores with almost anything you could want. Traffic is the one downside, with no major highways, covering just 10-20 miles can easily take an hour.

Despite the tremendous wealth that exists however, the poverty is still strong in many parts of the city. We are working in Eastleigh and Huruma, and its been interesting to see how similar the East and West of Africa really are.

I am working in Nairobi as a consultant for Fairbourne Consulting to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the same organization I consulted in Sierra Leone. Similar to our work in Sierra Leone, we are helping the IRC with their youth microfranchise programs. This project is funded by the Nike Foundation, and they keen to provide microfranchises specifically for girls. They are strong proponents of "The Girl Effect" and are doing innovative things around supporting girls around the world. Here are some videos to help explain what they are trying to do generally:

So, our project is to help girls in the slums Eastleigh and Huruma of Nairobi to join/start their own microfranchise businesses. We have received a small planning grant and right now we are simply identifying potential businesses that either already have a microfranchise business model or could easily implement one. This is different from Sierra Leone because funding is a little tight such that we can't simply start a new microfranchise business from scratch. Plus we have about half as much time here to do our research. Also, because of the girl focus, another organization, Technoserve, is working alongside of us to identify the other physical, emotional, and social needs of the girls to help ensure that not only are the business we identify ones that will work for girls, but that we know what additional support services the girls need to be successful in life.

Its been fun to walk the streets of the slums one day and meet with some of the top business leaders in Nairobi the next to discuss expanding their businesses into microfranchising. I have over 30 potential businesses on my wall with the goal to identify the top 10. All of our research will be wrapped into a big proposal to the Nike Foundation to launch the microfranchises and provide the additional support needed by the girls through different mechanisms like training programs.

So that's work. Every now and then though, I get to have some fun. Like getting a big wet one from Lara...the giraffe.

Or fostering an elephant at the orphanage in Nairobi National Park.

* I apologize the images aren't better quality - the internet connection is quite as good here as it is in the US.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Safely arrived

Peter got to Kenya around 5PM today. Thankfully there weren't any delays or problems like there were last year when he went to Sierra Leone. His hotel is "nice enough," whatever that means. I'm guessing it would be hard to top his last hotel with a view of the ocean.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back to Africa

Hello world. I have had ambitions to blog several times over the past few months, but it hasn't happened. I could give excuses, but I don't really think they're important.

Briefly, here are a few things that have happened since my last post.

I survived my first semester of graduate school.
We had our first Christmas in our new house.
Peter's Grandma Moss passed away.
My Granddad Black passed away.

I think those are all the big things. Our grandparents died about 2 weeks apart from each other. It was quite strange to have all the family in town and a week of craziness for one funeral, and then travel to Arizona and have a week of craziness for another funeral so soon afterward. It was great to see all the family, but I wish it would have been for a happier reason.

Also, Peter is going to Kenya in a week, doing a similar project to what he did in Ghana and Sierra Leone. This time they are focusing on identifying business for young women to operate. He'll be gone for 3 weeks. He gets to go on a safari and I am jealous! He will be in warm weather while I will be here with the snow. (and he keeps reminding me it isn't for a vacation, but it will be more of a vacation than staying here to do school)

And that's all. Sorry no pictures. Hopefully my next post will not be after quite as long of a break as last time.