Surrogacy

By Bridged Faida

‘A couple just won a case about rent- a womb’

Surrogacy is not a imaginary issue any more, a judge recently ruled. It is real and many Kenyans are resorting to it for medical reasons and the state ought to protect such arrangements.
Surrogacy is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person or the genetic parents. Women are usually unable to have a baby because they might have medical complications that make pregnancy impossible. Those who carry the pregnancy, whether for a fee or for free, are known as surrogate hosts and the owner of the baby as the commissioning couple or genetic parents.

Traditional surrogacy: surrogate mothering can be accomplished in two ways, Most often, the sperm is implanted in the host by a procedure called artificial insemination. Here, the surrogate mother is either the genetic mother, or gestational mother, of the child. This method of surrogacy is sometimes called traditional surrogacy.

Gestational surrogacy: Less often, when the intended mother can produce fertile eggs but cannot carry a child to birth, the intended mother’s egg is removed combined with the husband’s or another man’s sperms in the process called the vitro fertilization, and implanted in the surrogate mother. This method is called gestational surrogacy.

For money or for charity?
Surrogacy arrangements are also categorized as either commercial or self- sacrificing. In commercial surrogacy, the host mother is paid a fee plus any expenses incurred in her pregnancy, while in self – sacrificing surrogacy, only the expenses incurred are paid.

Too posh to push? There have been growing concerns that this procedure, designed to have couples who would otherwise not have their own babies, is also being adopted by Nairobi’s nouveau riche, the type that has been pejoratively described as “too posh to push”. Medical experts, however, warn that surrogacy is not a procedure of convenience as a last recourse.

Kenya’s first test – tube babies that were delivered in Nairobi in 2006. Surrogacy in East Africa country, while still shrouded in secrecy, has been picking up with surrogates being paid as higher as $18,000 (ksh. 1.5 million).

There is a growing list of young Kenyan women who are renting out their wombs to carry other people’s pregnancies, with some being paid as much as Ksh. 1 million ( $ 12,000 ).
The trend that has in the past been seen as a resolution in developed countries for infertile women seeking to have their own children is increasingly gaining acceptance in Kenya.

Statistics shows almost 30 babies have been born in Nairobi by surrogate hosts, and these statistics are from just one clinic, the Nairobi IVF Centre Ltd, Fertility clinic. Here services offered include wide range of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, including IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) and ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) Egg and Sperm Donation. Gestation Surrogacy, Embryo and Sperm Cryopreservation, Intrauterine inseminations (IUI) Ovulation Induction and others. The Nairobi IVF Centre ltd is located in modern Medical Centre on Landmark Plaza, Argwings Kodhek Rd.

Most surrogate hosts experience the pain that immediately after delivery the baby is given to its parents; there is no any chance of her to see the baby.

Can technology eliminate corruption?

Posted originally in the Daily Nation by John Walubengo here

The government has in recent times put more pressure in the implementation and use of the Integrated Financial Management Information (IFMIS) platform within ministries.

IFMIS is a computerised financial system aimed at capturing and reporting government expenditure in near real-time.

It is assumed that by automating the financial processes across all government departments and agencies, it would be easier to reign in on the rampant corruption and pilferages frequently occasioned by government officials when dealing with tax payers money.

But is IFMIS the magical solution to our Kenyan problem of embezzling and misappropriating public funds?

First, we must acknowledge that automation does improve transparency and accountability.

Without automation, the Auditor General used to be 4-5 years behind the fact or event. In other words, audited government reports used to be discussed in Parliament 4-5 years after the theft had taken place and the culprits had long moved on.

With automation, it is possible for the Auditor General to file audited accounts within 1-2 years of the event and therefore putting preventive pressure on the culprits who now know that their actions would be discussed fairly soon and within the institutional memory of their colleagues.

But automation without top leadership commitment to fight corruption will not yield the desired outcome. Indeed, corrupt deals in government can never be successfully executed unless authorised or blessed from “above”.

In other words, if the Principal Secretary or the chief executive officer of a parastatal wishes to rip-off the public, they will still find ways and means to do so and cover their tracks. Unfortunately, there is no amount of automation that can prevent this.

One quick way to do this is by incurring the expenditure outside the IFMIS tool – that is use the manual and verbal ways of authorising expenditure.

Another method – with the help of compromised IT professionals – is to use the IFMIS tool but disable or outrightly delete the corresponding audit-trail.

But if the IT team fails to cooperate, the determined high ranking government official still has the option of compromising the Auditor General staff so that they conveniently forget to highlight significant queries.

Beyond that, he or she can always think ahead and spare part of the fraudulent funds with view to “talking” to the Prosecution or eventually the Judge; to have the case disappear or dropped altogether for lack of adequate evidence.

In summary, dealing with corruption requires the same approach as dealing with a mutating AIDS epidemic. It requires a multi-pronged approach that involves multiple players with different interventions in order to be successful. Isolated IT automation of processes is not sufficient and can never be the single sliver bullet to end corruption.

Rwanda’s civil service is for example considered less corrupt than Kenya’s – despite the fact that their automation levels are much lower than Kenya’s.

Perhaps it is because their executive, judiciary, prosecution and professionals practice zero-tolerance to corruption while we on the other hand seem to celebrate corruption and its perpetrators.

A PRESENTATION ON THE ROLE OF COMMUNITY MEDIA GROUPS IN TACKLING HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Njuki  Githethwa & Faith Mwende of  KCOMNET TEL: +254 00202379949

Email: njukig@yahoo.com/   faymwe@yahoo.com

Website: www.kcomnet.or.ke

a paper presented during a counter human trafficking symposium for the faith based and grassroots organizations in east africa held at shalom house nairobi, 22nd to 24th november 2011

Background

Established in 1995, the Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET) is a national network of individuals, media practitioners, community communication groups, media professionals and non-governmental organizations committed to the promotion of community media and development communication in Kenya. KCOMNET advocates for the creation and sustainability of community-based media owned, controlled, and produced by, for, and about communities.

Our Vision

To be the key driver of the national community media movement and voice of social change in Kenya.

Our Mission

To champion and popularize community communication initiatives through representation, capacity building and policy advocacy for transformative social change in Kenya.

Slogan

“Community Communication-Giving Voice to Communities”

Our Key Objectives

The Kenya Community Media Network has, but is not limited to the following three key objectives: –

(i)     To lobby for the establishment of a dynamic communication regime in Kenya that includes community media as a third sector after public and private media

(ii)  To execute a rigorous training programme for community communication groups to make them strong and vibrant

(iii)      To act as a capacity building arm for individual groups and for zonal joint communication groups efforts.

Our Programs

KCOMNETS main programs include:

1.      Community Radio and Radio Listening & Production Groups

2.      Community based Information Resources and Documentation Centers

3.      Community based Folk Media i.e. art, drama, puppetry, song and dance

4.      Community driven Video Production

5.      Community Newsletters

The role of Community Media in Society

Community media is any form of media that is created and controlled by a community, either a geographic community or a community of identity or interest. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), The World Bank, and the European Commission recognize community media as a crucial element in a vibrant and democratic media system.

Community media is a platform which enables the “voiceless” to have a “voice”. This kind of media exists in many countries in all continents, and in media systems they usually stand in-between public broadcasting and private media outlets.

Experience has shown that participation is the key defining feature of community media; it is what places community media outside of traditional media models, in which audiences are passive receivers of messages. In the community media model, senders and receivers together create messages and meaning through participatory processes.

Community media enables marginalised communities to speak about issues that concern them at the local level, creating linkages between development, democracy and community media. This presents a snap-shot of community needs and aspirations and allows a community to map its future using the bottom-up approach. The historical philosophy of community media is to use this medium as the voice of the voiceless, and the mouthpiece of oppressed people, or by communities that have not been served by conventional communication structures.

More so, community media offers space for creativity and is also a tool for empowerment. Besides this, community media is able to integrate different mediums of communication e.g. drama, song and dance, storytelling, puppetry, radio listenership groups and community radio stations.

The role of Community Media Groups in tackling Human Trafficking

An effective media can raise the awareness level and can also bring reduce vulnerability to human trafficking and other crimes. Community media is capable of performing the following roles in preventing human trafficking:

§  Education and Training: This can take the form of workshops, songs, drama, dance, storytelling, poetry, live music, bands, community newsletters puppetry and radio listenership groups among others.

§  A Channel for Communication and Discussion: One of the roles of media is to open the channels for communication and foster discussions about human trafficking and implications on women, girls, men and boys. Addressing human trafficking in the community radio program can have an enormous impact on the society.

§  A vehicle for Creating a supportive and enabling environment: Community media can be instrumental in breaking the silence that envelopes the practice and in making positive changes in the society. For example, Radio Mang’elete which use the Kikamba language to address issues of the community.

§  Education through entertainment: For creating an efficacious awareness about human trafficking, the messages need to be informative, educative as well as entertaining as these are mutually exclusive.

§  Mainstreaming: Broadcasters need to mainstream the human trafficking issue across a number of programs. A coordinated, multifaceted campaign has greater impact than a single programme. Documentaries, concerts, songs, drama, public service announcements, competitions, hotlines, books and websites can be linked together to reinforce awareness, information and messages about human trafficking.

§  Putting human trafficking on the News agenda and encouraging leaders to participate: The more the leaders see and hear about human trafficking in news the greater the resources they invest in anti-human trafficking strategies, which in turn leads to increased media coverage of the issue and helps to sustain public awareness which again has an impact on leaders’ priorities.

§  Making every citizen a “reporter”: Citizens reporting like journalists may be the only way for human rights abuses and other violations of a criminal or environmental nature to be brought to face broad public scrutiny.

§  Encouraging participation: From an audience perspective, it means that it can influence the content in a very proactive way and it enables individuals to access a readymade platform through which they can share their opinions.

  • Policy Advocacy Work: Through campaigns against human trafficking aimed at raising public awareness, to give chance to women, men and young people to contribute to activities against human trafficking and to lobby government response to human trafficking issues. Awareness raising can also be pursued through the production and distribution of information education materials, using the media for a wider reach as well as visual materials, using the media for a wider reach as well as visual materials in public areas.
  • Organizing regular dialogue forums at the grassroots to disseminate relevant information on human trafficking.

Conclusion

Community media is a very essential tool for development and can be used to disseminate information on human trafficking. Additionally, community media plays a crucial role in addressing issues of the community and offers a chance for debate on everyday community issues. There is need therefore to collaborate and create linkages in order to use community media as a means to report news differently from the mainstream media.

Kenya frees govt data on the internet

Kenya Counties

The 47 counties of Kenya at the project http://www.opendata.go.ke

By JAMES RATEMO jratemo@ke.nationmedia.com, Posted  Friday, July 8 2011 at 11:17

President Mwai Kibaki on Friday launched a key website making Kenya the first country in sub sahara Africa to offer loads of government data to its citizens.

Citizens can now access data and participate in constitutional implementation process as well as hold the government accountable, President Kibaki said.

The government has released several large datasets, including the national census and statistics on government spending at national and county level to enhance transparency in governance and access to information.

The data presented in user-friendly format is now available online via an open data portal (http://www.opendata.go.ke).

Currently much of the public data is in hard copy and other static formats that make their use close to impossible.

Worse still, to access such data one has to seek clearance from authorities in relevant ministries or purchase it from the Government printer after going through a bureaucratic clearance process.

In an interview with Nation, Dr Ndemo said the website will be one of the first and largest government data portals in sub-Saharan Africa.

“With the open data portal, such obstacles will be a thing of the past. Information is power and we are aiming to empower citizens by enhancing their access to usable data that was not accessible easily to the public,” said Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary, Dr Bitange Ndemo.

“For the first time, Kenyans will have information about their community at their fingertips allowing them to make informed decisions at a personal level—currently most decisions people make are not scientific since they are not based on data yet data is available but inaccessible,” he added.

The PS said the portal is part of an initiative of pushing local content to the Internet and to offer over 70,000 Kenyans who graduate from Kenyan colleges annually to manipulate the data for beneficial use.

“By creating a knowledge society, you create a knowledge economy…we do not want to lag behind as we watch other countries releasing data to their people for profitable use…we have not even scratched the surface in terms of data, we are working on data centres, which was our last piece of infrastructure development,” he said.

The information on the portal is from published government data available from the ministries of Finance, Planning, Local Government, Health, Education and the Kenya National Bureaus of Statistics.

According to Dr Ndemo, much of this information is also available at the World Bank and the United Nations thus it beats logic why it has not been openly availed to citizens.

Dr Ndemo said globally, governments are adopting the concept of open data to reap benefits of a more informed citizenry.

This, he said, would deter public servants and politicians from vices such as fraud that thrive in situations where secrecy and monopoly of information abounds.

Dr Ndemo said data users will be able to create maps and other visualizations and directly download underlying data for their own uses.

“Data is not information until it is converted to make sense to users…that is what we have done at the portal,” Dr Nemo said.

This has never happened before and it welcomes an era of openness where the citizen will be empowered to put leaders to account in the use and distribution of public resources.

For instance it will now be near impossible to misuse public funds since all records pertaining spending shall be available online for citizens to scrutinise and ascertain if ‘what is on the paper tallies with what is on the ground’.

For decades, it has been the practice of some unscrupulous government officials to misuse public funds and misinform that the money has been spent to implement ‘non-existent’ projects.

With the open data portal, constituents will track monies assigned on projects and point out discrepancies between expenditure reports and reality at the grassroot.

Dr Ndemo said the Ministry of Information and Communications will give grants to support the development of innovative high-impact web and mobile applications to ensure useful and relevant applications are built.

Through the Kenya ICT Board, the Ministry will make a Call for Proposals for ideas on how to use government data.

The Call for Proposals is open from July 8 – August 8; the best proposals will receive $50,000 each (for companies) and $10,000 (for teams and individuals). At least 30 grants will be awarded in 2011.

The portal is managed by the Kenya ICT Board in partnership with the World Bank and Socrata, a US-based developer and provider of Open Data Services, that enable federal, state, and local governments to improve the reach, usability and social utility of their public information assets.

Local input

Private web and content developers also played part in setting up the portal.

Media Council of Kenya Chairman Levi Obonyo said the government’s move portends well for Kenya in general but will particularly boost the work of the media industry.

“It means that journalists will be able to access a lot of information that they need for their work easily unlike previously. Since media plays the watchdog role this is very facilitative in that function and I think most journalists will or should welcome this launch,” said Mr Obonyo.

Mr Obonyo said the new constitution provides for expanded freedom to information access but much needs to be done to ensure the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI), which is in the pipeline, becomes law.

“With the new constitution there is obviously a greater opening and emerging forthrightness in providing information. But this culture is not yet entrenched,” said Mr Obonyo.

Mr Obonyo said certain sectors of the civil service are yet to fully embrace the spirit of openness.


“…We should not look only at the civil service. Withholding information takes place both in the public and private sector and both sectors need as much openness as this is is good for the society,” he said.

FOI bill

However, Dr Ndemo said the FOI bill is currently at the cabinet level before it goes to Parliament for debate.

According to Michael Murungi, an ICT legal expert, the new constitution obliges government and Parliament to ensure free flow of information and the FOI will outline the processes to be followed to achieve the objective.

“Democracy dies behind closed doors. This historic event marks the end of a siri kali (top secret) era constructed on a colonial relic that founded, facilitated and perpetuated a hitherto information access caste society,” argues Alex Gakuru, Kenya ICT Consumers Association chairman.

Mr Gakuru says top echelons in the government thrived on concealing information secretly for personal gains making the public lose faith in political leaders and public institutions.

“The power class had sanitised corruption as ‘standard operating procedure’ ridiculed and punished honest officials who acted in public interest … one may be excused for reading this government openness ceremony as a major step in reclaiming our long lost national
values direction with far reaching social transformation implications,” said Mr Gakuru.

Echoing Mr Obonyo’s sentiments, Mr Gakuru said journalists’ agenda-setting stories will be based on solid official data and information translating to improved media professionalism and reduced speculative reporting due to insufficient information.

“Public Servants will henceforth live in glass houses, everything they do will be seen, everything they say will be heard and every expenditure scrutinised,” said Mr Gakuru.

World Bank Communications Officer, Mr Peter Warutere, said data availability to the public is key for development and building a knowledge economy.

“It is important that you provide the right data and it must be in the right format. This is the starting step of a long journey to creating a knowledge based economy,” said Mr Warutere.


How to protect children from porn

Nation Posted  Saturday, February 26 2011 at 14:53

 A child takes part in an anti-child pornography rally in Manila November 19, 2008.  Photo/FILE

A child takes part in an anti-child pornography rally in Manila November 19, 2008. Photo/FILE

Once upon a time, children found out all about sex by talking about it. Nowadays, they go to the internet.

And admittedly, there are websites that offer them helpful information – but far more are simply revolting. So be warned. Your children might be looking at some extremely weird behaviour. And thinking it is normal.

There is nothing new about pornography, of course. When Victorian Europeans excavated Pompeii 150 years ago, for example, they were shocked to find so much Ancient Roman erotic art.

They hid it away in a “Secret Museum” and restricted access to “people of mature age and respected morals”. It is currently housed in a special room in the Naples National Archeological Museum.

But nowadays, young people have easy access to internet porn, and that is not good news.

Why? Because boys who visit porn sites are more likely to think sexual harassment is acceptable, and to consider “normal” sex boring.

Worse too is that girls worry about what they should look like – because they’ll never match up to the porn stars – and develop distorted ideas about what is “sexy”.

So it is now common to see even very young girls striking provocative poses and posting pictures of themselves in their underwear on the internet – though in reality they don’t have any idea what they’re doing.

Both boys and girls also risk developing very exaggerated ideas of how couples should behave together – even though most of them believe they can separate fact from fantasy.

They may be right – but maybe not. Because pornography is highly addictive, and viewers quickly become desensitised by it and start wanting yet more excitement.

Research on pornography is completely inconclusive. For example, some studies suggest it increases sexual crimes, some show no effects, others a decrease!

So there are those who dispute the dangers, arguing for example that pornography just takes the mystery out of sex for young people, and doesn’t change how they behave.

But feminists argue that it’s demeaning to women and encourages rape and sexual harassment, while religious groups argue against it from broader beliefs about human sexuality.

Fortunately, most countries restrict children’s access to pornography, for example by controlling adult magazines. But the plain fact is that the internet gets past all of these efforts.

So how can you protect your children? Well don’t give them smart-phones for a start! Assume they’ll lie about their surfing and monitor their internet use.

Restrict them to computers in your living room rather than their bedrooms, and install parental access software – although kids are savvy enough to get round it eventually – and it doesn’t work that well anyway.

So talk to them. Encourage them to talk to you about anything that disturbs them. And above all, explain to them that making love is about caring for your partner, and that although some people do like looking at pictures of other people having sex, what’s on the internet is nothing like the real thing.

nyumbayangu@mac.com

Alarm raised over online child abuse

IN SUMMARY

  • Some sex pests pose as minors to win the confidence of the children before preying on them, says report

 

Many children are being abused online but they are too scared to tell their parents.

And some of the sex pests pose as minors to win the confidence of the children before preying on them, a new research warns.

In some cases, the adults demanded sexual relationships, while others exposed them to pornography.

And most worrying for parents, most of the children did not report the horrific experiences even to teachers at school, according to the study by The Cradle, a children’s rights lobby.

The researchers interviewed 325 children aged between 11 and 18 and 20 parents in Nairobi.

Twenty six per cent of the respondents said they had agreed to a date with adults they had met for the first time on the Internet.

Of these, 15 per cent said they took a friend with them to the meeting. None of the respondents told their parents or guardians of the meetings. However, almost half of those who reported their nasty encounters said their complaints were not acted upon.

The researchers found parents were not sparing time for their children and some were exposing them to sexual predators on the cyberspace.

The report, titled, “Beyond Borders – An Explanatory Study on Child Online Safety in Kenya”, says most children do not disclose negative experiences to parents/guardians.

Regulate access

On Tuesday, Sotik MP Joyce Laboso said parents should be vigilant and regulate their children’s access to the Internet.

“If they are literate then they would know the risks looming in cyberspace and would be in a better position to warn and protect them,” Ms Laboso at the launch of the report in Nairobi said.

She also urged parents to discourage their children from posting personal information and pictures on social networks.

Rachuonyo MP James Rege said with the advent of the mobile phone, children had unprecedented access to the Internet.

“Children think it is ‘cool’ to post pictures and videos on their social network accounts such as Myspace, Facebook and Twitter, not knowing this is what attracts online sexual predators,” Mr Rege said.

Serious cybercrime has gone viral and government must seek ways to fight it

Advances in ICT have ushered in important socio-economic, political and cultural benefits as well as complex crimes.

Some experts define cyber crime as “any activity that exploits cyber space in terms of using its infrastructure and knowledge to commit crimes’’.

Criminals have developed new, sophisticated techniques and the Internet provides a huge opportunity for crime.

Numerous Internet users have fallen prey to infringements of their rights and fundamental freedoms under the 2010 Constitution, including privacy, security and intellectual property.

Examples include distribution of child pornography, or violent images, methods to commit suicide, recipes for explosives, copyright theft and offers of stolen items through classified ads or even auctions.

In Kenya, the most common cyber crime is spamming, or sending unsolicited or offensive SMS and email.

Cyber crime, which poses a threat to individuals, businesses and the State, is classified into three groups, namely attacks on liberty, on automated systems, or on cryptology systems.

First, liberty is a complex social and constitutional concept. It may encompass positive or negative rights. The loss of personal privacy in the Internet is one of the most dynamic cyber crimes.

Ethan Katsh defines privacy in his book, Law in a Digital World, as the power to control what people can come to know about you and an individual’s ability to control the treatment of personal data made available in electronic format or during the use of the Internet.

Privacy includes data relating to one’s person, health, finances, property, home, family, relationships and political strategies or communications.

Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, desktop dating and Twitter have witnessed an explosion of subscribers in a relatively short time.

The personal information on such sites may be used in a manner detrimental to the owners.

Communication through email and BlackBerry has become the norm in business circles. These modes have been hacked into and personal details divulged.

Moreover, (the illegal) credit reference bureaus mandated to collect and keep people’s data are potential targets of cyber crime.

Although Article 31 of the new Constitution and the Banking (Credit Bureau) Regulations 2008, provide a basis for regulating the operation of such outfits, there is no clear and comprehensive law to protect private data.

Such data may be used to compromise the interest of the organisations or individuals concerned. Ensuring the security and integrity of online and offline data would help address cyber crime.

Kenya does not have sufficient legislative, policy and administrative measures empowering institutions, officials or individuals to protect personal data.

Second, attacks on automated data systems are increasing. A data system consists of the network of communication channels used within an organisation.

When information is unlawfully accessed, the consequences have been detrimental to the life and integrity of the institution.

Yet under the e-government strategy, the Kenyan Government is encouraging citizens to use online services to facilitate service delivery.

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