The Lake Turkana Cultural Festival
The Lake Turkana Festival started in 2008 with a mission of promoting peace and reconciliation amongst the different ethnic communities residing in the area including: El Molo (smallest tribe in Kenya), Rendille, Samburu, Turkana, Dassanatch, Gabra, Borana, Konso, Sakuye, Garee, Waata, Burji and Somali. Lake Turkana, or the "Jade Sea" is the birthplace of humanity and of significant cultural diversity. Oil explorations have begun in the area, with little benefit seen for the community to date. Their main source of industry is tourism as the climate proves difficult for harvest. Tilapia has been introduced in the lake, although has never been a staple in the local diet which consists primarily of meat. Elderly citizens suffer from bone density loss and deformation due to overexposure of fluorides and chlorides consumed from unfiltered water from Lake Turkana. Awareness must be raised for the harsh conditions, lack of food and water that consumes the region. Oil exploration will likely exasperate these conditions if these communities voices are ignored.
The FloNe Initiative
The FloNe Initiative, is a women led organization based in Kiambu, Kenya. Their mission is to end violence against women and girls in public spaces by influencing behavioural change and promoting tolerance and acceptance by strengthening capacities at grassroots level. One of their programs focuses on 'Women in Transportation'. Nairobi has a thriving matatu [bus] sector, the competitiveness of which has spurred an attractive art and music scene in order to attract passengers. It provides employment opportunities, however is seen as a mainly man-dominated sector. Women want to work in the sector too, but often face discrimination and harassment from passengers, matatu drivers and other conductors alike. This video describes some of the day to day challenges women face, with emphasis on the positivity that everyone is working towards a place where women feel safe and accepted as part of the industry.
In traditional Kikuyu culture of Kenya's highlands, dowry ceremonies take place between uniting families of the couple. The affair is a community event, which occurs every couple years until all promised dues have been paid. All friends and family of the husbands guest make their way by foot to the gate of the wife's family. They knock and sing until they are allowed in. Everyone is served delicious meal prepared in the traditional style. The negotiations take place in the home between close family members only. Dowry payments are based on the value of livestock. It is an excellent opportunity for community members to get together and enjoy one another's company in the presence of good food and music.