Tuesday, April 25, 2006


NGOs, particularly grassroots and smaller NGOs, are constantly seeking assistance in gaining a web presence. Too often the expertise is too expensive or too far away to be of any practical value. But now, help is at han in the form of ItrainOnline.

ItrainOnline is a joint initiative of eight organizations with exceptional expertise in computer and Internet training in the South. And their position is that: "While there is an abundance of information on using ICTs on the web, our experience has shown that is difficult to locate high quality and appropriate information that is suited to the ways development organizations and civil society groups in the South learn about and use ICTs. ItrainOnline responds to the need for a single source on the web containing a selection of the best and most relevant computer and Internet training resources for development and social change.

By pooling our resources to create this site, the ItrainOnline partners can reduce any overlaps in our online content and training programs, learn from each other, and better focus our investments in ICT training. Most importantly, we can ensure that learners and trainers in the South have a convenient entry point on the web for the resources and tools they need."

ItrainOnline states that its "initiative aims to assist civil society organizations (CSOs) and other development actors in developing countries to confront the challenges posed by new information and communications technologies (ICTs). In seeking to overcome skills gaps in development, it connects people and know-how with the needs of ICT learners and trainers. ItrainOnline aims:

- To provide a selection of the best and most relevant computer and Internet training resources for development and social change.

- To provide access to high quality and appropriate information that is suited to the ways development organizations and civil society groups in the South learn about and use ICTs.

- To concentrate on training and "how-to" guides for development organizations and civil society groups.

The eight partners who comprise ItrainOnline are:

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Bellanet International Secretariat
International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)
International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP)
Oneworld Network

The materials and annotated links to high-quality resources are in English, Spanish, French and other languages. And the topics range from "computer and Internet basics to highly technical areas and the ways that civil society and development organizations can increase their impact using these tools."

Because ItrainOnline is committed to the free and fair sharing of development information, its site is An Open Content site. The information and annotations on their site are free, and can be reproduced, translated, and disseminated without restriction. Also, most of the material described in the collection is free.

Now, this article may be very elementary to those of you who are reading this article, but it is hoped that you will spread the word to those NGOs who need the information that ItrainOnline has to offer. The ItrainOnline site is organized into Seven Major Content Sections And each of those sections is further divided according the requirements of each topic. A general idea of the content is as follows:

The pages in this section offer tools and resources to help build the basic skills needed to make effective use of computers and the Internet.

Computer Basics
Resources to help you understand how your computer works, how to maintain computers and use them safely, and how to protect your computer from viruses.

Office Productivity Software
This section takes you to articles and tutorials which will help you use common office productivity software such as MS Word and Excel. You will also find information on Open Source alternatives to mainstream commercial software.

Internet and E-mail Basics
This section contains a number of resources on Internet and e-mail basics, selected for their clarity and ease of use. Topics covered range from general introductions to the Internet, to guidance on specific tools such as e-mail and web browsers.

Finding Information Online
Finding useful information on the Internet requires a combination of familiarity with the search tools and resources available, an understanding of search strategies and language, and persistence. This ItrainOnline section aims to provide tools and resources to help guide you find the information you need, and to evaluate the quality of that information.

Using the Internet "strategically" means to get what you or your organization needs from the many possibilities offered by the latest online software and tools.

Strategic Use of the Internet
Topics include using the Internet for activism, knowledge management strategies, conducting research online, and strategic technology planning.

Building Online Communities
Internet-based group collaboration tools range from simple e-mail to sophisticated multimedia environments. The resources in this section will help you choose and use appropriate software for you groups, and help you develop the facilitation skills needed to build an online community.

Multilingual Computing
This section offers resources on a wide range of issues which face Internet users, from non-Latin character sets and encoding to developing web sites for multilingual audiences.

Open Source
A growing number of organizations are turning to Free/Open Source software for everything from computer networks to office productivity tools. This section includes articles on the importance of Open Source, links to source of Open Source software, and resource on Open Content.

These sections offer resources on the basics of web design and management, as well as more advanced resources on web programming.

Web Design
Resources to take you through the whole process of designing a web site, from learning HTML and page design tools, to designing usable web sites and writing for the web.

Web Site Usability and Accessibility
Resources to help you make your site easy-to-use and accessible to the widest possible range of users. Topics include usability and usability testing, writing for the web, and designing for accessibility.

Web Site Management
Resources relating to the ongoing management and maintenance of web sites, including site promotion, evaluating sites and using web statistics, web servers, and site security and privacy.

Web Programming
Web programming allows you to add greater interactivity to the visitors of your site. This section will take you to resources ranging from basic topics such as javascript and style sheets (CSS) to programming languages such as PHP and ASP.

Databases are an important tool for managing information, keeping track of contacts and projects, sharing information with remote users, and even automating the updating of your web site. This section provides resources on databases from basic to advanced levels, including information on content management systems.


Audio Online
This section offers resources on the general, technical and content aspects of taking audio online and broadcasting via the web.

Video Online
This section provides general information about the current applications and future opportunities of video on the Internet. These links will introduce you to new multimedia terms, help you understand different online video formats and highlight innovative examples of websites that successfully use video.

Community Radio
This section provides resources on community radio basics, technical tips and tricks, along with programming ideas and resources.

This section points to resources on setting up, sustaining and evaluating telecentres, or "community multimedia centres", as they are sometimes known.

These pages provide resources and information on more technical topics - but they are not exclusively for technical staff!

Online Security
This section points to materials which will be of use to both those new to online security and privacy issues, as well to more advanced users. Topics covered include viruses, network and server security, encryption, and Internet security in the workplace.

Computer Networking
The term "computer network" can refer to anything from two computers connected together, to large-scale Local Area Networks (LANs), to the Internet itself - the "network of networks." This page offers a small collection of links to introductory and general resources on the topic.

Wireless Networking
The high cost of conventional "wired" infrastructure is an obstacle to those looking to harness the potential of ICTs for development and social change. Wireless technologies offer tested, low-cost options to complement conventional infrastructure.

Web Programming
Web programming allows you to add greater interactivity to the visitors of your site. This section will take you to resources ranging from basic topics such as javascript and style sheets (CSS) to programming languages such as PHP and ASP.


These sections draw on the ItrainOnline partners' experience in training and materials development, offering a collection of resources for trainers which focus on Internet and ICTs training in NGOs and community organizations.

Effective Training
Resources to help you to become a more effective trainer and develop training strategies for your organization.

Multimedia Training Kit
The Multimedia Training Kit is a series of modular training materials for use in workshops developed by ItrainOnline partners and others. The materials share a common easy-to-use format, and are freely available for non-commercial use.

Topic-Specific Resources
Annotated links to resources on specific topics, from Internet basics to advanced technical skills. All resources listed include materials specifically for trainers, such as handouts, slide shows, and workshop outlines.


This section is just so long, I can not even begin to describe it. And there are other areas of the ItrainOnline web site, but this article is not able to address them all. So, you will just have to go to ItrainOnline to find out what's there. And while your're there, you just may learn something.

Monday, April 17, 2006

ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN WOMEN SCHOLARS : Scholarship, Networking and Activism

The University of Pennsylvania - African Studies Center has a number of things going on; and one day I will do an article on the Center. But today I am going to write about an oganization that the Center supports, and that is the Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS)

The aim of the Association of African Women Scholars is: "Promoting excellence in scholarship, networking, and activism."

The organization is "open to African WOMEN and MEN (academicians, independent scholars, activists, students, and policy makers) everywhere committed to engendering and promoting scholarship in all disciplines in African Women's Studies."

Their web page also says that individuals "who are not of African descent can join the organization as associate members. Dues at the associate membership level will be assessed at a reduced rate."

The AIMS & OBJECTIVES of the organization are:
"(1) To promote and encourage scholarship on AFRICAN WOMEN in African Studies;

(2) To forge intellectual links and network with scholars, activists, and policy makers inside and outside Africa; and

(3) To participate actively in continental and global debate on issues specifically relevant or related to African women."

"(1) Organize and sponsor conferences and other forms of scholarly interchange;

(2) Encourage and undertake consortial/collaborative projects;

(3) Institute a refereed journal--JOURNAL OF AFRICAN WOMEN'S STUDIES(JAWS)--to promote and disseminate scholarly research on African women;

(4) Facilitate faculty and student exchanges;

(5) Create a communications network via cyberspace for the pooling and dissemination of resource information, including but not limited to works in progress, dissertations, new studies, research updates, pedagogy;

(6) Create, establish, and/or carry out any other functions and activities which may from time to time arise and are considered to be incidental and conducive to the realization of the above objectives; and

(7) Establish a Research and Documentation Unit which will produce an AFRICAN WOMEN'S BIBLIOGRAPHY SERIES on a biennial basis."

In addition to its other functions the organization has an AAWS DISCUSSION GROUP ON THE INTERNET The discussion group is open to anyone who is interested in discussing African women's issues. Requests to join the group can be made on the internet through LISTSERV@LISTSERV.IUPUI.EDU by sending the following message: SUBSCRIBE AFWOSCHO

The Registration Form to join the group can be found on line at: AAWS

Friday, April 14, 2006

Free The Children & Kidz Helping Kidz: Two Stories Of Kid Power

I love writing articles about young people who get involved in making the world a better place. And the two people I am going to write about today are pretty young.

The first is Craig Kielburger who was 12-years-old when he founded Free The Children in 1995. He accomplished this by gathering 11 of his school friends to begin fighting child labour. Ten years later and Free The Children is now the largest network of children helping children through education in the world, and there are more than one million young people involved in their programs in 45 countries.

Today, Craig Founded is recognized as an international child rights activist and Free The Children has an established track record of success. This is borne out by the three Nobel Peace Prize nominations and other awards it has received. Additionally, the organization has partnered with the United Nations and Oprah's Angel Network.

One of the unique aspects of Free The Children is that it is both funded and driven by children and youth. This, I believe is unlike any other children's charity in the world.

The mission of Free The Children is to free young people from the idea that they are powerless to bring about positive social change, and encourage them to act now to improve the lives of young people everywhere.

In case you are wondering how a 12 year-old got started putting together an internationally known Human Rights NGO, Free The Children's web site can tell you the story. But briefly, one day when Craig was looking for the comics in the local Toronto Star he saw an article about a 12 year-old Pakistani boy who was murdered for speaking out against child labor.

At the time, Craig was the same age as this boy and the differences between his life and that boy's shocked him.

Craig soon discovered that there were 250 million child laborers in the world, often for long hours and in hazardous conditions. At that point, he decided to help, so he gathered a group of his friends and they started Free The Children.

The initial goal of Free The Children was the same as it is today, but now, the organization has grown to more than a million supporters who work together toward the goal of freeing children from abuse, exploitation, and the idea that they are not old enough or smart enough or capable enough to change the world.

In addition to its many awards, Free The Children can be proud of its other accomplishments, which include the following:

"o Built 400 Free The Children schools around the world, providing education to more than 35,000 children every day
o Delivered 200,000 school and health kits to students around the world
o Implemented alternative income projects helping more than 20,000 people
o Shipped $9 million dollars in essential medical supplies to 40 countries
o Provided healthcare centers and community funding helping 500,000 people
o Helped 125,000 people by providing access to clean water and improved sanitation"

It has also:

"o Lobbied corporations to adopt standard labelling for child-labour free products
o Worked with the Canadian government to pass a law to prosecute Canadians who travel overseas to sexually exploit children
o Selected as the lead non-governmental organization (NGO) partner by the United Nations Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict
o Successfully worked with the Brazilian government to allocate an additional $1 million for programs to help support child labourers"

Free The Children has received plenty of media coverage, including:

60 Minutes, CNN, Global Television, Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, National broadcasts in Japan, Israel, Morocco, Chile, Sweden

as well as:

The Globe and Mail, The International Herald Tribune, The Jerusalem Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek magazine,The Times of London and
The Washington Post

but there can never be too much of spreading the word about the great things these young people are doing.

The other young person I want to write about is Joshua Defazio. Joshua is an 11 year-old 6th grade student who "just felt the need to help other children in developing countries."

Joshua began his efforts after viewing a presentation shown by Engineers Without Borders at his school on water contamination and the effects on the children and their families in countries like Kenya. Joshua, with the help of his family began doing research on this subject and came to realize that they needed to do something to help. He found the Free The Children web site to be very helpful and he was able to get all the information he needed to start his very own Youth in Action Group. Soon after Joshua and his classmates began spreading awareness at their own school exhibition on Water Diseases and the effects on these children. He has many fundraising projects lined up to raise money and awareness on the need for such a basic necessity in life like "WATER".

Joshua and his Youth Action Group, which is now called "Kidz Helping Kidz," have been conducting fundraisers and the funds collected will be going to Free The Children, which will put in place a much needed water and sanitation project in a village in Kenya.

These are two truly inspiring stories of kid power and you can read more about them at the following web sites and see what you can do to help these great organizations.

Craig Kielburger and Free The Children

Joshua Defazio and Kidz Helping Kidz

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

World Bank Donates Computers Through Gifts In Kind International

(NOTE: I was notified by a representative of Gifts In Kind that the program written about in the article below was terminated on March 31, 2006. It is hoped that this program will be resumed in the future, and I will notify the readers if and when that happens.)

This short note is just to pass the word that the World Bank Group, for a twelve month period, is donating its used computer systems. other office equipment, supplies and furniture through Gifts In Kind International to non-profit and non-governmental organizations in the countries in which the World Bank has facilities, and in other countries where there exists a significant need for technology.

Before I go too much further, I should point out that while this is a global program, NGOs in only certain countries are eligible. In Africa, the program is only accepting applications from the following African countries:

Central African Republic
Cote D'Ivoire

The broad categories of the program's regions are:

Africa Region
East Asia and Pacific Region
Europe and Central Asia Region
External Relations Offices (Europe)
Latin America and Caribbean Region
Middle East and North Africa Region
South Asia Region

Donation Program Overview

Through this program The World Bank will be donating nonprofits/NGOs located in countries in which the World Bank has facilities and other countries in which significant need for technology exists.

The World Bank is making these recycled computers, as well as other office equipment, supplies and furniture to assist nonprofits/NGOs in the eligible countries with programs in the areas of:

Education (K-12)
Job training
Opportunities for youth
Maternal and child health
Adult literacy/mentoring and
Other critical social community services

To be eligible, the organizations must have a nonprofit status in the country in which they are located that is comparable to the 501(c)(3) non-profit status in the U.S. These computers are only available to those NGOs, located in certain countries outside of the U.S.


The equipment to be donated consists of a Pentium III OptiPlexTM used desk top
computer system and/or laptop computer systems with approximately 20GB hard drive and 256MB of RAM, CDROM and/or a 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy disk drive with MS Windows Pro 2000 Operating System, mouse, keyboard and 17" Ultrascan and Trinitron Monitor.

Gifts in Kind point out that the electrical plug for the equipment is a U.S. Standard plug; the CPUs are equipped with a switch for 110 and 220 capacity; if that is not appropriate in the country of use you can use an adapter/transformer for 110 voltage or simply cut the plug and attach the proper plug for the country's voltage.

In addition to the computer equipment, software, developed by Teachers Without Borders, called Certificate of Teaching Mastery will be installed on the computer. The software also includes two additional courses, "HIV-AIDS for Educators", and "Learning and Earning: Establishing and Sustaining a Community Teaching & Learning Center".

Equipment will be available to nonprofit organizations in countries in which the World Bank has a facility or special interest.

Each recipient organization is limited to 10 systems unless a plan of use for additional systems has been approved.

In its screening process Gifts In Kind will ensure that the recipient NGOs meet the following standards:

1. It is a nonprofit organization with non-profit status and documentation in the country in which your organization operates.

2. The goods will be used solely for the care of the disadvantaged as noted in the program guidelines.

3. The use of the goods will be related to the purpose of the organization making it tax exempt.

4. The organization must not promote religious faith as one of its explicit goals and must not have the nomination or election of candidates to political office as an explicit purpose.

5. The goods will not be transferred by this organization in exchange for money, property, or other services. You agree that a court entering equitable relief, including but not limited to injunctive relief may enforce this restriction.

6. Donations must be used by the recipient organization to operate its offices or be used in programs to help those in need, free of charge. Donations cannot be used for fundraisers, raffles or auctions; given to volunteers or staff members; or sold in retail stores or flea markets. Gifts In Kind International reserves the right to limit or restrict the quantities of donations your organization requests.

7. The organization agrees to provide complete substantiation of its distribution of all product donations to Gifts In Kind International promptly upon request. You must send the serial numbers of the system you receive according to the procedures, which will be sent to notify you when the systems will be ready for pickup. In addition, the organization agrees to maintain adequate books and records of these donations as required by applicable regulations and to make such records available upon request.

8. Organizations using donated products for purposes other than those intended will be removed from the program, and legal action will be taken.

9. Any goods received from Gifts In Kind International and the World Bank will not be used with the intention or knowledge that they will be used to commit a terrorist act.

In addition to all other requirements, the organization must also:

o Be specifically designated by The World Bank or registered with Gifts In Kind International, either directly or through a Gifts In Kind® program.

o Not advocate, support or practice discrimination based on race, religion, age, national origin, language, sex, sexual preference, or physical handicap.

All requests for donations will be handled in the order in which they are is received and will be accepted for the program on a first-come first-served basis.

For more information about the program interested organizations are asked to please contact Gifts In Kind International by:
Phone: 1+ (703) 836-2121
Email: productdonations@giftsinkind.org
or Via Facsimile: 1+ 703-549-1481


Gifts In Kind International's Mission is...

Linking resources to enhance, empower and restore communities and people in need. And the organization came about through a "generous 3M corporate product donation in 1983, which marked its beginning. Today Gifts In Kind International is the "seventh largest charity in America according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy and is acknowledged as one of the most cost-efficient charities by Forbes magazine. Over forty percent of the Fortune 100 consumer & retail product corporations rely on Gifts In Kind International to design and manage the donation process."

Gifts In Kind International, a registered 501(c)(3) U.S. nonprofit, charitable organization, is driven by "a mission of providing an effective conduit for the donation of products, goods and services from the private sector to the charitable sector. This organization is a recognized leader in the field of product philanthropy. And it is ranked as "one of the most cost-efficient charities in the world." It operates on less than 0.5 percent of its annual donations. And in 2004 alone, Gifts In Kind International and its global affiliates distributed nearly $820 million in quality products to a network of more than 200,000 charitable nonprofits around the world.

To find out more, visit their web site.

World Bank / Gifts In Kind International Computer Donations

Gifts In Kind International
P.O. Box 18002
Merrifield, VA 22118-0002
Or Via Facsimile to: 1+ 703-549-1481

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

CHILDREN OF UGANDA:On Tour And Not To Be Missed

I'm playing "Catch-Up" on this article because much of what I am writing about here has already taken place.

If you may recall, (if you are a longtime reader of the Blog), about a year ago I wrote about an organization called "Uganda Children's Charity Foundation (UCCF)". Today that organization is called "Children Of Uganda" and they are currently involved in a 32-city tour of the U.S. The Tour began in late January of this year and will continue until early June. In the process the children who perform in the Tour will have traveled across the entire continental U.S. and then some.

In a Previous Article wrote about the organization and its tours, but I want to give you an update. Below, I have listed the remaining performances by location and dates. You can go to the Tour's Schedule at its web site.

New York, NY
The Joyce Theater
(212) 242-0800
Tues-Sat April 11-15 at 7pm
Sat & Sun April 15 & 16 at 2pm

Burlington, VT
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
(802) 863-5966
Wed April 19 at 7:30pm

Hanover, NH
Spaulding Concert Hall
Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College
(603) 646-2422
Thurs. April 20 at 7pm

Boston, MA
Berklee Performance Center Hosted by World Music/Crash Arts
(617) 876-4275
Sat April 22 at 8pm
Sun April 23 at 3pm

Amherst, MA
Concert Hall at Fine Arts Center University of Massachusetts
(413) 545-2511
Wed April 26 at 7:30pm

Newark, NJ
Prudential Hall New Jersey Performing Arts Center
(888) GO NJPAC
Sun April 30 at 2pm

College Park, MD
Kay Theatre Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center University of Maryland www.claricesmithcenter.umd.edu
(301) 405-2787
Sat May 6 at 3pm & 8pm
Sun May 7 at 3pm

Philadelphia, PA
Penn Presents at Annenberg Center University of Pennsylvania
(215) 898-3900
Fri May 12 at 8pm

Dallas, TX
Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship - May 14, 2006
Friendship West Baptist Church - May 21, 2006

Chicago, IL
Athenaeum Theatre
Urban Gateways Center for Arts Education
(312) 922-0440
Wed May 24 at 8pm
Fri May 26 at 7:30pm
Sat May 27 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm

St. Paul, MN
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
(651) 224-4222
Sat June 3 at 11am and 2pm
Sun June 4 at 1pm

"Ranging in age from 8-18, the 20-member troupe led by Peter Kasule has toured the US biennially since 1996, performing in dozens of cities across the country and at hundreds of venues. Through dance and song, Children of Uganda's exuberant and powerful programs tell the stories and history, the legends and beliefs of East Africa."

You can also go to Children Of Uganda's web site and find a 14 page program in either PDF or Word format . The program includes wealth of knowledge, including a Glossary on many of the terms used in the performance. As an added bonus, there is an "Educational Guide" for grades 4-12 at the web site.

"About the Company

Children of Uganda celebrates its 10th anniversary with this 2006 USA tour, which begins in California in January and visits 31 communities in 20 states before ending in Minnesota in June. Ranging in age from 6 to 20, the performers live in several homes and boarding schools supported by the Uganda Children's Charity Foundation (UCCF). Through their performances, educational programs and community exchanges, Children of Uganda serve as goodwill ambassadors for the 2.4 million orphans living in the Uganda today.

Hailed as "first-rate" and "inspiring" by The New York Times, Children of Uganda have toured the USA biennially since 1996. They have also appeared at the White House, on the David Letterman show, at the Grammy's salute to U-2's Bono, for (former) US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill during his trip to Africa, for the World Bank, MTV/Nickelodeon, Nike, Morgan Stanley and other corporations. For a complete schedule of the 2006 tour, visit www.childrenofuganda.org.

The dual crises of civil war and AIDS in Uganda pose a serious threat to the complex fabric of family and village life that previously nurtured and depended on a rich and varied oral culture. Children of Uganda was originally founded to teach orphaned children the songs, dances and stories that were in danger of being lost. At home, the ensemble performs at weddings, diplomatic events and other celebrations. Children of Uganda gives 22 of the most talented of these performers an opportunity to share their stories in the USA, promoting East African culture and increasing awareness of the HIV/AIDS crisis in their homeland."

There is a lot that can be written and said about both Children Of Uganda and its Tour; more than can be said in this article, so I urge you to read more about Children of Uganda And, If You Can, Attend One Of Their Performances.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI-SIFE : Reaching Up And Reaching Down

It's not often that a group of individuals that is reaching up to improve itself will take the time to reach down to help someone else with the same goals. But that is just what the University of Nairobi-SIFE (UoNSIFE) team is doing.

SIFE, in case you have not read my previous article about Students In Free Enterprise is an organization that promotes business competition among university students in order to help bring the world together and to foster development and fellowship.

But what is especially unique about the University of Nairobi-SIFE team is that they have agreed to help with a village Business Plan Competition in the nearby community of Kangemi. Through the efforts of Bikundo Onyari a resident of Kangemi, the village has partnered with Nabuur to work towards establishing a community a Business Plan Competition. Nabuur is a Dutch based charity that supports on-line volunteers that lend assistance to communities in developing countries through the use of the Internet. When the Nabuur volunteers and Bikundo Onyari put their heads together they decided that it would be a good idea to see if they could get some assistance with their plans for a Business Plan Competition from SIFE. As it turned out, the members of University of Nairobi-SIFE

It has been said that: "In their efforts to make a difference, SIFE students have been described as teachers, mentors, consultants and entrepreneurs; but the people around the world whose lives have been changed by their work call them heroes." And the SIFE students are certainly heroes to the people of Kangemi.

Because SIFE is only open to students enrolled in a tertiary institution during the academic year in which the competition takes place, the community members who are not enrolled in a university are not eligible to participate. But, because the University of Nairobi-SIFE team is helping Kangemi to have its own Business Plan Competition, those individuals will now be able to engage in the same type of activity as the university students.

SIFE says that its vision is: "Helping others achieve their dreams through free enterprise education" And their actions speak as loud as their words.

And because their Mission is: " To give college students the best opportunity to make a difference and to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing, and teaching the principles of free enterprise;" the effort to assist the village of Kangemi falls right in line with that. Now, the students are also teachers.

The good deeds of UoNSIFE also exemplify the SIFE Philosophies
"Community philosophy: Give a man fish; he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a life time"

"Teaching philosophy: Tell me and I will forget, show me and I might remember, involve me and I will learn"

"Leadership Philosophy: People support what they help create"

UoNSIFE is a University Pre-Professional Association that was founded in the year 2002 and their membership is drawn from 7 faculties with a Faculty advisor and a Business Advisory Board.

In addition to its work with Kangemi, UoNSIFE is involved in the following projects:

UoNSIFE Projects 2005-2006


The project is dubbed pambazuka, which is an initiative targeting young ladies from the Kibera Community Youth Programme. It will involve the making of traditional handicraft by use of beads, dried banana leaves and an assortment of other traditional materials. The outcome of the handiwork is to be inspired by the rich cultural diversity that exists in Kibera.

The income obtained from the sales will be channeled towards uplifting the economic standard of the ladies and to keep them away from the social ills that abound in the informal settlement.

Besides making the handiwork, the team will be taught basic accounting skills, marketing and how to copyright their work.


Having Identified a Piece of Land along Nairobi River around the Globe cinema roundabout we aim at teaching street income on growing tree seedlings.
We are in the process of partnering with Green Belt who we aim to sell the seedlings to. This will earn the street People some income.

Then the seedling bought will be used in Ukambani to in reforestation for trees used in building the sand dams. The sand dams are used to for irrigation during the dry periods which helps in fighting famine.


The project involves helping a certain entrepreneur in Kitengela in marketing his of charcoal ovens and cookers. The cookers are very heat efficient in that from the design only about 15% heat is lost to the atmosphere. The ovens are also heat efficient to the same degree. They use about 1 to 1 1/4 bags of charcoal in a month, heating daily for approximately 1hour.


The target audience is the Juakali artisans along racecourse road. The aim is to Sharpen their business acumen such that they can manage their businesses better and realize greater profits by minimizing expenses, cash flow management, and alternative investments.


This project aims at coming up with a Stock Exchange Simulator to aid in learning about stocks and stock trading. There have been stock booms in the past but only a few middle class Kenyans have been able to benefit from them due to the ownership distribution pattern. The main reason middle class people don't engage in stock trading is simply inertia; they lack the 'push' necessary to take what seems to them to be a big step. It is in response to this that UoNSIFE is coming up with the Stock Exchange Simulator.


The people of Kangemi are working to set up an Entrepreneur Resource Centre. This centre will prepare young people to enter the job market either by starting their own businesses or by engagement into the formal sector.

Bikundo Onyari wrote about Kangemi:

"Kangemi is a cosmopolitan community bringing together over 42 ethnic group's form all over Kenya. This is because of its nearness to the capital city, Nairobi. It is also in the city that the industrial areas are concentrated. The community is famous in the struggle for the country's independence in the 1940's. The original inhabitants are not very well known. It is sometimes told that the Maasai's were the first migrants and were famous for their cattle. These people were nomads and they used to move from one place to another searching for pasture for their cattle. Later another tribe, the Agikuyu occupied the area and started farming.'

'Part of the area was turned to a settlement scheme for white farmers during the pre-independence period. The farmers planted cash crops like coffee for export to other countries. The white farmers employed most of the locals in the farms as labourers. The rest of the locals were recruited in the World War while the rest joined the freedom fighters (Mau Mau). With the dominance of the whites, the culture of the area is not recorded and its difficult to state the correct culture as it was."

"Kangemi is one of the low-income settlements in the suburbs of Kenya's capital city Nairobi. Most of the young people are jobless, and therefore an easy prey for HIV/AIDS, alcoholism and other social ills. The people of Kangemi have united to give the youth a future, by setting up an Entrepreneur Resource Centre."

"Since many youths have a higher education in Kangemi (56%), we thought of not only bringing them to work, but also letting them develop their own ideas about possible businesses. This way they are likely to be even more engaged/motivated and generate additional income (besides the existing businesses!). And this is how they came up with the idea of a Business Plan Competition.

Bikundo Onyari felt that the community needed help developing the rules for the competition, finding funding for the competition and finally promoting the competition. He reached out to Nabuur and then to SIFE, and as a result, some great things are happening.

UoNSIFE , Nabuur and the people of Kangeme - it's a good combination, and you will hear more about each of them. But in the meantime, visit each of their web sites to learn more about what is going on.

Monday, April 03, 2006

PASSBACK: Because Soccer Is More Than Just A Game

The main thing I dislike about my Blog is that I never have enough time. I never have enough time to write all of the things I would like to say about the various NGOs out there in the world doing great things.

So it is that I must apologize to Passback for not having the time to say all of the things I would like to say about them. Also, I must apologize to my friends in the U.K. and elsewhere who call the game "Football;" but since this article is about an organization that calls the game "Soccer" I will use that term as well with no slight intended. And as Puck would say: "Think but this and all is mended…"

The Passback program collects used soccer gear that is still usable and sends it to teams and organizations that could not otherwise afford it. These organizations often can not even afford the most basic soccer equipment.

This effort started with one box of soccer gear being sent to a family friend and it has grown over the years to a program that has donated some 30,000 pieces of gear.

The founders, Brendan and Mike Moylan love soccer. They also operate Eurosport, which they also founded. In 1989 the two Moylans had an opportunity to give back to the game of soccer, which they love, and they seized the opportunity. In 1989 a "family friend came into the old Eurosport store looking for some gear to send to his daughter, a Peace Corps volunteer working with children in Malawi." While they were looking for soccer gear they could send to Malawi, the Moylan brothers realized that they had "closets full of their old soccer gear that they no longer used but was too good to throw out." So the Moylan brothers boxed up a package and sent it off to their friend's daughter. But that was just the beginning. It stood to reason that if they had closets full of soccer gear, there must be other players out there whose garages, closets and basements packed with old usable gear as well. Recognizing that there is a world-wide need in the soccer community for such gear, the Moylan brothers created the Passback program.

Because it began its program by shipping internationally, Passback was traditionally known as an international organization helping organizations in poor and developing countries. But in recent years, increased donations have made it possible for Passback to send soccer gear to many groups in the U.S. as well. And now, the largest pool of recipients are in the U.S. About 40% of Passback's donations went to U.S. organizations such as middle schools and high schools, recreation leagues in 2001.

While much of its donated gear goes to organizations in the U.S., a significant amount of gear still goes to developing countries.

In Malawi Passback was able to support a "Shoes for Work' program" by donating soccer gear. There, the recipients of the gear participated in specific projects that benefited the community as well as long-term conservation of Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve in order to be eligible to receive soccer cleats.

Another organization in Malawi has tied its soccer team to AIDS education in the community. In that program AIDS' education usually takes place at the half and at the end of the game.

On their web site, Passback says that "You are eligible for the Passback program if you are part of a school, charitable organization, or a community soccer league in an impoverished area."

As you can imagine, Passback gets lots of support from Eurosport, but it also receives a significant amount of help from the U.S. Soccer Foundation and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Because of the participation of these Partner / Sponsors, Passback is able to donate gear to U.S. recipients on a large-scale basis. "In the summer of 2001 Passback was able to donate $43,000 worth of new and used gear to 26 different Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. Most of these Clubs were either starting soccer programs or had recently offered soccer to their participants. Almost all the Clubs served poor or needy areas, and needed personal gear for the players."

The U.S. Soccer Foundation has been instrumental in bringing Passback to Major League Soccer games around the country this year. Players, teams and fans bring their old gear to the Major League Soccer stadiums on specific Passback days and the Major League Soccer team in turn donates the gear to a local organization. A very innovative and efficient way to marshal resources. The Passback web site states that: "In its first season, Passback was able to donate more than 1,000 different shoes, shorts, bags, jerseys, and other gear to local teams from its Major League Soccer appearances."

Finally, a word about Eurosport. (There is a great deal more I could say, but demands of time have forced me to delete a whole page full of notes.) Eurosport is actually "Sports Endeavors, Inc." but most people know it as "Eurosport." Its mission statement is: "To be the world's leading authentic grassroots soccer company, building strong relationships in a vibrant, creative and ethical environment. To inform, inspire and innovate."

This Hillsborough, North Carolina, company, through its own efforts and the further efforts of Passback, the Moylan family has made a great and generous contribution to the global community - because to many, Soccer is More Than Just A Game.

Read more about Passback here.