Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Market squeeze

The market crunch pinch has finally been felt in the remote town of Magadi. The GIANT Magadi soda plant, which has enjoyed a monopoly status for such a long time, has silenced its engines and the white powdery smoke,that bellows and rises above the bright HOT Magadi sky is no more.
Workers have been sent on compulsory leave,this will have major repercussion to the economy of the area as the Magadi Soda Co. is the major employer to the all Maasai populations,either in contractual capacity or permanent basis.
Will we also be witnessing a bail out in Kenya soon?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Best &Worst

I guess it is not too late to reflect on the decisions i made in the past two years with Lorika as a social-entrepreneur.I will be candid with the reflections as much as possible.

Worst mistakes:

1.Failed to understand market environment (especially nonprofit fundraising)
2.Did not learn from other people's failures (only successes - wish there were a book on failures in social entrepreneurship?)
3.Unable to secure critical feedback (only received positive feedback, later learned business plan unrealistic)
4.Being too "corporate-y" in the beginning -- designing frameworks, plans, etc. 5.Expecting too much from the beneficiaries without giving them proper time and training.

Best decisions:

1.networking with people smarter than and different than me.
2.Carefully and thoughtfully planning and structuring all activities and business processes.
3.Sought lots of feedback on idea
4.Communicating in simple yet compelling ways: things can actually be interesting

I hope to be kind to myself in future.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Sunshine days

The weather never changes at Ngurumani.It is ever HOT,HOT and HOT again.It can be chilly and overcast on few occasions(very few this year).From the minute of waking up to the getting onto (because it is too hot to get into) the beds, under the mosquito nets with the fans on full blast(for the lucky few), it is hot.
Rantana and Kapure complained that you started sweating the minute you stepped out of the shower,the first time they came visiting.
It's hard to describe the heat when you are new in the area.Heat that is almost tangible.
But in the moments of cold days,Caro,a friend who came visiting from Canada woke up wrapped in blankets when she returned back home and she longed for the enveloping, sensual, all-consuming heat of Ngurumani.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Ngurumani diary through the eyes Meditines Ltd

Ngurumani is part of the Olkiramatian group range and is situated 160km from Nairobi. Climatic conditions in this area are moderated by the presence of forests between the Ewaso Nyiro River and Ngurumani escarpment making the conditions within the scheme less harsh, unlike the rest of Magadi division where the temperatures are very high (quiet unbearable to most visitors). The Iloodokilani pastoral Maasai still inhabit the grassland plains.

The most serious threats to the welfare of these Pastoralists and Nomads include recurrent drought (now being experienced), famine and diseases, lack of processing and marketing facilities for livestock and animal products.

Ineffective and unequal bargaining power, due mainly to the dominant role of middle men and large scale traders and coupled with the lack of exploitation of alternative income-generating activities.

Lorika Foundation, a developmental led initiative of Oldonyo Laro Estates, by establishing a micro finance-Meditines and offering business trainings within Ngurumani, identified the need and undertook to bridge the gap emanating from lack of entrepreneurial knowledge and initial seed capital for new business start ups among the community members of the Olkiramatian group ranch.

By partnering with the non-governmental organizations, the ‘culturally defined’ institutions, and numerous self-help groups which are active in the area, Meditines makes local individual actions explicit in relation to surrounding actors; environmental conditions and society at large, it takes into account the social cultural norms and values, leadership structures, elements of conflict, educational standards and networks.

These factors, combined with the element of time, bring in a perception of choice, change, expectations and strategy.