Uber Chap Chap Take on Nairobi.

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Nairobi has had its fair share of taxi trouble, just like any other big city. For many years it has been very expensive to pick and use a taxi, despite the fact that you could not compare Nairobi with a city like Frankfurt. We have very few happy stories to say about Taxis and Taxi drivers.

It was a celebration when Uber finally launched in Nairobi, but it did not come without a fight. Just like the story of Uber in New York, Brad Stone narrates in his book The Upstarts, the difficult road that Uber had to go through in San Francisco and New York City.

Uber fought all wars in those cities. They fought with the taxi drivers, they fought with the city authorities, they fought with the market and they had to fight technology too, making sure that it worked and improving on it on the go. In Kenya, just like any city resisting the disruption, Taxis wanted to keep their cake. Whether it has worked for them is their story to tell.

But slowly and surely this have really changed in Nairobi. I do not take Uber a lot but of late I have noticed the sudden influx of white miniature Suzuki Alto’s on the roads, all with ‘KCP’ number plates and branded “Uber Chap Chap”, Just like you, I have been asking a lot of questions.

Today while sitting with a friend at Java House on Wabera street, I requested for an Uber, this time the Uber Chap Chap, which was the cheapest of all on the offers I was looking at on the screen. But apparently our driver was really far and stuck in traffic, so we sat and waited. Later he called me and requested we change out pick up location to Sentrim 680 Hotel, he had just dropped his client somewhere downtown.

There we were in this small car, a Suzuki Alto, looking very new, with very less electronic operations but a good stereo. Its as white as the snow, with a 800cc engine resting in the hood. Five speed manual transmission gearbox, the driver….a very mature gentleman who didn’t mind telling me a little about Uber Chap Chap, and on this particular car, the mileage was at 5000 km.

Uber Chap Chap launched in Nairobi in February after a testing phase in late January and since then, they are literally in every stop of the road you would be looking at. Some of them come branded while others are not. An agreement between Uber and Stanbic Bank gives the rider a security-free loan which is payable over three years.

The Uber drivers with high ratings between 4-6 points are the ones who were lucky to get to this plan. The rider pays Ksh. 30,000 a month for three years. After which, he/she will gain full ownership of the car. The cars are straight out of the showroom and cost roughly Ksh 800,000. They are provided by CMC Motors Africa.

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For my friend, its not her first time on Uber Chap Chap, she has been a customer, she picked on and her bill was only Ksh80 from Yaya to her House. And she praised the driver who dropped her to town, a nice man with mature conversation. Today, our bill was Ksh220 from Sentrim 680 to Mimosa Court.

What i look for when moving from point a to point be is to just get there with less hustle. At least most of us look for that, and Uber Chap Chap has it. But then not more, if you are one of those people who want to as we say it “Arrive” then you picked the wrong car. The car can carry five people of average weight and that includes the driver.

My experience was wonderful, will I request again for  an Uber Chap Chap, why not. When you request yours, lets see how much you are paying.

Enjoy your ride, with Uber Chap Chap.

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New Ways of Job Hunting.

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If you are like me, then you are familiar with the modern ways of job searching. You have your CV in a microsoft word edited and then converted to PDF and you click attach, then send. Before you did all this you created a Linkedin page, and a Facebook page and you went to all job advertisement sites. You picked up a newspaper and went straight at the back….home of all the jobs. You called people, or people called you, you got a forward message on your whatsapp ….from your former college or I forgot, maybe you knew someone or you just bribed someone.

This has become very common among job seekers in Kenya. There is this funny phase “Job seeking is a job on its on” a very common saying especially among the young people looking for jobs. For most graduates and Kenyan elites, it has been a heavy cloud hovering around concerning jobs even as the current economic status seeks to choke the air out of them.

Most of these people have experienced nightmares as various big organizations cut on their operation costs to remain afloat. This move has led to many organization cutting down their workforce while others lose their jobs in mysterious circumstances. The graduates stories are horrifying, they narrate stories that have very little hope, having sent over 200 applications, through mail, hand delivered or post, one can manage only two responses which will be regrets.

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Most of them can not afford to pay rent so they live with their relatives, some taking any available job. How would the same Government who paid for their fees through the Higher Education Loans Board turn around and deny them employment. The scenes of young people carrying placards on the streets seeking the attention of employers have become very common.

This way of job hunting brings new meaning to how desperate this young people want to get jobs, holding placards with their academic credentials in the streets. Several graduates have already landed interviews and jobs using this method. Though many sympathize, some think the young job seekers are taking it too far. But yet again, people are gifted with different courage, and its only yourself who knows your needs.

As much as there are very qualified young people out there, doing all they can to land a job, I must register my disappointment with the Kenyan companies (the employers). They act very hypocritical. They are very dishonest and I wonder what happened to corporate governance.

It’s definitely not easy for Kenyan employees but it’s even worse for the job seekers as their fate is unknown.

The Spirit of Cycling in Kenya.

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Cycling in Kenya is becoming quite popular. Many people are quitting the gym for physical outdoor activities like jogging and cycling because of the allure they come with. The upside of cycling is that it comes along with fun activities such as bird watching, picnicking and traversing the country in general.

Listed below are some of the places you can go cycling in Kenya with friends and family:

1. Karura Forest
Located in the outskirts of Nairobi CBD, Karura Forest is one of the most popular joints for cycling in Kenya. Karura Forest offers a quiet clean and organised biking trail, away from oncoming cars and the hustle that the city life is.
Bring your mountain bike and join other Nairobi cyclists in the designated bike paths, which range from 5-15 km. You can alternatively hire a bike at Karura for KES 500 per hour, daily from 8 am – 5 pm, at the bike depot next to the tennis court. Karura Forest has other activities you can take part in once you are tired of cycling. Enjoy dog walking, nature exploration and tree building with the rest of the family.

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2. Rusinga Island
One of the greatest perks of cycling in Kenya is you get to traverse the country. Rusinga Island is located in the legendary Lake Victoria. The island boasts breathtaking sunsets and quiet hills, what most cyclists will describe as a perfect cycling setting. A Rusinga Island cycling trip is perfect for those getaway trips you always plan with friends and family. Enjoy cycling, camping, island exploration, hiking and boat riding as you make lifetime memories. You can also explore the neighboring Mfangano Island and Mbita Town.

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3. Hells Gate
There is no better way to explore the Hell’s Gate National Park than on a bike! Hell’s Gate National Park is located approximately 90 km from Nairobi. Don’t worry if you don’t own a bike of your own, there are bikes for hire at the gate. The riding trails cover from 15 to upto 40 km. Enjoy panoramic views of the gorges, towering cliffs and diverse wildlife as you test your fitness. Cycling at Hell’s Gate also offers amazing photo opportunities because of the background. You can do a little reinaction of the Lion Kingwhile you are at it! Hell’s Gate National Park also has a natural spa where you can dip yourselves and enjoy a swim after the ride.

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4. Lake Magadi
This is for the starry-skyed lovers, the dreamers. Lake Magadi and its environs are characterised by untamed expansive savanna, shrubs, hot springs and the at-times pink lake. This biking trail ideally starts from the foot of Ngong Hills, all the way to Lake Magadi, approximately 80 km long, making it ideal for a weekend bike safari.
The trail is one of the most dusty ones you will come across while cycling in Kenya. We advise you to carry dust muffs. The upside of the trail is that it will be worth it once you are done, when you get to enjoy a therapeutic swim in one of the hot springs and some of the best nyama choma in the world!

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5. The Forest
This is for the adrenaline junkies! If you haven’t yet visited The Forest, try cycling there this year. Located in Kereita, Nyandarua, The Forest is perfect for team building, whether for corporate, friends or family. Cycle through Kenya’s history (the mass grave of the 1952 Lari Massacre), magnificent waterfalls, caves, animals and birds, and of course, Aberdare’s very own forest canopy. Other activities offered at The Forest that you can take part in include zip-lining, paint balling, archery and fly fishing.

Join bikers who are cycling in Kenya and keep fit this year, as you enjoy the beautiful scenery our country has to offer. Miles and hope will be doing their yearly tour this year. You can follow us up on facebook extramilersicc or visit our website http://www.milesandhope.org

#TembeaKenya

Facebook Marketing for Dummies.

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Kenya is one of the leading countries in Africa with the majority of its citizen on Social Media, therefore it only makes sense for your company to start utilizing social media and replace traditional marketing with social media marketing in Kenya.

Facebook is a complete network when it comes to business pages. When you create your account or business page, seek to know what are the tools that it offers you, the possibility to place information about your company and website, address and hours of operation. Also, you will know how many people visit your page, where they are and what content they liked.

Facebook is a competitive environment, and probably you will find dozens of competitors with well-designed pages. In this way, you need to think about what you can do to make your can stand out, is the way you put, the products features or any other characteristic that can differentiate you from the others.

Instead of posting anything, you must have a well-defined strategy. In it, you should lay down your goals that you want to achieve with the page, select which public you are targeting, what are your investments, put together a schedule of publications and put all the information that will help you in spreading your business.

With the amount of material available on Facebook, to ensure that you catch the attention of your followers you must have a content that adds value to whatever they already have. Use relevant information, talk about your products or services and be very objective in the texts. Also remember to use a language that is compatible with your audience, otherwise, if  they can not identify with what you posted they will no longer follow the page.

You are an expert in your business and therefore the customer needs you to make decisions. Think of the biggest questions and concerns that a customer may have which push them away from you. Then find a way of addressing them. Do you not know what to post? Ask your viewers what they would like to know or search pages in its segment about the most common questions people ask about your product or market.

It is important that you keep a set frequency of posts. Avoid publications with a very wide range, because the impression it gives is that your page is “start up” or you do not have much interest in publicizing your work. If possible, post every day. If not, post at least 3 times a week.

Another tip is to use the feature to schedule posts. With it, you can schedule posts to be served at the times you see fit. With this, your page will always be updated.

Do not leave your audience in a vacuum. It is important that you respond to all comments and messages you receive, thus creating a closer interaction with the people who like your page. Thus, these followers will seek to interact more often and recommend your page, since it is helpful to their audience.

One tip is to enjoy all the comments you receive on your page. Another important point is also to answer the negative comments.  If you see a criticism, ensure that you follow it up by email or phone.

Human beings are attracted by what they see, and rightly so it is important that your page has quality images. They will cause the first impact on your follower and will serve as an invitation for them to read the material you provided.

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Facebook Ads allow you to reach people who are of interest to your business. When creating ads, you will highlight the content that will be directly taken to the public that does not know about your work and may be interested in it at some point.

Today it is very difficult to generate significant results without investing in ads. More than 40 million businesses use the Facebook page to attract customers. Thus, investing in ads is important. Still, it’s very cheap to invest in campaigns on Facebook.

In addition to having a Facebook page, it is interesting that you have accounts on other on social networks like Twitter and Instagram, as this are other dissemination channels for your business, giving you the opportunity to reach more people. With this, you will attract even more people to your Facebook page.

But remember that each channel has a way to communicate with people. Avoid a repeat what put on Facebook  for Instagram, for example. Also, create exclusive content for each audience and each channel.

Facebook gives you all the information you need about your audience, such as age, location, interests, etc.Enjoy this data to create performance reports that show which posts were liked best, which yielded a low performance, who’s been visiting your page. Thus, you will improve your strategy and attract a more qualified audience.

CMSAfricaSummit 2018 Goes to Kigali.

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Happy New Year I should say, and Welcome to CMSAfricaSummit 2018.

About CMS Africa

CMS Africa is a Non-governmental organisation that seeks to engage and support students, graduates and start-ups that deal with web applications, frameworks and platforms using open source content management systems.

CMS Africa is a collaboration and partnership between companies (directly dealing with building websites, platforms, applications, and other related professions), and universities/colleges to help build students and graduates in their passionate desires to join in the movement of uplifting the African Continent through content management systems.

Summit in Kigali

Technology has played a big role in the development of various industries, it has changed the banking sector, changed education, changed the agricultural industry, changed the entertainment world, it has restructured many businesses. The impact of technology can not be measured because it is still changing the way we do everything.

CMS Africa summit is a premier Web, Business, and Mobile event in Africa that gathers developers, E-commerce professionals, ISPs, Web administrators, Telecoms and Open Source Organisations among many others in a 2 day summit.

Supported and sponsored by multiple organisations like Open Source Matters (Joomla), Automattic (WordPress), Snowdog, Governmental Institutions in Rwanda and other respected companies. CMS Africa will be holding it’s 5th annual summit. This event will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 16th and 17th 2018. CMS Africa is organizing this in partnership with Rwanda Development Board.

Information and Communication Technology is a central engine to driving Rwanda’s transformation to a knowledge based economy, a fact Rwanda has acknowledged by allocating a budget to ICT – as a percentage of its GDP – that is at par with OECD countries.

Rwanda continues to be one of the fastest growing African countries in ICT and there are several avenues for growth for the ICT sector – from e-commerce and e-services, mobile technologies, applications development and automation to becoming a regional center for the training of top quality ICT professionals and research. A robust ICT industry can create wealth, jobs and entrepreneurs.

Rwanda emerged from the 1994 genocide that killed about 800,000 people with a severely impaired society, a traumatized populace and an economy in dire straits. Back then President Paul Kagame’s new government confronted enormous challenges at every turn: millions of refugees and displaced people to be resettled, genocide victims awaiting justice and an economy that needed restarting. Fast forward to 2011. There is much evidence that thoughtful policies are transforming an agrarian society into a sophisticated knowledge-based economy and instilling a sense of national identity and unity in Rwandans.

It is perhaps the government’s ambitious plans to transform Rwanda into a regional high-tech hub — or “Singapore of Africa” — that has fascinated many people, including sceptics. Its with this reason that Rwanda became the host of this years CMS Africa Summit.

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Implementing five reforms saw Rwanda rise 15 places in the 2018 World Bank Doing Business Report to feature in in position 41 globally.

Rwanda is 2nd on the continent behind Mauritius in the latest annual report released yesterday. The report examines the regulations and conditions that enhance or limit business conduciveness. Last year, Rwanda was ranked 56th globally.

The summit has lined up an interesting set of speakers respected in their fields from around the world. Among the 30 speakers, are Job Thomas, Gareth Allison and Sarah Semack from Automatic/WordPress, Kuba Zwolinski of Snowdog, Poland. Robert Jacobi President of OSM, Rowan Hoskyns-Abrahall department head of Events at OSM / OSM Director, Yvess Hoppe Department Coordinator for Programs /OSM Director and Abdulkadir Shehu Joomla Trainer in Malaysia. Rwanda’s very own Leonel Mpfizi, Alex Ntare, Arnold Kwizera and Jack Ngari.

In the days ahead, we will be rolling out the programme of events on http://www.cmsafricasummit.org. Tickets are on sale at $21 at www.eventbrite.com and http://www.tamudeals.com. Lets meet in Kigali Rwanda in March.

 

Exploring My Art.

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Art is something that has always been with me, I have always lived my life either around it, surrounded by it of by simply devouring it. To me, art is life, or brings life. In this line, am always guided with three elements, To see, To look and to think.

The first two – look and see – are just about using your eyes, and observational skills. The third requires a bit of thought, drawing on what we already know and creatively interpreting what we’ve observed within an artwork’s broader contexts.

When we see anything, whether it’s a work of art, a movie or a billboard, our brains perform a massively complex split-second process of reading and making meaning. We absorb a whole range of clues that make up our understanding of any image, many of which we’re not even conscious of.

Any process of understanding art, then, is about slowing down that process, breaking down the image deliberately and holding off from jumping to any snap conclusions until later.

Isn’t it obvious we “look” at art? Not really. When we visit a gallery, we tend to spend only a few seconds in front of any one work. In fact, some estimates have it at under two seconds.

So look at what’s there, literally right in front of you. Start with the most basic: what medium or material is it – a photograph, an object, a painting? How does it look? Rough and quick? Slick and neat? Shiny? Dirty? Carefully made? Thrown together?

The artist will have made some very deliberate decisions about the materials, style and approach, and these will feed directly into the overall feel and meaning of the work.

What’s the difference between looking and seeing in the context of art? Looking is about literally describing what is in front of you, while seeing is about applying meaning to it. When we see we understand what is seen as symbols, and we interpret what’s there in front of us.

The final step involves thinking about what you’ve observed, drawing together what you’ve gleaned from the first two steps and thinking about possible meanings. Importantly, this is a process of interpretation. It’s not a science. It’s not about finding the “right answers”, but about thinking creatively about the most plausible understandings of a work.

The key here is context. The broader context of an artwork will help make sense of what you’ve already observed. Much of the information about context is usually given in those dull little labels that tell you the artist’s name, the title of the work and the year. And there are often other valuable morsels of information included too, such as the place and year an artist was born.

Who is the artist? Is it someone whose work you know something about? If so, what do you know about them? Even if this is “Picasso was a womaniser”, or “Jackson Pollock was a drunk”, if you’ve heard of the artist, you have some existing knowledge you can bring to bear.

Importantly, bring to bear everything you know – you’d be surprised how much you know of the context of an artwork just from your general knowledge, a lot of which comes from conversations, television, the internet, all those things that are “informal learning”.

Myself, I love art that pokes me to think differently about something I thought I already knew. Other people prefer eye candy. It’s all valid.

Just give yourself a moment to slow down, to look, see and think, and you’ll find something that really speaks to you.

#BeCreative

When Disaster Strikers………..

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I was asked to train my class on emergency procedures for our class, and steps we can make to save lives. I discovered that many people don’t understand or don’t know what it is they can do incase of the unexpected. Some of this procedures can still work for you, whether you are in a home, a school or at work.

Earthquake, Fire, Flooding, Terrorist attacks/Shooting

Steps to save lives. Everyone must be prepared.

We recognise God as our overall protector, and always pray for his wisdom and courage when we are confronted with difficult situations and challenges.

NO ONE is immune to disaster. Preparation is your most important key to survival. But what does preparation involve?

Prepare Before. Acknowledge the fact that disaster happens and that the class is potentially at risk. It is too late to prepare after disaster strikes.

Learn about disasters. That can happen in our area. Know where shelters are, emergency assembly points, higher grounds, where the fire alarms / extinguishers are located, check whether the smoke detectors are working. Keep the venerable spots clear of anything that can escalate the fire.

Prepare emergency Supplies. Power, Water, Phone and transportation services can fail. Do you have what you need? Car with fuel, food, water, emergency kit, touch/light, emergency contacts e.g. ambulances, fire, police, church admin.

Make and rehearse an escape plan. Know the nearest exits in the building as well as the emergency plan of the class. Plan to help others while staying safe.

  1. Hold evacuations drill to test your emergency plan with all members present.
  2. Have a clear memory of where every group sits and assign yourselves in different locations when preparing for evacuation.
  3. Teach group leaders how to prepare members in any case there is an emergency.
  4. Pray for wisdom from God to enable you do the right thing with speed that will save lives.

During – Act Quickly

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Don’t not panic, do not wait, and do not pick the lesson. When disaster strikes….We don’t wait.

 In a fire. Stay close to the floor and move quickly to the nearest exit. Smoke makes it hard to see and most fire deaths are caused by smoke inhalation. Leave behind personal items….seconds can make a difference between life and death.

In an earthquake. Get under sturdy furniture or next to an inside wall. Expect aftershocks, and get outside and away from the building as soon as you can. Try to help others.

In a flood. Stay out of flooded building. Avoid wading in or driving through water. Beware that flood water can contain sewage and conceal dangers, including debris, open manhole, and downed power lines.

Note that. Two feet of moving water can carry a car away. Most death in floods results when people try to drive through moving water. If the authorities order evacuation. leave immediately! Let GL/Friends/TTs know where you are or they might risk their life looking for you.

Note that. Texting may be more reliable than calling/voice service.

If authorities direct to remain in one place/shelter. ie during floods, riots/demonstrations, unrest, terrorist attacks. stay inside. In case of chemical. biological i.e. fuel incident, stay indoors, turn off ventilation and seal all doors and windows. When the threat is from outside, please follow the news.

After – Stay Safe

Stay with friends if possible help those who need help/ do a head count and make sure everybody is present.

Keep your daily routine. as normal as possible, people need to see that you are calm and hopeful…..stay in prayer. Do not dwell on news coverage of the tragedy, and do not take out your anxiety or frustration on family members and other people. Accept help and help others.

Acknowledge that disaster cause less. Relief efforts focus on helping people to survive and not replacing an iPhone or laptop. Recognise and address emotional injuries. this often surfaces after the initial shock has passed. Symptoms include anxiety, depression, mood swings as well as difficulty thinking, working, and sleeping. Talk to caring friends.

#StaySafe