Kenyan men in US form "Maendeleo ya Wanaume" network group - Kenya Satellite News Network
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Kenyan men in US form “Maendeleo ya Wanaume” network group

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By Erastus Mong’are

As cases of the Diaspora Kenyan men running into hard times in the USA and other parts of the world have increased in recent years, a group of men has come together to form the first group that will be focused on “being my brother’s keeper.” Kenya Men Empowered Network (KEMEN) was officially launched on Saturday, June 16, 2018 in Taunton, Massachusetts, as part of 3 days of activities planned for the participating men.

Over 150 men from across the USA gathered in Taunton for activities ranging from a golf tournament to empowerment workshops to nyama choma eating on the final day. Coincidentally, the launch happened during the month of June, which is Men’s Health Month in USA, International Men’s Health Week, June 11-17 and on Father’s Day weekend.

Founder member, Antony Kamnao, speaking during the event, said that the group aims to create a forum where Kenyan men in the Diaspora can address issues that affect them and find appropriate solutions to solve them. “Through the KEMEN platform, the association will engage, inform and educate the community of Kenyan men on how to address the challenges of their daily lives,” said Kamnao. “The ability to generate, access, and use information has become a key factor in personal, social, and economic growth. That’s why through free flow and sharing of information, this forum will expand its global outreach to the Diaspora society in reshaping our personal, education, and social activities and values.”

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Empowerment workshop topics included higher education and careers, health and wellness, mentorship and entrepreneurship. The speakers who came from across the USA and each connected his presentation to an issue that was selected as important to Diaspora men.

Speaking during the launch, Dr. David Angwenyi, Founder, Global Connections Kenya (GCK), said that the launch of KEMEN has opened a new platform for Kenyan men in the diaspora to network and empower one another in an unprecedented manner. “The open discussion and the sheer talent that was on display at the launch should send a strong message to anyone who is quick to dismiss this organization.  In one sentence, KEMEN has opened a new frontier for Kenyan men in the Diaspora to move the great ideas and unity of purpose into action, and the power that would come out of this organized group of men is simply unstoppable.”

Toward the end, the men who were present were encouraged to reach out to a fellow man if they needed help on issues that could lead them to major issues.

Former Presidential candidate, 2017 Dr. Jeff Kaluyu who graced the events noted that KEMEN would succeed because of the integrity of the men behind the idea. “For me, KEMEN is a practical approach and a refuge for men issues on both Diaspora and domestic fronts,” he said.

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“As I leave here today, I have learned that many times Kenyan men don’t ask for help. It is an ego thing. Don’t let ego kill you,” a participant in the launch said. “You cannot squander this opportunity now that we have a group dedicated to men.”

After Saturday’s launch, KEMEN will focus on making its structures stronger so that the organization can focus on being a go to place for men seeking help and for empowerment.

 

Diaspora men in the USA seeking to start a chapter in their state or engage in other ways can contact KEMEN through their website, www.254kemen.org.

The next KEMEN event will be held on June 28 – 30, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia where the first chapter of the group was started. Massachusetts where the launch event was held takes the bragging rights of starting the second chapter of KEMEN.

 

Erastus Mong’are, HSC, is the Founder and Executive Director, StartUpAfrica and Board Member of Kenya Men Empowerment Network (KEMEN) where he also serves as the National Events Director

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Africa

How Nairobi dust and old car tested Michele Obama’s love for her husband

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This year, First lady Michelle Obama was enjoying Beyonce and Jay Z’ performance in France while her husband Barack Obama visited his home and family in Kenya, Bondo.

The former American First lady Michelle Obama has now opened up on a possible reason why she did not accompany her husband Barrack Obama during his two recent visits to Kenya saying that her first visit in the country was just more than frustrating.

In her memoir titled “Becoming”, Michelle shared that on her first trip to Kenya in 1992 was full of misfortunes and even wore the wrong shoes. Obama’s sister, Auma, also had an old car that left her frustrated.

“Auma’s sky-blue VW was so old that it often needed to be pushed in order to get the engine into gear. I’d ill-advisedly bought new white sneakers to wear on the trip, and within a day, after all the pushing we did, they’d turned reddish brown, stained with the cinnamon-hued dust of Nairobi,” she shared. 

The 54-year-old who was born the US in 1964 added that the trip was also tiring and although she witnessed some beautiful scenaries, she was really frustrated.

“For every bit of awe we felt in Kenya, we were also tired, which led to quibbling, which led finally, for whatever reason, to rage. “I’m so angry at Barack,” I wrote in my journal. “I don’t think we have anything in common.” My thoughts trailed off there. As a measure of my frustration, I drew a long emphatic gash across the rest of the page,” the memoir went on.” she said. 

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Africa

Kenyans in US get discounts on fare, three luggage on KQ direct flight

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Kenya Airways has turned to the more than 100,000 Kenyans living in the US with generous discounts in a bid to shore up passenger numbers three weeks since it launched direct flights to New York.

National carrier, which has been grappling with low passenger numbers, says Kenyans who book tickets directly will enjoy a 10 per cent discount on fares and three of their luggage.

“The special rate for the Kenyan diaspora is only available for bookings made directly on our website,” Stephen Ngamau, KQ’s area manager for the Americas, says in a notice on display at the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC.

“We encourage guests to enrol onto our database for more updates and offers… We look forward to having the Kenyan diaspora aboard Kenya Airways soon.” The fares on the New York route range between Sh79,000 and Sh105,000 depending on the booking period.

Kenya estimates the number of its citizens studying or working in the US at 130,000 even though other sources claim the figure could be as high as 300,000. The group has been very active in the country’s economic affairs with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data showing that North America accounted for 50.8 per cent of the Sh197.1 billion that citizens living abroad sent home last year.

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The trend has continued this year with CBK data showing that Kenyans living in North America sent home Sh72.1 billion in the first six months of this year, representing a 69.3 per cent growth over the Sh42.5 billion received in a similar period last year.

Kenya launched its daily non-stop flights to the US on October 28 in what government officials said would stimulate tourism, trade and investments from the world’s largest economy.

The national carrier is cutting back on flights citing low demand. It has rescheduled flights covering November to March and cancelled 10 flights between last Monday and December 5.

Business Daily

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Africa

Uganda deploys military, police to guard Chinese investors

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The Ugandan government has deployed military and police officers to guard Chinese investors after the latter threatened to leave the country following a wave of attacks.

Mr You Jing Shu, the chairperson of Guangdong Chamber of Commerce, a lobby of about 50 Chinese companies in Uganda, said last week that many investors were considering leaving unless the government beefed up security.

“I may personally be resilient to this kind of insecurity because I lived in South Sudan, which is more hostile than here. But other investors who are faint-hearted can leave,” Mr Shu said in an interview with Daily Monitor.

ATTACKS

On October 23, a group of unknown assailants raided the residential quarters of CCLE Rubber Company in Mbalala in central Mukono District injuring five people — three Chinese nationals and two Ugandans. The attackers are said to have made away with $11,000 in cash, mobile phones, and electronic appliances whose worth was unspecified.

Mr Chen Fan, the director of the company, told Daily Monitor that machete-wielding gang beat up the security guard, injuring him, and took away his gun which they later abandoned.

“This is scaring us. I feel I should leave the country because this is not the first company to be attacked. It is very bad,” Mr Fan said.

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Uganda police spokesman, Mr Emilian Kayima, said investigations on the attack and other similar ones are underway.

“We are taking this matter seriously. As I speak, I am in the field in Luweero (district that neighbours Mukono to the southeast) investigating a similar matter and very soon we shall come up with a solution,” Mr Kayima said.

MEETING

Last week, a delegation of Chinese investors met with top government officials over the rising wave of armed and violent robberies that have resulted in loss of life and property.

The closed-door crisis meeting was attended by the minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo, Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine, the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, the director-general of Internal Security Organisation (domestic spy agency) Col Kaka Bagyenda, and Mr Ronald Kibuule, the Mukono North MP.

The government assured the Chinese that they would be provided with armed guards.

Mr Kibuule told Daily Monitor that the meeting had been ordered by President Yoweri Museveni after the MP informed him of the attacks in his constituency.

Daily Monitor

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