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VIDEOS: Amb Githae lauds Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco for “contributing over Sh 300M to Kenyan economy”

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

Outgoing Kenyan Ambassador to the United States Robinson Githae has commended the Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco for its role in supporting the economy back home.

Speaking at the 6th Annual General Meeting of the  Sacco  in Boston, Massachusetts, Githae challenged other  Kenyans living and working abroad to join societies and pull resources together in order to realise bigger goals.

“I am happy to announce that the outfit has pumped over Shs300m into the Kenyan economy,” said the envoy.

The SACCO Chairman, Mr Simon Kariuki Nyaga, said that the members are, “without a doubt, glad they invested their money in the organization.”

“We have different ways through which members are benefiting. Many of them are already owning homes – especially through our signature project, Fadhili Homes – after borrowing their own money from the Sacco and repaying the same at very affordable rates,” said Mr Nyaga, a Nairobi based businessman and a Diaspora returnee.

Embu Governor Martin Wambora, who represented the Council of Governors (COG) at the event challenged Kenyans abroad to partner with county governments and invest in programs geared towards achieving the Central government’s Big Four Agenda.

“The Sacco has already signed Memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with six counties and is ready to invest  in housing, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism, among other sectors,” he said, adding: “In Embu we have set aside 16 acres of prime land  for development right in the heart of Embu town.”

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Many of the founder members present expressed optimism that the Sacco would be an example of unprecedented success stories coming from the Diaspora.

“We want to be a conduit. We want the Kenyan government to recognize our efforts,” said  Raphael Kilondu, the Honorary Secretary to the Sacco.

“We plan to venture into projects which will make real sense. We will get involved in infrastructural development and even create employment for the youth,” he added.

This comes at at a time when some Kenyans in the Diaspora have lost their money after investing through unscrupulous individuals or organizations which have ended up swindling them. Read: FBI now invited to probe Kenyan firm that promised investors the moon but delivered false hopes.

According to information posted on its website, the Kenya USA Diaspora Sacco seeks to promote investment opportunities and savings among Kenyans residing in the United States of America “so that they can have a reliable and organized way to invest, access to affordable credit, carry out projects, build businesses, or meet personal and family needs in Kenya.”

According top data posted on the Kenya’s Central Bank website, Kenyans in the diaspora send home more than $2 billion annually but most of it goes to charities and family support obligations such as school fees, medical bills and general philanthropy. Watch:

READ ALSO:   Amb Githae stops controversial ID issuance exercise in US Cities, says no E-passports at Embassy

 

 

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Business

Life in the skies: I globetrot for a living

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Mariam Ali is living her dream. Imagine working at 37,000ft in a jet cruising at 900Km/h, mingling with all kinds of people? A dream job, right? Well, this is what Mariam does for a living. Her journey began at Fly Dubai as a member of the cabin crew, before joining Emirates in 2015 as the airline’s business class hostess.

So, what does the job of a global airline’s cabin crew entail? And what is it like to globetrot to and from work?

‘‘My main job is to ensure the passengers aboard are comfortable and safe. It’s also my responsibility to ensure passengers have the best experience during the journey by attending to all their needs,” she says.

‘‘Some journeys, such as Dubai to New York, are very long, sometimes lasting more than 10 hours. This can get boring and exhausting, so it’s important to ensure passengers are happy and relaxed.”

This job has offered her travel opportunities to places she had never dreamt of going to before.

‘‘Every journey is an opportunity to experience new cultures and to interact with people from diverse backgrounds,” she says.

‘‘It is always a delight to discover new cities and revisit those that I have been to before.”

Multi-racial interactions begin long before Mariam’s plane starts taxiing on the runway, thanks to Emirates’ 20,000 flight attendants who are drawn from 150 countries.

India is Mariam’s favourite destination, owing to the sub-continent’s diverse cultures, sub-cultures, languages and dialects.

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What are the key selling points for this career and why would a young person be interested?

‘‘First, if you do it for a long time, flying can become a lifestyle. Most air hostesses are offered the best accommodation, travel allowances and per diems,” she says, adding that this is the best job for those who are outgoing and adventurous in nature.

‘‘You always get to meet and interact with team members whom you have never flown with before, which is very exciting.”

But even though they might not always know each other before every flight, the team always has a common goal: To fly passengers to their destinations within a safe and exciting environment.

Major airlines also offer extensive training in the industry to boost their employees’ career development.’’

Additionally, flight attendants have a clearly defined career growth pattern.

“Beginners start at the economy class level before progressing to business class. You are then elevated to first class and later cabin supervisor and service trainer, depending on your interests. All these come with attractive perks,” she says.

The selection process in major airlines is, however, a highly competitive and rigorous exercise.

“Candidates who meet the basic requirements of personal presentation and etiquette are handpicked from dozens of applicants, after which they are interviewed on various aspects of the business,” says Mariam, who is also a a fitness coach and a gym trainer.

Once selected, the team is taken through an intensive training that covers the aspects of safety and security, customer service, grooming and general medical training.

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“This is particularly necessary because it enables us to know how to handle medical emergencies on board whenever they occur.

“Unlike some careers, where you must have qualifications in that particular area, most airlines admit professionals from different academic backgrounds, with only basic training required.”

Mariam studied food and nutrition at the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) in London, and also holds a higher national diploma in aviation management.

After employment, a candidate can further their studies and specialise in different areas. The downside of her job, she says, is jetlag.

“You fly through different time zones every day. When you leave Dubai for Chicago, for instance, you depart in the morning and arrive there while it’s still in the morning. This throwback upsets the body, and you have to adjust accordingly so that you can sleep.”

Mariam notes that getting used to jetlag takes time, and that the body naturally adjusts to cope favourably with the long flights.

‘‘When I arrive in Chicago in the morning, I usually go sightseeing and shopping in the city, then retire to bed at night. This allows me to sleep well. On average, we spend 50 hours in the city, and by the time we’re flying back, my body has relaxed adequately.”

Eating healthy foods and maintaining an active lifestyle is highly recommended for this kind of a job.

‘‘We’re encouraged to engage in sports, go to the gym, do yoga or meditation so we keep our bodies and spirit active,’’ she says.

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A strong personality, a pleasant demeanour and positive attitude are crucial in this industry.

Mariam travels to seven or eight destinations in a week, and gets 10 to 12 days of rest every month. With such a compact schedule, meeting her family is not always possible, but her employer offers her a very decent incentive.

“The airline provides a concessional ticket for every crew’s family, which allows us to travel together with loved ones. Whenever I travel, I purchase tickets at discounted prices, or use the free tickets that the airline provides.”

Installation of WiFi on planes is one of the trends which is expected to enhance the flying experience for customers.

“It’s now possible to connect with your loved ones and go about your life from altitudes of 35,000 feet.”

But misconceptions about the career abound too. People assume that members of cabin crew are poor at maintaining lasting relationships because they are always travelling. This is false,” she observes.

Mariam is an avid reader too, with a particular bias for fiction.

“I like reading crime thrillers by John Grisham. I also love history. My most recent read is a book called Sapiens by Yuval Harari, which is a history of evolution of humankind until the 21st century.”

An ardent hiker, Mariam has climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, Elbrus in Russia, Stok Kangri in northern India and Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

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Michael Joseph: KQ could fly into more turbulence

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National carrier Kenya Airways has protested the slow pace with which the government is implementing the nationalisation of the airline. It has warned it could fly into more turbulence within six months if the programme is not completed.

Kenya Airways Board Chairman Michael Joseph  yesterday expressed their frustrations at how the Ministry of Transport was handling the recommended programme.

He complained to a parliamentary committee that since the National Assembly directed the nationalisation, little had been done, throwing their restructuring plans into disarray.

Mr Joseph said since July when parliament voted to nationalise the listed airline, approving the government’s buying out of the minority shareholders, there was no clear roadmap and set timelines for the programme, placing the airline at risk of plunging into more debts.

He told the National Assembly’s Transport Committee that while they had worked out their plans and engaged both financial and legal advisers on the nationalisation programme, there was little that had been done by the government to actualise the plan.

“Our frustrations and impatience is that about six months later, we have no timelines on when the process should end. We are not even sure if it will go to conclusion,” said Joseph.

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He added: “We are frustrated that this is really taking long. We have vented as much as we can and I am sure even the PS (Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett) is not happy with me stating this publicly, but we can tell you that unless this is done within the next six months, then the airline will no longer be a strategic asset for this country.”

But Koimett defended the ministry, stating that since parliament’s move, they had formed steering and technical committees that are now handling the specific elements of the process.

She revealed that the committees have since prepared a memorandum to be presented to Cabinet and sought advisory opinion of the Attorney General, who addressed the aspects that need to be taken care of in the process.

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BE CAREFUL WHO YOU DATE: McDonalds CEO sacked for dating an employee

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McDonald’s president and CEO Steve Easterbrook has been shown the door after showing “poor judgment” by engaging in a “consensual relationship” with an employee.

“Easterbrook… has separated from the company following the board’s determination that he violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee,” the company said in a statement.

“The company confirms that this leadership transition is unrelated to the company’s operational or financial performance.” added the statement.

In an email to the employees, Easterbrook, who has served as chief executive since 2015 said his relationship was “a mistake” that violated company policy.

“Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on,” the email said.

“There isn’t going to be some radical, strategic shift. The plan is working,” he added.

Under his leadership, McDonald’s share price doubled.

AFP reports that just like other fast food chains, McDonald’s is facing headwinds as consumers move to healthier dining options.

WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS

In recent years, workplace relationships have cost a number of top executives their jobs, moreso as the #MeToo movement gathers momentum.

 

READ ALSO:   Amb Githae stops controversial ID issuance exercise in US Cities, says no E-passports at Embassy
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