Nairobi, 10 November 2010: Lifestyle brands retailer, Deacons Kenya Limited, has partnered with high schools in a breast health awareness initiative that is poised to change the lives of young girls in Kenya.

Training the Trainer - Edwinah Combar of Woolworths Village Market teaching a student at Kenya High School how to go about reading the Bra Measuring Chart

The campaign, since July last year, has enabled the company reach out to over 2,500 girls in an enlightening breast-health initiative that has so far covered four city schools in the last one year.

Deacons Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Muchiri Wahome says the company has invested over KShs 1 million in the last one year seeking to educate school girls and to boost awareness of their breast health at an early age.

“Our focus is on a relevant, untapped and vulnerable age group made up of young girls between 14-19 years. We realized that this age group had been left out when various campaigns based on breast health and care especially because these initiatives are normally targeted at an older female audience. Most students are also in school when these activities are taking place and that’s why we decided to take this initiative through school visits,” said Mr. Muchiri.

Mr. Muchiri said Deacons intends to extend the campaign reach to 6 schools beginning January to December next year with the hope of netting a larger number of schools in future. The initiative is helping girls to understand various aspects of breast health awareness including knowledge on their correct bra sizes, how to detect signs of breast cancer and how to seek medical attention if any signs are detected. One in nine Kenyan women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, health experts say.

In order to offer breast care and prevention knowledge from a medical perspective, Deacons is in partnership with the Nairobi Women’s Hospital who accompany the corporate on all the school visits imparting knowledge and spreading breast health awareness. Media personalities and motivational speakers also join the team and address issues of self esteem to the students.

Health researchers say 80 percent of women wear the wrong size bra, indicating a low breast health awareness level. Still, in addition, there is low awareness on breast cancer detection and treatment.

“This should be boosted because health experts say early detection of breast cancer improves survival chances of breast cancer. The experience at these various schools has been phenomenal since most of the students are unaware of the importance of wearing the right size bra.

We have had the opportunity to do free bra measuring for the students, and in addition to that trained the class monitors so that the service can reach all the students – and this is greatly helping to shape these young women look at their breast health more seriously,” said Olive Gathinji, Marketing and Communications Manager.

In the first year of inception of the Deacons breast health initiative – July 2009 up to August 2010 – Deacons has reached out mainly to girls’ high school in Nairobi such as Buru Buru Girls High School, St. Georges Girls Secondary School, State House Girls High School and Kenya High School.


The Storymoja Hay Festival Kenya

The post that came one month late!!!!

The Storymoja Hay Festival Kenya took place between 1st and 3rd October, 2010 at the Railway Club in Nairobi. I attended the festival for the three days, and I didn’t even manage to catch all the events! There were over 90 events lined up, and the who’s who in the literally world was there. From local (Kenyan) to international authors, poets, journalists, playwrights and artists, the public was spoilt for choice. Kids too, had numerous activities that they could get involved in, including a chance to publish their own book in two hours.

The events were scheduled to take place between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the evening sessions were taking place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There were various tents pitched on the Railway Club grounds where the sessions were taking place. There was the U.S Embassy Tent, the Kwani Tent, British Council Marquee, Tandaa ICT board Tent, Africog Marquee, Storymoja Tent, Kenya Buzz Tent and the Transparency International Tent among others.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Marjorie Oludhe McGoye was in attendance and here she poses with some fans who probably used her book as a set book.

Some attendees of the Hay Festival go crazy at the camera at the end of the day. Am there somewhere. Let’s play spot me!

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The Nairobi Toastmasters Club

A member of the club

The toastmasters club is basically a place to improve your spoken language. You learn to give speeches, and there are levels of speeches you will give throughout your membership. You will be evaluated and promoted to the next level after every speech you give so you have to prepare well.

Of course I did not know all these when I was invited by StartupKenya on twitter. He told me he’d love to have me as a guest in one of the meetings. He told me about Nairobi Toastmasters club which meets twice a month at lunch time. The meetings usually take place at the United Kenya Club on Mondays.

I agreed to attend even before I knew what it was about. He told me the theme of the meeting was ‘My Technology’ and I’d be the topics master for the day. There are many roles one can have during the meeting, one of the toastmaster, who’s the emcee in simpler terms. Startupkenya was the toastmaster and I the topics master.

What was my role about? Well, I was to prepare topics about technology which I’d ask the members to give a 2 minute speech on. Like I ask you to speak briefly on how the computer has changed your life, what you think of the mobile phone, and members can be picked randomly to answer the questions.

Thus I sat down Sunday night, on the eve of the meeting, googling and trying to adapt the questions to something we can all relate to. I sent these to Startupkenya and he approved, said they were good questions. Anyway, Monday lunchtime found me at the United Kenya Club, participating in a most interesting session.

The meeting started with the chairman opening the meeting and conducting some club business, after which the toastmaster was invited to take over the meeting. Some members who were being evaluated gave their speeches, one gave their first ever speech called The Ice Braker. I must admit, the grammar and punctuation, and construction of sentences and use of metaphors and description was on top.

After which I was invited to ask members questions, and these are some of them:

“You have found the love of your life on an internet dating site. Tell your mother how the first date went.”

“You are the love who’s been found. Tell us how it went down.”

“you have landed in a village where you they have never seen a mobile phone. Describe it to them.”

You get the gist of the questions.

Of course I had to introduce myself and explain a little about twitter, and it was encouraging to see that about a third of them were tweeps.
Though they may not have heard of me 🙂

I’d love to be a member of the Toastmasters Nairobi. Will definitely help with those CEO speeches I’ll be making in the future. Plus it’s a great opportunity to network.

More information can be found here: (toastmasters website) and here.

Also, follow startupkenya and nairobitm on twitter.

Random Tuesdays: Kwani Open Mic

There is this perfect week idea I have. Yes, I borrowed the idea from Bernie? Barnie? of How I Met Your Mother, but I don’t intend to sleep with a perfect stranger for seven days in a row. My intentions involve going out to party/club seven days in a row. Okay, maybe not seven but 5; I have it all worked out. Tuesday to Saturday. I’ll write about it so you watch out for when it happens.

Yesterday I attended Kwani? Open Mic at Club Soundd. I think I was the first to arrive and the last to leave; I remember the bouncer switching the lights on us while my friend requested the song bendover to usher us out. The request was granted and the bouncer told her she can always come back and request the song over and over again. Somebody was in like!

I’d like to say I listened to the poems for like an hour; after that your guess is as good as mine. Kenyanpoet (Njeri Wangari) performed some poems from her book and they were really good.

There were some tweeps in the house; the cheerful Chiira, the lovely Joliea, geeky gramware (hope you enjoy the book!), chilled out warothe, foxy Felix Mind and lovely Njeri. Who else was there but I forgot to mention? I’ll add you later if you remind me. I promise.

There was another tweep who deserves special mention, don’t ask why. His name is….drumrolls….. Zablon or Zabdyte on twitter.

So having been ushered out of Club Soundd, we made out way to Giggles to have that one more for the road. I’d want to write about the details of last night but that would be breaking my rule of kiss and no tell. It was a crazy night for a Tuesday though.

So am travelling to Uganda tomorrow; one more item crossed off my list.

The StoryMoja Hay Festival, Kenya

The SHFK is coming up on October 1-3, 2010. I am sure that many of you readers might like to know about the festival. The festival this year is themed ‘Diversity’. As in 2009, the sessions are going to be many and in varied forms and topics.

Kathy Vaughan presents ‘Management Proverbs’

Sunday 3rd October 4pm to 5:30pm at the SHFK 2010
Growing up, everyone learns lessons about life through direct instruction and through our social environments. Some are positive, some negative, some unexplored. This session will engage the audience in thinking about proverbs as a tool for the modern workplace. The audience will have a chance to discuss and interpret chosen proverbs related to work, as well as create their own proverbs.

Kathleen M. Vaughan is an experienced trainer and consultant specializing in leadership, collaboration and conflict management. She holds a Masters in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelors degree from Dartmouth College, USA. As a third culture kid and a seasoned mediator, she enjoys using language and the word as a tool to generate understanding, perspective-taking and motivation.

The Indian Black Butterfly invites you to her join her Transformation CirQle.
Friday 1st October 2pm to 3:30pm

Tazim Elkington – The Indian Black Butterfly – has a mysterious sense of ‘knowing’ how to tap into the spaces people are unsure of stepping into. Her sessions are unique and rare as they take a life of their own as moments unfold. She challenges limitations, norms, comfort zones and most of all that which we may consider a done deal however might be the biggest setbacks in our lives. This is not an experience where you buy 1 and get 1 free.. come join Tazim and find out more for and about life and where we function from and why. Lets discuss ‘WHAT IS POWER’ – and its allies and foes! This session will be held on Friday 2-3.30pm at the ‘Transformation CirQle’. This session is not to be missed!!

“Verse of Fire”: A Conversation with Benjamin Zephaniah
Sunday 3rd October 4pm to 6pm

In “Bought and Sold,” Benjamin Zephaniah asks, “What happened to the verse of fire”? “Smart big awards and prize money,” he warns, are “killing off black poetry.” Poets who seek commercial approval risk losing their ability to find what Zephaniah terms “de magic poem,” a poem that “can ease our sorrows” and celebrate “our tomorrows.” A poet of the heart and of the head, Benjamin Zephaniah writes and performs socially engaged poetry, a poetry that makes audiences laugh and cry, feel and care, think and plan, engage the world in its possibilities and its obstacles.

Deeply committed to an ethical vision of the world, an expansive ethics that ranges from veganism to anti-racist activism, Zephaniah works on and off the page. He has championed a poetry that speaks to publics, eschewing the model of the isolated genius artist intent on writing in cryptic codes. His commitment to a democratic poetics is perhaps most evident in his writing for children in the volumes Funky Chickens, Wicked World, and School’s Out: Poems Not for School. Zephaniah is deeply committed to the future of a risk-taking poetry that pursues social and political utopias. In “Protest Poets,” he urges “human poets” to “unite,” “Lest we pass on to future poets / a world in which, poets do not fall in love / or mek mistakes.”

On this “Verse of Fire” panel, Benjamin Zephaniah is joined by Kenyan poets Tony “Smitta” Mochama and Njeri Wangari, in a wide-ranging discussion about the present and future of poetry, the relationship between art and activism, and how to engage multiple audiences through innovative performances. The panel will be moderated by poet and literary critic Keguro Macharia.

Keguro is an Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. he belongs to the Koroga Collaborative and to the Concerned Kenyan Writers Collective. His writing can be found at

Tony ‘Smitta’ Mochama is a successful journalist, and popular performance poet in Nairobi, with two published works of poetry to his name – ‘What if I Am a Literary Gangster’, and its sequel, ‘The Literary Gangsta – II.’ A third work of poetry ‘Evanescence’ is on the way … Mochama has also lectured on creative writing and poetry, most recently as a guest speaker in June at Concordia University, in Montreal. A self-confessed vodka aficionado (no lemons, no avocado), the dread-locked poet also did Law at UoN, but sez: “Don’t practice. Just preach!”

Njeri Wangari is well known local poet/ spoken word performer, blogger and literary activist. Her first book of poetry was launched last month, Mind and Mind Fields: My Spoken Words. Check out her blog
For More Details About the SHFK 2010 visit the Storymoja Werbsite or write

Paul Sullivan presents his book ‘Kikuyu District’
Friday 1st October 4pm to 5:30pm

Kikuyu District contains the edited letters of Francis Hall (Fort Hall) who lived in Kenya from 1892 – 1901 when he died from blackwater fever aged 40. His letters are among the earliest colonial records of daily life in British East Africa. He commanded Fort Smith near present day Nairobi with orders to keep the peace between the Kikuyu and the Maasai and to re-supply caravans traveling between the coast and Uganda. It was a hard life in dangerous conditions and every day was an adventure. He was lucky to survive a goring by a rhino and was later mauled by a wounded leopard that he strangled with his rifle. As the railway approached Kikuyuland Hall was moved to Mbirri (Muranga) to establish a new fort. Six months later he was dead.Kikuyu District is a unique and fascinating account of the life of an early colonial administrator and settler.

Born in Wales, educated in England and the USA, Paul Sullivan chose a copywriting career in advertising that led to work in ten countries in Asia and Africa. A thirty year resident of Kenya, he is now retired on the Kenyan coast working on his second book about Kenyan colonial history.

For More Details About the SHFK 2010 visit the Storymoja Werbsite or write

Wamathai Spoken Word ~ September Edition presents Wamathai Spoken Word on Thursday the 9th of September 2010 at Secrets Lounge (Ground floor,View Park Towers – Next to Alliance Francaise) from 7 – 10 PM

Wamathai and guests during a past spoken word event

The program is as follows:

* The event will be hosted by Dela

* The poetry performance slots will be open

* Music by: Aziza

* Prose reading by James Ochweri & Chiira Maina

* The Screening of short films by Kuweni Serious


This post is coming a bit late because of internet issues, I just hope it will still be relevant

Kibaki signs the constitution into law (promulgation) and publicly announces it (promulgation).

Photo courtsey of ombui

Seems am the only one who hasn’t done a post with/about the word promulgation and am not getting left behind. To start it, I first heard it on twitter. First of all, I looked up the word in the dictionary. Okay, am lying. That was the last thing I did. First I just kept wondering what it was and figured it had something to do with the constitution thing today.

Anyway, according to the dictionary on my phone (yeah, I got a good phone alright), the word means:

To put into effect ( a law, decree etc) especially by formal proclamation
To announce or declare officially
To make widespread

However, we Kenyans are known for our uniqueness and have found various ways to use the word. It could mean anything: Sample this conversation on FB, the intended meaning is in brackets.

Me: Sam, hebu promulgate yourself. It’s midnight. (go to sleep)

Sam: blah blah blah am watching Prince of Persia

Me: And am promulgating Fringe sn 2. (watching)

Sam: blah blah. Any new Series in campus?

Me: I’ll promulgate for you then DVD write them (search)

Sam: Okay, I’ll promulgate (wait)

Me: Promulgate then (Goodnight then)

Sam: Promie promie (nite nite)

Other Sentences (from FB or twitter). I’m going to let you figure out the meanings on your own. It should be easy.

Happy promulgation people and if you are promulgating tonight, use a condom

It’s called promulgation funga. Chips funga is so last constitution.

So the doc says am okay and can handle promulgation. I asked how many beers is the upper limit?

Heh, this Mombasa promulgation is so serious (I didn’t understand this one either)

Promulgation Anyango (baby names)

Whip cream and promulgation, hmmm…..

LOL, you just made me promulgate (er..peeing while laughing?)

We need to promulgate this thing between us

Hebu go home, GSU will promulgate your guys

Enjoy your evening. Don’t overpromulgate

Cool then, promulgate well.

Time to promulgate myself off the internet

I intend to promulgate myself some alcohol

And he said unto them, go forth and promulgate

Don’t hate, promulgate (this one actually rhymes)

I didn’t want to promulgate those silly drivers getting onto the kerb

In short, promulgate has just become the universal verb in Kenya. In other words, it can be used to replace any verb. For example, if I have used your FB status update/tweet without acknowledging you, promulgate me.