Revisioning Kenya 2009 Speakers
Linus Gitahi comes to his position as CEO of Nation Media Group after a long and successful executive career at GlaxoSmithKline, the global pharmaceutical company. Beginning as the head of Africa marketing in London, Mr. Gitahi advanced to commercial director of GlaxoSmithKline where he was based in Nicosia Cypress. He subsequently was promoted to General Manager of GlaxoSmithKline in East Africa and the Indian Ocean islands and ultimately to CEO of the Lagos based GlaxoSmithKline West Afrika. As Chief Executive Officer of Nation Media Group, he presides over the largest media firm in East and Central Africa. The company serves its market with both print and electronic platforms.
Samuel Muhunyu is an environmentalist based in Molo town. He has worked with many projects in community based groups of women, self help and youth groups in various capacities in campaigning, building and their management. He has worked as a scheme manager for various irrigation schemes and a soil conservation officer for the Ministry of Agriculture. He is also a Commission member for International Commission on Future of Food and Agriculture since 2004. He is currently the regional coordinator for Network for Ecofarming in Africa (NECOFA) an NGO that deals with educating the public on health and social dignity.
Dr. Kamau Gachigi: material scientist, a lecturer and a researcher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nairobi. He has worked there since 1999. He is the founder of a student group tapped to encourage entrepreneurship on engineering and scientific knowledge. The group serves as an outreach to high schools and community as they campaign for the development of the community into a business. He is also involved in the setting up of a science park at the University of Nairobi. He spent 10 years as a practicing Hindu and is now a lay Christian preacher, with a particular interest in the linkages between science and spirituality.
Jessica Colaço: Research Leader at Strathmore Research and Consultancy Centre (SRCC), she was named by ‘Business Daily’ as one of the top 40, under 40 years of age women in Kenya’s business scene.
She developed her own system to allow mobile phone users to view detailed street maps of Nairobi and access her user generated point-of-interest (POI) database. She has helped organize the first ever Nairobi Facebook Developer Garage, an event that served as a forum for students from different universities and professional developers in Kenya to learn about the Facebook programming platform.
Jacob Oketch is a performing poet based in Nairobi. He is also a postgraduate student at the University of Nairobi, school of journalism. Previously, he was involved in theatre arts with the university of Nairobi free traveling theatre. He is currently in the process of releasing his debut poetry audio CD, a ten -track piece. He is interested on the impact of Kenya’s local languages on contemporary trends in poetry.
Jacob is also an accomplished story teller and a journalist. He also works with DALC Education as a television scriptwriter and an editor.
Murage Kimani: Mzee Murage hit the headlines after deciding to join school at the age of 84 in 2004 after the Kenyan government introduced free primary education. He has been inspirational speaker on various topics. He was last Sunday baptized and he believes he will continue to serve God and help in uniting people.
Okidi Fred Onesmus has been living in Mathare for the last 12 years and workingwith Mathare Youth Talented Organisation (MYTO) since 2004. MYTO is acommunity based group formed to mobibilize and and support youth and children into productive activities and to help prevent them from getting involved in crime and violence. Together with a group of young people they have set up small goodwill schools to teach young children, build loos and continue to determinedly develop and improve their pocket of Mathare.
Musonda Mumba is currently the project officer and focal point person in UNEP on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa. Her responsibilities include providing technical expertise to African governments, developing appropriate policy briefs and other technical materials. Musonda, a Zambian national, received her BSc. Ed degree at University of Zambia and her PhD at University College London in wetland conservation and hydrology. She worked for the Zambian government at the Environmental Council of Zambia as a field biologist, in Switzerland to work with Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, 1971) and later joined WWF International in 2000, as a programme officer within the Global Freshwater Programme. She is a contributing author in the Inland Waters Chapter of the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment and her research interests include water policy, climate change adaptation, gender, protected area management and invasive species. In February 2008, Musonda was part of an expedition that climbed Rwenzori Mountains to study the glacial recession in the mountain.Her other interests include hiking, painting, cooking and writing.
Irungu Houghton is the Kenyan Pan Africa Director for Oxfam. He has fifteen years experience of national, continental and international advocacy at a managerial level in Africa and globally. He currently manages a multi-year campaigning budget of GBP£1.5 million and a team working across the three African regions with expertise in essential services, women’s rights, protection of civilians from conflict and democratic governance. In his current position, he maintains a power analysis of key continental institutions and advises Oxfam country and regional programmes as to key leverage points and developments within the organs of the African Union. He is also a regular source of analysis for the African and international media on issues of financing for development, trade, health and governance in Africa. He is a postgraduate student of African history and political science from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London, England. He is a father to two girls and two boys.
Revisioning Kenya 2008 Speakers:
Judy Kibinge: Her filmography includes The Aftermath (2002), Dangerous Affair (Best Production Zanzibar International Film Festival 2003), Bless This Land (Best Documentary Kenya International Film Festival 2006) and most recently Coming of Age (Distinction, Belgian African Film Festival 2008) and The Necklace a (2008). She owns a production house, Seven.
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi (Kenya): A co-convenor of Concerned Citizens for Peace, and winner of the Right Livelihood award, better known as the ‘Alternative Nobel’.
Kevit Desai (Kenya): Director of Engineering for Centurion Systems, Head of IEEE, member of Kepsa who organizes a large competion for university inventors each year and tries to find companies to produce the items commercially. His current focus is uses of ICT in rural areas.
John Kiarie (Kenya): Former Reddykulas comedian, their social commentary led to “KJ” standing for Dagoretti. Fresh and untainted, despite being beaten up during the campaign he will speak on his Vijana Tugutuke message
Professor MK Musaazi (Uganda): An inventor with real practical solutions to African problems. Professor Musaazi was recently advisor to the TV programme Schools Shape Up, where a number of his workable solutions to homegrown issues are viewed in action. He will discuss inventions and their practical applications.
Onesmo Ole Moi Yoi (Kenya): World famous bio genetecist and scientist with a simple, but radical way of thinking different.
Rafique Keshavjee: Visionary entrusted with creating the Aga Khan University in Arusha and Nairobi on the creation of entrepreneurial spirit and the way to move Kenya towards self sufficient income generation.
George Gachara (Kenya): A young student who set up an sms distress line in the early days of the violence, which received nearly 2000 messages in a week. George’s work led to him advising mediation on youth attitude and issues. He will reflect on the post election violence.
Rob Burnet: Established the Kuona Trust visual artist studios, workshops and public art projects at Kenya’s National Museum in the 1990’s. From 2000-2006 was the Ford Foundation’s program officer for Media, Arts and Culture in Eastern Africa. After a stint as a visiting research fellow at the University of Reading. he now works with Mediae, the producers of the TV series Makutano Junction and a number of other influential public communications projects.
Ishmael Beah – His memoir, A Long Way Gone, that tells of his time as a child soldier has sold close to a million copies. He is a UNICEF ambassador and is working on a novel
John Sibi-Okumu: A member of the Editorial Board and regular columnist for Awaaz Magazine. He has published Role Play – A Journey into the Kenyan Psyche (Mvule Publications) and will launch, Tom Mboya – Master of Mass Management, a book for children at the Kwani Litfest.
Tony Mochama: A poet and journalist who lives and works in Nairobi. A Law graduate who has a collection of short stories coming out soon titled – ‘The ruins down in Africa’. He has also been called a ‘literary gangster’, from time to rhyme. His collection of poetry, ‘What if I am a literary gangster? in 2007.