Project Lighthouse Kenya

Project Lighthouse Kenya (PLK) and Project Lighthouse Africa as international headquarter, based in Germany aims to support Kenya and other African countries with their sustainable infrastructural development of the agricultural, energy, environment, education and trade sector and that way build a lighthouse project for whole Africa.

For, despite of many problems, Kenya offers an unimagined potential of motivated people, resources and development potentialities, which are to be activated and fostered purposefully. The principle of untargeted subsidies, which is still applied as development aid by many industrial nations, has evidentially not transferred Africa into an (of financial development aid) independent continent. On the contrary, there is a tremendous need for targeted programs to implement a competitive infrastructure, which allows Kenya and other African countries to succeed in the globalized economy.
For this purpose, people with good educational background as well as the funding of regional specific markets and infrastructure – for instance in the field of agriculture, energy supply or row material trading – plus the generation of a trustfully basis for business activities are inevitable. Credibility and reliability are important components for economical success. Without reliance and legal certainty neither business deals nor international corporations have any chance to emerge. An equally essential factor is intercultural competence; without intercultural competence many projects are destined to fail. The precise consideration of regional and cultural conditions is a key success factor.

Based on those central themes, founding members from Germany, Kenya, Cameroon and Spain constituted the association Project Lighthouse Kenya in March 2010 and formed the basis for the realisation of the vision of Kenya as an country independent of donations and development aid. Thereby, the association benefits from knowledge and know-how of the founding members being experts in very different domains – be it business management, entrepreneurship, research and development, finance, project management, law, intercultural communication, education or project development.

Already in February 2009, the first charitable ProLight Organisation called Project Lighthouse Gambia started its work in the western African Gambia. ProLightGambia (West Africa) and ProLightKenya (East Africa) will prospectively act as regional operating NGOs under the umbrella of the international headquarter Project Lighthouse Africa e.V. registered and based in Berlin/Germany.


Initial steps discussion with School of Journalism at University of Nairobi as one of the official BMBF project partners

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From left: Associate Director Dr. Muiru Ngugi, Senior Lecturer Dr. Hezron Mogambi, FU Berlin project manager Matthias Duchscherer, Project Lighthouse Kenya Deputy Country Director Enrico Scharrenberg, Director of SoJ Dr. Wambui Kiai

Nairobi – Research foci, initial steps, workshop preparations – the topics of the meeting with one of the official project partners, School of Journalism (SoJ) at University of Nairobi. Matthias Duchscherer and Enrico Scharrenberg discussed the initial steps of the BMBF research project with Dr. Wambui Kiai, Director of SoJ; the assoc. Director Dr. Ngugi and Senior Lecturer Dr. Mogambi.


Meeting at UNESCO Nairobi Office for BMBF research project

meeting at UNESCO Nairobi Office
Fruitful meeting at UNESCO Nairobi Office. From left: ProLightKenya Dep. Country Director Enrico Scharrenberg, UNESCO Advisor Jaco Du Toit, FU Berlin project manager Matthias Duchscherer

Nairobi – In a first meeting at UNESCO Nairobi, Freie Universität Berlin project manager Matthias Duchscherer and Project Lighthouse Kenya Deputy Country Director Enrico Scharrenberg discussed collaboration options with Jaco Du Toit, Advisor for Communications and Information at the UNESCO Regional Office for East Africa. Topic of the fruitful meeting was the research project on ICT-based Local Information and Communication Systems for Sustaining Development.


International Research Project on ICT-based Local Information and Communication Systems for Sustaining Development

In a project funded by the German Ministry of Research and Education an international research team is currently exploring the viability of an international comparative research project on the use of digital and mobile media in European and African countries.

The research question focuses on the role of communication and media use in the context of infrastructure and development projects and includes researchers from Freie Universität Berlin , University of the Gambia , University of Nairobi and researchers from Sierra Leone as well as business partners and civic organizations like ‘Project Lighthouse Africa’ and its subsidiaries Project Lighthouse Kenya and Project Lighthouse Gambia. Central questions are: Which are the attitudes and knowledge of the local population about the environmental situation in their region? Which is the role local and regional media (including radio and ICTs like the mobile phone system) play in this context? A further research question is to find out which applications / content form / mobile media channel could be used (or have to be developed) to reach the population. Therefore best practice examples which already exist (especially in East Africa, like Kenya) shall be described and assessed in the context of the project goals.

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FU Berlin3

Integrated and Sustaining Mill and Farm Development Project in Kenya

(Project in preparation)

A sustainable and efficient agriculture, quantitative and qualitative increase in production of small and smallest farmer, better access to markets, transport of products from rural areas to the market centers and a crisis resistant supply of the population with staple food: These are the challenges in many African countries with a high socio-economic and socio-political influence.
ProLightAfrica and the subsidiary ProLightKenya aim – with an integrated, sustainable and crisis resistant Mill & Farm Development Project – at an important and socially relevant contribution to the infrastructural development of Kenya. The concept is supposed to also act as lighthouse project for other (East) African countries.

With our autarkic mill and integrated farm development master plan we want to afford a crisis resistant supply to the population with stable food (maize flour, casava flour) at a fair price on the one hand. On the other hand with the concept we want to offer an option for a sustainable development of farmers business.

The concept is modular structured. According to local factors, different modules can be combined and customised to the situation.

Visualisiertes Konzept Mais Fram Development Projekt frei

As a first step we want to set up a banana flour production line to assist banana farmers in marketing their products on German and European markets. An emerging market for banana flour is developing in Germany. Particularly banana flour is gluten free, has a high protein content and hence is very intersesting for the food industry. For starting the project we access to midget production of two small local mills (banana flour production is not common in Kenya and therefore this way of marketing bananas is very new for local farmers). In a second step we want to set up our own production line, based on our concept of an autarkic mill.
According to our concept this includes:

  • set up and runnning of a banana mill
  • affiliated with a biogas CHP for autarkic energy supply
  • use of biogas and CHP heat for drying process of bananas
  • own truck fleet with off-road trucks, which are able to access to rural farms for transporting the bananas to the mill. (farm-to-market-roads solution).
  • Set up of a training centre for local farmers

It is contemplated to set up a first banana flour production in Meru (Mount Kenya) and Busia (border to Uganda), with the option to run a cross-border farm development program between Kenya and Uganda.
Perspectively the mill can be extended to a combined maize, banana and casava mill, with capacities for drying and storing maize in large quantities.

By development and implementing the maize mill concept we look at the current situation on Kenya’s maize market. A handful major maize mills cartelise the maize and maize flour market within Kenya. Hence they dictate the production conditions, purchase and selling prices. For example non of the eight major maize mills accept wet maize from the farmers, because the mills dont offer an option for maize drying. For this reason a big number of maize farmers are left with their goods if they are not able to get their maize dry. In worst case they have to abandon and to destroy their crops completly (as happened in East Kenya in 2010).     
Especially at times of crisis the mill cartell is raising maize prices up to vertiginous level, while they secondary benefit from subsidised import maize. And the local maize farmer is left with his maize more than ever.

Through the integrated and autarkic approach we achieve not only a sustainable farm development and a stable food supply for the resident population at times of crisis.  But we also keep the option open to offer maize flour at an affordable and fair price, apart the price rally initialised by speculators, carpetbaggers and bargain hunters. This will also improve the image of our project and involved parties.

If you want to support this or another project, you can donate for this project, become a sustaining member or work with us as a sponsor or project promoter. Check also planned and completed projects on the website of our international headquater Project Lighthouse Africa. For further information, please feel free to contact us via telephone or email.


German – East African Media Dialog in Nairobi

The German ambassador in Kenia, Walter Lindner
The German ambassador in Kenia, Walter Lindner, started the Media Dialog in Nairobi

Nairobi – Which role does the media in east Africa play at domestic crisis’ and how does clanship and ethnical influences affect coverage? What chances do net based social media offer for a stronger participative, civil-social dialog?

These were the central questions the German – East African media dialog, being accomplished by the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations abroad (ifa) at the behest of Federal Foreign Office of Germany end of May 2009 in Nairobi, was focused on. Matthias Duchscherer supported the conference organization as academic consultant and gave a lecture during the two-day media dialog on the relevance of the internet and mobile communication at domestic crisis using the example of the Post Election Crisis in Kenya.


Editors’ Coaching at Capital FM 98,4

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In a two day editors‘coaching, in June 2009, Matthias Duchscherer consulted editors and reporters of Capital FM in Nairobi. The radio station is one of the biggest and most successful radio stations in Kenya. Focus of the coaching was improvement suggestions for the editorial and quality management of the radio station.

The president of ProLightAfrica has extensive experience in journalism training a.o. through his longstanding occupation as head and trainer of the journalism seminar at the Institute of Media and Communication Science at Ilmenau University of Technology as well as through consulting and supporting the main editorial office of medienbewusst.de, an online initiative for the furtherance of media competence of children.


Lecture at University of Nairobi

Nairobi – Which impact had mobile communication and internet during post election crisis in Kenya? At University of Nairobi Matthias Duchscherer lectured about the relevance of social media in intrastate crises. In a lively discussion about 70 students, research assistants and professors dabated with the German scientist and media expert about the relevance and influence of internet and mobile communication during post election crisis in Kenya 2008. UoN’s School of Journalism invited Matthias Duchscherer for the lecture in June 2009.


Research project: Relevance of mobile communication and internet at domestic crisis

PEV

What is the role of the media in Eastern Africa at domestic crisis? What chances do net-based social media offer for a more participative, civil-social dialogue?

In an explorative field study (Dec 2007 – Apr 2008), Matthias Duchscherer dealt with the relevance of mobile communication and internet at domestic crisis using the example of the post-election-crisis in Kenya. Methodical basis of the study was the participating observance and qualitative in-depth interviews a.o. with bloggers, journalists, connoisseurs of the political scene and recipients of hate-sms.

Results of the study were presented by Matthias Duchscherer at University of Nairobi and the German-East African Media Dialogue in Nairobi in May 2009. The conference, at which journalists and scientists of Germany and East Africa participated in, was organized by the Institute for International Cultural Relations (ifa). Further information can be found on the website of the International Research Group on Crisis Communication (IRGoCC) under the column of research projects.