Blog Action Day 2012: The Power of We

Blog Action Day - The Power of We

Update: Click here to see Live Coverage of Blog Action Day!

October 15th is Blog Action Day, the one day of the year where thousands of bloggers can work together to focus on one important global topic, and help raise awareness and money for charities and social causes. 2012 is the third year running that Kabissa has participated as a Blog Action Day network partner. We love this year's The Power Of We theme that resonates so powerfully with African cultural concepts such as uBuntu and Sticks in a Bundle Do not Break

As in years past, we enthusiastically encourage everyone blogging from and about Africa, on Kabissa and on your own blogs and websites, to join in and be a part of Blog Action Day. We will do our best to help spread the word about the issues and causes you write about via the Kabissa blog and social networks. 

Read on to learn how Blog Action Day works, prepare for blogging on Kabissa, and get information about this year's The Power of We theme. 

About the photo: A schoolgirl at Bethlehem Academy, a private school in Thika, near Nairobi, Kenya. The school was partly built with loans from the microfinance organization, Ecumenical Church Loan Fund (ECLOF) © 2006 Sean Hawkey, Courtesy of Photoshare. Adapted by Mark Root-Wiley for use on Kabissa.

Games in International Development: Fad or Innovation?

People have been playing more games these days in Washington D.C. And I don’t mean the strategies of the Obama and Romney spin teams.

Two recent events suggest games’ growing popularity in D.C. aid circles: this one I attended at the World Wildlife Fund earlier this month and this Tuesday’s upcoming event hosted by the Society for International Development.

The pieces of me, an introduction of myself as Kabissa's new social networks outreach volunteer

Ziyanda photo

My name is Ziyanda Xaso. Ziyanda is a short version of my full name which means growing in numbers in my native dialect of Xhosa spoken in South Africa. The full is Ziyanda Iintombi Zamayalo meaning the girls (Iintombi) of my clan (Amayalo) have increased in numbers because of my birth. The emphasis of the clan rather than my immediate family is due to the fact that I am my parents’ first born but an addition to the many girl children of my clan. Traditionally in my family the first born children are females, this occurs mainly to the males in my family rather than the females who by tradition leave the clan through marriage and have children that are part of her husband’s clan.

Generally most of rural societies in SA are patriarchal, whereby children born in wedlock belong to the clan of their father, and those that are born outside of wedlock become part of their mother’s clan and follow the laws and traditional practises of their respective clans. Part of this tradition is the fact that first born sons are deemed the interim head of the family and take over that position when their father dies. This not the case in my clan the fact that the majority of first born are females, these first born females are treated exactly as the first born males. This is what sets apart my clan from others because the power and decision making is made by both male and female heads.

Read on to learn more about why I volunteer, why I chose Kabissa and my responsibilities at Kabissa.

Also, please help me do my work better by connecting with Kabissa on social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thanks! 

Community Resilience: An Untapped Resource for Sustainable Development?

A guest post on by, Clement N. Dlamini, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Development Management based in Matsapha, Swaziland

Communities have inherent in their systems, means of survival and a tenacity that has seen them through very difficult times. There is heart in communities that keeps pumping and keeping people alive even in the midst of poverty and adversity.

Am I saying communities don’t need development interventions? Not at all, but the issue at hand is how development workers can harness these “in-built” community strengths. How can community resilience lead to sustainable development?

The Africa Roundtable returns - featuring Maasai Children Initiative and Nonviolent Peaceforce

Get ready for next month’s Africa Roundtable event on September 7. Click here to register!

The Africa Roundtable brings together those interested in African issues to network, listen to featured speakers and provide peer learning and mutual support. Events combine face to face gatherings in a comfortable, roundtable format with remote participation via the Internet.

Next month’s Africa Roundtable features the following Presenters:

Anne Atwell from the Maasai Children's Initiative and,
Gilda Bettencourt from Nonviolent Peaceforce

The Maasai Children’s Initiative is a community based organization that is headquartered in theTalek community in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve of Southern Kenya and is founded and led by Sekeyian Yiaile. Mr. Yiaile, a Maasai, received college and graduate education in the United States and returned to Kenya to promote educational opportunity, economic development and women’s empowerment in rural Maasai communities.

The Maasai Children’s Initiative focuses on female education by building and supporting schools as well as providing tuition assistance and solar powered computer labs. The organization runs two schools enrolling over 250 pupils, mostly girls, and between the ages of 5 and 16. It has also built three solar powered computer labs.

The vision is to support the education of all Maasai children and in particular for Maasai girls to progress on to secondary school, become adept computer users, and literate in the national languages of Swahili and English and Maa, their own language; that Maasai girls are empowered to make wise decisions about their futures.

The Nonviolent Peaceforce, meanwhile, is an unarmed paid civilian peacekeeping team that works in situations of violent conflict conflict to provide a dialogue amongst parties and a protective presence. The Nonviolent Peaceforce is headquartered in Brussels and currently has teams deployed in the Philippines, South Sudan, and South Caucasus.

The Nonviolent Peaceforce was started by David Hartsough and Mel Duncan, two committed non-violent activists that met at the 1999 Hague Peace Appeal, saw in each other their shared vision, then began to organize and set the foundation for the Nonviolent Peaceforce.

The NP’s goals are fourfold:

  • To create a space for fostering lasting peace.
  • To protect civilians, especially those made vulnerable because of the conflict.
  • To develop and promote the theory and practice of unarmed civilian peacekeeping so that it may be adopted as a policy option by decision makers and public institutions.
  • To build the pool of professionals able to join peace teams through regional activities, training, and maintaining a roster of trained, available people.

Join us for what is shaping up to be a stimulating discussion and showcasing of the work of two exemplary organizations. Register at for the Kabissa Africa Roundtable event on Sept 7!

EAAG Award Recipients


We have wonderful news to share with you. On July 26, 2012, our partner organization, Maasai Girls Education Fund - Kajiado (MGEF Kajiado), received the East Africa Grantmakers Association (EAAG) award for Community Philanthropy. Lucy Ntayia, Managing Director of MGEF Kajiado, and Kajiado board chair, Sophie Meeli, accepted the award in Entebbe, Uganda (see above photo).
During the awards gala, EAAG played excerpts from our videos, which outline the programs we deliver to the Maasai community in Kajiado County, Kenya. If you haven't yet, we invite you to watch our newest video:
Maasai Girls Education Fund - Community Workshops
We are thankful to EAAG for recognizing our hard work, and we congratulate the other deserving awardees. Our appreciation also goes to you, our supporters, who enable us every single day to carry out our programs. This award belongs to all of you.
With gratitude,
     Shadowtext logo  BLS Signature

Barbara Lee Shaw
MGEF Founder and President

What's Working? Online competition launch event!

The Youth Employment Network launching a new round of the What's Working? competition!

The What's Working? competition highlights successful approaches to creating jobs and improving employment opportunities for youth. It's free to enter and the application is online. The winners will be selected by a panel of judges and community voting, and the winners will have a Smart Note published about their project and get a cash prize of up to USD 800. Join us for the official launch webinar on August 21!

In this webinar, you can meet the winners of the previous round of competition in Spring 2012 and learn about their successful projects and their lessons learnt.

What's Working Sping 2012 Winners:

  1. Glowork - Creating jobs for women through online work opportunities and soft skills workshops (Saudi Arabia)
  2. One Hen Campaign - Creating micro-enterprises and teaching entrepreneurship, starting with one hen per entrepreneur (Kenya)
  3. Infogroup International - Supporting tech startups through online entrepreneurship training and mentorship (Sweden)
  4. A Ganar - Youth employment through sports training (Latin America and Caribbean)

After the panel discussion, we will announce the theme of the Fall 2012 competition and explain how to enter.

Click here for event details and registration!

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