entering into discussions based in the best Kenyan trending topics

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Hit by the impact of climate change that has resulted into reliance on hydro power being untenable, Kenya is steadily embracing diverse sources of renewable energy.  The country has thus resorted to adoption of practical technologies in harnessing renewable energy to enhances its energy supply and curb carbon dioxide emissions.

The recent completion of Africa’s largest carport PV system; a 858kWp plant built on a storey of a car park on a Mall in Nairobi by a private investor attest to the country’s position in harnessing renewable energy for energy supply, environment conservation and creation of thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly.

Estimates done in 2012 indicated that wood fuel and other biomass   accounts for 68 percent of the total energy consumption whereas petroleum accounts for 22 percent and electricity nine percent. Other sources account for one percent.   According to the World Bank, Kenya’s per capita carbon emission   was 0.31 in 2011.

As a result, the country has witnessed an unprecedented growth in macro and micro renewable energy programmes. The green initiatives are spawning a green economy that is improving livelihoods particularly in rural areas. The developments have made the renewable energy sector the most vibrant in Africa.

Indeed, Kenya now boasts mega renewable energy projects with the world largest single turbine geothermal power plant launched in 2014 being the flagship. The project located at Olkaria near Lake Naivasha will add 140 Megawatts (MW) to the country’s national electricity grid.  The project which cost $126 million is expected to reduce the cost of energy in Kenya by 50 percent.

Another ongoing large project is the Lake Turkana Wind Power project that is expected to produce an additional 300 MW to Kenya’s power grid. The €625 million project aims to provide 310MW to the Kenya national grid, equivalent to some 20 percent of the current installed electricity generating capacity. 

Besides the large scale projects, there has been a sharp rise in micro renewable energy solutions adopted in rural where 70 percent of the population resides. For instance, briquettes from biomas, solar lanterns, and improved wood/charcoal cook stoves and biogas digesters in rural areas and urban slums area creating a sustainable green economy.

The benefits to end users are affordability, clean, reliable and accessible sources of energy with no negative health impact on the people. In fact every village in Kenya has at least a household that is using renewable energy gadget in one form or another.

But it is not just the end users who are the beneficiaries of the growing renewable energy sector. The growth has helped local innovators and entrepreneurs through value chain.  A good example is the briquettes business. Briquettes are a low cost alternative to using firewood, charcoal or kerosene. Compared to traditional biofuels, they use recycled biomass, hence reducing deforestation. Thousands of entrepreneurs mostly women in urban centres and rural areas are involved in manufacturing of the briquettes some using, improvised tools. Workshops for making and selling improved stoves that use briquettes have also sprung in both rural and urban areas. This has provided self-employment to hitherto unemployed youth and women.

Rural areas have witnessed a booming business in manufacturing and retailing of improved wood/biomass stoves, solar lanterns, biogas derived from animal dung and solar cookits. In urban areas including slums, initiatives such as communal biogas plants from human waste, rooftop solar panels/heaters and wind turbines are common.

The Kenyan government has also set up a network of centres to promote renewable energy and energy-efficiency. Officials in charge of the centres note that there is increased uptake of the renewable energy technologies and demand for information on the same countrywide. Already 21 centres serving various regions are in place. Individuals, women and youth groups are taught how to make biogas digesters, improved woodstoves, solar cookits and briquettes.

Micro finance institutions have also helped in propelling the growth in the use of renewable energy through affordable loans and credit schemes. For instance, M-KOPA Solar, an asset financing company that sells small-scale solar home systems to off-grid households on an affordable, 12-month mobile money payment plan via hire purchase, by has been adopted by hundreds of households.


With over 90 percent of Kenya’s population of 42 million relying on fossil fuels and wood/ charcoal, the government is thus keen to support use of renewable energy.  This  is being undertaken through options such as  upgrading and expanding  energy infrastructure  such as pitting up wind power plants, promoting energy efficiency and conservation  mobilizing requisite financial resources and ensuring diversification of energy  sources and mixes in a cost effective.

The government has also taken strategic actions such as training and technology transfer to build up local/rural capacity for small scale development which could subsequently be built up and strengthened and initiating campaigns for identifying exploitable schemes and establishing feasibility.

Through the support of the World Bank Group, the national government has established a climate innovation center to ensure the success of innovative renewable energy projects. County governments on the other are lighting up rural markets using solar energy hence increasing hours of conducting business activities.

The Kenya Climate Innovation Center (CIC) offers financing and other services to a growing network of climate innovators and entrepreneurs. The centre supports many sustainable climate technology ventures and it is expected to generate 28,000 both directly and indirectly within 10 years.

Donors working with nongovernmental organizations and community based groups have equally played a key role in the growth of green sector in Kenya. The Dutch government through SNV, it development organization and Hivos an international organisation that seeks solutions to persistent global issue has established biogas projects in rural areas of four regions of Kenya. The programme targets launching 8,000 domestic biogas plants.

Still on entrepreneurship, thousands of people are involved in retailing of renewable energy gadgets both imported and locally manufactured. They include solar and biogas energy equipment as well as sophisticated briquette making machines. There are no concrete  figures to indicate the volume of imported products in comparison to domestically manufactured ones but observers in the industry indicate that due to lower investment in research and development in the renewable energy sector, imported products outstrip locally made ones.  Large quantities of solar panels for instance are imported from China. Local artisans are however heavily involved in making improving cook stoves and equipment for biogas digesters.

Others are promoting novel ideas such as working with communities to ensure adoption of Community Power Centres (CPCs). A Community Power Centre PC) or ‘energy kiosks’ a common utility (community-managed), decentralised electrical energy service centre powered by renewable energy technologies. The community power centres are s designed to be a financially sustainable enterprise by generating income to cater for their running and make a profit.

Already ten CPCs exist in the country exist in the country and generate income from energy services or energy sale. They offer services such lamp recharge, ICT, small Industrial applications, community recreation/centres, recharging of LED lamps and phones to thousands of people.

It is projected that if the overall renewable energy production continues to grow consistently it could make up to 60 percent of national energy supply by 2030.    Between 2014 to 2024 alone, a 30 percent increase is likely to occur.


The government this year (2015) drafted a Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan (GESIP) to support national development goals for rapid economic growth. Central to the strategy are policy options that enhance and exploit synergies between economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity.

It commits the government to introduce a regulatory framework for wood fuel and promotes the commercialisation and widespread use of renewable energy technologies.

The drafters of GESIP however state that despite the growth of the renewable energy sector, Kenya is faced challenges in achieving a strong green economy.

One of the challenges is that the economic policy framework in the country does incorporate use of fiscal policy instruments such as environmental taxes, subsidies, pollution charges, public expenditure on green infrastructure.

Also, inadequacy of information about green technologies, technology transfer and adoption and adaptation of technologies as well as access to financing is wanting.




Justus Wanzala

Olkiramatian market centre in the arid Lake Magadi region, Kajiado County of Southern Kenya is a remote area with no grid electricity. The area is inhabited by the pastoralist Maasai community. With climate change affecting their pastoral way of life, the community is increasingly adopting sedentary life albeit with the challenges of lack of amenities.

The centre is hot and dusty. Much as the area enjoys bright sunshine during the day, the situation changes to pitch dark after sunset. However for the last two years, the market centre is witnessing some transformation. It is becoming a beehive of activities in this sparsely populated region of Kenya.   The transformation is courtesy of Solar Kiosk Kenya Ltd, that installed a retail kiosk, called the SOLARKIOSK E-HUBB. The E-HUBB, designed by GRAFT (partners and co-founders of SOLARKIOSK AG, the Berlin-based mother company), is a modular solar-powered structure that can be easily implemented in remote communities.  The E-HUBB outlet enables and empowers local entrepreneurship and the sustainable development of Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) communities by selling essential food ingredients, vital energy services, solar and clean energy products and connectivity solutions. By the end of 2015, SOLARKIOSK will have implemented over 100 E-HUBBs on three continents.

A SOLARKIOSK E-HUBB is a solar-powered autonomous business hub. It uses solar power to generate electricity for rural off-grid communities for various uses. It is a decentralised, easy to maintain source of energy. Kiosk operators are able to use the power during the day and continue operating late into the night.

Solar Kiosk Kenya Ltd manages operations in Kenya and uses a business model that enables a local entrepreneur to sell solar products and provide solar powered services to their community.  It is a commercial enterprise which stations solar-powered units in kiosks in Kenya’s remote and peri-urban areas, thus creating a triple impact: social, environmental and economical.

Its impact amplifies the link between energy and development. To the residents of Olkiramatian the dream of ever accessing a clean source of energy was just a farfetched one to the residents.

Like elsewhere in remote areas of Kenya, Olkiramatian residents rely on kerosene lanterns or incase of institutions such as hospitals and schools, diesel generators which are not only noisy but also polluting.

Jan Willem van Es, managing director of Solar Kiosk Kenya says: “solar power is a renewable energy form with a potential to accelerate growth of remote areas with connection to electric power grid.” He notes that: “the structure is a modular and expandable kit-of-parts that can be transported and deployed in remote off-grid areas. The E-HUBB at Olkiramatian was the fourth to be installed in the country.”Hestates that: “the E-HUBB combines a state of the art design with a total of 2Kilowattsolar panel capacity on the roof as well as enough battery capacity to operate for at least 24 hours without sunshine.”

The SOLARKIOSK impact on residents of Olkiramatian is noticeable. Seuri Lesino, the SOLARKIOSK operator at Olkiramatian says that he opens hisE-HUBB for a few more hours into the night, thus generating extra revenue for the family.

“Initially, to run a business here after sunset you had to rely on kerosene lanterns which could hardly provide enough light, but nowadays if you come at night, you will be mistaken to think that you are in a town. We operate till midnight and residents have come to like it, the power is abundant,” says Seuri.

He says that: “the2kw E-HUBBin Olkiramatian installed in 2013 generates electricity capable of powering a television set, printing services, document lamination, and phone charging, barber and photocopy services.”

In addition to energy services and food staples, the E-HUBB sells a wide range of solar products as well as energy efficient cook stoves, farm waste charcoal briquettes and other sustainable goods. Jan Willem notes that the kiosks are alsoequipped with internet services in addition to being a platform for businesses like beauty salons, hairdressers, movie and sports viewing halls.

“In the future, we can expand this E-HUBB into its own Mini Mall, if another entrepreneur comes around with the aim of offering butchery services for instance, additional panels can be provided and this applies to service providers like telecommunication companies keen to put up network masts,” Jan Willem explains.

Area Chief Josphat Maiponyi says that SOLARKIOSK has enabled availability of services and products that initially were not previously accessible. They include cold drinks and perishable products that are now present courtesy of refrigeration services. “Harnessing of this free and abundant sunshine has borne dividends,” he says. He adds that residents used to move long distances to charge their phones but it is no longer the case.

Maiponyi notes that the elders use a temporary hall set up close to the kiosk to conduct their meetings even after sunset. On the other hand, Fredrick Sankori, a primary school pupil from the neighborhood says he finds the hall handy to his school homework late in the evening, taking advantage of the light provided and not being effected by the bad smoke of the kerosene candles.

SOLARKIOSK spurs local development by enhancing communication and entrepreneurship, offering a safe place to the residents to meet their friends. The kiosks are assembled in Kenya with the parts being brought in from Germany. In the near future, the kiosks will also be manufactured locally in Kenya. Currently, there are 23SOLARKIOSKE-HUBBsin Kenya offering not only services to thousands of Kenyan but also employment to many local people. SOLARKIOSK AG is not only operating in Kenya but also in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana and Ghana.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Lighting Assessment undertaken in 2010 indicated that the off-grid population   in Kenya was 34 million out of the country’s population 40.5 million people. This could have slightly improved but it depicts the need for efficient off grid systems particularly in rural areas.

Globally, 1.5 billion people live without electricity access. Some 800 million being in Africa. Unsustainable and dirty fuels provide much of their energy despite abundant sunshine.

Fortunately, off-grid communities like Olkiramatian can benefit from the immense solar resources of the African continent and access sustainable energy. The outcome is a significant change in livelihood. According to the World Bank, Kenya has an estimated solar radiation potential of at 4-6 kWh/m2/day, which can effectively end energy poverty if optimally harnessed.

Jan Willem’s concern is however that poor transport network and general infrastructure in rural Kenya could undermine investment in provision of more SOLARKIOSK E-HUBBs as off grid energy solutions.There hasn’t been much goodwill from authorities, we would welcome any support fromthe government,” he says.

He suggests that if the kiosks are embraced by local governments, they can open up rural market centres   to spur entrepreneurship and economic development through the provision of affordable, reliable and clean energy.

Similar views are expressed by Peter George, Global Village Energy Partnership’s (GVEP) Head of Advisory Services who says that infrastructure is a challenge to renewable energy companies targeting remote communities. GVEP is involved in initiatives to reduce poverty and increase energy access in Kenya.

George says investment in renewable energy is vital because it conserves the environment and creates jobs. Tangible and real development can only occur through sustained and enough energy generation in country.” he says. He adds that the more widespread the energy access, the easier it is for a country to tackle poverty.

“It is for this reason that we’re supporting companies like SOLARKIOSK who invest in the provision of energy to off grid communities,” he says.



A commercial village turns around livelihoods of poor Kenyan farmers

Justus Wanzala, Busia, Kenya

High incidents of poverty coupled with decreasing land acreage amid changing climate that is  wrecking   havoc on weather patterns  has compelled  farmers in   Tangakona area of  Busia County in western Kenya to embrace an innovative initiative to improve their livelihoods.

The farmers cultivate cassava and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes (OFSP) both which are drought resistant under an initiative that involves value addition to the two tuber crops dubbed ‘Commercial Village’. The initiative is generating income  and ensuring food security not only at Tangakona but the entire Busia County  the farmers grow the crops as a groups or  individually but process and sell the products  collectively.

Initially the farmers who are mostly peasants grew cassava and sweet potato mainly for domestic consumption. This has since given way to commercial cultivation of the two crops. They have also established a co-operative society under which they save their money and access loans.

A key aspect of the commercial village is value addition to the two crops. From the cassava and OFSP they make products such as cakes, crisps, fries, sconces and flour for making chapatti and mandazi’s (Swahili buns) among other products. The products attract many buyers and fetch better prices.

According to Catherine Amusugut, who is in charge of value addition, the Commercial Village concept which began in 2011 has roots in a self help farmers group established in  1999. The concept was introduced by Farm Concern International, an Africa-wide market development Agency which promotes   marketing models appropriate for small holder farmers.

A commercial village is an umbrella of registered self help farmers groups that partner in production of crops, processing and marketing. Amusugut narrates that the village was started with 11 groups and 196 members but has since grown to incorporate individual members. Current it serves over 10 thousand all growing cassava and OFSP.  “By coming together we have been able to increase production, enhance the quantity of our products and sustain the market needs,” says Amusugut. The two tuber crops have improved food security and income levels of the local communities.

Maurice Olaba who is in charge of production at the Commercial Village says there are 11 groups with about 200 members in Tangakona area who engage in cassava farming. The Commercial Village collaborates with several organisations to support farmers at different aspects of the cassava and OFSP crops value chain. The organisations include Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Kenya Plant health inspectorate Service, Kenya Plant health inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Western Kenya based Rural Energy and Food security Organization [REFSO] and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), an organisation involved in tuber crops research for fighting hunger and poverty, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and One Acre Fund, a nonprofit organisation that supports smallholder farmers in East Africa with asset-based financing and agriculture training services. Others are Farm Concern International and Kenya’s ministries of Agriculture and Industrialisation.

He adds that due to the market demand for consistency and quality, the introduction of the commercial village concept introduced by Farm Concern International has ensured reliable supply of their products to the market. “Our crop output has grown immensely such that they we supply several tonnes to the market,” says Olaba. Although they work with organised groups, individual farmers are welcomed as members. “Our entry point was tuber crops-cassava and OFSP, we are mulling venturing into Soya beans and finger millet cultivation,” he adds.

In Tangakona alone the cassava crop occupies occupy 50 acres and it is at various stages of growth with OFSP occupying over 60 acres. With a county wide membership, thousands of acres under the two crops “Our seeds are certified by KEPHIS and we supply them to farmers in neighbouring counties too, through an arrangement with One Acre Fund,” he says.

Olaba says that among the aims of the formation of the Tangakona Farmers Self Help Group was to ensure large quantity production of the tuber  crops. This was meant to meet their growing demand owing to a rapid population growth as production of maize, the staple food crop declined, “The cultivation of cassava and the OFSP was noted as key to ensuring food security in the community” he stresses.

He adds that they were keen to ensure income generation among the peasant farmers to ensure improve livelihoods. Through the cultivation of OFSP which are rich in vitamins such as vitamin ‘A’, he adds, they also aimed to improve the health of   areas residents.

Olaba says the resilience of the two tuber crops cannot be down played. He observes that husbandry requirements of the two crops fits into the ecological conditions of Busia County. “The crops can be grown year round even when rains are low” he reveals.  He notes that the crops do not require complex skills to cultivate as well as expensive inputs.

Farmers who sale their products through the Commercial Village contribute Kenya Shillings 20 (0.5 USD) every time they deliver their products. The money is converted into individual member shares by the coo-operative.

The commercial village receives farmers from Uganda and Tanzania especially during field days. Kenneth Ekisa Lok Okwanyang’ayel, the village’s chairman says the growth from a community based organisation to a commercial village cum a co-operative society is indicative of huge strides made.

He reveals that during the current harvesting season a group with 34 farmers got Kenya shillings 470,000 (around 4,700 USD) from selling 370 bags of sweet potato vines and two tonnes of sweet potatoes. During the season, adds Ekisa, an individual farmer who recorded the highest earnings got Kenya shillings over one million (10,000 USD) from the sale of sweet potato vines, cassava cuttings and both cassava and sweet potatoes tubers.

But despite the progress, the group has encountered challenges. Olaba says that there have been cases of diseases outbreaks which affect the crops particularly cassava causing heavy losses. However, despite suffering from unemployment, the youth in Busia County with close to 60 percent poverty levels are less enthusiastic in engaging in the cultivation of the two crops. Women groups take the lead in the cultivation of the two crops.

Olaba explains that in Busia County there is low awareness among farmers on the role of cooperatives. This, he notes undermines recruitment of new members.

Members’ sources of income are also meagre thus they are unable to    marshal enough capital to expand production. Another impediment to farmers, notes Olaba is dwindling land sizes. He says the average farm acreage in the county is just two hectares. This curtails expansion of production.

Ekisa on the other hand laments that they have been unable to grow their capital base because financial institutions consider their member a high risk group to grant loans. Besides that, food processing companies buy produce from the Commercial Village, however, says Amusugut some companies delay to release payment to farmers.

Although the Commercial Village is engaged in value addition thus improving the quality of farmers produce leading to better prices, it is yet to acquire the Kenya Bureau of Standards certification. This denies the products access to some markets in Kenya.

Olaba says farmers need to be empowered to expand production because currently they have an agreement to supply three tonnes of OFSP per week to a food processing firm in a neighbouring county but their production capacity is below par.

According to Ekisa another shortcoming is that cassava and sweet potatoes are treated as poor man’s crop in Kenya. “The perception has rendered them ‘orphaned crops’ because many farmers ignore them due to consumer preference of maize and beans,” he states.

The Commercial Village plans to acquire own building that will house a workshop for value addition on their produce. It also plans to acquire better machinery for value addition. We’ve been supplying dried cassava and OFSP chips but some buyers say the quality of our chips is poor because the drier we use is substandard.

Additional products sold by the Commercial Village are cassava and sweet potato flour and starch from cassava. Other products sold by farmers are cassava cuttings and OFSP vines supplied to other farmers.

That the commercial village has had great impact on Tangakona community is evident in the testimony of Charles Olweyo Oliwa. Alongside other farmers he was trained on commercial farming by KALRO and REFSO and acquired skills in cultivation of cassava and OFSP.

Oliwa says the commercial Village is promoting agribusiness through enabling farmers to keep abreast with emerging technologies in OFSP and cassava husbandry. Apart from the tubers, he sales potato vines, cassava cuttings, grown on his   four acre farm. He uses the money to pay for his children’s fees and   health care. He elaborates that the potato vines sold as seedlings to other farmers generate are a regular source of income for they mature in a period of three months and can be harvested three times a year. A bag retails at Kenya shillings 500 (5 USD) and some farmers manage to produce 1000 bags.

“I want to expand production of cassava and potatoes but I lack capital to hire labour and purchase the seed materials. I will appreciate if I got a soft loan to grow my production,” he says.

Oliwa says the leaves from the two tuber crops are sold to livestock farmers as fodder for animals like rabbits and are also consumed as vegetables. Potato peelings are also used as livestock feed as well as making compost manure. “Nothing is wasted,” he says.





The cultivation of cassava and the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes was identified as key to ensuring food security in the community, owing to a rapid population growth as production of maize, the staple food crop declined-says Maurice Olaba, Head of Production, Tangakona Commercial Village, Busia County, Kenya.


The Commercial Village is promoting agribusiness through enabling farmers to keep abreast with emerging technologies in Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato and cassava husbandry. Charles Oliwa, a farmer and member of the Tangakona Commercial Village.


“Farmers get frustrated when payment is not done timely after they had delivered their produce-Catherine Amusugut, head of Value Addition Unit-Tangakona Commercial Village, Busia County.


Alcoholism, or alcohol dependence, is a disease that causes
• Craving – a strong need to drink
• Loss of control – not being able to stop drinking once you’ve started
• Physical dependence – withdrawal symptoms
• Tolerance – the need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect
With alcohol abuse, you are not physically dependent, but you still have a serious problem. The drinking may cause problems at home, work, or school. It may cause you to put yourself in dangerous situations, or lead to legal or social problems.
Another common problem is binge drinking. It is drinking about five or more drinks in two hours for men. For women, it is about four or more drinks in two hours.
Too much alcohol is dangerous. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of certain cancers. It can cause damage to the liver, brain, and other organs. Drinking during pregnancy can harm your baby. Alcohol also increases the risk of death from car crashes, injuries, homicide, and suicide

Signs of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction
• Laugh and talk loudly
• Feel dizzy
• Have blurry vision
• Have trouble staying on their feet and sway when they walk
• Slur words when they talk
• Feel sleepy and relaxed
• Pass out
• Throw up
• Fight and even get violent
Getting drunk can lead you to do or say things that you regret later on. It also makes you more likely to have an accident and get hurt.
After drinking a lot, people get a headache and feel sick. This is called a hangover.
People who are addicted to alcohol start having to drink more and more to get drunk. They might have a drink in the morning to calm down or stop a hangover. They might drink alone, and they might keep it a secret.
They might forget things that happened when they were drunk. This is called a blackout.
People who are trying to quit drinking might:
• Feel nervous and sad
• Shake
• Sweat
• Have trouble sleeping
They will feel a very strong need to drink alcohol
Effects of Alcohol on Bodies and Brains
Alcohol Poisoning
You can die from drinking a lot of alcohol at one time.
Heavy drinking over the years can raise your risk for stroke (brain injury from a blood clot), cancer, liver disease, and other illnesses. People can forget to use condoms when they’re drunk, have unsafe sex, and get HIV/AIDS and hepatitis (a liver disease).
Hurts the Baby
If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it can cause mental retardation and other health problems in the baby.
You Can Get Hurt or Killed
Being drunk makes you more likely to get hurt or killed. Alcohol is involved in:
• 60% of fatal burns, drowning, and murders
• 50% of severe injuries and sexual attacks
• 40% of fatal driving crashes, falls, and suicides
Brain Damage
Long-term alcohol abuse can permanently hurt your brain cells. This can make it hard to walk, remember, or learn new things.
You can get addicted to alcohol just like other drugs. Fortunately, there are medicines and other treatments that can help someone recover from alcohol addiction.
Treatment options
Patients can belong to two broad groups, although other scenarios may occur such as a patient presenting whilst under the influence of alcohol, or because of traumatic injury as a result of alcohol:
• Patient wishing to abstain.
• Patient presents in acute alcohol withdrawal:
o Treatment may need to begin with detoxification. This may need to occur as an inpatient, depending on severity of symptoms.
o If disorientation, agitation or seizures occur then refer for inpatient detoxification.
o However, the majority can be managed in the community and it is worth contacting the local community mental health team, as they may have a set-up for alcohol-dependent patients.
For people who typically drink over 15 units of alcohol per day and/or who score 20 or more on the AUDIT, an assessment should be offered for delivery of a community-based assisted withdrawal.[1] If there are safety concerns (see below) offer inpatient withdrawal.
Inpatient care is recommended for:
• Patients at risk of suicide.
• Those without social support.
• Patients who have a history of severe withdrawal reactions.
Community detoxification requires:
• Daily supervision to detect complications early – eg, DTs, continuous vomiting, deterioration in mental state.
• Multivitamin preparations to prevent Wernicke’s encephalopathy.
• Benzodiazepines to prevent withdrawal symptoms (usually chlordiazepoxide).


The punishing teacher should be sure that the student being punished understands that you think he/she is really a fine, lovable person, who is capable of performing the appropriate behavior – even though the action just performed was inappropriate. This positive regard is something that should be conveyed in an overall relationship with the student rather than in a single sentence just prior to the administration of punishment. A good idea is to arrange a chance for the student being punished to perform a desirable activity shortly after the punishment, so that you can then express your high regard and so that the person can confirm perceptions of self-efficacy.
Specify the behavior that is being punished. The recipient of punishment should not be left with a “What did I do now?” feeling. You have perhaps heard the story of the mother and father who decided late one night that it was about time their children stopped cursing. The family gathered for breakfast the next morning and the oldest son initiated the conversation in his customary manner: “Pass the damn ham!” The father immediately slapped the boy with his open hand, knocking the stunned child about twelve feet across the room. The father then turned to the next oldest son and asked, “Now what do you want?” The boy was scared stiff and couldThe punishing teacher should be sure that the student being punished understands that you think he/she is really a fine, lovable person, who is capable of perfor only mumble, “I don’t know. But I sure as hell don’t want any of that damn ham!”
The person being punished can best avoid further punishment by focusing on the specific behavior that caused it. If the contingency is unclear, the recipient may either fail to avoid the targeted behavior or avoid more behaviors than we really want to prevent. In many cases the person being punished will be able to identify the specific undesirable behavior without a detailed explanation. A sermon need not accompany every punishment. The important point is that if ambiguity exists, then clarification is in order.
Punish as early as possible in the behavioral sequence. If you see a child reaching for his little brother’s toy (which he usually throws out the window), punish him as soon as you see him start the activity. (Be certain, of course, that grabbing the toy is what the child really intends to do.) If you wait until the process is completed, then your punishment has to compete with the rewards he reads from his brother’s screams. To outweigh such reinforcement, you would have to resort to a much more severe punishment than if you had punished early in the sequence.
An exception to this guideline occurs when the behavior is likely to have a natural unpleasant outcome. If no serious harm will occur and if the person performing the behavior is likely to feel naturally punished at the end of the activity, then it would be desirable to let the natural punishment occur rather than to intervene earlier with an artificial form of punishment.
Match the severity of the punishment to the severity of the misbehavior. This matching is actually more difficult than it sounds, because either the punisher or the recipient of the punishment is likely to make an inaccurate estimate of the severity of either the misbehavior or the punishment. If the punishment is too light, the reinforcers inherent in the undesired behavior are likely to outweigh the punishment and the behavior will persist. If the punishment is too severe, the recipient is likely to engage in avoidance, suppression, self-devaluation, or retaliatory behaviors.
Introduce the punishment at its full intensity. Well-intentioned attempts to start with a mild punishment and build gradually to more difficult forms of punishment are often misguided, because the recipient is likely to become habituated to the punishment. When this happens, the intensity of punishment eventually needed to actually reduce the behavior is likely to be much greater. This guideline does not mean that you should always give extremely severe punishments or that you should never make adjustments. It merely means that punishment will be more effective if you make an accurate judgment regarding the intensity of punishment that will be needed and deliver the punishment at that level of intensity when it is called for.
Be sure that the recipient views the punishment as aversive. Something is aversive and therefore an effective source of punishment not because we think it is aversive, but rather because the recipient perceives it as aversive. What is punishment to one person in one situation may not be punishing to that same person in a different situation or to someone else in any situation. Many of the things we think are aversive to children and students are actually reinforcing to them!
The Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (1990) has issued a position paper for helping professionals( such as teachers) regarding the use of punishment strategies with children with behavioral disorders, which includes the following guidelines: Practitioners (teachers) planning to use punishment procedures, especially those involving more aversive, intrusive, or restrictive techniques should obtain prior consent from the child’s parents or legal guardians and from administrators, and clearance from human rights committees. Teachers should carefully analyze potential target behavior(s) and the factors associated with their occurrence before initiating punishment procedures. As a general rule, teachers should implement and document the use of appropriate less aversive, intrusive, or restrictive procedures prior to implementing other procedures.
In addition, Griffith (1983) and Yell (1990) discusses the legal issues involved in administering punishment in schools. He advises practitioners keep data on the efficacy of the behavior reduction procedures. Those persons responsible for carrying out administering punishment procedures must be appropriately trained. Practitioners should develop and subsequently follow a plan detailing the forms of punishment procedure(s) to be used in a particular case. Once aversive punishment procedures are selected and approved, practitioners should select appropriate procedures for specific situations.
Punishment should almost never be used alone. The proper technique is to teach what not to do by punishing one behavior and simultaneously to teach what to do by reinforcing another behavior. Punishment should be combined with reinforcement. This combination of punishment with reinforcement an extremely effective technique; both the reward and the punishment are intensified by a contrast effect (Van Houten and Doleys, 1983).
It may seem that the ideal classroom management strategy would be to employ positive consequences as often as possible. Actually, this belief may be slightly inaccurate. While positive classroom control is highly desirable, there is evidence that positive control techniques become more effective when used in settings where there has been at least an occasional use of punishment (Pfiffner& O’Leary, 1987).
Gershoff (2002a) found that corporal punishment was only associated with one desirable behaviour, and this was immediate compliance. Gershoff points out that most parents are not only interested in immediate compliance, but also want ongoing compliance, and the research shows that this does not necessarily take place and that there are other unforeseen long-term consequences of corporal punishment. Gershoff did not extend his research to secfondary schools where teachers’ use corporal punishment may be motivated by the immediacy of compliance.

It is notable however that Gershoff’s (2002a) review and meta-analysis of the research literature on corporal punishment provides the following summary:Ten of the 11 meta-analyses indicate parental corporal punishment is associated with the following undesirable behaviours and experiences: decreased moral internalisation, increased child aggression, increased child delinquent and antisocial behaviour, decreased quality of relationship between parent and child, decreased child mental health, increased risk of being a victim of physical abuse, increased adult aggression, increased adult criminal and antisocial behaviour, decreased adult mental health, and increased risk of abusing own child or spouse. Corporal punishment was associated with only one desirable behaviour, namely, increased immediate compliance. (Gershoff 2002a:544). These are significant findings which should inform teachers and administrators in Secondary schools in Gilgil in their choice of punishment.

In part because of the methodological problems with studies of corporal punishment, advocates of corporal punishment have dismissed many of these negative findings (Larzelere 2000, Larzelere and Kuhn 2005). Straus (2001), however, argues that there are now five prospective studies (where children’s behaviour is observed at different points in time) that all show the long-term negative effect of corporal punishment. In these studies, higher rates of misbehaviour occurred two and four years later for children who were spanked compared to those who experienced little or no corporal punishment. Critics of Gershoff’s review have also said that it is not appropriate to include studies of severe corporal punishment. They argue that the negative effects of corporal punishment are only associated with harsh, punitive discipline, which is “acknowledged by all experts to be detrimental to children’s wellbeing and ethically unacceptable” (Baumrind et al. 2002:581). In response, Gershoff (2002b) has argued that, rather than being deviant, the levels of punishment included are normative.

The essence of punishment in a secondary school should be to ensure and enhance discipline. According to Holden (2002) and Wissow (2002), discipline is the guidance of children’s moral, emotional and physical development, enabling children to take responsibility for themselves when they are older. It involves teaching children the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, and it makes them aware of the values and actions that are acceptable in their family and society. Discipline can be positive, for example, praising the child for doing something good or for stopping doing something inappropriate; or discipline can be negative, for example, smacking a child for doing something wrong. Positive discipline normally involves helping children to understand why certain behaviour is unacceptable and other behaviour is acceptable. Negative discipline focuses on doing what you are told in order to avoid something unpleasant.

A distinction is often made between “power-assertive” and “inductive” discipline. Power-assertive disciplinary methods involve following a child’s inappropriate behaviour with a negative consequence (smacking, threats, withdrawal of privileges) without explanation or justification. Inductive methods involve setting limits, setting up logical consequences, reasoning and explanation (Holden 2002).
2.1.2 Corporal Punishment
Despite abolition of corporal punishment in the year 2001, the economic, social and political systems in Kenya still have a strong element of authoritarian leadership and some teachers, parents, education officials and learners have deep-seated beliefs in the merits of corporal punishment (Jepkoech, 2012). This makes corporal punishment to be one of the most common form of punishment in Kenyan schools. It involves teachers striking students with a “cane”: generally an uneven wooden stick of two to three feet in length, with a diameter of approximately three-fourths of an inch. Some teachers also punish students by flogging them with whips made of rubber (from strips of old car tires), with heavier canes, or simply by slapping, kicking, or pinching. For the most part, boys are hit on the backside, while girls are hit on the palm of the hand. At times, however, children are beaten on other parts of the body: on the back, the arms, legs, the soles of the feet, and sometimes even the face and head. Students are generally forced to kneel down (occasionally to lie down) in the front of the classroom before being caned or beaten in front of other students. At other times, teachers simply cane children on the spot, as they sit in their chairs.
According to Jepkoech (2012), the major factor in the global spread of corporal punishment was colonialism. From their inception formal schools in Western Capitalist Societies have been designed to discipline bodies as well as to regulate minds. Depending on the nature of the misbehavior of the child and the harshness of the teacher and school, a student might receive anywhere from two to twenty or more cane strokes at one time. At some schools, children told Human Rights Watch that they would witness incidents of caning only once or twice a week, and that students were generally given only two or three strokes at one time. Other children reported that they or others were caned on and off throughout the day, nearly every day, routinely receiving five or more strokes each time. We also heard scattered reports of children being beaten for inability to pay their school assessments, although we spoke with only one student who said that he personally had been punished for this reason.
Corporal punishment has also been considered as a form of torture. According to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, (U.N. Doc. A/39/51 (1984)), entered into force June 26, 1987, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
The use of physical punishment is deeply embedded in our culture and history, but it is a clear and preventable health risk for children. One very frequently used everyday argument in favour of corporal punishment is from people who say “I was spanked and I am okay”. Straus (1999) points out that people who say this may be among the lucky ones who were not adversely affected by corporal punishment. Corporal punishment does not guarantee a harmful effect, but the more that children experience corporal punishment and the more frequent and severe it is, the more they are at risk for problems like aggression and depression, regardless of their cultural background. The use of corporal punishment as a method of family discipline is a health risk for children – a risk to which parents might not expose their children if they understood the probability of harmful consequences.
Many opponents of corporal punishment argue that instructors may also discipline a child by assigning non-abusive physical tasks. They state that teachers can ask students to perform light chores, to water or weed a school shamba, or to fix what they have broken: “Learners who build chairs are not apt to break them. Learners who wash walls are not apt to make them dirty on purpose. If learners are reinforced for keeping their schoolyard neat and clean, they are less likely to throw trash on it,” according to the Namibian Ministry of Education and Culture ( Jeff Otieno and J. Sekoh-Ochieng, 1998) Advocates state that these punishments should be administered in a thoughtfully and not in an excessive or exploitative manner.
According to Jepkoech (2012), for most Kenyan children, violence is a regular part of the school experience. Teachers use caning, slapping, and whipping to maintain classroom discipline and to punish children for poor academic performance. The infliction of corporal punishment is routine, arbitrary, and often brutal. Bruises and cuts are regular by-products of school punishments, and more severe injuries (broken bones, knocked-out teeth, internal bleeding) are not infrequent. At times, beatings by teachers leave children permanently disfigured, disabled or dead. Such routine and severe corporal punishment violates both Kenyan law and international human rights standards. According to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, school corporal punishment is incompatible with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the world’s most widely-ratified human rights treaty. Other human rights bodies have also found some forms of school-based corporal punishment to be cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and a practice that interferes with a child’s right to receive an education and to be protected from violence.
Illegal and severe forms of corporal punishment remain widespread, according to over two hundred Kenyan children interviewed by Human Rights Watch. Of the twenty primary and secondary schools visited by Human Rights Watch, only one school administered corporal punishment in accordance with the guidelines of the Education (School Discipline) Regulations. In the twenty schools the use and abuse of corporal punishment were uniform: corporal punishment appeared to be equally widespread at urban schools and rural schools, at schools catering to the middle and upper middle classes and schools catering to the poor, and at schools in different regions, or with different ethnic and religious populations.