Drug Abuse – How to Fight it At Village Level

Logo of the United States National Institute o...
Logo of the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Drug abuse

Drug abuse continue to be a major problem in many parts of the world, including Kenya – more so in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Observations have shown that control by the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drugs Abuse (NACADA) – (the regulatory body responsible for exercising autonomous authority over drug abuse in regulatory/supervisory capacity), is not very effective.

It is considered by many that the war on drug abuse has to go beyond police swoops or blanket bans.

I know there might be hundreds of articles already written on this topic – however,  the more people talk and write about the issue, the more healthy it becomes – it is awareness campaign – never ending.

The rehabilitation programs in the country will also not be effective if the supply chain remain or continue to increase. Some of the dug addicts who have gone through the rehabilitating programs are also known to go back to the habits again.

New tactics

There are a number of known reasons why youths turn to drug abuse. Two primary causes are : 1. Peer pressure and 2. depression.

Youths associate with different types of people (friends) and through the pressure from these friends, they test the drugs and chances are they will continue using the drugs.

Depression come from idleness – the resulting boredom remain a major cause of youth turning to drug abuse. Unemployment is the major cause of idleness.

It is therefore imperative that a new way or tactics of dealing with menace be sought.

I believe that an effective way can be achieved through the village community participation program, where people can easily interact.

First the parents should take the lead role and take control of the youths – the youths can be contained in every house hold – if for example each household an income generating activity for the jobless youths which can sustain or supplement the family income.

Parents should try to keep away their children from bad friends.

Churches (places of worship) can do a lot in the villages to transform the youth through lecturing and counseling.

The village community can organize activities which can keep the youths occupied most of the time.

Sport fields can motivate the youths in the villages to engage in talent motivating activities.

After school activities should be emphasized in schools and the villages.

Teachers and others experienced in other professional fields should volunteer and start evening classes in the villages.

Retired veterans can also volunteer and share their valuable experiences with the youth.

This change of tactics in dealing with the drug abuse menace may not be the solution we are looking for, but it will certainly have some impact in reducing the number of youths going astray. The idea is to keep the youths occupied to eliminate idleness and boredom (depression)


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Street Children Exposed to Dangerous Poisons

CHILDREN PLAY ON GARBAGE DUMP – NARA – 544794 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Street children and the dump sites

The garbage dump sites in the major towns and cities in Kenya are believed to be home for street urchins who would always fight for leftovers.

These dump sites are in some cases not at designated areas but scattered everywhere and in some cases near residential areas.

The street children who are often seen cheering bloody fights between them scuffling for bags of leftovers are always exposed to dangerous and deadly poisons. Such is the life that those living in an around these dump sites are accustomed to. Domestic animals like cows and goats can be seen from time to time feeding on the wastes

A decade ago, some of these toxic landfills in Nairobi were declared to be full and ordered by the health experts to be closed. But to date the site is still receiving wastes.

In the year 2007, a study commissioned by the United Nation Environment Programme  (UNEP), examined the health implications of the dump site on children living close to it and compared soil samples from the sit with another location just outside the city. The study found that about half of the children tested had some concentration of lead in their blood exceeding internationally accepted levels. The soil samples recorded lead levels close to ten times of the safe level.

But even with this worrying results, the dump sites still draw thousands of men women and children everyday in the valleys of the garbage rummaging for recycles and daily bread.

All this happen under the watchful eye of the regulatory body called NEMA – The National Environmental Management Authority.  This is a government agency responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some areas of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity. This body deal in the area of administrative law, regulation or law making – codifying and rules and regulations and imposing supervision or oversight for the benefit of the public at large.

Unfortunately very little or no supervision is done!

The rich mint millions from the filthy dump site

Another factor which keep these dump sites lively is that the wealthy business mint millions of shillings each day from middlemen who go there to collect recycles – plastics, rubber and bottles. These men and women risk their lives to make a few shillings but make the rich richer!

Promises by agencies

Years of visits and promises by Government agencies, NGO’s, development partners and  local and foreign media have done little to change the situation of people living around the dump sites. The regulatory agency does not do any supervision or control.


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Blend of Culture and Democracy

English: Boda-boda. Uganda, somewhere on A109 ...
English: Boda-boda. Uganda, somewhere on A109 Road, between Jinja and Malaba Русский: Бода-бода. Уганда, на трассе А109, между Джинджей и Малабой. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

County Governments in Kenya

The country of Kenya has been divided into 47 administrative areas called Counties, each with its County Assembly, under the central government.

Kisumu County, which is one of the 47 counties, situated on the western part of Kenya has introduced a controversial bill in its County Assembly that seeks to ban women from sitting on motorcycles with their legs apart, and facing the driver/ rider. The bill recommends that women passengers sit facing sideways – seen as a more respectful posture.

Motorcycle as a means of transport is a booming business in this part of the world and has created employment to thousands of youths who would otherwise be jobless.

The local name adapted for the motorcycle “taxis” is “boda-boda”. It is a name in Kiswahili language which was borrowed from an English word “border”. This word was adapted apparently because this mode of transportation was first used to ferry passengers between border towns or villages of the neighboring countries of Tanzania and Uganda.

Having said that, and even before the bill was actually introduced in the County Assembly, it has received a mixed reaction from the citizens. Some supporting it while others opposing it saying that the bill will violate the democratic rights of women.

Women association supports

One massive support to the bill came from the giant Kenya women Association ( known as Maendeleo ya Wanawake), who said that the bill, if passed will make women sit decently on the motorcycle taxis. They called for its quick enforcement into law, and further suggested that the law be extended country wide.

The women association said that women wearing short skirts expose their bodies indecently, which is frowned upon in the tradition of people living in that part of the country. Some of these women passengers suggestively hold the drivers from behind, leaving no room for imagination.

Culture vs democracy.

The push for the introduction of the controversial bill has been triggered by traditional or cultural reasons. It is known that the Luo culture ( Luo is a tribe found in the Kisumu county) frown upon women who expose their bodies indiscreetly in front of men.

Introduction of the bill in the County Assembly is an indication  that certain types of rules, customs or traditions may become law, or regulatory legislation may be introduced to formalize or enforce the convention. In a social context, a convention may retain the character of “unwritten law” or custom.

Here is a clear example of the blend of tradition and democracy. are we going to see more of this happening in future?

What do you think? Please send your comments.


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Rooster Vs Time Clock

Rooster crowing during daylight hours
Rooster crowing during daylight hours (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rooster the sacred bird

Rooster has plenty of reasons to be cocky! From dream meanings to cultural emblems.

Since antiquity the rooster has been, and still is considered a sacred animal in some cultures. There are religious significance and aspects of the rooster and cock fighting which are exampled by the religious belief.

Rooster is a symbol of importance .  For example the fighting cockerel on a ball is a symbol for TOTTENHAM HOTSPURS football club. The cockerel wear a pair of spurs which is a reference to the clubs nickname.

Additionally, the cockerel is the emblem of a Turkish sports club Denizlispot.

Rooster fight entertainment is a popular sport in many parts of the world.

The ultimate time teller

Above all, for centuries the cocks have been known, and have been branded the village’s unofficial and uncelebrated wake-up masters. They have solely been the only domesticated birds that virtually wake up every other living creatures in the villages – the villagers of course being the most beneficiaries – time to go and till your land or time  to go to work! Thanks to the wake-up masters!

Of course, the only ones who can be excused and allowed to remain curled up in bed would be the most elderly and the sick.

(Cock-a-doodle-doo) – will start crowing at about four months old.

Usually the first rooster will crow at around 3.00 am, and soon after the others around the village take the cue and the crowing reaches crescendo around 5.00 am.

Alarm Clocks

Alarm clocks, the invention of man only came in as an alternative means of waking up machine. However, nothing beats  roosters in waking up the village!

The man made alarm clocks are powered by batteries. Most people cannot afford such luxuries – and being man made, they are bound to break down sometimes. Not forgetting that one might forget to set the timer at times.

But the roosters give a guarantee that they will crow at crack of dawn.

That is why no matter what the circumstances are, the villagers will always spare at least one cockerel from sale or knife.


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