Stories are important, especially when working with children, yet designers of educational tools for African societies often overlook alternative methods. In particular in the language of the Swahili communities from along Africa's east coast - the Kiswahili language - one aspect of communication is often under-appreciated. Especially western guided designs of instructional materials will focus on stories more than one other great linguistic tool - proverbs - which are used frequently used and beloved in Swahili society. Most foreign designers of educational materials , underestimate the power of the proverb, based on their cultural norms.
In Swahili society proverbs form an important part of communication. Kiswahili proverbs are used to express feelings or sentiments, to underscore opinions and statements and even to justify certain actions. The use of proverbs is believed by many in the region to reflect a person’s wisdom and ,therefore, immediately invokes an emotional respect and status. This also translates into the written word.
The proverb as part of communication shows that:
1. The communicator is acquainted with Swahili culture;
2. Has plenty of time for the addressee;
3. Possesses wisdom, is an “elder”—a respected person;
Thus, using proverbs in educational material for younger children has several advantages. The proverb is part of the familiar culture of the child. An illustration tied to the proverb will provide the child with a long-term visual whenever it hears the proverb, throughout life. The association sticks with the child as it grows. The child, rather than having to memorize a new, possibly lengthy story, is reminded of a proverb it has already heard from it's elders. Using proverbs, being a sign of wisdom, the child is likely to use the proverb in the context of the illustration in the educational material to teach its younger siblings or play-mates. Below is an example of a water, sanitation and hygiene(WASH) booklet designed by Joya Cultural Enterprises, Inc. (JCE)
for small children. This booklet by design uses proverbs rather than a complex storyline. Feel free to download and use a free copy of the booklet
Information source on Proverbs: Decoding Swahili Culture: An Introduction.
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Knowing how to use #hashtags is an art and science easily learned and a great way for photographers to increase engagement with their fans. For anyone wanting to engage with others via the social media realm, decoding the haschtag science, is simply a must. So what is a #hashtag? It is nothing more than a label for content. This label helps others who are interested in a certain topic to quickly find articles, images or other content on the same topic. A hashtag looks something like this: #Photography or #nature. Anyone can create a hashtag or add to an existing label. Simply place the symbol # in front of a topic, with no spaces between multiple words, and - voila - a hashtag is born. The social media site will acknowledge this event by displaying the - tag with topic - in blue.
Hashtags are used mostly used on social media sites. They became fashionable via the micro blogging site Twitter. Now in early 2015, #hashtags have conquered other social platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. Anyone sharing content on one of these site, on a given topic can add the #hashtag label to their message. Others searching for that topic, can search for that label to find other messages on the social media platform.
With #hashtags becoming more and more popular informal codes and a sense of etiquette is developing. There are "secret" hashtag codes, such as the use of #photog for photography. The word photography is simply too long for use on Twitter with a restriction of 140-characters per message. #Photog is just one example, there are hundreds more. One unwritten rule is to only use #hashtags relevant to what you are posting. Yet, that does not mean one cannot get creative in their use of the #hashs. This is "the art" of using the tags. For instance, for photographers the description of the setting, locale, atmosphere, weather or moods of their work can all serve as #hashtags. Moreover, if you want to engage globally, use some foreign language tags. Nowadays there are hashtags for almost every aspect of photography. To help get you started conquering the art and science of #hashtagging, here is a list of 99 essential #hashtags for photographers. I have a copy hanging next to my computer and with one glance have a #hash ready when posting images. Know a couple #hashtags yourself - leave a comment!
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Did you know there are several hashtags out there where one can create awareness for endangered wildlife species? Here are a couple #Chettahsunday #Rhinofriday and of course there is the #Wilddogwednesday. Do you know some other # hashtags please leave a comment to add them to the list.
On 7 February a 50 year old elephant was killed by poachers in the Kenyan Laikipia Conservancy. The conservancy operates since 1992, and engages landowners and managers of wildlife areas in protecting the region's wildlife. While known to be generally well managed this incident highlights a potential decrease in the region's security. A notion which is underscored by the reported words of the Conservancy director Kuki Gallman “There is a general breakdown of security and proliferation of illegal weapons, both firearms and spears, openly carried by herders...” Moreover this incident comes after various others targeting the local elephant and rhino population. In September 2014, various Kenyan conservation groups alleged that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is losing the fight against poachers because of organized crime bosses and politicians which profit from the country's endangered wildlife. Yet, in the long run also preventing the locals and their constituents from profiting from the tourism economy dependent on a healthy wildlife population. Kenya Wildlife Service officials acknowledge that Poachers killed 164 elephants and 54 rhinos last year, these numbers ,however, are very likely lower than the actual number of animals killed.
The African Fish Eagle is an African icon and its striking beauty and haunting cry are symbolic of the many waterways and wild wetlands found in sub-Saharan Africa. With a mostly brown body, and a pure white head, breast, and tail, and large, powerful black wings, the fish eagle is a very distinctive bird. As is typical with birds of prey, the female is larger than the male, usually weighing eight pounds with a wingspan of eight feet. The fish eagle can live for forty years but rarely live beyond twenty in the wild, and their first year of life as with many other young animals is their hardest and most dangerous.
Did you know? A female rhino will protect its young with its horn, from rambunctious male suitors. Preserve and Protect! A&T Photography
Students mark World Wetlands Day with hands-on activities at: The Sanctuary at Roche CaimanA guest blog by
On Monday morning, "The Sanctuary at Roche Caiman
" was a hive of activities with nearly fifty students from the International School Seychelles (ISS) working on the site. The students and their teachers were at the sanctuary to mark "World Wetlands Day" which is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February. The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day was "Wetlands For Our Future" and what better way to celebrate it than with the future generation?
The ISS group of students was made up of fifteen 12-13 year olds form year eight, ten 16-17 year olds from year twelve and twenty juniors from the wildlife clubs. On arrival, the students were given an introduction by Robin Hanson, Nature Seychelles eco-health coordinator on the importance of wetlands vis-à-vis climate change mitigation, wildlife habitat and benefit for human utilization. The very reasons the Convention on Wetlands
was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.
The youngest group of students learned about the impact of solid waste in Seychelles examining pieces of litter tossed within the Sanctuary. The students, with the help of their teachers, separated the litter into items that could be re-used or those that would be properly disposed of. Plastic bottles have already been earmarked for use in an insect control trial at Nature Seychelles’ Heritage (organic) Garden.
Snippets of conversations by these youngsters were entertaining while at the same time profoundly thought-provoking. “Why was this thrown away when it can be made into something else”, asked one student. Certainly, it is unappealing as well as environmentally damaging to have things that can either be re-used or recycled rot away in an environmentally sensitive natural world as a wetland is.
Although Nature Seychelles
manages the only urban wetland in the Seychelles it is encouraging to know that members of ISS Wildlife Club will be playing a part in boosting the vitality of at least one of the wetlands in Seychelles. In addition to collecting seeds to plant at the sanctuary, the eager students also collected mangrove seeds to be planted on the wetland by the marine academy.
The older students were tooled up to take part in ecological restoration in the sanctuary. They were all briefed on health and safety issues and all wore heavy duty gloves and boots to be ready for this vital part of conservation. They worked in different groups depending on what tools they were carrying. There were machetes, secateurs, saws, spades, pick axes, bars and shovels working on clearing invasive species like the casuarina
tree, habitat pool creation or fish refuge creation.
The students worked eagerly and tirelessly up to when they had to head back to school for their afternoon sessions. They dug and chopped, and cut and waded in the water but always with smiles on their faces.
The students completed a huge task in the time they were at the sanctuary not only saving "Nature Seychelles" many man hours, but also improving the habitat while learning hands-on about the importance of wetlands and conservation in general. The Sanctuary at Roche Caiman has helped in preventing flooding in the recent years as used to be the case on the adjacent main road and entrance into the site after heavy rains. The Sanctuary in Roche Caiman is also home to fish, birds, insects and other species which have colonized the site over the years.
The regular travel books you find in a bookstore are usually full of tips on what to see or where to eat. What is often forgotten is the must human dimension of experiencing a foreign lands - its people and their culture! One of the greatest experiences one can have is to observe and experience how others do the same things we do every day, yet in a different way. This is the angle for Decoding Swahili Culture a must read prior to your next visit to the eastern African Indian Ocean coast. Read before you step of the plane in Zanzibar, Tanzania or take a dhow in Lamu, Kenya. Read the Reviews here.
3 - D Printing changing our world dramatically?
3-D printing technology is making giant strides. Companies are printing pre-fab housing using the technology, titanium hearts are printed for medical research on applicability in surgeries, soon a 3-D printer will routinely furnish the crown's used in dentistry and the fashion industry is already sporting 3-D printed designer shoes. All the indications point to this new manufacturing method becoming increasingly accepted. Wide acceptance is a pre-requisite for all new technologies to establish themselves as mainstream and subsequently changing the existing paradigm. There are many fold applications for the 3-D printing technology, some we are not even imaging yet, others which already lead one to think about the wide ranging effects that will take place. What will be the impact of the availability of reasonably priced 3-D printed housing on local real-estate markets? How will the manufacturing industry develop? Will 3-D printing change the African landscape eradicating slums? These are just some questions the use of this new way of creating "things" brings to mind. It is safe to ponder that once fully utilized this technology will change our "way-of-life" in manifold ways. It will be a game changer world wide! One of the many applications that get me excited is the possibility of using plastic as "food" for the machine. Just imagine the wonderful beaches of our world without the plastic. Truly that would be a step in the right direction. Will companies fight to utilize the plastic debris carpet floating in our oceans. That would be wonderful. Yet, it is likely while there are many positive repercussions one can assume there will be unintended secondary consequences as well. Leave a comment with your thoughts below. To read more about how 3-D printers may use recycled plastics click on the link.