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Oserian Flowers wins innovation, inclusivity, workplace awards

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Kenya’s largest grower and exporter of rose flowers, Oserian Development Company, has been awarded in three categories of the 2018 Federation of Kenya Employers awards, emerging as the only winner in the horticulture industry.

The win in the innovation and productivity, responsible business conduct and inclusivity and diversity categories, rubber stamps the farm’s  commitment to people and planet through  sustainable flower growing practices, investment in staff welfare and ethical production of world class flowers.

The annual awards seeks to celebrate excellence in corporate performance, people management and industrial relations amongst employers of various sectors in Kenya.

The rigorous judging process that was overseen by audit company PWC involved self-assessment based on set thematic areas and field visits to test the ‘how’ of the various processes in each thematic area. Scores were then awarded based on the specified metrics.

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“This recognition affirms our resolve to continuously innovate in meeting the needs of our staff who oil the engine of our growth while fulfilling market needs. We have endeavored to ensure workplace becomes the new home for our staff and our open door policy allows the workers to find value in the company as we grow together,” said Mary Kinyua, the Director of Human Resources and Administration at Oserian.

The company has more than 11,000 people living within its premises which comprises of employees and their dependants.

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It runs nine educational institutions that cater for the children of the 4,100 workers employed in the farm, healthcare centre complete with ambulances, insurance, staff housing, upgraded roads and electricity that it has sourced independently from geothermal energy.

A crèche with a capacity for 100 babies that has been in existence for ten years ensures that young mothers are taken care of at the workplace allowing them to breastfeed between work breaks.

Run by personnel trained in baby care and housed within the farm’s dispensary the crèche ensures that emergencies are sorted even before the mother is alerted.

The creche has been recognized by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health as a center of excellence in workplace breastfeeding.

On diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, the farm has among other initiatives employed deaf people in its various departments who have gone on to become the most productive as they give full attention to their work without any detractions.

“As a company we seek to give everyone a chance to use the skills not just for the growth of the company but for personal development and to take care of their families. We are happy to note that people with special needs, women and young people besides contributing to the diversity of this company, have been pivotal in getting us to where we are today,” Mrs. Kinyua added.

The company has also been a front runner in championing responsible flower production by embracing integrated pest management initiatives over conventional pesticides, use of hydroponics technology to reduce fertilizer and water consumption and runs the world’s largest geothermal greenhouse heating project to reduce carbon emissions and control climate.

 



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Heavy rainfall could increase warns weatherman – KBC

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Over the weekend different areas across the country experienced heavy rainfall leading to flooding. In areas such as Ilchamus and Loboi (Baringo South) communities lost their cattle while in other locations (Nyando Sub County and Homabay)-homes were flooded.

The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned that the heavy rainfall being experienced in the country could increase in intensity to over 30-milimeters in 24 hours.

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In a statement, the Deputy Director of Meteorological Services Dr. David Gikungu said that the most affected areas are highlands west of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria basin, Highlands East of the Rift Valley including Nairobi county, the North Western region of Turkana County as well as the South Eastern Lowlands including Kajiado county.

Dr. Gikungu urged the public to be cautious as the high water levels in the rivers could result in flooding.

He warned that soils socked with water in hilly areas could trigger mudslides and urged the public to be cautious.

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Heavy Rainfall Advisory: Residents in all the mentioned areas are advised to be on the lookout for any eventuality.

This as Kilifi County Government Disaster Management Unit in conjunction with Kenya Red Cross Society has urged area residents living in low lying areas along River Sabaki to be alert over the possibility of flash floods.

The County Director of Meteorology, Ramadhan Munga said heavy rainfall had been forecast in the River Sabaki catchment areas hence floods may occur in the low lying areas that may not be receiving rainfall.

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Firm roots for PPPs in universal healthCARE

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General Manager of General Electric (GE) Health for sub-Sharan Africa, Eyong Ebai

The government has been urged to engage the private sector more in funding universal healthcare in the wake of Covid-19.
General Manager of General Electric (GE) Health for sub-Sharan Africa Eyong Ebai said the pandemic had demonstrated that governments alone cannot fund public health systems.
“There are two sides to the discussion and the first is in regards to supporting governments to create demand-side activity so there is appropriate funding that the supply side can then provide services to the general public,” said Mr Ebai in a recent interview. 
“On the demand side, we need to focus on instruments that can share risk and typically this will be in the form of health insurance programmes that can be national health insurance schemes like in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa,” he added.
In the upcoming 2021/2022 budget, the National Treasury has allocated Sh121 billion to the Health Ministry, representing an increase of Sh3 billion from the current financial year that ends in June. 
Treasury has allocated another Sh47.7 billion for the universal healthcare plan, bringing the total allocation to the country’s health sector at Sh168 billion for the 2021/2022 financial year. 
However, this represents 1.7 per cent of the country’s GDP and is below the international average spending for low-income countries that stood at 6.3 per cent as of 2019.
According to Ebai, governments can also tap into regional authorities through developing state or provincial-wide health insurance schemes that will directly benefit local communities, thus easing the pressure on central governments. 

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“The real trick for Africa is to tap into the informal sector as well as the formal sector,” he explained.
“This means everyone pays a small premium towards a pot which then goes towards providing coverage for individuals when they become unwell.” 
This is especially crucial as more than 80 per cent of patients on the continent still meet trig healthcare bills through out-of-pocket payments.

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Kenya: As Climate Change Threatens Kenyan Tea, Millions of Workers Seen At Risk

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Nairobi — Shifting temperatures and rainfall set to hit production of the world’s most popular beverage in key growing regions, says Christian Aid report

Climate change is set to ravage tea production in Kenya, the biggest global supplier of black tea, threatening the livelihoods of millions of plantation workers, a report by British charity Christian Aid warned on Monday.

The report looked at how shifting temperatures and rainfall patterns in tea-growing regions in Kenya, India, Sri Lanka and China could affect the quality and yield of the world’s most popular beverage.

Tea is one of Kenya’s top foreign currency earners, along with tourism and remittances, employing about three million people.

But the East African country – which produces almost half the tea consumed in Britain – is likely to see the areas with optimal and medium tea-growing conditions shrink by about 25% and 40% respectively by 2050, the report said.

Climatic changes will also make it increasingly difficult for tea growers to move into new, previously uncultivated regions, it said, adding that the decline in output was already being felt on the ground.

“The conditions here used to be good and we had a great tea harvest. When the climate changed, the production of tea in my farm dropped,” said Richard Koskei, 72, a tea farmer from Kericho in Kenya’s western highlands.

“We have nothing else to rely on here. People in my community will consider running away from tea farming, with jobs lost, and consumers of tea might see the price rise.”

According to a U.N. survey of 700 growers in all seven of Kenya’s tea regions, farmers observed changes in rainfall patterns, distribution, and reduced yields tied to climate change.

More than 40% of respondents said they had noticed changes in rainy and dry seasons, which led to shifts in the planting season, while 35% cited drought.

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