The Role Of Drawing In Architecture

The Role Of Drawing In Architecture

Though it may seem obvious to argue that drawing plays a significant role in the creation of architecture, the value of the artistry of drawing in the development of architecture is a much more complex argument. Architects like Paul Klee, Daniel Libeskind and even Sim Van der Ryn all demonstrate a distinct focus on the development of architectural artistry and these can be understood through the sketchbooks and drawings of the architects.

The architectural thought process in general is one that is defined by many of the same principles that are used in drawing. Architecture is as much about structure as it is about artistry, and the use of particular elements, including the introduction of light and the use of structural factors that support the introduction of light, are clearly a part of most designs. Elements of drawing, from the use of negative space to the development of grid structures relate to the correlation between architectural design and artistry. Architectural thought or the process of architectural planning and development, is a developed thinking process distinctly linked to the artistry of drawing.

Early 20th century architect Paul Klee can be argued to be one of the easiest representatives of the link between the process of drawing and the development of architecture. Though most consider Klee an artist, his artistic process has been compared to some of the architects of the 20th century, including Daniel Libeskind. Klee’s sketchbooks and artistry demonstrate the integrate of linear elements, linear qualities and bold graphic strokes that are common in the creation of architectural form (Paul Klee, 2002).

Klee’s artistic development and the repeated forms in his sketchbooks represent an architectural ideal, and comparisons can be made between the drawing styles of Klee and those of a number of architects, like Libeskind and Van der Rym. Libeskind’s philosophy of architecture, then, is deeply rooted in the value placed on artistry and the creative process, like that of Paul Klee. Libeskind wrote: “The magic of architecture cannot be appropriated by any singular operation because it is always already floating progressing, rising, flying, breathing. Whatever the problems – political, tectonic, linguistic which architecture exposes, one thing I know is that only the intensity and passion of its call make it fun to engage in its practice” (Daniel Libeskind, 2002).

Libeskind relates the notion of architecture as it relates to the images and ideals of the architect. The process of drawing ad the development of artistryis also linked to these same elements and the conceptual perspectives of Libeskind suggest that artistry or drawing and architecture are linked in themental processes that both utilize. Libeskind goes on to say: “I have found on this very particular path that people, whether here or there or now and then,always expect more of the spaces that they have been given” (Daniel Libeskind, 2002). As a result, the focus on space and the integration of line and form are considerations both in drawing and in rchitecture that is imperative to the success of each.

The link between design and artistry and the process of each may be considered when assessing factors like ecology and the integration of nature into drawing and architecture. In recent years, there has been a shift in the human paradigm away from the notion that man can function external from considerations about nature and towards improvements in architecture that are based in an acknowledgment of natural elements. In fact, the premise of ecological architecture is the notion of sustainability, and is based on the recognition that ecology is a self-designing system that relates natural elements, energy flows and function. Unfortunately, human development and the creation ofarchitectural structures requires more than just a cursory knowledge of the way in which architecture might impact the environment, and man has more oftenfailed in his attempts to direct change. For example, Sim Van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan in Ecological Design argued that mankind has participated in more than its share of ecological disasters, basednot in the intentional misuse of the environment, but instead in the ignoranceof what is required to determine sustainability. Especially in the modern era,since the turn of the century (into the 20th century), mankind’s architecturaldevelopments have reflected the desire or expectation that nature will somehow adapt to man’s presence, rather than affording a concentrated effort towardsadapting man’s own efforts towards maintaining natural surroundings, function

There are some fundamental components of the arguments presented that should be recognized in a comparison with the historical development of ecological architecture since the 1960s. Sim Van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan defended the process of designs based in recognition of the correlation between form and the flow of energy, including the concept of scale linking (Van der Ryn and Cowan,1995). Ecological design and ecological architecture must reflect an acknowledgment of the complex interdependence between features and the way in which form and development must unite in order to determine functionality. The following natural design is one offered by Van der Ryn and Cowan (1995, p. 8) to reflect the natural processes by which function can be determined, including the

Based on this assertion, the researchers argued that architectural development scan be best understood by recognizing the way in which humankind responded to  differences in natural elements and assessed basic properties of nature as a component of architectural design, based on difference in culture, perceptionsand the period in which architectural developments were defined. It was thebasic supposition of Van der Ryn that ecological architecture reflected different cultural and social variations in the pre-1960s, 1960s and 1970s and One of the fundamental changes over the course of the last century was the belief that man used to assess the fundamental changes in nature and utilize natural forms (pre-1960s era) but that there was a slow progression away from this as a part of expansive industrial development and urbanization. In recent years, however, the move back to the assessment of nature and the flow of energy, all dynamic elements in the assessment of both function and form relative to natural progress, has instilled an alternative to what has been perceived as modern architectural development.

The movement from modernism to postmodernism and the development of architectural form is clearly an underlying principle even in the late 20th century structures created by architects like Libeskind. In order to understand the shift and the focus on the minimalist sensibility that defined the use of light, rather than structural complexity, it is imperative to consider the history of the 20th century as a theoretical background. This can be best understood through the assessment of economic and social changes that went along with the industrial development and post-World War II expansion of capitalism (Best and Kellner, 2000). The increasing postmodern sensibilities that also emerged in the later works of Libeskind were linked to an ideological culture and dissatisfaction with modernist forms. This view resulted in the expansion of a cultural perspective distinctly dispelling the former elements of the modernist culture and was reflected in both the architectural designs and link between form and function (Best and Kellner, 2000). Central to this process, then, was the fact that the modern era heralded in significant changesthat resulted in the beneficial view of the mass culture and of capitalism, both of which changed the view of the modernist ideology.

The superseding of modernism in the late 1960s with the postmodernism perspective has been recognized and applied to a number of different cultural elements, including architecture, literature, film, dance and music, all of  which have been influenced by the Western development of the mass culture (Stevens, 2002). The term postmodernism itself is generally utilized to describe the deconstruction of the existing trends, the end of the “avant-garde” and the integration of artistic practices that reject the “purism and the certainty of modernism” (Stevens, 2002). “The culture of post-modernism is `dynamic and decentred’…as apparent opposites overlap. High art, advertising, documentary,history and theory mix together to deny mainstream ideas… By comparison, the ideals of modernism can be rejected as an `elitist, arrogant and mystifying master-code of bourgeois culture …'” (Stevens).

The construction of the postmodernism perspective is based on the integration of elements of popular culture, which determine the focus on a multidisciplinary element to the development of modern architecture. In essence, the shift away from a relatively stable artistic perspective towards a more interpretive and dynamic type of modernism is clearly a part of the progression of architectural sensibilities in the second half of the 20th century. At the same time, critics have argued that the decline of structural and modernist sensibilities inherently determined the focus on the process of deconstruction (Stevens, 2002). This demonstrates a substantive shift from the early developments and traditional architectural forms towards designs that are based on a kind of immediate integration of form and function.

Rosalind Rauss integrated structural elements into the postmodernist perspective. Rauss described the grid, a component of modern architecture, as “schizophrenic,” and further suggested that the grid is a extension of what canbe viewed visually, moving from the immediate and integrating architectural elements into the infinite. Further, Rauss argued that the development of architectural elements along a grid creates both boundaries and a sense of limitlessness, taking what may appear arbitrary and placing into an architectural perspective that suggests a greater degree of order. “Thus the grid operates from the work of art outward, compelling our acknowledgment of a world beyond the frame . . . . [By contrast] the grid is in relation to thisreading a re-presentation of everything that separates the work of art from the world, from ambient space and from other objects” (Rauss, 1978).

Other theorists have also considered the same application of the structural grid in works of art and architecture. Colin Rowe, for example, considered the concept of centralization as it applies to the integration of the grid and its repetitive nature and suggested that the coordination of elements underscores the structural composition, but detracts from the ability to understand the seemingly imperceptible gradations that can establish or separate one part of a building or the entire structure of a building from others. This perspective corresponds with elements of Rauss’ argument and underscores the importance of factors like understanding absolute space, defining a reference system and the integration of a functional grid as components of the architectural design of postmodernism. Architects like Liberskind provide some insight into the use of  grid elements and the three dimensional continuum of the grid as they relate to the architectural vision and perceptions of issues like space, uniformity and volume (Maitland, 1979).

One of the major problems in the development of architecture in the modern era is that it has become inextricably self-referential. In other words, it has been recognized that architecture fits into an artistic classification and that comparisons in form relate to other designs, rather than to an acknowledgment of natural process, natural order, flow and function (Pallasmaa, 1993). Some theorists have argued that the transformation of the modern architecture is a direct result of the ignorance of ecological functionalism and the need to move back to systems that address nature’s natural cycles (Pallasmaa, 1993).

The early American settlements in Jamestown and Plymouth recognized the importance of creating functional civilizations that also reflected an acknowledgment of natural elements. It was not unusual during this era for development to be strictly limited to regions of the new Americas that had water access and that were shaped by topographical components that were beneficial for constructing a community. As a result, many of the early settlers recognized the correlation between natural features and the creation of a new community based on necessity rather than a rejection of the importance of nature.

In the modern era, changes have occurred in the approach to architectural development, with a concentration on the notion of sustainability. It is interesting to note that the early settlers of Plymouth and Jamestown  recognized the limitations of the region, and settlers sought to utilize natural resources in order to create their emerging civilizations. It was not long before many pursued the development of a timber industry, for example, as a component of creating the civilizations that would shape the industrial cities of the 20th century (Fromont, 1994).

Some call this the “new urbanist” movement, the creation of suburban-type communities in natural regions that more often than not negate the premise thatthey can somehow integrate into a sustainable natural population. Though the architectural development clearly demonstrates an acknowledge of natural challenges, there is little in the creation of this utopian community that suggests success in creating natural sustainability. One of the architectural focuses of this region was the hope to maintain some of the natural features ofthe land and keep in place the woods and natural beauty that was there. But one of the issues that has been related through Sim Van der Ryn’s perspective on ecological design and ecological architecture is that the notion that man can simply place manmade structures into an existing an interdependent environment without making assessments of the ecological impact will not end in a positive Critics of the modernist and postmodernism architectural sensibilities have argued that the influence of Western beliefs and ideals is defined by the correlation between assessments of truth and perceptions of mechanisms like function and artistry, all of which create a sense of the temporality of architecture and the need to consider lasting implications of design factors. At the same time, it is valuable to consider the role that artistry plays in the architectural developments of men like Daniel Liberskind. Libeskind (2002)related this in the following statement: “The spirit of architecture wanders


Best, Steven and Douglas Kellner (2000). The Postmodern Turn: Chapter Four:

Postmodernism in the Arts: Pastiche, Implosion, and the Popular. At:

DANIEL LIBESKIND. (2002, April). [Online]. Available:

Fromonot, F. (1994, April). Glenn Murcutt’s ecological eloquence. Progressive

Architecture, v75 n4, pp. 66(8).

Ian McHarg (1969). Design With Nature. Garden City, NY: The Natural History


Pallasmaa, J. (1993, June). From metaphorical to ecological Functionalism. The

Architectural Review, v193 n1156, pp. 74(6).

Paul Klee. (2002, April). [Online]. Available:

Jan Vermeer

Rowe. Colin. (1973). Classicsim and Modern Architecture. In The Mathematics of

the Ideal Villa.

Stevens, Ingrid (2002, April). Postmodernism, structuralism, post-structuralism,

deconstruction and art criticism. De Arte 54, At:

Stokstad, M. (1995). Art History. New York, NY: Abrams.

Van der Ryn, S. and Cowan, S. (1995, Fall). Nature’s geometry. Whole Earth

Review, n86, pp. 8(7).

Van der Ryn, S. and Cowan, S. (1995). Ecological Design. Island Press.

The Role of Dialogue in an Organizational Context







The Role of Dialogue in an Organizational Context

















The Role of Dialogue in an Organizational Context


            Dialogue is a practice of engaging people to listen to different perspectives, work on difficult skills, promote cooperation, and build skills. Each organization has its own unique culture of addressing problems, relationship tension points, and implementing changes. With effective dialogues in an organization, the process of solving problems and implementing changes becomes easy, and successful. Most organization acknowledges the value of dialogues, but when they seek to enhance overall performance, they seldom view dialogues as a starting point of change. Ensuring effective dialogues are in place can be an effective first step toward improving overall organization performance (Stoll-Kleemann & Welp 2006). This paper intends to discuss the role of dialogue in an organizational context.

            In an organization, dialogues provide a forum of identifying improvement opportunities. This spurs quick action, paving way for immediate results, which build a momentum for the ongoing change. Dialogues enable managers to create a vision of change, increase employees awareness on their roles during the change process, and most important, they create a process of handling conflicts when they occur in the change process. Effective dialogues also boost employee trust, which is of paramount importance during the process of implementing various changes in the organization. Additionally, dialogues create a sense of transparency throughout the organization, and as a result, trust is enhanced among the employees. Keeping employees in the dark can lead to a feeling of low job security, resentments, or tension (Fielding 2005). Effective dialogues help to eradicate this feeling of uncertainty/cluelessness about the course of action in the organization, creating a more positive work environment.          

            Dialogue is an essential ingredient in the creation of health relationships between staff members and various levels of employees, both on social and professional level. Through dialogues, employees express their ideas freely, and they get solutions for some of the problems they encounter as they execute their roles. They also get to know more about their responsibilities, and their employer’s expectations. In addition, dialogue prevents employees from feeling isolated, creates a more collegial work environment, and builds teamwork. As the staff members interact with one another in a one-to-one discussions, they share their experiences, and consequently come up with more innovative solutions, which boost the organization’s productivity (Molen & Hoogland 2005).  

            Confusion and ambiguity in an organization can create feelings of low self-esteem and a tense atmosphere. However, through adoption of effective dialogues, where managers engage with the employees in a face-to-face communication, they can give employees the necessary information needed to get their jobs done. This is particularly necessary in cases where employees come from varying backgrounds. By engaging in such dialogues, managers also address some of the problems employees may be encountering as well as listen to their grievances (Fielding, 2005).

            In order to achieve the organizational goals, every stakeholder including customers, the community, owners, shareholder as well as prospective/present employees should be updated accordingly on the state of affairs in the organization. Although sufficient information might be available on the organization’s website or publications, some stakeholders may not be able to interpret it correctly. For instance, a shareholder may not be able to know the meaning of various financial ratios included in financial statements. However, by engaging in effective dialogues with such stakeholders, it will be possible to clarify, some of the areas they are finding difficult to understand, and as a result remove any misunderstanding. This paves way for a smooth running of the organization, making it easy to realize the set goals. If managers neglect such dialogues, the stakeholders may concoct information through grape vine rumors. This can be detrimental to the company, and can lead to mistrust (McIntosh, Luecke & American Management Association 2008).

            In most organizations, effective dialogues offer the best opportunity of creating an outstanding first impression. By using relevant and powerful words in various dialogues, business professionals are able to create strong partnerships while developing a solid client base at the same time. In addition, through effective dialogues, employees learn how to work together, and consequently, they share their expertise without reservation. This makes some of the daunting tasks manageable, enabling employees to perfect in their roles. Employees also feel free to share resources in running of various operations in the organization since they have a feeling that they are a family. As a result, the organization can cut on the cost of acquiring some resources. In the long-run, the organization resources will be put in a maximum use, ensuring good returns at low costs (McIntosh, Luecke, Davis & American Management Association, 2008)

            Performance dialogues, which entail face-to-face communication between the manager and various employees, are among the best management tools available at a leader’s disposal. Through these dialogues, managers can review data on the organization’s progress, its health, and identify the root cause of various obstacles in realization of the organization’s objectives and goals. After identifying the obstacles faced by the organization, manager can come up with viable strategies of countering the challenges through blending of the ideas and proposals from different parties involved in the dialogues (Molen & Hoogland, 2005).


As discussed above, dialogues play a key role in the execution of various operations in an organization. For instance, dialogues create a sense of transparency throughout the organization, enhancing trust among employees. With noteworthy trust, employees feel as part of the organization, and as a result, they offer their services without reservation. By engaging in effective dialogues with employees, managers can address some of the challenges faced by employees, clarify their roles, motivate them, and listen to their grievances. In addition, dialogues play a key role during the process of implementing new changes in the organization. They enable managers to clarify the importance of the changes, and the roles each employee is expected to play. Indeed, for any organization to succeed, dialogues are inevitable. 


Fielding, M. (2005). Effective communication in organizations: [preparing messages that communicate]. Lansdowne, Cape Town: Juta Academic.

McIntosh, P., Luecke, R., Davis, J. H., & American Management Association. (2008). Interpersonal communication skills in the workplace. New York: American Management Association.

Molen, H. T., & Hoogland, Y. H. (2005). Communication in organizations: basic skills and conversation models. Hove [England: Psychology Press.

Stoll-Kleemann, S., & Welp, M. (2006). Stakeholder dialogues in natural resources management: Theory and practice. Berlin: Springer.


The Role Of Culture In The Spread Of Hiv/Aids Amongst The

The Role Of Culture In The Spread Of Hiv/Aids Amongst The Luo People Of Kenya

Lewnida Sara

In partial fulfilment for the award of masters of art degree in disaster management

Date of submission:

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

Background…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

The Kenyan HIV Context…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

     HIV Prevalence rate in Kenya, by region…………………………………………………………….…………..……….. 7

The Study Context………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12

Objectives of the Study…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Research Questions…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16

Problem Statement………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 17


Gender Inequity and HIV prevalence…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 21

Poverty and HIV Prevalence…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 25

Widow Inheritance………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26

Widow Cleansing…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 30

Male Circumcision…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 33

Polygamy………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 38

Cultural Interactions……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 40

Culture as a Positive Influence on HIV/AIDS..…………………………….…………………………………………………….. 42

METHODOLOGY……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 44

Study Design and Variables…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 46

Cultural Factors Influencing the Prevalence of HIV…………………………………………………………………………………….. 47

Exercise of Authority /influence on inter partner /inter-spouse Sexuality………………………………………………. 47

Existing HIV policies and Programmes………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 48

Study Area…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 48

Target Population……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 49

Sampling Frame……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 49

Sampling……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 50

Data Collection methods………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 51

Ethical Considerations……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 52

Data Analysis……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 53

Study Limitations and Constraints……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 53

BIBLIOGRAPHY……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 54




1.1. Background

UNDP (2004) define disasters as a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses, which exceed the ability of the affected community, or society to cope using its own resources. Of all the disasters that Africa has had to deal with, the worst that the continent has experienced to date is the HIV/aids scourge, as Cohen (1999) has noted.

HIV and AIDS have fronted a multi-pronged attack, damaging the continent’s social fabric, its economy, health systems, and its workforce, amongst other sectors. It is widely believed that about 30 million people are HIV positive in the world, with an estimated 22 million coming from Sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNAIDS (2008), an estimated 1.9 million people from Sub-Saharan Africa got infected with the disease in 2007 alone. During the same year, an estimated 1.5 million Africans succumbed to the illness. Overall, the AIDS pandemic has left behind more than 11.6 million orphans as observed by Avert, (2008).

For Africa, already affected by a plethora of challenges, HIV/AIDS has had devastating effects with a far-reaching impact on all spheres of life on the African continent. Households, hospitals, workplaces, schools, and economies have all been significantly affected. For instance, hospitals are overwhelmed by the high demand for care for people living with HIV. Households are disintegrating as parents die, leaving behind siblings who are barely old enough to care for themselves. These children are forced to undergo hardships and trauma because AIDS forces the children to take on the extra responsibilities of earning an income and heading households. In some instances, the disease has damaged the education sector to a point of collapse, thereby entrenching the cycle of poverty. (Avert 2008).

Some analysts and stakeholders, especially in the Western world, argue that the root cause of the above effects is the deep-seated cultural practices found among the African communities (Fauci et al 1998). According to these sources, for the war against the AIDS pandemic in the African continent to be won, communities have to fight such cultural practices as female genital mutilation (FGM), wife exchange and sexual cleansing, as these have been seen to contribute to the high prevalence rates of HIV/Aids in Africa.

On the other hand, other observers hold the view that targeting the apparently harmful traditional practices of these communities is the wrong way to go about HIV/AIDS prevention programs, because the eradication of such practices would not in any way ensure the protection of communities, and because they are not incompatible with a safer behaviour (National AIDS Control Council 2000). In any case, the West itself has some high-risk behaviour such as homosexuality and what would be termed “serial monogamy” as opposed to Africa’s outright polygamy.

Notwithstanding the different opinions offered, what cannot be debated is that the AIDS scourge has continued to wreak havoc, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, both the numbers of people dying from AIDS and HIV prevalence rates, vary greatly amongst countries located in this region. According to the Avert report (2008), HIV prevalence in Senegal and Somalia is below one percent of the adult population. A confounding factor in the culture debate is that both these nations, being largely Moslem, permit polygamy (up to four wives). Senegal is also the only country in Africa to have legalized prostitution. In Kenya, for instance, the lowest HIV prevalence rate is found in the North Eastern Province, a province that is mainly Moslem. Could religion perhaps be a key factor that influences the spread of HIV and AIDS?

In South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, approximately 15-20 percent of the adult population is infected with HIV. Swaziland is presumed to have the highest national adult HIV prevalence rate, at 26.1 percent, then Botswana, at 23.9 percent, and Lesotho, with 23.2 percent (CIA Factbook 2008), as indicated by the table below.

Table 1: HIV/AIDS prevalence by country for the year 2008

Source: CIA Factbook (2008)

Some of the socio-cultural practices and attitudes mentioned above are responsible for the high HIV prevalence rates recorded in these countries.  In addition to the said harmful cultural practices, the situational analysis also identified inhumane burial rites and practices that deny girls and women their rights to education and economic development as key contributing factors to the high HIV prevalence rate in Sub-Sahara Africa. Accordingly, those responsible for managing the scourge must make all efforts to ensure that such practices are changed (CAPA 2008).

1.2. the kenyan context – AN OVERVIEW

 Kenya is one of the Sub-Saharan Africa countries that have been hardest hit by HIV and AIDS. At its onset, HIV was not considered a serious threat to the nation. However, the AIDS pandemic began to spread rapidly in the early 1990s. To date, approximately 2 million Kenyans have been infected by the disease. About 1 million of the HIV-positive people are women, with children accounting for nearly 180 000 people. It is estimated that the scourge has decimated approximately 130 000 people in Kenya, leaving behind around 1.4 million orphans (Avert 2008).

When the virus was identified in this East African nation in the mid-eighties, scholars and researchers loudly dismissed it as a “disease of the West invented to scare Africa” (Nzioka & Ramos 2008: 27). During the initial stages, HIV/AIDS was associated with homosexuality and commercial sex workers. These groups of people were viewed by society as lacking in morals, and thus it was justified for them to pay back for their sins through contracting the disease. At no point in time did heterosexuals believe that they could become victims of the scourge, and that its prevalence rate would be so great. According to Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report (2008:12), prevalence is “a measure of the total burden of disease including new and old infections”.. Prevalence can decrease or increase based on a number of factors including the mortality rate, the rate of new infections, and the length of time individuals are able to survive the infection based on available treatments.

After the first HIV-related case was reported in Kenya in 1985, the government moved with speed to form the National AIDS Committee in 1986, charged with the responsibility of advising the minister of health (MOH) on issues related to HIV/AIDS management and control (Nzioka & Ramos 2008). During the same year, the MOH came up with policy guidelines on blood safety that were previously non-existent. However, the Seventh National Development Plan of 1994 was the government’s major policy paper on HIV/AIDS in Kenya after the scourge started to spread at an alarming level. The section on HIV/AIDS was mainstreamed in all district development plans. In September 1997, a national HIV/AIDS policy /sessional paper No. 4 (1997) was launched.

When the scourge threatened to spill out of control, particularly in Nyanza province, former President Daniel Arap Moi, in November 1999, declared HIV/AIDS a national disaster , consequently unlocking national and international efforts to combat the disaster. Due to concerted efforts made by the government and donors, the trend stabilized at the turn of the Millennium, and in fact dropped to 6.7 percent as shown by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2003 (Okwemba 2008). Extensive campaigns that encouraged abstinence, faithfulness and condom use were conducted throughout the country from informal settings like open-air markets to the more formal ones such as institutions of higher learning to create awareness and to educate the communities on the dangers of practicing unsafe sex. The campaigns indeed bore fruit when a study conducted in 2006 demonstrated that the national HIV prevalence rate had dropped to 5.1 percent. Prior to this announcement, awareness campaigns were being poorly managed and coordinated, and people feared to talk about the disease in public. AIDS patients were being stigmatized by society and therefore feared to come forward to reveal their status. When declaring AIDS as a national disaster, the former Head of State proposed that AIDS education be offered in schools and colleges to create awareness among students.  Free television and radio time was also to be offered for AIDS awareness broadcasts. However, the government was at that time reluctant to promote condom use as a preventive measure (National AIDS Control Council 2000).

Coinciding with the declaration was the establishment of the National AIDS Control Council (NACC), charged with the responsibility of overseeing overall leadership, management, and coordination of all efforts geared towards curtailing the spread of the pandemic in a multi-sectoral response (Nzioka & Ramos 2008). Its immediate task was to prepare the Kenya National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan that was later published in December 2000. According to Nzioka and Ramos (2008: 68), the Plan “provided a sound institutional framework for integrating the HIV/AIDS issues into all core processes of government in Kenya.” The primary targets of the Marshall Plan included:

  • Reduction of HIV/AIDS prevalence rate by 20-30 percent by the end of 2005.
  • Increased access to care and support for individuals infected or affected by the disaster.
  • Reinforced institutional capacity and coordination to respond to HIV/AIDS at all levels across the nation.

The NACC’s mission seems to have been achieved relatively well. By the end of 2007, 95 percent of the adult population in the country knew the basics of HIV and its modes of transmission. By January 2006, 65 000 HIV positive patients were receiving free antiretroviral therapy, up from a meagre 2 000 recorded in 2003. This was made possible through government funding, together with other international donors like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the Clinton Foundation (Nzioka & Ramos 2008). The national HIV prevalence rate dropped from a high of over 10 percent in 1997 to a low of 5.1 percent in 2006 (Okwemba 2008). However, surprisingly, the gains made over the years were reversed when the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey [KAIS] conducted in 2007 showed that Kenya’s national HIV/ AIDS prevalence rate had indeed increased to nearly 8 percent, with Nyanza recording the highest provincial prevalence rate of 15.3 percent.

To date, the Kenyan government through NACC, MOH, and other interested parties continue to advocate four HIV management approaches, popularly known as “ABCC” (Okwemba 2008): Abstinence, Being faithful, Condom use, and Circumcision. The latter approach, circumcision, was incorporated into the mainstream HIV management approaches in 2008, and a policy paper drafted calling on all willing males to undergo the procedure. In the circumcision policy, the government stressed that circumcision should be considered as part of a comprehensive prevention package and should not in any way replace the other effective HIV prevention and management strategies. Regarding condom use, the government met with a lot of resistance in its promotion as an effective HIV prevention method especially from religious leaders (Mbugua et al. 2005). However, condom use remains one of the most widely used HIV prevention strategies in Kenya today.

1.2.1 HIV Prevalence rate in Kenya

Kenya is made up of eight provinces, namely Rift Valley, Western, Eastern, Nyanza, Central, North Eastern, Coast and Nairobi, which amongst them are home to about 42 ethnic communities. According to the recent KAIS survey (cf. Figure 1.0), Nyanza leads in HIV prevalence rate, with 15.3 percent of the people testing HIV positive, followed by Nairobi (9.3%), Coast (7.9%), Rift Valley (7.0%), Eastern (4.7%), Central (3.8%), and North Eastern (1.0%).

Figure 1.0: HIV Prevalence rate in Kenya by province for 2007

                                                  Source: KAIS (2007)

In terms of gender, females between 15-64 years of age recorded a HIV prevalence rate of 8.7 percent compared to 5.6 percent among males in the same age group, in 2007.  In urban areas, females between 15-49 years of age had a HIV prevalence rate of 11.1 percent, far outrunning their male counterparts who recorded a 6.4 percent prevalence rate. In the rural parts of Kenya, the same trend was noted, with females leading with 8.7 percent compared to males on a 5.7 percent HIV prevalence rate. Uncircumcised men were 3 to 5 times more likely to have HIV than circumcised men of between 15-64 years of age (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report 2008).

Table 1.0 shows HIV prevalence rates in Kenya by sex and marital status. (For men and women who were tested)


Table 2: HIV Prevalence Rates among Kenyans aged between 15-64 years by sex and marital status by 2007

Marital Status

(15-64 yrs)


(% rate)


(% rate)


(% rate)

Currently in union












 Currently not in union

Currently widowed

Currently divorced/ separated










Never in Union

Ever had sex

Never had sex










                                                  Source: KAIS (2007)


An immediate interpretation of the information above conveys the findings that the main medium of transmission of HIV in Kenya is through sex, amongst males and females that are not in union. When interpreted along gender lines, women are at a higher risk given their physiological nature and harmful traditional practices such as widow inheritance, as one man can infect several women, especially when seen against the background of widow inheritance.

1.2.2 Study Context

Of the approximately 42 ethnic communities to be found in Kenya, the Luo form the 3rd largest, after the Kikuyu and the Luhya, thereby comprising approximately 12 percent of the national population of Kenya, as shown by the table below:

Table 3: Main Kenyan ethnic groups, along with population estimates 2007

Percent of population
Kikuyu 22
Luhya 14
Luo 13
Kalenjin 12
Kamba 11

                       Source: Library of Congress, Country Profile: Kenya (2007)

Kenya undertakes a population census every 10 years, with the next one due in August 2009.Going by the 1999 national census projections, the Luo may be numbering approximately 3.5 million (Daily Nation 2000). The Luo tribe has spread its populace beyond Kenya, into neighbouring Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania. The main economic activity among the Luo revolves around fishing, though many have now taken on farming activities to supplement the income they get from fishing.  On the Kenyan side, the majority of community members reside in Nyanza province, one of the eight provinces of Kenya. The administrative centre of the province is Kisumu City, the third largest city in Kenya after Nairobi and Mombasa.

The Luo, who belong to the Nilotic group, migrated from Sudan into present-day Kenya and Tanzania between 1500 and 1800 A. D, and settled in the area on the banks of Lake Victoria (Cohen & Odhiambo 1989: 33). Formally pastoral nomads, the Luo today are agriculturalists and fishermen, who depend on the lake for their daily bread. There is evidence to underscore the strong association of the Luo to both river and lake (Onyango-Ogutu & Roscoe 1974: 15) and their use of descriptive words such as nyarnam (daughter of the Lake) to distinguish themselves from others. The mainstream language in the area is known as Dholuo.  The Luo are known to be a proud people who value their language and culture. This is juxtaposed with the fact that Luo Nyanza boasts a large proportion of the most widely read and acclaimed personalities in the nation. The community holds formal education in high esteem, and boasts a significant proportion of medical and philosophical doctors, professors, teachers, nurses, and other white-collar jobholders. It does not think much of blue-collar occupations, and endeavours to send its children to achieve as high a formal educational level as possible, with a view to securing top white-collar jobs. This view of the Luos’ high estimation of education is supported by a study conducted by Parkin who states that “Luo families have been urged to seek salvation through education, with entrepreneurship increasingly ruled out as a possibility in Nairobi” (Odundo & Owino 2004: 27). Those who have managed to pursue their education to university level, especially overseas universities and in particular, the United Kingdom and the United States, are especially revered.  This reverence of education dates back generations, as can be attested to by Parkin, who further states of the Luo: “when we compare the families of other ethnic groups in Kaloleni, we see how pronounced is the Luo propensity to locate their children in Nairobi, primarily to give them education and training” (2004: 47). Nevertheless, contrary to expectations, these high education levels have not diminished much the hold of cultural practices and reverence of tradition. Without the advent of HIV, this reverence of tradition is not in itself a negative attribute – to the contrary, it should be upheld. However, since the advent of HIV, stakeholders involved in the fight against the disease have painstakingly attributed the high prevalence rate witnessed in the region to harmful cultural practices that the Luo continue to espouse. By 1997, the HIV prevalence rate within Kisumu city had surpassed 26 percent (Glynn et al. 2007).

1.3 Objectives of the Study

1.3.1. Overall Objective

The study sets out to establish the socio-cultural factors responsible for the continued rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in Nyanza Province in Kenya, which may be negatively impacting the effectiveness of HIV management and control programmes in the region.

The specific objectives of the study are to:

  1. identify the socio-cultural factors which contribute to the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Nyanza Province;
  2. evaluate knowledge levels of the local population towards harmful cultural practices that are popular in the region;
  3. determine the vulnerable and affected groups by age, gender, and level of education.

1.4. Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following research questions

  • What are the attitudes and perceptions held by the Luo on their deep attachment to tradition and cultural practices?
  • What is the nature of Luo cultural practices and what role do these practices play in the spread of HIV/Aids in the region?
  • What is the level of awareness of the methods of transmission, management, and mitigation of HIV/AIDS amongst members of the Luo?
  • How may improved knowledge and understanding of the local cultural practices contribute to the management of HIV/AIDS as a national disaster in Kenya?



1.5 Problem statement

HIV/AIDS has become a serious threat to the socio-economic prosperity and human capital of many developing nations around the world. The HIV virus is known to affect individuals during their most economically productive years, at an age when they are most needed for raising their children, with implications extending well into the future (UNAIDS/ UNESCO 2000). For the last two decades, many nations have committed enormous resources to scientific research in efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the menace.

UNAIDS/ UNESCO (2000) gives one of the best outlines of the interactions between culture and development. The report quotes the anthropological definition of culture used by UNESCO: “…a set of distinctive, spiritual and material, intellectual and emotional characteristics, which define society or social group…it encompasses ways of life, the fundamental rights of the person, value systems, traditions and beliefs” (UNAIDS/UNESCO 2000: 12). More importantly, the joint report  further points out that with regard to HIV/AIDS prevention and care, “a cultural approach means that any population’s cultural specificities: ways of life, value systems, traditions and beliefs…will be considered as key references for policy and planning in prevention and care”. And further, that the said cultural specificities “…will be seen as resources and a framework for action, in order to obtain in-depth and long-term changes in people” (UNAIDS/UNESCO 2000: 8). In Kenya, the Government, together with other interested stakeholders. have been involved in the search for a vaccine and multidisciplinary programmes aimed at containing the spread of the disease. Since the search for a viable cure has not borne fruit, the most commonly used strategies include advocacy for behaviour change and sensitization programmes for awareness creation. As a direct result of the campaign programmes, 95 percent of Kenyans are aware of the nature of HIV and its modes of transmission (UNAIDS/ UNESCO).

What is worrying is that these behaviour change campaigns have not yielded much in Nyanza province as evidenced by the stark difference in prevalence rates between Nyanza province and the other seven provinces of the country.   The situation has drawn the interest of many scholars, researchers, and analysts. Various studies indicate that over 80 percent of the HIV transmissions in Kenya occur through sexual contact (Odundo & Owino 2004: p7). Yet, for local communities such as the Luo and Kuria, sex as a ritual is deeply entrenched in culture. For example, among the Luo, the start of every planting season, or the move to a new home, is marked by sexual intercourse between the man and his first wife. In Kenya, different ethnic groups exhibit diverse cultural beliefs and practices. Some of these practices such as widow cleansing, widow inheritance, male and female circumcision, and polygamy encourage behaviours that put people at risk of contracting and transmitting HIV (Njeru, Mwangi, & Ndunge 2004:1; Ntozi et al. 1999).  According to Ocholla-Ayayo and Muganzi (2003), in order to understand the spread of HIV/AIDS better, it is imperative to examine socio-cultural attributes such as types and forms of sexual association, marriage patterns, widow inheritance, socio-economic aspects, and power relations among men and women, especially regarding negotiation for safer sex.

Even though the pandemic has attracted multidisciplinary studies and multicultural responses, information on socio-cultural reasons for the lack of behaviour change, especially in Nyanza Province, remains scanty. Furthermore, few studies have assessed the effectiveness of the policies and management of the HIV disaster in Nyanza Province, including the recently launched policy on male circumcision. In other words, very few studies have been conducted to assess the effectiveness of intervention programmes already on the ground. Based on this, sentinel surveillance statistics provided by the government and other local NGOs are not adequate to guide informed project or programme design decisions. Proper understanding of the socio-cultural attributes of the communities in Nyanza is indispensable for effective programmes that can promote behaviour change aimed at reducing the HIV disaster in the region. It is this gap that the study seeks to fill.

Chapter 2: Risk Factors Spreading HIV/AIDS in Nyanza Province 

In the social sciences circles, culture, in its broadest definition, is a way of life practiced by a group of individuals –the beliefs, behaviours, values, and symbols that they generally accepted, and that are passed along by imitation and communication from one generation to the next (Li & Karakowsky 2001). According to Owino (1998), culture is a learned and shared symbolic system of beliefs, values, and attitudes that shapes and influences the behaviour and perception of a group of people. It must therefore be studied by looking at the customs, behaviour, language, and the material culture of the group of individuals. Culture is learned through a process known as enculturation. Culture must be shared by members of a particular community. Culture must also be patterned, mutually constructed through a steady progression of social interaction, and symbolic. It must also be internalized and arbitrary considering that it is created by humans according to their desires rather than according to natural laws.

As stated earlier, many researchers have taken the influential view of culture, which highlights the role traditional cultural practices and institutions play in moulding behaviours that lead to rapid HIV infection rates. According to NASCOP (1999:11), “particular rights and ceremonies … are incongruent with the modern way of life and observance of which tend to enhance the contraction, containment, and spread of AIDS.”

According to Matlin and Spence (2000), cultural factors in Africa, including wife inheritance, gender inequality, and sexual practices need to be better understood or changed if the fight against the disease is to be more effective. According to the report, many societies especially in Africa find it uncomfortable and challenging to discuss and act on some cultural issues and practices, which nevertheless determine the spread of HIV/AIDS, and undermine the effectiveness of national management responses put in place by governments and other stakeholders. However, not all cultural traditions and practices are bad. Some cultural practices such as male circumcision have been found to have a positive impact on curtailing the spread of HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS 2008). The section below details the socio-cultural factors that have fuelled HIV/AIDS within Nyanza province, while drawing on similarities to be found in other regions of the continent.

2.3.1. Gender Inequality and HIV Prevalence

Cultural traditions that fail to recognize the value of women have contributed to the high prevalence of HIV in Africa, from Botswana to Swaziland to Kenya and Uganda (Morris 2006). Policy experts and scholars in Africa have devoted much of their time to study the role of gender in relation to the spread of HIV/AIDS. There is an assertion that the low status and marginal position of women in many communities prevent them from protecting themselves from HIV[1] (Male Circumcision and HIV Fact Sheet 2007). According to the Director of the Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN) of Zimbabwe, Ms. Priscilla Misihairabwi, women continue to be socially and economically dependent on men as they continue to get poorer and poorer by the day. This is evidenced by the fact that women have less control over when and whether to engage in sex with their husbands, a situation that has increased the spread of HIV (Opportunity International 2007).  Most husbands, especially in Africa, do not stick to one spouse. Indeed, the 2007 KAIS study in Kenya revealed that a higher percentage of Kenyans aged between 30-34 years are currently infected with the HIV pandemic than in any other age category (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report 2008). This age category is largely composed of married couples, and thus the high prevalence rate can partly be attributed to the marginalization of married women and the promiscuity of married men. It is therefore imperative that marginalized African women be given both HIV/AIDS education and economic empowerment if they are to significantly reduce their vulnerability to high-risk sexual behaviour.

Many previous studies point to the connection between gender, high-risk behaviour, poverty, and the prevalence of HIV. Adams and Trost (2005:5) argue that the social structure of most Kenyan communities, including the Luo, guarantees a gendered division of responsibilities and roles. These communities are known to be patrilocal and patrilineal in that, residence and inheritance are at the core of male lineage. Sexual division of labour is such that the women are charged with the responsibility of overseeing food production for the whole family, maintaining the domestic sphere, and caring for children (Shipton 1989). On the other hand, men are engaged in formal employment and have the rights to land ownership. Due to such division of labour, women are faced with a lot of hurdles when they try to access finance to start up an enterprise. In most instances, men are in total control of economic power and command over household resources, thereby making women more susceptible to the pandemic. Besides controlling wealth and property, men are the major decision-makers (Cohen & Adhiambo 1989). These social cultural structures leave the women with no authority at all to guide their decision making. Indeed, bride wealth is exchanged by husbands and families upon marriage in compensation for the productive and reproductive capabilities of the women (Ntonzi et al 1999).

In Luo Nyanza, the traditional major sources of income are fishing and subsistence farming (Kenya Information Guide 2009). In farming, women are involved in planting, weeding, and harvesting the crop, while their male counterparts are engaged in land preparation. Luo women are today also engaged in small-scale business activities such as selling mitumba[2] food and other commodities. The money they get from these ventures is meant to meet their most basic needs. However, their productive power is very limited due to the fact that traditional Luo customs do not give the Luo women any chance of pursuing economic channels or even owning property. (Gray et al 2002). Women therefore turn to men for financial support since they are left with very limited means of earning adequate financial resources. Women must plead with men to be given money for school fees, medical payments, and capital to start some small businesses (Shipton 1989).

These gender inequalities and biases are not limited to the Luo, but are widespread in Africa. They vary from the mundane and inconsequential, to the life-threatening inequalities. In some communities in Uganda, for example, women are never allowed by their male counterparts to eat chicken wings due to the fear that they would fly like birds and refuse to be submissive in bed (Halperin & Bailey 1999).  In West Africa, some cultures have the tradition of beating women at least once in three months to make them submissive, and discipline them. More serious examples include Somalia, where women have to go through female genital mutilation (FGM) to prevent them from becoming sexually promiscuous. FGM has many times resulted in threatening the very life of the woman undergoing it. While the women are being “tamed”, their husbands roam the streets with any woman they desire (Kawango 1995). Such cultural practices aim at marginalizing women to the periphery of existence so that they are fully dependent on their male counterparts, and consequently, more vulnerable to HIV infection.

Concerning reproduction, many African communities, including the Luo, expect their women to give birth to a lot of children, and at regular intervals (Shipton 1989). To carry on the male-dominated lineage, women are especially expected to give birth to boys. According to Kawango (1995), sub-fertility or infertility, including giving birth to girl children alone is viewed as a disgrace to the society by the Luos. Marrying of other wives in such a case was permitted in order to sire sons.

Property ownership is yet another manifestation of gender bias and inequality. Few communities in Africa permit women to own property, especially land. On the contrary, the women themselves are regarded as property, and it therefore baffles their male counterparts how a property can own property (Bailey et al 2002). Local women in Luo Nyanza are still perceived as property (Odundo & Owino 2004).  In a typical rural Luo household, a housewife will never complain when her husband comes home with another woman as she has been conditioned to believe that husbands must have extramarital affairs (Odundo & Owino 2004).  The foregoing reveals deep-rooted gender inequality in the region, with the resultant risks and vulnerabilities to HIV infection.

2.3.2. Poverty and HIV Prevalence

Abject poverty has been blamed for the swift spread of HIV in many African nations. In Nyanza province, Kenya, a government survey released in 2005 revealed that 65 percent of the local population mainly composed of the Luos, lives below the poverty line. In rural areas, households were living on US$ 17 per month, whereas those in towns had to live on US$ 35 per month. This led many stakeholders working in the region to argue that there is a correlation between poverty and HIV/AIDS. In addition to lack of good quality education, women start having sex far much earlier in poorer areas. Studies have revealed that women who go to school have a lower HIV prevalence rate than their counterparts who fail to attend school (Cohen 2005). Poor women are also more likely to engage in sex for money or get married at an early age to escape the poverty dragnet. These are major risk factors that expose the women to HIV infection.

Though needy populations account for most of the HIV related cases in Africa, it is not automatic that the infection is confined to the poorest (Cohen 1999). There exists partial evidence for a socio-economic inclination to HIV infection. It therefore follows that the association between HIV prevalence and poverty is neither direct nor simple, and more complex influences are at work than just the forces of poverty alone. Indeed, many rich Africans adopt flashy lifestyles that directly expose them to the risks of HIV infection. Rich Luos are known to love this kind of lifestyle (Njeru et al 2004).                                                                                     


2.3.3. Widow Inheritance

Widow inheritance is a marriage arrangement whereby a widow marries a kinsman of her deceased husband. This could be a brother to the deceased or a close member of his family (Stephen 1997). Male mortality in African countries is higher than in many industrialized countries around the world. This means that more African women are widowed at a more tender age than their Western counterparts (Njeru et al 2004). Traditionally, to deal with such frequent occurrences, social institutions such as wife inheritance came into play. Though the widows took on an even bigger role in their families’ welfare, inheritance failed to offer them the same level of support and companionship that marriage offered. Traditionally, inheritance enabled the widows to remain reproductively active and economically productive.

Though levirate or widow inheritance has waned elsewhere, it continues to be widely practiced among the Luo of Kenya. The practice is entrenched in the Luo culture and a widow who refuses to be inherited is threatened that chira[3], an indigenous disease that functions to safeguard Luo moral standards, will strike her or members of her own family (Ntonzi et al 1999). The Luo tradition demands that a widow must be inherited by her deceased husband’s brother or another close male relative some months after the burial of her husband (Njeru et al 2004). According to Njeru and colleagues (2004), basically the idea is to ensure that the widows remain under the custody of men. It is like a remarriage in that the wife is supposed to be sexually satisfied by the inheritor alone. The inheritor serves as a husband, standing in for the deceased in all ceremonies and rituals, and also serving as the father of the widow’s children during marriage. Potash (1986) argued that Luo widows were never allowed to formally remarry or engage in sex with other partners apart from the inheritor. According to Obbo (1986) and Ndenda (2002), the widows’ union with their departed husbands was supposed to continue hence the name mond liel – “wives of the grave.”

There are two schools of thought regarding widow inheritance among the Luo. There is the one view – unpopular among the Luo – that widow inheritance is to be blamed for the increase in the spread of HIV in the region. This is because many of the widows’ husbands are AIDS victims and therefore ‘forcing’ the widows into new relationships in the name of maintaining the family lineage unwittingly helps to spread the disease. In the hope of aping their forefathers and fathers who inherited widows without contracting HIV, some even inherit widows knowing fully well that their spouses died of the disease (IRIN PlusNews 2009). The inheritors contract the virus and go ahead to infect their own wives. According to this school of thought, these interactions explain the vicious circle of HIV prevalence in Nyanza province

There are individuals who advocate for the maintenance of what others may term harmful cultural practices traditions to persist. According to Adetunji and Oni (1999), widow inheritance obstructs the spread of the infection instead of exacerbating it. The infection of HIV is therefore localized to a few households basically because the infected woman is emotionally and sexually involved with a single inheritor rather than mingling freely amongst men in the society. This school of thought argues that wife inheritance contains the spread of disease from getting to the whole population, while risking “only” the life of the inheritor. The argument finds favour in the assertion that unmarried women are likely to have many sexual partners since they rely on men for financial support. The unmarried women often engage in unsafe sexual behaviours with numerous partners for financial gain (NACC 2000; MOH 1998). In order to support themselves financially, widows who are not inherited and who no longer receive any kind of assistance may likely find themselves engaging in high risk behaviours with numerous male partners (Caldwell et al. 1994).

Sanctions, dictated by traditions, still exist to ensure that traditions are honoured and obligations fulfilled. The widow who refuses to be inherited is threatened with chira, an indigenous disease whose symptoms includes a wasting away of the sufferer. In Luoland, AIDS is often misconstrued as Chira, or a curse that the almighty God bestows on anyone who willingly or unwillingly offends the customs of their ancestors or breaks a taboo. An individual who has been possessed by Chira is supposed to experience weight loss, mysterious illness, weakness, and eventual death. In the thinking of the local Luo community, AIDS and Chira look the same, so they must be treated as one. (Swan 2008)Even today, some people dismiss AIDS as nothing but chira– the wasting away that befalls someone who has failed to honour a traditional rite. To observers, the role of chira is to ensure maintenance of cultural practices through instilling fear (Sindiga 1995: 68). If the cultural transgression is not identified and treated using cleansing traditional concoctions, it is believed that the victim’s body will waste away slowly and eventually die. Chira can affect anyone from the offending victim to other family members and as such, people are pressured to maintain cultural practices irrespective of the harm caused to them.

Due to the unequal status of the women in relation to men in Luo Nyanza, many widowed women turn to men inheritors in the hope of being supported materially and financially[4] (IRIN PlusNews 2009). Although such an objective may have been socially beneficial, the advent of HIV has changed the whole scenario. Gender inequality has served to perpetuate demeaning attitudes towards women, denying the women their dignity and value. The demeaning attitudes have brought about increased levels of domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse to women, and myths about women, which contribute to higher HIV prevalence levels among women than men (IRIN PlusNews (2009).

A comparator is to be found in Botswana and Swaziland, where some church pastors put aside their Christian doctrines and faith in order to inherit the wife and properties of a deceased brother in the name of cultural heritage (IRIN PlusNews 2009).  Even if men have prior knowledge that the individual died of HIV/AIDS, they would rather die of the disease than break their cultural tradition. The result is that these two nations have the highest adult HIV prevalence rates in Africa, with Swaziland leading with 26.1 percent, and Botswana closely following with 23.9 percent (Avert 2008). In Malawi, though the practice of wife inheritance has come under heavy criticism from the Malawian government and AIDS networks operating in the country, it continues unabated in some communities. The government believes that this practice has a lot to do with the high adult HIV prevalence rate of about 14 percent, with ten people dying every hour due to the pandemic (Avert 2008). It therefore follows that a strong correlation between the cultural practice of wife inheritance and high HIV prevalence levels really does exist.

2.3.4. Widow Cleansing

This is another ritual that is closely associated with widow inheritance. According to Robson

(2006), after the death of a spouse, the widow is often looked at negatively as ‘unclean.’ After the burial of her husband, the woman must undertake the cleansing ritual for her to be accepted back into the community[5]. This basically entails a ritual sexual intercourse between the inheritor and the widow at the onset of the inheritance arrangement. The cleansing is performed in conjunction with other rituals such as preparation of a meal for the inheritor and shaving of the widow’s head IRIN PlusNews (2009).

In the society, widows are identified as a source of HIV due to the widely held fear that their spouses may have perished due to the infection.  Widow “cleansing” and wife inheritance practices amongst some African communities play a role in spreading HIV (Gable 2007: 146).

Hypothetically, women be able to decline engaging in such activities – practically, however, they are usually under intense social pressure to comply. Hence such widows engage in unprotected sex either as a cleansing ritual, or following their inheritance, their chances of acquiring HIV infection increases. In response to these life-threatening practices, many scholars, researchers, and policy makers have continued to campaign for change. People are being encouraged to abandon “abhorrent cultural practices” so that the HIV epidemic can be effectively stemmed (NACC 2000:19; Kiragu 1996).

Available anthropological research reveals that the practice of widow cleansing continues unabated in Nyanza as the population strongly wishes to avoid chira. A cultural study conducted in 2005 revealed that over three-quarters (77.0%) of local Luos were more frightened of Chira than they were of AIDS (Robson 2006). This strange disease had the power to afflict any close relative of the widow who refused to be cleansed. If the widow refused to be cleansed, the community would chase her away for fear that chira would bring disaster to the community. This left the widow with no alternative but to agree to be cleansed by a brother to the deceased or a close relative.

The results of these rituals are there for all to see. In some parts of Nyanza province, one in every four individuals is affected by the pandemic. According to IRIN PlusNews (2009: 9) “around the village of Orongo, 10km from Kisumu city…the effects of AIDS mark the landscape: homesteads stand derelict while herds of goats graze on the grass that covers scores of unmarked graves.” It is against this backdrop, and to the credit of the community, that elders saw the need to replace the rite of intercourse with other substitutes such as the inheritor hanging his coat in the house of the widow to be cleansed or placing his legs on the widow’s thigh (Robson 2006). However, such alternative rituals have not been fully embraced by the community, with many members still preferring the traditional way, despite their wide exposure and the expected corrosion of their culture by education.

Another comparable example is to be found in Zambia, where for some communities, funeral rites must be concluded with a final ritual – sex between the deceased’s widow and at least one of her husband’s close relatives. According to tradition, this is apparently done to break the bond with the deceased husband’s spirit, and is done to save the widow and the villagers from disease or insanity (Glynn et al 2001). This tradition of widow cleansing is largely endorsed by traditional leaders, and widows have long tolerated it. A recent study commissioned by Women and Law in Southern Africa found out that sexual cleansing is found in one-third of the nation’s provinces. According to Lafraniere, widow cleansing in Zambia is responsible for the high HIV prevalence level, which stood at 20 percent of the adult population in 2005.


2.3.5. Male Circumcision

According to compelling epidemiological evidence, there is a significant association between HIV infection and lack of circumcision. The XIII International AIDS Conference held in Durban in July 2000 came up with evidence that supported circumcision as “risk-lowering factor for HIV transmission” (Matlin, & Spence 2000: 1). In 2005, results from a randomized controlled trial conducted over a period of 20 years of observational studies in South Africa confirmed that the practice of male circumcision could protect males against acquiring HIV through heterosexual intercourse by 60 percent (Rennie, Muula, & Westreich 2007).  Male circumcision is a highly effective HIV prevention intervention in clinical trial settings where transmission is predominantly heterosexual, and initial research indicates that it is highly cost-effective. Circumcision in younger males prior to sexual activity may increase efficacy. The potential for increased risk behaviour in circumcised men, however, is a concern, and must be monitored closely as protective effects of male circumcision become more widely known.

Bailey and colleagues (2007) offer strong evidence that significantly connects male circumcision with reduced risk in terms of HIV infection rates. In this regard, a number of large clinical trials whose intention was to validate this connection have already been carried out. For example, Bailey and others (2007) talk of RCTs (Randomized Controlled Trials) which have already been carried out in Kenya. Other RCTs have also been conducted in Uganda (Grey et al 2002), as well as in South Africa (Puree et al 2002). Furthermore, the RCTs conducted in Uganda tested prior conclusions which offered the suggestion that the female partners of men already infected with HIV, and who underwent male circumcision, could be protected from acquiring HIV infection. At the moment, the aforementioned studies have ended, following vast evidence to the effect that male circumcision indeed offers protection, in as far as being infected with HIV is concerned.

The RCT in Kenya were conducted under the UNIM Project, and took place in Kisumu, Kenya, a city whose population is predominantly Luo. Historically, Luos did not practice male circumcision, as a rite of passage. Scientific evidence obtained from the UNIM Project indicated that the infection rates for HIV/AIDS fell drastically, by 54 percent, following the circumcision of the study’s participants (Bailey 2007). On the basis of a strong association between on the one hand, reduced HIV infection risk and on the other hand, male circumcision, WHO (the World Health Organization), along with a number of other international health organizations, support prevention measures which provide and promote male circumcision (Bailey 2007).

Male circumcision, and more so within the context of those communities that do not practice this ritual, appears to be a practice of high risk, in as far as HIV/AIDS spreading is concerned (Caldwell 1996). The Luo is a big, traditionally non-circumcising tribe. Traditionally, the Luo practiced the rite of passage into adulthood through knocking off six teeth, three from each jaw (Malungo 2001:27).

Priscilla Reining, an anthropologist from the United States, undertook a study in 1989 (Reining1989) that sought to draw a correlation between those cities in the African continents that bore the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates and those that had predominantly embraced circumcision as a cultural practice. The findings of this correlation were such that HIV appears to spread fast amongst those towns and cities that were not routinely performing the act of circumcision.

Caldwells (1996) obtained similar findings, when it was found that amongst the areas that the AIDS epidemic was severe, there was also a correspondingly higher number of males that were not circumcised. Moses and colleagues (1998) have also cited connection between high rates of HIV infection and male circumcision. On the basis of such research findings, it may be inferred that the prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in Luo Nyanza, more than in any other region could be higher due to the combined effect of a high number of uncircumcised males, in addition to such cultural practices as wife inheritance and polygamy.

A research concluded in the year 2000 revealed that male circumcision had the ability to reduce the chances for contracting HIV by 60 percent among males (National AIDS Control Council 2000). In another much recent research, 3 000 HIV negative men underwent circumcision and were then monitored for a period of up to five years. Among the respondents, 54 percent tested HIV negative after the five years. In South Africa, 60 percent tested negative, with similar results being reflected in Rakai, Uganda (Male Circumcision and HIV Fact Sheet 2007).  The findings necessitated the Kenya government to recommend male circumcision as a strategy for fighting HIV infection among males in areas where circumcision is not practiced and HIV transmission is predominantly through heterosexual relationships. In April 2008, the government, through the ministry of Health, commenced a five-year pilot programme covering Kisumu-West, Kisumu-East, and Nyando districts of Nyanza Province (Nduri & Akoko 2008). Under the new policy, a task force will be established to direct circumcision efforts around the country and health personnel will be offered intensive training on male circumcision. The exercise will be conducted free-of-charge under conditions of confidentiality, informed consent, safety, and risk reduction counselling by well trained practitioners in antiseptic settings (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report 2008)

However, Kenyan public officials warned that male circumcision does not in any way fully protect males against HIV infection though it had proved effective in preventing the spread of the pandemic. According to a National AIDS Control Council (NACC), male circumcision is an effective HIV/AIDS management strategy, but should be practiced with caution as the new policy may end up encouraging circumcised males to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse. As such, the programme needs very cautious implementation, and educating the population is vital as people need to be told that circumcision does not guarantee protection from HIV. As a HIV management strategy, circumcision will be part of the government’s new “ABCC” approach but will not in anyway replace other prevention methods. This approach accentuates HIV prevention through abstinence, being faithful, circumcision, and condom use (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report 2008)

Despite its beneficial inputs of better genital hygiene and reduced risk of HIV infection, circumcision is still finding resistance from traditional bigwigs who view the practice as alien to Luo cultural traditions. The Luo Council of Elders’ Chairman has been quoted saying that the government’s policy on male circumcision can never be implemented without consultations. He has warned that no NGO would be allowed to implement the government’s policy without consulting the locals (Nduri & Akoko 2008). Apart from cultural restrictions, some people also fear the practice due to the pain and excessive bleeding involved.  Others, including the current Kenyan Prime Minister Mr. Raila Odinga, have been in the forefront in advocating for this intervention. (Okwemba 2008: 5). The practice of male circumcision in Kisumu has become popular in many parts of Nyanza after previous research findings indicated that the practice reduces HIV infection rates among men (Menya & K’aluoch 2008: 2). The districts, which have recorded high numbers of people seeking circumcision, are Kisumu, Nyando, and Homabay.

2.3.6. Polygamy

Polygamy is one of the cultural practices found in some African traditions that continue to pose high potential risk of HIV infection. Polygamy is an institutionalized multi-spouse arrangement, where males are permitted to get two or more wives depending on their quest for social capital and resource capacity (Njeru, Mwangi & Ndunge 2004). Though a long-standing tradition through the ages and in many cultures, today’s society views the structure of polygamy as limiting the choice of women and culturally binding them to submit to the sexual advances of the male custodians of such cultural practices.

Polygamy is practiced by many people in Kenya, even though it is only sanctioned by traditional customary law and Muslim religion. Christian churches prohibit the custom. According to previous studies, Nyanza province is the hotbed of polygamy. A study conducted in the region revealed that most Luo women felt polygamy could be a beneficial and happy experience if the co-wives could cooperate with each other. The study also revealed that traditional uneducated women carried polygamy with esteem more than their educated counterparts (Male Circumcision and HIV Fact Sheet 2007).

The consequence of a polygamous union is such that sexual partners increase in number. In this case, chances are that HIV infections rates amongst such partners could increase, in the event that one of the partners turns unfaithful. The Luo community has traditionally been practicing polygamy (Stephen 1997). This, along with the practice of wife inheritance, may act to enhance HIV transmission, when we have the partners engaging in unprotected sex.

Polygamy has been found to contribute to the high level of HIV prevalence in the lake basin. In some areas of Nyanza, HIV infection rates are as high as one person in every four. If this is the scenario, it means that out of every four wives you get, at least one will be infected. The HIV-positive wife will infect her husband who in turns will affect the other three wives unknowingly. This perhaps explains the higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS in regions where such cultural practices are still prevalent.

2.4. Cultural Interactions

There are a lot of activities that go on within and around Nyanza province on a daily basis. First, the province is home to Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya. Due to its proximity to Lake Victoria, the world’s largest freshwater lake, the region attracts many visitors ranging from fishermen, tourists, fish traders, commercial sex workers, and truck drivers (Glynn et al. 2001:72)

The high number of visitors into Nyanza province is both beneficial and harmful. It is beneficial because of the fact that the region has been opened up for trading activities with other parts of the country and the East African region. Fish traders traverse the region daily in search of fish and markets. To transport the fish to Nairobi city and other areas around the country, the services of truck drivers must be enlisted. Due to the free circulation of money generated by the fish trade, various groups of people have been attracted to the region in the hope of finding a niche for themselves. Traders have set up businesses in the region. As a result, fish traders, truck drivers, middlemen, commercial sex workers have all camped in the region in the hope of making some money (NACC 2000).

All the above groups of people come from various cultures. Though these people visit the lake side region for beneficial purposes, their interactions with the locals is often viewed as a major contributor to the high HIV prevalence rates in the region. According to Stuart and colleagues (2007), these groups of people are highly mobile. Quite often, mobile persons are not accompanied by regular sex partners, thus exposing them to the risk of multiple partners. The risk of a mobile person is further aggravated by poverty (in the case of commercial sex workers), feelings of loneliness and anonymity in the new environments. These strangers end up engaging in sex with the locals, thereby exposing them to the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS (NACC 2000).

According to Glynn et al. (2001), the spread of HIV/ AIDS in the lake basin can be analyzed in the context of risks and vulnerabilities. Risk factors relate to individual behaviours, whereas vulnerability is due to external factors beyond the control of the individual.

2.5 Culture as a Positive Influence on HIV/AIDS

What then can be deduced from the foregoing? Is culture to be demonized as the propagator of HIV? Singhal & Rogers (2003) differ, and point out that HIV prevention programs may be failing due to a simplistic, bio-medical approach that does not take into consideration the socio-cultural construction of sexuality. Moreover, they point out that the campaigns target the individuals instead of taking a multi-level, cultural and contextual angle (Singhal & Rogers 2003: 214).

Indeed, there are aspects of Luo culture that may be harnessed to rein in the run-away HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the region. The Luo are a deeply spiritual people with great reverence for ancestors and a healthy fear of death and the dead. This spirituality, and the call to do what is right, can be used as a deterrent to promiscuity.

Singhal & Rogers also advocate for a change from the prevention strategies that do not acknowledge the cultural concept of sex as “pleasurable”, and instead take on a condemning tone. Most African societies, the Luo included, are male-dominated and focus on the pleasures of the man. Are there any approaches to HIV prevention that would enhance the pleasure concept whilst advocating for caution and common sense? Instead of using the commonplace medium of communication such as newspapers and radio, can prevention campaigns strengthen the previously existing cultural communication channels, such as communicating through the respected aunties and uncles who are charged with providing sexual information to the youth?

And for the Luo who are yet to fully embrace circumcision, proper education can be provided to deter against the common use of a single blade to circumcise a large number of initiates, which has been a cause of the spread of HIV amongst traditionally-circumcising communities.

To further the debate on the positive aspects of culture in the fight against HIV and AIDS, is the fact that culture can be tapped as a coping mechanism when dealing with the mortality that eventually results from full-blown AIDS. The Luo in particular are a close community that believe in consanguine ties and for whom everyone is their brother’s keeper. Properly harnessed, the cultural tradition of collective responsibility can be used to offset the increased dependency from the increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children, funeral expenses, and general hopelessness.



3.1 Conceptual Framework

This study utilized a proximate determinants model for investigating the various socio-cultural routes to HIV infection. The model endeavoured to bring together all the cultural factors accountable for risk taking behaviour among the Luo and successive infection.

Conceptually, the proximate determinants model “identifies a set of proximate variables through which social and economic variables operate to give rise to morbid conditions or death” (Njeru, Mwangi, & Ndunge 2004:17). For the purposes of this study, these proximal factors include cultural aspects of wife inheritance, wife cleansing, polygamy, and lack of male circumcision.

The proximate determinants model maps out the conduits through which factors such as poverty, culture, and gender inequality lead to engagement of high-risk behaviours. Cultural practices, gender inequality manifested in double sexual standards for females and males intermarried with the general susceptibility of women have surfaced as some of the aspects increasing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa as a whole (Njeru, Mwangi, & Ndunge 2004: 17). The lack of male circumcision in some communities is also viewed as a possible reason for the elevated HIV levels in these communities.  Different communities in Africa practice the said socio-economic and cultural aspects differently. Some communities like the Luo and Luhya in Kenya are completely entangled in observing cultural practices, while others like the Kikuyu have shed the cultural cocoon. There is a resonate gap of HIV prevalence rates between the communities which continue to observe cultural practices and communities which have discarded many cultural practices and embraced modernity (Standing & Kisseka 1989). In the former, HIV prevalence is higher than in the latter. Put in this context, the proximate determinants model is best illustrated by the diagram below.

Figure 2.0: Routes to HIV infection

Exposure to risk
Socio-cultural factors, beliefs, practices, norms, gender, roles, and responsibilities

















Source: Adapted from Njeru, Mwangi, and Ndunge (2004)


3.2: Study Design and Variables

This study utilised triangulation, both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, to establish the relationship between the cultural traditions practiced by the Luo and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the lake basin region. According to Hopkins (2000), the aim of quantitative research is to determine the association between one item (independent variable) and another (outcome or dependent variable). Quantitative study designs are either experimental (subjects are measured before and after the treatment) or descriptive (subjects usually measured once). An experiment establishes causality while a descriptive study establishes associations only between the independent and the dependent variables. This study is a descriptive study designed to measure the association between the Luo cultural practices and the prevalence of HIV in the region.

The study utilized the qualitative research design in its attempt to generate descriptive information about peoples’ behaviours, actions, experiences, and intentions in a group, place, community, or programme. This design came in handy in trying to understand the Luos’ interpretation of the Behaviour Change Campaigns (BCC) that has been undertaken in the area in relation to HIV/AIDS. It also proved useful in understanding the peoples’ understanding and interpretation of the various cultural practices accused of worsening the HIV/AIDS situation in the area. Data are reported in words rather than numbers.


3.2.1. Cultural Factors Influencing the Prevalence of HIV

These variables were measured through the existence of the cultural practices in the lake basin region. The indicators under scrutiny included cultural practices such as wife inheritance, wife cleansing, and polygamy, lack of male circumcision, occupation and gender roles. The attitudes and knowledge levels towards these practices were also sought to measure if people are still bound by the traditions. People’s interpretation of these practices was also measured to reflect how they are likely to be swayed by cultural practices to engage in high-risk behaviours. According to IRINPlus News (2009), the situation in rural Nyanza is that individuals, especially women, are obliged to have sex to keep up with the cultural traditions. The cultural hold on women is so strong such that they end up having sex with partners that they know could be infected with HIV, but they are not in a position to refuse. Gender roles and responsibilities vary between cultures and can change over time. In almost all societies, women’s roles tend to be undervalued (WHO 1998:56).

3.2.2: Exercise of Authority/ Influence on Inter-partner/ Inter-spouse Sexuality

The aspect of unequal power relations was measured through assessing the partner/ spouse who makes decisions about money, sex, investments, using protection, being inherited, and other related issues. Poverty was also measured using the same indicators. The weakening ability to protect women from HIV/AIDS can be explained by their low status and marginal location in society (KashKooli 2008). Women have been denied dignity and value due to the demeaning attitudes brought about by gender inequality. This has brought about increased levels of domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse to women, and myths about women, which contribute to high HIV prevalence levels among women than men (Bailey et al 2001).

3.2.3. Existing HIV Policies and Programmes

Indicators used to measure the above variable included the level of VCT uptake among respondents, knowledge about HIV and the modes of transmission among respondents, interviews with local officials of local NGO’s offering HIV related programmes, interviews with the local district hospital’s HIV and STD coordinator, opinion leaders, and distance to health facilities offering VCT/HIV related services.

3.3. Study Area

Although Nyanza province has 12 districts, with an estimated population of 4 700 000 (as of 2008) within a locale of 16 162 km2 this study was only limited to Rongo Division of Migori district of Nyanza province. In this area, cultural practices of widow inheritance, widow cleansing, gender inequality, polygamy, and lack of male circumcision are still prevalent, and these are cultural practices that have earlier been cited as contributing to the increase in the prevalence rates for HIV infection. The district is located in the south-western part of Kenya, and measure approximately 2 005 km2. During the 1999 official census, the district registered a population of 514 897 (Nation Master 2005). The district has four administrative constituencies, namely Migori, Uriri, Nyatike, and Rongo. It is in the latter constituency that the study will be conducted, in an administrative division that goes by the same name. During the 1999 census, the division had a population of 79 817, and an urban population of 2 918, with a population density of 376. Recent projections estimate that the population of the area may have gone up by at least 30%, bringing it to an estimated to 103 770.

3.4. Target Population

The target population for this study included women of child-bearing age of between 14 and 49 years, who are single, married, widowed, or inherited. This category has borne the brunt of cultural practices that are still practiced in the area and within the larger Nyanza province (IRINPlus News 2009).The study population also included males of the same age-group. Another target group selected for this study were the opinion leaders or village elders within the division. This group facilitated in offering a proper insight into the cultural practices that are still rampant in the area. Officials from the local sub-district hospital and local NGO networks operating in the area formed the last category for this particular study. This category offered useful insights into HIV/AIDS management strategies and awareness campaigns that have been undertaken in the area, and if indeed they have bore fruits. This category is important for such type of study as it is the custodian of the fact sheets that document the extent and spread of the pandemic (Odundo & Owino 2004).

3.5. Sampling Frame

According to Abowd and Woodcock (2004) a sampling frame is a register of all individuals of a population used as a foundation for sampling. The sample for this study was selected from the sampling frame known as National Sample Survey and Evaluation Programme III (NASSEP III), used and maintained by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics to undertake household based sample surveys (Njeru et al 2004). The sample frame was developed from the 1999 national census and contains 1 133 clusters in total. Rongo division was chosen to be one of 930 rural clusters and 203 urban clusters. The Rongo cluster has 108 households. Each household is recognized by a number, the exact village location, and the name of the household head. The researcher utilised the maps under the custody of the District’s Statistical Officer (DSO) at Migori District to locate the households.

3.6. Sampling

The baseline study was based on a purposive sample. Respondents were selected on the basis of falling within known categories of individuals included in the study population. After the desired categories were identified, simple random sampling technique was employed in the administration of questionnaires. This was with a view to ensuring that all the categories/ subsets of the sample frame are given equal probability. Each element of the frame therefore had equal probability of selection (Odundo et al. 2003). The researcher intended to get the names of the village elders from the administrative Division’s Office. The division has three locations, and each location is represented by 2 village elders. The study wished to get views from all the six elders, and therefore, no sampling was required. The same case applied to the NGO networks and officials from the MOH at the local sub-district hospital.

The table below depicts the breakdown of the sample groups in terms of the relevant biographic categories and data collection methods.

Table 4: Breakdown of sample size in terms of biographic categories and methods of data collection

Sex Age-group Category Sample size Data collection Method
Female 14-49 Women of child bearing age 40 Personal-administered questionnaires
Male 14-49 Circumcised and uncircumcised 30 Personal-administered questionnaires
Any >45 years Village elders/ opinion leaders 6 In-depth interviews
Any >21 years NGO officials 5 In-depth interviews
Any >21 years MOH officials 2 In-depth interviews
N/A N/A HIV Awareness campaigns/ Cultural practices/ NGO’s N/A Covert Observation

Table 2: Breakdown of sample size in terms of biographic categories and methods of data collection

3.7. Data Collection Methods

The study used both primary and secondary methods of data collection. Primary data was collected through the use of covert observation, personal-administered questionnaires, and in-depth interviews. Observation is a way of gathering information by noting physical characteristics, behaviour, and events in a natural setting. Given that the researcher is Luo herself, she had ample time and opportunity to quietly observe the practice of the NGO networks in the area and many cultural practices under study, as they unfold in their natural setting. The author had the added advantage of not requiring interpretation, which may sometimes give a slightly altered angle to the goings-on.

Primary data was also collected through personally-administered questionnaires. The questionnaires contained both structured and unstructured questions. The questionnaires were administered to women of reproductive age and males, and focused on capturing quantitative data about the various cultural practices found in the area, HIV/AIDS knowledge levels among the respondents, and poverty levels in the area. They were also aimed at capturing gender inequality levels and VCT uptake.   Personalized in-depth interviews were also conducted for the purposes of collecting primary data. The interviews were administered to opinion leaders, officials of local NGO networks, and officials of MOH from the local sub-district hospital. The focus was to know the HIV management practices in the area, level and uptake of HIV awareness campaigns, and the burden of the cultural practices on HIV/AIDS preventive strategies in the area. Village elders also helped in shedding light on some of the cultural practices rampant in the area. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from the personalized in-depth interviews. Secondary data was obtained from the review of related literature and fact sheets that are to be provided by the NGO and MOH officials detailing the extent and spread of the HIV infection in the area.

3.8. Ethical Considerations

Consent was sought from the Luo clan elders and religious leaders in the area. Information about the research and its objectives was also provided to the household heads so that they could allow their wives to participate in the research study. Respondents were made aware that the information obtained would be confidential. Furthermore, the information obtained as a result of the interviews was utilized only for the purposes of this research. Besides, no participant was coerced to take part in the research study, as participation was on voluntary basis.

3.9: Data Analysis

3.10. Study Limitations and Constraints

Although all the cultural practices under study are to be found in all the 12 districts of the expansive Nyanza province, nevertheless the study was limited to Rongo Division of Migori district. This is due to the constraints of time and travelling costs. Therefore, while the design may have provided the basis for generalization of the study findings with regard to Rongo Division, the same cannot be done to the rest of Nyanza province. A more comprehensive study may shed more light on the relationship between cultural practices and HIV prevalence within the region in particular and within the country in general. Also, a more detailed study may shed more light on effective HIV management practices that can be replicated elsewhere in the fight against the pandemic.


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[1] There is a case of a nineteen year old Ugandan school girl who was lured into unprotected sex by a wealthy man on the promise that he would pay her school fees. The girl ended up getting infected with HIV. Cases like these are very common in Africa due to women’s marginalization. (Opportunity International 2007)

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The Role of Costume Color in Establishing a Fictional Superhero’s Identity


The Role of Costume Color in Establishing a Fictional Superhero’s Identity

The Case Study of Superman


NameTianyi Liang

Student Number: 124163970

Instructor: Dru Jeffries

Date of Submission: 10/7/2014








The Role of Costume Color in Establishing a Fictional Superhero’s Identity

The Case Study of Superman


Costume colors play an important role in establishing the identity of fictional super heroes presented in comics (Einstein, 1984, pp: 12). The type of colors used by comic artists conveys symbolic image in the mind of the reader in heroic narratives (Einstein, 1984, pp: 21). These colors were repeatedly associated with these heroes such that people conceptualized them as their logos and therefore giving them identity (Dooley & Heller, 2005, pp: 5). There were colors associated with certain features of heroes such that one could easily recognize them  from the colors of their costume as displayed in comics. This study seeks to investigate the role the costume color of a most known American hero superman helped in revealing his identity; the red color indicated superman’s supernatural powers, green indicated loss of power, the gold color represented an antidote, while white color represented destruction. Superman was a famous an American mythological hero who was associated with characters that were beyond those of human. Common fiction to superman was his ability to go against time (Moore & Swan, 2009, pp: 9). He was gifted with superhuman powers that he could even fly to other planets at speed higher than that of the light (Lowther, Siegel & Shuster, 1995, pp: 13). The costume that the artists used in the design of superman’s costume had icons in them. Costume for the superman included short red underpants, bold symbol of letter S with both primary red and blue colors eclipsed on a yellow  badge (Lowther, Siegel & Shuster, 1995, pp: 18).  In addition, the superman had red truck boots and blue costume tightly covering him (Teitelbaum & Farley, 2010, pp: 15). Superman’s costume, and in particular, its coloring gives him his identity because it attains total abstraction hence the artistic stature of superman’s case.  

















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Lowther, G., Siegel, J., & Shuster, J. (1995). Superman (1st ed.). Bedford, Mass.: Applewood Books.

McCloud, S. (1994). Understanding comics (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial.

Moore, A., & Swan, C. (2009). Superman (1st ed.). New York: DC Comics.

Smith, F. (1982). I can draw comics and cartoons (1st ed.). New York: Little Simon.

Teitelbaum, M., & Farley, R. (2010). Superman (1st ed.). New York: Harper.









Introduction. 2

The role of corporate social responsibility and ethics in organizations. 3

Corporate governance practices. 4

Principal-Agency problem and corporate responsibility. 6

External and internal user needs which are satisfied by cash flow reporting. 7

Conclusion. 8

Bibliography. 10




Corporate governance is the art of balancing the interests of employees, customers, communities and business partners with those of the shareholders. Corporate governance has in the recent times established itself as an instrument of reform in many countries worldwide. Corporate governance provides a framework in which the rights of every stakeholder in the organizational structure, is catered for. Basically corporate governance is an organizational issue and this is seen in the difference depending on the organization. This essay discuses whether directors owe their duties only to the company (the shareholders) or should they take into account other interests and explanation as to why. This essay however, argues that they owe their duties to the company. Directors have responsibilities not interest

Organization leaders are charged with duties and responsibilities of emphasizing on transparency, integrity and honesty in the course of executing operations of management. This is not an interest. The adoption of policies of this nature leads to prosperity while minimizing scandals which may ruin the confidence of stakeholders. The objectives of corporate governance in the organization are the increase in the level of transparency and this is important for organizations. However, the issue of transparency has been controversial. Most people are for the opinion that an extremely high level of transparency may become unambiguously good the health of the organization and so directors should take full duties not interest. From the perspective of corporate governance, the high increase in transparency is associated with costs and also benefits at the same time. This brings about an optimal level above which an extra increase in transparency would culminate to low profits. Transparency plays a very crucial role in risk assessment for organizations. Through positive disclosure together with transparency and the director’s responsibilities, good governance in organizations is achieved. They lead to the demonstration of information quality in addition to reliability of financial and non- financial that the management should provide to the lenders, the shareholders and the general public (Bryce, 2008).

According to empirical evidence, high transparency rates significantly impacts on costs of capital. The supply of information in a reliable and timely manner results to a great level of confidence of important decision makers in the organization. This results to the formulation of good decisions for the interest of the business with a direct effect on the level of profitability and the general growth. The proper supply of needed information also influences decision makers from external of the entity. This means that the investors, the lenders and the shareholders are able to decide the risks that are associated with their ventures. In an organization, the information that is provided is a good indicator to decision makers together with the outside interests of the extent that the organization has been able to comply with the legal requirements. Disclosure is very important to the understanding of the public about the activities of the company, their policies as well as performance in consideration of the environmental as well as the ethical standards in addition to the relationships that they have been able to develop with the communities around where the organization operates (Cruver, 2003).

The role of corporate social responsibility and ethics in organizations

Corporate social responsibility applies to corporations across the board but corporations such as Enron whose businesses forge a naturally close interaction with the community are at an even greater need to form a relationship that builds upon their business. In modern way of doing business, the manner in which the affairs of businesses are run needs to take into consideration the thoughts, perceptions and aspirations of the societies in which they operate. The mage the public gets about a company or how the public perceives a corporation plays a major role in the success of a business because the consumers of the businesses’ products are the people. The politics between people and corporations determine success or failure and for this reason, the corporations need to build an image that makes them appear to be friendly neighbors of the community so to speak. Corporate social responsibility can therefore be defined as the policies or steps that a corporation takes to give back or to improve the communities in which they do business (Dharan & William, 2004).

Corporate governance practices

Corporate governance practices are associated with financial statements that are not transparent and therefore fails to account for the operations as well as the finances in as far as the shareholders and the analysts are concerned. The practices of corporate governance were also marked complex models of business in addition to unethical practices that led to the adoption accounting limitations in an attempt of misrepresenting the earnings together with modification of the balance sheet aimed at portraying performance depictions in a favorable way.

The scandals facing Enron were attributed to the steady accumulation of the values, habits as well as actions that arose way back and then proliferated beyond controllable levels. The primary motivations in the accounting along with the financial transactions at Enron were geared towards keeping of the reported income together with the reported cash flow at high levels, inflating the asset values together with off-booking the liabilities. Most of the problems were perpetuated by the executives of the company.

The compensation structure that was set in Enron together with the system of performance management was designed in a manner that could attract and retain the employees who were quite resourceful to the company. However the system setup also played a significant role in the dysfunctioning of the corporate culture in the organization. The setup had been infatuated with a short term focus of earnings for the purpose of maximizing on bonuses. The employees perceived at deals of high start volume while they disregarded the cash flow and profits quality for the purpose of coming at higher rating in the course of performance overview. Further to this there was an immediate recording of accounting results so that to be at par with the stock prices of the company. The intention of this practice was to cover the deal makers together with the executives who were given significantly huge cash bonuses in addition to stock options (Bryce, 2008).

The principle focus of the company was the stock prices with an extensive compensation of the management through the use of the stock prices. This led to the creation of expectations by the management which indicated rapid growth with the intentions of showing the appearance that the earnings reports would meet the expectations of Wall Street.

Before the fall of the company the tools of financial risk management that were applicable were seen to be appropriate. The issue of risk management in the company was seen to be very important based on the nature of regulatory environment that it operated under coupled with the business plan of the company. Commitments of long term nature had been established at Enron that required significant hedging for appropriate preparation for fluctuation which was inevitable in future due to the energy prices. The downfall of the company was attributed to the recklessness with regard to the application of derivatives together with the special purpose entities. Through the hedging of the risks with the inherent special purpose entities, the company was in a position of retaining the risks that were allied to its transactions.

It was difficult to hide the aggressive practices of accounting at the company from board of directors. Although some of the improper practices of accounting were never known to the board, all the practices relied on the decisions that were deliberated by the board. In spite of the fact of extensive reliance on the use of derivatives in the company to transact its businesses, the Finance Committee of the company together with the board lacked a comprehensive background of the derivatives to understand what was actually communicated to them. If the board had gained a clear insight of the actual organization of the derivatives, then it could have been possible to prevent their use (Collins, 2006).

Principal-Agency problem and corporate responsibility

In the context of economics, principal-agent problem has the implication of the difficulties that surrounds existing conditions associated with information that is incomplete in addition to being asymmetric at the time that an agent has been hired by the principle. There arises a need for the application of a variety of mechanisms in the course of aligning the interests of the two parties. The mechanisms have a link to attempts of motivating the agent towards the directions of meeting the needs of the principal. Such mechanisms may include offers of commissions or rates, sharing of profits, provision of efficient wages, posting of a bond by the agent, fear of being fired among others. The principal agent problem prevails in the situation of a relationship of an employee to the employer. A good example is the situation that stakeholders in corporations hire their top executives (Cruver, 2003).


Agency Theory Basic idea

The issues of the principal-agent problem revolve around motivation of one of the parties to work for the interest of the other party. The compensation made by the principal to the agent for the purpose of encouraging the agent towards performing specific acts that will be beneficial to the principal while they are of cost to the agent is the core element of the principal agent theory. Some performance elements whose observation is costly are the duty of the agent but the beneficiary is the principal. This case applies to majority of the contracts that are agreed upon in the context of uncertainty, risk and information asymmetry (Cruver, 2003).

External and internal user needs which are satisfied by cash flow reporting

Cash flow reporting is needed by the owners and the managers of the organization for the purpose of making important decisions relating to their business. This is a requirement and not an interest. These decisions pose some significant effects on the continuation of the operations of the business. He cash flow reporting is then used during financial analysis to give the management a deep understanding of the figures reflected in the reports. The statements are also needed during the preparation of the annual reports by the management to be presented to the stockholders (Collins, 2006).

The employees of the company also require the use of these reports at the time that they make their agreements of collective bargaining with the company’s management. The labor unions and individual employees apply the reports to negotiate their promotion and compensation. The reports are also used by prospective investors during their assessment of the viability of their intended investments in the company. The decisions for their investments are made after careful consideration of the reports that have been presented to them by professionals.

The reports are also resourceful to the financial institutions such as banks and the lending institutions. The decision of granting a company some working capital or extend the securities of debt and the expansion of finance solely depends on the reliability of the reports. The vendors who give some credit to the company also rely on the statements for the purpose of assessing the company’s creditworthiness. The media along with the general public have some interests in the reports for varied reasons (Collins, 2006). The tax authorities in government also make use of these reports. They form the basis of determining the propriety together with the level of accuracy of taxes together with other related duties that have been declared payable from the company.


The senior executives in an organization have a duty not an interest of conducting themselves in honest and ethical manner particularly with regard to conflicting interests coupled with disclosure of financial reports. It is the duty of organizations to make clarifications of the roles together with the responsibilities of the board as well as the management so that the shareholders are provided with a significant level of responsibility and accountability. Directors are also supposed to implement some procedures while verifying independently along with safeguarding the integrity of financial reporting in the company. Disclosing the material matters relevant to the company should be done in a timely and balanced approach such that all interested investors conveniently accesses the factual information relating to the company. s

Therefore the securities reports should disclose the following. The shares that are held by the company for strategic purposes and the issues amounts on latest balance. The amount of shares that are held by the company to achieve the realization capital gains. The directors owe their duties to the company and this is not a responsibility.


Bryce, R., 2008, Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron. PublicAffairs.

Collins, D., 2006, Behaving Badly: Ethical Lessons from Enron. Dog Ear Publishing, LLC.

Cruver, B., 2003, Anatomy of Greed: Telling the Unshredded Truth from Inside   Enron. Basic Books.

Dharan, B. & William R. B., 2004, Enron: Corporate Fiascos and Their Implications.        Foundation Press.

The Role Of Consumer Behavior In Marketing Decisions

Add New

The Role Of Consumer Behavior In Marketing Decisions


Introduction. 1

Frequency of Purchases. 1

Brand Choice. 2

Brand Description. 3

Brand Shift to Different Product Line. 3

Lessons Learnt 3

References. 6


The purpose of this paper is to define the importance with which companies attach consumer behavior to their marketing strategies and approaches. It is important that marketing approaches adopted are in line with customer preferences and behaviors which can be arrived at by carrying out market research and surveys. In the following discourse, a simple market survey was conducted touching on four areas of interest to assist in defining the marketing status at McDonalds. To complete the survey, nine respondents were randomly picked from friends, family and coworkers to represent three market categories; children (3), young adults (3) and adults (3). Questions asked were designed to establish respondents’ opinion on purchases frequency at McDonalds, brand choice, personal brand description and brand transfer to a different product line.

Frequency of Purchases

Nearly every respondent attested to the fact that McDonalds is a big market player in food products. This is because with regard to the food products that do well in the summer across the various market segments, every respondent gave an indication of having bought them in less than a week. The young market has a higher preference for McDonalds’ products than in the older market segments. It is clear that the older age segment still has a significant attraction to the McDonalds’ range of products. The most elaborate choice for McDonalds’ ice cream products in the summer has however been among the children, youths and young adults. All the respondents had a recent purchase experience with a McDonald’s product. All the children and young adults had an experience within the past seven days while two of the adults had an experience within two past weeks and one adult had bought a product in the past one month. This demonstrates the clarity in the market segment that the products have (Deshpandé, 2010).

Brand Choice

In order to find out the actual brand preferences that the respondents had for the various products offered at McDonalds, personal opinion was from each of the respondents. A question was asked regarding the specific brand choices and the decision making process behind them from each of the respondents. The three children and one adult bought vanilla ice cream cones from McDonalds while one young adult and two adults had chocolate dipped ice cream products. Two of the remaining young adults bought strawberry yoghurt from McDonalds. Some of the reasons behind the decision to purchase the preferred product from McDonalds included identity with the company for all the children while one of the adults was having fun with his young son. This can be explained by the fact that the market segment covering children performs exceptionally well and the decision making process was not very complex or structured among the children.

Product need identification was well understood across the respondents and the search for the availability of the products to satisfy this need was not difficult since McDonalds is a well known producer and supplier. Depending on the market competitiveness that the company has, the respondents were not in a problem in comparing available alternatives due to earlier mentioned factors such as nutrition and quality. Purchase decision was therefore almost unanimously favoring the company. Post purchase evaluation experience in this case can be translated to involve the observed consumer loyalty for McDonalds (Class Notes, n.d). The other decision making processes from among the young adults and the adults were mainly on the availability and familiarity with the company since their childhood.

Brand Description

All the respondents made an indication that the products offered at McDonalds are quality products. All segments of the market associate well with brands that have high quality closely taken care of in the products offered in the market (Milkman, 2008). A considerable number of respondents, mostly the young segment had preference for their respective brand choices due to earlier encounters with the products. Identity also played a role since the best group interests are handled with specificity if the market segment is identified like McDonalds does for children and families.

Brand Shift to Different Product Line

Opinions in support of McDonalds’ brand name on a different product line were raised mainly on quality and prestige with which the company products are associated with. All the respondents were of the opinion that a different product line would still perform well in the market towards customer satisfaction.

Lessons Learnt

From the above responses to the questions raised regarding McDonalds brand and market status, it is clear that the actual position established by the company is largely dependent on the consumers’ perceptions about the company. It is clear that for a company to achieve success in the market, it must keep in touch with the consumer opinions and perceptions of the offered products. Performing market surveys ensures that the company is capable of maximizing on its strengths in the market and make corrections on the weak projections or perceptions held across the market (Perner, 2010). One of the best presentations of this fact in the McDonalds’ case is that by finding out that the young market is a strong marketing start, the company has been able to maximize on its benefits by serving this market accurately on its preferences. Capturing the family segment in its marketing strategy is a marketing strategy for McDonalds which can be associated with the children segment identification. It is possible to expand the market from one market segment through derivation technique as McDonalds does.

Perhaps the most important finding in the McDonalds case is the discovery of high performance of the food market among the young market segments. As illustrated in the answers above, the young market has a high preference for McDonalds’ range of products than other age segments. It is therefore important for a food products company like McDonalds to concentrate its marketing strategies on its well performing segments. Conducting these marketing strategies has enabled McDonalds to achieve a very competitive brand presence and a positive brand loyalty (Perner, 2008). It is not surprising that McDonalds has achieved the operation status that it has due to modern consumer behavior understanding, thank to marketing research information available to the management at McDonalds.

Regarding the relationship that the answers have with classic marketing literature provided, there is a direct connectivity between the information and the actual survey findings. Consumer behavior is useful in formulating marketing strategies, particularly for high preference dependent product such as food products. USC Marshall (2010) reports that consumer behavior studies are important in marketing, since companies can rely on the information to make decisions such as new products introduction into the market (Julie and Schneider, 2011). Expanding operations is highly dependent on the market preparedness which is determined on the performance of the company in terms of brand presence and consumer loyalty.



“Introductory Marketing Distribution,” USC Marshall, 2010. Retrieved from:

“What is Consumer Buying Behavior” Class Notes. Retrieved from:

Deshpandé, R. (2010) “Why You Aren’t Buying Venezuelan Chocolate,” Harvard Business Review, 88:25-27

Julie, H. & Schneider, J. (2011) “Why Most Product Launches Fail,” Harvard Business Review, 89:21-23

Milkman, K. L. (2008) “Tap Consumers’ Desire for “Shoulds”,” Harvard Business Review, 86(7/8):22-23

Perner, L. (2008) “Food Marketing: Food Marketing, consumption and Manufacturing,” Retrieved from:

Perner, L. (2010) “Consumer Behavior: The Psychology of Marketing,” Retrieved from:

The role of Community Policing in Curbing Insecurity in Kenya

The role of Community Policing in Curbing Insecurity in Kenya


Institution Affiliation

Table of Contents

Introduction. 2

Background of the study. 2

Problem Statement 3

Significance of the Study. 3

The role of Community Policing in Curbing Insecurity. 3

Challenges the program faces in Kenya. 6

Conclusion. 7

References. 8



Security is a basic necessity in every society as it is a watershed for development and prosperity in all sectors of the economy. However, for a long time this has been elusive both in the urban and rural areas (Bartkowiak-Theron & Corbo Crehan, 2010). The insecurity experienced in many societies ranging from terrorism, cattle rustling to petty crimes has had devastating effects inducing loss of lives and massive destruction of property. In managing the security situation, the police resources in terms of personnel and equipment seem to have been strained as insecurity levels soar (Braga & Weisburd, 2010). It is believed that the criminals and perpetrators of insecurity live within same society and therefore, members of the society can identify them thus community policing was muted in Kenya. This study therefore, aimed at evaluating community policing as a security enhancing strategy.

Background of the study

According to the Community Policing Manual (2004), Community Policing as a security strategy in Kenya was launched on the 27th of April 2004 at the Ruai Police station in Nairobi by the then President of the Republic of Kenya with the main objective of having a safe and secure environment for sustained socio-economic development and as part of the Kenya Police Force reforms (Braga & Weisburd, 2010). This was meant to reduce crime as it was assumed that criminals lived in the community and therefore community members were in a good position to identify them and report them to the police.

The main stakeholders in this strategy are the community/wananchi supported by the Police, the Provincial Administration, and other Stakeholders in the security realm. To meet the intended purpose, committees were established from village to District levels to ensure the success of this strategy

Before its inception, there was conventional policing on one hand which relied heavily on centralized safety and security management which isolated the police from communities they served (Braga & Weisburd, 2010). On the other hand were the vigilante groups which purported to provide security to the community members at a fee and which mostly took the law into their hands. Therefore, Community Policing was meant to bring a partnership between the community and police in combating crime in the country. It is on this backdrop that this paper focuses on analyzing the effectiveness of Community Policing in curbing crime in Kenya.

Problem Statement

Security has been considered as a key pillar to socio-economic development and prosperity in every society. However, in Kenya this has become elusive as insecurity is on the increase thus negating the spirit of the development process and attainment of millennium development goals and vision 2030 both in the urban and rural areas. The situation is further compounded by the fact that the country does not meet the United Nations requirement of “one police officer for every four hundred and fifty people”( Braga & Weisburd, 2010), as the ratio of the police to the population stands at a low level of one police officer for every one thousand one hundred and fifty Kenyans (Braga & Weisburd, 2010). Owing to this limitation, the Government of Kenya was prompted to implement community policing as a measure of reducing the gap between the police and the community to curb insecurity (Cordner, 2014).

In Kenya, the security situation has over time deteriorated. It is characterized by theft of livestock and farm produces which has given rise to inter-ethnic conflict. Therefore the objective of this paper is to use the existing information to analyze and document the effectiveness of community policing as a security strategy in Kenya with Kenya being the case under study (Cordner, 2014).

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will help the Kenyan Government to assess the performance of a strategy it muted to solve the security problems facing the country. This will be achieved by identifying the contributions of the strategy to enhancing the security in the country.

The community in general will also to benefit from the findings of this study as members will understand their role and contribution in community policing and improving their own security. This will also help eliminate the misconception about the intention of community policing as the concept has not been fully grasped by the common man in the country.

In addition, the findings of this study will add to the existing poll of knowledge and also form a basis for further research.

The role of Community Policing in Curbing Insecurity

Community policing brings police and citizens together to prevent crime and solve neighborhood problems. With community policing, the emphasis is on stopping crime before it happens, not responding to calls for service after the crime occurs. Community policing gives citizens more control over the quality of life in their community. Community policing means police become part of the neighborhood (Cordner, 2014). This helps police get a better sense of resident’s needs and helps residents to develop greater trust in the police. In essence the community joins the police department. Those “who believe that community policing is practiced in their neighborhood are more likely to express favorable opinions of the police (Cordner, 2014).

Community policing is seen as an effective way to promote public safety and to enhance the quality of life in a community. Community policing plays a pivotal role in the two defining elements of policing: police-community relations and problem-solving. “First, it should broaden police organization goals. Second, it should alter the way police are organized to accomplish their goals.” (Cordner, 2014) Active participation is required from the local government to the average citizen in order for community policing to work. Everyone is responsible for safeguarding the welfare of the neighborhood (Lee, 2010). Unlike traditional policing methods, the goals of policing are expanded and the perception of community is changed. Traditional policing assumes that the problems of society are not within the realm of the police department. Traditional police departments are strictly reactive and don’t look beyond efficiently resolving the immediate incident at hand. Police officers are tied to the dispatcher and rarely have time to do more than answer one call after another (Lee, 2010). The police department, as an organization, separates itself from the city’s infrastructure and from city services.

Implementing community policing changes the structure of policing and how it is managed. Community policing helps build up and strengthen the community. It also links the police and the community together (Cordner, 2014). The partnership that develops over time can ultimately help the police find the underlying causes of crime within the neighborhood. By getting the community involved, the police have more resources available to them to help in crime prevention (Morabito, 2010). By familiarizing themselves with the members of the community, officers are more likely to obtain valuable information about criminals and their activities. Also they are more likely to obtain a reliable evaluation of the needs of citizens and their expectations of the police.

As previously stated, community policing plays a major part in police-community relations and problem-solving. In order to develop a partnership with the community, first the police must form a great relationship with the neighborhood. The police must try to involve the neighborhood in its pursuit to control crime. Most community concerns and solutions are identified through problem-solving (Reisig, 2010). The objective is to lessen crime and disorder by diligently examining the attributes of concerns in communities and then applying the most suited problem-solving solutions. For example, this has been implemented in Kenya via the Jumba Kumi program (Reisig, 2010).

With any method of policing there are going to be advantages and disadvantages. One of the main advantages to community policing is that it reduces fear in the community. With an increase in police presence in the neighborhood the residents feel more secure (Spalek, 2010). This feeling of security helps the police establish trust within the community. As citizen become more active in taking care of their community, they start to understand what officers actually do on a day-to-day basis (Braga & Weisburd, 2010). This improves police-community relations. Ultimately, quality of life for the community improves and crime is reduced. For example, in order to ease the security problem in Northern Kenya against Al-Shabaab the community has been involved via their chiefs to reduce the fear of terror they have.

Another advantage is that community policing is flexible and capable of changing. The solutions and strategies change as the community changes. If a plan works in one community it doesn’t mean that it will work in all communities. Community policing allows the community to come up with solutions that will work within their own neighborhood and to change or eliminate those that do not work (Spalek, 2010). Community policing can be implemented in a limitless number of ways. This is also true of problem-solving. They both are only limited by one’s imagination. Community policing offers a myriad of benefits. Making effective use of the talents and resources available within communities will help extend severely strained police resources. Also, reduced levels of crime will allow more police resources to be allocated to services that have the greatest impact on the quality of community life (Spalek, 2010).

According to Spalek (2010) community policing is only as good its community involvement. This also applies to community-based programs. “Community-based programs are important in the service delivery in many communities”( Spalek, 2010). Officers deal with the criminal aspects of community policing, but there are programs and projects that are implemented by the citizens, with the help of law enforcement, in an effort to help deter crime in their neighborhood. The list of programs implemented through community policing goes on and on. There are programs like, “Neighborhood Watch, citizen police academies, citizen surveys, and the establishment of community policing units” (Warner, Beck & Ohmer, 2010), that have become a staple in a lot of communities to help steer crime away from residential areas. Programs like National Night Out symbolizes a neighborhood’s unison in fighting crime by leaving their outside lights on. Citizens can find a plethora of ways to get involved in community policing. It can be as simple as making sure that the elderly lady down the street makes it home safely from the grocery store to starting your own Neighborhood Watch program (Warner, Beck & Ohmer, 2010).

Neighborhood Watch teaches the residents how to deter and detect suspicious activities. Starting a Neighborhood Watch is very beneficial to the police and the community. The benefits of organizing and participating in a Neighborhood Watch program translate into a higher quality of life. The following are some standard steps to help ensure a strong attendance and participation in your Neighborhood Watch Program (Warner, Beck & Ohmer, 2010).

Challenges the program faces in Kenya

Despite the roles that the policy has in curbing insecurity in Kenya it is also vital to note the challenges it has towards its implementation (Braga & Weisburd, 2010). A major disadvantage is that the only way that community policing is with community involvement. There must be an established partnership between the police officers and the community. Without the trust and involvement of the community, any attempts at community policing will fail. “Police and there would-be partners do not always value the same, or even compatible, things” (Warner, Beck & Ohmer, 2010). Effective community policing requires a long-term commitment from everyone involved. It is not a quick fix. Ongoing relationships must be established and maintained. Another disadvantage to community policing is making sure that the right people are heading up the project. The focus should be of improving the community and not using the program to advance their own personal career or agendas. Also, programs like community policing can be regressive (Bartkowiak-Theron & Corbo Crehan, 2010). Oftentimes when there is a problem that requires help from the community it seem like the same people always step forward. These are usually the homeowners that have longstanding ties to the community. Community policing requires everyone’s involvement, not just the homeowners (Braga & Weisburd, 2010).


Community-Based Policing can be a cement for security and development. A Police Force supported by the community and capable of arresting insecurity can have a far-reaching impact in enabling a lasting economic, social and political development. However, as international efforts have so far indicated, reforming a Police organization, re-orienting their shoddy public image and improving their service delivery, means facing daunting political, financial, logistical and historical obstacles. Achieving lasting and effective reform requires addressing issues of management, leadership, political will, set attitudes, established behaviors and negative public perceptions. It’s very complexity can be intimidating. Nonetheless, its centrality means that it is an issue that cannot be shied away from. With Police reforms now undertaken, it is paramount that there should be a clear understanding of what it entails and how is should be undertaken. It is hoped that this guide will be useful in both situating Community-Based Police reform within border policy debates, and guiding those planning the implementation.



Bartkowiak-Theron, I. M. F., & Corbo Crehan, A. (2010). A new movement in community          policing? From community policing to vulnerable people policing. AIC Reports,       Research and Public Policy Series: Community Policing in Australia, 111, 16-23.

Braga, A. A., & Weisburd, D. (2010). Policing problem places: Crime hot spots and effective      prevention. Oxford University Press.

Cordner, G. (2014). Community Policing. The Oxford Handbook of Police and Policing, 148.

Lee, J. V. (2010). Policing after 9/11: Community policing in an age of homeland security.           Police quarterly, 13(4), 347-366.

Morabito, M. S. (2010). Understanding community policing as an innovation: Patterns of adoption. Crime & Delinquency, 56(4), 564-587.

Reisig, M. D. (2010). Community and problem‐oriented policing. Crime and justice, 39(1), 1-53.

Spalek, B. (2010). Community policing, trust, and Muslim communities in relation to “new          terrorism”. Politics & Policy, 38(4), 789-815.

Warner, B. D., Beck, E., & Ohmer, M. L. (2010). Linking informal social control and restorative             justice: Moving social disorganization theory beyond community policing. Contemporary             Justice Review, 13(4), 355-369.

The Role of Chance in Science – 2130520

The Role of Chance in Science – 2130520

The scientific world is full of controlled experiments and we fail to acknowledge that chance is a contributing factor to many discoveries. Scientific methods are known for their orderliness and control and as a matter of fact we are often taught that without such precision then experimental research might end up yielding invalid results. This implies that chance should play very little or no role in any scientific process. However we should ask ourselves what chance truly is and when it is considered as being an accident and when it is foreseen. An important point to note is the fact that in the past there have been some chance discoveries which led to amazing new ideas which gave direction to further scientific investigations of the natural phenomena.

In order to prove the role of chance in scientific discoveries we have to ask ourselves various questions. First of all we have to show whether any scientific discovery made happened by chance or if it was predictable. Secondly we have to prove if any scientific observation made was as a result of happenstance or if it was an event that was not expected amidst a controlled scientific research that is being carried out deliberately. However we have to note that if the role of science is to look a what is around us in a way that can uncover new and unexpected things. We also have to note that even a scientific research that is carried out deliberately can eventually lead to an unexpected chance discovery or observation. Therefore this means that no matter how much a researcher is strict with a scientific method something unexpected can happen and they might end up with a totally new and different discovery from what they were hoping to find in the first place.

For any discovery made a researcher has to be able to fit their new discovery into a pre-existing pattern of ides they have in their mind. Any new observation requires proper context where it can fit for it to be meaningful. This means that the mind of a researcher is ready to receive the new idea. With this in mind then we can say that for a prepared mind chance acts as a springboard to new ideas but for a mind that is not prepared it might be something fascinating. In the field of observation chance is in favor of a mind that is prepared.

There are various important historical discoveries that occurred as a result of chance. One such important discovery is that of penicillin which involved a series of chance events that span over a half a century and was based on the building of knowledge gained in the early 1500BCE. During this time the use of molds and fermented materials as therapeutic agents was a common thing. It was only until the late nineteenth century when progress was made whereby there was a concerned effort of identifying and isolating substances which would inhibit or destroy the agents that cause human diseases and in this chance played a role. A common problem among microbiologists and bacteriologists is contamination of pure cultures by invasion of other microorganisms. However, it is this problem of contamination that is seen a thing that leads these chance observations which eventually led to the discovery of penicillin. The discovery of penicillin is just but one example of how chance can led to a scientific discovery (Slowiczek,  & Peters, 2010).

Even though most scientists claim that the theories of science are based on methodical research we have to note that key discoveries are made as a result of chance. Therefore we can conclude that chance plays an equally important role in scientific discoveries.


Slowiczek, F & Peters, P. (2010). Discovery, chance and scientific method. Retrieved September 6, 2014 from,d.d2s

The Role of Causal factors Charting in Fatality Investigation

The Role of Causal factors Charting in Fatality Investigation



The Role of Causal factors Charting in Fatality Investigation

Investigations conducted following accidents are meant to determine the causes of such accidents examine them and use the information generated to prevent occurrence of such accidents in future. It is thus important that accident investigators investigate deeply into situations that result in accidents.  In performing these investigations, the causal factor charting is a very significant and indispensable instrument.

Accidents are normally a product of several factors and condition which interact to trigger the accident and yield the resultant effect of an accident. Event & Causal Factor Analysis charting facilitated depiction of the necessary and sufficient conditions and events for the occurrence of an accident in a logical sequence (Manuele, 2007). This way, the chances of failing to recognize the contribution of a factor of an event is minimized. This not only helps simplify the investigation repot organization but also facilitates accurate illustration of accident sequence in the report. Charting facilitates analysis of the quality of evidence collected during an investigation as well as validated the correctness of the analyses conducted in the pre-accident systems and conditions.

Creating a provision ECFA chart is one of the activities investigators come up with when they get to the accident scene. Though this initial chat may be deficient in information the charting guides the investigation and facilitates organization of the information that is collected during the investigation (Heuvel, 2008).

ECF charting further compliments other investigative approaches such as Change Analysis, MORT Chart Analysis and Fault Tree analysis. It facilitate correlation of data with this instruments providing the framework under which all the evidence and information generated by the other instruments can be integrated thus providing a good core for the investigation (Reese, 2012).

In sum, ECF charting guides and directs the investigation process. It ensures that all the events and conditions resulting to the accident are identifies and analyzed to determine their contribution. Finally, it provides a platform under which various investigative approaches can by intergraded and facilitate creation of a complete and detailed accident report.


Heuvel, L. (2008). Root cause analysis handbook: a guide to efficient and effective incident investigation. Brookfield, Conn.: Rothstein Associates Inc.

Manuele, F. A. (2007). Advanced safety management focusing on Z10 and serious injury prevention. Hoboken, N.J. : J. Wiley.

Reese, C. D. (2012). Accident/Incident Prevention Techniques. CRC Press

The role of case managers for emancipated foster youth

The role of case managers for emancipated foster youth



The role of case managers for emancipated foster youth


Emancipation also referred to as aging out means the specific age (usually age of 18) that a foster youth attains and is discharged from being part of the foster care system. To ensure that emancipated youth become productive as well as be self-sufficient adults they require quality employment, access to health care, have safe housing and education (Delgado et al, 2007). Commitment to a loving and supportive family is important. The family provides encouragement to youths as face challenges of life. Case managers are important to foster youth as they provide support in their lives by design services and systems that assist emancipated youth acquire employment, safe housing, health care and quality education.

Literature review

Education is the main foundation stone for a prosperous adult life for emancipated foster youths. Unfortunately, as Delgado et al (2007) reports, only half of the foster youths who enroll for high school education complete and only 20% of those who attain high school education pursue postsecondary education. Yet 70% of non foster children complete high school education and 60% proceed to postsecondary education. Case manager can help reduce these disparities. According Delgado et al (2007) is the duty of a case manager to ensure that foster youths under his/her care get high school education and further access post secondary education. They should facilitate the youths to access scholarships, bursaries and a place to stay during school holidays adds Delgado et al (2007). These are necessary resources for a proper academic life. Success of foster youth is also attributed to strong mentorship and support system. Delgado et al (2007) believe that the case manage can help the youths to chose appropriate mentors or act as mentors and encourage the youths to pursue their education.  In sum, case manager act as parent and must take pride in helping foster youths to achieve their academic goals.

Foster youths are disadvantaged in the job market. This disadvantage is pegged on low educational attainment.  In this regard, case manager must find placement opportunities for the foster youths in addition to seeing them through school. According to Hook (2010), Case managers can use their connections with other organizations to secure placement and employment opportunities for their youths. Organizations that play a fundamental role in the emancipation of foster youths are linked to each other and other different organizations (Hook 2010). Case manager can exploit this links to get meaningful employment for the foster youths.

However, the first step in ensuring that the foster youth secure meaningful employment is educating them (Hook, 2010).

Case manager being in charge of the foster youth’s healthcare must be responsible for his/her health. Case managers should always be updated and participate in making critical decisions on the health of foster youths. Pearson (n.d.) notes that case managers should collaborate with caregivers and doctors to provide the foster youths with adequate.  According to Pearson (n.d.) every development stage presents varied challenge to a child, therefore, since a case manger has known the youth for a considerable length of time he/she can share with care giver or physician the health history of the youth. This history is important in finding health solutions to the youth’s problems. Finally, the caregiver, like a guardian, must provide health advice to the youth and ensure the youth observer proper nutrition (Pearson, n.d.).

Housing yet another important aspect of proper living since the places where foster live have great implication on their wellbeing. Unfortunately, most foster youths aging out of foster care are not able to afford housing. To help such youths case managers should find them accommodation in the in with programs the provide housing for the youths. According to the Superior Court of California (n.d.) case managers have the role of ensuring that the houses the foster youths live are located in locations with adequate social amenities.  They should stay in neighborhoods that are safe.

My internship experience greatly relates to the roles of a case manager. In my internship with renaissance scholar program I help the emancipated youth in various capacities. Education wise the youth require encouragement on the importance of attaining intellectual knowledge. Provision of education materials where the youth get literature for their studies and research is of major importance.  I help the youth access resources such as libraries and the internet.  Emancipated youth require consistent advice on the importance of having self discipline in their studies (Successful Transitions for All Youth, n.d).  Health wise I education on ways of preventing unintended pregnancies and other sexually transmitted diseases, importance of maintaining high self hygiene and the importance of feeding on a balanced diet to ensure good health. I also help the youth get free medical examinations at health centers.  As an intern working as case managers liaise with the housing authorities to acquire cheap houses for the emancipated foster youth whose location are safe and have social amenities. As an intern I seek fund to pay for housing facilities that foster youth use.  I also prepare foster youth for employment by teaching them wok place ethics, appropriate dressing for work, help them prepare adequately for interviews and connect them with organizations seeking employees.

Foster youth are a challenge in society if transition services such as education, housing and employment are not provided to manage them. Case managers play a vital role in the lives of emancipated foster youth as they ensure that the foster youth has access to education, health care, quality employment and safe housing. My experience as an intern helping foster youth has made me learn the importance of having a supportive system helping emancipated youth.



Delgado et al. (2007). Expanding Transitional Services for Emancipated Forster youth: An investment in California’s tomorrow. San Diego: University of San Diego School Of Law.

Hook, et al. (2010). Employment of former foster youths as adults: Evidence from the Midwest Study. Chicago, IL. : University of Chicago.

Pearson, P. (n.d.). A Medical Home for Foster Children: the Family Outreach Support Clinic. California Healthcare News. Retrieved from

Successful Transitions for All Youth (n.d). Imperial County establishes a centralized case management system. California: Successful Transitions for All Youth

Superior Court of California. (n.d.). Mentoring Emancipated Forster Youth. San Mateo: Superior Court of California.