First posted 28 June 2006, Nairobi
Tuesday 27 June
1030 Arrive back in Nairobi from beautiful Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria where I have been denouncing Sven to anyone that will listen. “Hello Sven, here are some fresh and juicy ingredients. You should be able to cook us all a delicious meal.” “Oh yes. Let me just take your offering and trample it under my feet and mash it all up arbitrarily. Oh how surprising. It is disgusting.” Have also been looking at a brilliantly successful microcredit scheme that has transformed the quality of life of thousands of fisher”folk” and farmers (mostly women). Have I missed something or is micro credit basically the answer to development. As the Christian Aid policy team try to reframe the debate about development finance, making domestic resources a far higher priority than inflows (like aid, foreign loans and foreign investment), these schemes, along with better tax policy, will surely feature regularly in our work.
1300-1500 Manage to dispatch a total of three emails.
1500 Meet with Kenyan debt campaigners in follow up meeting to last week’s conference. It is exciting to think that an idea hatched on the first floor in Waterloo has energized the entire campaign. Regular meetings are planned for the build up to the World Social Forum which Nairobi hosts in January next year. It is also election year and the team think it could become a political issue. (There is good reason to believe, by the way, that this WSF will be more than a talking shop. The first to be held in Africa, it could spur the development of active civil society similar to that of Latin America and parts of Asia. African campaigners I have spoken to are well aware that most African countries have serious catching up to do in this area.)
As the strategists strategise I have little to input and am left thinking what Christian Aid’s role is in this. We want to “build the movement” and the call for debt repudiation is actually as much about mobilizing a movement for change as it is for policy action. Is movement building perhaps the number one task Christian Aid should adopt as we leave the age of charity behind us and call for a world based on justice. As Njoki, a Kenyan campaigner, says, “Movement building is different to campaigning. A campaign has an end date.”
1800 Make it to posh bar just in time to see Ghana play brilliantly but fail to score. Talking of justice, Ukraine through, Ghana out. This annoys me as much as listening to Wolfowitz lecture on corruption.
2200 Make it to sleazy bar over the road from hotel just in time to see France v Spain. When Vieira scores the man next to me jumps up and shouts, “Yes, an African has scored.”