Ziki is a science buff with a flair for design. The gods of education having smiled favourably upon her, and thanks to her mother's tireless ingenuity, she was bequeathed with a degree in Computer Science, from University of Nairobi. After continued attempts to distill the world into algorithms she found herself, rather by accident, entwined in the environmental sustainability affairs of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) albeit in a technical capacity.
Through her sojourn there she became well versed in the consequences of viewing development and sustainability as polar opposites. She saw how Africa is uniquely positioned to find its place in the developed world having the knowledge to sidestep some of the sustainability pitfalls experienced by her forerunners. Ziki’s current interest (read obsession) is on food - producing and distributing it safely, equitably and sustainably. She also enjoys cooking and eating it.
When she is not ruminating on earthly matters she can be found with a sketchpad and number two pencil honing her design skills, or furiously julienning carrots for her mise somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya. When the time finally comes to rejoin that great cosmic disco - the coordinates of which are yet to be documented; and hopefully they do more than dance and sing all day - she would like inscribed on her tombstone the words: "She wanted to learn, everything."
From this author
In late 2004, Kisumu bay, Lake Victoria, was covered in a blue-green hue. The algal bloom - a proliferation of cyanobacteria – demarcated an area of low oxygen and eventually decomposing algae, causing fish to suffocate or flee and contaminating the drinking water- a dead zone. Adapt-N, a software programme developed by researchers at Cornell University seeks to solve this problem.
Right this minute; a woman somewhere in rural sub-Saharan Africa is on a long trek. Not because she’s part of a nomadic tribe or visiting a neighbouring village but because she has to do something that many of us with modern conveniences take for granted – cook for her family. This woman represents the reality of about 3 billion of the world’s population who cook meals over an open fire everyday. People who just need an easier way to get things done. Showcased in the Network’s Solutions Database along with other low-tech projects, the Ezy stove does just that.
Fear factor - the TV show a number of us watched through parted fingers - almost always featured bug eating (entomophagy). The creators of the show had a knack for choosing the most succulent, squiggly, disgusting looking grubs - a la Lion King. Now scientists are saying insects could be the answer to the world’s food sustainability challenges. Should their thinking catch on; you may just find yourself dining like Simba.
When texting was first introduced in Kenya, it gained great popularity among mobile subscribers because it was much cheaper than making phone calls. That’s what really fueled the texting culture; a culture now finding its way into the agricultural sector through Illuminum Greenhouses - greenhouses that text you when resources are getting low.
We’ve all seen those movies. Where the person under house arrest is strapped with an ankle bracelet. The one with a silent flashing red light that will set off an alarm the minute the prisoner steps outside a defined radius of movement. An agricultural innovation created by Fujitsu in Japan , is using ankle bracelets on dairy cows. Not so much to manage their moovement (pun intended) as to connect them to the Internet.