Almost Half of Urban Africans will be living in Slums by the year 2020

It is said that by 2050, 70% of global population will be living in cities with most of these migrations occurring in Asia and Africa. The migration is evident in the city I live in, Abuja. Every day, people migrate to Abuja with the hopes of securing a better future through finding jobs. Thanks to other political factors that made a lot of money to be in circulation in Abuja. The urban opportunities lying here are far more in number with higher returns in economy than those in the rural areas. In many villages, hamlets, towns etc. the only economic activity might be farming, fishing, herding or hunting, depending on the resources available in that region. As such, finding a quicker and sustainable means of livelihood becomes challenging and fuels the passion to migrate to cities like Dar Es Salam, Nairobi or Luanda to find urban economic opportunities. While this has its pros, the cons are weighing down on African cities. Urbanization in Africa is accruing a number of challenges.

This was the central theme in the United Nation’s Habitat III Africa Regional Meeting that ended on Friday the 26th. The conference lasted for 3 days and delegations of all 52 member states were present at the Abuja International Conference Centre.

DSC_0341With my urban enthusiasm, background in civil engineering and research interest in the urban built environment, through providing affordable housing and ensuring the design and planning of energy-efficient buildings and cities, I felt compelled to attend the meeting. The discussions will extend my horizon to the realities for future energy demand when 70% of the population becomes urban. At the moment, city energy demand is not sufficient and efficient, what will happen when the urban population doubles in 2050?

The opening speeches of the conference were read by the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, the Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). All were giving different accounts of the need for Africa to have sustainable urban developments.

The most interesting part of Day 1 was during the panel discussion on African Priorities for the New Urban Agenda, were one of the panelists was a person who lives and work in the largest slum in Africa, Kibera in Kenya. Her name was Ms Jane Anyango (Executive Director and Founder, Polycom Development Project) and the whole congregation was moved by her points of view due to the grassroots experience she has and will continue to have.

The urban imperatives couldn’t have been better said by anyone except a slum dweller. This she reiterated when I joined her at one of the side events titled Grassroots Women Driving Sustainable Urban Growth organized by the Huairou Commission on Day 2. She lamented on the skill-set of the community to address their living issues themselves. A lot of foreign interventions visit the slums, carry out development projects and leave, without the community fully understanding how to continue or upscale the project she said. capacity building is found wanting always. “If they really want to help the slum dwellers, they should fully empower them”, she said. On a final note for the side event, she mentioned, for community based development that will internalize among the people, PowerPoint presentations will achieve less, when compared to sitting in circles with the people. This is how the African communities are.

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Ms Jane speaking at the side event.

According to a World Bank report, compared to other continents, Africa has the lowest urban economic growth albeit the highest urbanization rate. The latter should be used as a great opportunity to ensure equitable, inclusive, sustainable and draw up transformative action plan for urbanization in Africa.

Many of the African cities urbanize, whilst giving birth to slum areas to accommodate the teeming poor migrants. A city like Abuja has many slums in some of its pockets and around it. Mpape area for example (shown in the picture) is the biggest slum in Abuja. A slum area by definition has no access to the basic services such as water and sanitation. Their population is much and largely poor.

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Google map view of Mpape Slum just about 4 km from highly urbanized areas of Abuja like Maitama
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Mpape Slum

A more detailed definition of a slum household is given by UN-Habitat as persons living in an urban area lacking any of the following; access to adequate sanitation, access to sufficient and affordable water, proper shelter that will protect its inhabitants against adverse climate weather condition, a room for not more than 3 people and the last but not the least, prevention from forced eviction. If current urban development continues at the same rate, a study by MIT projected almost half of urban Africans will be living in slums by the year 2020.

Day 2 of the meeting was pack to full as the Vice President of Nigeria (representing the President of Nigeria), the Minister of the FCT, Minister of Power, Works and Housing and UN-Habitat Executive Director all rose from the High Table to deliver speeches.

The meeting concluded on Day 3, with the 52 member states agreeing to the deliberations of the Africa Regional Meeting as the Abuja Declaration. The Declaration is supposed to be the avenue to synergize the 52 African countries to take one voice to the next Habitat 3 conference in Quito, Ecuador. Europe and Latin America will also have similar regional meetings ahead of the Habitat 3 conference in October.

That is for the formality and protocol. It is up to the political will of the various government to use the framework in changing the lives of their citizens by providing adequate and affordable housing.

I hope to see visible changes in African cities after a decade or so of the Quito conference to see how far we went in addressing the negative impacts of urbanization.

Sadiq Gulma is of Green Habitat, a nonprofit promoting the adoption of sustainable policies and frameworks in the agricultural, building and construction sectors in Nigeria.

 

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How To Easily Register With NSE and COREN in Nigeria

The NSE registration for the April exam is upon us, I thought I should be more detailed on how to go about the registration in this post. NSE checks your qualification and conducts the exams while COREN will use your merit certificate from NSE to grant you a license without having to write any exam. As a graduate of a university with 4 years postgraduation experience, you will be applying to the B1 corporate membership cadre of NSE.

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The requirements for sitting for the exam have not changed. You will prepare two reports and sit for written and oral examinations. The two reports are your Postgraduate Experience report and a Technical Design of a development (eg. a building, road etc. for civil engineers). You will need these two reports to successfully register for the exam. If you are looking for sample reports, you can visit any NSE branch office closest to you for their assistance. There are two registration windows; one in February (closing on the 29th) and the other in August. Although this might vary a bit. Keep checking the NSE website for dates and full timetable of the examinations. An initial payment of ₦20, 000 is required for gaining access to the online portal. Payments can be made online.

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During the online registration, you will need to upload your bachelor’s certificate or transcripts of results. Before submitting the reports or even confirming you will sit for the exam, an eligibility test will be performed on your online profile. Your credentials and number of years after graduation are cross-checked to certify whether you can sit for the exam or not. It is after this you will be notified to continue with the registration by submitting your reports. If you fail the eligibility test, the money you paid will not be refunded and you will have to pay again for the next registration window. Ensure you have your transcripts or certificate and at least 4 years of experience before making your payment to avoid disappointments. Some branches like Abuja Branch will require 5 years (4 years + NYSC), assuming the service year was not spent in an engineering role.

Do you want to get a step by step guidance on how to go about registration, please fill this form.

You can take the exams in any state in Nigeria. All you need do is to locate the state branch office of NSE. The branch will normally charge you for writing the exams at their branch. For Abuja Branch, Branch Processing Fee is ₦5, 000 and a compulsory Branch Registration of ₦3, 100 must be paid .

After your successful registration, while you wait for the exams that will come up about 6 weeks after the deadline of the registration, compulsory workshops on how to write the exams will be held by both the branch (held in the state) and the national body (held in Abuja a week before the exam). Abuja branch workshop is ₦15, 000 and national workshop is ₦20, 000. Summing all these up amounts to ₦63, 100.

Do you want to get a step by step guidance on how to go about registration, please fill this form.

The oral will test you on your experience, mostly through the reports you submitted earlier. The written test will entail among others, 2 essay questions; one on a local issue and the other on a national issue. Most engineers find this particularly difficult and often times fail it. If you fail any part of the test, you will have to re-sit it during the next examination period.

The computer test is mostly a walk in the park. You can be asked simple questions like to open an excel sheet, save a work or the likes. Generally, all the tests are not difficult.

My advises are prepare your reports in time before the registration window closes. Ensure you have at least ₦60, 000 prior to the exam for the registration. Candidates  who pass the exam will be asked to pay an election fee between ₦53, 300 and ₦61, 300 depending on when you graduated. This election fee is for you to be fully incorporated as a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. This totals to more than ₦100, 000. When you have your certificate from the NSE, you will apply to COREN with a token of about ₦40, 000 to be given a license and your seal. COREN has detailed the procedures of getting the license on their website here.

Do you want to get a step by step guidance on how to go about registration, please fill this form.

Now, subscribe to my blog and go get registered.

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Sadiq Gulma.

How Happy are the People of the UAE? Enter Minister of State for Happiness

“clap along if you know what happiness means to you”. -Pharrell Williams

About two weeks ago, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was trending in the media based on the news of the creation of a new minister responsible for ensuring the Emiratis are kept happy. The Prime Minister of the UAE who is also the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the decision of the creation of the two novel ministers of state for happiness and tolerance in the UAE.

 

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From the witter handle of the Prime Minister

The mandate of the minister of happiness is to ensure the policies to create social good are pursued purposefully.

This flabbergasted almost the whole world except a few like me. It didn’t surprise me because if you understand the leadership style of the emirate, you will realize its motivation has always been for the priority and happiness of its people above any other thing.

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The face of the Minister for Happiness Ohood Al Roumi

 

I read a copy of Flashes of Thought, a book written by the ruler of Dubai in 2013 and I blogged about 64 sayings I found motivating on this blog. You can read it here again. 3 of those 64 were all about these new positions. The effort to ensure happiness by the leaders have since been there, just not in an overt fashion as expressed now.

Sheikh Maktoum mentioned in the book, “the job of the government is to achieve happiness for (its) people.” Every now and then, the UAE has been keeping the interest of its citizens at the core front of whatever they do. In the attempts to become a developed country, Dubai rose in a very short time, out of the hot dry desert in the Middle East in to a global economic hub. Then, it was nothing but another place in the Middle East. With ambitions of being prosperous, both as a country and as a people, Dubai unbelievably transformed itself into a treasure island. Today, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are boldly on the world map.

“Our citizens are the first, second and third priority” Sheikh Maktoum wrote in his book. This has been evidently made true with the creation of the minister for happiness (Venezuela had one 3 years ago). Drawing comparison lines to what used (is still) to go on in many quarters of Nigeria, you will know the citizens are not the first nor the second nor the third priority. The first priority is for the leaders to enrich themselves. The second is for them to enrich their immediate family and the third is for them to reserve for the children of their children. Unbelievable as it seems, people using public funds to enrich their personal accounts.

It’s not only the money aspect. The policies, choices of sectors to invest, areas to develop (the first priority is for the politician to develop his hometown because they said charity begins at home, I suppose.), delay the development till the year before the election so that their hearts can be won again etc. When all these is going on, you will reaffirm to yourself that you are not the priority of the government. The fastest way to instill happiness is by instilling happiness in the hearts of others, mentioned the prime minister in his book. We hope and pray that making Nigerians happy will be the working principle of our leaders very soon.

What makes people generally happy is a bone of contention. According to the latest World Happiness Report of 2015, some of the things that make a people of a country happy are the  more liberty many people enjoy to life choices, having longer life expectancy, lower perceptions of corruption, a higher gross domestic product per capita and possessing more social support.

While these factors definitely will define the general welfare and well-being of the people, it might not make someone to be happy. What is happy or happiness? Being happy means experiencing the effect of favourable fortune or having the feeling arising from the consciousness of well-being. Another meaning given is being satisfied or contented. While happiness means the emotion of being happy. With the first definition given, it can be said that the World Happiness Report is accurate to some extent. However, the definition of being contented or satisfied is something relative. One can have all the riches of life and still not be contented. A lot of these countries ranking high on the Happiness Report have high attendances in meditation classes, support groups or such. Many of such groups are experiencing higher attendance rates, to show you they are still looking for something else.

What makes us happy is different to each other. Many people or Nigerians may not have all the enjoyments or assurances of a good and long life, but I assure you, they live and sleep happily every day of their lives.

I am curious to know what makes you happy. What exudes happiness in you? Are you contented or not with all the riches in your life. Will we see a significant increase in the happiness and satisfaction of Emiratis in the near future?

 

Nurturing Talents

I read and noticed with great admiration how the story of that young automotive ‘engineer’ Muzammil Umar from Kebbi trended on social media. To remind us, he built a car which he drove to school. How cool and honourable can driving a car you built be? I couldn’t see the automobile in person but from pictorial observation, I saw a generator in the car bonnet, probably used to provide power to the car. Well he got so many Facebook likes and comments. The ingenious car was also always the first in the convoy of the incumbent governor of the state during his campaign last year.

Nigerian SS3 student builds car, drives it to school in Kebbi
Muzammil with one of his rides

To another talented automotive designer, Bashir Aliyu, living about 150 km from the engineer, in Sokoto. The beautiful small prototypes he made were again trending on social media. Lots of people fell in love with him. To cap his admiration, the Governor of Sokoto State invited him and offered him a full scholarship to study automotive design in the US. That’s great for him and for Nigerians.

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Bashir with one of his beautifully designed cars

In another northern state of Nigeria, in Kano, an unaccredited engineer built a helicopter in 2007 that could fly at 7 feet (roughly the distance between your floor and the top of your door) off the ground. It was built from an old Honda engine, Toyota parts and parts of a wrecked plane. He was presented to the National Assembly some years back, I didn’t know what he got from it though.

In Anambra, I read how some teenage boys designed prototypes of helicopters too. Another man in Benue also built a small chopper too. All are yet to fly though.

If you follow carefully, this is a story of young talented individuals following their passion. This is a short story of how young men spend ample amount of time working on what truly motivates them. And it reminds me of what Albert Einstein said about his intelligence, “it’s not that I am so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer”.

I was in Stuttgart (Germany) last year, and my friends took me to tour the museum of Mercedes Benz at their headquarters. I toured the museum for about 4 hours and still couldn’t finish it as it should be. I saw right from the 8th floor (top most floor), the first automobile made by Karl Benz, and the 4 carriage wheel by Maybach. As you go down the floors, you will experience how they made advances in the engineering of cars, and even how the name Mercedez Benz came to be. Today, many of the most beautifully engineered cars are from Mercedes Benz. The president of Nigeria is driven in one.

Perhaps the world already knows how to make cars and airplanes compared to the times of Karl and Maybach when automobiles where not known. But the trend in young Nigerian adults translating their passions into tangible creations can be improved. Perhaps the education system in place should not only seek to educate people into knowing math, English or even French as recently obligated, or civic studies, or worse educate them out of their creativity (as Sir Ken Robinson popularly says and I agree 100%), but there should be spaces provided to nurture such individuals with rare and exceptional skills and talents in turning abstract ideas into reality.

Innovation spaces to empower and hone the creative skills of individuals that will make them come up with new quality ideas should be provided. The educational curricula should should also foster creativity and innovation. It should make regional innovation one of their main goals.

Bashir and Muzammil will not be the Karl Benz and Maybach (even though I wish they can. Karl and Maybach lived a few kilometres from each other in different cities like Bashir and Muzammil, although Karl and Maybach never met in their lives) of our generation, but they might turn out to be something remarkable if nurtured. There is a trend we need to understand here. These talents are not just popping up out of the blue. Many of them exist and some sadly do not open their package (talent) because the system does not have a mechanism in place to discover talent.

It is my wish that the culture of creativity and innovation will be fostered in our schools and universities. What do you think about a curriculum that fosters innovation? Have you come across individuals who kept at their passion in trying to succeed? We will want to read about their struggle if you don’t mind sharing.

 

 

I founded Innovation Lounge, a nonprofit that aims to foster the culture of creativity and innovation in schools and universities in Nigeria. If you want to support our efforts, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Surmounting Mount Kenya

Final Episode

“There is snow on the mountain.”

About 300 metres from us were a group of High School Students of a Swedish High School in Nairobi. They were about 25 of them, boys and girls. They camped in tents and were resting before the ‘peak attack’. The attack will normally start in the early hours of the morning (what we will call in African languages ‘in the middle of the night’). Around 2.45am.

It was during this night that I realized I took a terrible decision of hiking the mountain. Why was it terrible? I was wearing two thick t-shirts, a sweater, a bigger thermal wear, three thick pairs of stockings, two trousers, both thick, gloves, head warmer and a blanket and inside a sleeping bag, yet I felt like I was in freezing Moscow. The altitude was 4,500m. It had to be that freezing that night.

I trembled on my bed and could barely sleep for a few hours before we were up at around 2.30am. We had hot tea and it was time to leave. I removed some of the clothing and properly geared up for hiking. I put on a jacket and a muffler which I used to cover the part of my face below the eyes. Then I put the head-torch on my head above the head warmer. As we began to walk in a file due to the narrow steep roads, I could hardly breathe due to the covering on my nose. And when I removed it, it became so cold. I got cold burns. We walked slowly and hoped to reach the peak before sunrise. That was the calculation.

To be clear, the mountain has 3 popular peaks, Point Batian (5199m), Point Nelion (5188m) and Point Lenana (4983m). The first two peaks can only be climbed with technical equipment (for professional mountain climbers). The latter can be reached by trekking. While on our way, we caught up with the High School students walking in a long file. Everyone was chatting in low voices. The sky above was so beautiful and lit up with a few stars. But we still had to use our flash lights. We walked for two and a half hours before we reached Austrian camp, were hikers take refuge for short while before getting to the peak. Everyone jam packed in to the small two rooms. I lost my team members, they lost each other too. Some of the students laid on the beds. Exhaustion filled the air in the camp.

After a few minutes, the guides called out. We had to get going if we are to see the sun rise from the vantage point when we stand on the mountain. As we walked passed glaciers and frozen streams of water, ice crystals developed in our water containers. The chocolate in my backpack froze as if it had been in the freezer. The temperature was definitely below 0 c. Slowly, we walked towards the peak. Someone slipped, among the students. It was bad. The chopper took her away when she got back to Austrian camp after sunrise (not that it came for her though). Some professional climbers who were interested in using the equipment to climb the highest peak arrived Austrian camp via the chopper.

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Point Batian (5199m)

Going up some paths, one has to hold on to securely positioned ropes. Any slip and you will have at least one broken bone in you. Part of the wisdom in attacking the peak during dark is also to make climbers oblivious of the dangerous falls. When it was daylight, on our way down, it looked very dangerous and you could hardly believe you passed through the paths.

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We got to the top, rested for a while, saw the sun rose behind the horizon and took a few photos. But there was no snow on the mountain. It had melted the time we got there, sadly. From atop, we could see Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m), the highest mountain in Africa. It was about 300km in ground distance from Mount Kenya.

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Atop Point Lenana (4985m).
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Right there! Point Lenana.

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And we started the descent, arguably the hardest part in mountain hiking. The frozen streams we walked on while ascending were now flowing as the sun has melted the ice. Some of us slipped momentarily at some safer paths of the mountain as we descended. No one got harmed. We got back to Teleki Lodge at Mackinder’s camp (named after Sir Halford Mackinder), rested a while and continued to the Met station. We arrived the Met station early with a truck waiting for us. After a small picnic discussing our triumph, we headed straight back to Nairobi.

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Our team, with the guide and potters.

I haven’t had a bath in three and a half days. I got a proper one as I got home and laid to sleep in a more usual indoor microclimate. My thighs were soar and I could barely walk up any stair case.

It was when I got back, laid on my bed and started reminiscing the experience that I realized the wonderful and fulfilling experience I have been through. It was a huge satisfaction to me. I will do it again and again and again.

Have you hiked any mountain higher than 3000m before? How high was it? Did you encounter any challenge?

 

Climbing Mount Kenya

Episode 1

Two days ago was exactly one year since I made the courageous decision to climb the second highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya, an ancient extinct volcano soaring 5, 199m (17, 057 ft) in elevation. It has iconic peaks (not just one) and lies just 16.5km away from the equator, in central Kenya (about 200km away from Nairobi).

We were 4, all working in the same office pursuing the mission of advancing African innovation. The two Japanese professors and my colleague from Ethiopia, Hamba san. We agreed to hike the Mountain in 3 days against the usual minimum of 4. We left office on Thursday after lunch, packed with all the necessary gears needed. Backpack, sleeping bag, hiking boots, thermal wears, gloves, snacks, camelback, head torch, walking stick etc. We picked up bigger backpacks later. We drove away from Juja towards the mountain area near Nanyuki, before lodging at Naro Moru River Lodge, a scenic lodge, big in size with lots of green landscape. It normally hosts Mount Kenya climbers and tourists.

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L-R: Tsunoda san, Hamba san, myself and Shiomi San.

During dinner at the restaurant of the lodge, a group of 25 researchers from the United Kingdom were celebrating their feat of climbing the mountain. They hike mountains every year. In the bar of the restaurant were pieces of clothing and national flags hung by different people conveying information about their hiking feat; names and dates of ascent. Some dated as far back as the late 80s. Many of them regarded it as a great feat. No doubt it was. That night, I had no idea what I had signed up for. According to reliable sources, the first ascent to the highest peak was made in 1899 by Sir Halford Mackinder (English), c. Ollier and J. Brocherel, although many attempts have been made by other explorers before this.

The next morning, we left the lodge and headed for the mountain, a few kilometres away. We could see the peak, ‘it was snowing on the peak” said the tour guide. Four of us, plus the tour guide/potter, making 5, started the hike at the western entrance of Mount Kenya National Park. We left the bigger backpacks at the entrance. It was to be picked up by 4 other potters. Each one of us had a potter to carry the bigger backpacks and we picked the smaller ones, carrying necessary supplies like water, snacks, an umbrella and a rain suit.

There are 3 common routes of reaching the peak, Chigoria (eastern direction) which is the longest and most scenic, Sirimon (from the north) and Naro Moru (west) which is the shortest and of course, the route we followed.

We started hiking around 10.10 am, dodging dungs of buffalos, leopards and elephants along the way. We arrived the Met Station (the first station) after two and a half hours. Normally, everyone is supposed to sleep there, despite the short walk (2.5 km). This is because we need to acclimate to the high altitude. The altitude at that camp is 3, 048 m (10,000 feet). If one continues walking at high altitudes without been used to it, one will most likely get altitude sickness caused by reduced oxygen to breathe (symptoms: headache, dizziness, lack of appetite, nausea etc.). That reminds me, days before the hike, I was taking up more exercises in the gym, just to make sure I am fit for the challenge. We camped at the Met Station, enjoying the cold windy weather (below 15 °C) and talked and talked about the mountain, where Kenya got its name from. There are lots of myth about the mountains.

 

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With Hamba at the Met Station.

The tour guide was also the cook. He cooked noodles and a special soup, to help us adapt to the weather. And then we swallowed some tabs, meant to make us resistant to suffering from altitude sickness. The next day was to be the longest in hiking.

The night passed peacefully. No monkeys knocked on our doors or windows. In the morning, after breakfast, we suited up and started the hike at about 7.43am. The next stop will be Mackinder’s Camp. We stopped at some locations to rest a little, have a snack or a meal. Along the way, our potters caught up with us. They didn’t stop at the first camp, because they are already used to the altitude. And they passed us in minutes. We were never to see them again till at the next camp. They looked energetic and were fast paced. They belong to the native of people who excel at Olympic marathons. More on why Kenyans and Ethiopians succeed at marathons in my later posts.

We went up, down, turned left, right and docked as we kept at the mission. The wild alpine high-altitude plantation was just beautiful. There were streams and frost structures. As we kept gaining altitude, the temperatures were becoming lower. No doubt what we learnt in high school geography, the higher you go, the cooler it becomes. We were still in our thermal wears, gloved and glued to the walking stick.

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Mount Kenya in sight.

We arrived Mackinder’s camp around 1.44 pm, after trekking for about 6 hours. We were so close to the peak now and excited for the ‘peak attack’.

To be continued…

From “My Mountain Memoirs: Mount Kenya”

How to Jub Hunt in Dubai

“Big jobs usually go to the men who prove their ability to outgrow small ones.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you are an Engineer or any other professional and interested in working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or Middle East, well, here is the good news, there are numerous opportunities existing there waiting for people to grab them. And I want to share with you how to grab one for yourself. The easiest way of securing a job in the UAE, specifically Dubai or Abu Dhabi, is to travel and reside there for a period of time. When you are close to employers and you have a local mobile phone number, you make it a lot easier for the employer to pick up the phone and place a local call to you. Although, this doesn’t mean they won’t call you if they are interested in your profile (I received a call from a potential employer from Oman while in Nigeria). However, by making yourself physically available and being able to show up for an in-person interview quickly makes the process a lot easier. They will easily opt for potential employees who are already present in the country, even though you will still have to seek for work permit when employed.

source: Marcia Peel
Jobs! where art thou?

If you happen to take that risky decision (of spending some of your hard earned money to travel to Dubai) not everyone around you might support, then you are almost there. Upon finding yourself in the UAE, the easiest path to start looking for possible recruiters is through the internet. All you have to do is log in to the sites, upload your CV and mark it “looking for a job”. Potential employers normally will see your profile as “looking for a job”. It is from here that they will get your number and place a call to you. The most popular site now is Dubizzle. Others are Naukrigulf, Careerbuilder, Bayt etc. All these job sites have openings in Middle East countries like UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc.

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Motivational quoted from Dubizzle

However, other employers prefer the other way round. They put up job vacancies on these sites, then you look them up and apply according to instructions by the recruiter. If you are lucky, you will get called. The idea is to apply as early as possible because once they find the candidate they want, they might not take down the ad and so you will be applying for a filled position.

For my 12 days in Dubai, I and Bashir, about to conclude our graduate studies then, decided and tried to job hunt in Dubai from two different angles. The conventional walking up to offices and dropping our CVs and applying on the internet. Of course, there are hundreds of construction companies in Dubai and we cannot possibly visit all of them. We used a strategy that will make this task very easy.

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Bashir studying the map of Dubai closely

Actually the robust Bashir came up with the idea (talk of what someone said about ‘lazy’ people, give the hardest job to the laziest person in the room, he will find the easiest way of doing it). There are two metro lines in Dubai, one passing through the Sheikh Zayed road and the other through downtown. We simply agreed to look up online, companies with offices close to metro stations only. So that at each metro stop, we don’t have to work far or spend a lot on metered taxis to get to a location.

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Dubai rail network

You might not get the best of receptions when you show up at a place without an appointment. One of the offices we dropped our CVs who informed us, like other firms, no vacancies, eventually called Bashir. So yeah, they might say no at first, but there is no harm in trying. While through the online platform, I personally received 2 calls from potential employers asking further details about my expertise. I left Dubai without securing any job in 12 days. Bashir who I met and left there eventually got called for an interview and offered a job in Abu Dhabi. So yeah, it totally works if you match the requirements.

One thing you should keep in mind however is some employers prefer Indians and Filipinos, who I heard are the cheapest labour in the UAE. So let it not be a surprise to you when an employer asks about your nationality and doesn’t call you back again or he offers you a salary you are not expecting. Talk about equal employer opportunity. Again, employers will ask whether you have any Gulf experience; experience working in the Gulf region. You still can get hired without those. There is a starting point for everyone.

Are you ready to work abroad? Or you want another young man to tour the world with your old guitar.