Country: Kenya, East Africa
Name: Romulus Wandera
Director, Future in Our Hands Kenya
Date of birth: 25th July 1959
Place of birth: Buburi, Busia District, Western Kenya
Office: P .O Box 4037- 40103 Kisumu -Kenya
Cell phone. 0711 860853
I was born in a small rural village called Buburi in Busia District.
I left my rural village in 1967 and moved to Kisumu Town to
start a new life with my elder brother. I have since then lived
Ever since joining the FIOH group
in 1985 I have gained much. Before becoming part of FIOH, I
had been in 'total darkness' as to what was going on around
me. I had witnessed massive tree felling in my rural home village
of Busia for very unconvincing reasons:
1. That the tall trees were harbouring monkeys and birds which
destroyed crops e.g. maize, cotton etc.
2. for charcoal burning - in most cases the charcoal was sold
at a throw away price of Ksh 15 a sack of 30kg.
3. That they would harbour leopards.
After the group's formation, we
embarked on an extensive tree planting programme which turned
out to be successful. My home village was one of the areas we
focussed on and is now a show case environmental area. In just
five years the scenery has changed. It is now one of the few
places one can find some of the indigenous and exotic tree species.
The area is also now a home to several different types of birds
that roost on them.
As the years went by I have been able to meet and share ideas
and experiences with several volunteers, Government officers
and other respectable members of our society as pertains to
the FIOH activities. These people have taken steps that have
helped the group to grow. One of the volunteers quipped when
we were visiting the countryside, "I had never seen inside
Kenya, I have only seen the tourist Kenya, from a hotel - car
- hotel.'' The experiences so far gained have been shared with
many people both in Kenya and in other countries.
Facing the challenges of being
a group leader has been enormous. It has been quite tricky leading
people who had false notions that white people have lots of
money. An act which had been perfected over the years by politicians
by dishing out handouts and money. The Government had over the
years made people to believe that any form of development project
belonged to it. This made people have false hopes of just being
there waiting for their leaders (political) or the Government
to decide on what project they would be entitled to (Top to
bottom approach). This led to the collapse of all Government/Political
funded projects. The populace viewed such projects as for politicians
The FIOH philosophy promotes the concept of Peoples Development
by letting all concerned persons decide for themselves what
is best for them, by empowering them. This is a bottom to top
approach which leaves everybody satisfied and that they have
not been left out in any decision-making process.
Perspectives on world problems
I believe that most of these
problems have been brought about by the developed countries.
This has been through:
1. The past cold war of the West and East
2. Unbalanced trade
3. World Bank /IMF policies
The Cold War
This led to funds being given to prop up the often corrupt ally
governments. Examples being Congo, Angola, Mozambique and so
on. More than 85% of the sourced funds were allocated to the
Military leaving a paltry 15% for the needs of the populace.
This led to massive deaths as a result of hunger and ill-health.
Most industrialised countries import most of their food and
raw materials from the developing countries. The developed countries
unfairly determine the price at which they buy these imports.
The developing countries are made to sign agreements on the
false promise that the much needed foreign funds will enable
the economies of these countries to stabilise.
Developing countries have gone ahead and signed loan agreements
with these lending Institutions on behalf of their citizens
with disastrous consequences.
If you asked an ordinary citizen of Kenya as to what the World
Bank/IMF meant, the answer would be in the negative. Some of
the loans released never reached the intended projects/programmes.
The funds were diverted into the bank accounts of corrupt Government
officials lodged in the developed countries.
When developing country governments could not raise the foreign
exchange to pay back their debts the IMF imposed very stringent
conditions for these governments so as to recover their money.
For example the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). These
programmes led to massive suffering of the populace. Examples,
the forced retrenchment of Public Civil Servants in Kenya, the
common person paying with lack of health care, education, poor
infrastructure - thus leading to poverty.
Emission of harmful fumes into the atmosphere thus causing the
greenhouse effect. As a result of this, global warming leads
to destructive floods as has happened in Britain (2001), Mozambique
Dumping of toxic wastes by the developed countries in poor countries.
Pollution caused by drilling for oil as happened in Nigeria
(Ogoni area), and oil spills from ships that transport it.
Tackling of Corruption by recovering the looted funds by some
corrupt developing country leaders stashed in bank accounts
in the developed countries. The developed countries should help
in this. Does it make sense for the World Bank/IMF to loan say
$300 billion to a country where two government officials of
the same government have stashed $2 billion in their accounts?
More world-wide debt free campaigns as happened during the Jubilee
2000. Writing off some of the debts by the two lending institutions
instead of it accumulating year in year out.
Putting in place more structures that would enable the developing
countries to have more say on the pricing of their exports.
Campaign to have more funds allocated
towards fighting poverty, illiteracy, ill health, inadequate
shelter, poor infra structure, corruption, overspending on the
Where possible, developing countries
must channel funds for development to the grass roots for the
communities to address their challenges thus leading to bottom
up approaches in development.
The above thoughts have relevance
to the FIOH philosophy. FIOH empowers groups and individuals
to re-examine themselves and change their lifestyles for a better
future. The affluent live in a state of their own. Some since
birth have never missed a meal and can hardly believe that a
family of five can go hungry for a day without a meal that costs
£1, or that one can die due to lack of medicine worth
The FIOH philosophy and its approach enables such people to
re-examine themselves. For the poor it offers them a chance
to choose the best way forward despite their status. It enables
them to share Ideas with others and find the best options.
In conclusion, the FIOH philosophy cuts through a cross section
of the society, for the betterment of ALL OUR FUTURES.
Flexible and creative community mobiliser and adviser. An excellent
communicator, a very approachable and cheerful person with a
positive and cheerful manner even under pressure. An enthusiastic
team worker who is equally comfortable working alone using own
Sound knowledge of office procedures and administration processes
Excellent verbal and written communication skills, used to dealing
with the members of the public of all classes and races.
I have helped to establish environment clubs in schools and
the 21st Century Kisumu Forum (Agenda 21).
Arranged sponsoring for school fees for poor families, organised
a city cleanup and beautification programme in conjunction with
local government departments and business representatives. Helped
to establish women's credit union co-operatives in four regions
in and around Kisumu.
Trained and qualified as a teacher
Trained in behaviour change processes (B.P) teacher/trainer.
Full time - Teacher in a
public school - 1983 to date (2009)
1985 - Joined Future in Our Hands (in charge of environment
1988 - Elected co-ordinator of FIOHK
1997 - Elected adviser of 21st Century Kisumu Forum and the
Women's Credit Union.
1968 - 1974 Primary
1975 - 1978 Secondary
1981 - 1983 Teacher's training college
1999 Behaviour change process training
2002 -Trained in community health care
2007 - Trained in Guidance and Counseling
Has managed to:
· See the establishment of a Health centre in Busia
· Establishment of modern tree Nurseries in Busia, Seme
· Formation of Women's Credit Union
· Helped wit the formation of sister FIOH groups in U.S.A,
Tanzania and several groups in Kenya
Gardening, performing arts, reading and travelling and meeting
Community development assisting the less privilege children's
education/medication, the aged and Christianity.