Monday, November 4, 2013

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is the process of making your website friendly to search engines such as Google and Bing; that is, the process of increasing your website’s visibility on the search engines in order to generate traffic. In simple terms it can be referred to as the process of making your website search friendly. Basically there are two types of SEO; Onsite SEO and Offsite SEO.

On site SEO

On site Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website using particular keywords. This involves the placing of specific keywords in your web content. A keyword or phrase is a search term that website visitors type into the search engines to find businesses/organizations in your niche e.g. “weight loss” for the weight loss industry. Onsite SEO is easy to control and optimize since you can control every aspect of your website.

Offsite SEO

Offsite SEO is the process of getting links known as, ‘backlinks’ to your website from other websites on the Internet. Getting backlinks from websites that have authority helps your website gain authority too.
Offsite SEO tends to be a bit more difficult to control since most search engines use different variables to rank websites. One of the ways is by use of inbound links; these are links from websites linking back to your website. Google considers this important considering the fact that if you don’t have valuable content or info then other websites would not be linking back to your website.

It is important however to know that not all links were “created equal”. For example a search engine is likely to rate the link of a reputable site like The Daily Nation higher than a newly created site which has had only one visitor. One link from Kenya's Daily Nation or Standard Media could therefore carry the same weight as thousands or hundreds of links from other smaller websites.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What is a Domain name?

Setting up a website begins with registering a domain. So what exactly is a domain? A domain is a web address on the Internet. Think of it like your home address which is unique to you and you alone. A web address works the same way, it is unique to one individual or company and identifies their web location; for example, xyz.com. Domain registration is administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In Kenya, .ke domains are administered by Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC)
There are two parts in a domain name; a top level domain and a second level domain. Second level domains are usually picked by an owner after registration if the name is available. For example in www.yahoo.com, ‘yahoo’ is the second level domain. Top level domains include .com (pronounced dot com), .net, and .org. some of these top level domains are restricted for use to specific organizations or even countries. For example, .gov is used by governments and .edu is mostly used by the schools.
There are also country code top level domains (ccTLD's). These are country or region specific. For example:

  • .co.ke - This is used by companies in Kenya  
  • .US – This is an option for companies or businesses in the United States.
  • . EU – This is an option for companies and businesses in the EU.
  • . CO.UK – This is an option for businesses in the United Kingdom.

There are also other types of domains which one may consider such as; .BIZ, .WS, .MOBI, .TV, and .INFO.
A .COM domain is always recommended for companies and businesses; however one may find that their desired domain is already taken by someone else. In such a case, one can come up with the next best alternative name or try and purchase their desired domain from the current registrant. However, more often than not, purchasing the domain from an existing registrant may prove to be too costly.
Registering a domain with a registrar costs between $6 and $15 per year depending on the following;

  • The type of domain, 
  • Number of domains being registered, and,
  • The registrar. 

A .COM domain typically costs $8 per year on average while a .co.ke domain costs an average of Kes 2,500 annually. When registering a domain, always keep in mind the following;

Launch your Online Business with a $5.99 .COM!
  • Keep the name short and easy to remember – A domain name should be short and easy to remember. Where your preferred name is already registered, try adding an extra relevant name at the end; for example if xyz Inc is a manufacturing company and xyz.co.ke is already taken, try xyzmanufacturing.co.ke or xyzinc.com.
  • Do not use hyphenation in your domain name, this causes confusion and is not easy to remember. For example, xyzmanufacturing.co.ke is much easier to remember than x-y-zmanufacturing.co.ke.

Resources

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Who was Prophet Muhammad's Mother?

It has been widely reported in the media that the Al-Shabab terrorists that struck the Westgate Mall asked shoppers specific questions about Islam before deciding whether to mow them down. It is said that the questions were very specific and only a devout Muslim would have had the answers on their fingertips. One of the questions unfortunate shoppers were asked was the name of Prophet Muhammad's mother.

Prophet Muhammad's mother was Aminah bint Wahb. The entire family tree is as shown below.


Resources


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How to Know if you have HIV

There are various early signs of HIV which can lead you to suspect that you are infected. These signs are medically referred to as Acute HIV Infection (Primary Infection) and will typically manifest 2 - 4 weeks after infection.The large majority of individuals will exhibit these symptoms but many people ignore them because the symptoms tend to be similar to a flu. 

Symptoms of Early HIV Infection

2-4 weeks after exposure to the HIV virus either through unprotected sex or other means, the large majority of individuals will come down with an illness that resembles a bad flu. Many people usually describe it as the  'worst cold you have ever had'. Typical (most common) symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Lymphadenopathy (swollen/enlarged lymph nodes)
  • Pharyngitis (sore throat)
  • Rash
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Malaise (general weakness)
  • Mouth and esophageal (throat) sores
Less commonly, symptoms may also include:
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Enlarged liver/spleen
  • Weight loss
  • Thrush (whitish patches in the mouth and throat caused by a fungus known as candida)
  • Neurological symptoms
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, these symptoms "may last from a few days to more than 10 weeks, but the duration is usually less than 14 days".

What to Do

If you have had unprotected sex or you have been exposed in some other way such as handling raw human blood or been pricked by an un-sterile hypodermic needle used on another person, you have good reason to suspect that you are HIV positive. You should immediately visit a medical facility and get tested. Tell the medical attendants about your likely exposure and the symptoms you are experiencing.

Benefits of Early HIV Detection

If you happen to be infected, there are benefits to early detection. A News report in the New Scientist Magazine on 20th March 2013 reported that Dr Asier Sáez-Cirión of the Pasteur Institute in Paris "analysed 70 people with HIV who had been treated with three antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) between 35 days and 10 weeks after infection. The analysis revealed that 14 patients – four women and 10 men – were able to stay off Anti Retrovirals without relapsing, after initially taking the drugs for about 3 years". 

Further,  according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "early treatment of infected persons substantially reduces their risk of transmitting HIV to others".

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have had unprotected sex or been exposed in some way in the recent past, don't wait for symptoms to appear, go get tested.
  • Not everyone will experience the post exposure symptoms of early HIV infection. Some people may have all the symptoms, some may manifest only a few and others none at all. The best thing is to get tested if you have engaged in any risky behavior or have been exposed to the virus in any way.

Resources


















Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to Pay Dstv Kenya Subscription Using Mpesa

In addition to several other payment options, it is possible to pay your DSTV Kenya subscription using Mpesa and Airtel Money.

Instructions

  1. To pay via Mpesa, go to your Mpesa menu and select ‘Pay Bill’ option. The Multichoice Kenya paybill number is 444900. Enter this number and in the screen that follows, enter your DSTV account number. Take note that your account number is not the same as your SmartCard number. Enter the payment amount, your PIN and submit. You should receive a confirmation text message. Multichoice Kenya updates Mpesa payments in their system every hour.
  2. To pay via Airtel Money, go to Zap menu and select ‘Money’ option. Select ‘Nick-name’ and type in ‘DStv’. Next, enter the payment amount, confirm the transaction and enter your Airtel Money password. Next, enter your DSTV account number in the ‘Reference Option’ field. Submit and wait for a confirmation text message. Multichoice Kenya updates Airtel Money payments in their system every hour.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be careful when typing in your account number. Confirm accuracy before submitting lest you make payment on someone else’s account.
  • You can also pay your DSTV Kenya subscription using Direct Debit from your bank account, credit/debit card, by cheque, via PostaPay or at the Customer Service Point at T-MALL Langata. You can also deposit the funds at any Equity Bank Branch or Standard Chartered bank ATM (if you are a StanChart customer)

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How to Get Cheap Samsung Phones (Galaxy S2, S3, Duos, Mini, Tab Etc) in Kenya

Given that Samsung is currently the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer with a reputation for designing highly creative and stylish phones that are quite pricey, getting cheap Samsung phones may sound like a mirage. However, with a bit of patience you can actually reduce the dent in your pocket and save yourself a few thousand bob when making a purchase.

Cheap Samsung Phones Dealers

  1. The only way to get a cheap Samsung phone is to avoid purchasing the same from a Kenyan dealer. This can be achieved by making an online purchase. Most Kenyan dealers purchase phones abroad, specifically Dubai and China. You can purchase your phone directly from a trader or manufacturer abroad.
  2. Visit any of the numerous online ecommerce websites such as Amazon.com or Newegg.com. You will need credit card or debit card to make online payments or a PayPal account. Find out how to get one in Kenya by reading our article on Paypal debit cards
  3. Browse the phone categories and make your selection. Perform a price comparison by checking the local websites of Kenyan phone dealers or browse olx.co.ke. Many of these international ecommerce sites also have excellent deals on used phones.
  4. Confirm that your selected product can be shipped to Kenya as not all items are shipped internationally.
  5. Check out, make payment and wait for your package to arrive via Posta or courier depending on your shipping choice upon checkout.
  6. In most cases, you should be able to track your package online. Once you confirm its arrival, visit Posta at Haile Selassie or the courier company (DHL, FedEx etc.) and collect your package.
  7. Expect to pay VAT tax of 16% upon collection since mobile phones are no longer zero-rated.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the phone is an International version and unlocked otherwise it may not work in Kenya i.e. it will accept a sim card from any mobile carrier.
  • Opting for courier delivery is safer but it will also cost you much more. Amazon charges $39 for courier delivery and $6.99 for normal delivery via Posta.
Suggested Reading

PayPal to Mpesa

Resources


Newegg.com


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to Buy Online at Amazon.com

Amazon.com is the world’s largest online marketplace where you can purchase a wide range of
products at prices much lower than you may find in the local Kenyan stores. A case in point is books, mobile phones, tablet computers, Amazon kindles and much more. For example, a book or textbook on Amazon would cost much less as compared to buying it in a Nairobi bookshop which has to adjust their prices to reflect running costs and markup. Unfortunately, many Kenyans do not take advantage of this fact mainly because they do not know how to make online purchases and have goods shipped to them in Kenya. Buying online on amazon.com, ebay.com or any other online marketplace is actually quite easy.

Instructions

  1. Visit Amazon style= and browse the category listing for the items you are looking to purchase. For example, if you are looking for a book, browse the ‘Books’ category or ‘computers’ if looking for a Tablet computer.
  2. Once you find the item you want, register an account and log in.
  3. Select the item you want to purchase and check out. You will need a credit/debit card to make payment. This is the point that most ordinary Kenyans find difficult. To find out how to get a credit/debit card to make online payments or to use your existing credit/debit card, read this article.
  4. Enter your shipping address. This can be your PO Box address. The items are delivered to Posta by USPS (United States Postal Service) and you can pick them up at the Haile Selassie Post Office (near the railway station). If you want faster and more secure delivery, you can opt for courier delivery. This will, however, cost you more. At the time of writing this article, the standard Amazon shipping rate to Kenya was $6.99 per shipment and $39.99 for Priority Courier Shipping.  
  5. Important update: Amazon.com is no longer ships the majority of items to Kenya due to warranty issues and manufacturer restrictions. If an item you want can't ship to Kenya, you will need a US Shipping address. There are a number of companies in the US that can provide you with a US Shipping address for a small fee.  You will add this as a Shipping address in your Amazon account. Amazon will then send the item to that address and the item will be couriered to you in Kenya. To get a US billing address, try MyUS or Shipito. They both offer US shipping addresses at very fair terms. 

Tips and Warnings


Take note that unless the item you are importing is zero-rated, you will be required to pay tax upon collection. Find out your tax liability by visiting the KRA website

Resources
Amazon.com Global Export Countries

Suggested Reading
How to buy on Ebay in Kenya

How to Prepare for a Job Interview


Have you been invited for and need to prepare for a job interview? Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of ordinary job seekers as the prospect of having to submit to a panel of people who will ask tough questions regarding your suitability to work for the organization. This fear is understandable, as humans we are not naturally wired for scrutiny; the average human being will avoid the spotlight unless absolutely necessary. However, the fact of the matter is that a job interview need not vex you if you stick to a few simple rules.  

Instructions to Prepare for a job interview


  1. The first rule about preparing for an interview is to PREPARE. You can never be too prepared for an interview. Anticipate the questions you will be asked and look for someone to help you role play – a mock interview to ensure you have all the answers at your fingertips. Research widely on the company and industry – make sure your industry and technical knowledge is up to date. If you need to refresh your technical knowledge, read as much as possible prior to the interview.
  2. All of us have that one dreaded question that we hope and pray the panel will not ask. ‘Talk to yourself’ ...honestly... and find out what your dreaded question is; write it down and think of a good answer for it. Do not go into an interview with your fingers crossed hoping that the panel will not venture into this territory. You should also write down a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Be clear on how you will articulate each.
  3. In the days leading up to the interview, use NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques to get yourself into the right mood. Visualize yourself as calm, poised and confident. Practice deep breathing on a regular basis and repeat soothing words like ‘I am relaxed’ to prepare yourself mentally. 
  4. Set your alarm to wake you several hours before the scheduled interview time. Dress impeccably (industry standards) and make sure you smell nice. A simple dash of cologne, perfume for ladies or an underarm deodorant will be good enough. Do not overdo it. Get to the interview location at least 30 minutes before your scheduled time. This creates a good impression. 

Tips & Warnings


  • Psychologists and career experts agree that it is always best to focus on the positive. Do not think of negative outcomes.


Suggested Reading
How to Interview a prospective employee


Saturday, August 10, 2013

How to Configure Huawei Ideos Airtel Internet Settings

The Ideos and other Huawei phones (Y210 and U5130) have proved to be a great bargain for Kenyans who want an Android smartphone but without the resulting dent in the pocket. At less than 8,000 bob, many Kenyans have been able to access cellphone features that only smartphones provide. Unfortunately, Airtel users have been suffering because configuring Airtel Internet settings on an Ideos and other Huawei models can be a real headache. The automatic settings you receive when you send the word “ALL” to 232 do not work and calls to customer care either go answered or you receive settings that do not work. For many customers, only the inconvenience of having to visit to an Airtel Office resolves the problem. After much trial and error, I have finally found out the exact settings that work. See below.

Instructions


  1. On your Huawei Ideos U8150 phone, go to ‘settings’, then ‘wireless and networks’
  2. Scroll down and select ‘mobile networks’.
  3. Select ‘Access Point Names’
  4. Click on the menu button on your phone (next to the home button on the left) and select ‘New APN’
  5. In the fields that appear, enter the following:
    • Name: Airtel Internet
    • APN: ke.celtel.com
    • Proxy: Leave blank
    • Port: 8080
    • Username: Leave blank
    • Password: Leave blank
    • Server: Leave blank
    • MMSC: Leave blank
    • MMS Proxy: Leave blank
    • MMS Port: Leave blank
    • MCC:639 
    • MNC:03
    • Authentication type: None
    • APN Type: Default
  6. Click on the ‘Menu’ button again and select ‘Save’
  7. Switch off your phone, wait five minutes and switch it back on.

Tips & Warnings


  • One would expect that the APN would be something like ‘ke.airtel.com’ but it appears that Airtel have never changed the APN. They still use the old APN that was in use when the company was named Celtel.
  • These settings should work on other low end Huawei models such as the Y210 and U5130.
Suggested Reading

  1. How to block calls on your mobile phone
  2. How to buy Airtel airtime using Mpesa
  3. How to divert Airtel Line to Voicemail



Friday, August 9, 2013

How to Spy On a Mobile Phone in Kenya

There are several reasons you may want to spy on a mobile phone but most people commonly want to spy on their spouses. However, you may have other reasons such as monitoring your child’s security, snooping on employees and so forth. Take note that spying on a mobile phone is illegal. The Kenya Information and Communications Act clearly stipulates that attempting or actually intercepting a communications message for any reason is illegal. Only the law enforcement authorities can do this in the course of criminal investigations.

What you need


  1. Mobile spying application
  2. Target mobile phone – Note that you must have actual possession of the mobile phone you want to spy on; there is no way to go around this.
  3. Some cunning on your part

Instructions



  1. Purchase a mobile spying application from one of the numerous online vendors. The price ranges from $25 to as high as $400. Some applications have a recurring cost e.g. you pay the initial cost and then pay a monthly subscription fee to the owner of the software. However, there are also numerous ‘one-time fee’ options.  Make sure the target phone model is compatible with the application you select. Most websites provide this information. You will need a Visa, MasterCard or PayPal account to purchase most of these services. If you do not have a credit/debit card or PayPal, read this article on ‘How to get a PayPal enabled ATM Debit Card in Kenya’. Most applications will provide the following standard features:
    • Call logging
    • SMS logging
    • GPS Tracking (if the target phone has GPS functionality)
    • Email logging
    • Picture uploading
  2. Some mobile spying applications will also offer the following add-on services at an additional fee:
    • Remote call listening (listen to voice calls)
    • Spy on WhatsApp, Viber, Skype and other voice/text applications installed on the target phone
  3. Once you have purchased the application, read the installation instructions provided. Access to the target phone is mandatory. You may need to enter an activation code provided by the vendor or to activate the app via an ‘invisible’ text message depending on the app. The following are some ingenious ways that devious people have used in the past to gain access to other people’s phones in the past:
    • Buy the person a new phone as a gift and pre-load the spy app. This has been reported to work well especially with spouses, where one suspects the other of infidelity. It has also been reported to work well with employers who want to snoop on their employees and parents who want to keep track of their children.
    • Some people have managed to install spyware on phones by waiting for the opportunity to present itself e.g. when the phone owner goes to the bathroom or generally leaves their phone unattended. Most spy apps install in less than five minutes and that is all the time needed. 
  4. Once your spy app is installed correctly, the target phone should start sending call, SMS, GPS location and other logs to a remote server which you will be able to access by logging into the control panel provided by your vendor. 

Tips & Warnings


  • As mentioned earlier, attempting to intercept someone else’s phone calls and messages in Kenya is illegal. The fine is hefty and there is possible jail time of up to three years.

Resources

Standard Media

Infosec Institute

Suggested Reading

Unlock Samsung Fingerprint Locked Phone

How to receive a fake call on your mobile phone

How to record calls on your mobile phone

3 must-have apps for every Kenyan


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How to get a PayPal enabled ATM Debit Card in Kenya

PayPal is the largest online payment processors in the world. There are many online vendors of goods and services who do not accept any other form of payment except PayPal. If you need to make a purchase from such a vendor, then you will need a PayPal account with a Debit/Credit card linked to your account.

Instructions



  1. Almost all banks in Kenya now allow you to make online payments using your Visa or MasterCard debit/credit card. All you need to do is to make a visit to your bank and inform them that you would like to make online payments with your debit ATM card or credit card. Some banks may ask you to fill out a special form and wait for a few days while others will activate it on the spot. In some cases, they may ask you to specify whether you want to carry out a single transaction or if you would like your card permanently activated to make online payments.
  2. As soon as the bank confirms your card is Internet ready. Log into your PayPal account (or create a new account if you don’t already have one) and navigate to “Add/Edit Credit Card”. Enter your card information. The ‘address’ requested is the postal address on record with your bank. After adding the card, click on ‘Link and Confirm my Debit or Credit Card.‘ When you click on ‘submit’ PayPal will debit your card with $1.99 (the Kenya shilling equivalent based on the current exchange rate). A 4 digit PIN will appear on your bank statement with this transaction. You will need to get the bank statement from your bank in order to access the PIN. If your bank offers Internet banking, you can access the code in a few minutes. Enter the code in the space provided in your PayPal account to confirm you own the card. 
  3. Once you have successfully linked and confirmed your card, your PayPal account will convert to a ‘verified’ account and you can make payments online. Anytime you make a payment using PayPal, your bank account is debited via the debit card you have on record with PayPal.


Tips and Warnings


  • You actually do not need a Kenyan bank account. There are numerous pre-paid debit cards on offer which work just as well. Examples include; Safaricom’s Mpesa Debit Card, Nation’s Hela Card, I&M Pre-Paid Debit card, KCB’s pre-paid debit card, Orange Money Visa Card etc

Suggested Reading

Resources

PayPal

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What is Mpanasuu

On the Kenyan social scene, ‘Mpanasuu’ is the sheng (Swahili slang) word for a beautiful lady. It is derived and ‘corrupted’ from the original Sheng word ‘msupuu’. As with every language Sheng is continuously evolving. However, Sheng appears to evolve much faster than traditional languages. Since 2005, the trend has been to reverse or rearrange the order of characters in a word to come up with a new word. Further examples of this trend include:

Original English, sheng or swahili word
New Sheng Derivative
Udaku (gossip)
ukuda
Maji (water)
Jima
Marry
Rima
Mjaka (luo)
Mkajaa
Msapere (kikuyu)
Mperesa
Enda (gone)
Ndae
Mtu (person)
Tumu

Matatu touts in Nairobi continue to play a deep role in shaping the language.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What is Bonoko?

If you do not follow Kenya's news and social scene very closely, you may at some point wonder at the origin of the word 'Bonoko'. The word has been widely in use on the Kenyan social scene since 2007.

Origin of the word 'Bonoko'


The widespread use of the word can be traced back to a June 2007 television interview when a street urchin known as Francis Kimani Maina (aka James Kangethe 'Tete' Kimani) gave to a Kenya Television Network (KTN) TV reporter. At the time, James (15 at the time) was sleeping at the Globe Roundabout when he heard the sound of a fracas. It was city council askaris (local police) on duty. A friend, who happened to be a 'mutura' (African/offal/blood sausage) and soup vendor at Ngara market, was urinating when he saw the askaris. Urinating in the open is against the Nairobi city bylaws and his friend, therefore, decided to take to his heels to avoid arrest. Unfortunately, he ran straight in the direction of waiting policemen who promptly shot him dead. According to James, the police 'planted' a fake gun on his friend and accused him of being a hardcore criminal. He described the fake gun as a 'bonoko'. Kenyan DJ Styles took the interview and with some creative addition of beats and mixing created the song now popularly known as 'Bonoko'. The song went viral on YouTube in Kenya.

Emerging Uses of the Word

The 'sheng' (Swahili slang) word 'Bonoko' originally referred to a fake gun. However, it is now used loosely to refer to anything fake. For example, someone may say, 'wewe ni bonoko' which would translate to 'you are a fake person'.

Fortunes of the Originator

In 2011, Nairobi's Ghetto Radio offered Francis a radio presenter position. He underwent training, was formally employed and goes by the stage name 'Bonoko'.

Videos

Bonoko Song



Bonoko Remix Song

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to make/cook ugali

Ugali is a staple food of Kenya. It is prepared from maize (corn) flour and is commonly eaten with traditional vegetables such as sukuma wiki (kales), terere (amaranth), spinach or managu (African nightshade). It is known by different names amongst the various communities of Kenya such as Kuon among the Dholuo, Ngima among the Kikuyu, Sima among coastal communities and Obusuma among some Luhya sub-tribes. 

Recipe


  1. Maize/Corn flour
  2. Water
  3. Wooden cooking stick

Instructions

  1. Heat the water to boiling point in a saucepan.
  2. Once the water is boiling, pour in the maize flour slowly while stirring with a wooden cooking stick. Your cue to stop adding flour is as soon as you achieve a thick sticky mix.
  3. Reduce the heat to simmer and mix thoroughly until a steady sticky consistency.
  4. Cover the saucepan and allow to simmer for five minutes. 
  5. Turn the contents again and shape into a round 'hill like' shape. Allow five more minutes with the saucepan open to eliminate excess water.
  6. To check if the ugali is ready, do it the traditional way that Kenyans do it. Take a small piece with your hand and roll it into a ball. Throw it hard against the kitchen wall, if it sticks it to the wall then you need to cook for a few more minutes; if it falls off the wall, then your ugali is ready!
  7. Wet the wooden stick with cold water from the tap and shape the ugali again before removing from the saucepan. Wetting the stick prevents it from sticking to the cooked ugali.
  8. Take a clean kitchen cloth and hold it one hand. Using your other hand, turn the saucepan upside down so that the ugali drops off and onto the kitchen cloth.
  9. Quickly turn it around to prevent injury and place the mound on a plate. 
  10. Serve with cooked green vegetables, meat or chicken.

Tips and Warnings


  • Too much water and you end with porridge, too little and your ugali ends up too hard; you need to achieve the perfect balance. This is usually a process of trial and error; after going at it a few times you will get it right.
  • You must cook the ugali for at least ten minutes otherwise the flour will be undercooked. Cooking it slightly longer actually improves the taste.
  • You may add salt, milk, butter/margarine or even oil to the boiling water depending on your preferences

Friday, July 26, 2013

How to apply for a China/Chinese Visa in Kenya

Hundreds of Kenyan traders are now traveling to China to purchase goods and look for markets. Kenyans traveling to China must have a valid visa. The application can be made at the Chinese Embassy to Kenya located on Woodlands road, Nairobi. Their telephone number is +254-717 070214.


Requirements

  1. Before applying for the visa, you need the following:
    • Valid Kenyan passport (issued after 2008 since pre-2008 are not accepted in Far East countries).
    • One color photo 48mm x33mm dimensions. No head covering.
    • Evidence of hotel and air ticket booking.
    • Last three months bank statements.
  2. If you need a business visa, you should also have the following additional items:
    • A letter of invitation issued by a Chinese Agency.
    • A letter of invitation from Chinese local governments, companies, corporations and institutions in lieu of the above. The letter of invitation must contain your personal information (name, age, gender, DOB), information regarding your visit to China (purpose, arrival & departure dates etc) and information regarding the invitee.

Instructions


  1. Visit the Chinese Embassy to Kenya on Woodlands, Road, Nairobi. See the map.
  2. Request a visa application form and fill it in truthfully.
  3. Affix the color photo on the application form.
  4. Submit the application form together with your passport to the visa officer.
  5. As soon as your application is accepted, you will be informed and given a pickup form specifying the visa fee. The current visa fees are as follows:
    • Single Entry 3-month validity Kes.4,000
    • Double Entry 6-month validity Kes.6,000
    • Mult-Entry  6-month validity Kes.8,000
    • Mult-Entry 12-month validity Kes.12,000
  6. Make payment of the visa fee at any of the following three branches of Commercial Bank of Africa:
    • Mara & Ragati Roads, Upper Hill
    • Wabera & Standard Streets, City Center
    • International House, Mama Ngina Street
  7. When making payment to the bank teller, present the pickup form. The teller will stamp the deposit slip duplicate and present it to you.
  8. You will present the deposit slip duplicate and the pickup form to the consular section at the embassy when collecting your visa.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you submit your Chinese visa application at least two weeks before your scheduled date of travel in case of delays.
  • Do not make false statements on the application form and do not submit fake documents.

Resources

Chinese Embassy to Kenya

Suggested Reading
How to apply for a Kenyan Passport

Kenyan Passport fee charges




How to import from China and Dubai through Eastleigh

Many Kenyan traders have over the years evaded paying import duty tax by importing goods from China and Dubai via logistics cartels based in Eastleigh. Be warned that such activity is illegal and this article in no way condones this vice. Tax evasion in Kenya is a serious offence with dire implications.

How it is Done


  1. Traders travel to Dubai or China and purchase goods. Prior to purchasing goods, they seek the services of a Somali clearing and forwarding agent. They then make inquiries on how they can export the goods back to Kenya without going through customs. Most Somali clearing and forwarding agents in Dubai and China have this information at hand and the 'customer' is usually directed to the right person to speak to if the agent is unable to make such arrangements personally. 
  2. After purchasing the goods, they make a call to the 'point man' who arrives to collect the goods. The customer is given a reference/code number which they will use to collect the goods in Eastleigh. Payment can done upon collection in Eastleigh or upon placing the order depending on the agreement. Freight charges are normally on a per kilo basis ranging from KES 280 to KES 350 per kilo. Most cargo is sent to Eldoret Airport via charter flights before being transported to Nairobi on road. Prior to Kenya's invasion of Somalia, Kismayo port was also a point of entry for such goods which would then be transported to Eastleigh by road.
  3. The customer travels back to Nairobi and awaits a phone call. Within a few days, they receive a phone call instructing them that their cargo has arrived and how they collect it. The customer travels to Eastleigh and collects the goods without paying any duties to Kenya Revenue Authority.
  4. In some cases, customers do not even need to travel to Dubai or China, they simply order goods online or use brokers based in Eastleigh.

Warning

  • The Kenya Revenue authority is aware of this illegal trade and is working on apprehending the individuals involved.
Suggested Reading

How to send goods to Kenya from UK.

Resources



How to Get a Man to Sleep with you without Seeming Desperate

The social landscape in Kenya today has evolved. In many urban centers, sexual assertiveness on the part of women is no longer frowned upon. Women are increasingly going after the mates that they want, something that was unheard of a few decades ago. However, many women still fear that asking a man out on a date or even asking him to hop into bed with them may make them come off as being desperate. 


Instructions

  1. The first rule before you decide to ask a man to get intimate with you is to be sure that he feels the same way about you. The last thing you want is to hit on a guy only to discover that he has never thought of you in that way. You can tell that a guy is into you based on your history with him, are you close friends, do you catch him giving you the look, does he call you often, does he enjoy spending time with you, does he compliment you on your dressing, hair style and so forth. If a man exhibits all these qualities, then he is most likely into you but he is just too scared to make a move. 
  2. Once you have established that he is feels the same way about you as you do, invite him to your place or if that is not possible, ask him to meet you at a social place after work. Make it sound like you want to discuss something important. Take note that he may decline if he is broke - men will occasionally decline to meet you at a pub or restaurant simply because they can't afford it. To get around this, you can offer to buy dinner or drinks though this may not work with all men. A proud man may still decline your offer so you may have to wait it out until his wallet is in better shape (e.g. end month when he has just received his salary). 
  3. If possible get him to have a couple of drinks but not too much. A good rule of thumb is not more than four beers or 3 double shots of spirit/whisky. If you are both teetotalers, skip this step.
  4. Dive right in! Once you have him tipsy, tell him exactly how you feel and what you want without batting an eye lid. Be very clear and specific that you are not taking anything less than a romp in the sack that evening. Unless he is gay or twisted in some weird sort of way, that will turn him on like crazy even though he may not show it. After you tell him, give him a passionate smooch right on the lips. If he kisses back, kaching! you're in business!
  5. I'm sure I don't need to spell out what you need to do next because there are many possibilities...you can go to his place, your place or rent a room depending on what's convenient at the time.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are a hot chick (if you don't know if you are, then you aren't ...all hot chicks know they are hot), you can be sure most of your male friends have fantasized about you so getting any of them in the sack should be quite easy ...and as a hot chick you have the added bonus of never seeming desperate.
  • Don't be daft, make sure you have a pack of condoms in your bag or ask him to buy some.
  • Don't expect him to love you after the fact. To men, love and sex are two very different things.
  • Don't spike a man's drink, that's desperation at its best!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Buy Land in Kenya

Buying land in Kenya is not for the faint-hearted. The process can be long winded and there are many issues to consider. Most of all, you need to protect yourself from the horde of fraudsters keen on seeing you part with your hard earned money.

Land in Kenya is either Freehold and Leasehold. Non-citizens can only buy leasehold land. All leases for leasehold land have a maximum 99-year lease under the 2010 Constitution of Kenya.





Steps to buy land in Kenya

  1. Step one - Identify the piece of land that you would like to purchase. You can enlist the services of a real estate agent to help you in this regard. You will also need a land surveyor to verify size among other technical issues. 
  2. Step two - Perform a land search. This will verify ownership, size and if there are any legal encumbrances such as court orders, prohibitions, cautions and the like. Find out how to perform a land search online on eCitizen. 
  3. Step three - Hire a lawyer. Many people think they can bypass a lawyer so as to save money but this is usually a big risk and you could end up losing more than the legal fee. The lawyer will conduct a search at the Lands office.
  4. Step four - once your lawyer ascertains the land details, he will proceed and prepare a sale agreement. The agreement will specify the parties and other purchase terms. You and the seller will sign the agreement in the presence of witnesses who will also append their signatures on the agreement. In most cases, you will be required to pay 10% of the sale price upon signing the agreement and the balance within 90 days. The sale agreement has to be stamped to give it legal effect; the stamp fee is KES 200 for the original agreement and KES 20 for every copy.
  5. Step five - the seller obtains consent to transfer the land from the relevant Lands office. 
  6. Step six - when ready to transfer the land, an application for valuation needs to be made so that the Government valuer may visit the land and prepare a valuation report. This is done for the purposes of payment of stamp duty which is based on the value of the land.
  7. Step seven  - pay the stamp duty. This is the responsibility of the buyer. The current rate of stamp duty is 2% of the value in accordance with the valuation report. The stamp duty is paid to the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes by depositing the same at their bank account in National Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank or any other appointed bank. Following payment, lodge the documents at the Lands Office in your County for stamping and embossing.
  8. Step eight - the seller should then present the following documents to the Lands office for registration 
    • Title deed
    • Land rent
    • Rates clearance certificate (for leasehold land)
    • Valuation report
    • Consent to transfer
    • Stamp duty declaration
    • Pay-in-slip

The lands office will then register the title in the name of the buyer.

Tips & Warnings

  • It is the seller's responsibility to ensure all land rates have been paid before the transfer of title is effected.
  • Avoid purchasing land that does not have an issued title e.g. where the seller only has an allotment letter. The potential for fraud is high in such cases.
  • Building permission may be required from the local authority. Check with the County lands office.
  • The land search fee is KES 500.

Resources

How to be admitted to a UK University

Due to a rich history and culture of outstanding achievement from individuals that have gone through the UK education system, there has been a consistently high demand for UK academic credentials. Studying in the UK does seem to offer greater career prospects. More often than not, UK University admission criteria can be quite stringent. 


Basic Requirements

  1. Course providers set requirements as a guide to the kind of grades and qualifications that you need. 
  2. Depending on the course you intend to study, you may asked to pass an admissions test, for example;
    • Law-  Cambridge Law Test, LNAT
    • Mathematics - MAT, STEP
    • Medical courses - BMAT, GAMSAT, HPAT, UKCAT
    • Thinking Skills Assessment - TSA Cambridge, TSA Oxford, TSA UCL
    • University of Cambridge - BMAT, MML, STEP, TSA Cambridge, Cambridge Law Test
    • University of Oxford - BMAT, CAT, ELAT, HAT, LNAT, MAT, MLAT, PAT, TSA Oxford 
  3. As an international undergraduate student, you will need to take a foreign language test usually IELTS, TOEFL or PTE Academic. Postgraduate students may be exempted if their qualifications demonstrate a mastery of English.

Instructions

  1. To apply to join a UK university for undergraduate study, begin at the UCAS website. 
  2. Search for courses on the site and apply. UCAS (Universities & Colleges Admissions Service) is a charitable organisation responsible for managing applications to almost all UK Universities. They can also assist with postgraduate applications.  

Tips and Warnings

  • You can track your application using the UCAS website.
  • International students must also pass a UK Border Agency English test in order to receive a student visa.
  • You must be able to demonstrate to the UK Border Agency that you or your sponsor can afford to pay your tuition and accommodation fees.
  • In some cases, the UK Border Agency may deny you a visa if they suspect your intention is to emigrate to the UK or in cases where they feel your degree choice is available at a similar quality level locally.
Suggested Reading

Resources





How to raise money fast in Kenya

Every normal human being occasionally finds themselves needing to raise quick cash. The need may be serious such as is the case with a medical emergency or it may be something as frivolous as wanting to throw a bash. Whatever the situation, these practical tips will help you raise money fast in Kenya.

Instructions

Salary advance

This works well for salaried employees. A salary advance is one of the easiest ways to raise money fast. Unless your employer has a policy that discourages salary advances, this should be your first option when you need to raise money fast.

Get a Loan

Salaried and non-salaried individuals can also look into the option of getting a loan. There are five different sources of loans for most Kenyans:
  1. Friends & family - borrow from friends and family. This is usually fast, cheap and hassle free especially if you are in good standing with the targeted friends and/or family.
  2. Sacco - if you belong to a Sacco, you can apply for an emergency loan (if provided by the Sacco). Many Saccos provide emergency loans for issues such as medical emergencies and school fees. 
  3. Unsecured bank loan - salaried individuals can apply for unsecured loans at their bank. Kenyan banks usually process such loans within a week provided your account is in good standing and you provide all documentation requested.
  4. Secured bank loan - Non salaried individuals have the option of applying for a bank loan secured by household goods. Take note that other types of security e.g. vehicle log book, land title, shares etc. would allow you to borrow more funds but the processing period would be much longer.
  5. Borrow from a 'shylock' - in Kenyan colloquial terminology, a 'shylock' is an individual (and increasingly companies) in the business of lending money at high interest rates for repayment over a short period of time usually a month but in some cases up to six months. The security is usually a post dated cheque and a guarantor(s). This is one of the fastest loans you can get in Kenya.
Fundraising Campaign
There are two ways to fund raise:
  1. Harambee - a traditional harambee, if well organized, can raise a large amount of cash within a few weeks
  2. Fundraising for business or worthy cause - if you intend to raise money fast over a few short weeks, you could also look into the possibility of using global crowd sourcing websites such as Indiegogo and Rocket Hub. Kickstarter is also good though it is not yet open to a global audience. Crowd sourcing websites leverage on the power of 'haba na haba hujaza kibaba'. In essence, you create a campaign and promote it on social media and people from all over the world fund with whatever they can afford. Many people globally have raised loads of cash in a few short weeks to fund a wide range of issues running the gamut from cancer research to paying college fees. It is definitely worth a shot. 

Tips and Warnings

Be careful when you borrow money from a 'shylock'. Some charge interest rates as high as 40% a month. Above all, never give a 'shylock' your vehicle log book or other physical security unless it is a matter of life and death. Hundreds of Kenyans have harrowing tales regarding their assets being sold even after paying as much as four times the principal amount. 

Resources



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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to Apply for a Kenyan passport

To be eligible to apply for a Kenyan passport, you must first satisfy the requirements of the Kenyan constitution. The main pre-requisite is to be a Kenyan citizen. Visit this link to replace a lost, mutilated or expired Kenyan passport. 


 Instructions

  1. Visit any of the following immigration offices in Kenya:
    • Nairobi      -        Department of Immigration Headquarters, Nyayo House, Ground floor, North Wing
    • Mombasa   -        Coast Regional Office , Uhuru na Kazi Building,
    • Kisumu       -        Western Regional Office , New Provincial Headquarters
    • Eldoret        -        North Rift Regional Office, Public Works building
    • Garissa        -        North eastern Regional
    • Nakuru      -        Central Rift Regional Office, Rift Valley Provincial Headquarters
    • Embu         -        Central Regional Office, Provincial Headquarters
  2. Any Kenyan mission abroad.
  3. Fill in a form known as Form 19 which the immigration officers will hand to you.
  4. You should have your Birth, Adoption or Registration (original and photocopy) Certificate and in some instances your parent(s) birth certificate maybe required. You must also have your new generation identity card with you (original and a photocopy).
  5. Attach 3 colored Passport size photographs of yourself with one of photos duly certified as true likeness of yourself by your recommender. This means that you must also have a recommender. A recommender, according to the law has to be a citizen of Kenya such as Minister of religion, a Minister or Legal Practitioner, an established Civil Servant or Bank Official who knows you personally.
  6. Attach a certified copy of the recommender’s National Identity Card
  7. Your application will be reviewed and provided your application is in order, you will be advised to pay the passport application fee of:
    • KES 4,500 for a 32 page passport
    • KES 6,000 for a 48 page passport.
  8. Your passport will be ready in a maximum of 30 days, in some cases in as little as 5 days provide all documentation is in order.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are under 18 years old, you need a consent letter from one of your parents and a copy of their national identity card.
  • Do not use a broker or third party, you must present yourself in person to the immigration officers.
  • A copy of your national identity card is mandatory with every application.
  • It is possible to track your passport application online at the Kenya Department of Immigration Website. You can now also apply for a Kenyan passport online. 

Resources

Monday, July 15, 2013

How to invest in Kenya

It makes sense to invest in Kenya. Over the last few years, Kenya has been undergoing several regulatory reforms aimed at lowering the cost of doing business and simplifying licensing regimes. Kenya has also signed and ratified several international investment promotion/protection agreements. In addition, Kenya is strategically located and has fairly well developed infrastructure. A fully liberalized economy and a highly skilled work force coupled with a vibrant private sector make it an ideal overseas investment opportunity for foreigners.


Instructions to Invest in Kenya

  1. The first step to investing in Kenya is carrying out due diligence on the investment opportunities available. There are numerous resources both online and offline. See the resource section below. The main areas of opportunity are:
    • Infrastructure
    • Energy
    • Natural Resources
    • Information and Communications
    • Banking and Finance
    • Tourism 
    • Agriculture  
  2. Fill in an investment application from the Kenya Investment Authority
  3. Seek competent legal advice in Kenya.
  4. Register your business in Kenya. The following forms of business organizations are recognized under Kenyan law.
    • Sole proprietorship's
    • Partnerships
    • Companies
  5. Submit your application, Articles & Memorandum of association  as well as your Certificate of Incorporation to the Kenya Investment Authority. The Authority reviews the application and issues an investment licence.


Tips & Warnings

  • The Corporate tax rate in Kenya is currently 30% for resident companies. Export Processing Zones Enterprises do not pay tax for the first ten years.Non-resident companies operating as a branch under a Certificate of Compliance pay a tax rate of 37.5%. Newly listed companies can pay as little as 20% following the year of listing.
  • Expatriate employees are allowed in cases where the skilled labor needed is unavailable in the Kenyan labor market. Expatriates must have valid entry and work permits issued by the Immigration Department.
  • Foreign investors cannot acquire land classified as 'Agricultural' unless through share ownership in a registered that is majority owned by Kenyans. Only land classified as 'commercial' may be acquired by foreign investors. Find out how to buy land in Kenya.

Resources

How to repay M-Shwari loan

M-Shwari is a paperless Kenyan banking product available to Safaricom mobile phone subscribers. Users can deposit and borrow money using their mobile phones. The service is run by Commercial Bank of Africa in conjunction with Safaricom Ltd. It has recently come to the attention of most subscribers that paying a loan is not as straight forward as it should be. In an ordinary bank account, one would deposit the funds into the account and the bank would then deduct what is owed to them. However, M-Shwari does not operate in this traditional manner.

Instructions

In order to pay for your M-Shwari loan, the funds must be in your M-Pesa account. DO NOT deposit the funds into M-Shwari if your intention is to pay the loan. Load money to your M-Pesa account then in M-Pesa menu, select 'M-Shwari' and navigate to 'Pay Loan'. Enter the loan amount you with to repay and send. You will receive a confirmation message.

Tips & Warnings

  1. To find out how much you can borrow, dial  *234*6#.
  2. The minimum amount you can borrow is KES 100 and the maximum is KES 20, 000.
  3. Each loan attracts a one-time levy of 7.5%
  4. You must have been an M-Pesa subscriber for six months and your voice, data services must have been active over that period.
  5. Each loan is repayable within 30 days. Failure to repay within this time attracts a roll-over fee.
  6. The product is a banking product and CBA can report you to Credit Rating Agencies in the event of default. You must repay the loan within 60 days.
  7. See the image below on how to activate M-Shwari

Resources

Safaricom 




How to check Okoa Jahazi balance

Okoa Jahazi is a service provided by Kenya's leading mobile phone provider, Safaricom. It allows PrePaid subscribers to borrow airtime and pay later. Airtime can be borrowed in units of KES 10, 20, 50 and 100. An advance fee of 10% is levied on each request. Subscribers access the service by dialing *131#  from their handsets and then follow the prompts.

Instructions


To check your Okoa Jahazi balance, dial *144*4# from your mobile phone.
You will get a text message with details of your airtime balance.

Tips & Warnings

  1. Your balance must be below KES 2 for you to borrow.
  2. You can use the airtime to call and sms other networks as well as browse the Internet.
  3. The borrowed airtime is deducted the next time you top-up
  4. The amount advanced must be equivalent to the amount of airtime used over the last seven days
  5. Okoa Jahazi is not transferable via the popular Sambaza service.
  6. You must repay any borrowed airtime within 3 days (72 hours) otherwise you will be locked out of the Okoa Jahazi service for 14 days.
  7. You cannot borrow when you have an outstanding balance.
  8. The service is not available to PostPaid subscribers.

Resources

Friday, July 12, 2013

How to Conceive a Baby Boy

In Kenya, there are all sorts of superstitions, myths, misconceptions and outright false statements about conceiving a baby boy. Among some of the craziest advice, I have heard people dish out in Kenya is telling women to go round a tree seven times or to consume certain types of foods. I have also heard bar room jokes where men are advised not to indulge in alcohol if they want to conceive a boy.

Instructions

There is currently no medical evidence to suggest there is any way to influence the sex of the unborn child. At best, you can go for an ultrasound during the initial weeks of the pregnancy and the doctor can disclose the sex of the baby. This would help you prepare especially with regard to purchasing items of baby clothing. Deciding your baby's sex is just an old wive's tale.

However, if you have money to burn, fertility specialists can now identify the sex of embryos. Using the in-vitro fertilization technique, specialists can fertilize a woman's egg using her husband's sperm in a test tube. The resulting embryos can be separated by sex and implanted in the woman's womb. This is the surest way to conceive a baby boy or girl for that matter. In Kenya, many medical clinics are now offering in vitro fertilization, they include;

  • Nairobi IVF Center - Tel LandMark Plaza, Mezzanine floor, Argwings Kordhek Road, Nairobi, Tel/Fax +254 20 2731978/82
  • LifeBridge Baby Center - Mwai Drive, Lower Kabete, Nairobi 1700300100

Tips & Warnings


  • It is unfortunate that in the 21st century, there are still some communities around the world that continue to have a preference for male children. Men should not castigate their partners for failing to give them baby boys. The man's sperm actually contains the chromosome that is crucial to the conception of a baby boy.

Resources

Wikipedia Sex Selection

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5 Facts about Zika virus