Giving Tuesday – Uweza Foundation

December 1, 2015



Today is “Giving Tuesday.”, created as an alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a global day dedicated to celebrating generosity and giving back.  As readers of this blog are aware, I serve as on the Board of Directors of the Uweza Foundation; a charitable NGO that supports children and youth in Kibera, Kenya to attend school, participate in activities they love, realize their own capabilities, and know that they are important and deserving of support.

We recognize and appreciate how important your contributions are. Of course, before you give, it is also important to take the time to learn more about our work, why we do what we do, and how donated funds are spent.

There are so many organizations doing such important work all over the globe and I can’t thank you enough for believing in what we do and choosing to support us.  As always, please feel free to e-mail me with any ideas, suggestions, or questions about Uweza.

On behalf of the more than 1,000 children, youth, and women who have benefited from Uweza in 2015, thank you again.

Jerry Silverman, Board Member, Uweza Foundation.


My Review of “The Eastern Question” in New York Journal of Books (October 27, 2015)

October 27, 2015

Hi All —

Not posting much lately – busy with teaching a class at our local Armstrong State University, serving on the Board of the Uweza Foundation, and an occasional book review for the New York Journal of Books; the most recent of which is of “The Eastern Question” by Ted Danforth published today, October 27, 2015.

The book is an attempt to explain long-standing political tensions leading to 9/11. Mr. Danforth  sees a direct linear connection between “the Huns, Goths, Arabs, Mongols, Turks, Russians . . . and now Jihadi.” According to Mr. Danforth, each of those geopolitical actors have, in their turn, posed direct threats to the “West.” Indeed, “for the West, the East has always been a question: It’s where trouble comes from.” Hence “The Eastern Question.”

If you would like to read my entire review of that book, please click here “The Eastern Question”

Stop Trying to Save the World: Big Ideas are Destroying International Development

November 19, 2014
A close friend just yesterday forwarded an Article to me by Michael Hobbes critiquing international development efforts. I found it very thought provoking — and it is comforting to see someone put into readable words and logic much of what I myself have felt for decades now. Therefore, I think it should have wider circulation than it might otherwise receive; so here is the link and I encourage you to click and read it — Stop Trying to Save the World.
In the classes I teach here now at Armstrong State University, one of my primary messages is that all political interactions result in unintended consequences. That is so as the result of a multitude of human behaviors and environmental circumstances all interacting in ways that individually might be predictable but together are unfathomable. So one needs to pick an objective, put it out there, provide opportunities for those who share those objectives to apply them in their own idiosyncratic ways, and hope for the best — while guarding against the worst through continual assessment of “how we doing” (Mayor Koch’s measurable indicator of how “beneficiaries” thought things were working out).

I was quoted in the book “A Singular Woman” by Janny Scott to the effect that the old saw about giving/teaching a person to fish didn’t have it quite right — lots of people already knew how to fish and didn’t need us to teach them that. Instead, they don’t have access to places where they can “fish” for any number of socio-economic, political and locational reasons. Therefore, my view is that “development” — a poor term to begin with —  is more about opening access to opportunities rather than “training” or “capacity-building.” . I think Michael Hobbes’ perspective is consistent with that view.

4.10 Extremist groups in the Greater Middle East: Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb AQIM

November 10, 2014

Web Agora

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 10.02.01 PM

AQIM, which evolved from an Islamist insurgent faction in Algeria’s 1990s civil conflict, was formed when the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) “united” with Al Qaeda in 2006 and renamed itself in 2007. AQIM has conducted bombings against Algerian state targets, attacks on security forces in Algeria and the Sahel region of West Africa, and kidnappings, including Westerners, across the region. It has also reportedly provided support to other Africa-based violent extremist groups. U.S. officials have assessed AQIM to be focused on local and Western targets in North and West Africa, potentially including U.S. interests and personnel in the region. The group has leveraged instability in North and West Africa since 2011 to expand the scope of its operations. At the same time, its capacities may have been degraded by French military operations since 2013.
AQIM’s emir, Abdelmalik Droukdel, an Algerian national, is reportedly based in…

View original post 475 more words

Google’s Africa Connect Competition – Uweza Foundation selected as one of 10 Finalists

February 23, 2014

As many readers of this blog already know, I am a volunteer Board Member of the Uweza Foundation supporting community-based empowerment programs that build upon already-existing capabilities and resourcefulness of Kenyans, especially women and children, in the very large non-formal Kibera settlement near Nairobi, Kenya. In that capacity, I am very excited to announce that Uweza Foundation’s Student Art Gallery and its art director Steve Kyenze have been selected by Google as one of ten finalists in its continent-wide “Africa Connected” competition! Five winners will be chosen by Votes (without any financial costs) cast on Uweza’s dedicated webpage for the Africa Connected competition.

Cast your FREE VOTE before March 6th  HERE or HERE (if you click on the second of those links, you will need to click again on our webpage labeled “Steve, Kenya”).

Since this is a social media “vote” — NOT a fund-raising competition — no financial contributions are solicited on the “voting” webpage. All you need do to support Uweza’s chances to win one of five Africa Connected $25,000 prizes is to VOTE by clicking HERE.

You will also be able to see a short video that Google produced to showcase the Uweza Student Gallery’s work and how it helps support our young Uweza students to pay their school fees and continue their primary and secondary educations is also provided on the webpage. It is well worth a view.

So………….. to view the Video and/or TO VOTE, just click HERE.

You will need a Google Account to vote (that’s the catch I guess) so when you click the tab to vote you will be prompted to sign in with your google account username and password or to create a google account.

With Thanks in Advance, Jerry

Nelson Mandela — A Most Profound Loss

December 5, 2013

Having worked at the margins of the constitutional transition in South Africa from 1991-1994, I believe that in one way or another every person on Earth has benefitted directly or indirectly from the life and leadership of President Nelson Mandela today. His personal example, moral political leadership, and persistence  has not been paralleled by anyone during the last 40 years. He will be missed even by those who are not aware of their debt to him.

Protecting Indigenous People: Recent Recommendations for UN Conference 2014

June 21, 2013


Greetings from Honduras.

The “Alta Outcome Document,” described in a VOA headline as “Indigenous Peoples Stand Up to Exploitation” and more circumspectly by The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) — an official advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) — as “a set of recommendations,” was signed in Alta, Norway on June 12, 2013 with the expectation that it will serve as the basis for the upcoming UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in September 2014.

Two of the main themes of the Alta Declaration are directly related to approaches strongly advocated in this Blog site: (1) participatory involvement of persons directly impacted by “development” interventions and (2) the need to understand, acknowledge, and respect non-formal parallel governance systems to achieve more effective, efficient and properly targeted assistance to poor people.

For further information on the UN-sponsored World Conference for Indigenous People, September 22-23, 2014 (New York, NY), see — a very good source of information about “indigenous people” worldwide and, in particular, .

For UNPFII’s description of the “Alta Outcome Document,” see .

For VOA’s background coverage of the meeting in Alta see .

Best, Jerry

%d bloggers like this: