A former moderator contracted by Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, claiming poor working conditions for contracted content moderators. The claim violates the Kenyan constitution.
Also, the petition filed against Meta’s local outsourcing company Sama, alleges that workers moderating Facebook posts in Kenya have been subjected to unbearable working conditions. The said conditions include union-busting, irregular pay, violations of workers’ privacy and dignity, and inadequate mental health support.
The group through one representative filed a lawsuit seeking financial compensation. Also, an order that outsourced moderators have the same health care and pay scale as Meta employees. The group equally wants unionization rights to be protected, and an independent human rights audit of the office.
“We take our responsibility to the people who review content for Meta seriously and require our partners to provide industry-leading pay, benefits and support. We also encourage content reviewers to raise issues when they become aware of them and regularly conduct independent audits to ensure our partners are meeting the high standards we expect.” said A Meta spokesperson.
Sama refused to issue comments before seeing the lawsuit happens. However, it had previously rejected claims that the recruitment process was opaque, that its employees were unfairly paid, or that its mental health benefits were inadequate.
“This could have ripple effects. Facebook is going to have to reveal a lot about how they run their moderation operation,” said Odanga Madung, a fellow at the Mozilla Foundation.
Facebook content moderation
Thousands of moderators review social media posts globally. This is a way that regulates posts that could depict violence, nudity, racism, or other offensive content.
Many work for third-party contractors rather than tech companies.
Initially, Meta had already faced scrutiny over the working conditions of its content moderators.
Last year, a California judge approved an $85 million settlement between Facebook and more than 10,000 content moderators.
The workers had accused the company of failing to protect them from psychological injuries resulting from their exposure to graphic and violent imagery.
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However, Meta dismissed the claims, stating it contracted a third party vendor to employ the moderators. Nevertheless, it pledged to offer safer working environments.
The Kenyan lawsuit was filed on behalf of Daniel Motaung from South Africa, recruited in 2019 to work for Sama in Nairobi.
Disturbing video contents
Motaung claims he was not given details about the nature of the work reviewing Facebook posts before his arrival.
The first video Motaung moderated was a beheading. The disturbing content piled up, but Motaung says his pay and mental health support were insufficient.
“I have been diagnosed with severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),” Motaung told said. “I am living …a horror movie.”
According to Motaung’s lawyers, Meta and Sama created a dangerous and degrading working environment. The workers were not given the same protections as employees in other countries.
“If in Dublin, people can’t look at harmful content for two hours, that should be the rule everywhere,” Motaung’s lawyer Mercy Mutemi said. “If they need to have a psychologist on call that should apply everywhere.”
After a short stay at Sama, Motaung tried to mobilise union formation, so as to advocate for the company’s roughly 200 workers in Nairobi. However, he was soon fired.
Motaung and his lawyers believe he was fired due to unionization attempt.
An investigation published by Time magazine in February was the first to reveal Motaung’s experience.
The company has not yet commented on Motaung’s claims.
Farmers on the verge of East Cost fever get reprieve
A chance discovery in Kenya could give relief to millions of farmers. Who have been losing their cattle to East Coast fever.
Researchers at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya and Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh.
In Scotland have identified a genetic marker. That predicts whether an individual cow is likely to survive infection with East Coast fever.
In its findings published last week in PLOS Genetics, the team says the allele (the variant of a given gene).
They identified is not necessarily the specific gene that limits the growth. Of the animal’s cells when they are infected by the parasite. Protecting them from the illness.
“For breeding, it doesn’t actually matter,” says Roslin’s David Wragg. “You just need a way of saying, ‘This animal is a good one to breed from’. Because its offspring are likely to survive the disease.”
“Tests showed the marker does this very well. With only one out of 20 animals with two copies of the allele succumbing to the disease.”
The scientists said further research to pin down the exact gene(s) responsible. And their mechanism of action will enable scientists to edit the DNA. Of cattle to make them disease tolerant.
This new information presents an opportunity. To craft breeding programmes that could develop cattle strains. With resilience against the disease.
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Even though a vaccine for East Coast fever exists. And usually gives cattle lifelong immunity, making it is a “complex affair”.
That involves making a kind of ‘tick smoothie’. By crushing up hundreds of thousands of infected ticks in an industrial blender.
Which is time-consuming, is expensive costing up to 20 times more than other common livestock vaccines and can cause disease if mishandled.
Manufacturing and distribution issues
“There are a lot of manufacturing and distribution issues. Associated with this vaccine. It is a difficult vaccine to produce.
It is difficult and expensive to store and to deliver. And it must be administered by a skilled person,” Vish Nene, co-leader of the ILRI Animal and Human Health Programme said.
The other option is regularly dipping animals in acaricides. Pesticides that kill ticks. But this is also labor-intensive, polluting.
To control this disease
“We are struggling to control this disease,” says Phil Toye, principal scientist in animal health at ILRI.
“If the cattle are susceptible, without treatment, you can lose 100 percent of your herd in two or three weeks.”
Read more at https://thebigissue.co.ke
President Kenyatta Set To Open New Chancery In Switzerland
President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to open a new chancery in the Swiss Capital of Bern. To enhance trade tries between Kenya and Switzerland.
Speaking ahead of President Kenyatta’s official visit to Switzerland, Ambassador Andrew Kihurani said.
The opening of the new chancery will invigorate the growing bilateral trade. Which has been on the upward trend with Kenya’s exports standing at Kshs 4.8 billion.
Imports from Switzerland
While imports from Switzerland standing at Kshs 8 billion annually. “Another primary issue we engage in is promotion of trade.
You may be aware that there’s significant bilateral trade between the two countries. Kenya is Switzerland’s 16th biggest trading partner in Africa,” Amb. Kihurani said.
The Kenyan Ambassador pointed out that, despite the balance of trade being tilted in favor of Switzerland, Kenya has continued to increase its export of coffee, tea and horticultural produce.
Bilateral trade in 2021
He added that bilateral trade in 2021 was extensive. With Kenya being Switzerland’s major source of cut flowers.
Imports from Switzerland to Kenya include herbicides, fungicides, chemicals, paints, machinery and pharmaceuticals.
“So our mandate is to be able to see how to enhance that trade. Between the two countries. Not only in terms of the volume but also in terms of the breadth.
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Other different items
To see what other different items we can be able to trade between the two countries,” he added.
Ambassador Kihurani further said that the two nations have had significant cooperation in the tourism sector.
Noting that Kenya used to receive over 9,000 tourists annually from Switzerland prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ongoing Covid19 vaccination process
He expressed hope that the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination process will revive the tourism sector with Kenya receiving an increasing number of tourists from Switzerland.
“Switzerland has done about 70% of vaccination of its population. And of course in Kenya we are continuing to increase the level of vaccinations.
We expect the level of tourism will start growing once again. And it is the responsibility of this embassy to enhance growth of that tourism exchange,” said Amb. Kihurani.
Kenya envoy to Switzerland
The Kenyan envoy to Switzerland also noted that President Kenyatta will visit Geneva. He is scheduled to address the World Health Assembly on May 22.
He said the address by the President at the World Health Assembly, will outline how Kenya has been at the forefront in championing health issues globally.
“The meeting in Geneva is the World Health Assembly which takes place every year. His Excellency the President shall address the meeting on this particular occasion.
First time to address the assembly
“This will be his first time to address the Assembly. This is important in terms of showing the support that Kenya has.
For issues which will be discussed with Assembly on the issue of health,” he said. The 75th World Health Assembly will kick off. With a high-level segment on May 22.
With speeches from the elected Health Assembly President, Heads of State, special guests and an address by the WHO Director-General.
As well as presentation of the Director-General’s Health Awards. The theme of this year’s World Health Assembly is “Health for Peace, Peace for Health”.
Read more at https://thebigissue.co.ke
President Kenyatta Calls For Tangible Solutions To Africa’s Urbanization
President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for tangible, practical and sustainable solutions. To the challenges facing Africa’s urban areas.
Speaking on 17th May 2022 in the lakeside city of Kisumu. When he officially opened the 9th Edition of Africities summit.
President Kenyatta noted that the summit provides an effective forum for the continent to take stock. Reflect and plan on the best ways of addressing the challenges of urbanization.
This years Africities Summit
This year’s Africities summit held under the theme “The role of intermediary cities of Africa. In the implementation of the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations. And the African Union Agenda 2063” is the first to be hosted in an intermediary city.
“This Year’s theme is most apt, as the summit comes at a critical time when. Africa’s rapid urbanization and the challenges of future cities. Are increasingly coming into sharp focus; more so after the shocks of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the President said.
At the same time, President Kenyatta emphasized the need to scale up the role of intermediary cities. As the next frontiers of African urbanization and development.
“I say so because in Africa, an unprecedented rate of urbanization has propelled intermediary cities to stand at approximately 1,086.
These intermediary cities are home to approximately 174 million people. Representing about 36 percent of the continent’s total urban population. And contributing about 40 percent of the continent’s GDP,” President Kenyatta said.
Accordingly, President Kenyatta said the Africities summit has the task of providing the continent. With a comprehensive and achievable roadmap.
On how intermediary cities can contribute more towards the implementation of the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations. And the African Union Agenda 2063.
The President informed the summit that in Kenya. The National Government has over the last five years been implementing projects.
And programmes geared towards the improvement of the lives of Kenyans. Through the achievement of SDGs.
National Economic Blueprint
“This has been achieved under the auspices of our national Economic blueprint. The Kenya Vision 2030 and its Medium Term Plan – the Big Four Agenda.
The agenda espouses provision of a decent roof over many more heads. At affordable costs, affordable healthcare for all.
Value addition and increase in manufacturing and jobs. And ensuring food security for all Kenyans,” he said.
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He said the Government has also embarked on a slum upgrading programme. Spread across the country, notably in the capital city of Nairobi. And the intermediary cities of Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru.
“These concerted actions have been taken through. The Kenya Devolution Support Programme and the Urban Support Programme.
The Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme and the Kenya Informal Settlements Improvement Programme,” the President said.
Cities and Local Authorities
Noting that cities and local authorities around the world played a key role in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The President said they proved to be an indispensable “ring” in the governance chain and prevention of the pandemic.
Speaking at the panel discussion session of the Africities summit. Former Primer Minister Raila Odinga who is also the African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure Development.
Importance of Infrastructure
Underscored the importance of infrastructure in addressing the challenges of urban areas in Africa.
The former Prime Minister said, as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development.
He acts as the catalyst to ensure infrastructure projects identified by the AU are implemented. On a timely basis to accelerate the continent’s progress.
Defence Cabinet Secretary
Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. Who is also the acting CS for Devolution, Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o and his Kisii counterpart James Ongwae.
Who is also the deputy chairman of the Council of Governors. Spoke at the ongoing summit that has attracted delegates from over 110 countries.
Other speakers included United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) President Christine Mba Ndutume. UCLGA Secretary-General Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.
African Union Commission
African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, U.S Special Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed.
Who delivered their speeches virtually.