Posts tagged ‘RYP’

June 5, 2012

Senator Coons Visits Huruma, Mathare

US Senator Coons on the front row and behind him is  US Ambassador Gration both seated next to their spouses

When a United States Senator visits a community mainly in Africa it has to attract attention. This is a country where most young people would like to end if offered an opportunity. We all know how difficult it is to acquire a US Visa. On Wednesday 30th May 2012 was a very special day for Mathare residents as they played host to Senator Christopher Coons of Delware, United States of America. In Kenya we have memories of President Obama visits as a senator. Accompanying the Senator Coons was US Ambassador to Kenya to Ambassador Gration and both were with their wives. It was a special occasion since the residents had the opportunity to interact but at low level because of the tight security. As usual they were surrounded my mean looking guys. I had wanted to be taken a photo with Senator and Ambassador but it was impossible. The entourage was entertained by Jua Kali Drummers from Amref-Children in Need Project among others.

The main event was not even the short speeches but the peoples aspirations and the poured them out. It is not everyday that one has the opportunity to meet such persons as US Senator and Ambassadors. These are people with direct access to the most powerful president in the world.

So the community members shared their desire to see a peaceful election in Kenya. Peaceful election is vital to the youth and women in the slums. It is very difficult for a poor person to live in an insecure places and in an environment surrounded by corruption. A presenter requested to the US Senator and Ambassador to lobby funding to be channeled directly to grassroot groups  as opposed to big established NGOSs.

A representative from refugee community living in Mathare requested for more protection and security for those fleeing prosecution and getting it difficult to access assistance. What can US government do?

“Poverty amongst youthful population has greatly contributed to insecurity and vulnerability to youth being recruited to the Al Shabaab and Al Queida. Youth needs to be addressed urgently”- Youth representative shared. In Nairobi young people are now turning to Middle East countries as a source for employment a situation which needs to be keenly watched since nobody knows what happens and cultural influence this might have when they return from duty.

At the end of the tour, Senator Coons was presented with sandals made from Korogocho and requested to give them to the Obamas. I hope they will be warmly received.

When I was offered the opportunity to introduce the groups that were present to welcome US Senator and Ambassador, I reminded the delegation about my previous blog when Ambassador Gration was posted to Kenya. I wrote him a letter requesting him to visit not only Kibera but Mathare too. I hope this will not be his last visit to Mathare.- Simon

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August 10, 2011

PEOPLES INVOLVEMENT IN MAPPING

People’s involved in development is not something new in Tanzania, the first president of the nation once “If real development is to take place, the people have to be involved.” Working with community members today really reminded me of this wonderful quote. As walked with a group of community members to map one of the six sub wards and the biggest, I was first struck by how community members in our training went on explaining the what the exercise was all about and one community member responded, “Baada ya kumaliza kuchora ramani mturejeshee  sisi ili tuweze kuona ni jinsi gani jamii yetu inavyo kaa (When you finishing drawing the maps, bring them back to us so that we can see how our community look likes)”.

In an open society like that of Tanzania people have culture of being represented by elected people at the grass root and government has a good network of communicating with people. Therefore involving people and government agencies become gateway to success of starting community initiative. By the end of day, the government is the biggest investor in putting up infrastructure needed required for ICT development in most countries.

The use of ICT gadgets like Global Positioning System, modern video and user friendly digital cameras make it easier for people to want to use them in making and sharing information. By presenting what Ushahidi platform and its wonders, people in Tandale were eager to go out to map their community and tell their own stories.  A university Amuri has today designed his blog (nyarpress.blogspot.com) page to tell stories about his community back in DCR.

Having advanced ICT drives people from sharing and accessing information. Looking back at and the most publicize Kenya Open Data website which is more relevant to researchers than ordinary citizens. Open information data need to be open and not hidden in technicalities and boring presentation. A presentation like  this video demonstrates the inherent appeal of the idea shows us an appealing way of sharing information using technology can attract feelings and need for action.

Lesson Learnt: The key to people generating, sharing information in the community is dependent on how user friendly the technology be used and how it is presented.

Simon

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