Why Sisi ni Amani? Interview with Ramadhan Obiero, by Megan Turner

July 14, 2011

Ramadhan Obiero is a member of the Sisi ni Amani- Kenya Kasarani local chapter and has spent months working for SNAK out of a dedication to strengthening the foundation of peace in the community.  Part of this dedication stems from his experiences with Post Election Violence in 2007.  Following the announcement that President Kibaki had won the election, fighting broke out almost instantaneously.  Interestingly enough, Rama notes, the fighting was mainly in the informal settlements- not the wealthier parts of Kenya.  In his perspective, the wealthy were coming into the informal settlements and manipulating the impoverished youth.  To combat the misuse of information, Rama began speaking with the youth telling them that even if the votes were stolen, violence was not the answer to their issues.  He did this in his village for two weeks until his neighbors began to see him as a traitor.  To protect himself, he moved to another village continuing to tell the youth that violence was not the answer.   In addition to this, he took charge of organizing security for international and local media houses to gain footage of the violence.  Also, he volunteered the center for his organization, ACREF, as a distribution center for food and medical supplies through UNHCR.

Rama cites his curiosity regarding the various ways of mobilizing the youth as a mainstay for his involvement in Sisi ni Amani Kenya.  While several community organizations utilize sports, competition, and dramas as ways to spread information, SNA-K provides a new, inventive way to spread information.    In urgent, tense situations, the SMS system is beneficial because information can be spread at all hours of the day- not necessarily something that a soccer game or theater could fulfill.  It serves as an inexpensive and convenient way to disseminate information.  Rama attributes his dedication to SNA-K to the fact that once he starts something, he begins it.  He believes that once other organizations learn about SNA-K, other communities will want to start a local chapter.  It is his hope that Kasarani will serve as an example to others communities and will result in a community where the youth is united and unable to be manipulated for others gain.

An important facet of SNAK is the strong emphasis on the role of local leadership in the implementation of the SMS system.  Rama says that this is the best way to conduct development as he, and others on the leadership team, have been victims of large organization entering a community, utilizing him temporarily for photographs and information, and then leaving without warning the local community.  The way that SNA-K runs their project, however, ensures that they take ownership of the project.  In addition the project is more effective because they know the problems of the community, the root causes, and joint community ownership lessens tension in the community because the resources belong to everybody.  Also, the local leadership team understands how to phrase the messages so as to ensure maximum attention as well as comprehension.  Occasionally, an international organization may try to spread a message but its meaning will be lost in translation- not an issue when the local leaders speak the language and are from the community.

Sisi ni Amani Kenya Kasarani Chapter will continue long after the current director leaves- they have made it so that they can sustain themselves which ensures the longevity and sustainability of the project.


Narok Outreach Success (March 19, by Megan Turner)

July 14, 2011

The Narok Leadership Team has done an incredible job with community outreach: in just two and a half weeks, they’ve managed to get over 1,700 subscribers, mostly from very rural areas. The Sisi ni Amani member groups in these various areas have shown tremendous dedication, commitment, and organization in conducting extensive outreach. Jackson Saruni, a bright and motivated member of the Narok Leadership Team, has taken the lead in coordinating and organizing the various groups.

Each week, they have chosen a different location. They started with one week of outreach at Narok University College, led by a dedicated and self-motivated team of University students. In one week, the students managed to obtain 700 subscriptions out of a student body of approximately 2,000.

Next, the team focused on Mulot, a rural and primarily Kalenjin area, and brought in another more than 700 subscribers, with more still coming in. They focused on door-to-door and market day outreach, and also brought 31 pastors from different churches on board to conduct outreach on a Sunday.

The group is now focusing on Ololulunga, a primarily Masai rural neighbor to Mulot. The border between Ololulunga and Mulot is often a hot spot for violence, and by bringing groups from both locations together to conduct outreach on either side of and across the border, the group is targeting a large constituency. In addition, one enthusiastic member group, NABOK, has also been leading outreach in the rural areas of Sekanani and Aitong, with 300 subscribers within the first few days.

Next week outreach begins in Narok Town, with three different groups including University student volunteers from both Narok University and Kenya Methodist University in Nairobi participating.

Planning Outreach in Narok Town (March 18th, by Megan Turner)

July 14, 2011

Today, we had a meeting with our local chapter leaders in Narok to finalize plans for outreach in town the week of March 21st. While there, we were able to meet with the leader of Narok Youth Congress who displayed an interest in the new SMS system and indicated an interest in joining and assisting with outreach.  In terms of the upcoming outreach in town, the community groups are going to focus on markets that are still divided along PNU/ODM lines, pikipikis, churches, Total and Majengo Estates, and the Central Business District.  Local community groups such as HAPEP and Neighbors Peace Initiative will be involved with the various aspects of outreach.  Students from Kenyan Youth Methodist are planning on coming to Narok University on Friday to assist with outreach, and students on both ends are excited to meet and work to promote peace together.

Welcome to Sisi ni Amani Kenya’s new blog!

July 14, 2011

Welcome to the new Sisi ni Amani Kenya (SNA-K) blog! We are excited to keep you regularly  updated through this blog, and to start with, we have a bit of a backlog of blogs to catch you up on! The above blogs are marked with the dates on which they were written, to catch you up on SNA-K’s activities over the last few months while our website has been under construction. Enjoy!