Part 3: Initial Messaging Feedback

April 4, 2013

 

Throughout the election week, SNA-K collected both solicited feedback (via our large network of partner organizations, outreach workers, and their observations as well as feedback they received from the community) and unsolicited feedback through our office line and SMS platform.

All feedback (quotes from the general public, observable impact, and feedback from partners) is tracked in relation to specific messages and actions taken. SNA-K keeps this information in a database, which will be fully analyzed in the months after the election process is completed.

In this report, we have included a snapshot of the types of solicited and unsolicited feedback SNA-K received from partners and subscribers during the March 4th elections week.

 

Dandora

During and following the elections, SNA-K sent messages and helped flag security concerns in Dandora to the NSC. Dandora was one of the areas that experienced the most tensions and incidents in the days leading up to and following the elections. On election day, youths supporting a particular political party overwhelmed police in Phase 4 to prevent voting. This was brought under control by backup security, and SNA-K sent a message.

Feedback from residents included comments that, the message “helped to calm down the situation” and “was sent at the right time,” because, according to partners “they think the whole world was watching Dandora. Everyone knew what was happening.”

 

Following a second message, our Dandora co-ordinator summarized feedback from eight outreach workers in the area. They said: “the message helped to maintain calm, reminds us of our community, makes us be united, shows someone thinks about Dandora, reminds us to be peaceful all the times, and thanks for reacting and responding to our concerns.”

 

Burnt Forest & Kariobangi North

Our area Co-ordinator for both Burnt Forest and Kariobangi North reported similar feedback from both places.

In one case, a community partner said: “The message had a real impact. People stopped and were looking at their phones. They were gathered in groups and talking about politics.”

He noted that the community was congratulating SNA-K members on their work and that the messages had a particularly big impact in Kariobangi North where they helped to break up negative groupings.

He noted that based on the feedback he received, people were saying that, “the IEBC has their own ways of doing this – and they may not trust them but getting a peace message from us will give them a reaffirmation of the situation.”

Many community members requested additional messages.

 

Korogocho

The highlights of the messaging feedback from Korogocho are as follows:

– “The messages make people think otherwise if they wanted to do something wrong.”

– “Updated people with the information which made people to be calm.”

– “The messages helped keep people calm.”

 

Eldoret

On March 11th, Eldoret partners wrote to SNA-K, saying:

“We are grateful for the good messages we have been receiving from SNA-K. Continue with the good job,” and “Viva SNAK for coming up with such a unique way of preaching peace through mobile technology. Keep up!”

SNA-K also received quotes from community members:

“We are grateful cos the messages are totally free of charge, not as we thought when being subscribed to the system.”

This quote shows the importance of building trust and credibility when it comes to SMS and technology-based services. Another person noted:

“I went to the interior and Kapsoya, and they are complaining not to be receiving messages. Kindly do some outreach there.”

This shows that a demand was created for SNA-K messaging in additional areas.

On March 6th, an SNA-K subscriber called the SNA-K office line, saying:

“Rumours circulated in the morning almost brought commotion, that the election kit had been spoilt, and people would vote the second time. People were worried. Rumours spread so fast, but when asked how they got info those spreading rumours disappeared and calm returned. We are getting messages from SNA-K and forwarding to all in our phonebooks. I am proud of what Sisi ni Amani is doing. We need to celebrate you after elections. There is a big effect, and the stickers are all over so we are asking people to not bring propaganda here because this is amani zone.”

This message shows the importance of messaging that is directed towards the spread of rumours and how people interact with information that they receive during emotionally tense periods.

 

Narok County

Narok County was a main focal point for SNA-K, with the area experiencing tensions throughout the voting process. In particular, reports from Ololulunga of high tension came in from polling day, and through the tallying process. In response to the pre-election messages sent with voter education information, the SNA-K office line received calls from Ololulunga subscribers, saying:

“We are generally peaceful and hope to vote peacefully tomorrow. Continue sending these messages. Ni poa sana.”

On March 5th, after chaos at a polling station over tallying, an SNA-K subscriber called Samuel, called and said:

“There has been calm in Ololulunga and I would like to thank you for informing the police who came to the area so quickly and for the message you sent that helped to maintain calm. I can now go home happy after my tallying center has finished its job peacefully Thank you Sisi Ni Amani.”

SNA-K’s Coordinator for Mulot, Sogoo, and Sagamian, Pastor Wilson Mosonik, received phone calls and thank you messages from the areas he was co-ordinating.

On March 5th, a man named Joel from Rongena, called Mosonik to thank him for the messages saying that the area has historically always had problems during elections, and that this time, the messages brought peace and have been a topic of discussion. Further, during the tallying where tensions were rising, he would show people the message about maintaining calm and he said it really helped. He wanted to say thank you.

This feedback shows the potential for messages on peoples’ phones to become a tool that they can use in their own peace efforts.

Community members from Sogoo and Sagamian told Mosonik that the messages were helpful and that they recognized that SNA-K has really worked hard and that they appreciated the messages. They said that the messages helped bring peace in the areas and that if anyone was about to bring up a dispute they would be shown the messages from SNA-K.

.Again this shows the need to further understand how messages can become a tool for the people who receive them to talk more openly and with more credibility about peace.

In Transmara, also in Narok County, a subscriber called the office line on March 9th to say:

“Thanks so much for your wonderful messages. At least you gave us something to look up to and helped us maintain peace…Kudos.” Further, we received a call on March 10th letting us know that the messages were very helpful and that the messages were being discussed during a morning mass at church that morning.

 

Sotik/Sotik-Borabu Border

SNA-K received a lot of feedback is Sotik, specifically around the Sotik/Borabu border.

On March 5th, a subscriber called Barimen living on the Sotik Borabu border told Pastor Mosonik, the area coordinator, that he was happy that the SMS came in right before and during the elections and “helped maintain calm even when the electronic registers were not working.” He thanked SNA-K for bringing peace to the border.

This and other feedback show that SMS, if used well, can be a tool to encourage patience in particular and help people wait out scenarios that could otherwise lead to rumors and tensions. On March 6th, a subscriber called Langat wrote to the office line to say:

“Its been a long stretch towards the finishing line of 2013 elections, On behalf of Sotik district I wish to thank SNA-K for tireless work of reminding the residents importance of maintaining peace.”

 

General

Finally, as a nice piece of general feedback, SNA-K also received a message to the SMS number 22762 which, translated to English, read:

“Thank you SNA-K educating me through your messages and for helping me maintain peace. Mine is to say that God bless you because your organization is like a church.”


 


PeaceTXT Outreach: Over 23,000 NEW subscribers in the first 3 weeks!

March 26, 2012

By Jacqueline Njeru, Sisi ni Amani Kenya Programs Manager

The new year has been truly great for SNA-K. We have a series of community sensitization programs as well as a project with PeaceTXT to upgrade our SMS system to an open-source and scaleable tool, and to increase our subscriber base!

We are all very excited about these new programs, and I wanted to take a moment to share with you my reflections on our expanded outreach in Nairobi. Our work to increase our subscriber base in Nairobi, will focus on Baba Dogo; Korogocho: Huruma: Kariobangi and Mathare. In Narok we will be doing outreach in Narok North, Narok South and Transmara.

The first ten days of outreach to increase our subscriber base focused on the Baba Dogo and Korogocho slums in Nairobi. In ten days over 9,500 new subscribers signed up to receive SMS from SNA-K, thanks to the high level of commitment and dedication from our twenty outreach facilitators! Last week we expanded outreach to Kariobangi, Mathare and Huruma, and these outreach facilitators were joined by another group of outreach facilitators, with whom they attended the teambuilding training. Last week alone, forty-four outreach facilitators signed up over 13,000 new subscribers – our total number of subscribers is now over 23,000!

All of the wonderful outreach facilitators come from various youth groups and represent different groups within the areas where we work – we want to thank them: you are the BEST, we cannot make it without you!! We have been receiving and continue to receive positive response from the community, which is indicated by high number of new subscribers. Moreover, most groups that our outreach facilitators have had a chance to engage with and talk to have expressed a high interest in networking and working closely with Sisi ni Amani. We are excited to work together with these individuals to create new opportunities for civic education and civic engagement through our unique component of the SMS platform.

We have faced some challenge in recruiting subscribers, but are finding ways to overcome these challenges. For example, at first volunteers did not have ID badges and it was harder for them to gain trust and credibility. As outreach went on, the volunteers were given ID badges and more community members knew about SNA-K, and this challenge of gaining trust was minimized.  There was also an issue of insecurity (because of high levels of thievery) in some areas where volunteers planned outreach.  Koch FM, the community radio station with whom we’ve partnered on a discussion of community needs let us use their space so that volunteers could leave their phones and any valuables at the radio station when they went into insecure areas, and come sign them back out later.

As we move forward expanding our activities and subscriber base, it is important that we work for our community with the top priority and top most purpose being to improve the lives and relationships of those around us. This requires that we all have a heart of volunteerism and a passion for peace, and that we work closely with key leaders in the communities where we work. From here, we will be able to achieve a lot even if its’ on a small scale.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and our journey as Kenyans especially in the areas where SNA-K is present is to have a positive peace based on active cooperation within communities and a foundation of solid civic education and positive civic engagement. Pamoja, tuweze kuijenga Nchi Yetu tukufu ya Kenya.


Kamukunji Programming

July 14, 2011

Kamukunji is a constituency in Nairobi that is a central to politics within the city. It is a focal point of jua kali work (“hot sun” work, or casual outdoor labor) within the city, and has a very diverse population.

SNA-K’s Project: SNA-K received a short-term grant from USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) to conduct programming in Kamukunji in the lead-up to a disputed by-election [sic] for the area’s Member of Parliament, which was scheduled for the end of May 2011. SNA-K began work in Kamukunji in April 2011.

SNA-K recruited 18 volunteers from Kamukunji community organizations who conducted outreach for the local phone number throughout Kamukunji. Approximately 7,000 individuals signed up in the volunteers’ two weeks of outreach. Subscribers were varied, with jobs ranging from civil servants, elders, and religious leaders, to matatu touts (workers on a form of public transportation), unemployed, housewives, and jua kali labor.

Confirmed subscribers received civic education messages sensitizing them to good leadership under the new Constitution, which were created through an expert-led workshop with SNA-K’s Kamukunji volunteers. Over 5,000 subscribers were given the opportunity to participate in an SMS-based survey of community needs, which was used to craft questions at a local debate between political aspirants (results to be available on this website soon). The most common community concern was unemployment.

One business day before the by-election was scheduled to take place, Kenya’s High Court postponed the election because of a pending election-related case. SNA-K sent a message to its subscribers asking them to wait peacefully and patiently for more information and to accept the High Court’s ruling. The community response was overwhelmingly positive, and community members called SNA-K’s volunteers to thank them for the message and let them know that it provided accurate information and helped to maintain peace and patience in Kamukunji.

Throughout the process, SNA-K used its Kamukunji network to monitor tensions and signs of tensions, and engaged in collaboration with the NSC (National Steering Committee, a government body appointed with coordinating Early Warning and Response). SNA-K reported signs of tension to the NSC for action.

Looking Forward: SNA-K is continuing to develop civic education messaging to educate Kamukunji subscribers about the new Constitution, and following closely as the High Court case proceeds with its case and decision with regards to the continuation of the by-election.


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.


Identifying Uses of Technology in Narok (February 26th, by Rachel)

July 14, 2011

A series of focus groups in Narok has enabled us to make key conclusions about the ways in which community groups currently use the technology, and how Sisi ni Amani’s platform can enhance their work.

Major Conclusions about Use of Technology & Coordination:

  • Groups use technology for outreach and coordination. SMS is the most effective – both in terms of cost and impact – for outreach and often for communication. Groups often use a system whereby one person sends an SMS to a group in their phone, then that group passes it on, etc. This means any important message sent may have a “ripple effect” and reach even more individuals than its intended audience.
  • Groups only sometimes coordinate with each other and communicate with other groups in their areas.

Major Conclusions in Terms of Sisi ni Amani:

  • These groups find the technology most useful for communicating within their own established networks, especially if they get to use it free of charge (at least for a certain amount of credit). This is because they currently face barriers of efficiency and cost when communicating within their networks.
  • Groups also do not have the ability to communicate to the entire community, and would find the technology useful for that purpose. At the same time, this needs to be geographically specific (someone from Olulunga doesn’t necessarily want the message to go out to Narok Town), and thus creating geographically specific groups will be very important

Key Conclusions for System set-up and Information Flows

  • There will need to be different types of groups within the SMS database:
  •  Community groups’ networks: community groups can use the database and keywords to communicate with their own networks
  • Geographically-tagged groups: Groups separated based on geographical areas and used for targeted outreach
  • Narok County: A group that includes all database members (for things like civic education, peace messages, etc.)