How citizen media can help ensure peaceful elections in Kenya in 2012-13

After so much  bloodshed in last general elections, The government of Kenya is doing everything to avoid the repeat of what happened in 2007,

In informal settlements and slums such as Kibera, where the post Election Violence was at it’s peak, the rise of Citizen journalism has helped in information gathering and sharing. hence becoming a vital tool to spread the message of peace among the youths, who are mostly the target by politicians in carrying out negative vices and violence in the community.

In Kibera, we have seen the rise of citizen journalism, who collect information in their communities in form of reports, news and also documentaries. one such group is the Kibera News Network, which comprises of youths born and brought up in Kibera slums hence they understand the community well, better than the mainstream media who ay just focus on the negative side of the community.

KNN collect stories in Kibera then organise for community screenings within Kibera where members of the community get information on what take place in different villages, through this screenings come forums where community members share opinions on how to create a peaceful society and discuss different projects going on within Kibera and how they can get to benefit from this projects. this help bring about togetherness hence creating harmony within the community.

Citizen media can also get to monitor elections from the grassroots since they are community based, hence helping to bridge the gap of misinformation which may have contributed to last post election violence.

They also organise Peace walks within Kibera which help bring together the community and the aspiring political candidates who give speeches preaching peace and togetherness among the community members.

However, there is still a lot to be learnt by citizen journalists, given that most of them may be green in journalism field and may need a lot of training in handling the heat that comes with election monitoring and also getting the necessary support in organising peace forums within the community and engaging them in civic education.

Citizen media has overcome many obstacles and achieved a lot. especially in educating the community and organising successful Peace forums.

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Living With The Risk of Mudslide In Kibera

Living With The Risk of Mudslide In Kibera

Mudslides are not new in Kibera, we have had several cases and some still continue to happen not just in Kibera but throughout the country,  but what we always fail to understand is that no one always seems to learn a lesson from the previous pandemics,

In October 2010, KNN did a story of a Man who lost his life along the railway line after mud slid to cover him and his house.

We have had several cases there after but walking around Kibera, one is still able to see the large number of houses still at risk, with their occupants oblivious of the situation they are in.


While walking with Joe Gathecha, a fellow Kibera News Network member, we came across a house that had been carried away after a mudslide, but what caught our attention was the still occupied next door.

“I’m just waiting for my house to fall too, I don’t have anywhere else to go to, our Landlord has also refused to repair the houses for us,”

“Don’t you think the house will fall on you someday, may be at night and leave you with injuries?” Joe asks her.

“ but where can I go now? What can I do? Do you want to help me? Go ahead then… get me a house and I’ll move.” She tells Joe.

This and so many other unreported cases just exposes the risk that many Kibera residents face, most of who blame it on local leaders reluctance to take action and have them secure. But who exactly is to blame, especially after the time bombs have exploded and we have casualties.

“ Most of these residents don’t pay house rents as required, so the house owners are reluctant to renovate the houses for them, they just let it be in the hope the dangers and risks will drive the occupants away, or the incidents, that is when they finally occur.” Says one such house owner when we interviewed Him.

As we covered this story, we could see many other houses standing at a very risky places, it is only a matter of time before they all come tumbling down. but who exactly is to blame?

Perhaps the government should come in and forcefully evict them from danger prone areas.

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Struggling to be Stephene Oduor [Steve Banner]

On any ordinary day I would wake up at around 6.30am. big and ready to face the day, and that’s when I get to recall what I would love to be in life. for this was speciffically what motivated me to wake up in the morning and face the day.

Which reminds me, ten years ago I sat in a form three class with very little hopes of becoming the computer technician, video editor and web desiggner I had longed to be, one may ask, “why were my hopes little?”, well, it was in that year, which was 2000 to be speciffic, that I had missed mid-term exams for all the terms due to late payment of school fees of which my relatively poor parents were struggling hard to raise. a year earlier, in form two, I had missed all the lessons and sat for the end-year exams blindly, but still managed to be above average, It was this that was contributing to my hopes diminishing day by day.

But the last nail fell on my dreams casket in september of the year when I was  tottally unable to go back to school due to lack of school fees. I remember shedding tears for almost a month, but even though the tears stopped flowing, I would still grief everytime I heard of an opportunity that requiered one with a form 4 certificate or a university degree.

I eventually got over these and started looking for petty jobs that would help me support my mum and siblings. I secured a job as a shopkeeper which ran breifly and closed, thats when I moved to train as a barber at a friends barber shop.

It was not an easy road as the sin’ger san’g. I had the pressure to learn the job as fast as possible so as to be in a position to help my mum through income.

Over this period I developed interest in art and music , I would draw and do calligraff but I lacked the formal training and time  to go for this since I was struggling to get some money.

I would go to the barber shop during the day and either draw or write music in the evenings at home.

It was untill 8 years later when I saved enough to record my first song at a cost of sh.2000 but the song never made it past my residential house for me and my friends were he only ones listening to it.

I eventually gave up on that and went back to being a barber after moving from my hometown Ukwala to Kibera slums in Nairobi, where I came to stay with friends, who as I came later to learn, were engaging in petty crimes in the slums to survive. I remember this one incident during a village inspection in soweto, Kibera when I was mistaken for a thief and almost beaten to death, a police officer came to my rescue.

This incident got me scared and I cut off friendship with these boys and went to live in my step-sister’s place at Olympic, Kibera. where I got another job at a salon and barber shop, It was from here that I learnt much of the salon work, but I was still unable to go for a hairdressing course to attain acertificate since this too required money and I couldn’t save for the less I earned went to everyday survival.

Then a chapter in life turned, When one monday morning, just like an angle sent from heaven, afriend came to talk to me about a video project that was to be started, to train youths on video production and collect information in our community. I saw this as an opportunity to revive my dreams of bieng a video editor, and be able to tell stories through video.

I fell for it instantly, without any computer knowledge, I did my best to learn as much as I possibly can. after sometime I was effectively able to put together a video using the Flipshare and the Windows movie maker, all my hopes was to finally do something that would earn me a certificate to prove I’m able to do it. I was also having the hope of using this to furnish my musical talent and skills.

It’s over a year and eight months now and writting this blog, I’m gradually driffting back to that hopless situation, reasons being that I’m not yet able to get a formal training on anything I’m currently, that is hairdressing and Video editting. I still long to hold a certifying document to prove that I’m experrienced on this or that, and I’m able to do this or that, despite being able to edit more that 70 videos currently on youtube, putting together 4 songs that haven’t got any far and working in 3 different salons in Kibera.

Colleges the offer courses in webdesigning and Video editting look for a KCSE certificate with a minimum grade of C. Which to me only revives the bitter memories of when I had to drop out of school.

All who get to hear of everything I do, get’s to imagine how learned I must be, But the truth is that, no employer would pay u well when u can’t prove to them that you are  up to the required level of education, let alone being certified to do a particular kind of Job.

But, the writter once said that there is always someone to stand on your side, to always help you make it happen, I strongly believe this and that’s why I hope to write the next blogg proudly telling you that I now have a certificate in hairdressing, or a certificate in video editting.

And can finally make up to the starndard videos that can bring a large positive impact without having to worry over anything.

My dream will have finally come true, and I’ll have gotten rid of the sad memories of having to drop out of school, or my dad passing on and leaving no one to support us educationally, or reading about a particular opportunity that I believe i can handle and then being locked out for lack of a certificate to prove myself. I will finally be the first among our siblings to be certified on a course and revive my mother’s lost hopes in us

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