On 4th March, Kenya will hold its general elections. It is likely to be a tense contest for power, both at a national and county level. While a new constitution and a number of significant reforms have been introduced in response to the post-election violence in 2007, concerns about the potential for violence remain high.
The ability to gather and share information during the election period will be crucial. For most Kenyans, internet access remains unreliable, costly and limited, particularly in rural areas. But over 20 million Kenyans own a mobile phone; that’s around 75% of the population.
Ahead of the election, Radar is drawing on the high mobile prevalence to train and support a network of mobile citizen reporters across five regions of Kenya. SMS reporting workshops will be delivered for 100 people who represent the most vulnerable and marginalised groups within society. We will prioritise people with disabilities, slum dwellers, and those living in rural communities, particularly women and girls, who are less likely to contribute to the traditional press or online news sites. Despite the fact that, when their rights are denied, they often find it hardest to seek justice, their views and the unique challenges they face as voters and citizens are often ignored. The training will cover how to report on irregularities or concerns during the election process, source factual information and news and share it safely, with regard to the best possible reporting principles.
We will run a central hub throughout the election period to facilitate the transfer of SMS reports to online platforms, generating real time news to a global audience. After the election, we will continue to work to strengthen the capacities of this national network of mobile citizen reporters to use affordable technology to share news, amplify their views, and hold their institutions to account.
Training workshops will be held in the last two weeks of February. For more information about this project, or how to join the training, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
We are working in partnership with Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Young Voices and SOWED Kenya.