Residents from Salama Ward caught our attention in one of our community film screening sessions - and what came out during the post-film discussion prompted us to organize a one-day training on citizen journalism.
Salama Ward is situated in Laikipia West Constituency of Laikipia County. It is a semi-arid area and has been marginalized by previous regimes. Its multiple ethnic communities are predominantly herders/pastoralists and farmers, including the Meru, Kikuyu, Borana, Maasai, Samburu, Turkana, and Somali. It is also home to several White Settler ranches, and game conservancies.
During the film screening, the audience complained of police brutality during police operations, which are meant to flush out illegal herders, bandits, cattle rustlers, and poachers. The operations also target illicit charcoal and saddle wood businesses.
The community has constantly felt the heavy hand – or boot, or rifle butt - of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), the Anti-Stock Theft Police Unit (ASTPU), and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). They use excess and cruel force against the local community while claiming to rid the area of criminals.
According to the community, one of the flashpoints is where the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) set up Mutara Conservancy, which borders Ol Pejeta Conservancy. There has been constant conflict, with the local herders accused of grazing inside the private ranches, while the farmers accuse the KWS of allowing elephants, zebras, and buffalos to wreak havoc on their crops, and the lions, leopards, and hyenas to eat their livestock.
The region has an inadequate infrastructure - a poor road network, no permanent bridges, very few schools, and only one referral hospital - that contribute to the inhumanity and suffering in the area. Many cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and burning of Manyattas by the forces, go undocumented and unreported.
IFA believed the community could usefully harness social media to alter the concept of news reporting in their area. IFA thought it would be important to train a group of youth on how to use their smartphones to record video and capture evidence of illegal police action. The young citizen journalists were encouraged to document not only brutality by the security forces, but also the commonly used ‘Kangaroo Courts” where the Sub-Chief works with the Anti-Stock Theft Unit to extort money or deliver judgement to the alleged criminals, without involving the regular police.
On 29 July 2020, a selection of twelve members from a youth group, representing different villages in the vast area, were trained on how to use their smartphones to record usable audio and video, what to record and report, and how to upload and share the footage with agencies and organisations that could help challenge the inhumanity in Laikipia.
By Anthony Mathenge
Two IFA Field Teams - IFA Kericho and IFA Western – joined forces to help the Koru and Soin communities get a voice as the rightful landowners of the area earmarked for the Koru-Soin Dam.
Construction of the dam dates back to President Moi's regime and involves the displacement of people given little or no public participation in the fate of their community. The result has been unlawful evictions. Construction of the dam has now attracted huge funding under the Jubilee government - Ksh. 25 billion to be precise.
The massive structure would be over the River Nyando, bordering Kisumu County on one side and Kericho on the other, with the affected Koru community from Kisumu, and the Soin from Kericho. The National Water and Harvesting Storage Authority (NWHSA) are overseeing the construction of this proposed dam.
The government has used a top-down approach with no public participation, using the Ministry of Interior to stifle those who tried to advocate for due process.
IFA started organizing meetings through a community leadership structure to plan for a protest to demand a bottom-up approach. The community wanted to be consulted through public participation forums. These forums would be about land valuation and a feasibility study report, among other issues.
But when the government got wind of this, it started threatening the community organisers, with the Koru Assistant County Commissioner sent to prohibit the meetings.
Enter the Flash Mob Idea
A Flash Mob Protest is made up of a group of people who arrive suddenly in a public space, demonstrate briefly, then quickly disperse. Gone in a flash…
It is a protest of something or someone. It may be in the form of a quick march, a dance, an exhibition, satire, or a well detailed but rapidly delivered press statement.
Flash Mob Protests are becoming increasingly useful for repressive government action on peaceful protests. Presently, Covid-19 containment measures are giving governments a good excuse to stifle peaceful assemblies and protests.
IFA knew that government did not want the community to organise and would be ready to use its Covid-19 containment measures to stop any gathering; so, we proposed the Flash Mob idea to the community.
Two IFA teams made contact with the community leaders in low-key meetings to help organize. But there was fear of victimization, so most of the community leadership retreated and left only two members to continue with the plan. These two bold leaders mobilized the affected community, including people living with disability, along with local media stations.
On 7th August 2020, the Flash Mob Protest was executed.
It lasted for a total of 40 minutes. Protesters from both Koru and Soin occupied the Muhoroni-Lodiani highway for ten minutes before disappearing, finishing with a 30-minute press conference on the side of the road.
Just five minutes after the press conference finished, around ten armed police officers from Koru Police Station arrived in a lorry. They looked out of place and disoriented, because the protesters had dispersed, and they had no one to chase away or illegally arrest. They were in the company of the Koru Assistant County Commissioner Raphael Nakuwa, who also had very little to do.
Result of the Flash Mob Protest
Two days later, the National Water Harvesting Storage Authority (NWHSA), through Raphael Nakuwa, issued letters of invitation to landowners for public participation in the construction of the dam. Due to the Covid-19 containment measures, each family was to be represented by only one person.
The meeting took place at Manera Secondary School on 11th August 2020. But the NWHSA didn't engage with the community and the purported public participation had no substantive agenda. It ended in disarray.
The NWHSA crossed the border to Soin in Kericho County - where they planned to have three other sham public participation forums - to bring the community a revised gazette notice.
The community representatives who participated in the Flash Mob mobilized the community to attend, to demand a later date for public participation and a clearer agenda.
The NWHSA backed off and gave one month for a public participation forum at Koiyabei and Kapkormom Primary Schools on 10 September.
During this meeting, the affected communities asserted they were not ready to move out of their ancestral land. They raised a number of concerns, including that their names were mismatched with the plot numbers in the gazette notice issued by NWHSA.
The officials present from NWHSA were unable to respond satisfactorily to these concerns.
Watch this space…
By SK Wandimi, with the IFA Western and Kericho Teams
A population can only share information, mobilize, organize, and claim their rights if civic space is open. Now, Covid-19 has presented governments with a golden opportunity to shrink the civic space more. Activists and human rights workers need to go back to the drawing board and push back hard against these attempts.
Insert Video on Demo in Mombasa against Covid Corruption
Corrupt systems have had a field day stealing funds that are meant to address the plight of citizens affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Civil society and the general population have expressed their disgust using various platforms. Protests have so far been held in Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu, and Nairobi, calling out the corrupt individuals and government who have been charged with the duty of containing the pandemic. But these demonstrations were immediately deemed illegal. The first reasons cited by the government when it dispersed the protesters were directly related to Covid -19 containment measures, like social distancing and limited numbers of persons in social gatherings.
This reminds me of an old Chinese fable….
The Monkey Master Fable
In the 14th century in China, there was a man named Mr. Jugong - the "monkey master". On his farm, he lived with monkeys and he had a very simple rule – their tenancy on his farm would be anchored on loyalty and obedience. Every morning, the monkeys would go out to the forest to eat fruits to their satisfaction, but each had to come back with a tenth of their collection to give to their master. Failure to do this would result in a ruthless flogging. This arrangement lasted for centuries without any protest from the monkeys.
One day, a young monkey decided to challenge the thinking of the old monkeys. He did this by asking simple questions, which were thought-provoking to the rest of the monkeys:
Did the master plant the fruits? The older monkeys replied: no, they grow naturally.
Can’t we take the fruits without his permission? "We all can", replied the monkeys.
Then why should we depend on the master? Must we serve him?
Before the young monkey finished his questions, the other monkeys had become enlightened.
That night, the monkeys tore down the barricades of the farm stockade and took all the fruits before running off into the woods, never to return to the master. The master later died of starvation.
The fable is a classic analogy of the government’s new Covid-19 tactics at closing the ever-shrinking civic space. Now civil society must ask itself the hard question about how to fight back. How do we protect and expand civic space under these circumstances?
The recent protests were termed illegal, but the government stopped the protesters illegally. It criminalised citizen’s rights of assembly and association, to demonstrate, and picket; and on the flip side, it legitimized the rampant corruption around Covid-19.
Insert Video on Demo in Nairobi against Covid Corruption
To gain freedom, we must challenge the rules or laws that are used to take freedom away. We must challenge bad laws that govern protests, including the so-called Covid-19 containment measures, and more so discriminatory ones.
Why don’t these pandemic containment measures apply to market places and meet the people tour by Kenyan politicians?
Just like in the monkey master fable, we need to change the power balance by asking ourselves the right questions.
If the Covid-19 regulations suspended Article 37 of our Constitution, what new tactics can we use to open up the civic space? Would 15 people who came out in several public spaces in Mombasa or Nairobi really have an impact? Why are we not mobilizing a large number of protesters to come out – more than the Police Officers deployed to crush the protests?
The Covid -19 regulations on public gathering have brought the fight right to our doorsteps. We are at ground zero, but we can only fight the thieves better with a new way of thinking, because their new Covid tactics are here to stay.
By SK Wandimi
Some regions in Kenya suffer marginalization in relation to the administrative locations of their respective regions. As a result, these regions suffer continued administrative and developmental neglect, including insecurity, bad roads, and illicit brewing of alcohol. This is the sad reality at Riakimai Village, situated in West Mugirango Constituency of Nyamira County. It borders Kitutu Masaba Constituency. The residents are predominantly peasant farmers, with a few tea bushes and subsistence crops on their farms as the critical source of their livelihood.
In August 2019, several Riakimai community members participated in a peaceful demonstration in Nyamira, to protest bad tea management policies and the theft of tea leaves by unscrupulous weighing clerks
Now in 2020, having experienced what they were able to achieve through the two previous protests, the Riakimai Community Action Team (CAT) invited the IFA Kisii Team back to discuss their present challenges. They listed many concerns: insecurity had contributed to two unsolved murders in their village; rampant corruption among police officers was fueling the brewing and selling of illicit brews, even to school-going children; the road network remains poor; and the administrative vacuum at the Assistant Chief’s Office was also top of their list.
The Community Action Team wrote their petition to the County Commissioner and County Commander, and on 3rd August 2020 set out on a march to deliver it. County Commissioner of Nyamira, Amos Mariba. received the petition – but the IFA crew were blocked from filming inside the Office of the County Commissioner.
Insert Video Link
As a result of the petition, there was change. The County Commissioner promised to appoint a new Assistant Chief, and the County Commander addressed the issue of insecurity by promising to deploy regular patrols.
Moreover, two days after the petition was delivered, the Chief arrested all the illicit chang'aa brewers and had them arraigned in Court; and the Nyaturago-Rigena-Makairo road at the Riakimai Junction was resurfaced with murram.
The residents of Riakimai Village have seen and lived the benefits of community organizing and petition writing as a means of demanding change and dealing with wayward and corrupt leadership.
By the IFA Kisii Team
The Sexual Offences Act of 2016, Section 8 (3) stipulates:
A person who commits an offense of defilement with a child between the age of twelve and fifteen years is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty years.
Some traditional conflict resolution mechanisms perpetuate injustices rather than solving them.
This was the case when a group of elders met in a compound in Sericho Village, Isiolo South Constituency to discuss a defilement case. A 14-year old girl had been defiled by a 25-year old Boda Boda rider in the area. The resolution involved a sitting-under-a-tree session to try and work something out. These sittings-under-a-tree to solve criminal acts is common in the pastoralist community.
According to the victim, the Boda Boda rider, Kero - who is well known to her family - visited their home on 27th June 2020 at 8 pm to deliver firewood. Her parents were not at home at the time. He convinced her to escort him to a nearby cemetery where he repeatedly defiled her. He then threatened to kill her if she told anyone about it. At around 10 pm, she went home and found her father waiting for. Afraid, she did not tell anyone what had happened until her father started beating her because of her late arrival.
After narrating her ordeal, her father went to Kero’s home to inform the father of what his son had done. The next morning, community elders mobilized by Kero’s family met at the home of the young girl to discuss possible “compensation’’. Elder Mzee Issack Abagalla explained even during his grandfather’s time, elders would fine the perpetrator as a form of punishment and to stop the offender from repeating the same mistake: “If a woman is raped or a girl defiled, the perpetrator is fined five cows. If the perpetrator or his family are not able to pay the fine, their clan would have to contribute on his behalf.”
IFA was contacted by one of the minor’s relatives, who felt it was an injustice. The girl’s family was busy preparing for compensation and had not reported the matter to the police or taken her to hospital.
Mohamed Rashid, the Sericho Chief, took the girl to the hospital on 29th June – two days after the assault - and reported the matter to police after the IFA Isiolo Team alerted him of the incident
On 4th July, IFA visited the home of the girl. She broke down in tears as she narrated off camera her ordeal, and how her family and neighbours blamed her for what happened to her. The victim said the clan elders sat outside under a tree to discuss the heinous act, while she had to make tea for them and serve them. Outraged by what was happening, IFA called the Sericho Chief who arrived with police and arrested more than seven of the elders.
The girl’s father was also arrested. All were taken to Sericho Police post. They were later transferred to Sericho Police Station to record a statement. A Police Officer at the station told IFA the file had been taken to the Embu DCIO for investigation, and with evidence; they would be charged with obstruction of justice.
Until and when Kero is arrested and charged for his crime, the 14-year old girl will never get justice and will continue to suffer like all other victims whose elders choose to discuss the crimes sitting under a tree.
For now, the culprit is still walking scot-free; and IFA Isiolo team is still following up on the matter.
By the IFA Isiolo Team
The current state of the Vihiga Health Department paints a very sorry state of affairs in the County. Rampant corruption within the department and mistreatment of Health Care workers has brought operations to a standstill in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In 2019, Health Care workers had not received three months’ salary, prompting them to strike and stay away from the health facilities, as they were unable to commute from their homes. The response? Vihiga County Government advertised for 148 new Health Care Worker positions and ended up with 548 staff on its books due to corruption.
But as of August 2020, the new workers had also not been paid - for ten months, despite taking the matter to court. The court ordered the county government to pay the Health Workers their salaries.
To make matters worse, the County Government failed to issue Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Health Workers, putting them at risk of contracting the deadly Coronavirus. Yet the Vihiga County government records having spent Ksh 28 million, which to date has not been accounted for. There have been many attempts by local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to demand accountability.
So, Health Care Workers, community health volunteers, local Civil Society Organizations, and community members organised together to address the issue with the IFA Western Team - focusing on the rampant corruption in a time of an acute health crisis.
On 12th August 2020, the group led a peaceful demonstration to the governor’s office in Mbale, to present a petition highlighting all these concerns. Police attempted to disperse the protesters outside the governor’s office, stopping them from delivering their petition. But the protesters knew their rights and showed determination. They held their ground and insisted on Governor Wilber Ottichilo coming out of to receive the petition.
After four hours, the Governor and the County Secretary succumbed to pressure and came out to receive the petition and address the issue of corruption.
By the IFA Western Team
InformAction (IFA) was constituted in 2010 and began operations in 2011 on film production and screening which were piloted in 2 regions of Northern Kenya and Kericho. The idea was that people watch the films then air their views on different issues, which were relevant then. IFA has been screening and been on the ground for several years. The screening was creating a gap that needed to be filled with a clear road map on what citizens can do. The passing of the New Constitution in 2010 gave IFA the opportunity because with the new governance structure, it was critical that people understand their roles and those of the county and national governments in greater detail. Additionally, there had been a lot of politically instigated violence, patronage and corruption in the previous dispensation and the fear was that such vices could also be devolved into the county governments. For IFA, therefore, this was an opportunity not only to handle issues of devolution but to also address the inter-ethnic divisions that were within communities and address issues that were relevant within different communities by use of film.
IFA operates through mobile led teams – using a car, screen, projector and camera - to show films to thousands of ordinary people throughout Kenya every week. Experienced activists and facilitators lead community discussions on justice and governance, while video journalists film the discussions and record human rights abuses. Since 2010, IFA has empowered hundreds of thousands of Kenyans in rural and marginalized areas, profiling the demands for change through innovative media and action. It has focused on impunity, governance, and justice for victims of political violence. In an environment that has become increasingly difficult for civil society and free expression, IFA uses a unique methodology to by-pass control, corruption and censorship.
An informed and empowered society that speaks truth to power and demands accountability and social justice.
To inform and empower communities in Kenya in order to catalyze public debate and action for a just and accountable society.
IFA’s main activities include
Screenings, Research and Production of films in the counties focusing on human rights violations within the county and possible redress based on homegrown solutions.
Community organizing -IFA has a network of citizens led Community Action Teams, which help pressure counties, as they demand accountability, good service delivery and leadership at the County levels. These teams conduct periodic meetings between community and their leaders to audit their performance in office based on their manifestos and the people’s manifesto.
Non-violent /Peaceful protests training
IFA is registered in Kenya (CPR/2010/20397) as a non-profit, field-based, social justice organization in operation. Currently, IFA has six mobile field teams embedded in Mombasa (Coast), Kericho (Rift Valley), Kisii (West Nyanza), Kakamega (Western Kenya), Nyeri (Central Kenya) and Isiolo (Northern Kenya). IFA has 30 staff with 8 working in the Nairobi Base with the rest spread in the Field Bases. IFA is a member of the Kenya Civil Society Coalition, Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, and Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ), the International Video4Change Network.
To undertake a comprehensive project evaluation for the ‘Mobilizing Communities in the Counties for Accountability and Realization of Human Rights’ project.
The overall objective of the consultancy is to conduct an independent evaluation to review the extent to which the project’s objectives and outputs have been realized, identify strengths and weaknesses in implementation, and provide recommendations for future success of similar projects. Participation of stakeholders in the evaluation should be maintained, reflecting opinions, expectations and vision about the contribution of the project towards the achievement of its objectives.
The results will be measured based upon the following key programme documents:
Annual Work Plan and budgets
Quarterly narrative reports & Financial reports
Project audit reports
Baseline survey report
Mobilizing Communities in the Counties for Accountability and Realization of Human Rights
The development of responsible and transparent political leadership in Kenya.
An informed and politically aware citizenry who use peaceful grievance redress mechanisms to successfully demand for their political rights and accountable leadership. The consultant will be expected to review indicators that were agreed upon in the signed agreement.
Maralal (Samburu, Baringo, Pokot and Marsabit Counties), Isiolo (Isiolo, Garissa, Laikipia and Mandera), Mombasa (coastal region, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Mombasa).
3.0 Scope of the consultancy work
More specifically, the evaluation will undertake a review of the following criterion:
To what extent is the intervention goal in line with the needs and priorities of the community?
To what extent did the project focus and approach meet the needs of the people?
To what extent did the selected approach politically empower the people?
Should another project strategy have been preferred rather than the one implemented to better reflect those needs and priorities? Why?
Were risks appropriately identified by the projects? How appropriate are/were the strategies developed to deal with identified risks?
Was the project design appropriate? If not, why not?
Was the project, including its finances, human resources, monitoring, and oversight and support managed efficiently?
To what extent did the engagement method encourage the target group to take part in the project?
To what extent have the project indicators been met?
To what extent did the discussions lead to increased community action teams?
To what extent did the creation and facilitation of community action teams lead to sustainable impact?
Have any significant developments taken place since the project started, if so,
explain how they affected the project goal and activities and evaluate the impact on the project?
To what extent has/have the realization of the project objective(s) had an impact on the specific problem the project aimed to address and on the targeted beneficiaries?
Have the needs of project beneficiaries been met by the project? If not, why not?
How valuable are the outcomes to the organization, other stakeholders, and participants?
To what extend is the impact attributed to the project?
Were there any other unintended positive or negative outcomes from the project?
Is the project likely to have a catalytic effect? How? Why? Please provide examples
To what extent has the project led to long-term behavior change?
Are the involved parties willing and able to continue the project activities on their own (where applicable)?
Can the project be scaled up?
Can the project be replicated elsewhere?
Is the change self-sustaining or does it require continued intervention?
What worked and what did not work?
What were unintended consequences?
What were emergent properties?
How has the Theory of change been reflected in the logical framework of the project?
To what extent has the long-term development been adequately considered?
The consultant is expected to provide the following:
A proposal indicating the detailed methodology based on these TORs to be used in the evaluation process as well as a work plan for completion of work within five (5) days after recruitment.
Draft Evaluation Report for discussion including all annexed detailed work done and discussions/focus meetings held.
Final Evaluation Report including PowerPoint presentation.
All reports will be submitted in English and in digital form, preferably in MS Word and/or PowerPoint format.
The consultancy will take approximately 30 working days.
Ability to research, collate and synthesize a range of information and data (qualitative and quantitative) into useful, strategic and practical analysis and recommendations.
Demonstrates sensitivity, tact and diplomacy, and projects a positive image.
Able to handle confidential and politically sensitive issues in a responsible and mature manner and appropriately.
Managerial experience in organizational development including grant making through consortia.
Ability to write high quality and concise technical reports with high proficiency in written and spoken English, within agreed terms of reference and deadlines.
A master level of education in Project Management, Development Studies, Gender, or Business Administration.
At least 10 years of M and E relevant and diversified professional experience in International Development (Social Protection, Gender, Social Research, Organizational Development).
Proven experience in conducting evaluations of complex development programs in human rights, governance, social protection, policy analysis and research.
Excellent knowledge and experience on issues of International Development in relation to Kenya and East Africa will be an added advantage.
Strong knowledge on rights based approaches to programming, proven experience in participatory reviews and research, and capacity assessments.
All interested consultants/firms are requested to write an expression of interest by describing their competence in management and a proposal to show how they will deliver on the identified tasks:
Interpreting the Terms of Reference (ToR).
Explaining in detail the methodology to be used in carrying out the assignment.
Providing a detailed professional budget in Kenya shillings (indicating daily professional rates).
Explaining their competences to meet the requirements of the assignment.
Attaching brief technical biographical data of the core team-members
Providing evidence of similar work undertaken in the recent past (not more than 3 years).
Settlement of any tax liability arising from this agreement will remain the responsibility of the consultant.
On 25th June 2020, InformAction held community action training for an all-woman team in Kisumu Town. Twelve women leaders from ten informal settlement areas in Kisumu County went over the basics of how to motivate communities to organise, petition and protest about issues in the counties.
The group for training had been formed during the International Women’s Day event organized by IFA, which brought together over 200 women from informal settlement areas in Kisumu County.
The training kicked off with a film screening We Don’t Beg, We Demand, and followed with an interactive question and answer session. Participants realised that the majority of women do not take part in the county budgeting process, which has meant that their development projects were not included in the County Budget. In fact, they noted, the public participation meetings were usually held in faraway locations which made it particularly difficult for many of the women to access the meetings and participate.
The women leaders were then taken through topics such as community organizing, planning, and advocacy. Group presentations provided an opportunity for the participants to give input on key community issues.
Participants noted with concern that gender-based violence against girls and women had risen during the Covid-19 pandemic. They felt that the conditions of the pandemic and the government response to it made it particularly difficult to address GBV cases.
By the end of the community action training, the women resolved that they would develop a joint action plan around the ten informal settlement areas in Kisumu County. They planned joint activities to mobilize women into a social movement and address their issues.
Story by IFA Western Team