During an event full of music and enthusiasm Action for Transparency (A4T) was launched in Kenya. Now the work begins to ensure that public funds really reach the health centres and schools in the wider Embakasi district in Nairobi – putting the power of change in the hands of the citizens.
“We are here today because the fight against corruption is a fight for a better future for all Kenyans. Corruption kills Kenyan mothers every day, corruption kills Kenyan policemen. Development will not happen in Kenya unless the battle against corruption is won,” said the Swedish Ambassador and guest of honour, Johan Borgstam.
The transparency and accountability programme A4T is run by the Pawa Initiative and Transparency International Kenya, (TIK). It is managed by Fojo Media Institute and funded by the Embassy of Sweden.
The launch was held at the Kariobangi North Social Grounds in Embakasi, close to the newly opened A4T office in the area. Pawa Initiative, TIK and the staff at the A4T office will work with public awareness and training of journalists, activists, community leaders and civil servants. Data about how much money government have distributed to schools and health centres will be retrieved, and community members will be engaged to take active part in monitoring their schools and health centres – to check how much different units really have received.
Samuel Kimeu, Executive Director of TIK, reminded the audience of the whistleblower policy principles:
“Every person in the public and the private sector has a responsibility to report suspected wrongdoing.”
Suspected mismanagement can be reported through a smart phone app. It will also be possible to report via sms text messages and a toll free phone number. Journalists will receive training in how to use the A4T platform so that they can produce articles about corruption
Artists from Kariobangi entertained, including the Octave Band, Sirikali and Daniel Onyago. The event ended with the popular band Sarabi, which will play at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark this summer. A4T is already up and running in Uganda and Zambia, and representatives from the teams in those countries attended the launch in Kenya.
On a wall next to the stage a beautiful graffiti painting was created by several artists, depicting functioning schools and health centres that receive the funding they are entitled to.
When the then head of Pawa254, Boniface Mwangi, entered, he started by asking the children to come close to the stage – which they happily did, cheering as they rushed forward. Then he told the audience why the fight against corruption is so important:
“The future of our children will be defined by the choices we make today. Do something to make Kenya better – have courage.”
Text: Anki Wood, Project Manager, Fojo