Action for Transparency

AccountabilityEducationHealth

about the launch – Embakasi

Borgstam

On the 16th day of May 2015, the residents of Embakasi Constituency, Nairobi, welcomed Pawa Initiative along with its partners, Fojo Media Institute, and Transparency International Kenya (TIK), to Kariobangi North Social Grounds for the launch of the Action for Transparency (A4T) project. The launch was the culmination of about 2 months of preliminary activities, which, among other things, involved the set-up of the Kenya A4T office in Kariobangi North and a number of outreach visits to neighbourhoods in Embakasi. Guests in attendance were the Uganda & Zambia A4T delegation and Swedish Embassy representatives together with the Swedish Ambassador, Johan Borgstam, who was the guest of honour.

Brian Inganga, photos
Brian Inganga, photos

The Action for Transparency (A4T) project is a social accountability project in public health and education making its debut in Kenya after a 3 year run in Uganda and Zambia. The project commenced in Kenya in March 2015 during which the A4T team began outreach visits in a number of neighbourhoods in Embakasi; Kwa Mola (Molem), Dandora, Kware, Karsan, Kariobangi North and South. These outreach visits were done in order to map the social resources in the area as well as scout for creative potential in the area.

The project seeks to engage the residents to hold themselves and their government accountable to the delivery of services in the areas of public health and education.

Three primary approaches would be employed by the project to facilitate this; the use of mobile phone tools such as a smart phone app that maps out resources in these 2 key sectors of public services in a way that allows any user to obtain the relevant information and report anonymously as well when need be. Coupled with this would be an SMS short-code and toll free line easily accessible to those who own basic feature phones. Lastly, on the technical front, would be the online platforms – a website and social media connections – where the community can further engage in open discussions, information sharing, and reporting that is pertinent to the project objectives.

Brian Inganga, photos
Brian Inganga, photos

The tools for reporting would then be made accessible to residents of Embakasi through a series of trainings, which form the second facet of the project. Residents will also be trained on how to escalate corruption related issues from the grassroots to relevant authorities and various forms of community organizing and action, calling for the provision of the very same services in public health and education.

The last facet of the project would involve public awareness campaigns on social accountability, more specifically, galvanizing the work of creatives in the area who use their work to address social issues. This will be done in collaboration with existing groups and individuals involved in similar work facilitated through a grants program.

Given the very visual nature of the project, Pawa Initiative was enlisted as a partner having its core strength in creative work evidenced by the fiery launch that had many artists performing in between the programmed speeches. Among others, artist who performed were Octave Band, Sirikal, Daniel Onyango, Japolo, Kpack & Eidala with the last performance being graciously executed by the popular SARABI band whose drum beats reversed the rain back to the sky. A live graffiti installation also run concurrently in the background as the event went on again reemphasizing the very important role of art in social change work. The effects of the launch were immediate with many in attendance asking when the app for reporting would be ready and others asking how they could get involved.

Brian Inganga, photos
Brian Inganga, photos

The launch was the beginning of a relationship between the people of Embakasi and the A4T team that would lead to harmonized service delivery from the government to its people. Nothing summed up the event more than the words from the Swedish Ambassador, who, during his speech, reminded the residents of the area to hold themselves and the A4T team accountable as much as they hoped to hold the government accountable. Governments, afterall, are the people.

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AccountabilityEducationHealth

Action for Transparency Launched in Kenya

A4T Launch 2015

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.

Photos: Brian Inganga
Photos: Brian Inganga

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

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