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A4T Roadshow – Eastlands

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On the 6th of October 2018, the A4T team was in Dagoretti area of Nairobi for its 2nd roadshow with an objective of  empowering citizens in this area to participate in governance processes of public funds in health and education, and to report suspected corruption through the Action for Transparency mobile App.

 

Among the team was a representation from Mtaani Radio, a community radio station based in Dagorreti, that the A4T team had partnered with in order to mobilise and publicise A4T Roadshow. The procession headed along Ngong road and made several stop-over’s around, Kaberia, Wanyee, Kikuyu Road, Ndonyo, Kawagware, and Kawagware 56. All stops were marked with dance,  entertainment and a lot of awareness building by the MC about the right of citizens to know and participate in public budgetary processes.

 

 

A4T Roadshow in Eastlands, Nairobi

 

The A4T project organised a roadshow in Eastlands area – Kamukunji – Starehe – Makadara – Buruburu – Outering road – Karibangi – Dandora and Juja Road on 24th November 2018. The roadshow’s objective was to inform and empower citizens in this area to participate in governance processes of public funds in health and education, and to report suspected corruption through the Action for Transparency mobile App.

This roadshow involved partnering with Ghetto Radio who helped in mobilisation of  participants through presenter mentions and a radio interview. Ghetto Radio is an urban radio station that is popular in Nairobi and its environs, especially amongst young people.

The caravan begun at Ngara, and then proceeded to Starehe Pumuani area and was a companied by a team of six members from Ghetto radio in their branded van. The first stop was at Majengo area near Gikomba market where many traders of second-hand clothing frequent. At this stop, the team assisted with four A4T advocates, was able to sensitise the public about the A4T project, and some of the participants were helped to download the A4T App into their mobile phones.

The procession headed to Shauri Moyo, Bama Market and Bahati area, making several stops where there was high pedestrian traffic.  During the stops, the MC briefed the people passing, over the public-address system about the roadshow, sensitising them on the importance of participating in budgetary processes and reporting corruption. It then continued to Maringo, Jericho, Makadara, Buruburu, and at Kariobangi South. Here, more people were reached and some given opportunity to speak over the public address system to share their sentiments about fighting corruption. During these stops, Ghetto Radio did live links, where it interviewed TI-Kenya Staff and advocate, which was live broadcasted in order to reach mass audience in awareness creation.

 

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Civil Society Ranks Jubilee as the Most Corrupt Administration

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TI-Kenya’s Executive Director, Mr. Samuel Kimeu with other civil society organisations marked this years’ African Anti-Corruption Day in 11th July 2018., asking the government to remain accountable in dealing with corruption suspects, and Kenyans to remain vigilant in the fight against corruption.

Video Curtesy of NTV.

 

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How media can avoid legal pitfalls in their work

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by Victor Bwire

In an effort to balance many interests — including public interest which is the most important — the media sometimes report on issues which might increase the possibility of legal suits and harassment.

An example is the ongoing exposés of corruption in the public and private sectors.

As the media intensify efforts to expose graft, impunity and misuse of public resources, harassment and intimidation of journalists — including using courts which have been issuing huge defamation awards against media houses — are on the rise.

The search for documentary evidence and facts around public interest stories, particularly those that touch on plunder of public resources, has also become increasingly perilous for journalists.

It is for that reason that journalists need allies to partner with in the search for information to enable them generate accurate stories and avoid legal pitfalls.

Journalists and media houses would greatly insulate themselves from harassment, including judicial processes, if they adhered to the provisions in the Access to Information Act which requires that they write to relevant public agencies requesting for specific information.

They can also access information on open portals such as online platforms operated by public agencies or private citizens who comment on public matters.

The access and use of a myriad of ICT platforms and information posted on open data portals by public agencies has rendered access to important information that journalists need in their investigative work much easier and less expensive.

Platforms such as public agencies websites, the Kenya Open Data Portal, Integrated Financial Management Systems and social media accounts of government departments and public officials has increased the avenues for access to information that can help in holding government to account. 

A number of players have also come up with ways to enhance the availability of information which journalists can tap into to enrich their stories with facts and depth.

Institutions like Transparency International through interventions such as the Accountability for Transparency project (A4T) have come up with tools that empower members of the public to play a role in corruption prevention and monitoring.

In addition, the project has been mentoring journalists on use of various investigative skills, ICT tools and organising trainings by experienced journalists on how to investigate and produce in-depth stories.

Kenya is among the leading countries in use of web and mobile technologies.  The country had close to 95 per cent mobile penetration as at December 2017 with an uptake of smartphones was at 44 per cent and an internet usage of close to 50 per cent of the population.

Kenyans also have high presence on social media platforms at 49 per cent of population. This signifies the high potential for using these platforms to enhance transparency and accountability with the involvement of a majority of citizens.

This article was first published at the People Daily Newspaper, you can view this an more via this LINK—The writer is the programmes officer  at the Media Council of Kenya and a journalists safety trainer —victor@mediacouncil.or.ke

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A4T Twitterthon at University of Nairobi School of Journalism

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The Action for Transparency team organised a Social Media Engagement Forum (Twitterthon) on 3rd September 2018, at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nairobi.

Just like the previous Twitterthon held at Kenyatta University in May 2018, the objective of this social media engagement forum was to involve the youth in the fight against corruption and creating awareness among them on issues of accountability within the Education and Health Sectors. The participants were involved in tweeting about the A4T App, its features, usability and usefulness in advancing transparency and accountability, as a form of raising awareness and motivating the attendees and the general public to track budgetary expenditure and report corruption through the App. This social media engagement targeted journalism students at Nairobi University school of Journalism.

This discussion themed Media’s Role in the fight against Corruption, begun by a short presentation about the A4T project. As journalism students, they were informed about the project’s engagement with journalists through systematic/in-depth media forums, and advocacy missions for research and reporting, training of investigative journalists in unearthing of corruption cases through heavy use of public records and data.  The A4T team offered them a platform and resource to publish their stories – on the A4T journalist’s knowledge portal and website.

The Twitter hashtag #A4TApp was used in the tweets to track engagement  and as a motivational token for taking part in this engagement, the A4T team offered an award of airtime to buy Internet bundles to the top three individuals with the highest number of tweets. The hashtag #A4TApp, recorded 561 tweets, with a total combined reach of 819,864 online users.

Below are sampled tweets from the students of SOJMC – UoN…

Ngugi Gatua‏ @ngugigatua Sep 3

Media acts as the watchdog in that they help to reveal corrupt leaders and individuals to the citizens and holding them accountable @a4tkenya @TIKenya #A4TAPP

Dickens_Ngicho‏ @ngicho_dickens Sep 3

#a4tapp, Transparency International giving UoN students a talk on corruption and how to cover cases about corruption during journalistic practice. @TIKenya @A4TKENYA

Philip Nyamai‏ @NyamaiPhilip Sep 3

@a4tkenya @TIKenya does a major role in training journalist in investigation and seeks to raise awareness about integrity, transparency and accountability. #A4TApp

Jack Mula‏ @JMOkanga Sep 3

#A4TApp allows you to confidentially report any corruption cases across Kenya. Download on Google play store, install and join the race towards a corruption free society. @a4tkenya, @TIKenya

Michael Marcel‏ @OkothOtieno15 Sep 3

#A4TAPP Ensuring public funds are accounted for. It’s time! @TIKenya @A4TIKenya

John Mulei‏ @johnymulei07 Sep 3

#A4TAPP Transparency International is doing all it can to ensure that public fund is well spent. Kenya we are tired of embezzlement of public funds even in Primary school and with this move Kenya is headed for the right direction. Komesha ufisadi @Tikenya @a4tikenya

 

You can follow our conversations through our twitter handle @A4TKenya and facebook Action for Transparency Kenya. Thank you School of Journalism and Mass Communication at University of Nairobi, stay posted for our next visit to a university near you.

More photos! Follow this LINK.

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A4T Mtaani – Radio interview at Mtaani FM

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A4T team Abraham Mariita and Samuel Komu were invited to breakfast show at Mtaani Radio, a community radio station located in Dagoretti area in Nairobi. The duo discussed the importance of promoting accountability and transparency in use of public funds. They got an opportunity to speak to listeners about the A4T App and how to use it. The show was live on 12th July 2018.

Click below to play the audio clip.

 

Mtaani radio broadcasts to an estimated population of 240,080 residents in Dagoretti South –Mutuini, Ngando, Riruta, Waithaka, Uthiru And Ruthimitu. Dagoretti North – Kilimani, Kawangware, Muthangari, Kileleshwa and Kabiro. Thank you for hosting us Kamadi Amata, Kevin Nyangweso and the Mtaani radio crew.

Follow Mtaani radio www.mtaaniradio.or.ke  www.facebook.com/mtaaniradio

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#A4TMtaani – Roadshow in Embakasi

Kaa Rada Komesha Ufisadi

The A4T team was in Embakasi West and Central constituencies on the  14th July 2018, for a day long roadshow. The roadshow was aimed at informing and empowering citizens in Embakasi to participate in governance processes of public funds in health and education, and to report suspected corruption through the Action for Transparency mobile App.

The procession started at Kangundo Road to Umoja estate where a first stop was made. Then later stopped at Tena Estate, Donholm, Mama Lucy Hospital, Komarock estate and Kayole.

 

During the stops, the MC briefed the participants about the roadshow, sensitising them on the importance of participating in budgetary processes and reporting corruption, while the A4T team, passed out fliers with brief information about the project and instructions on how to download the A4T App. The procession was marked with dance and performances by Wasanii Kibao youth group from Kariobangi area. The team also connected participants to internet WIFI in order to help interested members of the public download the A4T mobile App.

Wasanii Sanaa Youth group from Kibera, presented a captivating play about the effects of corruption and advocated for active participation of citizens to report corruption.

 

At Kayole II community hall, the team had extensive time engaging and entertaining the residents about the A4T APP, 43 participants download the App. See more photos Here.

The team will be planning more outreach activities in other parts of Nairobi in coming months.

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Community Media Forum

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In the recent weeks, albeit months, the country has witnessed a record number of serious corruption related scandals in the country. In nearly all the news channels, corruption has been the major theme. The proceedings, blame games and mysteries reported about corruption have become a norm of what is todays’ Kenyan media coverage. If Kenyans are not angry by now, probably they will never be.

Citizens are critical allies in the fight against corruption. At the heart of communities in Nairobi, lies avenues for citizens to access information that is simple, relevant and beneficial to them.  As a watchdog, the media plays an important role in ensuring that the country’s resources are well utilised.  Community media streams in particular, has an important role in educating their audience about national agendas that affect them. Among these, is the runaway corruption. It is encouraging how the media has sustained the campaign on corruption by consistently highlighting corruption scandals in the country. However, we can do more.

Action for Transparency team held a media forum on 28th June 2018 with journalists and members of community media organisations in Nairobi to discuss and share experiences on how community media can amplify community voices in the fight against corruption in Kenya.

Discussion

  • How can the community media keep the anti-corruption campaign alive?
  • How can we help communities participate in this discourse?
  • What is the role of community media towards amplifying community voices?
  • How can community media break down effects of corruption to the general public?
  • What are the ways in which journalists can represent community voices/interests? (Public Interest

The forum was attended by 32 participants. The panelists included: Tom Mboya – Koch FM, Alex Ikambi – Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET), Kevin Mabonga – TI-Kenya and Abraham Mariita as the moderator.

Amongst the issues raised was that community media should break down the cost of corruption to what is easily relatable or understood by their audience. Tom Mboya agreed with Kevin Mabonga that journalists should breakdown the cost of corruption by equating equivalence of the money lost, vis-a-vis what it could do for the citizen.

Community media should also utilise their intimate relationship with their audience in order to cultivate feedback in regards to expressing their views about transparency and accountability issues.

 

Alex Ikambi asked the participants to ensure that they go down to the community and find out if a reported issue of corruption has been resolved.

Some journalists present, asked for capacity building opportunities for journalists in community media in order to enable them tackle the issues of corruption better. In addition, it was suggested that TI-Kenya and other organisations should partner with the community media to organise public forums.

Michael from Mtaani radio asked participants from other community radios to think of other avenues that can help amplify community voices in unison, like coming up with a newspaper to publish stories.

Notably, two community radio stations have been on the forefront in empowering their audience to fight corruption. Koch Fm held a Community Accountability Forum, that brought together members of Korogocho area, community and political leaders in order to keep an account of the developmental aspects of that area. On the other hand, Ghetto FM has stated a project called Follow The Money in partnership with a Nigerian organisation, to educate and empower their audience to track expenditure of public funds.

The engagements with community media will be on-going, including participating together in forums and fostering synergies that will help empower citizens across the County.

View more photos of this event here.

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Unearthing the sanitation crisis within Nairobi’s public schools

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A4T grantee Sarah Nanjala reveals critical sanitation crisis in Nairobi’s public primary Schools. Sarah is one of the journalists trained in investigative and data journalism at the United States International University (USIU) and later  got an A4T grant and mentorship award.

The bell rings. Break time is over. A Standard Three girl carefully, but quickly, makes her way through the flooded entrance to a toilet. At least 50 other girls are with her.

The girls squeeze into the few toilets, with the older ones jostling the younger ones out of the way. They then wrinkle their noses in disgust and walk away. This is the everyday life of pupils in Nairobi public schRead Sarah’s report published on today’s Star Newspaper here.

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#STOPtheseThieves – Demo against Corruption

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In recent days, the media informed by audit reports uncovered cases of blatant corruption within government departments and agencies including the National Youth Service where up to Kshs. 9 Billion is reported to have been illegally paid out to fictitious suppliers; the National Cereals and Produce Board paid huge sums of money to suppliers not accredited; Reports from the Office of the Auditor General indicating mismanagement of public funds within various government departments including the Health and Education departments.

Transparency International Kenya through Actin for Transparency in partnership with Kenya Human Rights Commission, Buyer Beware and other organisations planned a demonstration against the blatant runaway corruption in government to raise the voice of citizens in demanding for action.

The demonstration was dubbed #STOPtheseThieves and was held on 31st of May 2018, at the Uhuru Park grounds, with a demonstration through Kenyatta Avenue, Kimathi Street, Moi avenue, City Hall way, Parliament road and to Haile Selassie rd.

The demo attracted participants in hundreds, who were involved in displaying placards that displayed different messages in detest of the recent corruption scandals and inept by government authorities to take any action. Protestors walked, danced, sang and others chose to scream, while cameras from local and international journalists clicked away in the over 3 hours activity. Organisations represented gave speeches periodically and made calls to other onlookers to participate in the picketing. A petition was read when the crowd arrived at the judiciary, asking the courts to ensure prosecution of the corruption suspects, with hefty fines and punishment.

When TI-Kenya organised an inaugural Integrity Walk in December 2017, a contingent of policemen armed with clubs, tear gas canisters and guns, surrounded the Freedom Corner Park (start venue) with an order to stop us from proceeding with the walk. It was shock and awe, that a peaceful walk, a symbol of citizens stand on accountability and transparency issues, was invaded and stopped with such impunity. A year earlier, a demo against the loss of 5 billion shillings at the Ministry of health, was thwarted with violence and brutality to the participants and without any mercy to the journalists covering it.
It was therefore a great achievement to have had many participants in this peaceful demo with escort from policemen. Perhaps an indication that the police and their authorities are appreciating the right of citizens according to the constitution of Kenya, Chapter 3 Article 37, to peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to demonstrate petitions to public authority.

During the celebration and commemoration of the Madaraka (Independence) day on June 1 2018, president Uhuru Kenyatta gave a rather tough and firm statement about non-tolerance to corruption in his government. He declared that corruption in all its forms will be diminished from our country, adding that his governments’ raft of measures to tackle corruption, include an initial step for all Heads of Procurement and Accounts in Government Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Parastatals to undergo fresh vetting, including polygraph testing, to determine their integrity and suitability by beginning of July 2018 and those who shall fail the vetting will stand suspended. Unlike his previous speeches, during previous national events – where he once asked Kenyans, “Mnataka nifanye nini?” (What do you want me to do?) – president Uhuru had never talked this tough on fighting corruption. We hope that this will translate to action.

So far, over 40 suspects have been arraigned in court and held without bail, with more expected to be charged according to the Directorate of the Criminal Investigations.  The recovery of assets from those accused of corruption must also be given priority. See more photos here.

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Media Forum on Access to Information Act

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We recently organised a Media Forum to discuss how the Access to Information Act can benefit journalists and citizens. The forum that was held at a local hotel, was attended by 29 journalists who participated in discussing Freedom of expression, where the media is grounded, as an important aspect for journalists to be involved in.

The panelists who led the great discussion included:

  • Erick Mugendi – Managing Editor PesaCheck, an initiative of code for Africa/ Builds tools for citizens to help citizens track budgets. Try to connect the big numbers with the people.
  • Christine Nguku – Vice Chairperson Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), Secretary Kenya Editors Guild.
  • Winnie Tallam – Senior Legal Officer – Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) The body that is also mandated to ensure implementation of the Access to Information law.
  • Sheila Masinde – Programmes Manager Transparency International Kenya.
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