Abraham Mariita

ActivitiesMedia

A4T Twitterthon at University of Nairobi School of Journalism

University of Nairobi Poster ALL-01

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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HealthMedia

Kenya’s Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Burden

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Iqra Salah, A4T grantee, has been investigating Kenya’s growing burden of drug resistant Tuberculosis. DR-TB is exerting a significant strain on the country’s economy and the health of the patients. It is six times more expensive to treat the disease per episode than it is drug-sensitive Tuberculosis, notwithstanding the severe side effects.

See the video below of Africa Uncensored’s Iqra Salah as she spoke to one of the patients whose condition is worsening as he can’t afford medication despite being covered by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthTechnology

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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Media

Corruption in Embakasi South National Government Constituency Development Fund

Mukuru Kwa Njenga Primary

A4T investigative journalist grantee, Daniel Muteti of Reuben FM, narrates in his investigative story, how the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) in Embakasi South Constituency has been involved in misappropriation of funds meant for various development for schools.

Listen to the story below.

 

This story was broadcasted at Reuben FM, a community radio station based in Mukuru Kwa Reuben Slums. http://www.rubencentre.org/index.php/register/advocacy-networking/radio-ruben-fm

 

 

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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthTechnology

#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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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthTechnology

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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AccountabilityEducation

Urgent Action Needed to Save Ngunyumu Primary School

Ngunyumu Primary School

As soon as you step into the vicinity of Ngunyumu Primary School, a stench odour hits you, making you doubt if you are in a learning institution. This is Korogocho slum, home to an estimated 150,000 people, according to the 2009 census. It sits next to the popular Dandora dumpsite. Ngunyumu primary school has a population of 850 pupils. It is one of the only two public primary schools in the area the other one being Daniel Komboni primary school.

The 30-year-old Dandora dumpsite has been growing and encroaching the school in the last couple of years. Its effects, clearly visible and “smell-able”. Pupils at the institution play at the crowded playground, unaware of dangers surrounding them. This, the opposite of a favourable environment for learning.

Along the schools dilapidated fence, assorted garbage in form of papers and other light materials, have found refuge after being blown by wind from the dumpsite. In addition, garbage rummagers are camping outside the school’s compound to sort out their collection for re-usable items, which they sell at the spot, and what is invaluable is thrown over the fence into the school’s compound. The iron sheets covering the classrooms are brown and rotting.

Health Hazards

Dahabo Guyo, a member of Ngunyumu’s Board of Management (BOM), fervently expresses her disgust about the foul odour in the school. It has been facing dangerous health hazards from the dumpsite, including being filled with toxic smoke. “The health of the pupils and teachers in the school is affected by this dumpsite and there is no one to help us”, says Dahabo.

The BOM member has been active in advocating for the relocation of a section of the dumpsite near the school in order to provide a conducive environment for pupils to learn. It has been a tall order yet dangerous affair, as we came to learn.

Kevin (not the real name), a school teacher, who spoke on anonymity, said that efforts to address the effects of the dumpsite have resulted to threats and intimidation from people believed to be beneficiaries of the dumpsite. “One time the school was entirely filled with smoke from the smouldering garbage, it was all over including inside the classes. You could barely see beyond ten meters,” said Kevin. “Together with other teachers, we decided to walk to the dumpsite to see if we could salvage the situation, but we were chased away by some youths who claimed that we were interfering with their livelihoods,” he added.

It is alleged that the youths were allocated a piece of land next to the dumpsite that used to be an abandoned quarry by area Member of County Assembly after the 2013 elections. Currently, each 20-ton dump truck that empties its contents at the site is charged Ksh. 500 on each trip. Every single day, more than 2,000 metric tons of waste is dumped in Dandora.

“Other than the foraging and recycling by individuals and families living in the dump, this is a multi-million shillings business, that is connected to cartels and politicians,” lamented Kevin. “It is a fight we have given up on, because we fear for our lives,” he added.

Threats

In-spite of the threats and perceived fear, Ms. Guyo, has continued to highlight the plight of pupils in Ngunyumo primary school. Pupils and teachers have often been absent due to falling ill out of the effects of the dumpsite. “When I was posted to Ngunyumu, my health was perfect. But since then, I have been in and out of hospital due to the bad air in this area. I have even sought for a transfer from this school,” complained another teacher

“We are glad that since it started raining, there has not been smoke,” said Kevin, “When there is rain, the fires are extinguished and there is no smoke”. Mr. Kevin added that the dumpsite has promoted increase in the number of school dropouts who usually end up in the dump to forage. Drugs and early pregnancy are other unintended consequences of the dumpsite that the school has had to deal with over the years.

Sustainable development goal 4 recommends basic education to be accessible, inclusive, equitable and quality to all including children in urban centers. According to the free primary education programme, every pupil in a public primary school is allocated Ksh. 1,400 per year. This is the total amount for all the needs including learning materials and development cost.

The school lacks a proper perimeter wall and security. Dealing with the effects of the garbage including provision of water and sanitation to the pupils is a cost the school has to grapple with. Even with all these challenges the pupils are still expected to compete with other learners from across the county with favourable conditions.

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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthTechnology

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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Accountability

TI-KENYA STATEMENT ON THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION

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Introduction

The numerous corruption scandals in the recent past have put focus on the effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies and the political leadership in the fight against graft in the country. It has also exposed the weak links between our investigative, prosecutorial and enforcement agencies in the fight against graft.

Transparency International Kenya welcomes the efforts put in response to the numerous corruption scandals. This includes arraigning the accused in court, the vetting of Public Officials and freezing the accounts of the accused among other measures. We hope that this time, unlike what we are used to, there will be serious follow up to ensure that those involved are punished in accordance with the rule of law.

TI-Kenya would like to make the following proposals towards bolstering anti-corruption efforts:

Prosecutions

We note that as far as war on graft is concerned, our problem is not lenient punishment. The problem is a legal system that has failed to deliver justice for Kenyans. There are a number of cases documented by our official agencies about huge amounts of money that has been stolen. There are no commensurate prosecutions to match the loss. Equally important to note, there are few convictions far between. We believe that those accused of corruption should face stringent punishment as provided by the law. This should be followed by recovery of all the money stolen. The law also provides for punitive fines that should be imposed to those found guilty.

Procurement Loopholes

Most of the scandals highlighted involve procurement for goods or services. The special audit report by the Office of Auditor General pointed out loopholes in the IFMIS system that allowed corruption a free hand. The 2015 assessment report by the EACC also indicated weaknesses in the procurement system that predisposed NYS to theft. It recommended measures that were aimed at plugging the gaps in procurement and aligning the processes to the Public Procurement and Disposals Act. Unfortunately, no follow-up seems to have been done. The recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General and EACC on procurement loopholes should be addressed immediately. In particular, the IFMIS system which is used by all government agencies should be reviewed to ensure it serves its purpose – strengthen accountability.

Elaborate Vetting Process

While we acknowledge that it is a good move to vet all Procurement Heads, it is important to note that they are not solely liable for corruption in public institutions. Thus, there is need for a more elaborate vetting framework which targets all public officers in procurement, accounting and the approval chain. It is also important that the vetting exercise has practical timelines for it to achieve its objectives.  We need to get a schedule of the vetting process and most importantly ensure that the vetting exercise is carried out within the provisions of the law in which the rights of public workers are respected.

Lifestyle Audits

Lifestyle audits should be conducted on all public officers. This should be complemented with a robust wealth declaration system for routine asset disclosures. Under Sec. 26(1) of the Public Officers Ethics Act, each state or public officer is required to annually, submit to their relevant responsible commission a declaration of income, assets and liabilities of him/herself, spouse(s) and dependent children under the age of 18 years. It is time to enforce compliance with the law and to put in place mechanisms, aided by technology, for easy processing and follow up of wealth declarations. In addition, we need to re-think the opacity that we have created around wealth declarations. There is no shame in legally acquired wealth. Opacity only helps the corrupt.

National values and Principles of Governance

The Constitution of Kenya gives prominence to national values and principles of governance as enshrined under Article 10 of the Constitution. Among these principles include patriotism, good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability. Further, Article 232 of the Constitution provides for the principles that inform public service which include; high standards of professional ethics; effective and economic use of resources, accountability for administrative acts and transparency among others.

We hold the view that it is the patriotic duty of any state or public officer to resign once the aforementioned values and principles have been questioned. Leadership is required to help rebuild the values and ethics of our nation.

Watchdog Role of Media

We thank the media for their sustained campaign on corruption by not only highlighting corruption scandals in the country but also breaking down for the public to understand its burden. As a watchdog, the media plays an important role in ensuring that the country’s resources are well managed and utilised. We therefore urge the media to keep the anti-corruption campaign alive by highlighting the loopholes used by the corrupt and the damage caused to our society.

Finally, the war against graft will only succeed if it is carried out within the law. All Kenyans must stand up play a part in emancipating our nation from the shackles of greed and theft.

Samuel Kimeu,

Executive Director,

Transparency International Kenya

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