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Eye on Corruption Investigative Journalists Training

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The Eye on Corruption (EoC) project in collaboration with Action for Transparency (A4T) recently organised a two-day training for leading investigative journalists. This training was aimed at improving knowledge and building capacity on reporting on suspected corruption in Kenya. The training also connected Kenyan journalists specialised in covering corruption with journalists in Sweden as well as improve knowledge and user skills of tools to uncover corruption.

Nine journalists participated in the training, which included training on methods on investigative journalism and review of foreign aid such as use of digital tools and research databases that are easily accessible online that could help track foreign aid.

The training was mainly steered by two renowned investigative journalists, Caroline Jemsby and Nils Rosare who have been involved on large investigative reports such as the Panama papers and reports on arms smuggling into Syria.

The journalists were also given an opportunity to partner with EoC journalists in investigating various corruption cases with hope to strengthen cross-border networks and with an aim of producing high impact investigative stories, that will be published locally and in Sweden.

 

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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthMediaSocial AuditTechnology

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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AccountabilityHealthMedia

Mothers ignorant of Linda Mama miss out on free delivery services

Diana Kendi

In October 2016, the government, through the Health ministry, launched the Linda Mama, Boresha Jamii programme under the National Hospital Insurance Fund. The aim was to ensure pregnant women and infants have access to quality and affordable health services. Diana Kendi, A4T grantee, investigation highlights the lack of awareness of the program amongst mothers in Nairobi, Kajiado and Kiambu counties.

Since the introduction of the programme, county hospitals no longer receive cash for providing maternity services, but the funds to cater for the free maternity are paid through the NHIF as reimbursements for services offered or a better package for women.

Read more at The Star Newspaper.

Read more at The Star Newspaper.

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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthMediaSocial AuditTechnology

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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AccountabilityEducationHealthMedia

Toxic sip: How safe is your bottled water?

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A4T grantee, and award winning journalists, Stellar Murumba, has published a story she has been investigating on the safety of bottled water being sold in Nairobi.

Four out of 10 samples of bottled water picked from different areas of Nairobi that were submitted for analysis at the government chemist, were found to be unfit for human consumption. The sampled water had high levels of fluoride – in excess of the World Health Organisation guideline limits of 0.3 parts per mililitre (ppm) for drinking water. They also had high levels of iron and were alkalinity.

Despite the immense health risks associated with excessive chemical components in drinking water, Kenya Bureau of Standards Corporate Communication Manager Patricia Kimanthi said that any water available in the market is compliant as per the Kenya and East Africa Community minimum and maximum standards.

Read Stellar Murumba’s article at the Daily Nation, Healthy Living, September 25, 2018. Click here for the online article.

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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthMediaTechnology

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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AccountabilityActivitiesEducationHealthMediaTechnology

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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AccountabilityMedia

A4T at the 2018 Annual Media Summit and Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA)

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The Action for Transparency (A4T) team was represented at the 2018 Annual Media Summit and Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) held from 1st to 3rd August 2018 in Nairobi. The Annual Media Summit is a meeting of media practitioners and other stakeholders designed to deliberate on pertinent issues affecting the sector, organised by the Media Council of Kenya. This year’s theme: Media & the Big Four Agenda anchors the role of the media in not only promoting robust public debate on the Agenda, but also encouraging the sharing of ideas and holding its implementers to account.

The Media Council of Kenya also runs the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) in May each year. The awards recognise excellence in journalism, encourage professionalism in the practices of journalism as provided for by the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya and inspire Development Journalism in Kenya in respect to Vision 2030. The journalism awards encourage journalists to excel and adopt a professional style that is acutely conscious of its role as an agent of change and development in the country.

Transparency International Kenya through the A4T project supported the Good Governance Reporting Award during the 2018 Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) held on 3rd August 2018 in Nairobi. John Kamau of the Daily Nation won the Print Category while Wellingtone Nyongesa of Radio Maisha bagged the Radio category. The TV Category went to NTV’s Andrew Ochieng.

The Good Governance Reporting Award is geared towards upholding the fight against graft, promotion of the rule of law, ethical practices and national cohesion in matters of governance. The articles/stories entered in this category exhibit professionalism and inclination to promote national values as provided for by the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.

TI-Kenya’s Executive Director Samuel Kimeu noted that the media is one important player in the fight against corruption whose role should not be underestimated.

Mr. Samuel Kimeu – TI-Kenya Executive Director speaking at the 2018 Annual Media Summit

“As a watchdog, the media plays an important role in ensuring that the country’s resources are well managed and utilized. 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,” said Kimeu.

According to Media Council’s Deputy CEO and Programs Manager Victor Bwire, the Good Governance Reporting is key because it fosters transparency and accountability in the use and management of public resources.

Good governance is cornerstone of the watchdog role of the media,” said Bwire.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, who was the Chief Guest at the awards, celebrated the two reporters who uncovered bribery in the House describing them as brave. It had earlier been reported that the journalists were summoned to appear before parliament over the expose but the Speaker confirmed otherwise.

Hon. Muturi cautioned Members of Parliament against their obsession with “summoning” individuals noting that such powers should be used sparingly and only when necessary. He noted that corruption has led to loss of credibility in both MPs and journalists and called for the need to deal with the vice.

The A4T project continues to empower Journalists primarily in Nairobi County to actively counteract corruption and mismanagement of public funds. Engagement with journalists under the A4T project has been achieved through: Media Forums where journalists are provided with a platform to discuss and share ideas on issues affecting effective reporting especially on corruption in the Education and Health sectors; and, capacity building for journalists mainly on investigative and data journalism. It is hoped that these interventions will result in an increase in the level of interest and quality of stories on accountability issues affecting the Education and Health sectors.

 

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AccountabilityMedia

2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)

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The 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published by Transparency International, highlights that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while further analysis shows journalists and activists in corrupt countries risk their lives every day in an effort to speak out. Kenya scored 28 points out of the possible 100, a slight improvement from 26 points in 2016 and 25 in 2015. However, the score is still lower than the combined average score for Africa, which is 32.
The survey indicates that countries with the least protection for press and non- governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption. The findings are very much a reflection of the situation in Kenya particularly in view of  events after the 2017 General Elections by Government targeting NGOs in the governance sector and curtailing of media freedoms during a shutdown of major broadcasters on 30th January 2018 resulting from covering of the opposition’s ‘Swearing In’ ceremony.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43. Unfortunately, compared to recent years, this poor performance is nothing new.

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