Jan 04 2008

What can we do for our friends in Kenya?

(Note: Updated to add additional support options, 9:32 am Friday – I’ll keep adding as I find them, so check back if you are interested)

Ethan Zuckerman’s insightful post, Kenya: heartbreak and hope reflects my feelings as

I think of both my friends and colleagues in Kenya on a personal basis, and the larger picture of impact of the events in Kenya on Africa and the world. If you care about the world, about the role of citizen journalism (particularly the interface between online and offline and the bearing of witness to events), read Ethan’s article. He links to many sources of on the ground news, which is critical both to the work in Kenya and our understanding of how we can best be of support.

That brings me to our role in the “hope” part. What do we do to lend our energy to others trying to find peaceful solutions to the unrest in Kenya? Again, our membership in this global village made possible by online connections gives us each a chance to amplify the news from Kenya and bolster the work of the peacemakers. And for me, I am trying to always ask myself how can we do this in a way that does not impose our will upon them, but simply offers our support and resources and they choose what and how to do it. I support peace and you, on the ground, have the knowledge and wisdom to figure out how you want to do that. That’s the beauty of Andrius’ approach for activism and Ethan/Global Voices’ approach for communication.

To that end, here are a few things you can get involved in.

Tireless activist Andrius Kulikauskas of Minciu Sodasoffers a page of ideas here.

Ways to help include:
* making phone calls to Kenya:
http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?KenyansToCall
* write to your foreign minister:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/kenya_free_and_fair/
* join our chat: http://www.worknets.org/chat/
* join Samwel Kongere’s email group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/
* help us create peace songs and videos for Kenya
* share this letter (posted on the Yahoogroups site)
* contribute money for Kenyan “independent thinkers” by PayPal (details at http://www.ms.lt/ – Andrius is updating the Kenya work at the top of his page.)

The Yahoogroup offers you a chance to get updates from activists on the ground, including a project to build a human acrobat pyramid as part of a peace march. Art and beauty as activism. Read the stories from the ground. Then decide what you can do.

What I find interesting is the use of SMS as a communication and activist tool, but what happens when you can’t afford the phone bill? Andrius is seeking and delivering funds to pay for phone cards for peace activists in Kenya using PayPal.

Other Options

  • Ory Okolloh, the Kenyan Pundit, is blogging all the news she can find, even though she has had to leave Kenya and go back to S. Africa. In this post, she is looking for some coding help to do a mashup to record damage on the ground using Google earth – documentation that can be used later in reconciliation processes. (Sending beams, Ory!)
  • Donate to the Kenyan Red Cross.
  • For getting the latest and amplifying that news, keep an eye on Global Voices.
  • List of bloggers covering the situation.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “What can we do for our friends in Kenya?”

  1. Andrius Kulikauskason 04 Jan 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Nancy, Thank you! and here’s our latest update: Here’s the news we have by phone from +254 723 007 877 Amos Obwanga there http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/mendenyo/message/898 Thank you very much if you or anybody might call him.

    I also spoke about 10 pm Kenya time with Amos Obwanga in the Eldoret
    area. The situation is still not very good. For several days they have
    been surrounded by some 1,500 Kalenjin youths who want to drive out the
    Kikuyus and claim the land. Today some of the Kikuyus were moving out
    with police escorts and some are at the police station. They are able
    to head towards the Kikuyu homeland in the east. However, the Lou
    laborers remain and are not able to head to their homeland in the west
    because of roadblocks mounted by the Kalenjin militia. Also the price
    of travel is increasing. Amos had some breakfast but otherwise they
    were trying to gather some food without great success. During the day,
    Amos went into town, but all of the cash stations were closed and he
    could not pick up the bit of cash that we have sent him. He also made an
    effort, as I suggested, to talk with some of the Kikuyu people but they
    were afraid to talk. Amos and others are vulnerable. Amos was relieved
    to hear that we intend to send some phone credits, he said that would be
    very helpful. My hope is that we support him so that he and others
    could get food and travel as they decide.

    We are making a list of ways to help http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?HelpKenyans and Kenyans to call http://www.worknets.org/wiki.cgi?KenyansToCall

  2. Steve Kemperon 28 Sep 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Hi,

    I’m going to Kenya in November, on a short term 10 day mission trip. What advice would you have for me and my group, to provide the most effective and efficient help to the most amount of people? What to do, what to bring, what to give?

    Any thoughts you have, or another resource to which you could point me, would be appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Steve Kemper
    stephen.kemper@gmail.com
    303-587-0915

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.
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