Kibera News Network trains youth from Kibera on citizen journalism

by: August 15th, 2019 comments: 0

Kibera News Network has been training youth from Kibera on citizen journalism and videomaking since March. The group of trainees is composed of 9 youth between 18 and 22 years old, and it’s well gender-balanced (5 females and 4 males). The training has already touched both theoretical and practical topics, such as citizen journalism and reporting, journalism ethics, scriptwriting and creation of news stories, camerawork, video making, editing, and sound.

KNN Training

KNN trainees during a theoretical session on citizen journalism

KNN on the field

KNN trainees on a field training session

KNN on the field

KNN trainees on a field training session

videoediting training

KNN trainees on a video editing session

Through a mixed approach of theoretical training and practical fieldwork, group and individual assignments, and working closely with the trainers, the trainees are now able to develop simple news stories from crafting the idea to the publishing part. From January, KNN has published in total 21 stories, 10 of which were produced entirely by the trainees alone. Out of the total, 3 are the investigative stories that have been published.

youtube videos

With the aim of aligning our mapping work with the reporting work by focusing on the same topics, a group of trainees has incorporated a hard copy of the security map developed by Map Kibera in 2017 in a video on security issues in the slum: “Is it security or insecurity in Kibera?”. The inclusion of geographic information and maps will therefore continue with the experimentation of new embedding techniques in the videos.

insecurity video with map

As part of the training, the trainees have been encouraged to participate in external free workshops on photography organized in Nairobi by CANON East Africa. Knowing also the importance of mentorship and inspiration in the education process, they have also received a one-day motivational talk at Map Kibera’s office from Jacob Otieno Omollo, head of photography and senior editor at Standard Media Group, and Stafford Ondego, sports photographer and founder of SportPicha. Mentorship has then continued with insight on investigative journalism with John-Allan Namu, investigative reporter and co-founder of the independent media house Africa Uncensored.

Jacob Otieno Omollo

Jacob Otieno Omollo on his mentorship session

KNN trainees and trainers with the two mentors: Jacob Otieno Omollo and Stafford Ondego.

KNN trainees and trainers with the two mentors: Jacob Otieno Omollo and Stafford Ondego.

DSC_0459copy

KNN trainees and a trainer with John-Allan Namu.

Moreover, at Map Kibera and KNN, we recognize the value of continuous and periodical assessment of both trainees and trainers. On one hand, the trainers are evaluating both soft skills (teamworking, commitment, general behavior, etc.) and technical competences acquired during the training, through individual assessments and feedback sessions, periodical group reviews of the videos produced by them, and a written exam paired with a field assignment in couples in July. The trainees have been given also a handbook with training material developed by the trainers themselves.

KNN Trainees

KNN trainees and two trainers with the handbook

KNN trainees during review

KNN trainees during a review session

KNN trainees during exams

KNN trainees during their theoretical exam

On the other hand, feedback from the trainees have been collected, both in individual and in group sessions, in order to evaluate the trainers, the training approach and methodology.

 

I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon.
Tom Stoppard

Outcomes and Learnings from Open Schools Kenya mapping in Kangemi

by: June 5th, 2019 comments: 0

Mapping distribution

The schools mapping of the Kangemi slum and associated surroundings was a very successful exercise, and provided much-needed information for everyone from Kangemi’s residents and parents to policy advisers and education experts to governmental education officials. The project brought together youth residents of Kangemi with Map Kibera mappers, who, working closely with local school leaders and advocates for informal schools, mapped nearly 300 schools. These now appear on Map Kibera’s Open Schools Kenya school database. The mapping exercise, possible thanks to the support of Indigo Trust, has brought visibility to these schools, and increased both information and knowledge about the number and kind of schools in Kangemi. It has also equipped schools and activists with a key resource in advocating for improvements to and recognition of these schools.

Kangemi Schools Mapping

Just like in Kibera, before the project began, Map Kibera conducted a survey with parents, teachers and government officials to try and understand the information gap in regards to education. Parents, for example, were interested in the distance of a school from their home, how much a school charges, and the ratio of teachers to students before selection a school for their children. Other data points that were collected included the number of students, availability of toilet, school building materials, electricity availability, number of teachers, and many more.

Map Kibera also talked to teachers and school leaders, and met with a number of important figures in Kangemi education. Particularly supportive throughout the exercise was Kangemi’s Alternative Provision of Basic Education and Training (APBET) coordinator, Evans Onchiri. Evans is a tireless advocate and organizer on behalf of the schools, and he particularly welcomed the addition of detailed data and maps to better support APBET schools (APBET is what the schools are now called which were previously known as “informal” or “non-formal”). Map Kibera found that although there is a government policy to recognize these schools — which would allow them to access more resources, have some oversight in place, and be part of the provision of free basic education guaranteed by law to all children — the process of registering under the policy is not clear and has been stalled over several years. Having a better idea of the number of students served and locations of these schools is essential to pushing forward on this policy. The Sub-County Education Director, Phillip Chirchir, and the area Member of Parliament (MP), Tim Wanyonyi also indicated to Map Kibera that they needed a more comprehensive understanding of the schools in their area.

The schools mapping exercise covered both the schools already on local leaders’ lists, and also unknown schools found directly in the field. From the initial main focus areas of Kangemi, which included Kangemi ward and Mountain View ward, the schools mapping exercise was expanded to other slum areas, following the request of the Sub-County Education Director and the area Member of Parliament. The additional mapped areas are the following: Kibagare slum, Deep Sea slum, and Githogoro slum. All the mapped areas fall into the Westlands Sub-County. The total number of the mapped schools is 282, out of which only 19 are public schools, including pre-primary, primary and secondary levels. Therefore, the majority of schools (263) are APBET schools.

A few outcomes:

Seven youth have been trained in Kangemi on how to collect data using the OpenDataKit app, how to edit maps using JOSM software, and how to upload data onto OpenStreetMap. The youth reported a general satisfaction about the additional skills learned. After the completion of their work, the youth mappers reported raised awareness and general knowledge about their own community. Moreover, the new team of trained mappers in Kangemi could be further involved in updating schools’ information and in other related local developments.

The website Open Schools Kenya has been made mobile-friendly so that it can be easily viewed and used on a smartphone. Previously, due to the difficulty navigating a map on a small screen, the site was best viewed on a laptop. Thanks to feedback from users at schools, we prioritized making sure that they can also navigate the site using their phone’s mobile browser. This makes the data much easier to access. Additionally, we worked on the submission form for data corrections, making it more user-friendly and better suited to the needs of schools to submit changes.

The schools and teachers have been very happy about the project. In the first phase, they reported interest in knowing the location of their own school and of the other schools in the area, in particular, to better know the number of pupils, the facilities and the services provided by the other schools. After the mapping exercise was completed and the schools received the printed map, they reported surprise at being able to see the outcomes of the project. In fact, during past experiences, many researchers went in the area collecting data without going back afterward for community restitution and feedback. Moreover, they reported general excitement for being able to locate their own school on the map and to be able to display the printed map in their office for multiple purposes. The schools also highlighted the importance of the online school page. Having their own specific page on OSK, they are now able to easily update the information, advertise and fundraise for their school, and also help engage parents in the community in decision-making about where to send their sons and daughters to school and increase the quality of their education.

Key local education officials were particularly pleased with the outcomes of the mapping exercise. Both Ms. Esther Kimani, the Sub County Quality Assurance Officer, and Mr. Phillip Chirchir, the Sub County Director of Education, highlighted the importance of being able to locate the schools, especially APBET schools, and to have the head teacher’s contact for each school on the OSK website. They are now able to better reach out to the schools and advise the Ministry of Education about their needs.

Map Kibera is now collaborating with education specialists from local organizations Each Rights and African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) to include the data and findings of the mapping in their advocacy and policy advising. With their assistance, already Map Kibera has presented the schools’ map to the National Council for Nomadic Education (NACONEK), which oversees APBET country-wide, at a joint meeting discussing schools information and potential mapping of all the APBET schools in Nairobi. Map Kibera has also been working with the Kangemi Resource Centre, a local CBO, to establish a workspace for the Kangemi mappers and to develop joint plans for updating the schools’ data regularly. All three of these key partners also presented at the launch event, which allowed them to connect with the various Kangemi school leaders and share some of their advocacy work.

The schools mapping in Kangemi and beyond led to an increased awareness of existing schools and resources within the community itself. As a teacher from a school in Githogoro slum stated, the schools in these marginalized areas are usually left out from development in Westlands. Both the map and the website are therefore crucial to make visible and clear their presence in order to assure their inclusion into the public education system and the overall education policymaking and planning.

Digital mapping and governance: the stories behind the maps

by: January 28th, 2012 comments: 0

Throughout October and November 2011, Plan Kwale worked through Map Kibera Trust with Primoz Kovacic and I, along with 4 young people from Kibera (Zack Wambua and Maureen Omino) and Mathare (Jeff Mohammed and Javin Ochieng), to conduct digital mapping exercises to support ongoing youth-led development processes in Kwale county. One of the important lessons learned through the Trust’s work in Kibera and Mathare is that the stories behind the mapping work are important for understanding the processes that contribute to a situation as represented on a map. To tell these stories and to complement the data collection and mapping work done by the youth in Kwale, the Map Kibera Trust team worked with the Kwale youth to set up platforms to share this information nationally and internationally. Sharing the important work being done in Kwale will hopefully bring greater visibility to the issues which may in the longer term lead to greater impact.

Sharing stories of local governance

To support their work on social accountability, the Kwale Youth and Governance Consortium mapped over 100 publicly and privately funded community-based projects. The projects were supported by the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Local Area Development Fund (LATF), NGOs and private donors. As one channel of sharing this information, the Consortium set up a blog called Nuru ya Kwale (Light of Kwale). According to KYGC the blog “features and addresses issues concerning promotion of demystified participatory community involvement in the governance processes towards sustainable development. We therefore expect interactivity on issues accruing around social accountability.” This involves sharing evidence about various projects and stories from the community.

One example is the documentation of the Jorori Water project in Kwale; through the mapping work, the Governance team collected details of the constituency development fund (CDF) project. The funding allocated to upgrade the water supply for the community was 6,182,960 ksh (approximately 73,000.00 USD). From their research the KYGC identified that the Kenya Open Data site reported that the full funding amount has been spent. A field visit to the site however revealed that project was incomplete and the community is still without a stable water supply, despite the fact that the funding has been “spent.”

Read more about the questions the team raised in terms of the governance of CDF projects, including the detailed the project implementation process and some reflections on why the project stalled. This is information on community experiences (tacit information) that is well-known in a localized context but has not been documented and shared widely. New media tools, a blog in this case, provide free (if you have access to a computer and the internet) platforms for sharing this information with national and international audiences.

Addressing violence against children and child protection

Another blog was set up by the Kwale Young Journalists. The Young Journalists, registered in 2009, have been working with Plan Kwale on various projects, including Violence against Children campaigns. The group has been working to set up a community radio station in Kwale to report on children’s issues. Thus far, their application for a community radio frequency has encountered several challenges – new media provides an interim solution and will allow the team to share their stories and network with partners on a national and internal stage.

The Kwale Young Journalists worked with Jeff Mohammed, a young award-winning filmmaker from Mathare Valley. The YETAM project not only equips young people with skills, but through peer-learn establishes connections between young people working on community issues throughout Kenya. The programme also provides young people with life skills through experiential learning – Jeff reflects on his experience in Kwale and says:

“My knowledge didn’t come from books and lecturers it came from interest, determination and persistence to know about filmmaking and this is what I was seeing in these Kwale youths. They numbered 12 and they were me. They are all in their twenties and all looking very energetic, they had the same spirit as mine and it was like looking at a mirror. I had to do the best I could to make sure that they grasp whatever I taught.”

Jeff worked with the Young Journalists on a short film called “the Enemy Within.” The film, shot with flip-cameras, tells the story of 12-year-old girl who is sold into indentured labour by her parents to earn money for her family. During the time she spends working, the young girl “falls prey of her employer (Mr.Mtie) who impregnates her when she is only 12 years old.” Jeff reflects that “early pregnancies are a norm in the rural Kwale area and what the young filmmakers wanted to do is to raise awareness to the people that its morally unacceptable to impregnate a very young girl, in Enemy Within the case didn’t go as far because the village chairman was bribed into silence and didn’t report the matter to higher authorities.” This is a common scenario in Kwale, and the young journalists plan to use the film in public screenings and debates as part of their advocacy work in the coming months.

Jeff and the Kwale Young Journalists shot the film in four days – they travelled to Penzamwenye, Kikoneni and also to Shimba Hills national park to shoot 7 scenes for the movie. Read more about Jeff’s reflections on working with the Kwale Young Journalists on his blog.

Sharing ecotourism resources

The Dzilaz ecotourism team – a group that encourages eco-cultural tourism in Samburu region of Kwale count – also integrated social media into their work. During the last week (November 8th-12th) the group set up a blog to market the community resources, services and products. They also plan to document eco-culture sites and the impact that eco-tourism can have on the community. As of November 10th, 2011 the Dzilaz team had already directed potential clients to their website and thus secured a booking through the information they had posted.

The importance of telling the stories behind the maps

One important component to mapping work is to tell the stories behind the map. The three groups in Kwale are working to build platforms to amplify their grassroots level work in order to share stories and lessons learned; the information documented on the various platforms will hopefully develop over time and contribute to a greater understanding of the processes at a local level – and where youth as young leaders can intervene to begin to change the dynamics of community development.

Cross posted on Linda Raftree’s blog Wait…What? and my health geography blog.

 

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