During Kenya’s 2007-8 post-election violence, communication technologies were used to trigger and facilitate violence. Mobile phones in particular were used to spread hate speech and organize attacks. With Kenya’s 2013 elections fast approaching, we have the opportunity to tap into these same communication channels, particularly mobile phones, to prevent and de-escalate tensions and violence.
SNA-K is working proactively to make mobile technology a leading tool in ensuring a peaceful and participatory election process in 2013 and in civic engagement and violence prevention beyond.
Given the role that mobile technology played in stoking tensions and organizing violence at the local level in 2007-8, it is crucial to ensure that peace and civic education leaders in grassroots communities are able to tap into the power of mobile technology to walk communities through the 2013 elections and prevent conflict in key communities nationwide.
SNA-K uses mobile technology as a tool for civic education, civic engagement, and dialogue to help Kenyans realize their common needs irrespective of political divides. We provide a neutral source of credible information and peace promotion. Rumors, misinformation, and confusion are key contributors to violence: getting people actionable information at the right time is crucial, and SNA-K’s use of SMS enables immediate, trusted and effective communication.
Understanding local conflict dynamics and responding to local triggers of conflict are key elements to prevent and contain conflict. SNA-K uses a scalable grassroots approach that builds on local knowledge and positive leadership to reach the largest possible audience in collaboration with national institutions, such as the NSC, IEBC and NCIC.
While it began programs in Baba Dogo, Korogocho, Mathare, Huruma, Kariobangi North, and Kamukunji in Nairobi and Narok in the Rift Valley, Sisi ni Amani Kenya has recently worked with local peace groups to bring its SMS-based programming to seven new areas: Dandora, Burnt Forest, Eldoret, Nakuru, Transmara West, Transmara East, and Sotik. The SMS-based programming is available to subscribers through USSD code *762#. Subscribers are able to dial in for free from any Safaricom line to subscribe and receive SMS from SNA-K.