Monday, November 28, 2011

How to use media for advocacy, activism

Since activism is a means of changing and shaping public and government agenda, mass media with a massive reach is pivotal in passing their messages across. This vital relationship makes media to be, perhaps, the most influential tool to be mastered in making advocacy and activism a success.
Learning the use of media makes it important for advocacy.
Earlier on July this year workers at Ministry of Education in Jogoo House B, Nairobi reported to work to find their offices chained by activist protesting loss of free primary education fund. The activists jamming the corridors demanded to immediate sucking of Prof Sam Ongeri and Ole Kiyapi as the minister and PS respectively.
Lead by activist Okiya Okoiti Omtata, they managed the first use of media called creating news. Within a short time all national and international news outlets were at scene to cover the dramatic event. What thrilled the journalist was how the activists managed to bypass the security personnel at the ministry to pass the locked offices.
Equally tied to this is an activist using pegging of news through the use of famous events and international days to raise awareness of their cause. This will call for use of special editions and pullouts in the media. Caution though should be taken not to compete with other powerful news sources ands organizations.
Secondly, by having adverts on media channels without overt persuasive tone characterized in commercial ones should be initiated. The advert should raise controversy and appeal to human interests as the activists has the power to shape the message to their interest.
The only flipside of this method is that adverts are expensive and seen as biased by the audience as compared to creating news.
On the other hand press conferences, campaigns and talk shows enable activists to meet the press directly and highlight their agenda in detail and offer clarity. On meeting the press the activist should be available in person.
 Writing OpEds on newspapers is a sure way of directly reaching an audience. The OpEds should be of high quality, written in editorial guidelines of the media house and sent on time. The same article can be syndicated to all media houses at the same time (to avoid sending stale already published pieces) to increase chances of getting published.
Starting with letters to the editor an activistis can end up with a column like John Githongo (The EastAfrican), Maina Kiai (The Star) and Okiya Omtata (Nation) amongst others.
Later after a rapport has been struck with the media house, an activits can seat a the editorial board with more power to shape an agenda.
Lastly, is embracing of new media which can evade government censorship, media monopoly and reach a wider audience at a reduced cost. arab revolution this year is a good example of the power of this new channle.
Running an active website, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter accounts for sharing information and ralling support is an effective way of passing an agenda across which starts with online community before spilling to public and government agenda. a perfetc is #OccupyWallStreet tag on twiiter whicg did spread across the globe.
To wind up using sites like is also helpful to an activists. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guest Blogger: Carbide used to ripen bananas causing cancer scare by Aquinas Nyakundi

Photo: Courtesy
I received an email earlier about the use of carbide in ripening banana away from the natural cycle so as to attract more customers and reap maximum profit i  would wish to share.

Have you ever wondered where some vendors selling sweet bananas like the ones using wheelbarrows on Nairobi's Airport North-Ring road roundabouts source them in such huge supply and uniform ripeness!

Some readers who love bananas and eat a lot of them needed to realize that the bananas available in the market are 'forced ripe' by dipping in water mixed with Carbide. 
The consumption of these bananas is 100% sure to cause Cancer or some other infection in the stomach. Therefore, such type of bananas is to be avoided.

But, how does one recognize the bananas ripened with the help of Carbide?
Bananas which are ripened naturally are dark yellow and there are small black spots here and there on the bananas and the stalks are black. While those which are forced ripe with Carbide are lemon yellow and their stalks are green and moreover they are clear yellow without any black spots.

Now, what is Carbide and how is it harmful?

Carbide is a chemical which if mixed with water, emits heat and the heat emitted by a Close tank mixed with Carbide is even more than that emitted by a LPG Cylinder, so much so it can be used for Gas Cutting (which means the calorific value is so high that it can replace LPG gas).

In the same way, when the bunch of bananas is dipped in the water mixed with Carbide, the gas gets absorbed into the bananas and they get ripe.

However, the banana vendors are not that literate and so they do not know the exact proportion of Carbide to be used for a dozen of bananas.

As a result they end up using excess quantity of Carbide which gets absorbed into the bananas and ultimately enters our stomach. Due to this excess use of Carbide, tumors can be formed in our digestive system.
Aquinas Nyakundi is a graduate of Communication and Media Tech from Maseno University in Kenya. He is a journalist based in Kisii running an agriculture based blog: Small-Scale Farming Commercialize

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Government, NGO clash over new Public Benefit Bill

The government has urged over 7,000 Non Governmental Organisations, NGOs in the country to demand services from their council elected earlier this year to realize the full potential of the sector which contributed over 130 billion in the economy.

Wanainchi should also be vocal in auditing the NGO whose budget should be 80% help to the community and 2o% on their budget.

“Both stake holders including citizens should report rogue ‘flash disk’ NGOs fleecing donors and communities to the NGO co-ordination board” Amb. Peter Ole Nkuraiya, the executive director of the board told over 100 NGOs in south Nyanza during a workshop in a hotel in Migori town.

Amb. Nkuraiya said the board which was established in 1990 is providing check and balance on credibility of best practices to build confidence and aid impact of the sector in positively helping humanity.

“The government is currently reviewing the Public Benefit Act consisting of three bills in zero draft that would go ahead to seal loopholes in the sector and offer more transparency” the ambassador said.

“The new bill yet to be tabled in the parliament will merger community and  faith based organizations with NGOs under one regulator” he added.

The act seeks to set a tribunal of stake holders which will by pass the minister of national Heritage and culture in charge of the industry as the last arbiter in conflicts. The seek to ease stringent control set by KANU government that feared NGOs were used by Western states in multiparty clamor of 19900s warranting their control.

“As the last resort the minister who is often busy will give the tribunal power to self regulate as an industry” he said adding that it was high time the current NGO Act to be reviewed.

But in a twist of events, National Council of NGOs says it wasn’t consulted in the drafting of the bill which won’t augur well in forging the sector forward.

“Although the NGO Act should be reviewed, the new law seeks to disband us by merging us with Community and Faith Based Organisations. This content is bad and we will lobby MPs to shoot it down if not changed” Kevinnah Loyatum, CEO of NGO National Council said.

Ms. Loyatum says the content of Public Benefit Bill is bad while they are not aware of the other two bills in the new law.

“We don’t know of the other bills which are purported to regulate our industry” Ms Loyatum said insisting that negotiations should go on before tabling the law in parliament.

The workshop also advised NGOs to form county secretariats in overseeing their issues since the new constitution has done away with district level.

“The new constitution may lock out organizations not complaint with it making it mandatory for NGOs to register with the board through new counties: George Obondo, the Nyanza representative for national councils of NGO said.