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Community radio as a bottom-up platform to empower slums to engage their leaders by packaging and disseminating their own content (att.19/12

To enhance the capacity of slums information sources, gatherers and disseminaters and use our Ghetto FM radio to amplify their needs &issues

Photo of Mukami Mathai

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

For a long time, media stories about urban slums have always been in form of interviews by mainstream journalists and in a third person passive voice. The news often glosses on the real issues as mere reports for the day with no form of feedback from those the report was directed to. Sometimes the reports never addresses the real issues and are slanted towards the media house interests thus distorting the reason for slum residents offering the interviews. This idea therefore, endeavors to solve the problem of distortion by visiting journalists through the creation of a platform and a communication tool for slum residents to tell their own stories and share them with the external media. To that effect, SIDAREC has a radio station -Ghetto FM to pilot this approach. The idea is to use radio and a media mix of locally created channels of passing messages including music, graffiti, art, puppetry and meeting bases where real issues are discussed. The Idea explores ways of empowering slum residents to enable them develop their information content about challenges they face daily and package it in the way they want it understood and disseminate it themselves through Ghetto FM radio. It is believed that if given a chance, communities are best placed to offer meaningful suggestions to complex issues such as poverty, housing, Land tenure and infrastructure; and solutions to deadly calamities such fires, landslides, flooding, congestion, pollution they encounter daily and periodically

WHO BENEFITS?

The idea beneficiaries are slum residents. The information gathering will involve all with youth and women who usually have the greatest influence taking the lead in hosting talk shows, interviews, discussion forums, debates and networking to have their voices shared by other media houses and official government representatives. Secondary beneficiaries include the mainstream media who will get an in-depth knowledge & news of underlying issues often not accessible to them, and Government agencies

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

Globally, all efforts are being made to empower slum dwellers to work and reason together to solve very pressing issues. In Kenya, there is a federation of slum dwellers whose effort is to lobby policy on land issues especially land tenure whose aim is to legalize slum land they occupy. This connects with our idea in that a communication forum will further boost their cause by having a platform to interact and reach more people than attending a one-hour forum. There are other organizations targeting the slums with a myriad of educational messages, distributing fliers and posters with messages on breastfeeding, hygiene, sanitation, disease prevention among others. All these are good efforts that have a measure of impact. However to further advance their agendas, radio and a media mix approach will hasten the process of impact. The project will amplify responses to efforts made to curb effects of climate change such as construction and installation of water storage containers, toilets, proper drainage, water recycling and utilizing renewable energy. Our idea of utilizing a radio station that already exists to disseminate educative information disaster preparedness from the effects of climate change is feasible. The Idea is based on people centered principle that is inclusion, participation and ownership. It'll encourage sharing ideas, advocate for gender balance & utilization of available resources such as contracting the local workforce to fulfill construction needs. This idea is scalable in reaching other slum areas by creating partnerships with stakeholders from slums.

IN-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Yes, for two or more years

EXPERTISE

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

  • Yes

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I am the Director of Slums Information Development & Resource Centers (SIDAREC) a slum communication organization based and working in slums of Nairobi . I am a journalist and 10 years ago I left a Government broadcasting agency to teach slum residents how to tell their stories through their media.

IS THIS A NEW OR RECENT IDEA FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION? HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM WHAT YOU ARE ALREADY DOING?

Since 1996, SIDAREC's main goal has been to reduce apathy among the underprivileged community through dissemination of accurate, consistent and relevant information in addition to designing and implementing responsive social development programs. Our radio station is a platform for slum communities to interact with local leaders, share information, talent development, & discuss issues affecting them. However, our programs have not strongly addressed the effects of climate change on the slum communities. The Idea seeks to curb perennial illnesses and disaster occurrences such has current floods caused by El nino rains, which we have been planning for a period of time. We're currently in the process of negotiating partnership with the local government, who are essential partners, as they have the capacity in terms of resources & manpower to accelerate the idea into a reality. Moreover, our idea endeavors to create a lasting solution to a current, & recurring problem & quite critical.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SIMILAR INITIATIVES? WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIFFERENTLY? WHAT UNIQUE ADVANTAGES DO YOU HAVE?

The government, fellow nonprofits & others continue to tackle emerging slum challenges. However, what makes our idea different is that Ghetto FM is an important mouthpiece to relay accurate issues & their solutions,as it heavily relies on content produced by the beneficiaries. We've been in community development for 15 Years,hence we are familiar with our environment, that is, the social issues and most importantly the human nature of slum dwellers. Sensitization & a feedback system in regards to environmental consciousness is needed. We are best suited to coordinate the proposed idea to its effective and efficient completion because: 1.Ownership of a community radio station based inside one of our target slum and a credible source of climatic change information. 2.Ghetto FM has a large database of case stories of beneficiaries which unknown to them relate to climatic changes. 3.Good relationship with the beneficiaries who form part of the broadcasting team besides being the main source of broadcast content. 4. SIDAREC is beneficiaries’ first contact for help, hence well positioned & trusted to conscientize them on the and how they unknowingly contribute to climatic change

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR IDEA?

Some of our unanswered questions include: 1. How to change cultural myths beliefs and behavior associated with climatic changes. Urban slums are cosmopolitan Nature which means majority residents tag along their village cultures to the city. In some communities, men defecate on gullies behind their dwellings as their culture does not allow them to mix their feces with women and children. Some use polythene papers and toss the contents on rooftops. This is commonly known as "flying toilets". 2. Resources to run an impactful sustainable communication campaign on climatic change 3. How to alter slum dwellers apathetic mindset on proper garbage disposal and build a sustainable behavior change

WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?

Projects targeting change of human behavior especially those embedded in cultural norms and myths take a lifetime to get solved. In Kenya, new slums are still sprouting up while the old ones still have room for new inhabitants. Slum issues keep re-inventing themselves in different forms but still causing the same damage to the environment effects are still dire Mass communication as has been with the mainstream media, does little to target a message to a specific population segment for it to have a lasting impact and cause change. With community media like Ghetto FM the messages are specific to an issue happening to a specific population and the feedback route is easy and accessible to them

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BASED ON FEEDBACK FROM YOUR COMMUNITY?

The Idea has not changed, but has been slightly modified to include important feedback we gathered from testing the prototyping worksheet on slum dwellers. This includes: 1. Mobilizing local leadership to implement the set by-laws in regards to imposing penalties on improper garbage disposal and basic infrastructure obstruction 2. Publicize youth groups & local government efforts of encouraging slum communities resilience to climate change, and link them to opportunities as an incentive. 3. lobbying the local authority to avail garbage collection material and collection trucks while at the same time driving a community campaign to educate the community of the need to be proactive in managing effects of climate change by being responsible citizens and policing on each other. The community still feels comfortable discussing the idea with SIDAREC and their input only reinforces our resolve to pursue the idea especially when they beef it up and show excitement in helping us build it further .We anticipate that our approach and strategies will continue to improve and follow the route that causes higher impact especially when the community participates as a key partner in it's future implementation. Moreover, we have a stakeholders’ engagement strategy that includes beneficiaries where we discuss an Idea up-to the implementation process. In engaging the community early into the discussion plans, they own the process and understand the milestones to be achieved and outcomes

WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?

In the long run, this idea will will achieve the following:- 1. We want a community conscious about their environment and overall participate in efforts to curb climate change regardless of their daily hustles to meet their basic needs. 2. We want the community to understand the small things they do unknowingly that contribute to climatic change. 3. We want the communities to know what role they can play in the global climatic change campaign. 4. We want to seek partnerships with donors to roll out the idea, and form networks with other community radios based in the slums. 5. Finally, we want to document a detailed “Communication strategy to curb effects of climatic change in slums”

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How many people does the idea aim to reach?. SIDAREC works in densely populated slums covering 55% of Nairobi population of 4.3 million people. Ghetto FM live and online streaming covers the entire country. However, conversations are skewed towards disadvantaged slum areas where the radio is based. Our idea is influenced by UNESCO's assertion that, enabled local radios provide better social service programs built on issue-based debates of community concerns. http://en.unesco.org/radioict/home.

How does your idea connect to the broader system of the city where you plan to implement?

Nairobi City has a long term city plan to eradicate slums by constructing affordable housing in our National vision 2030. However, moving people takes time as the number planned for continue to increase either through new immigrants from other slums or population increase. Our idea aims at making slum residents enjoy a dignified existence before the Government fulfills the settlement promise. Similarly, Nairobi city has volumes of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) depicting critical areas of environmental degradation requiring action. Our idea intends to design coping methods as the residents await government's implementation of the reports which could take time. The idea compliments other stakeholders in slum development in areas of housing, health and infrastructure both from government and the NGO community who are potential participants in discussion forums as experts in their specific areas. Communication Authority of Kenya(CAK) gave us radio frequencies from our past work
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Attachments (6)

presentation dar.ppt

The attached upload is a presentation of Slums Information Development and Resource Centers(SIDAREC) work with communication in Nairobi slum areas. The presentation was made in Daresalaam- Tanzania, during an international media for development forum for Africa. It shows different channels of communication applied in social development by the organization to address poverty and other issues experienced by slum communities. It focuses on the use of Ghetto FM community radio for slum journalists.

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Photo of Mukami Mathai
Team

Dear Chioma,
Thank you for your follow up comments. We envision to do all the activities as they all are important for impact. However our most 3 priority areas will be:-
 • Create “barefoot journalists” to produce radio content in drama, educational messages, alerts, music, story-telling, interviews and discussion forums.
• Waste management “ trash is cash” enterprises for youth and women
• Production of an audio/visual documentary on slum community mitigation activities on climate change

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