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Elveza Media is a community-based online platform that reports on issues affecting communities in the North and West Constituencies of Kajiado County.

The platform seeks to encourage public participation in community affairs. It gives residents a platform to discuss and come up with creative solutions to challenges in their various localities and neighbourhoods.

An ongoing issue recently highlighted on the platform relates to traditional customs and how they may compromise development in Kisamis town, Kajiado West Sub-County.

Specifically, a traditional custom demanding respect for elders has resulted in conflict in the town between the youth and their fathers over a water project.

The conflict, which threatens to tear the town apart, arises from allegations of irresponsible management of the project by a committee of elders that has resulted in dry taps over a period of several years.

Claiming lack of transparency and accountability, the youth want to be allowed the opportunity to manage the project, but the elders won’t let them.

After highlighting the issue, the local administration in Kisamis is taking the lead in addressing tradition-related challenges. The administration is involving all the stakeholders including the youth, the wazees and the women.

The Kisamis example is relatable in communities around the country still steeped in tradition. It shows how misapplication of otherwise useful customs such as respect for elders may compromise service provision and other aspects of development.

Communities are often similar in their traditions and therefore mirror one another and can learn from each other. In this fact lies KCOMNET’s objective under the Sikika. net initiative, which is focused on creating space for community-based media platforms to collaborate and share, inspire people to act, build connections around a cause and start conversations to drive momentum.

Another online platform this writer is involved in is Dagoretti News, a community newsletter that caters for communities is locations such as Dagoretti Corner, Riruta,  Kawangware among other areas in Dagoretti South Sub-County, Nairobi County.

Among issues highlighted on Dagoretti News is the role groups such as boda-boda operators could play if mobilised to ensure transparency and accountability through taxation. The article borrows from research and examples from around East Africa to show how, despite their perceived unruliness, it may be possible to mobilise the operators to hold leaders to account on how their taxes are utilised.

The crucial role of information in transparency and accountability was also discussed taking the example of the New Karandini Market. Availability of information allayed concerns of any perception there might have been of corruption in allocation of stalls in the new market when it opens. Involvement of small traders in the entire process prevented the feared eruption of chaos from their evictions. The small traders relocated to the temporary assigned space without incident.

The platform also featured an article calling for investigation of bribery allegations between police officers on patrol and bar owners colluding to keep some bars open after hours in Dagoretti Corner. Similar bribery allegations are known all over the country, indicating how communities share similar challenges as noted above.

A sampling of the target audience on the above highlighted issue indicates that the reporting has been received with some appreciation from members in the communities and localities featured in the platforms.

In so far as the issues have received the attention they deserve, they are confident the challenges will be addressed.

Those I have spoken express the truism that understanding the issues makes it easier to be involved in addressing the challenges. They speak of how they are now invested in the platforms to follow on the local issues being highlighted.

Articles referred to above are can be found on sikika.net. Their titles are as follows:

  • How traditional culture may compromise transparency and accountability
  • The boda-boda phenomenon: Towards reclaiming transparency and accountability through taxation
  • New Karandini Market: The crucial role of information in transparency and accountability
  • Bribery: Investigate the suspicious cycle of handshakes
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