Time is running out for civic education and the sooner various stakeholders hit the ground the better. Never the less we have civil society organizations that are already on ground doing the noble and holistic venture of educating the citizens on matters of elections and the new rules and regulations that will govern the coming plebiscite in Kenya. REPACTED has been working hand in hand with UNDP “AMKENI wa KENYA” in ensuring that Kenyan citizens are armed with the relevant information.
The coming Kenyan general election will be one of a kind taking into account that it will be held under a new constitutional dispensation and Kenyans will be voting in a new president with an extra five more leaders in the names of a Senator,MP,Govenor,Women representative and Ward representative. One boggling matter is the issue of the boundaries of the new constituencies to be carved out of the current ones. This is a subject that is being handled by the IEBC but with politicians showing some queer vested interest. Apart from this we have matters touching on the constitution i.e. social accountability that REPACTED has been handing in terms of holding forums and outreaches in Rongai and Subukia constituency located in the vast cosmopolitan county of Nakuru. As we get ready and prepare our selves for this gauntlet task of voting in new leaders, the onus is on us the people of Kenya in making sure that this time round we get it right and straight in ensuring that the process will be peaceful and devoid of the skirmishes and violence that was witnessed in the year 2008. For a Fledging democracy to be attained REPACTED has rolled out all its programs touching on civic education and we are out there guns blazing and watch out for this space.
On this day commemorating 100yrs since the inaugural marking of this so great an effort in recognizing the position and the germane of women in this fabric called society REPACTED through the office of the Officer in Charge Nakuru Prisons was there to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women.
That not withstanding, the girl child was fully advocated for with echoes on her access to education, economic and social justice.
The event to grace this day was held at the Nakuru (Rift Valley – Kenya) Main Male Prisons to create awareness among the male folk who influence/perpetrate on women’s rights. Equality and equity in our society was preached and subjection to violence and oppression was said to be things that can be eradicated through educating the girl child.
In his speech read to the inmates by Mr. Lemmy the Duty Officer representing the Officer in Charge, called on them to respect and treat women right and protect them from diseases like HIV/ AIDS by being and remaining faithful to one woman only. On issue family matters, he stated that for women to grow and develop them they need the male support at running home affairs like provision of basic needs coupled with love and concern of the happening around the home. He reminded them of what actually brings 55% of male individuals to prison was in one way or another related to violence (rape and sexual violence)against women and sometimes even murder.
Choreographed dances and skits performed by REPACTED (Sawwa Dancer) magnet theatre practitioners depicting injustices by the father to his family who takes away income generated by his family member to squander with other women was well enacted and showed that which leads to poverty, neglect and desperation among the women folk.
The inmate themselves had their story to tell with a skit on family life of a husband not performing his duties appropriately around the home and drinks himself to sorry state that has led the wife to beating him up and was now facing jail term on assault charges on the husband. This also among the many reasons for the 30% of women jailed today here in Kenya with assault/murder charge conferred to them.
The many forms of discriminations scarring our women must end in order that prosperity is achieved within any society and thus put an end to hunger and poverty.
“Mainstream medicine would be way different if they focused on prevention even half as much as they focused on intervention…!with the dwindling fortunes in funding of HIV interventions programs I hope that many organization have been giving priority to ways and means that will and has been making sure that sustainability of there programs is at its best. In recent years, the global coordination of efforts from the international aid community and national governments has been very successful in raising to unprecedented levels, the overall resource envelope available for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and care. This effort has been instrumental in providing the necessary resources for responding to the humanitarian crisis created by the epidemics. However, recent developments in the architecture of donor funding priorities and constraints in the domestic capacity to raise resources have imposed new and more stringent limits in the capacity of local governments and other development partners to sustain the HIV/AIDS response. In REPACTED all of our programs that touch on matters of health and civic education have always been sustainable. This has been made possible due to the fact that every time REPACTED embarks on a project, capacity building is given priority in terms of Resource mobilization that ensures that the project’s activities are sustainable and rolled out to other new regions with the noble intention of making these project’s an all inclusive and citizens owned project. This has always gone along way in making sure that the projects are sustainable and lives beyond the project life span. REPACTED is now in Molo constituency of Nakuru County engaging in a program to combat and deal with TB, a program being funded by Global fund and managed by Kanco,a consortium of like minded NGO’S and CBO’s of which REPACTED is a member. As we face tough financial times due to shrinking donor funding, I think it is prudent enough for us patterns in this field to come up with ways and means of integrating HIV, TB and other health related issues with all our programs for A healthy attitude is contagious but we should not wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier and disseminate positive health messages to the masses out there. In REPACTED we are a carrier and conveys of positives health messages.
Accountability Public Forum, Devolution Public Sensitization Forum are some of the key activities REPACTED has used to engage citizens in increase the number of persons reading and discussing on the contents of the new constitution with main focus on Devolution, Leadership and Integrity and Citizen Engagement.
REPACTED through its messages promote civic maturity fostering an active citizens’ participation in social economic development whilst democratically enhancing self – governance.
In a peace meeting organized by the Release Political Prisoners recently (13th February, 2012 ) and targeting the Internally Displaced People in Rongai District of the larger Nakuru County, REPACTED delivered messages on functions of the County Government, increased citizens’ participation in policy making of county developmental issues, county and leadership structures and the making of county committees.
It is in such forums that REPACTED potentially contribute towards building the peoples’ capacity which triggers inquest in governance and policy making processes and follow up mechanisms to ensure accountability of public officers and elected representatives.
REPACTED has teamed with the District Commissioners office in Rongai in its implementation of the new constitution as stipulated in the list of agenda of the Rapid Response Initiative aimed actively engaging the broad community involvement in finding practical and immediate actions to social and civic issues widespread in their locales.
Together with partners from this District, REPACTED has sawn seeds of civic empowerment
Local residents find a platform to air their views and grievances and also a more open and favorable state to engage in civic discussions with stakeholders in projects initiated for interventions, fellow citizens and the administration.
REPACTED has been conducting a civic education project touching on the aspect of devolved government as enshrined in the constitution. The project is funded by UNDP through the AMKEMI Wa Kenya. Through Theatre outreaches, festivals, road shows and forums REPACTED seeks to enhance citizen participation in the setting up of a people centered, accountable and responsive devolved government in Nakuru County by creating awareness and improving knowledge on devolution. The organization has also been and continues to build the capacity of local groups and opinion leaders on advocacy and monitoring of devolved government at the county level. The project is being carried out in Subukia and Rongai Constituencies. Rongai constituency is mostly rural with a few townships and centers. Knowledge about the constitution was at a minimum and this was worsened by the fact that a majority of the constituents voted against the document in the plebiscite in August 2009. The area District commissioner, Joseph Motari, had a hundred day Rapid Results initiative planned, starting from October 2011 to January 2012 and the prime focus area for the RRI was to create awareness on the constitution, to get people to read it and get to know how it affects their daily lives. It is at this point that the District Commissioner sought some assistance from REPACTED in terms of mobilization and organization of forums whereby matters touching on the constitution and the devolved government were brought forth and discussed in detail. In numbers REPACTED has been able to reach 2581 male and 2625 female even though REPACTED has had to deal with a few hiccups here and there, for example Bureaucracy: Due to the nature of the project REPACTED made an effort towards incorporating the provincial administration into the project. This was an unprecedented success in Rongai constituency. On the other hand, in Subukia, REPACTED field officers encountered a lot of red tape with some administrative officials seeking cash handouts, some form of favour or gifts in order to help in terms of offering the necessary assistance i.e. security as this year is an election year matters of security are always close to the heart of many people. But on a positive note the project as it continues to progress is turning out to be a success story and all I would say to the REPACTED TEAM is that Oye !Oye! Oye! thumbs up and for sure you have what it takes to help people get empowered constitutionally.
touch of love
“Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone. There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment – you just have to be willing to take it.” –This are words of Emily Hollenberg, cancer survivor. Every 4th February the World marks World cancer day, Cancer is a disease that does not discriminate or spare any social class, as witnessed in the recent cases of death caused by it. Some of the world famous personalities led by the ICT guru Steve Job’s, one of the founders of Apple, Nobel Peace Laureate professor Wangari Maatha have succumbed to this deadly but silent disease. Recently majority of North Americas presidents were diagnosed with cancer which makes it a disease of the world that’s needs urgent intervention. In Kenya a lot of prominent people continue to be found living with cancer day by day and the latest one is minister for Public health and sanitation Beth Mugo, who was diagnosed as having breast cancer and she is still fighting it. Some of the challenges facing cancer intervention are lack of accessibility to treatment, lack of cancer awareness, social inequity, unreliable cancer data registry and sedentary lifestyle as reported by Parliamentary Health Committee on February 2011 in a paper titled policy brief on the situational analysis of cancer in Kenya. People at the grassroots continue to suffer daily since they view cancer as the disease of the rich. Cancer is an issue that needs to be addressed as an emergency in order for prevention to be effective. Organizations and some individuals are trying to make a difference though a lot still needs to be done as surviving and living with cancer is possible, regardless of the type of cancer as they are many. The bottom line is that many people are suffering and it’s a high time, we joined forces and talked about it, in order to make a difference in fighting Cancer together. REPACTED has been on the fore front in disseminating information touching on issues related to reproductive health and civic matters and as an organization, we think that time has never been ripe like right now in urging the government and our donor patterns to think of trying to allocate some resources, funds and time towards fighting cancer from bottom to top and not on the contrary.
Members of the public waiting to vote.
A few days to 2012 and the whole world will be ushering in a new dawn by celebrating while others will be mourning the beginning of a new year. I say mourning because some will be retiring, others will be ending their contracts thus rendering them jobless, others will have to think of how to raise funds/fees to send their loved ones to various learning institutions. In retrorespect what does the New Year hold for us Kenyans and in particular the young people? Since the last general elections held in the year 2007, Kenya has been through turbulent waters having experienced post-election violence that led to , more than 1,200 Kenyans reportedly killed, thousands more injured and over 300,000 people displaced and around 42,000 houses and many businesses ending up being looted or destroyed, Bombing, abductions and killing of innocent people by the ragtag militia called Al-shabab kind of became a daily phenomena thereby leading Kenya to taking radical decision in trying to wipe out and end this menace of the al-shabab. Depreciation of the shilling led to an increase in the prices of many basic necessities hereby rendering us to what I refer to as “budget ya kadogo”. Many families will celebrate Christmas without those they cherish as some of them are in the frontline in Somalia fighting for our beloved nation Kenya under the outfit of the KDF (Kenyan Defense forces).
As we enter an electioneering year Kenyans once again are on a political rollercoaster where all those self acclaimed messiahs in the name of politicians will be traversing the nation with their mouths wide open screaming to the top of their of voices of how they can, if given the chance lead us to the promised land. As clearly and precisely documented by a report of the World Bank of how the “genie came out of the bottle”explaning the decline of the Kenyan shilling the report states that, Kenya has been navigating through rough economic waters in 2011 due to a combination of external shocks and domestic policy challenges that raised inflation to around 20 percent, and widened the current account deficit to above 10 percent of GDP. As a result, growth for 2011 is estimated to be slightly below expectations, at 4.3 percent. Second, for 2012, the World Bank projects a growth rate of 5 percent if Kenya is successful in managing risks; if not, growth could drop to 3.1 percent. Third, Kenya’s momentous Devolution holds the promise of more equity and prosperity, if government policies strike an appropriate balance between redistribution and growth-enhancing policies, and existing service-delivery arrangements are safeguarded in the short run. For decentralization to be successful, Kenya will need a simple and transparent fiscal transfer architecture, which can be monitored and understood by all citizens, so that they can hold their representatives accountable. REPACTED has in last few months been engaged in civic education program dubbed”TUFANYE SOTE BIDII NDIO WAJIBU WETU” a line borrowed from the Kenyan national anthem. The sole aim of the program which is being funded by UNDP Amkeni Wa Kenya is to sensitize Kenyans on their role and holistic participation in constitutional matters pertaining to DEVOLUTION. REPACTED intends to make sure that by the time Kenyans will be going to the ballot box they will have been empowered constitutionally.
Every December 1st, me and my fellow workmates together with volunteers who work with our organization REPACTED pull out a small red ribbon and attach it to our sweaters to commemorate World AIDS Day. To us, this is a very important day to raise awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and reflect on both where we have made achievements in battling the epidemic and where we really need to persevere to do better. This year through 2015, World AIDS Day has a special theme: “Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”
We in REPACTED have always had a tradition of celebrating this day with our fellow brothers and sisters who are serving various jail terms in the main Male and female Nakuru prisons.REPACTED’s approach has always been very interactive in that we start with community folk media mobilization techniques that pulls the audience to the site that is normally referred to as Magnet Theater site in order to enlist the audience in an active interactive discussion.
As we celebrate this day we should critically be thinking of how to integrate sex education and reproductive health into our various curriculum because as we, you and I have noticed, the mention of HIV/Aids triggers people thinking of sexual activities. This week, as all eyes and ears are attuned to the tweets, RSS feeds, and other media messages from the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal, where thousands of public health professionals will be converging together to share research, best practices, and progress on national strategies to deliver family planning services. REPACTED will be at the prisons doing what they have always been doing for the last 5 years and that is impacting information and skills to the inmates in order to achieve the theme: “Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS-related deaths.”
After more than 2 decades of the hustle and bustle, push and shove Kenyans voted in a new constitution with DEVOLUTION being the key component that many Kenyans aspired for. All along Kenyans have been complaining that the Presidency is enclaved with so much power that makes it prone to abuse by the incumbent office holder. In as much as the we had the YES and the NOs, one thing that was a predominant denominator is that Devolution would encapsulate a system that would encourage a fine balance of ‘self rule’ at local level as well as ‘shared rule’ at national level. Through this approach, government powers are not only shared horizontally between executive, legislative, and judiciary; but also vertically between various levels of government. But as things are turning out and the legislative trying to beat time and come up with laws that will guide us in implementing devolution of political and economic power to the lowest administrative levels that will offer a lasting solution to the exclusion of marginalized communities as is the case right now we have some communities i.e. the group Mombasa republican Army and the kuria in Migori who are threatening to recess to Tanzania a thing that the government cannot wish away.
With just a few months to election the National Cohesion and integration Commission has warned the people of Kenya that if not handled diligently, soberly and with every community’s interest at core then devolution will surely trigger and cause ethnic tension.
On 2nd April 2011,REPACTED(Rapid Effective Participatory Action in community Theater Education and Development) a community based organization based in Nakuru that deals with issues that affect the youth hosted a beauty pageant for high school going teenagers with the noble intention of giving them an opportunity and a forum to enable them discuss issues affecting them sexual. The theme of the occasion was “USING BEAUTY AS A SOURCE OF INSIPIRATION TOWARDS BEHAVIRIOL CHANGE.
CROWNING OF THE MISS HIGH SCHOOL NAKURU
“You style your hair, file your nails and exercise to make yourself beautiful on the outside, and what do you do about the beauty that is in within you and cannot be seen by the naked eyes”? This is the main question that was posed to the young men and women who had filled the Nakuru Players Theater Auditorium to witness and grace this event. “Beauty is more than skin deep-it starts in the mind and with your thoughts, beauty lies in the good things you do, your nice behavior, your honesty and your self-confidence,” This is one of the core messages that was passed to the audience/students by a representative from REPACTED.
MISS HIGH SCHOOL 2011-NAKURU
The event was a success taking into consideration the large turnout of students who participated, various organizations and institutions who helped with various resources in order to see that the occasions was a success.i.e Inter consumer (Nice and lovely), Rift valley institute of Hair Dressing and Beauty Therapy, the students also had an opportunity of mingling and brushing shoulders with some of our local celebrities who appear on our local Family TV shows in our media.
MISS HIGH SCHOOL 2011
At the end of it all, the students were given some pep talk from peer educators from REPACTED concerning behavioral change regarding HIV AIDS, Sexual Transmitted Infections and unplanned pregnancies. This was due to the fact that this group of teenagers is at a high risk mainly due to lack of information and ignorance.
MISS HIGH SCHOOL 2011