The Peace Heroes project, which Ushahidi highlighted before as a use of the platform for a non-crisis situation has concluded with the selection of 8 heroes. They represent people who contributed positively to the post election period of early 2008 when there was violence, instability and political stalemate. The heroes were nominated through SMS, phone calls, email and web submissions. It is with admiration that we would like to salute the following heroes.
1. Alfred Sakwa Sabatia (Eastleigh) – Alfred is 21 years and grew up as an orphan. Since 1996 he lived under sponsorship of the St. Teresa’s Catholic Church in Eastleigh. He got hurt while bringing a friend’s child to school. He decided to help others during the crisis. He took food, clothes, and utensils given by friends, churches and organizations to Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in Mathare, Air Force and Huruma. He organized peace talks, composed peace songs, verses and plays, started a peace self help group to keep the youth engaged named “High hopes”, “The jaws” and “Joapapes”, he joined organizations like Eastleigh Youth Network. Currently, he is recording three new peace songs.
2. Esther Wanza Muisu (Mombasa) – Esther is 42 years old and a Kamba married to a Kikuyu. She lives in Mikoni, Mombasa. During the period December 28th – January 15th she helped people with food and shelter, a total of 25 people slept overnight at her place. She said; “I know what it means to lose”.
3. Family Pabari (Kisumu and Nairobi) – This Asian family has been active in charity work for twenty years. During the post election violence they paid for transport for Kikuyus and Kisii who fled Kisumu. They assisted Luos who returned to Kisumu area with food, seeds, farming equipment and medical support. Mrs. Pabari is the driving force behind their charity work, especially through her organization ‘Ladies in Action’ supporting orphans and elders. Mr. Pabari retired in 2007 and dedicated his time to charity. Son Dipesh Pabari and his wife Elodie Yard actively support their parents and raise online funds for GBP 5,000 through their organization Sukuma Kenya during the post-election violence.
4. Joel Cheruiyot Sigei (Bomet) – Joel is a 48 year old Kipsigis who hid 18 people, 4 Kisii families, for 2 weeks in his compound. He did this secretly to hide them from the community. He gave them maize from his stock and milk from his two dairy cows. Furthermore, he helped children in an IDP camp by bringing them 40 litres of milk every day. When the violence ended, he arranged transport for the 4 families.
5. Freddy Kamakei Ole Sangiriaki (Narok) – ‘Freddy’ is 28 years old Maasai who wanted to protect his Kikuyu friend from an angry group of Maasais looking for ‘enemies’. He got beaten up and decided that this could not be accepted. He and his neighbor friends formed a group called ‘Kenyan Initiative – by Kenyans for Kenyans’ consisting of mostly Maasai together with Kikuyu, Kisii and Luo men. They went out at night to follow and find the angry mob. By talking to them they convinced them to stop the violence and killing after one week. As they went around Narok area, other groups copied their example and set up similar ‘peacekeeping groups’. As a result, (Freddy claims) the violence ended much sooner in Narok area than in the rest of the country.
6. Maureen ‘MKenya’ Auma Obonyo (Kibera-Kisumu Ndogo) – When others were too afraid, ‘Maureen Mkenya’ went out and helped the weak in Kibera. When Kibera started ‘burning’ there was a sudden shortage of food. She witnessed the anger and despair from close by. Uzima Foundation received food donations and Maureen distributed food and food vouchers for them to the sick and the old. Maureen hid her Luo identity by calling herself Maureen MKenya. Some people thought she was a Kikuyu and she was beaten up three times for this reason. She furthermore facilitated peace sessions and organized football tournaments and drama festivals.
7. Ann Wangari ‘Mugeci Damiano’ (Nariobi) – Next to her own three children Ann (39) takes care of 15 orphans in the age 6 to 15 years. During the post-election period she went to Muranga district and found 59 children from a burned children’s homes, children from Molo and Narok who needed help, she chose the youngest and brought them to her home in Kasarani. One is Luo and the rest are Kikuyu. All children are now in school. She receives support from friends, church and family.
8. Paul Omukaya Ayodi (Kawangware) – This 39 years old pastor took immediate action after the election violence broke loose. He took orphans and people who lost their homes to a school for shelter. He helped a total of 20 families of which 5 families are still supported by him, mostly with contributions through the church. One family is Luo, two Kikuyu families, some Luhya and other tribes. Every day he works in a bar in Nairobi from 3pm to late and the rest of his time he dedicates to charity.
The peace heroes project is an initiative of:
Butterfly Works – A social design agency helping people around the world to get a fair deal]
Media Focus on Africa Foundation – Strengthens the capacity for democracy and human development within societies in Africa through exchange of information, and facilitation of dialogue using the media
Executed with the help of:
Nairobits – a Digital Design School that provides education to the Nairobi slum youth
Ushahidi – Platform for aggregation for information from the public for use in crisis response
For additional information on UNSUNG PEACE HEROES see www.peaceheroes.ushahidi.com or contact: Marten Schoonman, Media Focus on Africa Foundation, marten [at] mediafocusonafrica [dot]org, +254 20 3861435/6.
Ushahidi extends its thanks to the above mentioned organizations, and Melissa Tully for writing a use case study on this implementation of Ushahidi.The use case will provide the lessons learned from this implementation, something that will be very useful to future users or testers of the Ushahidi platform. We will distribute that case study as soon as it is completed, so please stay tuned. Thank you.