Nakura Village, walking to the market. Kenya.

Locals of Nakuru are creating social change by using WhatsApp

“No matter how many written petitions you sent to the county officials they would often end up in garbage bins or ignored somewhere in a shelf. Yet these were pertinent issues. By coming up with a WhatsApp group, the leaders felt challenged to answer the questions raised and it has lead to an informed discussion by all the parties involved. Journalists finally picked up the issues and highlighted them,”
– Elijah Kinyanjui, Journalist

Locals of the Nakuru County, located in Western Kenya, are finding innovative ways to make their voices heard to their government representatives. By using WhatsApp, an online messaging app, they have a new platform to address community issues that have long been unanswered by their local government.

Elijah Kinyanjui is one of the founding members of the Nakuru Analyst. This group, like many other groups in the area, is driven by the need for social justice and a representation of the people’s voice in the community. One of their biggest accomplishments of the year was preventing private developers from overtaking land that already belonged to a children’s school.

Similarly, another proactive group, ‘In The Streets of Nakuru’, is tackling local environmental issues through their #ISupportBanPlastic campaign. The campaign’s goal is to forbid plastic bags from being distributed in supermarkets and eliminate plastics of below 100 microns.

Despite being in its early stages, these movement’s outreaches are quickly expanding to beyond just a place for addressing and collaborating on social issues. They have built a strong community of people from diverse backgrounds- journalists, medical professionals, and political speakers are just a few of those who are regularly sharing information on the county’s events. There is so much in store for these platforms as they continue to shine light on the issues that matter most to the people of Nakuru.

Source: The Star: Whatsapp groups transform citizen participation in Nakuru County