Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Inter-Tribal Dialogue...Pushing Agenda 4

Media Focus on Africa Foundation is currently running a program on Citizen TV called Fist To Five for Change. Hosted by Julie Gichuru, the program is supposed to be providing a platform for inter-tribal dialogue, addressing some of the root causes of the post election violence and exploring solutions, all from a wananchi point of view. The good thing with this program is that all the participants are your common wananchi and it avoids the usual politicians or experts who we are so used to seeing on the idiot box. The project runs a rotation of three programs, with each set of three programs looking at underlying issues and proposing solutions. The first program featured people from Kibera and Mathare slums and the one currently showing features participants from Nakuru and Naivasha. Other programs will involve participants from Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa.

It is indeed refreshing to watch your kawaida wananchi express issues in a plain language that mainstream personalities in the media avoid tackling head on. Participants will say in plain terms "Kikuyus are like this and this...or Luos are like this and this..." etc. However one issue I have against the program is the use of Julie Gichuru as it's anchor. Maybe the producers wanted a star name to attract viewers but given her obvious limitation of swahili, it forces the participants to struggle to express themselves in English and you feel something is lost. A Swahili facilitator would be ideal for this.

Of interest also is that Media Focus is taking episodes of this program on the road. They have engaged FilmAid International to conduct 48 mass outdoor screenings in Kibera, Mathare, Nakuru, Naivasha, Mumias, Kisumu, Eldoret and Mombasa, as well as a series of 48 one day workshops in these locations, basically to provide a forum for people from different tribes to debate issues on conflict resolution. It is good to note that despite perceived government apathy or lack of urgency, there are others who are taking agenda 4 seriously.

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