An interview with Kode Wario, Una Hakika Community Ambassador
In terms of the recent expansion of Una Hakika into Lamu, how will the program be beneficial to the community?
In its expansion to the Lamu community Una Hakika shall will be a great benefit. In my findings through the few months that I have been working here, there have been so many gaps in information discovered. The community has been exposed to many events that have led to tension, mistrust, hatred, and information distortion. Una Hakika has started building bridges and links where the administration and individuals have seen our work in Tana Delta and believe it can work here.
How has the community responded to the Una Hakika project so far?
The community here in Lamu is based on many factors. It can be ethnicity, religion, social status. You find one side of the community responding very well, where they have welcomed the initiative of the project in seeing its relevance to them. The administration find it as a way of getting truthful information from the community. This is also a scenario where the people have faith in the project themselves. They feel “the organisation is them,” thus are ready and willing to embrace the project.
In your work on a community level, what attitudes do you feel like you have to challenge the most?
Attitudes that I may have to challenge the most is people’s perspective of Una Hakika as some may see this as investigation agency to bring to book the inciters or rumour spreaders. People’s attitude are often towards ethnic bonding, meaning it’s easier for one to work with one’s own tribe or clan. I on my side try to bring it to a line of neutral acceptance, that am for all and not a particular side when we work in implementing this project.
How can Una Hakika serve Kenyan communities leading up to the national elections next year?
Honestly, Una Hakika is needed in every part of Kenya. Even though technology has advanced people still believe in information from anything or any source. It’s a reality that truth spreads slowly, but lies penetrate quickly. People accept lies quickly. Kenya is prone to this, Una Hakika can build capacity in people, help the community create links with stakeholders and have locally owned centres in each area so as to help people understand the effects of wrong information.
You have been working with Una Hakika for several years now. What do you feel is the project’s greatest accomplishment?
The greatest accomplishment that Una Hakika has established is where the community believe the only true and reliable information that has been verified can be from the Una Hakika SMS system and network. The second is that people now take initiative in verifying information before taking action.
What about on a personal level? How have you grown throughout this journey?
Personally, on my journey Una Hakika has greatly increased my knowledge on how rumours can create tension, and my experience has been brought me to a great level of how to handle events, information, and situations in general. In my life now been brought to a level where I always strive for peace. Even my behaviour has changed when it comes to personal life. I regard myself as a role model in what I do, as one yearns for an opportunity to do more. I realised that peace doesn’t only come from people in high power, even the smallest individual matters. Peace begins with the truth.