Social media can be used for social good, as we have seen in the past couple of months. Kenyans have rallied to support noble causes, due to the use of social media. The recent case being the Milli for Jadudi campaign.
This session at the Digital Camp was handled by two people who are passionate about social good. Zawadi Nyong’o and Philip Ogola.
Zawadi Nyong’o is a feminist who has been involved in activism for the rights of sex workers. She also rallied Kenyans, through the African Cancer Foundation (ACF), to contribute the #MilliForJadudi campaign. She shared her insights on the lessons learnt from the 4-day campaign.
Philip Ogola is a new media consultant, who works with the UNHCR, Digital Footprint Africa ambassador and the founder for Digital Humanitarian.
Zawadi started the session sharing the concept of Digital Ubuntu, ‘I am because we are’, “In Kenya, we have made the “Harambee” spirit digital through crowd funding”, she said. “People want to give their money for worthy cause”, she added. “People with means and a philanthropic spirit, give money when inspired and if you make it easy for them to”, she explained.
Philip said that bloggers and influencers should find social justice or social good issues they passionate about. “I challenge bloggers to blog about something to support a worthy cause once a week, to bring positive change in society”, he said.
Talking about our digital footprint, Philip said, “We’re living in a generation that is tech savvy, very
smart but cyber foolish. Mind your digital footprints.” He said that people share chats, videos, WhatsApp messages of others, not thinking of the repercussions.
“Bloggers miss being part of the story by jumping in on trends”, he said. He told us that as bloggers we can shape discussion. “As you jump onto cyber bullying hashtags, always think about the victim. Social good is about the victim”, he added. “As bloggers you need to show some level of leadership guide the discussion toward some social good”, he advised.
He mentioned the habit of Kenyans posting clips and photos from road accidents and terror scenes on social media. “People should be sensitive of the possibility of relatives discovering the news on social media”, he said. “One relative had to be rushed to hospital due to shock of getting the news online”, he added.
“Who cares about how many followers you have on twitter or Facebook? Are you doing some positive change?”, he challenged us. “Find a strength you are passionate about and talk about it for example, I lost a sister to cancer and my father to HIV”, he shared.
Zawadi shared that the most important part of fundraising is friend-raising. There are many platforms for crowd funding that we brain stormed on. Some of them were M-changa and Indiegogo. Crowd funding is raising small amounts of money from people online for a worthy cause. “Crowdfunding is the next big thing in the world”, she said. “Ask yourself ‘what can I do for my country for the long term? For our children’s children’”, she said.
She shared of her experiences with the #MilliForJadudi campaign that took four days to implement. “Most of the structure played itself out in the process of the campaign”, she divulged. She used ACF’s structures because of the urgency of the campaign. “I’ve experienced cyber bullying firsthand in the last couple of weeks”, she shared. “Well the “hell” part was figuring out how to navigate it all and transform the negative into constructive”, she added.
“The #MilliForJadudi campaign worked well, raised more than was required but can Kenyans could do more beyond raising money”, she said. “Crowd sourcing does not have to be about raising money, can we contribute time and energy to social good, say clear drainage in neighborhood”, she added.
“Social media for change is a lot of work as you have to keep engaging people every step of the way”, said Zawadi. She told us how ACF staff had to manually send thank you texts to every person who donated to the cause. “Every organization needs to have automated thank you texts for every time you contribute money from a good cause”, she shared an insight learned from the campaign.
Zawadi said that we need to change the narrative, from cyber bullying to social good. “The same social media used for cyber bullying can be used to empower people. If we do not create a civilized space online then we cannot action social change”, she said. She noted that bullying and ridiculing people online could be all fun and games until it happens to someone close to you.