The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) is a community organization of Kenyan bloggers and content creators that promotes online content creation & free expression in Kenya.
As part of our mandate, we hold and facilitate workshops and skills training sessions for bloggers, online content creators and university students. We hold skills training and presentation workshops with Kenyan youth and concerned individuals on the basics of blogging, social media online freedoms and fake news which equip them with practical skills training on starting a blog and creating posts, how to open and use other social media platforms as well as the laws that are within media and communications in Kenya.
The United States Embassy in Kenya indicated an interest in collaborating with us in training university students and upcoming bloggers not only in general blogging but also Fake News, Online Freedoms and Digital Marketing
A three-day training was held at the American Corners in Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru.
Our first training workshop happened at the American space in Moi University’s Nairobi campus. We had a total of 25 participants, most of who were still university students. One thing I noticed is that they were quite vocal about the topics we presented to them, especially one on fake news. Their opinions and indulgence on the topic had us noting that they had interacted with the same on many occasions. We also noted that some already had established blogs via which they wrote about their thoughts and aspirations. And to date, the highest number of trainees who came up with blogs comes from Nairobi.
Nairobi was a learning experience for me too. I had not trained so much on blogging and social media before, not in this magnitude, and realized that as a trainer, the attitude my students portray on a different subject depended on my ability to project it. I was happy to note that we had fulfilled our objective and as such embarked on a journey to teach more people about how they can change their lives through social media and blogging.
The training in Nakuru was held at the Kenya National Library Services, of course at the American Spaces. I remember walking in and telling the American Space coordinator, Ms Angella Nyamisi that their space was underutilized. She just chuckled at told me to be patient, and that the library was a working progress. The trainees in Nakuru were laid back, preferring to observe first before voicing their opinions about a particular topic. But their quiet nature was not to be taken as being timid, they were a force to be reckoned with. They were a passionate lot. The trainees each had what drove them. Among them was a lady, so passionate about women’s rights, another one about the boy child, a violinist who when he played, his love for music poured out of him in waves, a social media marketer and an established blogger who despite being a pro blogger, attended so he could learn to make his blog even better. Nakuru was truly a blessing and I hope that they pour their passions into the online space.
Our last workshop was held at the MEWA Informational Center in Majengo, Mombasa. I loved Mombasa for its warmth on both the weather and it people. The people of Mombasa were a kind and courteous lot whose main interest was in blogging. They were eager to learn about how to share their posts, how to create more post, how to maintain their sites and so on. Most questions to us were how to impact their small community through their articles. They also relayed their interest in social media as they were mostly active in two social media platforms ie Facebook and Instagram. I also got to experience first hand their passion for human rights, especially women’s, as seen by their presentations on the group exercise given.
My experience in these three workshops facilitated by the US Embassy, was a memorable one. I got to meet new people with very different mindsets but thirsty for information, had the pleasure to walk with them on the blogging journey. At the end of the training sessions in the different cities we visited, I left knowing we had impacted their lives through giving them the skills and the technical know-how to exercise their freedom of expression through blogging and social media. My only hope is that it doesn’t stop there and that they can teach other people who would benefit from these skills.