Sisi ni Amani - Kenya (SNA-K) | Founder & CEO | Nairobi
I believe that the best solution to a community's problems most often comes from within the community itself, though it may sometimes require outside expertise or support. I believe that I am a changemaker because I am able to recognize the incredible passion, talent, and wealth of ideas and knowledge that exists within local communities, and to create partnerships and work together with community leaders to increase effectiveness and scale of local solutions. In this way, through Sisi ni Amani - Kenya, I have been able to re-imagine the role of mobile communication technologies in engaging communities in the political process and preventing violence in Kenya.
I am willing to take personal risks on behalf of an idea. With Sisi ni Amani -Kenya, I had an idea that I believed in and decided to risk moving to Kenya to develop and implement my idea, despite minimal formal support.
I am also persistent and flexible, able to stay true to a mission while listening to communities and changing the tools to accomplish that mission based on the reality on the ground. I first came to Kenya with an idea that had little to do with mobile phones and everything to do with mapping, but I soon realized that the original idea would have little impact on the community. Instead of giving up on the idea, I stuck with the original mission - to support and maximize the impact of community groups promoting peace and civic engagement - and worked together with the community to find the best approach to accomplish that mission. Sisi ni Amani - Kenya's current model was developed in partnership with the communities, and brings together visions and ideas from different community members into a shared and replicable methodology and toolset.
My connection to places has always been based on connections with people. I first came to Kenya as a student in 2009. During my time as a student, I researched conflict dynamics in Kenya. Through this research, I met a variety of passionate Kenyans working to promote positive social change, political accountability, and peace in their country. I was inspired by these individuals, many of whom had risked their lives during the 2007-8 post-election violence to promote peace and save lives in their communities, and many of whom continued to put themselves at risk because of their belief that they could change their country. After a year back in the U.S., and many conversations with friends and contacts back in Kenya, I decided to return to Kenya with the goal of supporting these passionate individuals to help them recognize their vision of peace through increasing civic engagement and unity at the local level, and to increase political accountability at the national level.
Just like in Kenya, there are individuals in every country who work to combat difficult circumstances and create a brighter future for their country. Through Sisi ni Amani - Kenya, it has been my work to support and amplify the impact and voices of these individuals. On a global level, it is my hope that individuals who have taken initiative and come up with locally appropriate solutions to the issues faced in their countries can be supported with new tools and technologies to increase their impact. It is my belief that through supporting the positive forces within a society, communities can gain a voice and a role within political processes so that their voices are heard and their needs gain a response. Through these opportunities for positive and collaborative civic engagement in communities, it is possible to create a positive peace, in which communities do not simply lack open conflict, but also work together toward shared visions.
I founded Sisi ni Amani - Kenya after recognizing a need to support the work of local Kenyan peace leaders by enhancing their ability to rapidly and effectively communicate and coordinate with each other and their communities. I previously worked as a tenant organizer in Massachusetts with the Community Action Agency of Somerville. I trained volunteers for Ushahidi Haiti and Ushahidi’s monitoring of Kenya’s 2010 referendum, and consulted as project coordinator for Ushahidi’s monitoring platform of Tanzania’s 2010 elections.