Uwiano Platform: A multi-stakeholder strategy for peaceful elections

What the project is about

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A national conflict prevention and response strategy dubbed “Uwiano Platform for Peace” saw an increase in membership to include the NCIC, NSC, IEBC, PeaceNet and UNWomen. This Platform enhanced coordination among a wide range of partners both at the County and National level; improved information sharing across agencies with regard to early warning and response; enhanced conflict sensitive reporting by the media; increased mediation capacity among various actors including the political parties; and also led to the realization of a peaceful process.

The Platform’s coordination capacity and regional presence across the 47 counties was facilitated with Sweden, DFID and UN Women funding. Grants made it possible to recruit and deploy at least 120 peace monitors and GBV analysts (gender ration1:2 for female and male respectively); communications consultant and an M&E specialist. The group was trained on various issues of conflict and violence resolutions, conflict early warning and response mechanism, gender-based-violence, local partnership building and effective coordination among others.

The training enhanced Uwiano’s effectiveness at in conflict prevention and promoting reconciliation and cohesion at local levels. The Peace monitors and gender analysts formed the nucleus of the county coordination for preventive action. They set up County Peace Tents in at least 20 Counties which became the nerves centers for coordination and information sharing and response by government security agencies, CSOs and peace committees. The coordinated responses included security alerts to police, conflict mediation by elders and peace committees.

Besides enhancing effective coordination at the local / county levels, the Platform also focused on coordinating national partners to support the processes of peaceful, credible and transparent elections. Partnerships with the National Police Service especially the Office of the Inspector General (IG) was critical in promoting responsive actions based on information from the Platform, which averted incidents of violence reported from various Counties.

The UWIANO Platform continues to engage with various categories of the media fraternity – Editors, journalists, media owners etc – in advancing the peace agenda. For instance, the journalists have since established the Kenya Media for Peace Network (KEMPEN) – with facilitation and support from some of the UWIANO Partners – Saferworld, LCPI and Life and Peace Institute (LPI), that has been championing conflict sensitive reporting. KEMPEN was launched in November 2012. To a larger extent, this Network, whose membership of over 84 journalists was trained in collaboration with Saferworld, LCPI and LPI, have contributed to improvement in the content of the stories and articles published and transmitted through the media.

The Platform has also scaled up peace messaging in form of infomercials through both electronic and broadcast media publicizing the SMS 108 for response; urging the pubic to promote peace; and reassuring the public of the ongoing peace efforts. Consultations with different media houses such as the Standard Group (SG) and Nation Media Group (NMG) were enhanced, with the Uwiano Joint Secretariat making a tour of duty at both media houses on 30th January 2013 to hold briefings and planning sessions with the top level and middle level management teams, editors, producers and content developers, presenters, news anchors. The team visited the QfM studio where the radio presenters conducted live radio transmission sending out UWIANO peace messages, with feedback from radio listeners across the country. The listeners called in live and echoed the need to promote peace before, during and after elections.  

In addition to this, the Platform worked closely with the Media in the production and dissemination of peace messages via Television commercial (TVC) during the Debate. Further, Principals of the UWIANO Platform were invited by the Secretariat of the Presidential Debate to be part of the audience at the Debate. The Platform was also approached by the Moderators of the Debate, who are all Friends of the UWIANO Platform, to nominate representatives from strategic Counties who had an opportunity to field specific questions to the Presidential candidates during the Debate. This partnership enhanced the visibility of the Platform and relevance in influencing the National Debate, whose transmission was viewed worldwide including neighbouring East African Countries and the Diaspora.

Various promotional materials were produced and distributed to increase the visibility of the SMS 108 message. They include wheel covers, car stickers, posters that have been inserted into the newspapers, fliers, T-Shirts and other merchandise that have been given out during various peace caravan activities.  Branding of the Film Corporation of Kenya vans with billboards that have the SMS 108 message ensured that the people in the market places along the routes contracted by the IEBC to educate voters were reached. Stickers were also distributed to spread the SMS 108 message appropriately. Besides uploading the Uwiano jingle on the Skiza tunes, greatly increased the visibility and wider circulation of the SMS 108 message to the general public throughout the election period.

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