Minichange

 

The holiday season is approaching. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it is amazing how fast time flies.

I can’t help but be thankful for the peace and normalcy that has returned to Kenya.

Not so long ago, I was on my knees gripped with fear as sounds of gunfire rendered the air in my neighborhood. I remember crawling from one room to another afraid of being spotted by the rowdy gangs who would pass by chanting war songs. Despite living in a gated community, with security guards, we still did not feel safe in our homes.

That was six years ago. Today, normalcy has returned although many have yet to return to the homes they fled during the violence.

The Post Election Violence left behind a trail of damage and loss of lives. Many were injured, raped, maimed and thousands internally displaced.

The magnitude of violence that erupted after the 2007 general election was unprecedented. Kenya had witnessed spans of violence in the past but this was the deadliest violence we experienced in the country. The chaos that began with spontaneous attacks and retaliations soon evolved into systematic ethnic attacks.

The assailants came from all corners and attacked civilians only sparing people from their ethnic community. Many witnesses recounted how mobs would pull out people from vehicles demanding identification cards. Your last name was the deciding factor as to whether the mob would hack you to death or spare your life.

I’ll never forget the people who were burnt alive in a church in Kiambaa village in the Rift Valley. Not even the sanctity of the house of God could prevent the assailants attacking helpless victims.  Many of those who lost their lives were women and children.

Today, statistics show that 78.31 percent[1] of the total population of 44.35 million[2] is under 34 years old. It is this generation of Kenyans who can disrupt the deep-seated notion of tribalism that has divided Kenyans for decades. We cannot ignore the fact that tribalism has become a major factor in our decision-making.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” The change I want to see is a country where there is unity in diversity. Where I am judged not on the basis of my last name but on the content of my character. MimiNiChange is an idea whose time has come. It is a movement that any young person can identify with regardless of age, race, gender, educational background or status.

It is while on my fellowship journey that I had the courage to name this idea that has been in my mind for a while.

The experiential learning, leadership skills and networking opportunities offered by the Atlas Corps Fellowship equip me to drive MimiNiChange to the next level. This movement aims to rally all young people to speak with one voice and elect leaders based on merit and not tribe.

MimiNiChange will document the stories of young change makers and their thoughts on tribalism. We will recruit change ambassadors to engage their peers on thought provoking discussions about tribalism and its correlation to poverty, unemployment and insecurity.

This platform will also act as a connector for the resources that the young people can leverage on to make the world a better place.

 

[1] Youth Fact Book: Infinite Possibility or Definite Disaster?

[2] World Bank Kenya Data

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.