Dan Orogo is a 24-year-old political science student at the University of Nairobi. Having grown up in the informal settlement of Kibera, he was deeply affected by the conflict in his community that occurred after the 2007-08 elections and early on found his purpose in life: spreading the message of peace to young people. According to Dan, “The work that I do in the community is getting the right information to young people about leadership and how to engage themselves in political platforms.”
Dan was identified as a community leader in Kibera by Global Communities' staff and invited to participate in conflict mediation and mitigation training through the Kenya Tuna Uwezo program. With funding from USAID, the Kenya Tuna Uwezo program (Kiswahili for “We have the power!”) is bringing together youth from different ethnic groups to advocate for an end to violence and political strife in Nairobi's informal settlements.
Before becoming involved with Kenya Tuna Uwezo, Dan was already successfully using the radio and internet to get his message to other young people. He writes a blog about peace, and is involved with the Langata Youth Network which has a radio program that occasionally features interviews with him. Now, he has an expanded platform from which to spread his message and is honing his skills as a leader. He is also learning how to become involved at the grassroots level to recognize conflict and serve as a mediator.
His plan for the future is to share his training with others in Kibera so that the message of peace is delivered by and is disseminated directly to the people of his community. He says, “It is good that the Ministry of Justice is providing this training, but now it is up to Kenya Tuna Uwezo and the mediators to get this information into the community. That way they will know that they have the right to hold their elected leaders accountable and the right to a peaceful environment.”
On the upcoming election, Dan feels passionate that young people must know they have the right to run for political office themselves. “This is the way for the voices of the young people to be heard and for us to have a peaceful election. Even if our young candidates never become president or governor, or even get elected at all, they will still have heard our voices. That in itself is a remedy to conflict.”
Dan is enthusiastic about the future and plans to use his new skills to reach as many people as possible. “There’s much work to be done. We must get out of conference rooms and into the community to where the actual work is. I am glad that I can say that as a mediator and partner of Kenya Tuna Uwezo that I have done my part. My voice has been out there building awareness on the importance of peace-building, politically empowering young people and getting involved with leadership positions. That, I have learned, is impact.”
Read more about how Kenya Tuna Uwezo is helping to reduce ethnic and politically-motivated conflict in the informal settlements of Nairobi.