“Misinformation has negatively affected Kenya’s governance and security sectors as it has impeded electoral participation and also led to violence” — The Sentinel Project
people killed in violence over contested results in the 2007-2008 general elections in Kenya
US dollars or three years in prison are the penalties for sending hate messages in Kenya
August 2016 End date
Misinformation (e.g. rumours and propaganda) is a widespread and multi-sectoral challenge which is especially powerful as information and communications technologies (ICTs) become increasingly accessible and facilitate its rapid transmission. Election periods tend to bring great tensions and a high risk of violence due to polarizing propaganda, hate speech, and misinformation which limit the ability of citizens to make informed decisions.
Since the violent results from the 2007-2008 elections, Kenya has done some extensive institutional reforms, and other proactive measures that helped to ensure that the 2013 election was significantly less violent. However, little was done to directly counter misinformation, which is now increasingly recognized for its violent consequences and various actors must be prepared to proactively manage misinformation using the best tools available in order to ensure effective peacebuilding and participatory governance.
The Una Hakika project wants to increase open governance and reduce the risk of violence in Nairobi during the 2017 election by using technology to enable citizen participation in countering incendiary misinformation.
Una Hakika is a responsive mobile phone-based information service which gathers crowdsourced rumour reports from its subscribers. Citizens can submit these reports via voice calls, SMS (text messages), social media, email, and web-based interaction. Rumours are then logged into the purpose-built WikiRumours software in order to track their spread both geographically and chronologically while the Una Hakika team verifies whether a given report is true via trained volunteer community ambassadors, local government partners, community leaders, and other NGOs.
The Una Hakika team then collaboratively implements measures to contain and counter the spread of these rumours with appropriate messaging delivered through channels similar to the citizen reporting mechanism.
The sentinel Project, a Canadian NGO formed in 2008 which is developing a unique capability to manage misinformation and reduce its negative effects in a variety of contexts including conflict, disasters, development, public health, and governance.