Vodcasting & the Twitter space as tools for online campaigning
by Emma Mengo, Linking, Learning, and Amplifier Officer, Voice in Kenya
Let’s hear about the experience of two grantee partner representatives from Kenya, Feminists in Kenya (FIK) and Usawa Inc, represented by Vivian Ouya and Nyambura Mundia as they co-hosted a two-part vodcast and a Twitter Space.
Towards the end of the 3rd quarter of 2022 FIK and Usawa Inc collaborated to mark the 16 Days of Activism (16DoA). With both of them working around podcasting in the implementation of the Faith, Feminism and Freedom Fund supported by Voice, we sought to document their experience about the collaboration. See their responses below!
- Kindly introduce yourselves and the work that you do..
My name is Vivian Ouya, and I am a feminist human rights lawyer organising with Feminists in Kenya, a collective of feminist activists working to raise feminist political consciousness, through knowledge creation, movement building and advocacy.
My name is Nyambura Mundia, the Founding Director of Usawa Inc., an African organisation based in Kenya committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s rights.
- How was it working with each other? For the first time I believe, co-researching on the angles around the multi-year theme of 16DoA, using a medium that is relatively new to the media world. What stood out for the both of you?
Vivian Ouya: Nyambura and myself greatly appreciate the Linking and Learning Team at Voice for connecting us and our organisations. We have created a feminist sisterhood for the two activities we’ve worked on together, held each other accountable and managed to effortlessly co-ordinate our activities. We had to adjust to various changes as they occurred, but we were always reachable by phone if anything happened. We both recognized the enormous amount of work that goes into podcasting, including curation, research, designing, editing, and distribution. Overall, it was a genuinely wonderful learning experience, and we intend to strengthen our collaboration as we continue our organizing work.
Nyambura Mundia: This collaboration made us want to collaborate for bigger projects- because both teams have excellent and well-formed feminist politics and have great complimentary strength. Usawa Inc being hosted at the Baraza Media Lab has extensive experience in curating and production of podcasts, while FIK are so good in holding twitter spaces and on social media strategies. Also podcasts allow feminists to curate conversations that are often left in the periphery. The audiograms (1-3-minute audios that pack information) continue to allow us to bridge an information gap to our rightsholders- who are majorly from low-income areas.
- You co-produced and co-hosted a 2-part series featuring the indomitable Senator Crystal Asige and Njeri Migwi, let us in on why the two were best suited for this conversation
Vivian Ouya: The opportunity to host Senator Crystal Asige and Njeri wa Migwi was exciting. I have always admired their activism; but what particularly stood out for me was the crucial intersectional analysis they provided on gender-based violence, especially in light of the fact that the landscape of organizations working for women’s rights still struggles to provide nuanced experiences of gender-based violence (GBV), especially as it relates to LGBTIQ+ people and people with disabilities. The panelists’ descriptions of the daily organising work that goes into putting an end to GBV, particularly through managing shelters, rescuing survivors, and through feminist political presence in the Kenyan Senate, were also extremely illuminating.
Nyambura Mundia: Swaiba has been working with both Hon. Crystal Asige and Njeri wa Migwi in Mathare around conversations on access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, but largely, Njeri wa Migwi because she runs a survivor led GBV Shelter and employs community centred practices that ensure that local problems are addressed using locally available response mechanisms for reprieve. Recently, she has been very vocal on the need for preventive efforts and the need to tackle attitudes surrounding harmful cultural practices that perpetuate SGBV, femicide in Kenya. Njeri interfaces with institutions within the SGBV referral pathway and is able to speak to the gains and gaps beyond the 16days of activism but also the subtleties and institutionalization of harmful social norms in the Kenyan Society, and the personal price she has paid to rescue survivors.
Research shows that girls and young women with disabilities may face up to ten times more violence than women and girls without disabilities. The intersection with disability puts them at further risk of violence that is unique and less detectable. Crystal Asige, nominated to the 4th Senate in the 13th Parliament of the Republic of Kenya to represent persons with disabilities & Special Interest Groups, Sen. Crystal Asige is also an award-winning musician, diversity equity and inclusion consultant, disability rights advocate, inclusive mobility and transport practitioner, accessibility auditor and a public speaker. Widely known as VIP (Visually Impaired Person) amongst her following, Sen. Crystal Asige is now good-humouredly known as the 4th Senate’s VIP (Visually Impaired Parliamentarian). As the first and only senator to cross-cut all three special interest groups, i.e. persons with disabilities; women; youth; with an additional representation of creatives, Sen. Crystal Asige seeks to push the envelope in creating awareness around the intersectionality of being a young, black-African woman and professional with an invisible disability living in the global South, and challenge the unconscious and entrenched prejudices of people with disabilities. In the episode, she spotlighted how persons with disabilities experience GBV; the importance of inclusivity and accessibility; and how to ensure that we leave no one behind
- You also co-hosted a twitter space around the same theme; given the way twitter is set up as a platform especially on issues surrounding femicide and general gender–based violence, was there any fear going in? How was your general experience during the space?
Vivian Ouya: – I believe there will always be some anxiety associated with that kind of visibility on digital platforms, especially after years of producing feminist knowledge online, developing communities online, and existing in the same online space as anti-gender groups and individuals. Over 150 individuals, representing a variety of demographics and ideologies, attended our Twitter space. And while that kind of digital exposure can be challenging for our feminist panelists, who have all encountered online violence in one way or another, we were happy that the environment was controlled in terms of who could talk and when. We had agency over the space which allowed for amazing conversations on feminist movement building in a digital age. My favorite part was how we all felt seen as digital organizers, sharing our different experiences and co-creating creative strategies for fostering digital movements that we intend to expand upon in our work in 2023.
Nyambura Mundia: – FIK has an excellent network of feminists in East Africa, but as Usawa Inc, we are under-using the twitter spaces and would love to collaborate and learn with FIK again.
- Any future collaboration plans in the pipeline? Any other organisation you might bring onboard?
Vivian Ouya: -Nyambura and I have been considering additional strategies for collaboration that we can use to continue bolstering our campaigns and organisations. We recently had a discussion on the Sparc podcast about the growing religious fundamentalism against Sexual and Gender Minorities in Kenya, as well as the true role of religion and perhaps African spirituality in fostering love and shunning bigotry. We look forward to possibly working together again through both The Sparc Podcast and The Swaiba Podcast. Additionally, we look forward to collaborating on research projects, publishing articles together, and setting up forums for feminist discourse and conversations with various partners and communities in order to make feminist knowledge more widely available.
For those who are interested in the results of this collaboration; here are the links to the vodcasts:
- Everyday Activism Against Gender Based Violence, featuring, Njeri wa Migwi. – YouTube
- Crystal Asige on Intersectionality and Ending GBV: Who is Left Behind? – YouTube
What a fantastic way to spark collaborations and emphasise the beauty of Linking & Learning! We hope to see more!