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From Trees to Tech

Due to its strategic location and the nomadic nature of various communities within the general region, Isiolo town receives a constant influx of newcomers.  Consequently, the residents have always grappled with conflicts over water, pasture and stock theft and lately the emerging threat of radicalization. For a long time members of the community in Isiolo County regularly converged under trees to discuss these issues affecting the community and share information on various matters including incidents of insecurity. Now members of the community are embracing modern ways of community mobilization and sharing information through the mobile application M-Jirani. Amongst its numerous features, M-Jirani will facilitate the quick transmission of reliable records by cluster heads/landlords/property managers for immediate access by area managers and the area assistant chiefs. This information will be used to inform security measures in the area.
 
M-Jirani is a tool introduced by NOWSUD (Nomadic Women for Sustainable Development) to complement the existing community policing efforts facilitated by the Nyumba Kumi (ten households) initiative. Nyumba Kumi reinforces the idea that security is the collective responsibility of the community. It ensures that the community is directly involved through cluster heads, area managers and district peace managers who work closely with the assistant chiefs to share information so that everyone is aware of what is going on in the area.

The evolving nature of security threats has necessitated more broad based collaborations amongst various stakeholders such as the national and county government, local administrative units such as area chiefs as well as the public and non-state actors. These collaborations ensure that interventions are timely and well informed.
NOWSUD hopes that M-Jirani will be well received by the community and hopefully  implemented in other counties. They also plan to develop M-Jirani further with  more features and possibilities for sharing other kinds of information. They are optimistic that the use of technology will further strengthen the bonds of co-existence and promote active participation and collaboration amongst all stakeholders within the community.

NOWSUD is a local women led community based organization in Isiolo that came together to counter insecurity and encourage peace building in the community. Since women and children are the most adversely affected by conflict NOWSUD was formed to ensure that the needs and wellbeing of women and children are secured in the community. Through their work, NOWSUD has modelled the role of women in peacebuilding and mobilizing community efforts despite existing in a typically patriarchal society. Furthermore, the involvement of women in peacebuilding has led to their increased and active engagement in leadership as illustrated by the fact that most of the Nyumba Kumi initiative stakeholder’s i.e. assistant chiefs and heads of the district peace committees are women.

NOWSUD is supported by DANIDA through it’s partner Act! as part of the Peace, Security and Stability Program. The program has several objectives including increased engagement of women in leadership roles in peace and security activities and facilitating collaborations between CSOs and government agencies to address conflicts and counter extremism efforts. DANIDA in partnership with Act! is committed to building the capacity of communities and grassroots organizations in a bid to complement the Kenya government’s efforts in addressing emerging conflicts and developing and implementing coherent national security policies, action plans and strategies.
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