Conflict in a Connected World :Social Media to the Rescue by Francis Kariuki, Lanet Police Chief, Kenya
Google Ideas – Conflict in a Connected World – Social Media to the Rescue
Kenya is riding a social media wave—it has the second largest number of Twitter users in Africa. In a town called Lanet, Police Chief Francis Kariuki uses the social media tool to improve security in his community of 28,000. He explains how.
“A local administrator from a small town in Kenya is making a huge impact through social media.” That’s how @ChiefKariuki was introduced at the annual Google Ideas conference in the US late last week.
The Lanet Umoja administrative chief gave a simple yet practical presentation of how he has been using Twitter to send and receive alerts and messages to residents of the location.
“There was a time when bees attacked school children and the teachers called me. I sent a tweet asking parents to come with blankets to cover the kids. Within a few minutes, the parents came and all the kids were rescued except one who succumbed to the bee attack,” explained Chief Kariuki.
The Chief, who has over 26,000 followers on Twitter, was looking for an easier way to communicate with Lanet residents.
“I looked at how Twitter works and how I could reach over 28,000 people living in Lanet Umoja easier and cheaper way. The Twitter to text service by one of the networks provided an easy way to reach people who do not have smart phones,” explained Chief Kariuki.
Through gatherings, offline and online, Google Ideas brings experts, technologists and people with relevant experience together from across a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds to reframe how technology can enable people to confront threats in the face of conflict, instability or repression.
The 2013 theme, ‘Conflict in a Connected World’, discussed how digital platforms can be leveraged to provide a better understanding of conflict around the world, to better inform policy and peacemakers.
Chief Kariuki explained that he uses the service in different circumstances including mobilizing the community in the event of an emergency or meetings, reporting an ongoing crime and even sending messages of encouragement.
The Chief’s unique administration style has been featured in the Huffington post, CNN, The Telegraph among other global publications.