CM4K empowering communities

It’s my third year now as a CM4K member. So it would be right to say that this first post is long overdue. CM4K has changed much in those three years but one thing has remained constant: the desire to empower communities.

As a kid growing up all I wanted was one day to be in a position to help the poor and the destitute. When our Dean at Rongo University told us in class about CM4K I very much wanted to be a member. Being a member of CM4K has been one of my greatest joys as a university student. I have learnt a lot from Peter Day the founder and director of CM4K, I have learnt from my fellow students at Rongo University and students from University of Brighton. It was Lewis and Elle from University of Brighton (CM4K 2016) who taught me how to use a digital camera to make professional photographs. It is Japheth (CM4K 2016-) who showed me the beauty of being a photographer. And yesterday Hafsa (CM4K 2018) taught me how to manually create wonderful images. Everyday and every year I learn something new from my colleagues and am always grateful.

But perhaps the best lessons have come from Peter Day. He showed us while helping is noble, empowering is divine. He has made me realise that everyone has the power and ability to change and impact a community positively. Yesterday I almost teared of joy when we visited Omweri Mixed Secondary School. A young girl told us – Japheth and I – that she dreams of being a journalist. I showed her briefly how to use the digital camera and asked her if she would like to take pictures of the other students. She did not only take some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen but she also started teaching the other students how to use the digital camera. I looked at Japheth and he was grinning. We were amazed how the students were so keen to learn and teach others.

From 2017 CM4K has embarked on a journey to set up a radio station in a place called Cham Gi Wadu. The community radio is one of the ways CM4K wants to empower the local community. Not only will it be a way of creating effective communication for Pamela Wesonga who heads over 150 women group, it will nurture the aspiring journalists from Omweri Secondary School and mostly importantly it will be a tool for bringing social justice. Cham Gi Wadu is a sleepy village with considerable amounts of resources which most community members seem unaware of. A radio station will be important in providing information and make the community discover new ways of uplifting their lives.

I aim to bring you stories and images from Cham Gi Wadu and any other project CM4K is taking with the aim of empowering communities and sharing knowledge. I promise it won’t be three years before you hear from me again😉.
Geoffrey.

Wednesday 24/2018:

I woke up at exactly 5:20 am by my trap phone alarm for the morning prayers. I then had to do some washing as some of my clothes were dirty and I could not keep them anymore up to weekend since I am not sure if I will be available for cleaning. At around 8:00 am I was at the school waiting for my colleagues to join me. They walked in one after another ready for the day until 9:30 am when the Brighton University guys arrived.

Being the seventh day of the project, we were to edit the two day work that we had captured on Monday and Tuesday. The University of Brighton students joined us after they had their breakfast but unfortunately Hafsah didn’t make it with them because of illness; I felt my day wouldn’t be complete without a joke and strong exchange of words from my ‘customer’ Hafsah. Quick recovery dear. Back to the business of the day, in my video group, though we didn’t do much of editing but Angelica collected the establishment shots of the places we visited and opted to compile them by the use of iMovie on her laptop.

It was a nice experience to learn the basics of iMovie since it was my first time to work with it though I didn’t find it the best software for editing but may be it’s because I am used to Premier Pro. The work wasn’t done and we expect to complete it tomorrow with the seriousness and commitment it deserves.

I attended a lecture by madam Millicent Atieno at 2:00 pm as guys went for lunch. One will ask what the lecture has to do with this, relax and read my blog up to the end. The course unit is CMM 404, Development Communication and today’s lecture was basically on why the mass media is not appropriate for effective communication. It depends on ones understanding about mass media in this case. Mass media is controlled by elites and it’s commercialized, unlike the rural media that is liberating, indigenous and egalitarian. Some of the features of this rural media that made me see the lecture as a coincidence to what I am doing in the community are; Participatory, Gives a sense of belonging and develops and support cultural identity. A good example of rural media is a community radio station. Now tell me, is what I am doing in this project different from what I learnt today?

We had a short discussion on religion with Sam and Angelica; why do we exist? Sam argued on how he feels it is through evolution that we exist and that there is no Supreme Being that controls everything as my faith and Angel’s tells us. Katie seemed not happy with the topic that he requested us to either shut our mouths up or find another topic of discussion.

Our delicious dinner was served few minutes past 6:00 pm as we experienced a heavy rainfall that none of us expected.

 

Kassim Mohammed.

DAY 1: THE FIRST ENCOUNTER

Well heeeey!!!

Well well  guys this is actually my first time writing a blog so don’t mind the crazy things u will get to see….hahaha just joking. So my day started off well at around 7.00am in the morning is when I woke up and attended some few classes until around 12.00pm in the afternoon then at around 2.00pm we started our 4hr journey to Kisumu. Together with our Dean Prof Jerry Agallo, Eve, mercy and Charlotte. Since this was my first time traveling to Kisumu I was eager to see all the good things I have heard from my friends. I ended up seeing a lot of good stuff people selling fruits along the way working hard to put meals on their table without having to disturb their neighbours. Honestly I really loved the experience that I had. At around 5pm we arrived at Kisumu international airport, we headed straight to the waiting area where we sat for an hour waiting for our Brighton visitors who were arriving at 6 pm . They landed safely we went to them and said hi got to learn their names and welcomed them to Kenya and Africa at large. This being their first time to come to Kenya I was anticipating to see how they will behave for the next two weeks.

My first impression about them was that they were really friendly and down to earth, immediately they started talking I just knew they were real and I could work with them comfortably. I made new friends instantly, I know it sounds crazy but I did. Angelica, Hafsa, Luca, Katy and Sam. It is really a good thing when you have an understanding with people you work with because the experience becomes fun and you end up having a lot of good moments while working at the same time. So after getting to know each other we got into the van and drove off back to Rongo University. Since they were exhausted because of the long journey they had dinner and later on they were taken to their rooms to get some rest until the next day.

Thanks for passing by my blog see you on my next post.

 

 

CM4K FRIDAY MEETING

Being my favorite day of the week as usual I woke up early, dressed in my Friday prayer’s attire ready for the day. Today’s meeting was meant to start at 11:00 am after the arrival of the Cham Gi Wadu community members, it however kicked off slightly after 11 with the lecture from Peter. My concentration was too low as I was eagerly waiting for CM4K2017 video that was produced by Sam.

Yes, my time came and Peter played the video, it was amazing and more so  interesting to see how a two weeks exercise was compressed to a 16 minutes documentary; Big up Sam! The Community members were asked to shed some light on their meetings they held back in the village with other members, the main concern raised was why the project is taking too long to kick off. Peter reassured them how the action plan is still on course. This proved how eager the community members are waiting for the radio station.

The main topic of the lecture revolved around mapping for community radio at Cham Gi Wadu. Mobile phones were to be used to create narratives on google about resourceful places, it was however interesting to find out that as much as I didn’t have a smartphone during the session, one of the members had one without a battery. We were split in three different groups including the community members to discuss several questions. The first session of today’s lecture ended at around 2 pm. We broke for lunch and resumed at 3 pm. We didn’t do much in the afternoon session due to the technical inch we experienced; phones could not connect to the geo-code on google maps.

Shoutout to Angelica Bozene, almost threw my laptop away for showing her a snake picture. It was funny to see how frightened she is to snakes even by their pictures. I realized that in some way I had scared her but as friends all was sorted out immediately and everything got back to normal.

 

 

By Kassim Mohammed