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Kenya

Clare Lockhart and Ory Okolloh on "Making States Work Better"

Daniel Maree's picture

"New Media and Conflict" is our ongoing series which explores the affect of new communication technologies on issues of conflict and development.

Last Tuesday (Sept. 7), the Grand Hyatt Washington was abuzz with the Gov 2.0 Summit, which brought together innovators from government and the private sector to highlight technology and ideas that can be applied to “the nation’s great challenges.”

 

One session we found particularly interesting was "Making States Work Better" featuring Ory Okolloh, founder of the groundbreaking “activist mapping” platform Ushahidi, and Clare Lockhart, founder of the Institute for State Effectiveness, co-author of Fixing Failed States, and author of two input papers for the 2011 World Development Report.

 

Reflecting on their post-conflict experiences in Afghanistan and Kenya, respectively, Lockhart and Okolloh stressed the importance of building institutions that provide effective and accountable security, justice and economic prospects.

 

WATCH:

 

Let them drink milk

Nicholas van Praag's picture

Reflections on a journey through the Rift Valley..

My main take-away from a visit to Kenya last month is that the ‘post-electoral violence’ has deep pre-electoral roots.  While inter-ethnic violence is not uncommon, the legacy of the displacement of tens of thousands of people in early 2008 seems to have created a Balkanization of Kenya. There is so much poverty, so much hatred, so much fear, and so many politicians willing to exploit this, that I felt a long-term peace is still elusive.

Driving up the Rift Valley, ground zero for much of the violence that erupted after the disputed elections in December 2007, I got a chance to hear tale after tale of loss and disruption, and to learn about people’s hopes and fears for the future.

   Hoping for a better future. Photos © Nicholas van Praag

At first it is hard for me to remember all the ethnic groups and follow the history of decades of social and ethnic disparity.  In many places Kikuyu were attacked by Kalenjin.  In others, Kikuyu gangs killed and displaced Luos and Luyas and Kalenjins.

The outcome today is a redrawing of many towns and villages along ethnic lines.  Most prominent of all is the town of Naivasha, reknowned for its flower farms that export roses and carnations around the world.  Once home to many different groups, it is almost entirely Kikuyu now. Luos and Luyas have been kicked out, their jobs taken.  None dare to return.

View from the bottom: the conspiracy of violence in Nairobi's slums

Nicholas van Praag's picture

Urban violence has reached unprecedented levels in many cities around the world, destabilizing whole societies and making life miserable for its victims.  It is a trend we are looking at in detail in the upcoming World Development Report which looks at conflict, violence and development.

To get a better understanding of the complicated inter-play between poverty, gangs, and bare-knuckled politics, I visited Nairobi's Mathare slum which is home to 850,000 people.  Julius, who runs the Julius Mwelu Foundation, showed me around.  I took a small video camera with me and this is my report:

Video blog: Nairobi's slums from WDR Video on Vimeo.