Taphine Otieno of Sikika project works with refugees and is interested in how to tackle misinformation and rumors in those communities. He will be joining DW Akademie's barcamp on communication in displacement contexts.
DW Akademie: "Sikika" – the Kiswahili word for "to be heard" – is the name of a project that DW Akademie and FilmAid are conducting in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp and the Kalobeyei integrated settlement. You are training young residents there in how to produce audio content. This content is then made available to the communities via listening groups. How is the project benefitting the communities?
Taphine Otieno: Accessing information is very difficult for most refugees. The literacy levels are quite low in Kakuma and Kalobeyei, and the camps consist of many different communities. Our content producers live there and know their communities well. They are aware of some of the information gaps that "Sikika" is attempting to fill. Health issues have been quite a challenge in the camps, even prior to the pandemic. We have been producing life-saving information on how to protect yourself from the virus, but we also produce content on protection, livelihoods, education and other topics. We use vernacular languages as much as possible so that the refugees can understand, relate to and resonate with the content we produce. This is of great importance to them.
People on a street in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya: No newspapers here. Refugees in Kakuma were found to lack access to basic information
You are taking part in our barcamp on December 1st that will bring people together to discuss communication in displacement contexts. What are you hoping to gain from this exchange?
I'm looking forward to an engaging session and to learning more about what the others are doing. We launched "Sikika" at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, so I'm especially interested in learning about best practices for implementing a project amid a crisis that is facing us all.
At a barcamp, everybody can suggest a session. At the start of the event, the participants decide on the agenda together. Which topic will you be suggesting?
The Kenyan authorities made an announcement earlier this year about the closure of the refugee camps. They have lately been quiet about this, and it's causing tensions and worries among the refugees. There have been rumors and misinformation, and I'd be very interested in discussing ways to tackle this.
In 2020 DW Akademie and FilmAid Kenya launched the "Sikika" project in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp and the Kalobeyei integrated settlement. The aim is to increase refugees' access to information and dialogues with the host community and humanitarian actors. Taphine Otieno is the project's Content Development Coordinator.
You can find more information about DW Akademie's virtual barcamp and a registration link here.