Safaricom Limited yesterday announced it had partnered with Sisi ni Amani, a Kenyan peace CBO in a move to leverage on SMS technology to foster peace and unity towards the forthcoming general elections.
The 50 million free SMS donation makes the SMS and USSD based peace campaign available for free to Safaricom subscribers on SMS at 8762 and USSD at *762#.
With over 50,000 members, Sisi ni Amani-Kenya is a local peace group using mobile technology as a tool for peace. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), National Cohesion Integration Commission (NCIC) and the Kenya Police Service are among its partners.
The group will send out peace messages in a move to curb election based violence or report incidents of violence in the country. In 2008, Kenya plunged into a sever crisis when members of different communities turned against each other causing over 1000 deaths and several others displaced from their homes. This the CBO is moving towards the right direction.
According to Nzioka Waita, Safaricom’s Director of Corporate Affairs: “the 2007-2008 post-election violence woke us all up to the dangers of technology such as SMS, voice and data being used to polarise our country. Recognising the complexity and historical significance of the upcoming elections, we have decided to support a wide range of initiatives in partnership with like-minded organisations who want to curb the abuse of these mediums as platforms for spreading hatred and fanning violence.”
The group will therefore use the SMS technology to instead unite people and preach peace.
Sisi ni Amani-Kenya CEO Rachael Brown said, “At the height of the post-election violence, peace actors at the local levels made many courageous attempts to bring peace to their communities but were hampered by a lack of proper communication tools. This initiative therefore aims to bridge that gap and promote the usage of the mobile phone as a gateway to promoting a peaceful and participatory election process.”