@ChiefKariuki: Using Twitter to empower lives
Chief Francis Kariuki is what you would call a peoples person.
In his role as Administrator for Lanet Umoja, Nakuru County, he acts as a bridge between the government and the community. This involves constant interaction with different community groups through barazas, meetings of public interest where various issues are raised.
Lanet Umoja has a population of approximately 30,000. Holding regular meetings with the people is a challenging feat indeed. Searching for a solution to this problem is what led Chief Francis to sign up for Twitter.
Since 2011, Kenyan consumers have been able to access Twitter via SMS through their Safaricom or Airtel lines, without the need for an Internet connection. Herein laid the solution to help Chief Francis connect with his people and share key news and information. An initial group of 200 registered subscribers to the Twitter via SMS platform has now snowballed and all Lanet Umoja residents with access to a mobile phone can simultaneously receive alerts from Chief Francis.
Chief Francis’ Twitter account- @Chiefkariuki has become very popular, not just in Lanet Umoja, but in other parts of Kenya and around the world.
So how exactly has Twitter made a difference? One of the foremost uses of the platform is to share information that will enhance the economic status of the people in Chief Francis’ area.
This can include informing the larger community of a person from Lanet Umoja who is selling poultry or livestock- to increase their sales.
“Sometimes people are looking for jobs, but can’t afford to spend KES 50 every day on a newspaper, so I Tweet any job openings that I come across. My aim is to use Twitter to share information that can better people’s lives, “says Chief Francis Kariuki.