Kenyan chief uses Twitter to maintain peace

The article below is written by Mashable.com and talks about the power of Twitter to inspire change and maintain peace. An African Administrative chief in Kenya uses the social media as a platform to maintain peace and prevent illegal activities by tweeting about missing children, robberies in progress and other things.

Twitter has been used by this chief as a way to invoke instant action. It has been used to disseminate information in a matter that has enabled people to deter crime as it is happening, not after the fact.

Read this inspirational article about the real power of Twitter- a platform for change.

 

How an African Chief Uses Twitter to Keep the Peace

4 hours ago by 5

An African administrative chief uses Twitter to help solve problems and maintain order in his Kenyan village, showing another example of how social media has evolved beyond wired metropolises to reach even the most previously unconnected corners of the globe.

Chief Francis Kariuki — or, @Chiefkariuki, as he’s known online — tweets to defeat thugs and thieves, locate missing children and farm animals, and organize village logistical matters, according to the Associated Press.

In one example reported by the AP, criminals were raiding a school teacher’s home at 4 a.m. until Kariuki intervened via Twitter. After receiving a phone tip, Kariuki sent a tweet that mobilized village residents to gather outside the teacher’s house and scare the robbers away. In another example, Kariuki used Twitter to organize a rescue operation after a man fell into a latrine pit.

“There is a brown and white sheep which has gone missing with a nylon rope around its neck and it belongs to Mwangi’s father,” Kariuki tweeted recently in Swahili to help locate a wayward sheep, in another instance the AP cites.

Chief Kariuki lives in Lanet Umoja, about 160 miles west of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi. Kariuki tells the AP that, although he has just over 400 followers, his messages are able to reach thousands of the area’s 28,000 residents. Many of those citizens are subsistence farmers who access his tweets via forwarded text messages or a third-party mobile application that works without a smartphone, Kariuki says.

“Twitter has helped save time and money. I no longer have to write letters or print posters which take time to distribute and are expensive,” Mr. Kariuki tells the AP.

He says his Twitter activity has helped decrease the crime rate to virtually nil in recent weeks, compared to prior reports of break-ins nearly every day.

Here are a couple of examples of Kariuki’s tweets:

UTRAVETIS company will be holding a seminar on POULTRY on 13/2/2012 at P C E A TABUGA CHURCH at 9 30 am.inform all farmers.

Mr Weru from Ndege reports theft last night of 4bags of maize, 4debes of beans and 1debe of wheat were stolen.pls lets me know incase.

Kariuki also uses Twitter to spread upbeat, inspirational messages such as this one:

We all have setbacks in our yesterdays. But your past doesn’t define your future. Today is a new day.

With Kariuki’s smart and effective use of Twitter, it appears to be a new day indeed in Lanet Umoja.

What are the most interesting or unexpected examples of social media use that you’ve heard of? Let us know in the comments.

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About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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