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"If she can do it, why can't I?" Ni Sisi! launched

Ni Sisi, a new multi-media campaign which promotes the idea that citizens can bring about change themselves, rather than waiting for governments, politicians, donors or NGOs to do it for them, was launched on 15 November 2012. Remarks were made by Zitto Kabwe, MP, Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre and Susan Mashibe, managing director of TanJet. January Makamba, MP was unable to attend.

Twaweza believes that by standing up and taking action, citizens across East Africa can create lasting change and drive forward their own development. Rakesh Rajani, the Head of Twaweza, noted that stories of change and imagination are crucial to citizen driven change: “Ideas travel, we see how others live and make a difference, we wonder ‘if they can do it, why can’t we?,’ we learn lessons, we make meaning, we craft tools, we organise, we act.”

The Swahili tagline of the campaign can be translated as ‘Change is me. You. Us.’ The aim is to spur debate and action around the concept of ‘Ni Sisi’, of how we can all contribute to society, development and our lives. The content is firmly embedded in the reality of people’s lives and challenges each citizen to think about these issues and craft their own solutions to the problems they face.

The campaign comprises a number of activities in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The centre-pieces are six television public service announcements (PSAs). Each PSA depicts one courageous person taking the first bold or unusual step to confront a problem and, in so doing, inspiring others to join. Collectively they make a difference.

Implicit in the narrative of the campaign is the connectedness of all of us in society. We can choose to view ourselves as separate from government and public actors, or we can see ourselves as co-responsible for making things work. We can wait all day for someone else to take care of the problem, or we can make ourselves part of the solution. We can complain endlessly, or we can act to make a difference ourselves and to hold those responsible to account. The world we live in is the world that we have helped create or let happen; and it is we who can make the world better.

Kenya

Twaweza’s partner, Shujaaz FM, has also adopted the message of the campaign and used their own style to promote its messages.

Tanzania

In Tanzania Twaweza also plans to work with a number of partners to try to spread the Ni Sisi message. Activities include commissioning a song that promotes the idea behind the campaign and creating a program that showcases instances of individuals making a difference with our partner, MiniBuzz.

Uganda

In Uganda a slightly different approach to the campaign was adopted. Although more traditional communication tools – including TV, radio and billboards – were utilised, there was also a focus on creative approaches to spreading the idea behind Ni Sisi.

Popular artists were commissioned to write songs about citizen agency. 

Twaweza partner MiniBuzz will make a show about the ideas behind Ni Sisi.

A popular VJ who dubs over English movies in local languages and has a large following was commissioned to insert the TV content into the DVDs he produces, reaching at least 15 million Ugandans.

Flikr for print adverts

You Tube for video content

Read more: change Citizen Agency Ni sisi

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