Notes from Preparation Call with Joshua Ogure

Last month, I held a preparatory call with Josh Ogure to explain the context of our class (including our discussions of salient social identities) and to prepare some backup slides in case of Internet connection issues. Here are some notes from our call. I bolded items I’d like to follow up on when we call on Wednesday.

  1. Sum up your work in 1 minute. 
  2. How did you come to this work? 
  3. How does diversity play a role in your work? 
    • Kibera: 13 villages, 13 tribes. 
    • Gets sensitive during election time 
    • Gender balance has become an important topic, even in Parliament. Parity rule. 
    • Disability has also become an important topic. 
    • At KNN and Map Kibera: they just trained 10 new journalists, 6 are “ladies.”
  4. Do certain tribes stick together?
  5. How does technology play a role in your work? How has mobile communication technology played a role in your work? Would your work have been possible  in 2009? 1999?
    • Tech is essential for this work. It wouldn’t have been possible 10-20 years ago. 
    • GPS, ODK, camera phone, smartphone, social media
    • Josh estimates that 80% of Kibera now have smartphones. 
  6. How do you think diversity might mean something different to you than to an American? (Explain American aspects of diversity here if needed)
    • In Kenya, it is similar, but there’s less emphasis on immigrants. 
    • For KNN, a diverse meeting would cover a range of gender, age, ethnicity, profession. 
    • [to ask more] gender expression?
    • With the decimation of native and indigenous Americans, the notion of “tribe” is not strong in the US, but perhaps it is the closest parallel to tribes in Kenya? Josh says maybe this is a good thing. People go into their “tribal cocoons” and it can become very violent, even between friends and neighbors. Politicians have taken advantage of this in their power-grabbing effort. 
  7. (See 4)
  8. When it comes to technology, I think of you as pretty unique–you have both extensive hardware and extensive software experience. Do you think this affects your perspective on the work?
    • Josh fixes hardware: laptops, cameras, phones
    • Zach fixes software
    • How did Zach get trained?
  9. What are the salient social identities that come to the forefront in your work and life?
    • Age and gender
    • No one wants to talk about tribe anymore. People used to be proud, but after the violence of 2007-08, people started to hide it. People named their children differently. For instance, names that start with “O” (Ogure, Owino, Obama) indicate the Luo tribe. Names like Kamau and Njoroge indicate Kikuyu. But a name like Victoria Hill only indicates where you live, if anything. So when your ID is checked by police and they see your name, the police won’t punish you for not being in their tribe. 
    • FOLLOW-UP: Is this leading to a loss of heritage? 
  10. How does Kenya’s colonial history play a role in your work?
  11. How do you think Kibera will change in the next 20 years? Will you be there to witness it?
    • “Better than Soweto”
    • “Slum is becoming a city”
    • Mapping has played a big role. Before 2009, Kibera (part of “Kibra” or “forest” constituency/municipality) was a blank space on the map. But…
    • Map Kibera’s map highlighted health centers, particularly private clinics, and showed where there was a lack of clinics and a lack of public clinics. 
    • Same with schools. 
    • Before: “Flying Toilets”
    • Now: slum upgrade. First, the UN-Habitat-funded upgrade. Next, the EU-funded upgrade.