Last Saturday, the best of the best on social media were awarded at the OLX SoMA Awards ceremony that was held at the Kasarani Stadium Indoor Arena. It was generally a good event, and I would love very much to talk, among other things, about the guy that was supposed to get on stage and simply give the rules, (which if very loosely translated, means to tell the attendees where the washrooms are) but spent about ten minutes dishing out some not-entirely-funny tribal jokes. However there was so much more to the evening than that, like Zawadi Nyong’o who received the Special Recognition Award for her outstanding work in the fight against cancer, particularly in the Jadudi campaign.
Looking absolutely stunning in a long red dress, she was escorted by Jadudi who like a true gentleman, held her hand as she made her way up the staircase onto the podium to receive her award and give the acceptance speech. “I had about 100 followers on Twitter when I did my first online campaign, which was about violence against sex workers. I had very little influence by then, I literally did ten tweets a year, but it trended and we had about 700 sex workers who marched from Koinange Street to Ngara. The demonstration was covered by mainstream media therefore it was a big deal.”
She says that at that point, she realized the power social media had and she set out to use it to bring change because she knew who to talk to, when to talk to them and how to go about everything. About how she got the idea to use crowd funding on social media as a way of helping people in need, she says, “I was at the iHub one time, when I heard someone talking about how social media had been used to change lives in many countries oversees, he even cited examples. Right there and then I realized that I had so much power to create an impact, just by using social media and I set out to do just that.”
Zawadi talks about the 1 Milli For Jadudi campaign with a lot of passion and emotion.“We were aiming for 1 million, and the response was amazing. People would send as little as ten shillings and we ended up with 7.2 million and even had to ask people to stop sending their contributions. I mean, when have you ever asked anyone to stop sending money!”
Since then, social media is being used vastly every day to source for funds. Harambees happen every day and she receives messages and emails to support these, but it is impossible to do that every day. She strongly believes however, that it is possible to do crowd funding, which she fondly refers to as the ‘Jadudi effect’, that will go a long way into helping out in a major way.
“We are working on putting up a cancer help center that will be accessible by all members of the public. This will help greatly in the fight against cancer by making resources and health care available to anyone that is affected and needs to be treated.”
See, we cannot all get recognized in a big way, but we can do whatever we can to aid the battle against cancer. Make contributions, visit cancer patients in hospitals and spend time with them. Or in the very least, go get screened, for your own sake.