I got a call a few minutes to 5.00pm from a friend who also happens to be my client requesting that I tune into 96.3 Nation FM. I got tail-end of a discussion about Nyeri County spending two Million Kenya Shillings (USD. 22560) for a five day training for the Members of the County Assembly popularly referred to as MCAs. The reason I am writing this is because unfortunately I did not chance to voice my thoughts on air. The station presenters and the callers thought it was expensive and a waste of resources. I believe that this is the opinion of many Kenyans, social media is a no brainier, it should be self taught therefore that expenditure by Nyeri County is misappropriation of tax payer money.
I beg to differ with the presenters and many of their listeners out there that share their opinion on the following grounds:
- The total sum of Two Million Kenya Shillings if broken down to cost per MCA is Ksh. 8,510 per day and 42,550 for the week. Which in my opinion is not expensive if there was value add through the training
- I would have loved to see the five day training curriculum before pointing a finger at the County. I would give it a green-light if it includes practical knowledge and skill transfer that will enable MCAs to navigate the internet for information, management of information relevant to the county and create an online presence on various platforms.
- Over 70% of Kenya’s and Africa’s population is under the age of 35. This means that a big portion of the population will have a connection social media in one way or another, the millennials and generation Y call it home and work- since they practically live there, generation X call it ‘shags’– secondary home where they go to when they need to kick back and relax, wherease baby boomers arrive on the space on visitor Visas to witness what they have heard or read. A profile and average age of the MCAs in Nyeri will tell you why that training was necessary and it justifies a need for learning how to set agendas and run barazas on the online platforms since that is where the people read gen Y, millennials and gen X communities are.
- It is cheaper to help the 47 MCAs to understand the social media for five days for Two Million Kenya shillings than hire 47 social media ‘interpreters’ to manage facebook and twitter for a monthly salary of Ksh.42,550 for next four years which comes to about Ksh. 8,000,200
- Baby boomers and some gen X must be conditioned through training- knowledge and skill so they are able to fuse their wealth of knowledge and resources with the youth (gen Y and millennials) who are found on the social media forums. If they dont offer leadership in these virtual spaces then they future of this nation is at risk because the young and energetic will be vulnerable to whoever has a voice in Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google plus and other meeting points
- Lastly, the use of alternative media is as challenging as traditional media. It requires great understanding and masterful skill to build an audience and manage a community beyond ones family and friends. It is therefore my opinion that any county, organisation or group of people find the time, resources and able practitioners to guide in building competence in this area.
So I say yes to Nyeri County spending Two million kenya shillings if all of the above were put into consideration when procuring the service and I recommend that the other counties follow suit. Oh, I am still waiting for Nation FM presenter to call me back as she had promised on a call I made after 5.00pm