THE STAR: SOCIAL media groups by various estates are proving to be a force to reckon with in demanding for services and championing the welfare of residents, if recent events are anything to go by.

 

Loresho residents recently managed to stop the grabbing of land reserved for expansion of a water reservoir after galvanising neighbours’ support via Facebook.

This is after the national government repossessed the grabbed land that contains the reservoir serving Spring Valley and Loresho. The matter which was hyped all over social media also caught the attention of Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko who took it up causing intervention from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Other than Whatsapp Groups, residents of part of Loresho have a closed Facebook page called Loresho North Residents Company whose group type is listed as neighbours.

The page description states that it is for “a membership company, representing the interests of the Loresho North Community, providing security services and ensuring the residents enjoy the beauty of this unique lush green estate In Nairobi.”

Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations CEO Henry Ochieng says the trend to connect neighbours via social media is growing due to realisation that people living within a particular neighbourhood have common challenges and the best way to address them is by joining hands and speaking with one voice.

The use of social platforms is very fast and efficient, he says.

“Another success story is Nyayo Embakasi Residents Association, which has effectively used social media to bring order to the estate and pass useful information to the tenants. Syokimau Residents Associations recently mobilised their members to demonstrate at the Machakos governor’s office over bad roads and the issue is now being addressed,” Ochieng says.

He adds the social media groups by neighbours are also popular because information is passed in real time leading to faster decisions, plus they also eliminate the need for physical meetings that can be quite cumbersome.

However it has not been easy to maintain confidentiality and civil discussions in some of these groups.

Ochieng advises that before forming such networks, it is important to put together some ground rules so as to reap highest benefits and minimise abuse.

Nairobi residents also took to Twitter recently to protest growing heaps of garbage in the city leading governor Evans Kidero to order the county’s environmental team to clean up.
Also read: