The Good Governance Festival is held in Kibera Kenya each year by ActionAid Kenya. It is an event that brings community members together over music, guest speakers, and informational booths to promote change and activism.
Problems and Purpose
Each year, the Good Governance Festival addresses different problems facing the Nairobi slum of Kibera Kenya, but the overarching goal is to give the people living there a voice. The event is used to bring those voices together to advocate for change and to promote good governance in the capital of Nairobi, Kenya.
Background History and Context
The Good Governance Festival was created by ActionAid in 2010 to bring Kenyan and International musicians to Kibera due to the continuous corruption of the Kenyan government and failed policies towards Kibera. It was also created for a community which typically is unable to attend other music shows throughout the capital city of Nairobi. While the musicians showcase their skills, they also use the platform to address good governance and to provide the community with an opportunity to ask questions and to voice their own concerns. Additionally, the music festival has another function by allowing community members the opportunity to interact together with their leaders. This is the first time this process has been used like this in Kibera.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
ActionAid Kenya is the organization in charge of the event with partners such as Culture Connect, Kibera Community Development Agenda, Activista, and Global Platform and Korogocho FM. ActionAid Kenya and their global parent, ActionAid, are the primary funding sources.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The event is open to the public and all of those who reside in Kibera are encouraged to attend. Participants to the event vary year-to-year with estimates ranging from 500 to 10,000 festival attendees.
Methods and Tools Used
Before each festival the committee decides on a theme and any relevant political topics. Such topics range from childhood education, tax reform, elections, and voter registration. Then musicians are selected who will engage participants while also stimulating participants at the festival. Some of these musicians, keynote speakers, and other speakers will provide information to the crowd and will also ask for questions. Additionally, there are booths where pamphlets and informational items are handed out and participants are able to join in dialogue sessions.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Little is actually deliberated at these events and no decisions are made. However, the public is encouraged to attend face-to-face and interact to learn more about issues affecting them. The keynote speakers and musicians typically welcome community members to share the stage with them and the speakers also conduct Q&A sessions. The public is also allowed to voice their concerns and with local leaders in attendance and those leaders are able to listen to the community. Additionally, all in attendance are able to sit in small circles at various booths to interact in informal dialogue sessions.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
This event is big on advocacy but there is not much data on if the community members are able to create any change through these festivals. However, it is important to note that by bringing music to an area that typically never has concerts or large public forums, that it is empowering the the area. The main outcome intended by this event is an increase in advocacy for change to an area that needs it and to promote good governance in the capital of Nairobi, Kenya. Additionally, an outcome is that by educating Kiberan residents on political issues and providing them the opportunity to speak, this process is essentially giving the members a voice when they may not have had one. It also lets the community know that local leaders and the international community are listening, as well as one another. In the end, there is an increase in community bonds amongst Kiberan residents, increased trust in non-governmental organizations, and increase in knowledge about issues affecting Kibera and how to best handle those issues.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
No formal evaluations of the entire process and/or of the participants’ experience could be found at this time. However, this process is great for getting a community together and providing support and information. Kenyan politics are typically corrupt and when it comes to the slums, politicians overpower the locals. By providing community events and empowering the neighborhood, people can start advocating for good governance that is not corrupt and that listens to those who live in the slums of Nairobi.
 ActionAid Kenya (2016). Making Everyone Accountable. Retrieved from http://www.actionaid.org/kenya/news/making-everyone-accountable [BROKEN LINK]
 Seestworld [username] (Dec 29, 2012). Kibera Good Governance Festival 2012 - Culture Connect [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZQD4vFyTW8
 Barcott, R. (2011). It happened on the way to war: A marine’s path to peace. New York: Bloomsbury.
 KiberaNewsNetwork [username] (Jun 4, 2010). Good Governance Festival in Kibera [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E6PwhFvaG4
 Odeny Salim [username] (Dec 15, 2012). Odeny Salim – Kibera Good Governance Festival.mp4 [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIRbhwNFQrQ
A Festival for Good Governance in Kibera, ActionAid: http://www.actionaid.org/activista/2012/12/festival-good-governance-kibera [DEAD LINK]
The original submission of this case entry was written by Damien Powell, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The views expressed in the current version are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.