Centre for Media & Information Literacy in Kenya

Civic Engagement

Introduction

CMIL-Kenya promotes civic engagement and citizen involvement in governance and development activities through advocacy for access to information and service delivery. This is in line with the Constitution of Kenya 2010 which envisages public participation processes and the newly enacted Freedom of Information Act (2016) that provides for citizen access to information held by both national and county governments; and their agencies.

Citizen engagement offers the citizens the chance to contribute their ideas and knowledge to matters that affect them at all government levels, and contributes to improved governance and development by giving policy makers better information to support their decision-making, programme development and service delivery, while at the same time meeting rising citizen expectations of government transparency and responsiveness.

MIL & Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement refers to individually or jointly acting upon a heightened sense of responsibility to one’s communities. This may involve a wide range of activities, including developing civic sensitivity, participation in building civil society, or acting for the common good.

To actively engage in community issues, citizens need access to information, and the means and motives to process that information effectively. Media and information literacy  is therefore an effective tool for strengthening citizen participation in civic  and political life,  enabling them to seek out information on relevant issues, evaluate  the quality of information available, ask relevant questions and engage in dialogue with others to discuss issues of national and global importance.

Our media literacy programs therefore support the information-seeking motivations by citizens and the development of civic engagement competencies in relation to digital media through development of citizen ability to use, analyze and create media messages

It is envisaged that through our media literacy and civic engagement initiatives in Kenya, individuals and communities will be empowered as agents of positive social change for a more democratic country.

CMIL-Kenya encourages Civic Engagement in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Participating actively in public life, public problem solving, and community service;
  2. Assuming leadership and membership roles in communities and organizations;
  3. Developing empathy, ethics, values, and sense of social responsibility;
  4. Promoting social justice locally and globally.
  5. Learning from others, self, and environment to develop informed perspectives on social issues;
  6. Recognizing and appreciating human diversity and commonality;
  7. Behaving, and working through controversy, with civility.

(Additional Source: Coalition for Civic Engagement and Leadership University of Maryland www.terpimpact.umd.edu)

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