Life under curfew by Social Justice Centre Working Group

‘Life under curfew’ is an interactive real life data experience created by and for the residents of Dandora, an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya.

When Covid-19 hit Kenya in the spring of 2020 amongst the hardest hit were those living in informal settlements like Dandora. Strict curfews and increased police brutality lead to arbitrary arrests and killings, traumatizing and severely impacting the lives of its residents. To document the human rights violations taking place in the informal settlements in Nairobi our organisation — the Social Justice Centres Working Group — conducted a survey between 15 April and 6 May 2020. The data showed that 4188 people had been arrested, 1444 people had been injured as a result of curfew enforcement, and 57 people had been killed.

While under such threat, the community also showed strong signs of solidarity. Numerous positive initiatives were observed, such as local tailors producing affordable face masks, artists painting murals to remind people to wear masks, NGOs distributing food etc. Once Covid-19 restrictions eased up we wanted to present the data back to our community and gather more data through engaging activities.

On 19 November 2021 we collaborated with Data4Change to host a community event where we created and install three participatory data visualisation murals around the following themes:
The results of the Covid-19 survey survey
Love for the community: capturing positive interactions that show how the community came together during this time
Collecting new data about how the residents feel about their neighbourhoods: capturing the level of trust in the police and the feeling of safety in the community

Two of these murals were interactive. The first allowed participants to paint symbols indicating who had helped them during the curfews. The second was started off by participants filling in a short survey on paper. Questions included where they lived, their age, if they trust the police in their community, if they feel safe in their community, and if they want to make their community a safer place to live. They were then asked to draw lines between the answers on the paper, visualizing the path of their responses. Each participant was then given a rope. The color of the rope was based on the gender identity they felt most comfortable with. They would then string their rope between the data points that we had painted and nailed onto the wall. Together the strings showed a pattern for how participants from different age groups and areas feel about their neighborhoods. At the end more than 80 people had contributed to the mural and visualized their own data.

Bringing the data to the community had an even bigger impact than we had expected. As Stephen Kinuthia Mwangi, our Legal Coordinator said: "It’s a very powerful way of connecting communities that have been victimised and marginalised. Instead of people publishing books that community members are not able to access or read, we put these books on walls, and people can now read them and share the knowledge."
To find out more about this project you can watch this video and read this article

  • Credits
    Stephen Kinuthia Mwangi, The Social Justice Centre Working Group, Kenya Antony Adoyo, The Social Justice Centre Working Group, Kenya Happi Olal, The Social Justice Centre Working Group, Kenya Richie Uchenna, data analyst, Nigeria Frenny Jowi, journalist, Kenya Surasti Puri, designer, UK Evelina Judeikyte, Data4Change, France
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