Between 2009 and 2010, John Githongo travelled around Kenya for 18 months with the aim to understand the state of the Nation from wananchi (citizens). Hundreds of meetings with Kenyans from all walks of life revealed that every region and individual in Kenya carries with them a burden of injustice perpetrated on them either individually or collectively. The report of this study formed the basis of founding the organisation.
The travels also found compelling commonalities –that women have borne the bulk of the burden, holding together communities after the widespread post-election violence in 2007/8 and that Kenyans expressed doubt that their Government was capable of providing security to all citizens regardless of their ethnicity.
In 2009 Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Ltd worked with Lamu Environment Protection and Conservation group (LEPAC), a community-based organization in Lamu on the Save the Lamu Archipelago campaign. The campaign sought to highlight community issues and interests in the proposed Lamu port development. The campaign created a dialogue platform between the government and the community; pressured the Environmental and Cultural Impact Assessment Report to be publicly available; negotiated for the local community to benefit from opportunities in the development of the port and advocated for land reforms to be implemented before port plans were inaugurated.
In 2010, Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Ltd worked with Sauti Ya Wanawake (SYW) a community-based organisation in Lamu, and supported SYW strengthen its human rights work through increased advocacy for women’s rights, education and health.
Elimu ya Ugatuzi, a programme of Inuka in 2011 and 2012, sought to improve civic participation and engagement of the Kenya Electorate in the general elections and subsequent devolution. Prior to the elections in 2013 Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Ltd implemented the Uongozi initiative. The Uongozi campaign highlighted a nation whose social fabric is frayed, ill at ease with itself and yet hopeful of the massive political potential at hand because of the new constitution and the economic promise manifest, no matter how unequally. Uongozi was implemented through a mass media public participatory methodology utilising the various communication channels including digital spaces, roadshows, a television show, billboards, merchandise and town hall meetings. The campaign highlighted qualities and values the country requires in its leadership for it to fully achieve its potential. Approximately 7 million people were reached.
In 2012 Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi!’s Peace Through Prosperity (PTP) programme aimed to work with Nairobi youth to create a culture of peace and prosperity. The basic platform for engagement with youth was through the organised Youth Chapters. As a platform, Ni Sisi! values were to be imbued among Chapter members and at the same time ensured a ‘youth-owned, youth-led and youth managed’ approach. The Ni Sisi! Chapters brought together youth from different backgrounds; diverse ethnicity, socio-economic divides, non-disabled and youth with disabilities, gender and religious affiliations together into an umbrella network. The chapters provided opportunities for youth to increase their voice, enhance engagement and participation in governance, engage in social development and to improve their livelihoods. The programme saw the formation of over 700 Youth Chapters. Ni Sisi! continues to work with some of the groups in the implementation of its programmes.
Since 2012 Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Ltd has been implementing a civic engagement initiative – Sauti Yetu. Sauti Yetu encourages communities to exercise their democratic rights and engage elected leaders by creating non-partisan spaces to discuss local issues and create healthy relationships between citizens and government. By 2022, Sauti Yetu has operated in 74 wards in 6 counties (Nakuru, Nairobi, Kisumu, Kericho, Kakamega and Garissa) reaching approximately 487,654 people. Between 2012 and 2016, Inuka also focussed on empowering groups to be able to carry out their activities in the community. This support took the form of capacity building (in organisational development, digital skills, social media advocacy) and fiduciary support. The groups included Langata Youth Network, Harambee Toto Initiative, Kibagare Associates Youth Organisation and Mukuru Youth Initiative.
In 2013, Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Ltd launched an iterative online-offline, issue-based and agenda-setting advocacy platform – Maskani Ya Taifa, (MYT). The platform has informed and transformed citizens who shape the country positively and participate more in their governance and the demand for accountability. By 2022, Maskani Conversations occupied 9 spaces across 9 Counties in Kenya (Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Garissa, Kericho, Mombasa, Kwale, and Kakamega).
Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Ltd in values incubation works alongside The Kenya Values Trust (KVT) founded in July 2015 to carry out certain initiatives and activities among Kenyans, with specific emphasis on children and youth. The goal is to ingrain the values of love, integrity, honesty, peace, unity, reconciliation, liberty, responsibility, justice, tolerance, respect and sharing, in order to foster cohesion, unity, patriotism and nationalism. Among the initiatives of KVT is a premier school in Butere, Western Kenya – the Glory Values School.
In 2016, Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! launched the Kesho Initiative, an initiative that engages citizens to continuously reflect, re-member and re-envision their society by interrogating the past, and present, in an effort to fashion a better future. The Elephant.info platform is Kesho’s premier channel. It has a current monthly readership of 50,000 from over 170 countries around the world. Kesho has initiated the Uongozi Lab to provide a crucible for policy drafting alongside its partners in the sector. This is being done alongside the online academia platform Elephant.edu which will incubate a class forum for students across various disciplines.
In 2018, Inuka focused on movement building. It has been the fiscal host of the Kenya Tuitakayo Movement (KTM), Kongamano la Mageuzi and was instrumental in the Muungano wa Mageuzi movement. It has also supported movements in Kenya and the East African region including the Twenze2 movement in Tanzania. Inuka is also keen on establishing Ni Sisi! Chapters across the country. Inuka has developed and launched the Transformative Agenda for Kenya 2021 -2050 which is a strategic engagement framework for the transformation of Kenya. Additionally, Inuka has articulated and rolled out a Tulia Initiative focused on the wellness of civic actors across the East African region in particular.
The COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 allowed Inuka and its programmes to adopt a hybrid working model – both physical and digital. The infrastructure and lessons learnt from this continue to inform the working culture and approach of the entire institution.