GLFx Nairobi: How One Can Support and Shape Up Landscape Restoration Initiatives Digitally
Nyika Silika is an environmental platform that has been active since 2016 voicing out environmental and wildlife issues in Kenya and globally. It encourages sustainable lives and urges young people to participate in conservation of the environment. Some of the impacts that the platform has created include making people connect and understand more about nature. Also, it has been highlighting what young people are doing in conservation. Its audience grew from family members to friends and now its main target are university students, graduants and conservation enthusiasts.
In an Instagram Live session hosted by Kiptoo Chemoiwo, its founder and editor, Victoria Wangui shared her thoughts on how one can support and shape up Landscape Restoration Initiatives digitally based on what Nyika Silika has been doing. The session was in the form of Q&A and the following tips were shared:
Kiptoo: What are some of the digital tactics/models that have put Nyika Silika on the digital map and can be adopted by someone wanting to do the same thing or wants to start?
Victoria: Being consistent with what we engage in and being present all the time and not being afraid to voice out issues regardless of who it might affect.
Kiptoo: How can one from the global south enter into digital activism/campaign and gain a supportive audience like Nyika Silika?
Victoria: The first step is to start. It’s also important to think about what one wants to do if it has purpose and how effectively the content can be shared. Learning more is very important in digital activism. One has to read more in order to learn about writing styles, story flow and the content one can write on. Attending events that are connected to ecosystem/landscape restoration is important in getting tips and content too. One should not be afraid of sharing information due to being bullied or disregarded. Practising more/daily, being goal-oriented and intentional as well as having purpose are crucial values in digital activism. One should not be award-oriented in terms of getting likes, awards and rewards.
Kiptoo: What are some of the platforms that can be impactful in supporting landscape restoration initiatives digitally?
Victoria: I would not say there are specific platforms that are more impactful than the others. Rather, I would suggest experimenting on various platforms to see which one is more effective in passing across your content.Long messages can be passed on in Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Instagram is also known for sharing photos. Videos can be shared on Instagram, Facebook or using a YouTube Channel. If you get positive feedback on long texts in Facebook for instance, you can start your own blog as Social Media accounts keep refreshing their content everyday and older posts would go down and can be hard to be noticed.
Kiptoo: Tell us about the kind of support that Nyika Silika has received so far that can also help upcoming digital activists
Victoria: In Kenya, there is the Bloggers Association of Kenya that helps in sharing the content that Nyika Silika comes up with. There are also young environmental bloggers that support Nyika Silika. They include Caroline Kibii and Winnie Cheche who also have their own blogs: Enviro Wild and Cheche Winnie respectively. Nyika Silika’s audience also helps in propelling the information that we share. People start supporting you once you are consistent and they know they can trust your content. There are also opportunities that people approach you to help pass across relevant content for example the previous #GLFAfrica Conference, this makes your work visible to a larger audience.
Kiptoo: How can one engage in someone’s digital campaigns/initiatives and support landscape restoration digitally?
Victoria: Doing the simple but important things i.e., sharing the content, commenting, reading and offering opportunities they come across.
Kiptoo: How can onsite initiatives be transformed into the digital space?
Victoria: Sharing the onsite initiatives. This can be in the form of photos, writing and videos. It’s important to balance both sharing and doing work on the ground.
In concluding the Live session, Victoria emphasized that one can support what Nyika Silika does in starting their own creative initiative. This is apart from following the platform in various social media accounts and sharing what they do. Nyika Silika’s current initiatives include Biophilic Conversations which was started in conjunction with Tony Wild and is aimed at highlighting stories of young people in conservation, encouraging peer-peer mentorship and telling the story of conservation.
By Kiptoo Chemoiwo