ImageState of the African Union (SOTU) is a coalition of 10 civil society organisations that seek to promote active citizenship, effective national governance and the realization of the fundamental freedoms and human rights contained in various key AU policy standards and legal instruments.

The African Union (AU) has over forty legal instruments, policy standards and decisions some of which Kenya has committed to and is at different stages of signing, ratifying, domesticating or adhering to. These instruments cover a wide area of freedoms, rights and aspirations. The #BeTheVoice campaign is aimed at informing Kenyan citizens of these rights and freedoms, and empowering them to claim these rights.

What will this campaign look like?

Among the activities we have organized for this campaign are debates and discussions in various Universities and colleges within the country, debates and discussions on social media, concerts for musicians and other artist, radio talks and publications. All especially targeting youth.

Fahamu is a Pan-African social justice organisation established in 1997, with programme offices in Kenya and Senegal. Fahamu aims to support the building of progressive pan-African social movements by stimulating debate, discussions and analysis, building a culture of respect for human dignity, supporting social justice advocacy and publishing and disseminating information using both new and conventional media.

Fahamu launched the be the voice campaign (#BeTheVoice) at Pwani University located at the coastal city of Kilifi in Kenya on 6 February 2015. We held a number of activities for the launch including; a press briefing in Mombasa attended by media houses in the city and an interview with one of the most popular radio station in Mombasa, Baraka FM.
The interview and discussion on radio was lively and interactive. The main launch event was at the University where we had over 300 students attending as well as some local media houses. We discussed the objectives of the launch with student in an interactive session on a plenary that included our campaign ambassador Ms. Nazizi a popular and politically conscious musician.
After the official launch we encouraged the student to form an African Union/ Pan-African club to follow up the discussions on provisions of the various AU instrument of the SOTU campaign as well as on the significance of the AU to their lives. We disseminated our 2013-compliance report as well as a report on Kenya’s compliance with the Maputo protocol and T-shirt branded with the campaign hashtag to enable them to easily engage in the online discussion.
On March 6 we held a campaign activity at a university located in central. The activity that was attended by over 600 student involved music, poetry and other artistic expressions carrying the message of the #BeTheVoice campaign.
We also had a discussion with the student on the specifics of the campaign and why they should join it. The discussions were lively and engaging especially since the campaign ambassador was involved in the artistic elements of the engagement. We also encouraged them to form an African Union/Pan-African club to follow up with the discussion on the AU instruments we had introduced to them. We disseminated our 2013-compliance report as well as a report on Kenya’s compliance with the Maputo protocol, gave out branded t-shirts and flashdisck with the campaign hasjtag #BeTheVoice to encourage online discussion.
 Since we launched the campaign, we are happy that there has been a lot of online discussions especially on twitter and student at Pwani University are already in the process of initiating a African Union club.


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