Happy Endings also exist…

Happy endings do not only exist in fairy tales, some happen to us right here in the community. In this week’s story we major on one Abdulfaraj, a youth here in Kibera from the Nubian community who came to our offices and by the help of our paralegal Hamisi Omari was able to get his ID and now is able to access the services he was limited to.

Below is his story,

Abdulfaraj finished school like a year back he’s a very good footballer, besides from just playing football he’s a motorcycle rider. When he reached 18 he followed Omar and told him that he needed to apply for an identification card. He had all the required documents so he was told  to either come on Tuesday or Thursday to the office so that he can be accompanied to the registration office. He came on a Thursday and his documents were photocopied and  then together with Omari they went to the registration office.

When they  reached there they found the two elders and other clients who were being attended to, when Abduls’ time came he produced his original documents and the photocopies too. The elders filled the affidavit when they were done and directed him to Halisan where the affidavit was supposed to be typed. Omar  helped the elders in filling the chiefs’ letter and the list form they signed the affidavit then attached all the documents then he was sent to the chiefs office to go and get his/her sign.

His forms were signed and he came back then the elders who  gave him a security vetting date, which was supposed to happen in a months’ time. When the day came, Paralegal Omari called him  to go and check whether his name was on the vetting list. He went and luckily his name was on top, he was vetted and everything went well. He was told to return at the registration office after two day to finish his application.

He was reminded to go and finish his application, he went finished then he was issued with a waiting card and was told to go and collect his ID after a month. After three weeks, they met with Omari and he informed him, he had gotten his ID card. This was a welcomed surprise because the Ids normally come after two months. We later helped him apply for a certificate of good conduct and for a KRA pin. We expect him back to apply for a passport.

While the process is difficult, we appreciate moments where our clients have an easy time in the application of their documents. we are endeavoring to create awareness in the community on needed documents to fasten their process on the acquisition of documents.

ANOTHER WIN FOR THE WOMAN!

This week we follow up on success stories from the paralegal outreach program. The purpose of the outreach is usually to empower the community and creating awareness on matters such as citizenship, specifically registration and documentation. Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya caters for Equality and freedom from discrimination where under sub article 2; Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedom. Additionally Article 56 of the Constitution of Kenya caters for rights of minorities and marginalized group where it states that the state shall put in place actions and programs designed to ensure minorities participate and are represented in governance and other spheres of life but this is usually not the case as the process to acquire national documentation by the minority groups is frustrating and most of them just end up giving up. during outreach programs we meet a lot of individuals without documentation in the community that have the potential to change the community.

Through the outreach program, Makkah Yusuf, one of our paralegal came across Saumu who is a member of the Nubian community. Saumu Ali Abbas is a soft spoken and extremely intelligent 22yrs old lady who has been trying to apply for her ID card since she was 18yrs old. Saumu did not finish her basic education, neither did she attain tertiary education, but this does not stop her from aiming for the skies. She went to the registrations office and started her application process but she wasn’t successful. Makah bumped into her at the registrations office as she was being taken in circles and we started the whole application process all over again. The first three times she applied, her paper always ended up missing thus forcing her to re-applying again. Other times she went as far as booking for the national vetting but every time she went for vetting her name was missing on the vetting list, all this time she was tagging along with her to follow up with the registrations office. there are no explanations given to citizens on such short comings and one is expected to reapply quietly.

Along the way she got pregnant and stopped the application process for a while. Pregnancy can be challenging to juggle alongside looking documentation. After her delivery our paralegal followed up on her again so that we could continue to pursue for her document. The registrar asked for her to produce her primary leaving certificate which she didn’t have because she didn’t finish her primary education. She accompanied the client to her former primary school and explained to the headmistress her situation, she then issued us a letter stating that she schooled there but didn’t seat for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and that she couldn’t be issued with a leaving certificate because her admission number couldn’t be found. Saumu submitted the letter to the registrar who accepted it but she asked her to take her birth certificate for verification at the civil registry. The registrar said she’s sending her because, ever since her office sent her document to the civil registry there hasn’t been any response. This is another registrations office where most of the delays was observed.

In 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic, her process met further delay because all the government offices were closed. Some of the major challenges she faced due to lack of ID card were that she wasn’t able to apply for her child’s birth certificate since she’s a single parent. She couldn’t get the kazi mtaani job offered by government or any other kind of job, also the government and non-governmental organizations was giving small stipends to citizens during the pandemic period but she didn’t qualify due to the fact that she lacked an ID card. One time she was forced to use her sister’s ID card so as to secure a job opportunity she was successful and managed to work for some time since it was just a contract for some few months.

All this while she was still following up on her ID application in November 22nd 2020 NRF in conjunction with the Nubian Youth Council held a meeting at the Makina Mosque with about 30 youths who were experiencing challenges with their ID application. From that meeting we managed to do a collective case of all these people and followed them up with the registrations office, this is when Saumu finally got her break through and she was scheduled for a national vetting held in December 7th 2020. She attended the national vetting accompanied by her mother both their thumb prints were taken and she filled the application forms , she was then issued with her waiting card and told to go collect her document after 2 months. She finally got her Identification card and is happy that perhaps now she can make a living.

This is just another case in the pile of casers on how without a strong backing, it is hard for community members to get documented.  As the Nubian Rights Forum, we promise to continue giving a platform and a voice for the undocumented kenyan citizens who are discriminated because of their unique characteristics.

WHEN YOU NEED DOCUMENTATION TO ATTAIN EDUCATION

On 30th March 2016 morning at Nubian Rights Forum Abdullatif Abu-Bakr walked in Nubian right forum alone wanting help because he did not have a birth certificate, he was fifteen years turning sixteen he carried only a clinic card with no guardian besides him. Abdullatif was met by out paralegal Mariam Hussein. He confided in Mariam that he was sent away from school and he needed to present his birth certificate so that he could register for KCPE. When asked about his parents or guardians who would represent him in the application process, Abdullatif informed us he was raised by his grandmother, and has no idea of the whereabouts of his parents. However, he had a copy of his mother’s identification card. His quest was to apply and get a birth certificate so he can get back to his studies, and at least complete basic education.

It is not unusual to hear of incidences where, due to unavoidable circumstances, children start school late, and therefore being their application process when still in school to avoid beginning application when they are older than 23 years old when applying for an ID. For a Nubian child if one is older than 23, they have to undergo a further stage of vetting DSIC – District Security Investigative Committee, because the committee wants to find out where the individual was before vetting them. Most of the time the youth constantly fail vetting leading to them being 23 without identification cards. Abdullatif’s case was an example of such an incident.

(Chapter 4 of the Kenyan constitution acknowledges education as a basic human right for all individuals. Section 7 of the children’s act states that every child shall be entitled to  education, the provision of which shall be the responsibility of the government and the parents. No child should be denied the right to education, because of lack of a birth certificate.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To begin with we filled the application documents and attached the clinic card and the copy of identification card, however due to thew necessity of presentation of original parent or guardian documents, his case became extremely challenging. With the help of other paralegals, the team communicated with a civil registrar at Bishop House who would help the boy apply for his birth certificate. He was accompanied by our paralegal Mariam, who assisted in the process, and after three attempts, Abdullatif successfully got his birth certificate in 22nd May 2017. Having attained his birth certificate, he was able to resume school, and register for national exams

While Abdul’s case was successful, a majority of youth in the community fail to attain basic education because of lack of trivial documents such as the birth certificate. Children end up paying with their future for what should not be a crime, but rather a gap in the system, and it is unfortunate that such technicalities cause the community its brightest and most promising students.

Abdullatif’s story takes a fast forward to 2018 when he turned 18 years old. He came back to the organization to apply for his identification card and his case was handled by Mariam. Having been to the organization before, he was directed on what documents to carry for the application process. During the elder’s vetting, he was accompanied by his grand mother as a guardian, and was booked for national vetting a month later. The first challenge he experienced following the approval for a national vetting was that his name did not appear in the list and he needed to re-apply for the national vetting. Such mistakes in the systems contribute to youth giving up on following on their documents because the inefficiency of the state will then be blamed on them when the time for vetting finds them at 23 years. After sometime he was vetted and was accompanied by his grandmother as a guardian having sworn an affidavit. The vetting turned out okay and he was allowed to proceed with application for an identification card in 2019.

Currently Abdullatif is still in school, however, when we last communicated with his grandmother, Abdullatif managed to get his identification card and is proceeding with his studies.

This is a win for the Nubian community because here is a success story of a young man who got his birth certificate and identification card at a young age, and can enjoy his right to education without fears of denial of registration because of lack of documents. We wish him the best in his endevours!

 

KIBOS LAND EVICTIONS – THE HISTORY OF NUBIANS IN KIBOS

The Nubian Community has experienced historical injustices linked to land ownership for a very long time. The community has been struggling with the recognition of land ownership for decades. Since their resettlement in Kibos in 1938, there has been no attempt by the state to guarantee them security. The Nubians arrived in Kenya during the colonial period and was settled by the British colonials near Kisumu airport but due to the expansion of the airport, they were resettled in Kibos. After independence, the Nubians were left under the care of Kenyan Government but their land rights since then have been violated. During their resettlement, the government came to the area in the name of building a research center (Kenyan agricultural research institute). The state through discussions with the community was allowed to construct the research center on the land. One of the conditions of peaceful coexistence was to have a hundred-meter distance between the railway and the community settlement area. The acceptance of the terms being an acknowledgement that the land belonged to the community.

On 7th February 2021, the 100 meters distance rule from the Kisumu railway in Kibos was abused by the Kenya railway following demolitions of the Nubian property and eviction of the residents in Kibos in the middle of the night. While the demolition of Kibos community was happening, the Kenya railways had been served with a court order following the filing of a certificate of urgency in the matter. The state yet again ignored court orders and proceeded with the demolitions. Following the demolitions, the displaced community camped in inhumane conditions on a swampy field in heavy rains. The forced eviction not only compromised their health, it also destroyed their livelihoods and constitutes a violation of human rights including the right to adequate housing. The issue of land rights in Kibos began when the government ‘assumed’ the distance stated of 100 meters from the railway line and went deeper into the settlement evicting the Nubians from their land rendering them homeless and displaced. A mosque was also desecrated in the illegal demolitions. On the second day of the demolitions, well wishers and community members came together to provide relief items for the community awaiting a legal way forward. On 10th February 2021, the ruling of the court proceedings on a petition filed by the legal team from Haki Jamii concerning the Kibos land evictions allowed the community to go back to their land pending hearing. The community also came together to construct temporary shelters for the community members.

Currently however those displaced are now camping in inhumane conditions on a swampy field with tents as their only form of shelter in heavy rains. This forced eviction not only compromises their health due to possible exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses, it also destroyed their livelihoods and constitutes a violation of human rights including the right to adequate housing. The government is directly responsible for the inhumane conditions resulting from the illegal demolitions

The only possible long-term solution is

  • To collectively fight against undue procedures in demolitions across the country. There has been a notorious trend by the state to ignore court order and carry out night demolitions especially in informal settlements and in communities with less priviledged Kenyans. The state must take the burden of responsibility to relocate the communities and issue them with a title deed before carrying out demolitions.
  • The Nubian community in Kibos should be given their land back as well as being registered as a community in Kenya by nationality and not registration. Nubians constantly face violations of their citizenship and land rights and it is only proper that they finally be recognized as citizens and earn fair and equal treatment as is guaranteed to other Kenyans.
  • Another solution is carrying out investigations and hold those responsible for accountable for the evictions and the death of the trapped child. There should be no room in office for state officers whose corruptible thirst led to the demolition of a mosque, the death of a child, and the blatant abuse of the constitution and the public office they occupy.

We wish to give a vote of that to the Kibos community for standing in the gap for the displaced community and giving them relief including tents, mattresses, blankets and food. And hopefully, soon have an end to illegal demolitions in the country.

(This article was compiled, and written by Anyier Chaat; International relations and security student at Daystar University and Noel Njiji; Project management student at Thika Technical Training Institute while interning at the Nubian Rights Forum)

 

PURSUING MY DREAMS ABROAD AFTER DOCUMENTATION.

The Nubian Rights Forum has a competent outreach program where our paralegals give back to the community by educating them and creating awareness on citizenship, specifically registration and documentation. One of the awareness activities includes a conversational session where they educate the clients about identification cards, the benefits of documentation, benefits of documentation and finally inquiring if the target client has an identity card.

Today through our outreach program we discuss a success story. The story of Yusuf Ali, a young man hailing from Kibera in his early 20’s. One of our paralegals Annette Opiyo met with Yusuf during a field outreach, in 2017 at a car wash point where he worked. When asked how he got the job, he let our paralegal know that the car wash was an initiative that helped with youth empowerment in the community. During their conversation with our paralegal, once he understood the reason of the outreach program, he opened up about his struggles to get documentation. Yusuf had challenges acquiring an identity card because he lacked several documents including a school leaving certificate and his parents’ supporting documents. Due to the lack of documents and the lack of a representative to guide him he had a challenge getting past the vetting committee who told were not obliged to listen to him unless he had all documents. After three application attempts with no lack, Yusuf completely gave up on the process citing the lack of clarity from the duty bearers on what he needed to carry with him. The process of acquiring an identification card can be challenging especially if the duty bearers do not take responsibility in creating awareness on the required documents for registration and he listed it as a reason as to why many youths stop searching for their Identity cards.

The complexity of Yusuf’s case stemmed from the fact that lack of documentation had prevented him from pursuing his dreams after finishing his basic education. Yusuf’s aspirations were to move abroad, to Saudi Arabia in search of greener pasture or to pursue tertiary education in college. However, without documentation he shelved his dreams and instead worked as a car washer. Yusuf’s case is an example of the limitations to youth empowerment especially for minority communities, marginalized groups and youth in informal settlements. His story highlights the need for community sensitization on the registration process and a continuous dedication to making sure citizens are aware of their rights and due procedures in documentation.

We picked up Yusuf’s case because we believe we could provide direction in getting him documentation. After the outreach, our paralegal Annette took his details and later called him to the office for follow up. The second challenge with his case was that Yusuf did not have access to a phone and we had to rely on communication through a third party. He could not invest in a mobile device because he would need an identity card to sign up. As a representative, Annette walked him through the process beginning with a consultation with the chief to help him get a letter to take to his former school so that his result slip be released. While the process was unsuccessful at first because we could not get the chief to meet us, we finally got a hold of the result slip after joint efforts with other paralegals. Yusuf, due to earlier discouragement did not believe that we would be successful but he kept on showing up. With the result slip we went back to the chief’s camp for the elder’s vetting but he was again turned away and asked for more supporting documents to get a green light for the national vetting. This was another hurdle for Yusuf who was a total orphan and did not know how to get his parent’s death certificates. An alternative was asking Yusuf to come to the office with a legal guardian who would swear an affidavit that s/he knows Yusuf and would let us use their documents for supporting documents. A distant uncle agreed to help, and he passed the elder’s vetting and was booked for national vetting. During the national vetting, the committee doubted his age that is 20years and they did not approve him applying until an age assessment was done. At this point, Yusuf felt the need to discontinue the process because of the constant rejections, but we felt it prudent to proceed to the end considering his aspirations were on condition of him acquiring documentation. The age assessment gave an approximation of 18-20 years. We went back to the elders and a national vetting date was booked. He finally passed the national vetting and applied for the identity card and was given a waiting card. He finally got his identification after three months, and was later able to apply for a birth certificate. Yusuf is currently abroad pursuing greener pastures. We are glad he finally got documented and is pursuing his dreams.

 

ONE ITEM OFF THE DOCUMENTATION CHECKLIST

Recently, we took time to listen to one of our clients, Hamisi, who applied for his Identity Card and got it in December. The following is his story, and we wind up with his progress post-documentation

 

Meet Abdulrahim Hamisi, now a recognized Kenyan citizen, with documentation. At 20 years old, Hamisi makes a living through selling towels. Hamisi wanted to apply for an ID because he wanted to prove he was Kenyan and he considered the future and issues such as marriage, child birth certificate and getting work was fully dependent on him getting his identification.

He began applying for his Identification in August 2019. When Hamisi came to Nubian Rights Forum, he was assisted by our paralegals, specifically Omar Hamisi. He began applying for his Birth certificate in 2019, which is hard considering his age. After minimal delays, he finally managed to get it in 2020. When he began applying for his ID he faced a few challenges because due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some offices were unoccupied. During the ID application process, he was also sent back as he did not have his parents documents and therefore it he was sent back to collect the IDs and fill forms.

In his opinion, the constant back and forth in the registration offices was tiresome, at least if it was clear to citizens what was necessary during identification and documentation, then there would be a lot of improvement on time management. The issues of laxity in government offices also needed to be solved especially following of time regulations and serving citizens especially in giving instructions or information on the needed documents on time. Hamisi felt the impact of the difference in treatment for people from different ethnic groups especially requests for extra documents and the vetting process. While they government may find it necessary, it important they also consider factors such as tertiary education, employment opportunities and harassment from the police that people  without documentation are subjected to. The COVID-19 pandemic also proved challenging as it delayed the whole process, however, this can be a learning point for offices on how to be ready for emergency situations.

While his documentation journey was extremely short, the key lesson he learnt was to be patient, and not giving up especially when one knows their nationality is legitimate. He also emphasized it is important to seek the documents early to avoid cases of questioning on the delays in acquiring the documents. We look forward to hearing more of such success stories.

 

 

 

 

 

please seek these documents early, they are extremely important, yet stressful to acquire when you are older (Hamisi, makes a living selling towels at Toi Market)

 

Post – documentation

After getting his Identity card in December, Hamisi had managed to register for a simcard using his own identification and will no longer have to rely on his sister for help. He has begun his passport application, and soon, he hopes to open a bank account where he can make smart, and strategic financial decisions. From Hamisi’s journey, it is clear just how much documentation opens academic, financial and social doors for an individual. He can now pursue anything he wants without the fearing the outcome for lack of documentation.

(Photography credits – Omar Hamisi)

JOINT PRESS STATEMENT

HUDUMA NAMBA TO EXCLUDE MILLIONS OF KENYANS AND VIOLATES COURT ORDERS UNDER NEW REGULATIONS

On 19th October 2020, the Nubian Rights Forum, alongside Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE), Haki Centre, Haki na Sheria Initiative, Kenya Human Rights Commission and Defenders Kenya – Coalition held a joint press briefing to issue a press statement on ‘Huduma Namba’ as titled above. Prior to the joint press, the partners have been working to educate communities on Huduma Namba some of whom still remain clueless on what Huduma Namba is about. Perhaps this serves as an indicator of how poorly the project has been coordinated from onset because there is minimal public awareness and public participation. The press statement followed after the Kenyan government through a special issue of the Kenya Gazette on 13TH October 2020 released new rules and regulations yet the issued regulations still do not address the issue of the risks of exclusion in NIIMS, and the regulations also fail to satisfy the court conditions to be fulfilled before the government can move forward with the Huduma Namba.

The Nubian Rights Forum has been very vocal on the Rights of Minority groups, especially communities at Risk of Statelessness. The Nubian community for example, due to the vetting regulations imposed on the community has numerous cases of delayed issuance of Identification cards or lack of vetting due to request for inaccessible documents. The government recently came up with the Huduma Namba that would see a joint card issued to Kenyans, and this card would be prerogative to getting social services. The civil society saw this as a malicious move by the government that would lock out communities that do not have national identification cards – because for one to register they must have identification cards. The process in itself fell short because despite asking for a lot of personal, and sensitive information, there was no data protection act issued. It also did not include steps that would ensure the inclusivity of minority communities and communities at risk of statelessness who did not have identification cards. Despite the government being aware of communities who have not been issued with identification cards, they still began the implementation of the process, and it took a coalition of partners to use litigation means to ensure the government follows due procedure in issues that carry a lot of national weight.

We found this press statement to be very important because we constantly need to remind the government that Kenya is bigger that a few individuals. The primary mandate of any arm of the government is first to represent and actualize the interests of ALL citizens without discrimination on ethnic lines, religion, age and other demographics. The Kenyan government, however, has been extremely notorious for coming up with projects such as the NIIMS program without following all due procedures before implementations. The programs have either lacked public awareness and public participation, regulations and acts, as well as inclusive policies. The press briefing addressed the issues of four main groups of people

  • Kenyans without access to identification documents especially minority communities.
  • Kenyans facing challenges with biometrics
  • Children
  • Stateless persons.

The press statement was issued to multiple media houses, we look forward to actionable and tangible responses from the government that will respond to the risk of exclusion, cases of discrimination and the need for fully inclusive and sustainable policies for all people.

Find the joint press statement herein attached.

https://twitter.com/NubianRights/status/1318102235772047365

 

HUMANITARIAN WORKS

The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion in conjunction with the Nubian Rights Forum recently held their first Humanitarian Food Distribution event for members of the Nubian Community that is at risk of Statelessness on 3rd September 2020. The food distribution program saw at least 20 families receive donations including maize flour, wheat flour, salt, tea bags, soap, milk and cooking oil. The objective of the event was to cushion families that had been affected by COVID-19.
Prior to the event, the Nubian Rights Forum conducted interviews with members of the community to gain insight on awareness levels on citizenship, including registration and processing of birth certificates and National Identity Cards. The paralegals who conducted the interviews noted a lot of gaps in the level of understanding of the community members on the structural understanding of the process of registration. They therefore took the community members through an awareness training. The project also sought to understand the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 period in an attempt to understand the immediate needs of the community during the pandemic.
From the responses collected, there are a lot of challenges that grass root communities are facing that are rarely prioritized or addressed by the government. Families lack adequate food, there is a challenge in accessing basic education during the pandemic as well as healthcare. The communities also have a challenge with water. With such findings, there is a possibility in rectifying the state of living of the community members, to ensure they enjoy their rights with dignity.
It is therefore up to philanthropic individuals and organizations to take up the mandate to ensure that no one faces the risk of food insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, or access to education. There are diverse basic needs that need to be met, and it is all about addressing an area that an individual or an organization can sustainably cover over a period of time.

Radio Talk- Devolution with Omar Hamisi

While a lot of program activities have been put on standby due to government directives on how to manage control the spread of COVID-19, our radio programs have been ongoing and here is a recap of what discussion was covered this previous weekend on Saturday, 18th July 2020. The awareness session was led by our paralegal Omar Hamisi and he covered Devolution.

Devolution is a concept that is familiar amongst most Kenyans following the public transfer and the decentralization or delegation of power from the national tier to a lower level. It entails the delegation of responsibilities to local governments from the central government.

The objectives  of devolution when it was introduced included;

a) to promote democratic and accountable exercise of power;

(b) to foster national unity by recognizing diversity;

(c) to give powers of self-governance to the people and enhance the participation of the people in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them;

(d) to recognize the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to further their development;

(e) to protect and promote the interests and rights of minorities and marginalized communities;

(f) to promote social and economic development and the provision of proximate, easily accessible services throughout Kenya;

(g) to ensure equitable sharing of national and local resources throughout Kenya;

(h) to facilitate the decentralization of State organs, their functions and services, from the capital of Kenya; and

(i) to enhance checks and balances and the separation of powers.

Decentralization aimed at ensuring that power and responsibility factored the different needs of different geographical areas to ensure all persons in different communities and with different demographics are well catered for and have access to adequate social services, well within their reach.

 

DONATING TO OUR DRIVE FOR COVID-19 AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

https://gogetfunding.com/appeal-to-increase-awareness-on-covid-19-in-kibera/

To our esteemed subscribers

Hello, we received complains about a clear direction for making donations through pay pal . Below is a step by step on how to donate using paypal
step one- Log into the link listed above
step two- click on the title and you will be directed to the main page
step three- locate the donate now icon (It is orange in colour)
alternatively, on the lower part of the page, you will find an icon for ‘Check out or donate with Pay Pal
Step four- On the locate now icon, you will be given two options paypal or credit card. Fill in the details then proceed to donate

For those using paypal, kindly log into paypal through the gogetfunding link shared. Thank you.

Please reach out to us in case you have any questions or concerns.

 

Note-

The campaign above is meant to

  • Increase awareness of COVID-19 in the community
  • Educate people as an way of reducing stigmatization against families affected by COVID-19
  • Provide preventive equipment for families in the community.
  • Provide food, and sanitary equipments for families in the community that are struggling to provide for themselves