By Irene Wamae
Jane Anyango Adika became a Kenyan social media star when she was captured pleading to the government in a television news interview in April 2012. The resident of Kano region in Western Kenya who had lost her home and could not locate her children, pleaded serikali isaidie (Government, help us). The phrase went viral on Twitter and Facebook, and she was christened Mama Serikali (Mrs Government). Jane’s innocent plea for help and subsequent online fame was all that was needed for her to launch her career; from earning herself an advertising contract with Kenyan mobile network Safaricom to her recent appointment by Kisumu County Government as its flood preparedness ambassador.
Jane will attend a short course on disaster preparedness and mitigation there after she is expected to be the face of a media campaign on radio, public baraza (meetings) among others. “We have always known what to do to prevent flooding but people do not take the interventions seriously as there is lack of reinforcement. That is what I want to do,” she said during her interview with Standard Media.
Governor Jack Ranguma emphasized the importance of the initiative in light of the current El nino rains that are ravishing the country. He was quoted by Standard Media as saying “Given that she (Jane) has been a perennial victim of floods, she has expressed desire to help in the advocacy to ensure we do not experience worst impacts of the rains.” Earlier in the month, Kisumu County was hit by heavy evening rains that resulted in floods that damaged infrastructure especially several schools which were eventually shut down. In an effort to alleviate the situation the county government has set aside Ksh70 million (approx. $684,265) towards projects in flood mitigation.