Kenyans Care! Jadudi 1 Year On

I can’t believe it has been a year since the miracle that was the #1MilliForJadudi campaign. Check out this video where Jadudi shares part of his life today.

“Welcome To My Life” Jadudi

Yes, we have many many reasons to celebrate #Jadudi1YearOn and the amazing things we can do when we use social media to change lives.

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Here’s a message from the Managing Director of the Africa Cancer Foundation, Dorothy Nyong’o, on her reflections one year on.

Zawadi Nyong’o

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Kenyans Care! Jadudi 1 Year On.

One year ago, my eldest daughter, Zawadi told me about yet a friend of hers who had a brain tumor. It was his fourth brain tumor. They had never met, but he had reached out to her on twitter in 2012 when he was preparing to go for his second brain surgery. My heart sank and I was also instantly worried for Zawadi because I knew how sensitive she was.
She said she was wondering how she could help him raise funds to travel urgently to India for the operation. We discussed it, and I suggested that she could use the Africa Cancer Foundation (ACF) platform, which already had an Mpesa Paybill number. We brainstormed briefly on the possible hashtags, and I left it to her creativity and crowdfunding skills. This was Emmanuel Otieno (a.k.a. Jadudi).

Off I went to Kisumu, to represent my husband, the Kisumu County Senator, at the Kisumu Agricultural Show that weekend. Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o was out of the country and he had asked me to officiate at the closing ceremony on his behalf, on Sunday morning (August 2, 2015). It all went very well and I was amazed at the amount of innovation going on in the country in terms of agriculture, energy, microfinance, and industry.

I returned to Nairobi on Tuesday (August 4th, 2015) morning with my brother Peter, who has Parkinson’s disease. Peter had injured his back and required pain management and physiotherapy. I was busy but saw a number of missed calls from Doris and Noelle of ACF, and when I got back to them, they said they wanted to know which account should be used for the donations for Jadudi. This is when I realized that the #1MilliForJadudi campaign had begun.

I called Zawadi and she gave me a quick update. She told me she had reached out to a blogger – Jackson Biko, and they had talked about what they could do together to help Jadudi. Biko would write the story and publish it on his blog, while Zawadi would work on and drive the crowdfunding strategy. As soon as the story went live that morning, Zawadi took to twitter, and focused entirely on the Jadudi campaign that day. She said that so many people were engaging in and driving the conversation – people they’d asked for support the day before, Jadudi’s university friends, friends of ACF, and more. She was impressed at how relentless the university students were.

When I visited ACF, later that morning, the office was abuzz with activity. The phones were ringing off the hook, and emails were rolling in. The Mpesa notifications were bleeping in, and our young intern, Amwai was trying to keep up with them. I asked her to find out from Safaricom, how much was in the account.

By the time I got home at 4p.m., I was informed that the amount received via Mpesa was over Kshs 900,000, and that Biko had received a check for Kshs 200,000. We were all in shock! The Kshs 1 million target had been reached in one day! The response by Kenyans on Twitter was overwhelming. People sent all kinds of amounts, Kshs 30, 50, 100, 120, 137, 200, 500, 1000, 2000! #1MilliForJadudi was trending on Twitter. Some people were doubtful and called to verify the genuineness of those involved. Others wondered how ACF would separate Jadudi’s funds from any other ACF funds. Clarifications were shared publicly.

When we woke up on Wednesday morning, #1MilliForJadudi was no longer trending, but by the time we got an update from Safaricom, the amount stood at Kshs 4.8 million. Zawadi was speechless when I shared this information with her. Although the campaign was to run until Saturday, Zawadi and Biko decided that they would end it early, and report the amount raised, on Thursday morning. They also spoke with Jadudi and his mother and asked them to prepare to travel to Nairobi by the weekend, ready to travel to India the following week.
Later that day, Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, the Founding Chairman of the Africa Cancer Foundation, himself a Prostate Cancer survivor, visited an elated Jadudi at his mother’s house in Kisumu, after he had received the great news. In the words of Jadudi’s mother, “I can’t wait to meet your daughter, Zawadi. You have a girl and a half!”

By Thursday, August 6, 2015, at 9.45am, we had Kshs 5,911,630. Biko posted his blog at 11a.m., thanking everyone for their phenomenal support. He said he was proud to be Kenyan, and he sang the National Anthem! He announced the amount raised by that time via Mpesa. Kenyans reacted with shock, gratitude, and pride. Some continued to give and by the time The Jadudi Report of September 2015 was presented, a total of Kshs 7,256,096 ($70,159) had been raised for Jadudi’s medical treatment. Within days of his arrival from Kisumu, ACF made arrangements to create a medical trust to manage the funds donated by Kenyans for Jadudi.

The Kenyan spirit of Ubuntu has been demonstrated through the #1MilliForJadudi campaign. This must have been one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for an unknown individual in Kenya, ever!

Zawadi finally met Jadudi for the first time on August 8, 2015 – after the #1MilliForJadudi campaign had closed. Biko did not know him, either. Zawadi and Biko met for the first time on Tuesday August 4, 2015. In less than 1 week, three strangers came together for a cause and succeeded. Talk about Utu! Talk about a miracle! At a public lecture titled “Rekindling Hope” at Riara University on Monday August 1, 2016, Prof. Micere Githae-Mugo, reminded Kenyans that our historic values of Utu (humanity) were key to the survival of the human race and that we should each and collectively commit to reviving these values for the sake of our own peace and survival as well as for the sake of future generations.
The #1MilliForJadudi campaign opened up a Pandora’s box. Hundreds of Kenyans with cancer began to write or call ACF to find out how other people could be helped. Zawadi was receiving requests every day to support other campaigns. The media has since been awash with stories of people in need and several other crowdfunding campaigns have been launched with different measures of success.

According to a very insightful recent nationwide survey of philanthropic behavior – Why Kenyans Give, by the YETU Initiative, health is a top issue. 92% of Kenyans give to individuals, 71% prefer to support causes, which empower beneficiaries, rather than giving handouts. 75% find out about causes through someone they know. 87% access information via the mobile phone and 82% via radio.
The health needs in Kenya are great, numerous and overwhelming. Some can be treated locally, others cannot. Among those who can be treated locally, many have to wait too long because the public medical system is overstretched, in terms of facilities and personnel. The cost of cancer care is beyond the reach of the majority of Kenyans.

Africa Cancer Foundation is 5 years old now, and is definitely a product of crowdsourcing, community philanthropy, and Kenyan togetherness – Ubuntu. At the launch of Africa Cancer Foundation, on July 12, 2011, Kenyans raised funds to support baby Alexandra Ajowi (Lexie) who had leukemia and “Princess” Rose Nasimiyu who had Hodgkins lymphoma. Other cancer survivors present, some of whom have since passed, included: Agnes Muthakye (a person with albinism, who had skin cancer), Mary Onyango (breast cancer), Ferdinand Mwangura , Kamau Mbugua (colon cancer), Chepng’etich Sambu (non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), ACF Director Pamela Dede (Breast Cancer), Jerry Okungu (prostate cancer), Francis Kariuki (stomach cancer), Doris Mayoli of Twakutukuza Trust (breast cancer), Jane Likimani (cervical cancer) and Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o (Prostrate cancer).

To date, ACF has spent Kshs 1,751,633.49 on the medical care of Emmanuel Otieno (a.k.a. Jadudi). His medical trust remains secure and continues to cover his medical expenses, which included his most recent trip to India. ACF will continue to walk the long cancer recovery journey with him. We thank Kenyans for their giving spirit, which has saved and continues to save the life of Jadudi. It is a long walk, indeed!

We also recognize that we urgently need to establish homegrown comprehensive cancer centers in all Kenyan counties to cater for the cancer needs of the average Kenyan. Health is a right for every Kenyan.
What lessons can we learn from the #1MilliForJadudi campaign 2015?

1. Kenyans care!

2. We can have homegrown solutions.

3. Kidogo kidogo, hujaza kibaba.

4. Belief in a cause and commitment is all that matters.

5. Social media is a powerful tool.

6. Social media leaders are powerful opinion shapers.

7. Social media can be used for good.

8. If a cause is compelling, Kenyans will support it.

9. Kenyan lives matter.

10. A miracle is God’s grace and mercy, that puts the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right skills and tools, with the right hearts and minds, to deliver on God’s promises to His creation.

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