Please tell us about yourself…
My name is Jamal Abdallah Kidyogo, and I like to think of myself as a public intellectual, who is intentional about living life to the fullest in search of purposeful knowledge, to liberate the world through solving complex issues.
I am a Kenyan Citizen with extensive experience in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) in Kenya and the East Africa region. I have extensive experience working with different levels of the National Government of Kenya, the National Counter Terrorism Centre, County Governments, Civil Society Organisations, the private sector, Media and local communities in P/CVE, and on conflict resolution programming. I am among the team of three researchers that worked on Kenya’s first County Action Plan.
What is your new role at Wasafiri?
Currently, I am serving as the Learning and Engagement Lead, where I am in charge of P/CVE research and learning. Working closely with donor organisations and implementing partners, ensuring collaborations with various national and county government structures, community engagement, coordinating collaborations with the private sector, and ensuring that P/CVE programming reaches the most-at-need community groups.
What are you are working on currently?
I have a really good eye for detail. And I must say, the experience is simply the name we give our mistakes; at the moment I am working on a very interesting concept – Community-Led Research Approach (CLRA), which is concrete step-by-step guidance on how communities can lead their own research to determine their own development priorities and respond to unwanted development projects, where Wasafiri has been keen to establish practical tips, tools, and activities on conducting community-led research, especially for at-risk communities.
I happen to make the unfamiliar, familiar through an ethnographic approach of research. And have managed to use my experience which has made it possible to appreciate the complexity of the issues in the community I am working closely within Mshomoroni, which has in turn proved that research can inform programming to reach possible interventions, making them adoptable. Therefore in my view, this emphasises the importance of having a fluid approach in solving complex yet challenging issues within the community, yet maintaining a productive approach on the same. It is therefore important to note that there is a need to work with what is known to make the unfamiliar familiar. The cool thing about CLRA is that it breaks the norm and helps the researchers realise that there is need to work closely with everyone despite the power dynamics or class, so as to address issues at hand, in a particular community faced with radicalisation, and recruitment to Violent Extremist Organisations (VEOs).
What are you looking forward to working at Wasafiri the most?
I must say the culture at Wasafiri has always been that of creating a participatory and action-focused, aimed at being true to the African philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’; which has drawn me closer to the thought of being at the right place at the right time, in my career, even though I have worked closely with the team for years as a consultant.
My purpose at the moment is to realise and inscribe the Ubuntu philosophical approach of life, into everything I do; remaining true to my course of work in the community. I intend to use this opportunity to create partnerships capable of creating real change in the community. This is why I do what I do!