Fist to Five for Change


In recognition of the complex challenges facing the country in the aftermath of violence and following the National Accord that led to the secession of violence, in 2009, Media Focus on Africa Foundation implemented an intervention program “Platform for Dialogue towards National Integration and Cohesion”, aimed at re-building inter-ethnic trust, promoting national integration and cohesion in Kenya using the media. The cycles of violence and revenge that typifies Kenya’s post independence history can only be interrupted through a public discourse on finding common ground between communities and consensus on the root causes of conflict. Essential for this is to de-ethnicise the conflict and distinguish facts from values and positions from interests.

The objective of the project was to facilitate inter-tribal dialogue with the purpose to search for common ground between the different tribal communities. The programme involved a television talk show series on Citizen TV titled ‘Fist to Five for Change’, which was complemented by community outreach activities in the form of mobile cinema screenings and follow-up dialogue sessions with the communities

Project activities 

Research into root causes of PEV

Prior to the start of the Fist to Five for Change programmes, research was conducted into the root causes of the post election violence. The results of this research informed the production of the series of talk shows for television.The research was conducted by Strategic PR and Indepedent Research and consisted of desktop research, focus group discussion and a survey.

Intertribal talkshows

A total of 19 TV shows, moderated by Julie Gichuru aired on Citizen Television. The television programme sought to provide a platform for ordinary citizens to engage on their experiences during the post-election violence (PEV) while uncovering the root causes of the post election conflict in search for on joint solutions.

Mobile cinema screenings

MFA partnered with Filmaid International to bring the Fist to Five for change talk shows to the areas most affected by the post election violence. Filmaid International in collaboration with the MFA network of community based organisations, organised screenings of the talk shows in Nairobi - Kibera, Mathare, Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kakamega, Mombasa and Kisumu. 

Communities share experiences of PEV

To encourage members of the different ethnic communities to share their experiences during the post elections, community dialogue sessions were organised. The sessions brought together perpetrators, victims, youth, women, opinion leaders, and religious leaders and were facilitated by representatives of our local network of CSO/CBO .

Conflict transformation training

We partnered with Search for common ground for the capacity building programme of 'Fist to Five for change'. Representatives of CSO/CBO organisations were trained in conflict transformation discussion techniques to enable them to lead constructive debates with the local communities on their experiences during the post election violence.


Media nursing traumatised nation

Media focus on Africa has been using Fist 2 Five and The Team TV and radio programmes to generate trust, goodwill and ideas that communities in Kenya need in order to pre-empt and minimise conflicts.

Shift in understanding about root causes violence

  • 19 talk shows reached between 2.1 and 4 million people
  • 98 mobile cinema screenings reached 51.800 people
  • 45 media practitioners and civil society representatives trained in conflict transformation skills
  • 48 community dialogue forums reached 1488 people (victims, perpetrators, opinion leaders) in a people-to-people approach
  • 277 CSOs/CBOs participated in the workshops together with perpetrators, victims, women youth and informal opinion leaders. Participants came from different/antagonistic ethnic backgrounds
  • 29 CSO/CBO’s co-organised the mobile screenings and workshops

At the beginning of the workshops individuals in attendance were often moved by the emotions surrounding the electoral process and focused more triggers of the violence but once the facilitators moved the focus to the underlying causes, the discussions became more objective and led to a much more meaningful dialogue. The participants became more conscious of the issues at hand.

I loved the show, fist of five? These were kenyans from the slums of Mathare and Kibera, representing all the ethnic groups living in these places, in a heated debate about the issues that led to the PEV in 2008 and why the people turned on each other in the slums. These are the people who experienced these events first-hand, people who live with the effects of it everyday; Luos,Nubians, Kikuyus, Kambas, kisiis and Kales..some were landlords and tenants. The kibera “landlords” were there lamenting about their inability to collect rent from the unwilling tenants. Just as it was said here by some members, change for this country will not be brought by Raila or Karua or Kibaki. It begins with you. We as individuals are the Lords of poverty. Julie Gichuru, that is a nice show.. it gives some of us a chance to hear the unheard who cannot call a press conference.
Blogger Alangreen, May 15th 2009
Partners & Donors
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Search for Common Ground
Delegation to the European Union Kenya
Filmaid International
Citizen Television