Think of a place engrossed in darkness, the kind of violence and vices it will attract, the opportunity it will present for those with ill intentions. Electricity in urban centres is responsible for lighting people’s homes, schools and machines such as water pumps. Consistent blackouts jeopardize that businesswoman who sells her vegetables at night, that security guard who relies on light to keep his workplace safe and children who require electricity to do their homework.

Most urban dwellers do not understand the procedures involved in acquiring metered electricity, hence a need for community sensitization and partnerships between the community and its leaders. Mass mediums such as Radio are integral in ensuring the community is informed and educated on the importance of maintaining and preserving existing resources for the good of all. Reuben FM, a community radio, has been playing a pivotal role in fostering good relations between the community and their leaders.

Apart from their journalistic role of holding leaders accountable, they partner with various youth groups and non-governmental organizations to promote art, support upcoming talented youth,  and tackle issues affecting people, like a  lack of water and electricity, two vital resources for survival in urban centres.

These issues were raised in one of the barazas where community members alleged that a few cartels are contributing to the loss of water and electricity so that they benefit. While some understand it’s not the role of their member of county assembly to bring water and electricity to every doorstep, others feel their leaders have neglected them in those sectors.

Most challenges facing communities require collaboration from the community, county leaders and those of the National government. While the leaders can put in place plans for the water, and resources to reach every resident, it’s upon the community to take care of the resources and this can only be possible if they are involved in the acquisition and educated on the importance of maintaining the resources.

Coming up with a committee of volunteers who can undergo mentorship on projects and community plans can motivate the leaders to be accountable and for the community to feel a sense of ownership since they would have put in their time and effort. The leaders can also create employment by offering community members who are trained in a particular sector job when a project that needs those skills comes up.

There should be mutual understanding between the community and its leaders, for example, in paying for resources. The youth should understand that being used to cut electricity wires or destroy water pipes has consequences, and it will cost their community for the benefit of a few. They should be able to resist any action that will make the community’s situation worse.

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