Safety in Public Spaces in Nairobi – #7DaysofGenius


Topic: Safety in Public Spaces

7 Days of Genius is a global festival celebrating the power of genius, with a special focus this year on creative ideas and thinking for social good. From New York to Nairobi, Jerusalem to Guatemala City, communities around the world come together for one week to explore, debate and celebrate genius ideas and innovations that have the potential to improve our lives by addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges.

This year Sayfty organized an offline #sayftychat session in Nairobi as part of its #7DaysOfGenius event. I am Sayfty’s #VOTW and decided to organize the event on March 12th in Central Park in Nairobi. The topic discussed was Safety in Public Spaces.

PANELISTS: Vancy Moraa, Caroline Kwamboka, Jackline Ajowi, Lillian Nyaboke, Eucabeth Moraa

Featured guest: James Gitonga

The event was a big success. While in a public place, the following are a few safety measures to consider:

  • Avoid walking alone and using shortcuts through unfamiliar, deserted areas;
  • Look confident and be aware of your surroundings;
  • Travel in well-lit areas and away from bushes, doorways, and buildings. Take routes commonly used by other people;
  • Carry emergency cab fare;
  • When walking at night always try to get an escort;
  • Let your friends know your schedule
  • Do not drink or eat food that has been left open for a while
  • Have your keys ready so you can enter your car or residence quickly;
  • Check in and under your vehicle before entering;
  • Lock your car as soon as you enter or leave it; and
  • Keep car windows and sunroof closed.

We discussed that a new tracking device should be invented to help in notifying our family or friends whenever we feel we are in danger. It will ensure that people are always safe and someone is keeping track of where you are at any given time.

The discussion helped us in coming up with new ways of keeping ourselves safe in public spaces. It also helped us to know the tricks that bad people use and how to evade from those tricks.

Our featured guest James Gitonga also told us, girls, to avoid wearing provocative clothes that can attract men to rape us. He also advised that we should not walk while showing off expensive gadget like phones or jewelry since it makes us an easy target for robbers. He recommended never to fight back any attacker; we should always surrender and give in to their demands to prevent them from physically harming us.

Lillian Nyaboke, a lawyer by profession advised us on what to do in case one is raped or attacked and the kind of legal action one ought to take.

The participants closed the session with a promise to take self-defence lessons so that they can defend themselves in case they are attacked. We decide to train more girls from our community on how to be safe in public spaces.

A quick video from the session:

We also got features on 92Y’s blog

About the Author
Phiona Belly Jullians is a vocal social media activist from Kenya. She fights for “young people to be accepted for who they are in their entirety“. Being a beneficiary of a strong local community herself, her activism revolves around issues that affect the community as a whole.