Kenyans Uniting for One Diaspora, One Voice under KUDO
Kenyans in the diaspora have started a journey towards one diaspora, one voice in an attempt to bring together the powerful enterprising spirit of Kenyans and the immense creativity that is inherent in the Kenyan community in the Diaspora. The Kenya United Diaspora Organization, simply known as KUDO, offers a unique approach to uniting Kenyans in the Diaspora, and its launch on May 21, 2016, in Maryland, USA marks a turning point in the way Kenyans in the Diaspora work together.
KUDO is a global non-political diaspora organization that was founded on grassroots philosophy by Kenyans in the diaspora to assist them to tackle many challenges that face them abroad and at home. One of them being unable to speak with one cohesive voice. KUDO, started as a discussion in social media on the need for a structure that brings all Kenyan together. Kenyans from diverse backgrounds asked questions on why we remain fragmented and how much influence we would have if we worked together which led to larger and broader discussions that culminated in the idea of starting KUDO.
KUDO strength is based on the philosophy that each member is included in the decision making process therefore KUDO does not discriminate any Kenyan in the diaspora on the basis of tribe, gender, religion, background or political affiliation.
The organizational structure, functions, mission and goals are all designed to advance social security and economic prosperity for all members, their off springs and the Motherland. It is required that all KUDO office holders adhere strictly to the creed of selflessness, accountability, objectivity, openness, honesty and integrity and good work ethic.
KUDO recognizes that there are two groups of Kenyans in Diaspora:
- The original immigrants who relocated from Kenya for green pastures abroad, leaving behind their assets and extended family members.
- Descendants of Kenyan Heritage born in the Diaspora.
The first group makes remittance to Kenya either to help their extended family members they left back in Kenya and/or develop economic assets with hope of returning to Kenya (familiar niche) for retirement. This vibrant group has always had a need to be heard and to know that their investments are secure and growing.
The second group, having been born outside of Kenya and away from its culture, has no motivation for capital investments in Kenya or incentives to worry about Kenya’s security or future. This is a constant concern for the parents of this expanding population. It is thus imperative for us to unite and organize ourselves to inspire our youth to take pride and ownership of their national heritage with enthusiasm. This is an area that KUDO would address quite effectively.
KUDO is an action oriented group with emphasis on grassroots participation and seeks to work collaboratively with every region in the Diaspora so as to replicate good efforts easily and also magnify strength through those efforts. As it is clearly spelled out its mission statement and goals, KUDO wants to create and nurture a cohesive grassroots organization of Kenyans in the diaspora that addresses our collective social and economic needs in perpetuity.
KUDO would like to be an organizing force for lobbying on issues of importance to the Kenyans in the Diaspora either with members of the legislature in the KUDO regions as well as maintain collaborative contact and partnership with Kenyan policy makers for inclusion in planning and participation in the country’s national programs and to facilitate KUDO in accomplishing its own social-economic goals and objectives. As an action oriented group, KUDO hopes to become the premier socio-economic resource center for the diaspora and Kenya (Motherland).
KUDO wants to foster entrepreneurial spirit and more so by allowing Kenyans in the diaspora to seek each other in terms of experience and skills so as to utilize the economies of scale. It is should not be forgotten that American Entrepreneurial spirit seeks opportunities at least several years before they are fully realized in the countries of investment and China is a good example of this. KUDO would be the gateway of the Entrepreneurial spirit needed to grow Kenya. Kenyans in the Diaspora especially those in the American region would act as a bridge connecting American entrepreneurs directly with Kenya. This is something that ought to be fostered and encouraged. It is important to also connect the growing Kenyan American community directly to Kenya as a place for investment.
At the initial stage, KUDO wants to ensure that it is present in every region and hopes that all the 3 million plus Kenyans in the Diaspora will see KUDO as an attempt towards one voice, one diaspora, and seek to join KUDO as members. The KUDO focus right now is to engage Kenyans in the diaspora through organizations that best meets people’s needs and then build KUDO bottom up. This local structure approach would essentially allow every Kenyan an opportunity to participate in KUDO in a manner that promotes their well-being in the diaspora.
The Kenyans in the Diaspora have real economic power to influence things positively both in the regions where they reside in the diaspora and in the motherland. We have got to go beyond remittances and start thinking of initiating manufacturing, technological advancement, innovations that could lead to start up business opportunities in the homeland, which would in turn lead to job opportunities for many Kenyans.
As an important economic base, Kenyans in the diaspora have to be fully engaged in the democratic processes in the motherland through voting as well as civic education. Good leadership begins by ensuring that there is an informed electorate that fully understands the issues, and also actively participates in voting. KUDO intends to lead and support fully all initiatives that would ensure that Diaspora voting is fully integrated into the Kenyan electoral calendar as stipulated by the Kenyan constitution. In order to have Kenyans in the Diaspora vote, they need to have Kenyan IDs, so KUDO wants the Kenyan Embassy to help facilitate this process by making arrangements when possible to bring their services closer to where people live. As part of our KUDO launch program on May 21, we have included the application for Kenyan IDs in the program and the Kenyan Embassy in Washington DC has accepted to avail their staff to facilitate the process. We hope that the Kenyans attending the launch would take advantage of having this service on site and apply for the Kenyans IDs.
The KUDO launch on May 21, in Maryland, USA is historic as well as an opportunity for Kenyans in the Diaspora to come together and begin a new journey that calls for one diaspora, one voice. KUDO is all of us in the communities or regions where we live. This is an organization that must function and operate by strengthening existing structures that serve Kenyans in the Diaspora. The May 21, KUDO launch provides a great opportunity to share new ideas and learn about initiatives that Kenyans in the Diaspora are currently working on that have great potential to improve the lives of Kenyans in the Diaspora and the Homeland. An example of such initiative include but not limited to the Kenya University Project, Global Connections Kenya Educational Diplomacy Exchange program, and many more. Kenyans in the diaspora are vibrant, resilient, and frankly speaking enterprising, we just need to seek each other and connect the dots to make a stronger and powerful Kenyan community that would support and help one another.
For more details about KUDO and to sign up to join please visit KUDO website at http://www.kudovoice.com
By Dr. Angwenyi, KUDO Moderator