A Strong Voice for Kiberans November 10, 2016 by Nick Johnson
Jeff Mogire got his start in radio by happenstance. Through his participation in CFK’s Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) program, Jeff was offered a slot during the program’s show at nearby radio station, Pamoja FM. It was his first time speaking, but everyone at Pamoja FM was wowed by his voice, which sounded strong and tailor-made for radio.
Jeff began cultivating his strong voice (both literally and figuratively) when he was young. Growing up, he would watch A-list newscasters on CNN, BBC, and local TV stations. (His personal role model is Richard Quest.) In high school, he decided to put himself out there, and began presenting news reports in front of his peers at school assemblies. His classmates loved his style, which encouraged Jeff to pursue a formal career in journalism. (You can find some of the news reports he did with local station QTV here: Maji Taka and Maandishi ya Nguo.)
After high school, he carried his new confidence with him and began volunteering as a Youth Peer Provider (YPP) through CFK’s Sexual and Reproductive Health program. YPPs serve an important role in educating Kiberans about their health—and helping them access services that CFK provides. As Jeff explains, “We mobilize people and tell them about many things: getting tested for HIV, family planning, condom use, ending gender-based violence and female genital mutilation.”
He also stressed the importance of being educated by peers rather than outsiders. “For example,” he says, “a bunch of people believe that contraceptives are sent by white people to kill Africans. When you find someone like that, you approach them as friends first. Only after that do they trust you as an educator.”
Now, Jeff is a trusted figure in the community, able to effectively connect people with vital services to improve their health. Like any radio personality, however, he can be polarizing. His blunt honesty is particularly striking. “Most people don’t like me when I tell them the truth,” he admits, laughing. “People have different perspectives about what I do and what I say. But I’m trying as much as possible to live by the values I tell people.” Those values? “Not stealing, not being corrupt,” to name a few.
Beliefs that are also central to Jeff: hard work, integrity, and personal freedom. Jeff does not have access to steady income, doing casual labor for funds here and there. He stays in Kibera with an uncle, which helps him save up for his diploma program (a 2-year degree) in Journalism and Mass Communications from the Intra-Global Training Institute. It’s a hard situation, but he’s putting his nose to the grindstone nonetheless. “It’s going to be a long walk for me to be a journalist,” he says with conviction. “I don’t need to be known, I just want to do the job.”
Jeff is thankful for the opportunities he has accessed through CFK, even those that come about by luck, like his recurring radio segment on Pamoja FM. He’ll do whatever it takes to tell the untold stories of happiness, hard work, and dedication from Kibera. “I believe in a society where it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your last name is, what you look like, but one where you can make it if you try.”