Nanjira Sambuli

Researcher

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About Nanjira

Nanjira is a curious observer of how technology intersects with governance, media and culture, aiming to document and analyze the changing landscapes in Kenya and Africa, as more people get connected. Her media interests were piqued when she started blogging in 2011, and as one of the founding members of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). Observing and participating in offering alternative commentary on Kenyan events, cemented her keenness in the Kenyan and continental media spaces. Her writing on the Kenyans for Kenya 2011 campaign got widespread attention and amplification on mainstream media. She went ahead to document events such as the 2011 #SomeoneTellCNN campaign, and to be invited for dinner with the former Prime Minister and other 2013 presidential candidates who were keen to bring bloggers to the table.
In 2013, Nanjira ventured into research, and led a project at iHub Research that assessed the new media space during the Kenyan elections, assessing whether crowdsourcing was a viable, verifiable and valid practice on Kenya’s social media space. She also analyzed the use of social media (Twitter especially) during the tragic Nairobi Westgate Mall attack.
Currently a Research Manager on Governance and Technology at the iHub, Nanjira also leads the second phase of the Umati: Monitoring Online Dangerous Speech project, that is gaining traction beyond Kenya, to other countries within the continent. She oversees the development of automation tools for data collection and analysis within the context of analyzing speech with a potential of catalyzing mass violence. Nanjira also writes for various media on the impact of social media on Kenyan traditional media and the civic space as well.
Nanjira is also a Board Member at the Media Policy Research Centre, to which she brings her knowledge and insights from researching and participating in the new media spaces in Kenya. She has contributed to the Centre’s publication on Exploring Kenya’s Media Policy Landscape 1963-2013, offering analysis on social media’s impact on journalism in the country.
Nanjira has also dabbled in music. She released an album with Ma3Band, a solo debut single, background vocals for some leading Kenyan musicians: Eric Wainaina, Atemi Oyungu and Juliani, to name a few.
In joining the Networked News Lab, Nanjira hopes to channel her curiosity and do more observing and questioning, as she collaborates with journalists and other researchers in efforts to better understand the growing significance and importance of voices amplified on social media in Kenya and beyond.