Hundreds Took to the Streets in Molo to Stand Up Against Poverty

“So what! Who cares! So what! I care!…Have no rights, I don’t know why!” These are refrains from the song “Born to Suffer” that some audience members of the Molo District Poverty Requiem were singing days after the October 17 event held in Molo Stadium.

Hundreds of people in Molo District stood up and spoke out against poverty last week as part of a worldwide effort to put the Millennium Development Goals on everyone’s agenda.

A throng of students, teachers, NGO workers and residents marched to the Molo District Commissioner’s office where NECOFA’s Samuel Muhunyu gave a petition to acting DC Solomon Abwaka, urging the government to take action on the MDGs. A Salvation Army brass band played along with the crowd as they left the Molo district headquarters and headed through the city to the Molo Stadium—some carrying signs reading “Promote Our Local Knowledge,” “Stop the EPAs,” and “We Want Good Governance.”

The Molo Stadium is where the procession ended and the festivities began. Students sang and a women’s group performed traditional Maasi dances. NGOs, private firms, and intervention groups including SMART, SLIDE, the Karunga Women’s Group, Baraka College, and Equity Bank exhibited their products and services. The Karunga Women’s group—which spins Molo lamb’s wool to make handcrafted animals, bags, and rugs—brought their trainer to demonstrate traditional spinning techniques. During the “Stand Up and Speak Out” session, these groups and others (including poets and rap artists) took to the stage to speak their minds about issues affecting Kenya.

At 2 p.m., Community Development officer Moses Gachiri conducted a 400-member choir, which appeared in a circle around him and his two soloists. This feat would have been difficult for all but the most ambidextrous conductors but Gachiri pulled it off. The choir performed two songs, “Born to Suffer” and “Hope.”

Awards were presented to district schools who sang in the choir as well as the winners of a bicycle race, which kicked off the day-long event. The grand prize was a new bicycle.

According to the October 20 Daily Nation, more than 1 million Kenyans participated in this year’s Poverty Requiem. They were among the more than 38 million people in 110 countries who broke the Guinness World Record set last year for the largest number of people who stood up against poverty. The campaign is an initiative of the United Nations Millennium Campaign in partnership with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP).

The last lines in the song “Hope” say it all: “Can you change it, Will you change it, You must change it!”

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