A critique of the role played by the mobile Cinema in dissemination of Information on government programmes to rural populace in Siaya District
Lodenyo, George K
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The study takes a critical look at the role played- by the mobile cinema unit in the Department of Information and Public Communications in dissemination of government policies and programmes to rural populace, with Siaya district as a case study. With the launch of Kenya Vision 2030, in October 2006, the mandate of the Department was further expanded to include creating awareness across the entire nation on Kenya Vision 2030 among other Key Government development agendas, using various mediums. The research looks at the Mobile Cinema Unit that was established by the department of information and public communications to turn information into knowledge by traveling 'beyond the tarmac'. In essence, it was meant to empower rural communities with the necessary information to transform their lives and improve their socio-economic status as well as assimilate government programmes and policies and to trigger discussions that inspire citizens to take positive action. The general objective of the study was therefore to critically analyze the role of the mobile cinema in the department of information and how effective it has been in helping to trigger citizens to take positive action. The specific objective of the research was to establish the extent to which Kenyans are aware of the existence of the mobile cinema and the effect it has had on citizens. The study has used the qualitative method of data collection through interviews of key informants. Through purposive sampling, the researcher used cases that have the required information with respect to the objectives of the study. The cases of subjects were handpicked because they were informative or because they possess the required characteristics. The method was interactive and provided detailed accounts ofthe respondents' knowledge on topic under'research. In essence, the Mobile Cinema has a deeper penetration and delivery of communication information to all comers of the country and can be used to tum information into knowledge to reach the unreachable through an innovative and costeffective medium. It is has been observed that although cinema is a key tool in information dissemination especially for the rural and peri-urban who lack access to many social amenities and knowledge, it has been relegated to the periphery by many communicators. But the fact is that it is far much better in terms of dissemination due to the big screens used when compared to the TV. Viewers usually remember for a long time messages relayed via this media. Given that the mobile cinema guarantees free viewing by all and sundry, if fully utilized, it can help spur economic development and foster peace and harmony through screening of documentaries related to the same. Among the key findings, was that the Government should purchase fully equipped and customized mobile vans with inbuilt accessories to meet increased demand for services in the counties, where an estimated 3 million people need to be reached. The study established that the Unit is not adequately funded and it is therefore unable to meet its mandate. The informants felt that the Government needs to develop a programme of activities to be undertaken by the Unit every financial year instead of the ad hoc way in which the Unit is run. They want the Government to decentralize the services to counties in order that an impact is felt and at the same time develop a policy to guide the Unit.