Serious Request Kenya is an annual Ghetto Radio event that takes place on the grounds of the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, and connects Kenya to other parts of the world via a social program coupled with spectacular entertainment. The theme for 2012 is Vote4Peace Vote4Kenya.
The point of Serious Request is to raise awareness around a social issue of great importance, and Serious Request Kenya has been running now for five years, always from 19th to the 24th of December. Three Ghetto Radio DJs are locked in a "Glass House", from which they broadcast non-stop for the six days while going without food. This is to demonstrate their commitment to the social issue being addressed that year.
Serious Request was started in the Netherlands in 2004 and run by public radio station 3FM in cooperation with the Red Cross. Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden soon joined in, and in 2008, Serious Request reached Kenya, the only African country that stages Serious Request.
Over the years, the issues addressed by Serious Request Kenya have been the plight of refugees/IDPs, malaria-prevention and education, HIV tests (2,140 were tested during SR 2010, a record number), and a blood-donation drive, and this year the focus is on peaceful elections under the banner: Vote4Peace Vote4Kenya. As you might recall, the outbreak of violence that followed the last Kenyan election left over 1,000 people dead and almost a quarter of a million displaced. Kenyans will be voting again on the 4th of March 2013.
There will be a range of election-related activities going on every day just outside the Glass House, such as the issuing of ID cards, a voter registration programme and workshops about democracy for young voters.
There will also be daily "hang out" sessions (which you'll be able to watch live via Google+ and YouTube), with participation from all the presidential candidates (bear in mind that two of the candidates, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former cabinet minister William Ruto - one each for President and one for Vice President - have been charged by the ICC with crimes relating to the incidents that followed the last election).
There's entertainment, too, of course, with live performances by some of Kenya's best artists rocking the stage just in front of the Glass House. Also, the music the DJs play between performances are all audience requests.
The event is supported by the Red Cross and the ICC, and, as always, you will be able to watch Serious Request right here on This Is Africa and on Ghetto Radio Nairobi.
It's serious stuff, but also a lot of fun, so start getting plenty of sleep, cos you're not going to get much once it kicks off on the morning of the 19th.
Here's to peaceful elections in Kenya