In a recent video titled “I Built 100 Wells in Africa,” popular YouTuber Mr. Beast, known for his philanthropic endeavors, well, built 100 wells in Africa which is amazing, most of them were actually built in Kenya, however it is what the 25-year-old said at the end of the video that makes it all the more sad and left me and other on social media in awe and in deep reflection.
Mr. Beast is a digital content creator, who has leveraged his platform to bring about tangible change in the lives of many in Africa. This time round he built wells in several communities, providing them with access to clean water.
“I know it’s weird that a YouTuber has to do all this stuff, but someone’s got to do it, and if no one else is, we are gonna do it, as you can tell it really does change the lives of communities where we build them.” This statement, while inspiring, largely paints a pretty grim picture of the state of affairs in some parts of the world, let me speak on Kenya.
The Irony of Governance
Kenya is a country blessed with abundant natural resources and a vibrant populace, however, it has been grappling with the menace of corruption since before I was born. On average, the country loses an estimated KSh.608 billion, or 7.8% of the country’s GDP, to corruption annually. This is a staggering amount, especially when you consider that a significant portion of the population still lacks access to basic amenities like clean water.
In Elgeyo Marakwet, a county in Kenya, Mr. Beast shows how residents had to travel miles to access unsafe water. This is a county that is just shy of 80 km from Uasin Gishu. That It took Mr. Beast, a YouTuber from the United States, to build them a well and even a safe bridge connecting the community of Toroplongon to basic services like a hospital is not just ironic but deeply saddening.
The Affluence of Politicians
On the other hand, Kenyan politicians are among the highest-paid in the world. That they earn these exorbitant salaries and drive expensive cars, a stark contrast to the struggling masses who can barely afford a meal a day, let alone a car is a disparity between the affluence of the politicians and the poverty of the people they represent and it is disheartening.
A Call for Change
I do not talk politics at all, but neither does Mr. Beast and if he can use the power of technology (which is not just confined to the realms of software development or gadget creation) to permeate such aspects of our lives, including philanthropy, I can also use my platform to call for change.
The video by Mr. Beast is a poignant reminder of the deep-seated issues that plague our society today. it’s commendable that individuals like him are stepping up to make a difference, but at the same time so disconcerting that those elected to serve the people have absolutely failed to do so, on purpose.
The fight against corruption and the pursuit of social justice must be relentless. The people of Kenya, like all citizens of the world, deserve leaders who are committed to serving them, not their own interests.
In the words of Mr. Beast, “Someone’s got to do it,” and it’s about time that the ‘someone’ is those who are elected to do so. The lives of communities can indeed change, but it requires the concerted effort of all, especially those in positions of power.