NGOs are most trusted institutions in Kenya, annual study finds

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Trust in government to innovate is below 50%, while a third of Kenyans don’t trust the media. Business fares better, at 70% trust.

The 2024 Trust Barometer report for Kenya, produced by global PR company Edelman, reveals that NGOs are the most trusted to integrate innovation into society.  


A significant 76% of Kenyans trust NGOs – putting them ahead of business (70% trust), media (66%), and government (47%).

Kenyans place most trust in NGOs to innovate.

Photo: Christian Dubois, Wikimedia Commons


This elevated trust in NGOs can be attributed to a lack of confidence in other institutions, with Kenyans worried about government leaders, business leaders, and about journalists and reporters “purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations”.  


Kenyans are more inclined to trust their peers (76%) and scientists (74%) for truthful information about new innovations and technologies, even ahead of expert sources. 


In addition, 72% of people say that, if business partners with the government, they will trust it more with technology-led changes. According to Edelman, this emphasises the need for businesses to collaborate with other stakeholders for change, and for science to integrate with society through dialogue and engagement. 


Half of Kenyans believe science has become politicised in Kenya, and 63% say government and organisations funding research wield excessive influence over scientific endeavours. 


Broader perception that innovation is mismanaged 


This perception contributes to a broader perception that innovation is mismanaged, with those perceiving poor management more likely to believe technology and society are changing too quickly and not in ways that benefit ‘people like me’. 


“Building trust in innovation is critical and failing to do so can lead to scepticism, resistance, and missed opportunities for progress,” says Corazon Sefu Wandimi, Managing Director of Edelman Kenya. 


It’s imperative that we not only innovate but also communicate effectively, ensuring that advancements are understood, accessible, and aligned with the needs of Kenyans.”  


When it comes to acceptance of innovation, 65% of Kenyans say that they reject the growing use of GMO foods, while the same percentage embraces green energy.  


Furthermore, Kenyans have overwhelmingly endorsed technical experts (85%), scientists (84%), and academics (83%) to lead the charge in implementing innovation. Edelman believes this underscores the need for these leaders to play a significant role in managing the introduction of new technologies.  


However, a notable 41% of Kenyans – a figure almost on par with the global average of 45% – think scientists do not know how to communicate with ordinary people, calling for science to be made more transparent and accessible to the public. 

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.