NGOs Most Trusted To Integrate Innovation Into Society

The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Kenya report reveals that NGOs are the
most trusted to integrate innovation into society with 76% of Kenyans trusting them – putting them
ahead of business (70% trust), media (66%), and government (47%).
This elevated trust in NGOs can be attributed to a lack of confidence in other institutions, with 80% of
Kenyans worried about government leaders, 72% about business leaders, and 65% about journalists and
reporters “purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross
exaggerations.” Consequently, Kenyans are more inclined to trust their peers (76%) and scientists (74%)
for truthful information about new innovations and technologies, even ahead of NGO representatives
and other expert sources.
The report further states that 72% of Kenyans say if business partners with the government, they will
trust it more with technology-led changes which emphasizes the need for businesses to collaborate with
other stakeholders for change and for science to integrate with society through dialogue and
Alarmingly, 50% of Kenyans believe science has become politicised in Kenya, and 63% say that
government and organisations funding research wield excessive influence over scientific endeavours.
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 skepticism, resistance, and missed
opportunities for progress. 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,” said
Corazon Sefu Wandimi, Managing Director of Edelman Kenya.
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, underscoring the need for these leaders to play a significant role in
managing the introduction of new technologies. However, a notable 41% of Kenyans—nearly on par
with the global average of 45%—express that scientists do not know how to communicate with “people
like me,” calling for science to be made more transparent and accessible to the public.
This brings out the key importance of giving individuals control over their future when it comes to
embracing innovation. The report acknowledges that when people feel in control of how innovations

affect their lives, they are more likely to embrace them. These findings underscore a unique trust
dynamic within an African context, presenting an unparalleled opportunity for stakeholders to harness
this trust in forwarding technological and societal advancements.
Restoring trust in the promise of innovation necessitates prioritising its implementation as much as the
innovation itself; creating an environment for business to partner for change; integrating science with
society; and giving people control over how innovation impacts their future.

Other key findings for Kenya from the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer include:

  1. 76% of Kenyans trust NGOs to integrate innovation into society, putting them ahead of
    government, business and media.
  2. Social media leads as the top source of information about new technologies and innovations for
    Kenyans, ahead of online searches, national media and local media. This is where Kenyans say
    they get most of their information about new technologies and innovations:
     76% social media (net)
     67% online searches 
     50% National media 
     50% local media 
     43% Online influencers
  3. To earn or keep their trust as good managers of change, about 9 in 10 Kenyans say business and
    government should give them a voice to raise their concerns, while business, government, and
    media should be transparent about both the benefits and risks.
  4. 56% of Kenyans believe that Government regulators lack adequate understanding of emerging
    technologies to regulate them effectively.
  5. 41% of Kenyans say scientists do not know how to communicate with “people like me.”

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