By Janet Wambua
In recent years, Jimmy Donaldson, alias MrBeast, a popular YouTuber and philanthropist, has made headlines worldwide for his extraordinary acts of charity and generosity. Known for orchestrating grand gestures like giving away cars or building elaborate houses for the homeless, MrBeast’s philanthropic efforts have inspired many.
However, his latest project in Kenya is shining a light on a different aspect of his generosity and is prompting Kenyans to question the government’s commitment to providing essential services.
MrBeast’s latest endeavor in Kenya revolves around the construction of about 52 boreholes to provide clean and accessible drinking water to underserved communities. Unlike his previous high-profile projects, this one has been notably discreet.
Boreholes were drilled in locations like Toroplongon, which is part of the Keiyo South Constituency in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, as well as Nairiri in Tigania West within Meru County.
During the exhilarating 10-minute video on his YouTube channel, a captivating moment unfolds as the boreholes are being completed. Notably, the philanthropic team also undertakes an impressive array of activities to uplift local schools. They introduce state-of-the-art computers, refresh classrooms with new furnishings, set up storage shelves stocked with new fresh books, generously donate soccer balls to students, and even install modern whiteboards and projectors.
He recently took to the X platform and shared about his initiative. He did, however, also candidly express his concerns about the possibility of facing backlash or cancellation for his actions.
“I already know I’m gonna get canceled because I uploaded a video helping people, and to be 100% clear, I don’t care. I’m always going to use my channel to help people and try to inspire my audience to do the same,” he wrote.
The Kenyan government has frequently promised to address the country’s water crisis by building boreholes and improving access to clean drinking water. However, the reality on the ground often falls short of these grand promises. Many Kenyan communities still lack access to safe drinking water, with the government’s efforts appearing insufficient at best and insincere at worst.
MrBeast’s quiet actions have terribly exposed the government’s “bare minimum” approach to addressing the water crisis in the country. While Kenyan politicians make speeches and issue press releases about their commitment to improving access to clean water, it often seems like their actions do not align with their words.
However, MrBeast’s silent philanthropy in Kenya has triggered a significant online conversation within the country. Kenyans are now taking to social media platforms to express their frustration with the government’s perceived inadequacies. They question why a foreign philanthropist can quietly and effectively address a pressing issue while their elected officials fail to do so transparently and efficiently.
“The thing is, these things are possible. Kujenga barabara, digging up boreholes, building schools etc. Development can actually happen in 1 year,” one wrote.
“Great initiative from Mr Beast. Although this is humiliating in a governance perspective. Why don’t school children and hospitals have access to boreholes. These are the most basic forms of water access. Yaani borehole tunachimbiwa na YouTubers.”
Another X user said; “52 wells, A bridge, projectors, computers, Desks that’s what MR Beast Singlehandedly did for Kenya, am sure he did more kushinda Kenye imefanywa na governors wote hii mwaka.”
Kenyans’ vocal criticism of the government’s perceived inaction shows that they are eager for change and expect their leaders to fulfill their promises.
As this story continues to gain traction online, it remains to be seen whether the Kenyan government will take notice and take more concrete actions to address the water crisis in the country. Regardless of the outcome, I believe MrBeast’s actions in Kenya have already left a lasting impression, encouraging others to scrutinize the actions of their governments and advocate for change when necessary.