Promoting Peace Through the Arts in Mombasa
By Nicholas Songora Odoll, 2021 Goldin Global Fellow, Kenya
Manyatta Youth Entertainment (MAYE) is a community based organization active in the coastal counties of Kenya, which uses arts, sports and media to promote social change. Our team is led by youth for the youth and we are grounded in human rights principles. We have been involved in the areas of social accountability, civic education, and social justice using creative arts, innovation, and technology as a mode of communication while providing alternative livelihood and economic empowerment to young men and women. We are also active in addressing concerns revolving around gender-based violence, violent extremism, and armed juvenile crime.
In the first quarter of the year 2022, our team at Manyatta Youth Entertainment focused on expanding collaborations with like-minded organizations, strengthening our center’s library and capacitating our team. In February 2022, we hosted a delegation of development partners led by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund-GCERF, Act Kenya, and the Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics Trust-CICC. Partners learned about our work and participated in the ongoing entertainment and dialogue activities which were happening at the center. In March, a team from Segal Family Foundation (SFF) visited us to learn about our programs and see the youth friendly space (Anika Community Hub). This month, April 2022, we were honored by a visit from the Ministry of Interior led by the Regional, County, and the Deputy county Commissioners. Along with this delegation, we got the chance to join meetings with the Kenya ports authority officials in discussions about the Dongo Kundu area free economic zone.
Our team learned as much as the visitors learned from us, it was an equal exchange of knowledge, experiences, and ideas for possible collaborations. We are grateful for these connection opportunities and are committed to partnerships in building peace. Our team continues to look forward to forming a sustainable working relationship with other like-minded organizations.
In March one of our partners, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), donated books to Anika Community Hub. The support furnished our small library with a whole new variety of readings for our youth. Our library fulfills the commitment to article 35 of our national constitution on the right to access of information. Young men and women can now visit our center to learn and grow from the wisdom contained in the books found at our library. In the same month, we organized a 3-day training on Human-Centered Design with the support from the Aga Khan Foundation. The training involved young mentors and grassroot facilitators who work with us and the Likoni Community Development Programme – Licodep who form part of our CSOs network members. After the training, youth involved worked closely with children (10 to 16 years), their teachers and parents in designing a solution for identified problems that affect students’ academic performances.
Lastly, as our country is gearing up towards the national elections next year, we joined hands with all the Civil Society Organizations along the coast to lead the process of issuing a joint press statement over the emerging insecurity concerns ahead of the elections. Joined by the network members, I issued the press statement on 7th April at Uhuru Gardens in Mombasa. You can read the full statement and/or watch us reading the statement through our YouTube Channel.
As this quarter closes, we are excited about the work and new collaborations we are going to realize in the next quarter of the year. We sincerely appreciate the support of ForumCiv Hub Eastern & Southern Africa, Embassy of Sweden in Nairobi, Coast Interfaith Council of Clerics Trust Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, Accountability Lab, and the Goldin Institute for the technical support that has in one way or another seen the space sustainable and open to young people.