Jan 30, 2020

ON THE BALL

Maya interacting with fellow FISU members
Maya interacting with fellow FISU members

Our Students With Dreams (SWD) programme keeps bearing good fruit! We are proudly witnessing the growth and use of skills from SWD and here is one of the many highlights shown from our alumni this year.

 

Baller Kunthazi aimed at challenging social constructions on the roles and capabilities of girls. Maya and her partner Samuel started the project through ArtGlo’s Students With Dreams (SWD) programme in 2018 to engage girls through playing football and other sporting activities which are considered to be only for males to help them broaden their horizons on what girls can do. Following the success of the project, Maya was selected as a young leader to participate in the International University Sport Federation (FISU) academy and is now the FISU ambassador to Malawi. She has continued her work in encouraging girls to be involved in sporting activities by engaging people from local communities. She attributes her skills in leadership and innovation to her experience with Students with Dreams as she had the platform to expand her ideas.

“I have learnt how to run and manage a project – how to communicate, approach potential funders and all these things I have learnt through SWD and I am still using these skills. I am using all my skills both locally and internationally and people are welcoming my ideas. I use sport as a tool for change as ArtGlo uses art and I believe that through these tools you can address very big issues in society.” – Maya

 

Recently Maya was invited to attend the FISU General Assembly in Italy where she was given a platform to talk about her Baller Kunthazi project to sport and university delegates from around the world. She is extremely excited and passionate to connect Malawian youth to score scholarships that allow them to expand their sports talents internationally and bring the skills back home so that other youth in Malawi can benefit from them. She has given an award form the FISU head for her work in Ballar Kunthanzi. She is currently working to set up the next phase of the project.

Oct 24, 2019

Getting the GRiP On Things

During the past few months we have been working on getting our hub up with new developments and continued the campaign against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in technical Colleges.

We look back on Sylvester’s journey. He was a co-founder for the project Girl Rise in Potential (GRiP) which aimed at economically empowering young girls in rural Zomba. The project taught them practical skills such as baking and tailoring which they used to start small businesses to support themselves. They also focused on helping the girls to understand and act on their sexual reproductive health. The project was a success in helping several girls to start their own small initiatives. Sylvester is studying to be a nurse at Malawi College of Health Sciences in Zomba and has a passion for health and development work. This aligned well with his project and in 2018 he graduated from the programme.

Through feedback from the participants, Sylvester created short films that highlighted the project with a focus on its SHR and entrepreneurship aspects and how the project affected the girls. In 2018 one of these clips was recognised by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which awarded him a scholarship to attend the International Conference on Family Planning in Kigali. There he was a panellist and presented GRiP and its findings.

“I was really grateful”, he relates, “for this opportunity because it opened me up to networks that I would have never imagined being in. It also taught me a lot about SRH and where we are as a continent. People equally passionate about girl child rights as I am.”

In 2019 he attended the African Students and Youth Conference in Lusaka. He was further invited and attended the SADC work summit on Gender in Lilongwe Malawi. He presented the project to those in attendance and Sylvester was awarded a certificate by the Minister of Gender in the youth category.  Several stakeholders expressed gratitude for the work being done and encouraged him to continue to pursue the project further.

“The programme has opened me up to opportunities to widen my skills in girl empowerment. It has helped me to reach dreams that I have had. I have reached many people I would have not reached myself. The youth need to be proactive. I used to look at myself and the only thing that I can do school and nothing else, but with SWD I was able to reach out to other opportunities.” – Sylvester.

All these opportunities helped him to grow his initial idea of the project and grow it even further, as now they have even more girls joining the project for the next phase. He was able to identify a further need in the area, that of a place for youth in the area to learn and study. The area is remote and students from the area have to travel far to attend school and find it difficult to study since no place exists nearby. He has begun plans to erect a learning centre in the area for the local children. He is working to make this idea come to life, getting all the right blueprint and staffing to run the centre. We are very proud to see all that Sylvester is doing and look forward to seeing where this latest idea goes.

Our refurbished hub continues to host creative events in Zomba. The vision for the space is to create an enabling environment for artists and social change activists to network, gain tangible skills, and attain access to an innovative space of learning, growth, and creativity.

The hub will serve as an artist lounge, offer space for arts-based approaches and events, and further help in the professional development of local youths. The creative director of the Hub is Dan who is an alumni of the SWD programme and was motivated to join after his own SWD experience. He is very passionate about the hub and has already begun in leading and managing its activities such as an event on entrepreneurship, and an arts and networking event where attendees were invited to share names for the space on our Blackboard of Ideas. We would like to reintroduce our creative hub under the new name “The Green Door”.

A quick update from the UNESCO anti-GBV project, which was designed based on learning from SWD combined with Human-Centred-Design methodologies.  The institutions' tailor-made campaigns aimed at tackling the issues that are directly affecting their institution, which is now in full flow. Due to the project, there has been an increase in the number of cases reported and new systems are being put into place to handle these new cases.  The schools are working closely with authorities to handle the cases and bring the once hidden cases to light. The programme is supported through the Skills and Technical Education Programme (STEP), an initiative partially implemented by UNESCO with funding from the European Union.

UNESCO project intervention at Aida Chilembwe
UNESCO project intervention at Aida Chilembwe
Oct 23, 2019

Art for Action tour!

Chinamwali Youth Group performance
Chinamwali Youth Group performance

Ever wondered how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be explained, understood and worked towards in the Malawian context? How do we attain visible gender equity? How do we show deeds towards climate justice? How do we ignite progress in health and well-being? Our talented MASA squad members showed how all this is possible.

With the motivation from winning the UN SDG Action Award (2019) under the Creative category, the MASA squad members utilized their skills once again for the Global week to #Act4SDGs, 20-30th September, and took action to the people.  People from all over the world took part in this week of action and highlights were being shown at the UN media zone in New York. The squad decided to run an Art For Action tour focusing on Climate Action, Gender Equality and Good Health and Wellbeing. They developed short interactive theatre pieces on each of the three focus SDGs, to be followed by ‘Dream Machine’ workshops to inspire young people to come up with their own creative ideas on the SDGs. Aside from the tour being aired on Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation (MBC) TV, Timveni TV, the Nation newspaper and Yoneco radio, the tour was also shown at the UN SDG Media Zone for all around the world to see. 

Starting within the hometown of Zomba, the squad met with Chinamwali youth group to kick off the tour. Over 40 members attended and all were lively and active in the activities set. When doing an activity that was targeted on SDG 5 (Gender Equality), the initial attitude showed that the males were against having female leaders. Fortunately, the squad’s interactive theatre helped them to question that view.

It would be difficult and almost impossible for us to develop if we don’t include women. Being in groups with them (female members) and coming up with these ideas excites us and helps us learn more about each other and how to do better things together.” – 16 year old male Chinamwali youth member.

The first day of the tour ended with an evening showcase of the MASA acts and an introduction by Executive Director, Helen Todd, on why ArtGlo had chosen to work on the three SDGs. The District Youth Officer, Mrs. Katie Malweni spiced up the event by speaking more on one taking responsibility to know their HIV status as a way of attaining SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing). The evening crowd was very attentive and inspired from start to end.

Touring through Bangwe and Bwaila secondary schools in Blantyre and Lilongwe respectively, the vibrant students were beyond astonishing throughout all the activities! Almost every student was interested in showing their knowledge about the various SDGs. They were each in their own right creative and passionate on bringing Malawian based solutions to the SDG’s as they teamed up to create original art pieces.

In Bangwe, for example, a team of male and female students within a few minutes had made an image theatre piece showing the dangers of multiple sexual relationships. Aside from this, theatre, poetry, song and short dramas were made all from scratch and in less than 30 minutes! The power of creative arts in Malawian youth is truly alive and to see more of these acts, check out our Facebook and Instagram page at artgloafrica. Both male and female students voiced out their opinions with respect and zeal. When conducting theatre acts on climate action, some interesting solutions sprung up at the end.

We should start imposing strict laws when people cut down trees, anyone that is seen cutting one down should be watched as he/she plants 10 more! Also, we need to find alternative methods of cooking and lighting that are useful and affordable to all Malawians.” – 14 year old Bangwe female student.

 Lilongwe had a heartfelt session as the squads performed their pieces to delegates and inspired art enthusiasts who had been following the tour. Amongst them, UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres Macho was in attendance and not only did she inspire the crowd there but she too was inspired by ArtGlo’s MASA squad.

Just like art, SDGs are not to be contemplated but we are supposed to do something about it” – Maria Jose Torres Macho

Next up was the annual Social Good Summit in Lilongwe that was commemorating the 10th year of activism, and focused on Climate Action. Surrounded by other activists and organizations from across Malawi, the Art for Action tour members lit up the room with a Climate Action piece. The performance got the attention of all members in the room and surprised a few with how art can be used as a tool for activism.

The tour finally made its stop at Kachere Kastle in Chinteche for Lake of Stars Discovery festival, and its’ youth curtain raiser, ‘Day of Ideas’. The Day of Ideas hosted fascinating Nkhatabay students who became a part of the acts by incorporating their views in the tonga perspective. The students wrote down pledges that were pinned on the “Idea’s tree” and felt the need to want to do more to save the environment. Ideas of recycling bags, cloth and bottles and spreading the word to local citizens around them were emphasized.

At Lake of Stars Discovery itself, the MASA team also had a chance to showcase the highlights of the tour in video form and also entertain the crowd live. Furthermore, members of the squad had the opportunity to lead panel discussions and interviews with artists such as Annemarie Quinn, Hazel Mak and Moonchild Sanely.

The SDG Art for Action tour showed people from all walks of life that art is a tool for change as it can transform mindsets in a way that is understood by all. For highlights on the tour, visit our social pages: Facebook, twitter and instagram at @artgloafrica.

Climate Change performance in Chinamwali
Climate Change performance in Chinamwali
Bangwe Secondary School
Bangwe Secondary School
Audience interaction at Lake of Stars
Audience interaction at Lake of Stars

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