Children
 Kenya
Project #12508

Drama, Dance, Music, & Sport for Kisumu Youth

by Equip Manyatta
Vetted
Study in Pencil by Nikomambo
Study in Pencil by Nikomambo

The creative talents of young people associated with the Manyatta Youth Resource Centre (MYRC) in Kisumu, Kenya, on the shores of Lake Victoria, are currently on display on two continents. Along with a vibrant soccer program for all ages of girls and boys, from the beginning the MYRC has had an emphasis on helping young people develop their artistic and creative talents. The MYRC, with strong support from Equip Manyatta, provides youth with the opportunity and tools to perform and record original music and videos; write and perform plays that highlight life in Kisumu; draw, paint, and take photos, and display their work for the world to see. Right now a show in California and a new video release by the singer Nahna in Kisumu are featuring these talents.

Art, accessories, and fabric goods are now on display at one of the largest exhibit spaces in Boonville, CA, hometown of Equip Manyatta’s Co-Chair. This is the second show hosted by the restaurant Lauren’s to benefit the US non-profit that provides support for the MYRC in Kisumu. Organizer Keevan Labowitz is excited to be presenting photos depicting both Kisumu and Lake Nakuru National Park by GMan; drawings, water colors, and oil paintings of the people and places around Kisumu by Nikomambo, Coster, Vavick and Paul; an assortment of purses made from recycled plastic sacks, water hyacinth cards, and jewelry by Heshima Crafts; and colorful fabric pillowcases and market bags by Garden of Hope. All are locally produced in Kisumu. Titled Life in Nyanza: Youth, Society, Nature the drawings, paintings, and photos show local life, people, and the countryside around Kisumu as recorded and interpreted by its young people. If you are in Northern California, come see the show all November and December and do your holiday shopping while you’re there. You can be assured your purchases will be unique, and the proceeds help support opportunities for these creative young women and men.

Meanwhile across the globe in Kisumu, local singer Elizabeth Nahna, who got her start recording at the MYRC studio, has released her new video Paro. Her talent and confidence have grown over the last few years and her voice is pure crystal. She recently was a featured performer at the November 5 Luo Festival Kisumu at the Tom Mboya Labour College. Check out her video Paro at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzV1ftM0vyI&feature=youtu.be. (The preacher in the video may also be a familiar face for you.) Nahna is a prime example of a local young person who was encouraged to pursue her talent and is now establishing a successful career as a singer. Besides regularly performing in Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, she also has appeared several times as a featured performer in Nairobi and has even traveled to Sweden to take part in a cultural festival there.    

While the MYRC fosters creative talent, it is also a key part of many local improvement programs. It regularly sponsors clean-ups near the office and the soccer pitches at Shaurimoyo Primary School, where the Manyatta United teams got their start. On November 4, MYRC youth participated in a large Kisumu Clean-up Day, sponsored by Kisumu Fashion and other local businesses. It is events like these that help build cohesion among the various ethnic groups and political parties in the local community, and the MYRC is proud to be part of the effort.

You can’t think about the MYRC without talking about soccer, of course. With KYFA-sanctioned boys teams U-12, U-14, U-16, U-18, and a U-16 and Free Age team for Ladies, the MYRC provides anyone with an interest in developing their athletic skills the option to get out on the field and play competitively. Our teams are regularly at the top of their division. The Senior Men’s team, comprised of young men who have come up through the MYRC soccer program, is a powerhouse in the Provincial League.

As we enter the final months of 2016, we are grateful for the opportunity to bring together so many talented, creative, and energetic young people. The adults who help, encourage and mentor them for only a tiny stipend to cover expenses are contributing so much of themselves for the good of their entire community.

It is only with your help that these many young people are able to learn new skills, express their talents, enjoy being part of a team, and grow up with a better future. Please help us continue to build on this success.  THANK YOU!

Flood 2016 by Nikomambo
Flood 2016 by Nikomambo
Bags by Heshima Crafts
Bags by Heshima Crafts
Market Bags by Garden of Hope
Market Bags by Garden of Hope
Nahna Performing at Luo Festival 2016
Nahna Performing at Luo Festival 2016
Having a Blast, Photo by GMan
Having a Blast, Photo by GMan
Our Senior Team wins friendly v powerhouse Ramogi
Our Senior Team wins friendly v powerhouse Ramogi

Greetings Global Giving friends and supporters! We want to first start by thanking everyone who has helped keep our programs running since we met our fundraising challenge on Global Giving in December 2012. The support Equip Manyatta receives from people like you has been crucial in helping us meet our monthly monetary goals to fund the Manyatta Youth Resource Centre (MYRC) in Kisumu. It is never a simple task finding enough money to sustain our programs, which support close to 200 youth in sports, performing arts, education, health, and environmental awareness.

Unfortunately, we were not able to raise enough funds to send our team to Sweden to participate in the Sodertalje International Football Cup in July. Our fundraising efforts fell far short of that goal, but with the funds we did raise we were able to send our team to Tororo, Uganda to participate in the 2016 Hope for Kids International Tournament. For many of our players, this trip was their first outside of Kenya, and they were able to play with teams representing countries such as Uganda, Tanzania Burundi, Lesotho, The Congo, Ghana, Rwanda and Sudan. Though our team lost in the semi-finals, our goalkeeper, Silas, was recognized as the best goalkeeper in the tournament and our striker, Brownie, came away as top-scorer. This was our first international trip as Manyatta United, and though we didn’t travel as far as Sweden this time, we continue to believe that getting our youth international exposure will help them grow not only on the soccer pitch but also through life experiences and cultural sharing.

The MYRC is also proud to have two players, Ian Samwel and Shem Hazard, representing the Nyanza province in the Kenya National Secondary School Football Games. They will be playing for Barding Secondary School and first face Bukembe Secondary School at Moi Stadium in Kisumu. Ian has been recognized as a powerful force in youth football and has also represented Kenya in the Copa Coca-Cola Under-15 tournament in South Africa.  

In performing arts news, we are excited about the release this month of Nahna’s newest video, Paro. The video was filmed by Crizo Mzeyah. Nahna has been working hard year after year. We are also proud that she was selected to join a new singing group, She’s Dada, which is sponsored by the Doris Kwaka Foundation. Together with two other Kisumu locals, Lucky and Dena, Nahna is recording tracks in Nairobi at top-tier studios, and she will be traveling with a tour sponsored by both the Doris Kwaka Foundation and the United Nations. It seems like a tremendous opportunity and we wish all three ladies the best of luck.

In another indicator of how well established the MYRC has become in its seven years, the Standard Kenya, a prominent national newspaper, recently ran a feature article about the MYRC and its General Manager Antony Oballa. We appreciate the recognition and hope that the publicity will lead to additional support.

The MYRC continues to maintain its support for education in Manyatta. Along with primary and secondary school support, we dream of being able to help the youth who have been with our organization since its beginning and have already finished secondary school to go on with higher education. One of our players, Frank, was recently accepted into the Kenya Medical Training School. He performed well in secondary school and has shown himself to be a disciplined player over the last seven years playing for Manyatta United. The cost of attending this school will be about $800 for the next three years.   Frank is working while playing soccer for our provincial team but the costs are more than he can afford. His family is unable to help as he has siblings who are still in secondary school and need fees paid to complete their education there. We support so many youth in primary and secondary school that it is extremely difficult to help make Frank’s wish of attending a university come true. Imagine the difficulty of earning such an opportunity but not being able to take advantage of it because you don’t have enough money! We continue to look for a supporter who can help Frank and we are strategizing about ways that we can help our senior youth continue their education past secondary school.

We are grateful that so many young people have been able to participate in the wide-ranging MYRC programs, which provide opportunities to develop all sorts of talents. Through their participation, these youth will also have learned perhaps the most valuable lesson of all—working together can help make a better world.

 

Manyatta United at Tororo Uganda tourney
Manyatta United at Tororo Uganda tourney
Traveling to Uganda, a first for many ManU players
Traveling to Uganda, a first for many ManU players
Nahna in her new Paro video
Nahna in her new Paro video
MYRC and GM Obala featured in Standard Kenya
MYRC and GM Obala featured in Standard Kenya
Frank, accepted for medical training, needs fees
Frank, accepted for medical training, needs fees
Enjoying a meal at the MYRC office
Enjoying a meal at the MYRC office

I arrived back in Kisumu at the end of March just in time for the rainy season to hit the lakeside area. With heavy rains pounding down daily, Kisumu has been lucky to avoid the large scale flooding seen in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. But nonetheless people living in the informal settlements such as Manyatta face extreme hardships as muddy roads at times make access impossible, raw sewage floods the streets, and homes made from mud are washed away or collapse. Living in the slums of Kisumu is hard enough, but during the rainy season life gets even tougher.

Still, arriving back in Kisumu I have found many reasons to remain optimistic. Even with all the challenges, the Manyatta Youth Resource Center (MYRC) continues to expand its programs, keep youth engaged, and make connections with the community.  The first positive change I saw was the MYRC’s new office, located in the Manyatta slums in the same estate where we were founded in 2009.  It is a nice, clean structure in a wonderful compound filled with trees, which give it a cool, welcoming atmosphere.  The office now feels like a real base instead of an organization working out of a shared home.  

To welcome me back, the MYRC held a feeding party at the office where over 300 youth and community members enjoyed a meal.  I also presented the new sports equipment I brought over, the majority of which was donated by the Second Touch Soccer program out of Davis, California. The MYRC feeding program feeds its youth members each weekend, but this party was expanded so that people from the surrounding community could participate. This was quite a challenge-- Being in the heart of a slum, there were many people who hoped to get something to eat!  We did our best, and after slaughtering a goat and several chickens, we made a pillau rice, ugali, vegetables, chapatti and stew. Music played as the youth danced and ate and enjoyed the compound. The new gear included two new sets of complete uniforms, balls and boots, as well as an assortment of shorts, shirts and socks.  Many of the assorted items will be presented in an upcoming award ceremony as gifts to our team leaders to motivate them to keep up their hard work.

We are proud to have three of our soccer coaches participating in a new initiative in town called Premier League Skills.  This is a UK-based program that is bringing coaches from the Kisumu and Mt. Elgon areas together to learn coaching skills and community outreach. It teaches local coaches how to use soccer to help address community conflicts and violence against women. The program will last for two years and will enable our coaches to better use soccer as a tool for social change. These skills are crucial to helping our community in Manyatta and we hope as our coaches gain experience and knowledge, they will be able to extend these ideas to our other coaches, management, participating youth and our immediate community.

The MYRC soccer teams are more active than ever. The MYRC senior team has begun its seasons with two semi-professional level soccer leagues, the Kenyan provincial league organized through the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and the Ogendo Championship League.  Playing back-to-back matches last Saturday and Sunday, our team started strong in their first matches of the season, defeating their opponents in Ahero for the Provincial League 1-0 and their opponents for the Ogendo league 2-0.  For participating in the Ogendo league, the MYRC was presented with new uniforms, inscribed with their team name and league sponsors.  These professional uniforms motivate our players and help them feel legitimate. These seasons are very long and, especially for the provincial league, will be very costly.  In order to play the 13 away matches, the MYRC will have to pay transportation costs to places far outside Kisumu. By the end of the season these costs really add up.  On top of these two senior leagues, the MYRC youth teams will be starting in the local KYFA games soon. We have several age categories participating for both boys and girls. 

Thanks to an invitation it received, the MYRC has been trying to raise enough funds to travel to Sweden to participate in the Sodertalje International Football Cup. As expected, this has been a major challenge but has also been a learning process and a chance to further connect with the families of our soccer players.  We have had several meetings with parents and guardians so we can make them a part of the process. We had to explain the difficulties of trying to make such a trip happen and to see how, with their help and partnership, we can find more opportunities. Our goal is to involve the families of our youth so more of them become decision makers and participators in our programs. Whether we raise enough funds to make the trip happen, we will have the parents’ insight. The initial goal right now is to secure passports for all of our senior players.  These passports will open many doors and will help facilitate their ability to follow opportunities across the globe. We will continue to try and find major funding to facilitate a trip abroad in the future.

In the performing arts section, the MYRC has put focus into helping support a young photographer named Chris “G Man.”  G Man is currently a student at Maseno University where he is studying media production and photography skills. G Man has been helping the MYRC by taking photos especially at events, updating the group’s facebook and website pages, and recording and editing videos. G Man is also a talented music producer who has been working in partnership with the performing arts director Malique.  MYRC also hopes to support G Man’s creative photography endeavors.  One part of that project is to gather a wide range of G Man’s photos and feature them as part of a three-month exhibition at Lauren’s Café in Boonville, CA. This exhibition will also feature the work of Kisumu artists Nikomambo and Coster Ojwang as well as other MYRC arts and crafts.  Through the MYRC, G Man was able to travel to Nakuru National Park and take photos, some of which will be featured during this exhibition. The MYRC is also taking part and looking forward to the Social Cuffs Art Showcase at the Sovereign Hotel in Kisumu, where the works of Nikomambo and Coster will be presented over the weekend.

The arts section at the MYRC is expanding to include a wider range of art disciplines and methods, but still continues to offer the programs that helped them become established.  With G Man’s help the MYRC has also filmed and is helping produce a full-length film written, directed and acted by MYRC Drama members under the name Eagle Theatrics.  We are also filming and producing a new music video for Nahna’s new song Parro.

The MYRC also continues its partnership with the care-giving organization Garden of Hope, which helps new mothers gain access to important information regarding baby nutrition and breastfeeding.  I went with Garden of Hope’s founder, Rosemary, to the Kisumu County Hospital maternity ward and helped her distribute clothing items to the mothers and their newborns.  Rosemary distributes the clothing free of charge and gives the women information about how they can contact her and receive free counseling and information about best practices as a new mother. We would like to thank Sports Gift for donating the home-made knit caps that were also distributed to the new families. Garden of Hope’s founder, Rosemary, was the original Treasurer of the MYRC and one of its founding members.  We are proud that through experiences gained with the MYRC, Rosemary was able to start an organization that focuses on something she deeply cares about.

I will be in Kisumu for another month observing and participating in the MYRC’s many activities. Each trip to Kisumu, I have seen significant development in the programs MYRC operates but as an organization grows, so do its costs.  The MYRC needs more and more coaches to lead their growing number of teams, more management support, more training opportunities, and more equipment to run its programs, whose memberships continue to grow. Without your support through the years, none of these programs would exist. It is really amazing what you have helped to create here!  And now more than ever, we need your continued support so that the MYRC and its programs can continue to thrive. Thank you! 

 

Coach Carina, coach, Premier League Skills rep
Coach Carina, coach, Premier League Skills rep
Meeting with families at the office
Meeting with families at the office
Nikomambo at his studio
Nikomambo at his studio
Baby with cap from Rosemary
Baby with cap from Rosemary's Garden of Hope
Having fun at the office
Having fun at the office
2Jinyce performs at local school
2Jinyce performs at local school

New opportunities continue to unfold for the young people participating in the programs of the Manyatta Youth Resource Centre. Manyatta United’s Under-16 team has been invited to participate in SIFC, Södertälje International Football Cup (SIFC 2016). The cup is taking place in Södertälje, about 25 minutes outside of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, from July 11-16. During the tournament our youth will get to play against competition from over 300 teams, from close to 30 different countries and five continents. The boys would get to visit and participate in a Swedish school for a week, have all of their meals paid for, plus entrance into two amusement parks as well as a music festival.

This is a huge opportunity for our youth as many of them have never even left their home area around Kisumu. Unfortunately, in order to make this a successful event we will have to raise close to $25,000 for airfare to get our team and coaches to Sweden. This is quite a challenge but we will do our best to make it happen!  

Three of our U-16 soccer players were also called up to the national Kenyan U-18 football team to participate at the Inter Government Agency Development (Igad) games in Djibouti in January. Ian, Ibrahim and Patrick, who were in the U-14 Kenyan team that travelled to South Africa in 2013 for the Copa Cola International tournament, were selected to join the Harambee Stars camp. Unfortunately the tournament was cancelled due to low enrollment from other countries, but we take the recognition of our three players with pride.

Congratulations yet again to our U-16 football team for winning the 2015 Amshaball Tournament at Kisumu’s Moi stadium, just weeks after winning the KYFA finals. They defeated West Ham FC from Nyalenda. These players have come up through the younger teams and have built skills that are now showing so well. The younger players see how their training is paying off.

We also hosted another successful Pendo Moja Peace Tournament. This tournament is held once a year with the goals of promoting peace through soccer and performing arts. Artists from the MYRC entertain guests and spectators as teams play for a trophy and other awards. This year was the first time we had international participants and Fire Soccer FC from Tororo, Uganda ended up winning.

In our Performing Arts section, our artists continue to hustle and get more recognition. Both Nahna and Gabiro are set to perform alongside the famous Tanzanian bongo flava artist, Diamond. They will be performing at the Simba Club in Kisumu February 13.

Gabiro has finished filming his latest song, Ujumbe Remix, and is planning the release party for next month. 2Jincye continues to entertain and inspire youth through their series of concerts at local schools.

School fees continue to be a huge issue, particularly as our girls and boys mature and hope to attend Secondary School. On top of the fees for books, uniforms, and supplies needed in Primary School, Secondary students must also pay tuition. We are determined to build on our success in having all MYRC participants stay in school, but increased, ongoing funding is needed to achieve that goal.

Equip Manyatta Co-Chair Keevan will be traveling back to Kisumu in March. It’s always so exciting to see how the programs have grown since the previous year. Going on seven years now! We would never have gotten this far without your generous support. Thank you!

Girls enjoy meal with others every week
Girls enjoy meal with others every week
In front of new office with trophies
In front of new office with trophies
Gabiro will appear with Diamond
Gabiro will appear with Diamond
Nahna with Vybez trophy and friend
Nahna with Vybez trophy and friend
Stills from Ujumbe video shoot
Stills from Ujumbe video shoot
Our logo goes up on gate of the new office
Our logo goes up on gate of the new office

The year 2015 is nearly finished and the Manyatta Youth Resource Center has made much progress, but continues to look forward as we approach 2016.  A momentous change for the MYRC this past month is the relocation of our main office, back to the heart of Manyatta.  In 2009, the MYRC began in the McCogilo Estate within the Manyatta slums and in 2012 we opened a new office in Nubian Estate just outside of Manyatta. This new office served us well as it was near our training pitch and also allowed us to become organized.  Now in 2015, the members of the MYRC felt it was important to move back into Manyatta in order for our objectives to be realized.  By moving back within the slums, we will be closer to the community we are trying to directly influence.

Our members have been helped this year by the purchase of a motorbike.  The bike was bought with three goals in mind and has had encouraging results.  Our first goal was to help provide income for youth members at the MYRC.  Motorcycles are used as a method of transportation similar to a taxi in Kisumu.  This bike has given youth like Ochieng and Erick the opportunity to make an income, allowing them to provide food for themselves and also contribute to their families' expenses.  A second goal was to create a small income-generating project that had the potential to grow.  The bike has earned enough funds to pay for itself and the MYRC is already planning on buying a second bike to expand the business. Funds generated by the bike have also been used to assist our soccer teams. Our third goal was to have a mode of transportation for our management team.  Our officers often have to attend several meetings and events in a day, and having our new bike has helped save money used for movement and also has made it easier for our officers to be on time to their many functions. 

Our health department has also taken strides this year, creating many new partnerships with a variety of international and local organizations.  The health department has focused on training our youth about making healthy choices, reproductive health, and resisting drug and alcohol abuse.  The latest partnership has been with the organization Marie Stopes, which has a new initiative titled, Future Fab.  Our youth participated for three months in the new program, which targets youth living in slums, aged 15-19 years, who are at risk of dropping out of school.  Girls in the slums face tremendous challenges staying in school, and Marie Stopes hopes to reduce early pregnancy and marriage, as well as give young girls resources for staying safe from violence and abuse.
 
Thirty-two players from our soccer club participated in the Safaricom's My Professional Dream (MPD) trials in Kisumu, and after conducting trials across the country MPD released the list of players selected to travel to Nairobi. We were so proud to learn that five of our players were selected for the National Safaricom MPD trials. We want to send big congratulations out to those five players from Manyatta United FC.  We were proud, but not surprised that our youth were recognized. As of now, our adult team is ranked third in the Provincial League table, and our youth categories all top the table for their respective categories.  The MYRC continues to open doors for youth to showcase their talent and realize opportunities. 
 
MYRC musicians, dancers, dramatists, and producers also had the opportunity to participate in an event hosted and organized by our close friends and partners One Vybe Africa and Young Generation Centre called "Made in Kisumu". The event was held in the heart of Kisumu, at Kisumu Sport's Ground and even featured Kenyan international stars Sauti Sol.  Our artists and producers participated as event organizers and also as performers.  It is events like this that help contribute to the growing popularity of artists like Gabiro da Hip-Hop.  Gabiro's fan-base is continuing to grow and he will be releasing a new music video early in 2016. 
 
We also want to give a big thank you to Kisumu Governess Sherry, for donating a large amount of clothing to our youth.  As the holiday season nears, so does Kisumu's tough monsoon season with even more rain expected than normal due to El Niño.  Governess Sherry's donation will help assure that our most vulnerable youth do not spend this holiday season suffering in the wet cold. 
 
As we enter the holiday season across the globe we ask you to consider the youth we are working with and the obstacles they face daily.  A small donation of $10 will help us give a hot meal to 26 youth.  We ask that you help us bring the New Year in with hope and an increased capacity to assist those in need.  Please make a donation today that will help us serve our community and create a better tomorrow for youth living in the slums of Kisumu.  

The new motorbike provides income and transport
The new motorbike provides income and transport
Discussing healthy choices gives young women hope
Discussing healthy choices gives young women hope
The U-10 team, one of our many winners
The U-10 team, one of our many winners
Starbell producer Malique with founder Simon
Starbell producer Malique with founder Simon
Gabiro (center) at Made in Kisumu (photo:GMAN Inc)
Gabiro (center) at Made in Kisumu (photo:GMAN Inc)
 

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Organization Information

Equip Manyatta

Location: Philo, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.manyatta.org
Project Leader:
Kathy Bailey
Philo, CA United States
$10,325 raised of $20,000 goal
 
161 donations
$9,675 to go
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