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Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi

by Art & Global Health Center Africa
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi
Nurture and Inspire 20 Youth Leaders in Malawi

The past few months have been a time for reflection and we look back at the impact that the Creative Freedom of Expression project had on one of our dreamers.

With the end of the Creative Freedom of Expression project, we look back at one of the participants, Chimwemwe from the project Mawu Athu, to shed some light on what the project meant for her.

When Chimwemwe heard that Students with Dreams was looking for projects all about the creative freedom of expression, she knew she had the perfect idea for a project. She would work with secondary school students, introducing them to different kinds of art that they could use to address a social issue that is important to them. This became the spark that became the project Mawu Athu, a project that worked with students from Mulunguzi Secondary School that used arts to help young students to tackle social issues they found.

“We used art to address social and cultural issues that young people face in the communities, such as early pregnancy, drug and substance abuse, gender-based violence, and abortion,” Chimwemwe said. “During our early interventions, the students learnt about different social issues in their community. From this, they came up with ways to address the issues, and later came up with arts.”

Chimwemwe was impressed by all the art the student came up with. They dreamed up everything from songs to dramas to drawings to poetry, which they all had a chance to showcase to their fellow students. It was through the success of this project that Chimwemwe grew as a leader and gained practical skills.

“For me, working on a project is more than just the work in the field. It’s budgeting, partnership, and writing proposal applications,” she said. “The programme equipped me with the skills to conduct any kind of the project; I know how to budget, how to do monitoring and evaluation. My college courses didn’t cover any of the topics, but I can do them because of Students with Dreams.”

She also appreciated that the trainings not only gave her the tools to use the arts but also did so in a creative and fun way. “Students with Dreams is a great platform to open people’s minds and learn about the root causes of poor learning standards.”

Links:

Fyness
Fyness's project Tiunikilane used art art therapy.

It’s a wrap! At the end of 2019, the cohort of Dreamers who focused on creative freedom of expression finished their training, graduated, and hosted the final cultural event.

The final training for the Dreamers included learning more about leadership and what it means to be a leader in society. Session topics included communications, conflict resolution, facilitation, and leadership.

As part of the focus on creative freedom of expression, we hosted a couple special cultural art showcases. The showcases were included several artists from different art mediums such as poetry, dance, music, spoken word, and visual art. The first event, in early November, also served as a chance for this year’s Dreamers to meet the artists, learn from them, and see their work in action, so the artists who mentored them during the day time now showcased their talents. More than 50 people came and saw the art on display and the performances from the poets and musicians.

In December, we held the graduation ceremony for the Dreamers which then transitioned into the second arts showcase. At the graduation ceremony, the Dreamers displayed the work that came out of their projects, including poetry, songs, and a visual representation made out of old cassette tapes representing the journey taken by the participants in expressing themselves creatively. In the evening, we welcomed the public. The Dreamers continued to showcase their work and we had performances by an incredible range of artists: poets Menes La Plume, Phindu Banda, Nyocase, and singer-songwriter Anne Quinn. The performances were lively and the attendees loved hearing about the Dreamers’ projects and the creativity.

Spotlight on the Dreams

Baller Kunthanzi is a project that aimed at empowering girls to participate and excel in male dominated sports. They had three interventions with their secondary school girl athletes. Working with a group of 17 girls for their first phase, they held soccer and basketball session with the girls, teaching them the sport and how to play. They then gave the girls a trip to Chancellor Collage, where the girls got to tour the sports facility, meet a few female players who served as role models for them, and got to watch a motivational film. Later they worked with the boys at the school and educated them on creating an open space for both genders.

Fyness Gondwe is studying to be a nurse at Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS). She co-founded the project Tiunikilane, a project aimed at using art to help adolescents living with HIV understand their condition, cope with the unique challenges this provides, and have a meaningful and successful life. She applied for Students with Dreams with the idea, unsure of herself and if she could accomplish the mission of the project. Fyness had a rough start; MCHS closed when she was still trying to establish the project and get the necessary approvals from hospital authorities to begin the project. She was living outside of Zomba which also slowed down the process. Another blow came in the form of a shutdown of the initial partner organisation that was going to connect the project with beneficiaries. Despite all this, Fyness sought help form ArtGlo and her mentors, who arranged and connected her to a organisation. With all of these challenges, Fyness’s partner left the project, leaving her to manage the everything solo. Not to be discouraged, she pushed through and even found a new partner, Molicia Chilinda, who shared her same passion and drive to carry out the project. Fyness and Molicia were able to get full approval and consent to start working with the youth and the project took off with 10 young people.

Finally being able to implement Tiunikilane gave Fyness great joy. She found the participant response particularly encouraging, as they opened up on issues they did not feel like telling others, especially during the one on one sessions. The model used by Fyness will continue as the sessions were fun for both the facilitator and the participants, and the participants developed art of their own. She learned, over the course of the programme, to reach people’s hearts and get them to open up about the things that were on their mind. The end products displayed by the project were a testament to the time, care, and effort that was put into the project by her and her project partner. It was quite the transformation seeing her go from a shy, timid young woman who we initially interviewed, to the go-getter that pushed to make her dream come true. Fyness wants to continue with the project and we are looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

Maya with Baller Kunthazi participants.
Maya with Baller Kunthazi participants.

Links:

We’ve just welcomed the latest cohort of Dreamers under the theme “Creative Freedom of Expression.” With two trainings, two Dream Machines, a cultural event, and project activities already underway, a lot has happened so far. Our 18 new Dreamers are looking to make a big splash.

This past reporting period we conducted two Dream Machine sessions at Malawi College of Health Science (MCHS) and Chancellor College (CC). The Dream Machine is an interactive session that helps potential Dreamers explore different ideas and come up with project ideas that they could apply to the programme with. We had 72 students attend the Dream Machines, who explored the theme of this round of SWD, creative freedom of expression

The 18 Dreamers are working on six new projects; two teams are from Malawi College of Health Science, Tiunikirane and Kwawala, and four teams are from Chancellor Collage, Mawu Athu, Pamchenge, Baller Kunthanzi, and Sketch Ahead. For more information about the projects and the new leaders, check out their profiles on our website https://www.aghcafrica.org/our-stories/2018/10/31/meet-the-newest-dreamers

We also held our orientation for this year’s Dreamers at Chilema Ecumenical Training Centre. Over the course of two days, the Dreamers were trained on the fundamental skills they would need to successfully carry out their projects such as communication, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, and project management. They fleshed out their projects and were equipped to begin carrying out their projects by the end of the second day. We are proud and eager to see what they do with their projects.

We also held our second training. This was carried out with the aim of instilling more creativity in the projects. Over the course of the day, the teams developed their direction and learned how to best incorporate the arts in their implementation. First was a series of interactive sessions, where the concepts of creativity and innovation were explored, which was then incorporated into their projects. Second was the introduction of different artists from a range of artistic fields, such as music, poetry, dance, drawing, and pictures. The artists gave advice to the Dreamers and helped them see how to use the lessons they learned.

With all this done, it’s full speed ahead to continue the momentum as we approach the end of the year. With trainings, project interventions, and more art to come, we look forward the next few months.  

Links:

The 2017-18 Dreamer cohort made a huge impact The 2017-18 Students with Dreams cohort was an interesting year. Here are some of the exciting projects that came from the latest cohort, as well as some partners and activities that made it all possible.

The latest group of 35 Dreamers conducted 12 different projects, impacting 1020 people from across the Zomba district, including 427 men and 593 women.

The Dreamers said they gained a strong sense of responsibility because this unique programme put them in charge and allowed them to focus on what would best impact those in need. The also said that because they are able to lead and implement projects in the community, they feel valued and trusted. Other feedback shows the trainings and mentorship really work hand-in-hand to equip the Dreamers with confidence, knowing they can overcome barriers they might face. As one Dreamer also put it, the programme also allows for more practical experience that is helpful in building a resume for applying for jobs since most employers would rather have someone who has worked in a more practical nature before.

We were excited to host volunteers from Georgia State University, World University Canada, and Seattle University this summer, who have been helping strengthen the Students with Dreams programme. We're so grateful for all of the help Patricia, Danielle, Kaleb, Sam, and Emi have provided through monitoring and evaluation, fundraising and curriculum development.

Through the Segal Family Foundation grantee network, we met with an organisation called Ashoka. They, in collaboration with British Council, hosted the Impact Africa Summit. The Summit aimed to create a platform for discussion on the state and nature of leadership and the ecosystem in Africa around social entrepreneurship.

One of our Dreamers, Tawonga from Pamthunzi, was selected as a change maker and presented Pamthunzi at the Summit. Pamthunzi means “under the shade” and refers to the traditional place where communities gather to discuss and resolve issues. Taking cue from this traditional practice, the project gathers youth from schools in rural parts of Zomba to discuss various social issues that are affecting them and create solutions together. Tawonga has also been selected for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) training. The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is an initiative of the United States Department of State and was begun in 2010. YALI aims at educating and networking young African leaders with activities including a fellowship to study in the United States for six weeks, follow-up resources, and student exchange programs. We’re very excited about the direction that Pamthunziis going to take.

Our next cohort of Dreamers will start soon and all of their projects will fall under the theme Creative Freedom of Expression, as part of a partnership with HIVOS. We’ll be working with the Dreamers using interactive activities, such as creating posters and performing skits. We’re very excited to use creative arts activities to connect to the theme of Creative Freedom of Expression. We’ve already begun training the mentors for this cohort and are excited to see what projects the newest Dreamers create.

Interested in the full impact of our work in 2017? Check out our annual report.

Links:

The Students With Dreams year has started with style. We have just graduated our biggest ever cohort of dreamers. Our model has been piloted in Secondary Schools with support from the British Council, and we collaborated with UN Women on an event that celebrated young activists - including our dreamers! That’s before even mentioning the exciting projects and interventions of our Dreamers - breaking down taboos about mental health, condom use and more.

Students With Dreams graduation on 14th April showcased the work our thirty-eight Dreamers have been doing on their projects. Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Justin Saidi, attended as Guest of Honour, and we were thrilled to gain endorsement for the project from the top level of Government.

“I would like to sincerely thank ArtGlo for coming up with SWD programme. Basically, if we are to develop as a nation, we need to make use of the energy and potential that these young people have” Mr. Saidi commented in his keynote address.

In January and February, we collaborated with British Council to pilot SWD in secondary schools in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, as a concluding activity of 2017’s Festival of Ideas. The project combined our current SWD model and a Human-Centered Design approach, and focused on issues of women's rights, gender-based violence, and sexual harassment; which were raised as key issues during the Festival of Ideas. Nineteen students from three schools in the high-density areas of Kawale and Biwi engaged in a process of training, community research, expert input, and group mentorship to develop and implement their own small projects addressing these issues in their local context.

Sarah, from SOS Secondary school was inspired to focus on the issue of forced marriage when she heard the story of a girl, Chikondi (not her real name), a 14 year-old who was forced to marry a man twice her age and drop out of school.

"I have always believed in equality. I have always believed in the saying that when you educate a girl child, you have educated the nation. I felt I needed to do something to assist Chikondi. Luckily enough, I was mentored and supported by Art and Global Health Center Africa and British Council Malawi on gender-based violence, sexual harassment and women’s rights. I then thought of briefing my friends about Chikondi’s situation. We then all agreed to organise a mini campaign through performances to engage the people of Chitanjira village on the evils of forced marriages. We had a very successful campaign and am happy that Chikondi is now back to school at Namisasa primary school and that her forced marriage has been nullified. It is always good as a young person to have positive impact in the lives of other young people,” said Sarah

In March we were a lead partner a UN Women event to commemorate International Women's Day at Chancellor College. Two of our SWD projects (GRIP and EDOMA) got to showcase the work that they do in advocacy for girl empowerment and education. GRIP- a project that teaches young girls skill that help them become economically empowered and independent- used drama to show the things young girls go through in society. EDOMA, a project working with mother groups in rural Domasi to support and enroll school dropouts back to school, also performed a theatre piece to depict how they became inspired to implement the idea behind their project and how that has affected them personally.

Dreamer project highlights for the past few months:

Thandizo Aid (Chancellor College): This project is breaking down taboos around mental health. They held the first ever mental health awareness week on campus. In collaboration with the Psychology department they set up a display which had flyers on mental health awareness and a survey on mental health to learn more about student's knowledge and attitudes. They handed out ribbons which flooded campus as students showed their support. The week concluded with an Open Mic event on mental health in collaboration with Chanco Writer's Workshop. Thandizo Aid has also been referring students to group counseling sessions.

Art of War (DOMASI College of Education): promotes Sexual and Reproductive Health amongst youth, and breaks down stigma around condom use by developing both a film and social media content tacking the issues. They have released the trailer for their film called “Under the Mango Tree”. Shooting has now been completed and we are eagerly awaiting the full release.

In the coming months the SWD cycle begins again. With the reputation of the programme growing year-by-year, now bolstered by an active alumni community, we can’t wait to see what exciting new projects the next twelve months has in store.

Links:

 

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Art & Global Health Center Africa

Location: Zomba - Malawi
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Twitter: @artgloafrica
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Zomba, Malawi
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