Civic Education Program
Organisation: Fatuma's Voice (Kenya)
Publication Date: 04/06/2017
DescriptionFatuma’s Voice is a unique educational forum that focuses on youth empowerment. The forum uses Art, Poetry and Music to encourage expression, civic participation and create conversations that seek solutions for social issues. Fatuma is a 50-year-old woman who was born without the ability to speak. The average person speaks 20,000 words a day. Since Fatuma has not spoken for 50 years, she has Millions of words trapped within her. As the words keep accumulating each day, she becomes a time bomb ready to explode. In many ways Youth in Kenya aged 18 to 35 years feel voiceless. They make up 65% of Kenya's population. This means that they are also majority voters who are also energetic and have fresh innovative ideas that are not being utilized. Despite this, they feel neglected and disconnected from the development process. If we don't do anything about this, they will end up with so much trapped within them just like Fatuma. We believe in an Africa where youth can freely express their artistic voice and contribute practical solutions to social issues. But right now the reality is that youth feel like their voice is ignored and that it doesn’t count. According to a youth survey done by Aga Khan University and the East African Institute, 73% of Kenyans are afraid to stand up for what they believe in due to fear of retribution. There are many drivers to this problem but Fatuma’s Voice is focusing on Empowerment through Art to encourage expression. We use art poetry and music to reaffirm youth about the importance of their voice and social participation. Our Vision is to build an Africa that can speak for herself. We plan to achieve this by creating a safe environment that encourages youth to be active civic participants. The forum stands out because of its distinct use of Art, Poetry and Music as a tool for youth to express themselves. Besides the art, Fatuma’s Voice also doubles up as a supplementary education source. We strongly believe that art can be used to create unity in diversity, as a result we have been gathering artists from different ethnic groups and have encouraged them to work together to create a national art identity. By gathering artists from different ethnic groups, we foster a national art identity. Participants have shared their voices on national television, daily newspapers, and prominent blogs, with Fatuma’s Voice expanding its reach beyond Nairobi to Nakuru and Mombasa counties. In 2015 alone, Fatuma’s Voice reached more than 1,860 young artists and over 450,000 online and in-person audience members. Youth seeking to hone their skills attend training sessions and are paired with mentors from partner organizations. Fatuma’s Voice sparks an interactive learning and solution-oriented dialogue on major issues facing young people such as drug abuse, education, gender gap, economic growth, inequalities and justice.
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The GEN Community Team