Contributed by: Anne Nzuki
Adapted from Picha Mtaani.
Picha Mtaani, Swahili for ‘street exhibition,’ is a youth-led peace initiative that seeks to create space for young people to reconcile and become agents of reconciliation in their respective communities.
Nearly three years after Kenya’s worst election violence, which left 1,500 dead and hundreds of thousands internally displaced, Kenya is a nation in search of its identity. Picha Mtaani aims at providing a platform for national reflection and building local reconstruction consensus through photo exhibitions and conversation. This project aims at organizing target communities to play their part in the reconciliation and reconstruction process.
BROAD GOALS AND SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES FOR THE ADVOCACY EFFORT:
The Picha Mtaani national peace-building initiative and exhibition tour has visited ten towns most affected by the election violence, including Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kericho, and Kisumu. This initiative has enjoyed tremendous support from the Kenyan public, as illustrated by the participation of over 700,000 young people, the submission of over 30,000 completed questionnaires, and the subsequent signing of over 61,000 peace pledges in the exhibitions series throughout the country. Additionally, videos of the exhibition have been used as a model in 10 African countries by the Africa Youth Alliance of YMCA.
Most recently, October of 2011 marked the launch of Heal the Nation, the documentary film chronicling Picha Mtaani’s journey across the country. Through this independently produced film, Picha Mtaani intends to bring this experience to an even greater audience. The film is embedded below and also available on YouTube. You can also view pictures from Picha Mtaani on their Flickr page.
For more updates on Picha Mtaani and future plans, see their newsletter.
ADVOCACY STRATEGIES TO BE USED:
Picha Mtaani plans to reach out to at least two million additional young persons in Kenya. They are working in 210 constituencies, mobilizing young Kenyans into the Kenya Ni Kwetu (Kenya is Our Home) movement.
Next, Picha Mtaani is launching a creative hub social enterprise, which opens its doors in December. PAWA 254 will be an innovative, new, collaborative office for visual creatives in Kenya. PAWA 254 derives its name from a combination of “power” in Swahili and the Kenya country code, a symbol of national unity. This new workspace – a community facility and studio – will bring together established and aspiring young photographers, cartoonists, animators, video & filmmakers, as well as entrepreneurs and activists, to work, learn, and share in an environment that inspires creativity and endeavors to bring about social change.
Picha Mtaani believe that “together we can forgive, make peace, heal, and move forward — together we can, pamoja tunaweza. And we must, because Kenya Ni Kwetu.”
Resources, people, and assets to be used in the advocacy effort:
The partners of Picha Mtaani include: