On Saturday 11th September 2021, the Art for Children Foundation (A4C) held a hybrid event at Naivasha Gate Hotel. The event saw the foundation’s new website, a rebranded logo, strategic plan 2021-2025, and 3 projects launched.
In attendance was the guest of honour – Yemi Babington-Ashaye, (president at United People Global), Guest Speaker – Samantha Luseno (Executive Director at 254 Youth Policy Cafe), and Joshua Kariuki (Nakuru County officer in-charge of Youth Enterprise Development Fund).
Giving his opening speech, Kenneth Kamau – founder of Art for Children Foundation, highlighted (with his personal experience) the day-to-day challenges faced by children. This challenges include sexual abuse, drug abuse, crime and gun violence, among others. They challenges greatly hinder children in accessing the benefits of quality education, thus endangering their future and that of the society at large. Kenneth emphasized on the role played by art in addressing the challenges and reversing some of their effects, to ensure children enjoy their rights and are able to fully benefit from education.
“We are using art to raise a generation that will be able to identify challenges within their environment, and creatively come up with sustainable solutions to these challenges. This is a generation that will be a driving force towards the achievement and sustainability of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 4 of Quality Education,5 of Gender Equality, and 16 of Peace Justice and Strong Institutions.”, said Kenneth Kamau.
He noted that since the inception of the A4C, between the years 2016 and 2020, the foundation had registered immense impact which included;
- Reaching out to an estimated 800 children.
- Out of this number, about 50 of them successfully identified their artistic abilities.
- Seventeen (17) children were selected to various leadership positions in their respective schools,after showing positive change in their behaviors.
- Five (5) girls seized their friendship with older boys who were already bringing up the conversation of having sex with them.
- One 1 boy creatively faced his bully in school, and they have since made friendship.
- Seven (7) children opened up on their mental health issues.
- One (1) child recently came forward seeing help on his already growing alcohol addiction.
Kenneth noted that these are just but a few of the organisation’s ‘little’ success stories.
He was backed-up by Dr. Judith Nguli, chairperson of the Advisory Board, who emphasized on the role art plays in cognitive development of children. Re-counting her school days, Dr. Judith Nguli noted, “I remember growing up, and my elder sister was talented and much active in drama at school. She was good at it, but poor in class.
However, despite the efforts of drama teacher to convince my mum, she could not have it. Instead, she went ahead and forbid my sister from ever participating or practicing drama. My mum was strict and all she wanted was for us to study and pass in school exams. As a result, my sister never explored her talent, yet still she never passed in class either. Who knows? maybe today she could be the one gracing our TV screens in some of these shows we see everyday.”
Giving her speech on the role played by art in influencing public policy, Samantha Luseno noted that the team at A4C has a critical role to play in the development of policies and programmes in Kenya for the youth. She challenged A4C to “clearly document the experience, the challenges, the learning, participate in public policy processes, and mentor not just individuals but also organisations.” Samantha indicated that the 254 Youth Policy Cafe is keen and ready to partner with the foundation.
The Guest of Honour, Mr. yemi Babington-Ashaye, former Director and Deputy Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, congratulated Kenneth Kamau (founder of A4C) for successfully completing and graduating from the UPG Sustainability Leadership (UPGSL) programme, class of 2021. The programme equipped Kenneth with the right skills which he used to breakdown the organisations functions into 3 key projects. He noted that “when local action is taken, is a cause for celebration.”
Yemi also noted that “by virtue of being a UPG Sustainability Leader, Kenneth has connections that every Foreign Minister would envy. He doesn’t just know them (connections), Kenneth has actually bonded with them. If Kenneth put his hands up and asks for help, there are many people in many countries who would say ‘Kenneth, how can i help?’ .”
Yemi highlighted that the United People Global stands ready to collaborate and to support the Art for Children Foundation.
The launch of the 3 projects; Nakuru Children Art and Mentorship Programme (NACAMP), Ubunifu Centre, and Hii Sanaa (HISANA) was marked by celebration in cutting a cake, which was shared among the guests and participants.
In his closing remarks, Kenneth called for organisations and individuals to volunteer, donate, and partner with the foundation, in ensuring the success of the projects.