Talent for social impact: How youths in Mathare are using art to change their Community

Fa calendar 16 grey September 24, 2020   
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Making social impact to better lives. 

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Photo credit: Birmingham Open Media & Mathare Green Movement collaborative exhibition in Birmigham.

The pandemic has taught us how globally working together is necessary to curb the spread of the virus. Bringing it closer to home, there are many issues that are still affecting our communities amidst the pandemic which make us feel the need to do more.

Working in the social services sector is something that many people are reluctant to join yet it builds professional skills like problem solving and interpersonal communication through interaction with people from various walks of life. The social services sector is full of untapped opportunities and has many misconceptions especially when it comes to pay. However, times are changing and social impact organizations are keen in using their resources to reach out to areas that are in need. This can only happen by working with people who are motivated to be the change they want to see in their society.

Mathare is a collection of slums and is Nairobi’s 2nd largest deprived urban settlement. The location has a population of approximately 500,000 people. Most of them are youths who are talented yet lack the right job opportunities and result into crime just to survive. Not to mention Mathare barely has access to basic amenities like clean water, waste disposal services and employment opportunities among others. The youths in the area are coming up with the following creative ways to help out.

1. Cultivation & art. 

The Mathare Green Movement (MGM) is a group focused on improving social cohesion and dignified living conditions through creating more green spaces. They have also used street art to promote COVID-19 health education. They are working together with other youth groups like Mathare Empire to strengthen the people’s resilience and change the narrative of Mathare into a more just, creative and equitable future for all. It reflects the new innovative ways that are being used to tackle the misinformation of the pandemic while making a social impact to better the lives of the residents.

2. Partnership & outreach    

Birmingham Open Media (BOM) is a community interest company dedicated to positive social impact through the work they do. It provides work space for art, tech and science. They have a new and fresh exhibition on Mathare Futurism which began on September 16th 2020 and will continue till March 13th 2021.The artwork exhibition features work of Kenyan artist activists presented through music, photography and graffiti. The showcase event is a platform to introduce and connect the communities of Mathare and Birmingham. This is a challenge to other youths to use their skills in doing more to help their community.   

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