ABOUT UWEZO AWARENESS ORG
Uwezo Awareness Organization (UAO) is a Kenyan national NGO formed in 2006 working to encourage appreciation by people and mainly youth at all levels of society for the role of the performing arts & IT as a tool for development, economic development, an investment opportunity, and use of interactive mass media in alleviation of poverty in urban and poor communities.
In 2008 it partnered with Penya Africa and together they developed some of the most prominent entertainers in Kenya such as Sauti Sol, Dela & Muthoni The Drummer Queen. This was done in the spirit of fundraising for development using performing arts and role models amongst youth. In 2009 UAO was contacted by the Committee of Experts to help manage and produce media and concepts for the national wide civic education initiative prior to the referendum. Through funding from the Swedish Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Kenya, and International Labor Organization (ILO), UAO has developed competence in employing art for development, particularly nurturing musical and performing arts talents amongst the poor youth.
In part attempt to support continuation of the talent development, UAO entered into a memorandum of understanding with Virtual Intersolve (An emerging Blended Learning Service Provider, Curriculum Customizer and Multimedia Developer Private Limited company, with an innovative personnel design and ambitious scalable learning content) to administer, develop instructions and offer the various courses.
By harnessing the infrastructural, human and financial resources of like-minded partners, Uwezo aims to have the following outcomes in full scale up: a Creative Resource Centre, a tailored life skills and entrepreneurship curriculum, educational materials, on-site training for under privileged youth, interactive website and e-learning software. This will enable sustainability and scaling up of the programme into the future.
The Creative Resource Centre
The Creative Resource Center is a multifaceted center that uses multimedia and performing arts, as well as vocational and life skills training/mentoring, to create a sense of empowerment and community with the vision to raising the capacity and knowledge of the creative sector as a region. The facility utilizes quality technology and skilled personnel and partners to assure international professionals standards.
- Multimedia production studio (Audio/Visual)
- Rehearsal and Showcasing space
- E-Learning training facility (Vocational, Life skill training and enterprise development
The center is equipped with international professional standard equipment to help obtain the best quality of multi media production. The facility will be utilized by select youth under the program to promote the best talent in music, acting and other performing arts.
Practice makes perfect and is equally of importance as recording. The center offers access and space for talent to rehearse and plan material and production. This will ensure continuous engagement of youth in practical’s, build collaborations and share best practices and knowledge.
Interactive learning service provision will be provided using a multimedia database solution. We have started the development of the database in one subject enterprise development by developing fully-fledged software called Simumentor (simulated mentorship). It utilizes animations, interactive quizzes, glossary and concepts tailored to youth with little or no formal education.
This e-learning platform has been developed by UAO together with its technical partner Virtual Intersolve Limited (blended curriculum and multimedia developer) with funding from Swedish International Development Agency (sida) through its Civil Society Urban Development Program (CSUDP). It is based on an approved eight-course syllabus developed by UAO.
Vocational & Life Skill training
By using UAO and the implementing partner Sense of Worth (SOW) experience in youth training and tailored curriculum development, the project will seek to develop a life skills and entrepreneurship course that will empower the youth enabling them exploit their inherent potential and commercialize thus improving their livelihoods. It will be offered through a blended learning approach involving both on-site tutor led training and self paced e-learning. It seeks to improve the self-esteem of the beneficiaries, provide counseling and vision building in order to help them come up with clear life goals and attain relevant skills to enable their fruition.
With a non-profit and charitable approach running along the enterprising part where selected products shall help sustain the center. This will see showcasing of multimedia products by the beneficiaries which can be sold to help improve their livelihoods and aid in the sustainability of the centre through give-back mechanisms. UAO and SOW believe that high quality and marketable multimedia products will be produced and that with agreements between them and beneficiaries, a royalty sharing approach will help sustain the centre to scale up its activities and improve the youth livelihoods.
Vision: A highly empowered and innovative youth through training in vocational, life skills and enterprise development.
- Establishment of a Multimedia resource centre
- Developing outstanding innovative talent, projects and products by producing, promoting, exposing & distributing their high quality & pioneering content to the local & global market.
- E-learning content and tailored curriculum development
- Networking with other stakeholders to promote the plight of the youth and uptake of the model by the primary duty bearer.
The number of Kenyans living in urban areas has increased by 26 per cent from 9.9 million in 1999 to 12.5 million in 2009, representing 32.4 per cent of the national population (Census 2009). With this increase, the urban primacy still persists in that Nairobi with a population of 3.1 million, still accounts for 25% of the total urban population. About 36% of this is youth; they are dynamic and full of energy and can play significant role in a dignified and vibrant urban setting.
The majority of this population is relatively young comprising mainly school children as well as primary and high school leavers looking for jobs. This is the segment of the population that economists refer to as constituting the “demographic dividend” that will open huge opportunities in the consumer goods and services markets. This is the population that greatly hungers to realize the aspirations of Vision 2030, whose overall objective is to realize a higher and sustainable growth of the economy in a more equitable environment, accompanied by increased employment opportunities. Any urban development strategy will be ill ill-advised to ignore this population segment.
The informal settlements, particularly those in the primate City of Nairobi, continue to bulge under the burden of poverty and lack of basic infrastructure and services. Crime is rampant in these settlements and has often involved the youth who feel socially excluded and marginalized. A majority of the youth have lost faith in the city government to provide them with decency and dignity that should go with urban dwellings. These conditions have been worsened by widely reported cases of grand corruption that continues to contribute to the youths’ dis-enchantment and marginalization, especially the poor. Sound, transparent and accountable processes to make cities more inclusive is the clarion call for many urban youth dwellers.
A new opportunity has emerged with the enactment of a new constitution in Kenya in August 2010. For one, Chapter four on the bill of rights provides for rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens and particularly equality, freedom from discrimination and human dignity.
These opportunities, coupled with ongoing government efforts through youth oriented policies and programs such as the Youth Development Fund and Uwezo fund make a good case for advancing the youth agenda.
Drawing from a baseline survey we conducted in Korogocho and its neighborhood the livelihood conditions in terms of social economic were observed to be chronic frailties youth joined covert armed gangs as early as twelve. Seventeen –year old mother of four are all commonplace scenario. Drugs abuse is prevalent which results in early health complications, crime and prostitution. The vast majority of the youth are used by politician as pawns in the power struggle most of them are both perpetrators and victims of political violence.
Many Kenyan youths lack the skills and experience to successfully compete for jobs or start their own businesses. The world program of action is a blue print for national action and international support to foster conditions to promote improved wellbeing and better livelihood for youth. Amongst the fifteen identified priority areas Education ranks first and it is no wonder that Learning service provision comes first of our objectives .The salient observation, is the way the youth use internet to share ideas and express themselves. In this connection our initiative seeks to aggregate information and lessons starting from successful artists. E learning is less intimidating than instructor led courses trainee taking E-Learning course enter a risk-free environment in which they can try new things and make mistake without exposing themselves
Collaboration among the urban youth is an objective that uses a right-based approach to youth development by empowerment, participation, expressing linkage to rights and non-discrimination and attention to vulnerable groups. This project cognizant of inherent youth talent and potential seeks to provide the nurturing environment in form of a creative centre required to realize the youth social and economic development.