In our previous feature on REPACTED we interviewed Denis Kimambo, Program Manager of the project to learn about its goals. Dennis told us how REPACTED will be using citizen media tools and magnet theater to make behavioral changes on many things especially preventing HIV/AIDS among Youths in Kenya.
Now we will look at the activities of the project which targeted the internally displaced Kenyan youths. They took refuge in camps after the post – election violence at the beginning of this year.
Dennis writes an update on the project blog:
We agreed that it is important to focus in the beginning with individual stories of community members who have been instrumental in ensuring that we have peace in our country at the community level and people don’t know about this will help in showing other that they too can help in ensuring that we have everlasting peace and we don’t go back to fighting. The methodology that we will use is by taking video and stories to the community and show them in the villages and the community places for people to see and we will focus on the worst hit areas of Nakuru hoping that the same can be replicated elsewhere in the country.
In the picture: Members of REPACTED mobilizing community members for discussions
The project faced some challenges:
Stigma and discrimination needs a creative approach because it is affecting the fight against HIV from all angles. Giving out condoms in public is still a problem. During the outreaches young people take condoms in secrecy they don’t want to be seen by the community because the community will associate them with sexual intercourse.
But with the help of magnet theater the REPACTED team could affect some behavior changes:
In one of the magnet theater session in Manyani the audience helped to condemn a behavior by one of the cast members acting as an HIV positive person. But after a game was used to illustrate the theater process they agreed that their action against the character could lead to many things including self stigma because of the enacted stigma from the community members.
Here are excerpts from a video interview of Fidel Mayende (28) which depict horrific scenes at a juvenile prison:
We lined up on a straight line crossing the boarder to the next ‘country’ and indeed it was another country, another land, the land of sodomy for food. One thing that caught my patience is the life of juvenile prison who committed capital offense thought locked in different building they always fall sexual pray to the seniors, remember it is unprotected sexual intercourse, it is a common culture… Lack of knowledge always leads to this behaviors for most of the senior inmates don’t have the education about HIV/AIDS.
It was until a group of young people came to the prison one day that I knew the word stigma and discrimination. They introduced themselves as REPACTED the group visited the prison on several occasions with participatory plays that actively involved the inmates in solving the dramatic situations created by the actors.
When I left the prison I went straight to the Nakuru Players Theatre to thank the youth group for what they deed for my life. I also requested them if I could be a volunteer in the organization….thank God they offered me a chance and for the few weeks that have been with the organization I can act in the community and I will be ambassador of change in the prison and use my experience to change my society.
Here is another piece by James Karongo called ‘the piece caravan’ which describes the outreach activities of the REPACTED team in different IDP camps.
REPACTED has finally found some press. It was featured in World News with Charles Gibson on ABC. Some excerpts:
If you are a 21-year-old male in Kenya, statistically, you are nearly halfway through your life. Extreme poverty, poor health care and an AIDS epidemic all contribute to a life expectancy of 46 years. In addition, recent political tensions in the country have led to the deaths of more than 1,200 people — destroying homes and displacing tens of thousands. The future doesn't appear bright.
Mwai Ngugi, as a 21-year-old from Nakuru, feels sad and bitter about the above facts. (But he is willing to change the situation.) Mwai performs in improvisational street theater productions in some of Nakuru's poorest neighborhoods. The acting troupe is called Repacted, and is part of the Nakuru Theater Players Group.
Dennis has more information on Mwai and his efforts.
We are looking forward to hear more stories from the participants and watch the photos and videos produced by this outreach project.