WAD wrap up

BUILD UP TO WAD

DSC04903
According to the results from the KAIS (Kenya AIDS Indicators Survey 2007) report 7.4 percent of Kenyan adults age 15-64 are infected with the HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. According to the survey more than 1.4 million Kenyans are living with HIV and AIDS. 36% of Kenyan adults ages 15-64 have tested at least once for HIV and have received the results; nearly two thirds reported never having tested for HIV and are therefore unaware of their HIV status. 80% of all HIV positive adults have no idea that they are infected while 77% of Kenyan adults in all partnerships do not know their partners status. With the current changing trends in HIV infection there is great need for one know his/her HIV status.

PRISON OUTREACHES
To honor the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day “Universal Access and Human Rights” REPACTED in partnership with the Nakuru GK Prisons kicked off build up activities by organizing four days of free HIV Counseling and testing targeting the inmates, officers and their families and the surrounding community at the Nakuru GK prison. Prisoners are people too therefore it is a human right to access reproductive health information including information on HIV and AIDS. REPACTED visited the Male and female prisons, twice (over the first three days) and this time went a step further by staging an outreach at the wardens living quarters on the final day.

DSC00045

Bureaucracy had been a major hindrance to REPACTED’s access to the male prison mostly due to reasons and occurrences from the past and other places within the prisons department as a whole. This hurdle was finally surpassed and REPACTED was able to stage a comprehensive outreach on the 26th of November 2009 to encourage the prisoners and the wardens to go for the HIV counseling testing services sourced and made available by REPACTED and the Prisons department. At the first call for the inmates to be tested, someone in the crowd shouted “Hiyo ni ya wagonjwa” meaning that is for the sick. This was quickly responded to from within the audience itself during the post performance discussion with the conclusion downplaying the comment.

REPACTED’s magnet outreaches in the prison have developed into Talent Arena for the inmates who are welcome to present their skits and comedies including music. They get to develop prevention messages and present them through these various means to their fellow inmates. In the women’s prison inmates group themselves and even take time to rehearse their pieces capturing the theme of the day and targeting the woman and their lives at home in caring for their family. It is quite clear that they have learnt to empower each other and nurture their talents that they have within them as they prepare to go back to their homes and families. As they perform, they elicit discussions and comments surrounding risky behavior among the inmates, their status, effects and consequences including the risk they may put to their family members when they are released. They feel honored to see REPACTED members watching their various presentations as they do their best to outdo them. It has proved to be quite effective telling by the numbers achieved at the end of the four day initiative.

DSC00336

At the staff quarters REPACTED noted the various challenges that the wardens are faced with because of working away from their homes. Also there is stigma around the wardens and surrounding community’s perception on people going to get tested. According to some of them being seen by the community going for testing gave people the idea that they might be indulging in immoral behavior and thereby a small number turned up for the testing in the day but large numbers came for the same service during the moonlight activity.

By the world aids day the VCT councilors had managed to test about a total of 1214 inmates, officers and their family members.

MR. AND MISS RED RIBBON
On 28th of November the Nakuru town headed for Bontana Hotel for the Mr. and Miss red ribbon pageant. The event was organized jointly by Repacted Kenya assisted by Voice of Roses and the National Aids Control Council. Its participants were drawn from different community based organizations, indiscriminate of their status, background and age. The participants took up to three weeks preparing for the event and undergoing peer education training and care of the HIV/AIDS infected. When the participants finally took to the runway over the blue waters of the Bontana swimming pool it was nothing but colorful, not only in the dressing that they put on in line with their understanding of the course of the Mr. and miss red ribbon. The event attracted more than 1000 youths and young at heart within Nakuru town.

There were performances by groups such as the V.O.R dancers, comedies by the unique theatre, REPACTED’s Sawwa dancers & MC Jex among others. The M.Cs of the day Michael Kamunya (Playmaker group) and Collins Denis Oduor (Repacted Kenya) kept the audience on their feet.

The guest speaker of the day Miss Maureen Anyango gave a testimony of her life with HIV/AIDS since her infection at eighteen years of age, the discovery, her denial and her eventual acceptance of her status and the various challenges she faced from the community. She called out for people to get tested in order to discover their status and take appropriate steps to protect themselves. At the end of the event, Peter Okola and Mary Nyokabi were crowned Mr. and Miss Red Ribbon amidst screams, cheers and applause by the audience.

WAD

DSC05561
On 1 December REPACTED members joined the rest of the residents of Nakuru in a procession from the Rift Valley provincial office and went through the town mobilizing the members of the community to participate in this annual celebration of the fight of against HIV and AIDS. The procession which was led by the Salvation Army band included prison officers, the scouts, and various youth groups within the town such as FHOK, Genesis arts group, rescue reforms and Matatu association.

The Nyayo Gardens was the day’s platform of performance and speeches as the various groups took part in promoting the theme of the day as it echoed the call for universal access and human rights. Various stands were erected to explain to people of the various activities carried out by the organizations such as Red Cross Kenya, St Trizza, an orphan school in Nakuru town and the vct stand which was the focal point of our crusade as it also explained to people the importance of testing as well as breaking the stigma surrounding VCT. The V.C.T. tents were busy with long queues as people were eager to know there status.

IMG_0119

It was also noted by Mr. Obi Obiero that the youth and children in community remain at risk in the community and needed be looked upon. he said glue being sold to the street children was affecting their decision making in the society and thereby indulging in risky behaviors that may lead to HIV/AIDS infections. The same was also echoed by the KANCO coordinator as he called intervention by the administration government to help stop the clubs that were allowing students under age into their premises and there by indulging in alcohol drinking and putting them at risk of infection.

At the end of day it was a successful event that attracted more than 2500 people to the grounds and tested more than 700 people.

The Furious Blizzard

Endemic corruption, increasing social inequality, and lackadaisical governance are the principal causes of pitiable implementation of both international and national environmental policies. Wealthy nations fool around with the climate change deal. There is either no or little improvement on the new targets for the developed nations that are party to the Kyoto Protocol to cut their emissions. The just ended UN climate change negotiation meeting in Bangkok fundamentally failed to deliver any substantive development on targets, posing serious questions about the political dedication of the industrialized nations on climate change. Since the United States is the major carbon emission producer in the world, President Barrack Obama could have done the world a great honor by rejecting the untimely Nobel peace prize by singing the Kyoto Protocol.

Ewaso Ngiro River in Narok

Poor nations are the most affected by effects of climate change, something that as prompted African nation to gang up for the Copenhagen meeting. More than fifty Members of Parliament from African countries are meeting for three days at the UNEP Headquarters’ in Gigiri Nairobi with an aim of coming up with a common stand in readiness for Copenhagen after shameful failure in Bangkok. Anyway the Copenhagen meeting could just be one of the many talks shows aimed at audacious nuclear power show of while millions of lives are destroyed daily as a result of environmental pollution form the carbon emission.

Game

Poor environmental management strategies have been cited as the main causes of deforestation. Most developing nations are not governance compliant, good governance is development centered values quality life of its citizens, and respects integrity for prosperity. The legislature, the executive, and the judiciary serving under the banner of ethnicity have done this country (Kenya) a grand environmental defilement. Nearly two years after efforts were renewed to save the water towers of Mau Forest complex, politics has taken the centre stage and little action seems to be taking place. The gluttonous human settlement in the Mau Forest fueled by the politicians from the Kalenjin Community in Rift Valley in the name of saving our people is causing the rivers leaving Mau forests which replenish many lakes including those essential to the tourism industries to dry up.

The gratuitous phenomenon of destruction of the water towers in Kenya is already unleashing ramifications that are beyond redemption. The world greatest spectacle and tourist attraction, the migration of the wildebeest across the Mara River in the Masaai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya is slowly loosing its spectacular magnetism; it is a slap of the unforgiving Mother Nature. Scenes like these will die out if water towers that feed such rivers are not conserved. Some major Rift Valley lakes (Nakuru and Elimentataita) which are also homes to flamingos are at the brink of extinction; among other consequences of climate change in Kenya has been the declining rainfall which in turn has lead to lower resources for hydropower and scarcity of water for agriculture and domestic consumption. As result of persistent drought livestock farmer’s from the pastoralist communities are burying carcasses of dead livestock.

Mau Complex

The third world nations should take advantage of the situation by putting there best brains at work. Currently in eastern Africa the drought is causing havoc, no water for the livestock, the water level in the main hydropower dams is down, domestic water supply dams are drying up, soon the El-Niño rains will start and many will be caught unaware. Lives will be lost property worth billions destroyed. Along side the national disaster policy the poor nations should develop national water harvesting strategic policy. The policy should effectively address approaches of reducing effects of drought by storing water during rainy season for use during dry spells. The water banks can play critical role during dry season by offering livelihood to the poor and the marginalized livestock farmers who occupy vast communal grazing fields.

The water banks will successful replace traditional agricultural ideology of depending on the rainfall as the only source of water yet global rainfall patterns are changing. Alternative farming systems and technologies like organic farming should be encouraged among communities. Recently in Kenya the government was buying emaciated livestock from the pastoralist community at a fare price, what a bright idea, but the government should think of more sustainable ideas like livestock insurance policy for the arid and semi arid parts of the republic. The government could also set up state-run slaughter houses at the regional level instead of a meat processing factory in its capital city Nairobi; this will create employment at the community level.

Climate Change

Global warming and man’s social economic activities have led to the degradation of earth’s single most and very significant natural resource, the forests. With increased violation of principles of conserving these regions globally, poverty and unemployment, reduced water levels in reservoirs and non sustainable agricultural practices have rendered many within third world countries to suffer food shortages. With well planed strategies the third world countries will effectively address the issue of food security. With modern technology the sun may not be a problem as such, the question is how do we tame and convert solar energy to domestic and industrial use. Wind energy is also one of the most assumed sources of energy in Africa yet it is a common phenomenon in semi and arid areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Webuye Fall in Western Kenya

It is time for African states to utilize their technological think tanks to eradicate corruption, dictatorship tyranny and buffoon style selfish and self styled ideologies and principles of leadership. It is also important for developed economies to stop maximizing on the abject poverty in the third world by embracing realistic holistic, inclusive and comprehensive development agendas that are aimed at reducing human suffering. By reducing emission and by supporting developing nations environmental conservation initiatives and by listening to the human suffering and taking preventive action the world will reduce environmental disasters hence reduction of rescue missions.

FINDINGS FROM THE PRISONS OUTREACHES

DSC02002

In our prisons visits over the last three years we have come across several challenges, both administrative and resource based. It has come to our attention that, prison staffs, prisoners and the surrounding communities are placed at risk of HIV infection, TB and other opportunistic infections due to several predisposing factors.

Some prison staff, due to disposable income and the availability of local liquor in the surrounding communities (London, Hilton), engage in binge drinking that leads to risky sexual encounters in the form of transactional sex and regular community based sex work with women in low income settings. Some of the prison staff have come to develop extra-marital relationships with members of the surrounding community because of the condition and nature of work that leads them to be away from their spouses and family in terms of transfers and shift changes.

DSC02006

According to the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey findings 2007, ¾ of men and ½ of women have had more than one sexual partner in their lifetime. 12% and 2% of men and women respectively have had more than 2 sexual partners in the last 12 months. Compared to year 2003, more Kenyans have been tested for HIV; however, about 2/3 of adults have never been tested. 50% of those who do not test perceive themselves at low risk while 84% of those who test positive are unaware of their sero-status.

The Kenya Prisons Service HIV/AIDS policy points out that gender disparity, biological, socio-cultural, economic and segregational circumstances affect men and women differently which leads those who are averse, to engage in transactional sex with their colleagues. Such behavior leads to STI infection. Despite there being an operational health facility situated in the prison, there is low uptake of medical services due to fear associated with stigma and lack of confidentiality yet The Kenya Prisons Service HIV/AIDS policy spells out clearly issues of treatment, stigma, discrimination and confidentiality among its guiding principles. Though there was a positive response towards Counseling and testing during previous theatre outreaches in the Nakuru GK prison there was a drop in numbers tested when REPACTED took a break from outreach activities to develop a comprehensive strategy. Those who know their status and those of their spouses are still relatively few compared to those who do not.

DSC02758

Inmates/prisoners face different challenges compared to the staff and the communities outside. They are confined within prison walls and are not likely to encounter risk in the same context. Prisoners face a similar problem as the others in terms of lack of current information on changing trends on HIV/AIDS and other opportunistic infections, relationships between male circumcision (uncircumcised men are three times more likely to be infected with HIV(13.2%) than circumcised (3.9%) : KAIS 2007), TB, Malaria, HSV-2 and syphilis co-infection with HIV. Their living conditions are not conducive for people living with HIV/AIDS, where access to ARVs, ART and psycho-social support is either restricted or non existent altogether. Prisoners living with HIV/AIDS face a lot of discrimination and stigma because of their skin condition (Kaposi’s sarcoma) or TB symptoms like persistent coughing. Counseling and testing is viewed favorably by the inmates and they turn up in numbers for the test but our target of 90% tested has remained elusive to date. It is also important to impart skills in prevention including abstaining, being faithful and correct and consistent usage of condoms in preparation for the prisoners’ eventual release back into society where they are bound to face the same challenges as those in the surrounding community.

DSC02766

REPACTED-KENYA

REPACTED is a community based organization registered under the Ministry of Gender, Culture, Sports, and Social Services under the Department of Culture in 2001.

DSC02019

REPACTED’s mission is to define ourselves, shape our experiences, identify our strengths, tackle our challenges and celebrate our successes. REPACTED is composed of highly qualified youth and community volunteers who form a multi-disciplinary team encompassing the field of behavior change communication. REPACTED was formed in the year 2001 by youth theatre artists from the Nakuru Players Theatre Club within the Impact Project of the Family Health International (FHI) under the technical assistance of the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health-Kenya (PATH- Kenya). The youth thespians formed the organization with an aim of improving their community by encouraging people to make informed decisions and to involve them in community development. They achieve this by volunteering their theatrical skills and talents in participatory theatre activities, awareness campaigns peer education and counseling.

DSC02044

REPACTED seeks to address a range of youth development issues directly associated with HIV/AIDS and STIs, sexuality, Life Skills, gender issues, relationships and reproductive health. Activities that improve knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behavior are organized in a range of settings: from learning institutions to communities and special circumstance institutions (like prisons, juvenile facilities, and schools for persons with disabilities).

REPACTED programs target youth between the ages of 15 – 24 as partners, allies, and agents of change, and support youth-adult partnerships. REPACTED’s work is unique in that it involves the community in coming up with solutions to the issues they face. We do this through the use of community theatre, in a method better known as “Magnet Theatre”. This method starts with tailor made community folk media mobilization techniques that pulls the audience to the magnet theatre site and enlists the audience in an active interactive discussion through a scripted performance designed to provoke the target audience’s feelings, attitudes and beliefs with an aim of inspiring positive behavior change.

DSC02181

In order to come up with quality Magnet theatre presentations, REPACTED engages key persons from the target population in forums aimed at identifying current risky behavior, desired behavior and obstacles to adopting the desired behavior. Guided by behavior change theories, like Diffusion of innovation, Health belief theory and Social learning theory, the target audience explore behavior change objectives, communication objectives and identify channels of communication that are effective affordable and acceptable to the community at large.

. PROJECTS WHICH REPACTED HAS SUCCESFULLY UNDERTAKEN

REPACTED has conducted 2019 interactive community theatre outreaches since 2001 to present day. Currently we are APHIA II, Rift Valley’s local implementing partner in the Informal Sector workplace program covering four districts targeting Salons, Kinyozis (barber shops), Garage and car wash workers (mechanics) and security guards with messages promoting healthy behavior through Magnet theatre and Peer education. Also under APHIA II, Rift Valley, REPACTED successfully conducted Magnet Theatre outreaches and peer education sessions targeting youth out of school messages to influence uptake of Reproductive Health services and Voluntary Counseling and testing. Since 2006, for the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru, REPACTED is conducting civic education outreaches aimed at addressing issues of gender based violence, democracy, constitutionalism and leadership under the Uraia project. Since 2005 REPACTED has been conducting theatre for development outreaches in the Adventist Relief and Development Agency, Abstinence and Behavior change for the youth project in two districts. REPACTED is a MTV Staying Alive Foundation two time award winner, the award is aimed at reaching youth in the Community, special learning institutions and Prisons with Magnet Theatre Outreaches and mobile VCT. Citizens’ Media Outreach is a project involving the community in video and photo blogging inclusive of basic computer skills. Funded by Rising global Voices, the project involves the training of community members in the use of information and communication technologies.

DSC02770
Since its inception the organization has trained 120 Peer educators and 50 Magnet theatre practitioners within different settings, like Nakuru GK prison inmates, both male and female, community youth and workers in the informal sector. They were successfully taken through the APHIA II, Rift Valley comprehensive curriculum on Peer education and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH-Kenya) manual for Magnet theatre. The prison based training was fully funded by MTV Staying Alive foundation. Rising Global Voices supported Community Capacity building on digital media.
REPACTED has a cadre experienced trainers in the field of experiential community education concerns. These trainers have been involved in both local and international trainings and capacity building in different programs as consultants and technical assistants. Within the APHIA II, Rift Valley project they have been involved in training of members of the Most At Risk Population (police force, sex workers, women in low income settings, community youth, religious leaders and teachers), training of teachers (scout leaders) in Kenya and Uganda under PATH–Kenya, training community members in Civic education through Community theatre under the Catholic Justice and Peace commission.

Moving On

For long REPACTED has been working with the youths in the community, passing messages of behaviour change and encouraging them in doing so by having them join the organization and also moving forwad with life we are entring a new chapter as an organization where we would like you to support as we want to ensure that the sam young people improve there livelyhoods by encouraging them to be able to generate income on there won whil we support them one of them is Eric Wanyama who has always aspired to be a script and film director he has managed to write his own script and will be soon shooting the film he has fundaraised some capital but needs more support i encourage you to visit his blog http://ericowanyama.blogspot.com/ and encurage him on the blogroll of this email he is there also. The last time he posted was 7th of April but i have encouraged him to post and hoping he will be posting more frequently as we have given him priority this week to use the office internet. Support a young kenyan to grow.
Also REPACTED is looking for a wllwisher to help clear $250 internet bill for the remeinder of the year as we are stretched at the moment.

Computer Aid International

REPACTED has been awarded 25 computers from computer AID Internation in UK and all the computers are Pentium Fours fully installed and with Cables, we are planning to use this computers to start a digital center in Nakuru and enhance the use of online tools by young people we ae fundraising around 2080 Sterling Pounds for shipping them to Kenya we will appreciate any help given.

Kind Regards

updates

dsc03548

The organization carried out activities as planned by the organization staff and volunteers. The activities included carrying out magnet theatre outreaches with mobile VCT in the community and the prisons, Mobile educative video shows at the community video dens, Training of more change agents and educators both in the prisons and at the community level, Production of the Jukwaa la Vijana news letter, organizing skills demonstration forums, Organizing youth symposium and condom distribution, open mic festivals. Apart from the above planned activities individual organization volunteers did outreaches at their backyard to reach out to the target audience effectively and efficiently.

The activities have not changed despite some adjustment like to increase the number of community theatre outreaches with VCT and reduce production of the copies of the news letter. To ensure quality in the trainings the organization adopted local and international training manuals for skills and capacity building trainings.

dsc03566

The project gets technical assistance from a group of young professionals referred as research and innovation committee. Their work is to come up with innovative participatory and result oriented strategies to reach out the youth effectively and consistently with behavior change communication with an aim of influencing positive behavior among the youth.

One of the innovative ideas is the open mic competition. It is a simple concept, rappers compete against each other by drawing topics from a hat and composing a one minute rap on the spot (free style) on the topic they pick. The victor is determined by how many correct facts about the topic he/she can deliver within the time allocated to him/her. There were four main topics, STIs, HIV/AIDS, Stigma and Correct consistent use of condoms. There were seven preliminary rounds, each at different housing estates in the area. The level of competition was high and it improved significantly after the two day training on message development the participants underwent before the final event. The crowd at the venue was impressive and the community response, overwhelming. Consistency will ensure the event continues to grow both in reach, popularity and achievement.

Numbers reached:
Male: 3314
Female: 3377
Total: 6691

The inaugural Miss High school beauty pageant was held at Langa Langa High school Hall. It targeted youth in school with messages aiming to increase risk awareness in relation to HIV/AIDS. It provided a platform for up and coming artistes, most in the Open mic competition, to showcase their talent and pre test their positive message songs.
The contestants were enthusiastic and the audience that turned up was indiscriminately supportive of their efforts.

dsc03576

Weekly workshops on Blogging are on going as people tackle issues on the society, HIV and comical fiction. Most of our peer educators are on face book. We are also thinking of starting a discussion forum on the REPACTED’s group page on Face book aimed at sparking debates on a range of issues facing the youth in Kenya. Due to increase number of young people interested in the idea of Blogging, we go the cyber café for the workshops. You read the individual bloggs;
• washeyg.blogspot.com,
• maddiefxm.blogspot.com,
• ericowanyama.blogspot.com,
• elseroketch.blogspot.com,
• jmilloujane.blogspot.com,
• mcjex.blogspot.com,
• wgaliabenard.blogspot.com,
• bukas-larry.blogspot.com,
• chadgianni.blogspot.com.

More activities are under way including the annual POA Youth Music Arts Awards, we are planning to reach to reach more than 10,000 young people in Nakuru and test 1000 young people. The aim of the festival is to appreciate the power of youth driven HIV and AIDS behavior change communication through creative arts.

Update

Outreaches: REPACTED Magnet Theatre Troupe has been involved in the normal theatre outreaches in the community and the prisons. With the introduction of new magnet theatre sites in the community the number of the outreaches is increasing. Condom distribution and uptake of services is the increase. REPACTED organized one youth symposium and ten skills demonstration forums in the community and at the Nakuru Players Theatre. Weekend Six aside football tournament have been a great source of information sharing among the youth in the low income community.

Tae kwon do tournament: On the 7th of February 2009, Repacted Kenya hosted a Tae kwon do tournament at the Menengai social hall. Youth from various clubs and estates in and around Nakuru and invitees from as far as Nairobi took part in the event. The judges and referees were sourced from local clubs and the Kenya Tae kwon do Association. It followed a basic knock out format to speed up proceedings.

The event attracted a remarkable number of young people, (Male 212 female 117) mostly fans and friends of the competing clubs, and also registered a sizeable turnout of actual competitors who sought to showcase their talent. This provided a great platform to talk about the abuse of drugs among the youth, abstinence and correct, consistent, condom use when it comes to STIs and HIV/AIDS prevention. Two skits, one on the risks of having multiple sexual partners and another on the effects of illicit drugs on people in sport were presented. Although both were hilarious comedies, there was great response from those gathered to the message being put across. There was also a condom demonstration away from the main arena which proved quite popular.

The only disappointment was the lack of VCT facilities because some among the crowd requested the service. It is a notable development that CT has been embraced by the youth as a tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

International arts day: 17th Feb 09 the world celebrated the International Arts Day, Theatre or performing arts has been one of our core main tools of communication with the community, with an aim of addressing community concerns in a more interactive and participatory manner. We use different forms of art to reach out to the target audience.

Arts like theatre, murals and puppetry have been very instrumental in bringing about positive behavior change hence reduction of stigma associated with HIV, increased access to condoms reproductive health services and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV. Earlier this year during the Madaraka day celebrations several media personalities, performing artists in their own right were arrested for staging a unique form of peaceful protest which involved T-shirts branded with a special message. Therefore art as proven to be the best tool of addressing the issues of democracy, constitutionalism, transparency and accountability among the political elites. The use of peace tiles in children’s homes is proving to be one of the most effective tools of educating the children on HIV and AIDS related issues. Repacted did a special outreach to commemorate the day by doing community theatre outreaches.

Valentines Day: While lovers and those purportedly in love everywhere were celebrating the day set aside for cupid and his arrows Repacted and other youth serving organizations held and event dubbed Valentines and the red ribbon. The main purpose was to show love to those infected and affected and even those in the fight against the AIDS scourge.

At the Nyayo garden Repacted comedians and Repacted’s MC Jex joined members of the community during the CCK chukua hatua community outreach road show. Repacted comedians rocked the house with their comedy styling. MC Jex impressed with his solo rap on peace and unity.

The open MIC The open Mic and the DJ competitions are just around the corner stay tuned for information. The event will take place in Nakuru Kenya bringing together local talents from the community. The young people compose songs on HIV and AIDS related issues. 

\\

updates

REPACTED BLOGGERS                                                                 WENDY AND MSHALE

This year has begun with much promise. In the first week of business REPACTED Kenya held five day capacity building training of all the 30 members who attended. The capacity assessment meetings evaluated the organization ability to move to NGO status by mid 2009. The members and office holders reviewed the past years trials and achievements before setting goals for the coming months. It also provided an opportunity for the members to bond and exchange ideas on the different project planned or already underway.

A significant step has been made this month, moving into a bigger office at the Nakuru Player’s Theatre has improved REPACTED Kenya’s profile and capacity to operate more professionally and attract more donor to fund the organization youth activities. Spacious and secure, it houses a reception area, operations centre, accounting office and, a new initiative, a youth information centre where youth from the community can come to access IEC material on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, Drug abuse etc…

Wendy Cross from NextAid paid REPACTED Kenya a visit. She came to learn more about the organization and to assess its capacity. Wendy held a full day media based M & E training for REPACTED. Narrative reports tend to be two dimensional but through the use of media a more detailed and personal input can be infused in a report sent to a donor. Equipment such as flip cameras are cheap to acquire and easy to use. Making brief, well shot and accurately edited videos can tell a story and make a significant impact on the recipient. With proper lighting and good composition digital photos can also be used in reporting and keeping records to great effect. Both of these options can be sent over the internet making delivery easier compared to tapes, CDs and hard copy printouts. To avoid taking too much time uploading videos and pictures should be compressed or placed in a zipped folder. Wendy was surprised by the enthusiasm of the members and their interest in the various forms of media available to them.

REPACTED MAGNET THEATER MEMBERS GOING FOR AN OUTREACH. “STAY ALIVE”

After a long break REPACTED Kenya finally resumed outreach activities. There were a few magnet theatre practitioners taking to the field for the first time and their performance was commendable and beyond all expectations. The communities visited responded well and participated fully in the discussion, a few of the stepping forth to take up roles in the skit. Information on Reproductive health is fast seeping into their minds judging from the responses members of the audience gave to the slew of questions posed. At a new site in Free area, the numbers mobilized were impressive and the reception good if not great.

REPACTED MEMBERS TAKING A BREAK FOOTBALL TIME, SKILLS DEMONSTRATION FORUM

This year it was resolved that members’ blogs will be updated on a weekly basis. Topics discussed are to be drawn from key questions posed by community members during past outreaches along with personal issues they are itching to articulate.

The Year 2007 what a year….

We never thought we will make it to 2008 it was clear we were headed for a mass genocide, greater than Rwanda. Those were the REPACTED member’s words during the end year meeting at the Nakuru Players Theatre.

After the 27th December 2007 disputed presidential elections results in Kenya, just before the violence in Nakuru REPACTED team members were assembled at the Nakuru Players Theatre discussing how to reach out to the victims of the post elections skirmishes in Njoro, Kuresoi, and Molo through the Holistic Helping key person in Rift Valley Province Dennis Kimambo. Dennis had already mobilized some support from well wishers. Collins travelled to Kuresoi one of the most volatile area to find out how the situation was on the ground. In Kuresoi Collins met a friend of REPACTED in peace building and transformation Laurence Achami.

We left home in peace for the office at the theatre little did we know that going back home was going to be hell, and indeed it was, while we were busy combing the grassroots in other volatile regions hell broke loose in Nakuru. It took each one of us hours to reach home instead of the usual few minutes. We spent weeks talking through phones since the local administration declared a night curfew for Nakuru residence.

We still possessed the spirit to solder on with our normal community theatre activities but this time in IDP camps what a challenge after some normalcy returned in the town. We could not do the normal community outreaches in the community because there were no audiences in the community and any noise was treated as a disturbance. We changed strategy and employed other forms of community outreach like video shows in the video dens, focused group discussions, and included peace messages in the normal health talks. Thanks to Sara Piot and Georgia Arnold of MTV Staying Alive for understanding the situation. The organization concentrated on one on one peer education sessions, educative video shows, and focused group discussions in the community. The work was very expensive and wanting especially the IDP outreaches, it was an emergency that needed an extra budget thanks to the APHIA II project rift valley for supporting the extra outreaches in the IDP camps.

Everything calmed down after signing of the peace deal by the two principals Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga led by Kofi Anan. During the conflict we realized one thing, the power of the internet social forums like the personal blogs which took over from the main stream media, the internet is a powerful tool of communication. We actively made a good use of the internet after the mainstream media was blacked out by the government. Most of us with internet enable phone could still communicate effectively and post news to the web for the world to read and get the real story. Thanks to David Sasaki Oso of the Raising Global Voices for the phone you left behind when you visited REPACTED the phone (Sony Ericsson W8 10i) played a serious role after Dennis was robed a phone in the skirmishes while on a night mission to saving two REPACTED members who were trapped in the war zone, we used the phone to take pictures.

We resumed our normal magnet theatre outreaches with mobile VCT. The organization through team work managed to mobilize a good number of community members to access the free counseling and testing. It is not normal to test more than 120 people in a day for four VCT counselors. with the grant from the Staying Alive Foundation and the Raising Global Voices, we did up to 16 magnet theatre outreaches in a month, weekly skills demonstration forums, two youth symposiums and two youth events, Along the year 2008 REPACTED managed to train 30 change agents and five youth leaders on leadership, peer education and the use of digital media-photography, video shooting, blogging and most current encouraging positive bloggers from the community. The organization through collaborative efforts managed to effectively and consistently reach out to 10,000 young people, distributed 30,000 male condoms.

We still have challenges in blogging since it is a new phenomenon to the community though it is picking up. Thanks to Eduardo Avila of Voices Bolivia for the workshop when you visited REPACTED. The bloggers still talk about some of the skills you shared during the workshop. The members agreed to do something about the content by introducing interactive blogging within the REPACTED community theatrical outreaches. Interactive blogging will be more of community magnet theatre style or “interactive theatre of blogging” ok great thinking lets wait for 2009 for more information. More positive bloggers will be introduced next year…ok.

Ok the year was a great year to the organization has Kimambo Dennis attended the international AIDS conference in Mexico meat one of my great friends of REPACTED Lova. Thanks again to the MTV Staying Alive Foundation for the great support. Dennis Kimambo and Esther Ogema also attended training in Zambia and James Karongo attended training in Tunisia thanks to Family Health International and National Organization of Peer Educators. Collins Dennis Oduor also attended the Citizen Media Summit in Hungary. All the trainings and the conferences boosted greatly the capacity of the organization from management, information communication technology, monitoring and evaluation, and leadership creation.

Although we got a lot of difficult in accessing the prisons…. shame to the bureaucracy … this year we managed to do 15 community theatre outreaches in the prisons. Sammy and Ongaro both prisons waders and Voluntary Counseling Testing-service providers made sure that through the welfare office we access the prisons. This time it was the other way round a good number of the prison waders accessed the VCT services. Youth open mic festivals, Miss and Mr. Red Ribbon and poa festivals were a great event for the youth, the youth love music and performing arts hence the festivals were a great success.

Way forward– The members agreed that next year will be a year of holistic service to the community. It will be the year of social change and transformation in all the programs. Through the spirit of teamwork REPACTED members are more than willing to bring about change we believe in and save the community from the social injustices by creating a healthy nation through creative arts and digital media. To cut the short story long wait for the year 2009…..

Thanks

REPACTED believes in the spirit of networking, collaboration and partnership we therefore would like to appreciate, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, the Raising Global Voices Online, the Nakuru Players Theatre, APHIA II Rift Valley, Partners for Progress, Act Alive, Vices of Roses, National Organization of Peer Educators, ADRA Kenya and the National AIDS Control Council.