PAWA254 is Nairobi's unique social enterprise through which innovative professionals from diverse artistic fields exploit their creative genius to foster social change. Among the creatives who collaborate in this dynamic space are photographers, graphic artists, journalists, musicians and poets. Significantly, promising youths are invited, both to make their contribution in this informal powerhouse and to receive mentorship from the experts.
The end result of the PAWA254 collaborative effort is work that is as inspiring as it is far-reaching—simply, work of unparalleled social impact. The PAWA254 hub houses, fosters, and catalyzes creative and community-driven projects for social change across Kenya. It is the first of its kind in Africa.
The brand name “PAWA254” is derived from two distinct linguistic entities: “Pawa” and “254.” The label Pawa was coined from the English word “Power,” which brings to mind such images as authority, command, intensity and vigour. The number 254 is Kenya’s country telephone code. It suggests patriotism and devotion to causes that are Kenyan.
Used together as PAWA254, the words convey the message “Power Kenya,” and symbolize national strength and unity in a context of devotion to Kenya, a once-peaceful nation that almost went to ruin with the post-2007 election-related violence. But there is an interesting twist to the PAWA254 story: usage of the slang term Pawa captures the colloquial, informal nature of the limited company—PAWA254—which seeks innovation in a casual and relaxed creative office environment. Here, there is little room left for the usual, stiff formalities of a traditional office setting.
The two-wing PAWA254 hub facilitates use of visual and graphic arts, independent and citizen journalism, documentary film and photography, as well as digital and social media as means of civic expression and social action. To meet its objectives, the hub facility brings together established and aspiring photographers, cartoonists, animators, creative designers, videographers and filmmakers, as well as entrepreneurs and activists, to work, learn, and share in an environment that inspires creativity and innovative effort, the ultimate aim being to facilitate social change.
How It Works
PAWA254's community of like-minded and active professionals meets and works daily in its flexible co-working space. This space also serves as an open resource for a range of collaborative youth meetings and efforts, and as an exhibition centre for photography and journalism, among other artistic endeavours.
The space is a haven for investors and others seeking to support social change in Kenya. Regular programmes and training sessions foster skill-sharing and empower a new generation of young professionals and disadvantaged youth to effect social change through tangible, innovative projects.
Primary programmatic focus is on photography and visual arts, documentary and mixed media, traditional and citizen journalism, as well as community organizing. Regular training programmes, workshops, clinics, and photography salons at the space are free of charge and are open to the public. The space is also available for rental to entrepreneurial creatives who seek state-of-the-art conferencing facilities in an atmosphere that is easy and amazingly hospitable.