A principal part of the project’s mission has been to make the space and its resources accessible to persons at the grassroots level. Besides building a strong community in-house, PAWA254 has engaged more than 100,000 youths since its inception. This has been achieved through training sessions and diverse outreach programmes.
We continue to recruit, train, and equip a new generation of bold journalists whose outlook will help reshape the media landscape in Kenya, the aim being to move them away from petty politics to focus on public-interest news agenda. In the one year that we have been in operation, we have imparted in more than 2,000 young persons skills in journalism, creative arts, design, and activism.
Our work has reached even larger audiences through features on national and international media, including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Time magazine, The Economist, CNN and The Guardian of London.
Especially for self-motivated youths, participation in our training sessions and workshops leads to professional employment, and can be a spur to fruitful self-employment. At the heart of the PAWA254 undertaking is improvement of the socioeconomic situation of youth from underprivileged backgrounds. To these, we impart skills and competencies that enable participants to pursue careers in journalism, media, arts and related fields.
PAWA254’s sister organization, the Mtaani Initiative, collaboratively inspires and enables utilisation of visual arts and creative social projects by youth and ordinary Kenyans to bring about transformational social change in Kenya.
The projects of PAWA254 build upon the experience and intent of Picha Mtaani, a street photography exhibition that has helped the nation heal by addressing the post-election violence, which traumatized Kenya in the 2007-2008 period. By taking its photographs and programmes directly to communities, Picha Mtaani has reached hundreds of thousands of citizens and non-citizens across the country over its first two years.
In collaboration with PAWA254, the Mtaani Initiative (the programme that hosts the Picha Mtaani project) has been building upon its three years of experience in arts-based peace-building and grassroots reconciliation efforts. In the months and years to come, PAWA254 is expected to foster creative initiatives similar to Picha Mtaani’s popular street exhibitions and to develop the grassroots leaders to spearhead them.
Our year in operation has reported dramatic gains. For instance, we have created a hub for bold, alternative media. Our news platform forum, www.mavulture.com, registered the third highest hits on its launch week, according to Trendsmap, a leading forum that maps Twitter trends in Kenya.
Here is a inventory of the programmes hosted at the PAWA254 hub:
1. Youth Empowerment Project
This entails imbuing young, upcoming creatives with the enthusiasm to be everything they can be. It is under the auspices of the Youth Empowerment Project that young Kenyans avail themselves of the benefits of our training sessions and workshops.
2. Hub Rental Programme
As the name implies, this is primarily a space-rental facility. Under this, creatives and entrepreneurs—especially those whose projects touch on the theme of social change—can, upon prior arrangement with the management, use our easy space for purposes such as conferencing and get-togethers.
CLICK HERE for more information about Membership rates
3. Arts Impact Project
This comprises a roof-top art workshop and hosts a richly equipped gallery for use by creatives such as graffiti artists and other fine artists. We have a T-shirt printing machine and airbrushing and spray-can equipment. On the side are a relaxation lounge and an open-plan dining hall where our guests sit, relax and exchange ideas.
4. Photography and Audiovisual Project
PAWA254 boasts a richly equipped photo and film studio in which are cameras (both still and video), lighting equipment, as well as a projector and an accompanying screen.