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#mytribeisart - using creative capital for fostering peace, entrepreneurship and protecting the environment

Building bridges and making change happen – song by song, painting by painting, poem by poem, dance by dance and telling stories.

Photo of Vilhelm Skjærpe
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Our project Idea is to utilise the human creative energies particularly the arts to bring awareness of global challenges to the grassroot in rural communities. In December 2017 we established the #mytribeisart project. This project is about promoting artistic talent and the use of arts to communicate important messages. Art expresses our feelings, our ideas, and our narration of life. On our platform #mytribeisart, art is the language we use to build friendship, encourage entrepreneurship, and promote peaceful coexistence. At the same time, we wanted to address issues of division along ethnicities or race. This is also reflected in the choice of our platforms name #mytribeisart. Currently the participants on platform number approximately 300. They are drawn from various ethnicities and age groups around Kenya. Kenya is where we started, but the creative capital has no boundaries. We have observed there are huge potential and untapped resources in the creative youth and in the arts. In February 2018, we organised and funded an art expo (Voi Arts Festival) themed “Life on land” in Taita-Taveta. The goal was to network various artists around Kenya with the aim of highlighting and promoting their arts for entrepreneurship ventures and raise awareness on environmental issues in the Taita-Taveta county. Taita-Taveta is home to over 300,0000 people, a vast savanna with lots of wildlife, rich culture, heritage, beautiful landscapes and other resources. Amidst all these there are critical environmental matters that need urgent addressing. The rate at which trees are being cut for timber and charcoal burning is on the rise. Forests and the biodiversity therein are disappearing at an alarming rate thus worsening the already existing climate change challenges. Our recent Voi Arts Festival in the region attracted other local Community based organisations, self-help groups, businesses and individuals in the region.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries are artists, the community and the environment. Our basic philosophy is to work with the grassroot of rural communities. Using an asset-based development model that utilities social capital, creative capital and existing assets to create sustainable income generating activities that are environment friendly. The global community also benefits because we join in the global goal of eradicating poverty by 2030 and also taking care of the environment by working sustainable with land resources.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our idea is unique because we utilize arts as a mobilizing agent and for capacity building in the community. We believe in working from the grassroots, listening, and finding solutions together and utilizing the skills the communities have. Empowering them towards to working on projects that help them eventually build their capital themselves. We start by building bridges – song by song, painting by painting, poem by poem, dance by dance and stories. We are not suggesting the arts as a quick fix, but rather as a powerful tool. Our ultimate dream is to see extreme poverty eradicated and climate change reversed. Through the arts we can help build bridges that pass information and create dialogue across divides. Bridges that are built upon strong beliefs of different cultures mixed on the palette of ambition and determination for a better world.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

ManGo Development has been undertaking non-profit projects in Kenya since 2012. We are committed to the wellbeing of people, and the environment. We are registered in Norway: ManGo Development, Norway – registration number 915094589, and we cooperate on the ground in Kenya with our sister ManGo Development CBO – registration no: VOI/CD/2/3081. Web site: Under construction: #mytribeisart on Instagram:

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Initially we gave monetary donations. Soon we discovered this wasn’t sustainable. We changed to empowering groups build their capital. We faced realities on the ground ranging from corruption, nepotism, environmental and development funds issues. However, we discovered an enthusiastic, hardworking and cooperative community that made the best out of all challenges. Paralleled we found many arts activities regarded as hobbies and the vision of “utilizing artistic talents beyond hobbies” was born.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

In the region where our project was started, there is peace which makes the area attractive for investors. The prosperity of the people is hampered by corruption and worsened by failing rains and prolonged droughts. Uneven distribution of national funds and sectorisation in development organs also hinder development. Some of these factors have led to the rise in extreme poverty and environment degradation. Illegal logging and charcoal burning in Taita-Taveta will contribute to global climate change.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Our partners are the community and are the beneficiaries of the project. We will work with community members and other groups that share in our vision. We have already delegated responsibilities to artists and various members of the community. They are undertaking various tasks like web design, social media administration, event organizing and mentoring. This is an important part of our philosophy; to empower them to drive the projects themselves. We cannot breast-feed operations after the initial phases, but we can consult, guide, and follow up. Through this we believe we will have long term breakthroughs and results. On our #mytribeisart platform we have invested our time and resources by participating in group discussions, sourcing for buyers of art and services, connecting artists to job opportunities, organised a networking event, mentored and inspired. We have also shared ideas of diversifying the artistic products and creating goods for sale.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

In Kenya, approximately 70% of the population are youth. They are creative and eager to work. Many of them do arts to try to survive, but the market is generally for a few (rich) artists. There is also a very strong arts tradition in the region where we have started; Taita-Taveta, Kenya. We view that the creative and social capital is a universal key asset in development.

Geographic Focus

Our target in the start-up phase is Kenya, but our goal is to spread the idea globally.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Basically, we have already implemented this idea and embarked on more research to complement our empirical data on our model. At this stage we are looking at a 24-36 month implementation period that will help us see if this idea can be generic. This depends on external funding and cooperation.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of Samantha Pathirathna

Hi, Rachel,
Its really artistic way of promoting entrepreneurship. I see some very important aspects of how organizations can integrate Art in this kind of projects. Highly appreciate for sharing your idea. Our project also we are goring to promote peace and entrepreneurship. I am sure we can learn from your experience on how to integrate Art. Let us keep in touch on our future developments of our projects and connect youth. I also expect to connect youth from 10 other countries with Sri Lanka youth. I am sure you also can help in this regard. Good Luck Samantha

Photo of Vilhelm Skjærpe

Hi, Samantha,
Thanks for the your feedback. Yes indeed I do believe the arts can be utilized in many ways in the community. I am happy to stay in touch and connected with you and also communities in Sri Lanka and other countries. Kind regards and best wishes for your project. Rachel

Photo of Samantha Pathirathna

Hi, Rachel,
Thank you so much for your positive response. Yes we are also in the process of strengthening our idea. With the time we will share more details and then we can partner to enhance the synergy of the effort of youth entrepreneurship and peace building. We all are excited the next step of the process. Good Luck Samantha

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