Kibo: Getting Ready for the Show

On the run up to the exhibition, Kibo were busy preparing for the show in which they made artwork about their communities identity. Naturally the new knowledge about Survival and Development Rights fed into the work, which gave an interesting account of how they think their community can take responsibility for protecting and implementing them.

Firstly, children worked in groups and came up with 10 ideas or ways in which their community can help them survive and develop. Then we continued our thoughts about what our community looks like, what are its characteristics and how these are important. We discussed things like what does it mean to have lots of buildings for shelter, or cars and shops for convenience?

Once we’d finalised our thoughts we put them into creative practice searching lots of local newspapers, selecting images which we though represented our ideas, or made us think about new ones. After an afternoon of thinking, talking, cutting and sticking each group had produced an exiting poster collage of images, paintings and drawings to present to the class and later their community at the show!

Here are some images showing how the artworks developed, Robert Rauschenberg eat your heart out!

Watch this space for the finished artworks and presentations!

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What’s Right and Who’s Responsible?

We only have a few weeks left of Making Art, Making Me workshops before our May exhibition in Moshi. Over the forthcoming workshops we will be building on previous ideas whilst exploring a new topic, Child Rights. So far we have looked at our project theme Identity through a personal perspective, looking at life experiences and influential factors. Secondly, we explored our community characteristics, and to round it all off we will be learning about children’s global identity through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC 1989)

These rights, 54 to be precise are categorised into themes

  1. The guiding principles; so setting out the terms and definitions

2. Protection Rights; keeping children safe from harm, violence and abuse

3. Participation Rights; ensuring that children have a voice and that it is heard

4. Survival and Development Rights; they have the right to live and develop to their fullest potential.

This convention became legally binding in 1990 and with only two countries left in the world to ratify it signifies a global commitment to the new vision of the child.

After introducing the United Nations (essentially as an international organisation which helps countries talk to each other) we learnt about who, what and why the UNCRC and its relevance to us. Most importantly we learnt about responsibilities, and how the huge global task of making the principles of the UNCRC a reality isn’t just up to the governments. All members of society, including children, must play apart in implementing, protecting and respecting these rights.

Last week each school took on a specific theme and discussed in their groups how either they, their community or the government can take this on board. They then went on to draw illustrated stories exemplifying these rights and responsibilities in action!

An example of the work produced from Kibo school (Survival and Development) is the above picture of Article 8 – The Right to an Identity. Here a child is born, goes to school and is registered at a local government office. The groups also produced written work about a particular right. When discussing Article 32 (Child Labour): The Government should protect children from work that is dangerous or might harm their health or education, the following statements were produced at Singachini

  • We as children should refuse to do work which is beyond our physical strength
  • We shouldn’t be taken out of school to carry and sell bananas
  • Let us as children refuse to work on coffee plantations for low wages
  • Let us refuse to be taken away (abducted) from schools to work as house girl or boys in the town
  • Parents should refuse this and stop letting people take us away for work
  • Parents should not allow us to go and graze goats

Considering most of the children had never heard of the UN or a human right before, this was a really great response to a very difficult and complicated topic. It was fantastic to see that they were confidently presenting their ideas about rights whilst demonstrating a strong understanding of their responsibilities. We look forward to sharing further artworks and ideas with you soon.

Finally, It was an especially great moment for us to introduce our pupils to our international audience through our analytics page last week. On behalf of the children’s great big beaming smiles, we thank you all for your continuous interest and support. From Iceland to Ethiopia, Canada to Korea we hope you will enjoy the remaining few weeks of Making Art, Making Me, Tanzania.

Asante Sana na Karibu Tena

(Thank you very much, you are always welcome)


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Putting Ideas into Pots

Last week at Kibo the groups got creative with their thoughts about Jumuiya  (East African Communities)

Each of the groups moulded and decorated their pots with their ideas and  then spoke individually about their features. We were very sorry to see that our clay making has yet to be refined, and sadly these wont be suitable for firing.  Zulpha has informed us that her family village knows the secret to African Pottery, so perhaps they can help us next time!

Here’s a sample of their key community creations!

  •  Two faces – to show the importance of working together
  • A mobile phone – because lets face it, we’d be lost without them!
  • Trees – for shade and environmental protection
  • Transport – Cars, Dala Dala, Busses
  • UMEME!! (Electricity) The quintessential characteristic of the city!

Kibo school will be building on these ideas for the forthcoming Making Art, Making Me exhbition in May. The invitations and press release are being written this week and all of us here at MME and Childreach International are extremely excited about showcasing this projects achievements to our Guest of Honour, the Kilimanjaro Regional Education Officer of Tanzania.

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Scary Dogs, Safari’s and Shopping

After a very fun and colourful active workshop making prints, last week we held a very enjoyable session presenting all of our new work, playing Grandma’s footsteps and discussing as a class what, why and who is a community.

Presentation is a fundamental part of Making Art, Making Me, we present at the end of every workshop, even if it is just a few words. This is a great opportunity for the children to build key life skills and build their classroom confidence, it’s also a chance to reflect on their achievements, learn together and explore complex and sometimes sensitive topics.

We spent a couple of weeks developing these new works, and their starting point was to think about key moments or experiences in their life which has influenced or impacted who they are. In last week’s presentations it was noticeable that the context of their work had improved considerably. The analogies had become more in depth and intelligent than the previous self portrait presentations. In these, although not all (see Zulpha’s story) there was a tendency to stick to a this is Charles, he likes playing football, he likes learning maths at school,  and so on and so forth.

In this exercise I stressed for the groups to think beyond this patterned description, and about the reasons and inspirations behind their interests and subsequent printed stories.  For example, was there a particular time you can remember playing football which sparked this interest?  What do you like about playing; the competition, working as part of a team, winning!?

Last week at Singachini the presentations were excellent, coherent and engaging. We heard accounts of a young brave boy rescuing his friend from an angry dog and a girl visiting her Grandmother in hospital before she passed away. We also discovered how a school netball club was started on a Saturday, after all of the chores and cleaning was complete a group of them decided to have a match and have played ever since.  In this posts featured image you can see Gilbert presenting his work, in which he is sitting with his Uncle watching the news, a lasting impression on him.

Another important theme at Singachini was visiting the town, Festo remembered being sent into Moshi to do some shopping and Sarah had seen and admired a very large Church. This exposure to urban life featured in many of the prints and has been a key influence to many of the children in the rural communities. I would hope that our exhibition in Moshi at the end of the project will be another inspirational memory for them.

This week we will build on our previous discussions and start making sculptures which connect our identity with our communities. A community is a complex network of  social and economic support, MME believes that in order to productively grow and develop within them we must be aware and understand exactly why, what and who OUR community is.

We will be exploring these ideas creatively with clay over the next couple of weeks.

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Making Prints: Mgungani

This week we have been very resourceful making bright colourful prints from lino flooring.  All of the students created wonderful pictures which depict important aspects of their lives, things that have influenced their identiy and made them, them. Take a look at our colourful inspirations below.

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Achievment of the Week: Zulfa’s Story

We had a great workshop at Kibo last week where we began by recapping what we’ve learnt so far and then introduced a new topic, an opinion.

We started by thinking about the meaning of this and why it is important to have one. After a few minutes of thinking and hinting at some possibilities Ibraham contributed,  ‘ it is important to have one because if something bad happens you can do something about it.’ The MSMV co-ordinator of Kibo then continued and explained relatively what this could mean. She started off with something simple, a mobile phone, do you like it? Why? Then she exemplified the school, how about your teachers and the Head Teacher, do you think they teach well? She then went on to ask what about you’re country? An opinion would be if you thought it was being run well, or badly! We were literally dancing with excitement, this was a brilliant analogy and came straight from the teacher. I also noted that she retained a beaming smile on her face throughout the afternoon.

If this wasn’t good enough, after the workshop which focussed on experimenting with making marks and unique styles, we each produced a self portrait and asked the students to include an indicator of who they are, not just what they look like.  During the presentations Zulfa, who had at previously written in our baseline survey that she could not present herself in class, and could not express her feelings through art, proudly stood up on a chair and eloquently told her story. She had drawn a beautiful picture of her holding her baby sisters hand who had unfortunately died a couple of years ago. Following is the translation of her accompanying text.

‘I like walking with my young sister and I love having one, but I’m not lucky, I don’t have one. I did have but she died and I didn’t even get a chance to see her. When I came home from school in 2009 when I was in standard 1, I went home and found a lot of people with my parents. I asked them, where is my young sister? They told me that she had died. I cried a lot.’

All of the other presentations were excellent, however this one particularly struck a chord with our team. It was so encouraging to see such positive progress articulated through such a moving story.  We will be following Zulfa’s progress closely in the next few weeks and look forward to sharing many more achievements with you.






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