November 14 2013

Girl Talk New African Cultural Project

Enkiteng Lepa School

by Tracy Pallant, Development Worker, Valley and Vale Community Arts

We have had news that we have been successful in securing funding for a new African project from Wales Africa Community Links (WACL). This programme supports voluntary organisations in Wales to develop partnership links with community-based organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa, using the UN Gold Star Award framework for community link development as the foundation.

This will be the first exchange visit for Valley and Vale Community Arts and Gem TV to Maji Moto in Kenya. Together we aim to research and learn about each others’ communities, and explore the possibilities of developing mutually beneficial projects. Skilled Community Artists from Valley and Vale Community Arts and Gem TV in Ethiopia will run workshops in digital storytelling and film production with girls and staff at Enkiteng Lepa School, to enable the Maasi girls and women to create stories to share with the Betws Community in Wales, and with Women’s Aid in Bridgend to develop their new link. Valley and Vale Community Arts and Gem TV will provide expertise and equipment.

This unique collaboration will build on Valley and Vale’s 14 year relationship with the Gemini Foundation in Ethiopia, and develop a new link with Enkiteng Lepa School in Kenya.

As part of our Gemini Sussed project where we were supported with funding from WCVA we worked with Karrayyu pastoralists and Labata Fantalle, a Wales Africa Community link project. We made a short film with Karrayyu young men about the impact of climate change on their livelihoods. Labata Fantalle would like Valley and Vale and Gemini to work on a women and girls project together. The Maasi young girls and women in Kenya are also pastoralists; both groups will be able to learn from each other and share experiences. Relationships have now formed and there is a commitment to develop more projects together.

Valley and Vale Community Arts will work with the children at Betws Primary School in Wales to produce a short film to introduce them to the girls and women at Enkiteng Lepa School. In turn the Maasi girls and women will create short films with the support of Valley and Vale Community Arts and Gem TV. They will share their stories with Betws Primary School and the wider Betws community. The films will also be shared with the Karrayyu in Ethiopia, the Maasi and the Karrayyu are both pastoralist groups; this project will also enable Valley and Vale to consolidate and develop links with the Karrayyu and Labata Fantalle.

During this exchange programme we will discuss ways of working together on a long term basis, on projects that will be beneficial for our communities in Wales, Ethiopia and Kenya. The community in Maji Moto will learn about their link communities in Wales and Ethiopia. 49 girls at Enkiteng Lepa School, 20 Maasi widows and staff will also watch the films, and discuss ways of developing our link projects together. As a result of this project, building on the knowledge that Gem TV has about girls education and early marriage, film resource material, and the films made with the girls and women in Enkiteng Lepa School, the community in Wales will learn more about issues including the consequences of early marriage and FGM. Girls and women The Karrayyu and Maasi communities will be able to use the films to facilitate discussion about early marriage and look at shared experiences.

This new exciting project aims to contribute towards the UN Millennium development Goals, (the MDGs are the United Nations global framework for halving world poverty, signed up to by 154 nations) by – Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women, enabling a new Global Partnership For Development, and Achieving Universal Primary Education.

(Thanks to Maji Moto for the photo)