Day two of the CM4K fieldwork trip kicked off as it often does with a frustrating drive crawling through Nairobi traffic. Taking us well over an hour to get what is normally a twenty minute drive – however, after a few days we’ll get used to this and next year we might well stay on the Kenyatta University (KU) Campus as the partnership with them develops.
So the first day’s activities comprised formal introductions and a 2 hour lecture by me on: the history and vision of CM4K complete with the associated learning theories we apply to our community media practices; a participatory breakout session discussing what community means to the partnership participants (always an interesting and insightful activity); and a critical expose of the meaning; role and practices of community media. I think it went down well……I was certainly enjoying it but I suspect the most enjoyable part of the morning’s proceedings were the paper, rock, scissors & cheerleaders ice-breaker session Lola organised……Kenyans have never played this game but they certainly enjoyed it. We might have to include this into every year’s trip from here on in.
The afternoon session was spent organising the participants into practice groups – photography, video & audio. I spent that period flitting from group to group….throwing in the odd thought provoker and listening to the participants get to know each other through dialogic knowledge-sharing and planning. All in all it was an interesting and rewarding day but I was ready for an early night when we got back to the hostel and I swiftly drifted off as I laid on the bed to relax and think a while.
Day 3 and an even longer delay getting to KU saw us kick off the workshop a little later than planned…..but with impeccable timing we were there in time for tea J, which was a nice way to start the day. The participants got stuck in and soon were finishing off the assessment and planning stages (engagement was the previous day) stages of the Participatory Education & Action Research Learning Scenarios (PEARLS) – developed as part of the CM4K work. What I found encouraging about the work they were doing (over and above the level of enthusiasm and commitment from all) was the level of dialogue and critical reflection through the morning’s workshops.
In the afternoon, the three groups went out into the community to start work on their digital stories projects. The photography group working with a range of local people to express joy and happiness in Kenyan life. The audio team and working on producing a radio show focussing on food security in Kenyan communities and the video team are producing a participatory video project focussing on mixed marriages and tribalism in modern Kenya. The projects are ambitious in the time available but all participants are determined and excited and I am pretty sure some strong content is going to emerge. The work will be exhibited at the Alliance Francaise Exhibition Centre in Nairobi City Centre as part of the CM4K/SEMA Media ‘Stories from our Cities’ collaboration.