Newstar Drama Group was founded in 1993 at Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (K.I.M.C) Nairobi and was registered in 1996 by the Ministry of Culture and Social Services. The Group moved its operational base from Nairobi to Kisii town at Kisii culture centre; in Southern Nyanza region of Kenya which it operates its programs up to date. The group is a travelling theatre group that has performed in many secondary schools, universities, Kenya National Theatre, Colleges, Primary schools, social and cultural forums. Newstar Drama Group is a member of International Drama / Theatre and Educational Association (IDEA) which has more than 100 countries’ membership worldwide.
The group consists of 15 professional actors and actresses, some of them are musicians and modern / traditional dancers, narrators, comedians, poets.
AGE: Volunteers have to be at least 18 years old to participate in the work camp. There is no upper age limit
The group is run by the experienced director, finance manager, administration manager and stage manager.
VISION: To advocate and champion for a better life on this earth as the educator to mankind like diseases, education, investment, human rights, good governance, voluntary and community services, youth development and poverty eradication ,international and cultural festivals and environmental conservations.
MISSION STATEMENT: To tap, train and contract performing artists e.g. actors, actresses, play wrights, poets, narrators, comedians, modern and traditional dancers.
The Newstar artistes and international volunteers at Kisii cultural center (Kenya)
- To educate the society on diseases like HIV/ AIDS, malaria and health related issues.
- To promote environmental activities in school, universities, colleges, media stations, public and community forums.
- To perform current Kenyan examination oriented literature set books in secondary schools like Caucasian chalk circle ,the river and the source, a Kiswahili play-Kigogo and Betrayal in the City among others.
- To champion girl child rights and women empowerment at community, national and international levels.
- To engage into voluntarily community development and other community development services as individual organization, as well as in partnership with other organizations, persons, governments, friends and individuals who believe in the same course and spirit to touch and change many lives of disadvantage/marginalized people.
- To perform community theatre arts e.g. human rights, good governance, drug abuse awareness, poverty eradication and economic / political development.
- To host and participate in international exchange forums like Idea world congress, Newstar International festivals and among others.
THE CURRENT PROJECT ACTIVITIES
THE GIRL CHILD RIGHTS AND WOMEN EMPOWERNMENT IN KURIA COMMUNITY OF SOUTHERN NYANZA REGION OF KENYA.
The Newstar Drama Group is currently running the girl child rights and women empowerment project in Ikerege ward of Kuria community in Migori County at following various centres in the ward
1. Gekamiri at Komomange sub location
2. Naora upper at Komomange sub- location
3. Gwikonge at Gwikonge sub- location
4. Ikerege market at Ikerege sub- location
5. Nyabokarange Chief camp Ikerege sub- location
6. Nyawetajiri at Kiomakebe sub- location
The group uses live performances (drama) participation education theatre in the above centres in open forums particularly at market centers, fields, chief camps and churches to appeal to people to change their negative mind set on girl child rights and women empowerment.
International volunteers watching a play by Newstar drama group in Kuria Community 2014 December
The group creates platforms through play performances which focuses on importance of girl child rights and women empowerment. This drama methodology is friendly to local people which eventually motivates the viewers to discuss and understand challenges, difficulties and misfortunes facing girl child rights and women empowerment in play situation like FGM, early girl child pregnancy, high rate of school girl drop outs, early girl child marriages and big education discrimination between girl child and boy child. The play situation is quite relevant and real to their day to day life. In this case, most families in Kuria do not educate girl child since they negotiate their dowry and marriages at early age of even 12 years, hence large number of girls drop out f schools, particularly after undergoing FGM, whereby the Kuria traditional and cultural practices see such girls mature for marriages and source of income, some of the girls when they undergo FGM face dangers HIV/ AIDS, over bleeding which may lead to death and fistula.
At same time, Kuria traditional and cultural beliefs / practices see girls and women only as assets to be own and seen. They are not allowed to participate in family economic undertakings; most of them are poor and beaten by husbands and even divorced without due process followed. All these factors have made a woman to be a frustrated human being in Kuria community.
Given the above scenario, the Newstar Drama Group is running a training workshops and seminars to educate the community to do away with out-dated traditional and cultural beliefs/ practices that undermine the girl child and women empowerment development. The group has also set up the revolving loans for women groups , income generating organizations in those centres of the project to eradicate poverty and empower families to counter fight the negative challenges of Kuria traditional practices hence make lives of girl child better and pursue their education to achieve their dream careers and be economic viable to nation building. At same time we target women to know their rights and defend rights of their daughters evening where possible following the legal ways to defend their rights since present Kenyan constitution recognizes and defend girl child and women rights. We want women in Kuria community to be empowered to have their small business and also do farming since Kuria families have big pieces of land. We do not want women to depend on their husbands who sometimes they take advantage to mistreat them. That is why the group runs this project throughout the year and requires partnership in terms finance and volunteering at local and international level.
THE LIVE PERFORMANCE OF SET BOOKS PROJECT IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
The Newstar Drama Group trains , produces, directs and prepares Group, actors and actresses for current Kenyan examination English and Kiswahili literature set books at Kisii culture centre between late October and January of every year. The group performs these set books (plays) to various secondary schools nationwide in 47 counties particularly for examination classes form 3 and 4 students.
The group makes travel tours to secondary schools to various parts of Kenya. The project is main income for the group. The schools pay the group for the services and it is from this source of income of artistes are paid their salaries. The group at least performs 150 shows per year. This is one of the most interesting programs which expose group artists to travel to many parts of Kenya. They are like local tourists. The live literature set books’ drama performance is relevant , realistic and satisfactorily, especially assisting students to grasp books contents with ease. The program enables students to understand fully - plots, devices and intensions of the writers. This will in long run contribute to good results in English and Kiswahili subjects in national examination. This programs plays a very important role to prepare young Kenyans for future as they do well in National Examination which make them go for their dream courses at universities and middle level colleges ,not only that, also the program inspires young actors and actresses in secondary schools who watch group performances on stage.
Some of students end up making drama as professional careers after completing secondary school and colleges/universities
The Ministry of Education has given a permit or license to Newstar to perform set books in all secondary schools in Kenya between February and early October every year.
THE NEWSTAR JUNIOR ARTISTS PROJECT
The group runs the junior artistes training program at Kisii Culture centre during school holidays April, August, November and December every year. The Kisii cultural center has modern hall and theater facilities which make it easy to train and produce the young artistes. These young artists consists both females and males aged between 7 and 17, identified by the group management from primary and secondary schools all the country. Their parents support these young artistes to be trained; they are nurtured and trained for acting, modern dancing. Music/ songs, T.V children programs, narratives, poems and comedies. They also show case their performances to the public and media.
The main objective of the program is to nurture, train and develop young talents for future talents and performing arts industry.
It is quite interesting and exciting to see young artistes at early age of seven acting, dancing and narrating stories.
It is quite motivating to work with children at Kisii cultural center. Newstar Drama Group is among very few groups that develop, train and nurture children talents in Kenya.
The international artistes (the volunteers) from Sweden and France with Newstar Junior artistes at Kisii cultural center –August 2017
TYPE OF WORKCAMP: PERFORMING ARTS
Volunteers will work for six hours daily from Monday to Friday.
Manual work and Intercultural activities:
• Performing arts
• Training on the rights of women as partners in marriage
• Training on conflict management for man and women
• Sensitization campaigns on domestic violence among law enforcement agencies
• Cleaning living quarters
• Home visits
• Cultural days for various nationalities
• Translation of thematic focus of the project together with the local people
PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Maximum 20 volunteers from Kenya and the international community
What to carry?
This is outlined in the detailed info sheet and includes, sleeping bag and mat, toiletries, torch/flashlight, sandals, mosquito net, national flag from your country, among others
DONATION AND GIFTS:
These are usually symbolic gestures to enhance the solidarity of volunteers and the hosting community. Kindly contact KVDA for details in case you are willing to support a worthy cause in the community either by offering a donation or long-term intervention on the project.
THEME: Training of Trainers on conflict management
Perception that men are superior in the homes negatively impacts on relationships between men and women with the preponderance of gender based violence
Women are considered as a property and partners in homes. This is reinforced through the cultural practices such as payment of dowry/bride price that diminished the bargaining power of women in homes. Perception that men are superior in the homes negatively impacts on relationships between men and women. Concerns have been raised about the laxity of law enforcement agencies with regards of reported cases of domestic violence perpetrating the practice and promoting the culture of violence. Polygamy is also one of the causes of domestic violence in families. Men fail to provide basis needs to the families thus bringing up conflict in the home.
AIM: To reduce the cases of domestic violence
-To create awareness on women rights as partners in marriages
-To train men and women in conflict management
-To sensitize law enforcement agencies on domestic violence
-Training on the rights of women as partners in marriage
-Training on conflict management for man and women
-Sensitization campaigns on domestic violence among law enforcement agencies
Activity 1: Men and women
Activity 2: Community health workers, community volunteers, village health teams Activity 3: Police, local councils, prisons
METHODS: Non formal education, trainings and sensitization campaigns will be done in a participatory and informative way through group discussions/work and plenary discussions, forum theatre
-Number of women who are aware of their rights (develop a questionnaire)
-Number of domestic violence cases followed up in the year after the project
-Number of trainings organized by the trained participants in conflict management
Orientation: Will be done on 7th September 2019 at KVDA Residence in Nairobi and the team will leave for the project on the morning of 8th September 2019
Airport pick-up services: The port of entry to Kenya is Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and airport pick up will be done on provision of full flight details. The volunteers will be taken to KVDA Residence in Karen for accommodation that has highly subsidized rates
The project participation fees that is all-inclusive for the 3- week work camp is Euro 300
INSURANCE: KVDA does not provide insurance and volunteers should obtain travel insurance cover. It is a good idea to get medicine you are used to from your home country and seek advice from your personal doctor.
WHAT DOES THE PARTICIPATION FEES COVER?
Project preparation cycle, return transfer from the airport and the project, KVDA administration, orientation, certificate of participation, project coordination, facilitation, evaluation and monitoring
WHAT IS NOT COVERED?
Excursion activities, local travel while in the community, personal effects, needs and wants.
KVDA offers educational tours to spectacular sites including the renowned Maasai Mara Game Reserve at separate fees. Please contact us for specific tour information.
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
• Volunteers will stay in classrooms at the School with very basic living conditions. Volunteers have an obligation to climb down the level of the people with the aim of exposure to development challenges.
• KVDA will provide foodstuffs and volunteers will cook their own meals in turns. Water is available from springs and it is recommended that drinking water should be boiled or medicated. Mineral water available at supermarkets is also recommended.
• The Government policy to install ICT in primary schools has seen connectivity to the national power grid for most educational institutions in Kenya and this makes it easy for volunteers to use electric appliances while at the project.
• Furthermore, we invite you to bring typical food, spices, drinks, games and music from your country (for an intercultural evening) – and a lot of motivation!
LANGUAGE: English is the language of the work camp. There will be a possibility of learning Kiswahili and other international and local languages as cultural diversity is a major component in international service
Below is the emergency contact for Kenya Voluntary Development Association:
KVDA Administration: 0721 650 357
PROJECT DETAILED INFO SHEET: Will be sent to the volunteer sending organization as soon as the application is accepted by KVDA
CONFIRMATION DEADLINE: Should be done via e-mail at least one month before the start of the project