Name: Mwihaki Muraguri
Art Practice: Writer/Storyteller/Moderator
Creative Enterprise Bio
Tell me what are the prevailing sentiments that occupy the minds of your young men, and I will tell you what is to be the character of the next generation”. ~ Edmund Burke
Whether Achilles or Lwanda Magere, heroes have always shaped our ideals. Storytelling remains a channel to influence values. What if we could document and share what it means to be a nation builder in Kenyan society guided by a positive values framework? Capturing stories of ordinary people who show up for Kenya: doctors, civil servants who fight corruption, community activists, tech innovators, women’s’ groups, entrepreneurs. Everyday champions with untold stories. What if we used these stories to build new aspirational role models for children during their formative years? Societal norms are forged in different ways and there is an opportunity to revamp perceptions on what represents success. The goal of Paukwa is to reframe the way Kenyan children think of their future, their opportunities, and what is possible from the current overwhelming negative view to a positive one.
Documenting and sharing stories of ‘the nation building Kenyan down the road’ using digital media, building this as an open source platform that users can integrate with, forward, share, publish on their own social media sites, use as content for local radio or TV stations or air in public transport, is the vision for how the distribution will take place.
Paukwa is at design stage with the platform and an accompanying schools program under development. The first active step has been the establishment of a community on Facebook that is one element of distributing these stories.
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
I began a journey about a year ago to bring to life an idea that I have to use storytelling as a tool for social change. Paukwa is a Swahili word that is the traditional call of the storyteller, and in this modern interpretation is an open platform dedicated to capturing, collecting and curating positive stories about Kenya.
The underlying hypothesis that drives Paukwa is an awareness that social identity and norms are shaped by what we see, emulate and aspire to on a daily basis. Whether implicit or explicit, media shapes our heroes and research shows that current media is negatively skewing what are considered acceptable or aspirational social norms in Kenya.
While I have designed, developed and run social progress projects for the majority of my career, it has always been from the relative comfort of an institution with a structure, an existing brand, with social capital that could be used to unlock and influence partnerships. I am currently in a very different place where everything has to be built from scratch without the benefit of an already established institutional framework.
I’m moving into a new area of practice – digital media and storytelling and I appreciate that I need to gain insights into how to make that transition productive. So in essence I consider myself at the formative stage of the creative (and entrepreneurial!) life cycle.
Paukwa as an interactive national story platform that is an archive of the positive spirit of Kenya’s people, products, places and projects that inspires young people towards re-imagined positive national identity.
Collect, curate and distribute positive Kenyan stories to inspire hope, and contribute to a positive national identity.
Boy Vs Sea
The one thing
Snippets from Paukwa Stories
He’s on a mission to save the Nyatiti
Rapasa Nyatrapasa Rapwapwa’s journey didn’t start as that. He just knew he enjoyed playing the instrument whenever he would travel upcountry from his home in Nairobi, and he wanted to learn everything about the eight stringed instrument that is synonymous with musical sound in western Kenya and eastern Uganda. When he would go to shags as a young boy some people in the village tried to dissuade the Nairobi boy from his interest because “nyatiti players didn’t amount to anything but villagers”.
12 months plan
By end of 2017:
a. Undertake market research with schools to enrol into the programme
b. Post a story a week on the Facebook platform
c. Kickstart a writer’s community to collate stories from across the Kenya
d. Build a searchable website for stories
e. Finalise on digital marketing strategy
f. Design/Implementation plan complete for school rollout programme with identified schools signed up
g. Fundraising for the Schools platform
First Half of 2018
h. Digital Story telling community targets achieved
i. Pilot phase in Schools under implementation
j. Archiving and data management partnerships in place.
k. Marketing strategy to build momentum for Paukwa uptake activated