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News & Blog > Blogs: "Perspectives, Provocations & Initiatives" > Pandemic isn't over yet? Tap talent introducing art therapy for youths in Nairobi

Pandemic isn't over yet? Tap talent introducing art therapy for youths in Nairobi

Find out more about the participatory development art therapy provided by the Kiota Initiative (founded by IDS alum Andrew Adwera Ochieng [MASSD01]) in Kenya to help young people affected by Covid-19
Image: by Wahome Kariuki, head, Art Department
Image: by Wahome Kariuki, head, Art Department

Early on in the pandemic (May 2020), I told the alumni network how Kiota Initiative was dealing with the negative impacts of Covid-19 including the fact that the main clients of Kiota- teenagers and youths below 29 years old- had schools closed and gatherings cancelled already. Kiota had already developed tools, including cartoon books that had teachings about Covid and which helped the younger ones by painting and labelling what they were creating. Our activities reduced significantly with the restriction of movement in Kenya.

As schools reopened in late 2020 Kiota was able to engage more with its clients. Parents are more aware of the dangers of Covid-19 and are reluctant to allow their children to mingle, which has resulted in a slow progress of different activities provided by Kiota.

Image above by Wahome Kariuki, Head of Art Department: Illustration of a one-on-one session painting session

Kiota’s Response though art-therapy to manage mental health impacts of isolation

Towards the end 2020, Kiota, through its Tap Talent theme set up home therapy for select group of teenagers within the groups with an intent to allow them to progress with painting, and help alleviate the increased anxiety and depression that children have experienced due to the Covid-19 crisis. By actively being involved in the home visit, the key artists within the theme are giving the children avenues to express themselves based on art; the opportunity to have fun during such uncertain times; and therefore reducing their stress and anxiety.

How has art therapy performed for us?

Art therapy has shown itself to be effective for the (about 50) youths and teens we are interacting with. Our plan is to cover more within Kiota as the reports we have confirm the need for use of such tools to help youths and teens get back to normality.

To take a single teen through the therapy costs us about 24USD. But the therapy is done in groups of 4-5 persons  per session. At this moment, Kiota is seeking partners through IDS community who are interested to be part of reaching out to more children, teens and youths who are affected by the isolation caused by C19 pandemic and encourage anyone interested to reach out to us.

You can support one group, or be a partner with Kiota to help us get additional materials to provide home art therapy sessions for different art talented children to help them deal with Covid-19 uncertainties. We are also looking to partner and share this practice as a learning and teaching tool for future methods in similar situations.

Please get in touch with me if you are interested in finding out more: Andrew Adwera Ochieng (MASSD01), Founder, Kiota Initiative. Email: Tel: +254704893718.

This is an update to the IDS Alumni Response to alumni network news articles published around the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic:

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