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Story Makers Society, a theatre group, convened a children’s festival in partnership with Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) and other CSOs in Kisumu County. This event usually brings teenagers together to use art to express their feelings and showcase their talents.

Speaking during the opening of the KICHFEST 2022, Mr. George Chunga, executive director of SMS said, “The use of theatre encourages active participation from people whose voices are not normally heard in the community. It is a good way to pass positive values to the young generation to enable social behavior change among young people”.

Speaking during the KICHFEST 2022 Joseph Ojuki of OAY Kenya said “This is a great moment to initiate the discussion about mental health among teenagers to enable them to understand the concept of mental health that is a threat to the young generation. Theatre feature enables adolescents to grasp the concept faster and it sticks to them”.

Speaking to the press during the KICHFEST 2022, the corporate director of KFCB Ms. Muluka lauded the program saying that it was good to have teenagers engaged in constructive work such as talent identification and development.

“We are happy to be here to witness this event that involves and helps children to grow holistically,” said Muluka. She further appreciated the theme chosen by the KICHFEST organizers adding that a good choice of the theme was key per the current times saying that children are supposed to be protected and made aware of societal issues and be taught how to handle them. KICHFEST theme for 2022 was “Children and mental health“. It dwelled much on the protection of our children, ensuring they are enlightened about mental health issues.

“I want to believe that the training was beneficial and impactful,” said Muluka. She noted that when children are kept positively busy, then they do not become idle and start engaging in immoral behavior, but rather nurture their aptitude.

“When children are left idle, they get exposed to anything and everything but when they are brought together in such activities and events, they are nurtured to be morally upright, they can identify their niche and grow. Children are what they consume,” stated the Communications Manager Miss Muluka.  She expressed optimism saying that KFCB and talent development organizations will continue working together to enhance peer conversations for clean content production to enable children to have something tangible besides education.

“We are happy and hope to continue working together to identify and nurture talents and enhance peer to peer education among children and promote clean content for children, and identify solutions to their challenges through artwork,” divulged Muluka.

She also added that protecting children from inappropriate content is crucial as it plays a key role in determining how children transition into adulthood. Protecting children from inappropriate content is a collective responsibility of all adults. “Whether it is performances, exhibitions, or online, we need to check on what our children are watching,” stated Muluka.

PIC1: SMS juniors dancing during KICHFEST

She further added that the public should not wait for the regulatory bodies to come in but should also play their role actively to ensure a morally brought-up society.

Muluka added that talents are important and urged parents not to restrain their children from starting as early as they can to nurture their talents for it may be their door opener to the future.

“Talent pays. It can take you places where books may not. I am not watering down the significance of education, but we must acknowledge that people are gifted differently. It is therefore vital to develop a holistic person, both academically and in their God-given niches” added Muluka.

She added that there are no white-collar jobs at the moment and only through being smart, like having talents and standing out can help put food on the table and live a fulfilled life.

She also added that if one has both academic prowess and talent, then the person is good to go on whichever path they wish to take saying that it would be an added advantage because the two can complement each other.

PIC 2: adolescent following a performance during KICHFEST 2022