A neighborhood naturally shares in the habits of its dwellers. Societal conformities differ from one region to another, wealth distribution, social engagements and capacity to attract others towards its very interests. An opportunity presented itself through the formation and establishment of The Slumcode Group and a need to connect communities to possibilities identified. Corprate Social Responsibility – CSR had to take a new twist and we had the idea to do just that. Slumfest therefore was conceptualized in 2007 by Albert Nashon and The Slumcode Team as an annual thematic event. It is a day to display, a platform to inform and a place to showcase. Business meets people in a setting of arts and entertainment, feast and fun.
To transform festivals from just ordinary entertainment, it was envisaged that community serves a key role as a marketing unit for major business and marketing trends quickly embraced the community approach which placed more on taking business to the people vis a vis conventional promotions and advertising. The people provided a niche market and the ready clientele market drivers needed and reaching out to them directly proved quite effective as a strategy. Renowned Business Men, Investors, Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Community Champions are expected to attend each event and meet the People.
The planning teams therefore took it upon themselves to mobilize companies, multinationals, media houses and private business to come reach the masses, explore networks, find ways of replication while at the same time youth and other budding entrepreneurs exploit opportunities to find markets for their merchandise, crafts, wares and ideas. Participants get a platform to share experiences and explore avenues to make their products better, get new markets and understand the working environments all in one space. This interaction helps both product developers and users to understand their cross cutting needs and market trends by location and demand.
Corporates, Non Governmental Organizations and Multinationals including government and private sector have seized the opportunity and sponsored this initiative by Kenyan Youth in the Slums and year after year it has gotten better. Nokia International, Google Africa, Hope World Wide Kenya, I Choose Life Africa, National and Kenya Commercial Banks, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Kenya Youth Empowerment and Employment Initiative, Liverpool VCT and Kenya Modeling Fraternity have been to this grass root initiative.
Impact and Outcomes.
- Connections with Ministry of Youth have greatly increased.
- Nokia conducted a research project in Huruma supporting over 15 young people through training and sustenance during the 1 year duration.
- Accessibility has been heightened and more meetings and workshops amongst stakeholders have been planned and realized.
- A connection hub i.e. The Slumcode Centre has been opened and in service and saw major organizations attend planning meetings for Slumfest Five within the local community.
- On average about 1,000 participants are present in each event with those showcasing increasing by the year.
- Youth have become better planners, organizers and more informed implementers of concepts and projects within their communities.
- Slumfest has created a bigger space for youth and their initiatives to interact from across diverse backgrounds and vast regions.
The Future of Slumfest Kenya.
The Grand Slumfest has begun to capture International Audience and the presence of visitors from the UK and Sweden for Slumfest Four and the willingness of an International Artist – Ricardo Garcia and troupe to sign up a performance shows a promising future. The establishment of a Slumfest Secretariat at The Slumcode Centre also reassures stakeholders and partners that this initiative can only get bigger, better and more inclusive with Music, Performing arts, Culture blends, Business and Entertainment galore.
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