Kumekucha Quest (KQ) is a new, innovative, two-year project that adapts Green String Network’s (GSN) existing community-led social cohesion program, Kumekucha: It’s A New Dawn (Kumekucha), for children and youth aged 10- to 24-years-old in Nairobi and Kwale counties, Kenya. This project is supported by Grand Challenges Canada. Grand Challenges Canada is funded by the Government of Canada and is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact®
The KQ project comprises two distinct stages of programmes. During the first stage, youth aged 18- to 24- years-old will embark on a 12-week peer-facilitated quest to address experiences of past trauma and learn to build resilience to daily stressors and challenges.
Youth participants in this 12-week Kumekucha Quest Programme will, then, have the option to be trained as mentors who can further hold space for younger children and teens in their communities who have similar life experiences including toxic stress, childhood adversity, and trauma.
This second stage of the KQ project is referred to as Kumekucha Watoto and Vijana (KWV) - translating to children and teens, respectively - and is geared specifically towards 10- to 17-year-old participants.
The KQ and KWV Programmes seek to increase their target audiences’ understanding of trauma and mental health as well as teach them practical skills for social and emotional regulation and maintaining wellbeing. The KQ project as a whole will create a social support network that youth can tap into in order to access various services and facilities as they work together towards the betterment of themselves, their younger peers, and their wider community.
KQ is a uniquely designed initiative that builds on the shared vision for peace in hurting communities, as well as engages and supports local youth volunteers to facilitate and sustain the change they wish to see in their communities. At its heart, it aims to build connections between community members, foster mentorship within these new connections to promote hope and healing, and empower them to flourish without any formal framework. KQ is a social movement, not simply a project, and is designed to be ongoing long after the two-year implementation period, offering long-lasting healing and transformation.
Partners - SambaSports Youth Agenda
Samba is a social platform created in February 2018 by youth and friends of youth from Kwale County, on the Kenyan coast, to inspire and influence behavioural transformations in young boys and girls through the use of targeted, integrated sports and skits activities. They work in 11 locations across Kwale and was started up following the founders’ growing concerns of the rate at which teenagers and youth in the area were degenerating to drug addicts, juvenile criminals, and forced labourers, as well as falling victim to the increasing number of human trafficking cases and the impacts of HIV/AIDS on individuals and families. Samba is fully youth-initiated and youth-led, has been operating for two-and-a-half years, and has the operational systems able to handle donor funds directly, based on our organisational capacity assessment.
Partners - Diplomats for Health in Resilient Community (DFH-RC)
DFH-RC is a newer, youth-led CBO, registered in March 2019 by recently and soon-to-be graduated university students from various colleges and universities in Nairobi. Based in Majengo, Nairobi, it champions for the mental and emotional wellbeing of young people by providing safe spaces that build ‘Resilient Minds, Resilient Youths’. DFH-RC’s focus is on building and investing in a resilient generation, and their areas of expertise within this are mental health, trauma healing, gender-based violence, social empowerment, poverty reduction, physical and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, and human rights advocacy.
Of relevance to KQ, DFH-RC has extensive experience working with mental health and resilience in schools, particularly in an urban setting. Many of its members have lived experiences with the Pair of ACEs and, thereby, are intimately familiar with the topics on which KQ teaches. DFH-RC was selected by GSN 4 https://twitter.com/DFHRC?s=20. 8 because of its more nascent nature. Based on our organisational assessment, they will receive an in-kind award and one of GSN’s goals whilst working with DFH-RC on this project is to support them in growing their organisational capacities