Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF), which returned to the fold last year after going on a break in 2016, has underlined its seriousness in being active throughout engaging themselves in a Fit for Life project.
The festival, with support from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa), is implementing a youth creative training programme called BAF Fit For Life.
The festival’s organisers said that BAF Fit for Life will run in nine districts of the Southern region ahead of the main festival.
BAF has since revealed that the festival will this year be held from October 5 to 7.
According to BAF Executive Director, Thom Chibambo, the BAF Fit for Life project is also supported by other BAF partners such as Hivos.
“BAF Fit for Life is a creative youth programme which aims to provide and enhance youth with skills which will help them to become productive citizens in the country,” Chibambo said.
He also said that the project is also aiming at providing a platform to the voiceless.
“We started this project last year where we engaged a trainer from Zimbabwe Teddy Magawa. He worked with the youth during the festival training them in physical theatre production and so this is a continuation,” Chibambo said.
He said that December last year, BAF met with District Youth Officers (DYO’s) and youth network representatives where they introduced the project.
The project will be carried out in Blantyre, Mwanza, Thyolo, Mulanje, Balaka, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Zomba and Mangochi.
Chibambo said that the programme is expected to train over 30 youth memebers in each district from different youth organisations and youth clubs including students in different schools.
“For instance in Thyolo we selected Mountain View School for the Deaf as BAF has been partners with the school over the years and BAF also decided to include youth with disabilities,” he said.
He said through the programme, the youth will be inspired through poetry, theatre, music and other art fields.
“Through these trainings we also want to raise awareness that art is a tool used for demanding social justice, medium of communication and freedom of expression,” Chibambo said.
“Our goal is to impart the skills and knowledge to the youth of Malawi because we discovered that if young people are provided with creative skills, they can make a positive change.”
He also said that through the project they would also help in reducing unemployment among the youth in the country.
Chibambo also said that the BAF Fit for Life programme has included entrepreneurship so that after getting skills in various arts fields, the youth can be able to market their products and services.
“There are so many artists in the rural areas who are lacking the platform to show their talents and so BAF Fit for Life will help bridge this gap,” he said.
According to Chibambo, after the training from all the nine districts, the participants will showcase their skills and exhibit their products at the main festival in October.
He also said that the participants of BAF Fit for Life training programme will receive certificates of participation during the main festival.
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