Nairobi, Saturday, 1st August, 2020 . . . . Wakilisha Creative Enterprise (“WAKILISHA”) announced today the beginning of their adoption of a Humanistic approach to creative content aimed at raising public awareness of Covid-19, a novel virus that was characterized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11th 2020. WAKILISHA plans to produce locally relevant creative content in collaboration with Kenyan creatives and other partners to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 as scientists across the world race to find medicines and vaccines for fighting the disease.
Banking on the wide spread of internet access across Kenya, WAKILISHA will be looking to engage painters, poets, musicians, authors, cultural experts and other creatives to come up with public awareness messages on Covid-19for their local communities. WAKILISHA strongly believes that a humanistic approach can be used by creatives in Kenya as one of the main tools to curb the spread of Covid-19, monitor public sentiment and empower local communities for an eventual eradication of the deadly virus. The adoption of a Humanistic approach to content creation will aid greatly in adequately tackling a health crisis that requires understanding most.
James Beautah, Founder of WAKILISHA, said, “We are doing this because we believe it is the right way to tackle this unprecedented health crisis of such magnitude. County governments, especially, should enlist creatives in their counties to produce humanistic-centered content that not only informs the community of the facts surrounding Covid-19 but also puts emphasis on educating people about the responsibility of each individual to make the right choices when called upon during such a time as we are in. We see a lot of opportunities to mitigate the effects Covid-19 is having on many communities. Through partnerships and collaboration as enshrined in our national anthem (na tukae na undugu), we can get through this tough period and build a stronger foundation for future crises management.”
Humanism is a modern philosophy that advocates for the individual and collective ability and responsibility of humans to be decent. It is probably best encapsulated in the proverb about planting a tree whose shade you will never sit under. Humanism advocates for the good of humans as the ultimate goal for the existence of humanity. Most people who identify as humanists are not religious but that does not mean there are no religious humanists.
While there are various factors affecting the spread of Covid-19 in Kenya like lack of proper social amenities in certain areas and willful disregard of safety measures by a small percentage of people, a huge reason for the increased spread is due to lack of proper information and misinformation. 4 months into the pandemic and there are still many Kenyans who remain skeptical about the reality of Covid-19. The World Health Organization has endorsed wearing a face mask because it cuts down any risk of exposure to Covid-19 enormously and yet, many Kenyans still aren’t wearing face masks. Many others who are wearing face masks, are wearing fabric masks that only protect them from dust, without doing anything to protect them from Covid-19.
A humanistic approach to Covid-19 public awareness will involve the communication of important information to the public through emotive content made in their local dialects and languages. In a country of 53 million citizens with diverse backgrounds and cultures, using popular media only to raise awareness is not enough to reach everyone.
Speaking to journalists on a Zoom call, James Beautah added, “We won’t stop the spread of COVID-19 by burying our heads in the sand but by proactively fighting misinformation and lack of information with relevant information disseminated by the right people, to the right audiences.”
About Wakilisha Creative Enterprise
WAKILISHA is a creative enterprise based in Kenya. WAKILISHA is involved in the conception, creation, and production of cultural products. These products are goods, services and intellectual works related to literature, music, the visual arts, applied arts, live performances, cinematography and audio visuals, archives, libraries and museums as well as cultural heritage and innovation processes connected to it. For more information on WAKILISHA, please visit www.wakilisha.africa.