Who is Fatuma?

Fatuma is a 50-year-old woman who was forced into silence since birth.

The average person speaks thousands of words a day. Since Fatuma has not spoken for 50 years, she has Millions of words trapped within her. These words keep accumulating each day and if nothing is done, she will become a time bomb ready to explode.

Fatuma represents African countries that gained independence more than 50 years ago but are still not free. Fatuma also symbolizes people who don’t raise their voices against social issues affecting them as well as others, either because of fear or lack of opportunities to speak.

Fatuma Voice is intentionally given a name commonly associated with the female gender as a statement in acknowledgment of the gender gap, which also builds up social, political, and economic barriers to change.

An African Vision: Fatuma’s Voice – Interview on WTV

Mission:

Building an Africa that Speaks for Herself.

Vision:

We picture an inclusive and politically conscious Africa, with a voice that dismantles false narratives and involves every community member in the process of social change.

What is Fatuma’s Voice:

Fatuma’s Voice is a community organization that uses creative tools like art, poetry, music, and open discussions, to encourage expression and civic participation.

Through solution-oriented discussion forums; Fatuma’s Voice employs the power of artistic tools, intellectual discourse, and cultural devices, to creatively reaffirm community members about the significance of their amplified voice, and motivate engagement in communal, national, and continental progression.

Fatuma’s Voice collaborates with youth, creative artists and organizations, to arrange community discussion forums, events, and interactive campaigns. Using literature, visual, and performing arts, we create a conducive space that encourages participants to freely express themselves. Our goal is to scale up impact and explore opportunities within these conversations to navigate systemic complexities.

History:

Founded in July 2013, Fatuma’s Voice has been sparking conversations about systemic and sustainable social change. Within the first 5 years, Fatuma’s Voice held 142 community forums, hosted 1,420 artistic performers, and showcased to a live audience of 15,000 community members. A mentorship support program is also run to enable upcoming artists to develop, share, and earn from their work.

We have since complemented the physical forum with a digital African Discussion Forum. The forum serves as an open space where participants have candid conversations and receive diverse feedback from participants and specialists across the continent. We now seek to continue the conversations about how Africans can navigate personal challenges, solve social issues and explore opportunities across the continent.

What Problem is Fatuma’s Voice solving?

African youth have self-censored their voice and developed apathy towards the political ecosystem.

According to survey findings by Afro-barometer, civic engagement by African youth is decreasing, especially among young women. Interest in public affairs has declined substantially, from 81% in 2002 to 58% in 2015.

As a result of this apathy and self-censorship, African youth find it challenging to access social, economic, and political amenities. This problem can be traced back to three main root causes:

  • Firstly, a defective educational system, which gradually shapes people’s thoughts into a collective consciousness and transfers pre-approved versions of culture and history.
  • Secondly, 80% of the people in Kenya follow traditional or religious beliefs. In the name of some of these beliefs, social evils like female genital mutilation, child marriage and patriarchy are endorsed and passed down across generations without question.
  • Thirdly, gender equality is a fundamental human right but it is still challenging for girls and women to access education, employment and political representation. As a result, women in Kenya and other parts of Africa and the world, are still not receiving equal pay for work of equal value. They are mostly the victims of rape, violence, sex slavery, poor parliamentary representation and child marriage.

What is the Sustainable Solution?

Since July 2013, Fatuma’s Voice has been sparking conversations about systemic and sustainable social change. Within 5 years, Fatuma’s Voice had held 142 community forums and hosted 1,420 artistic performers, who showcased to a live audience of 15,000 community members. A mentorship support program has also enabled upcoming indigenous artists to develop, share, and earn from their work.

Fatuma’s Voice has since complemented the physical forum with a digital African Discussion Forum as well as an Annual Youth Conference called: Youth Uniting Africa. The forum serves as an open space where participants have candid conversations and receive diverse feedback from participants and specialists across the continent.

As participants ask questions, we identify the most pressing and emerging issues. These are shared with specialists, whose feedback is compiled into a detailed and factual African Solution Document (availed in form of pdf report, podcast, vlog and an in-depth blog article).