EUNIC Kenya collaborated with Cartooning for Peace, the international network of press cartoonists, and Buni Media, a multimedia organization developing content for impact, to run a series of educational and advocacy activities aimed at contributing to peaceful and democratic elections. Using the power of press cartoons and satire, an effective and influential medium of art and communication, the activities provoked critical analysis, dialogue and reflection on the politics and electoral processes to promote informed and energized participation thus combatting hate speech and the rise of misinformation in the digital age.
The project saw the production of a pedagogical booklet used for training workshops for illustrators and educators for advocacy programmes in schools and communities, exhibition of cartoons by 65 cartoonists from all over the world, workshops & masterclasses for university students, schools & community centres, discussions on satire as a tool for civic engagement and how democracy is interpreted/subverted in today’s world & film screenings followed by Q&A. In total, 12 cartoonists & 33 education professionals & artists took part in the training, exchanging knowledge and tools on the use of press cartoons in education.
Cartoonists from Kenya and the region, as well as from Europe and beyond who not only submitted their artwork for the project but some who initially planned not to travel were able to participate and facilitate training, conduct workshops and share their career experiences, as additional support from French Embassies in the Eastern African region was secured. The activities created additional interest within the communities, to create dialogue forums to educate the communities on women’s leadership, elections and public participation and identified the need to invest in the next generation of leaders and voters by enhancing their democracy and governance knowledge.
Challenges and Learnings
The project reported great success with the cartoon exhibition which was divided into six sections and invited huge interest from the local audiences. The addition of a series of films around freedom of expression was successful too.
The project dealt with challenges regarding the printing of the cartoons and meeting the correct standards for such exhibitions to improve the visual literacy of audiences.
This is a pertinent activity to use cartoons to promote peace and democracy for raising awareness among the youth through the outreach activities.Erick Traunt, French cartoonist
Kenya is holding its general and presidential elections on 9 August, a time when cartoonists can spread peace through their drawings.Alphonce Oketch, cartoonist from the Star newspaper Kenya
Cartoons are a powerful tools of communication. They entertain, educate and act as a tool to pass political messages and make statements in indirect ways. This project around cartooning for peace and democracy concerns us all as we see today that democracy around the world is under threat.Lars Refnm Danish cartoonist