AREA OF FOCUS Community Mentorship and Empowerment Initiative

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Media Development

COME's approach to media development includes tailored activities that are context-sensitive, and which also take account of the challenges and opportunities created by the rapidly changing media environment. We use the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty, improve health, save lives and support people in understanding their rights. Our aim is to inform, connect and people around the world. We harness our creativity on TV, radio, online and social media. We support other media organisations to create content too. We conduct research to inform, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our media projects.

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Youth Engagement

COME's effective youth engagement (YE) programming involves a supportive environment; an orientation toward positive outcomes; and program activities that involve multiple learning styles and are hands-on, experiential, relevant, and challenging. We use several core strategies to enhance young people's meaningful engagement in programming. Whether it is a drama, sports, after-school, or prevention program, young people can make authentic contributions by being involved in program implementation, and evaluation/reflection.

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Governance & Accountability

COME's Governance & Accountability (G&A) program changes how Kenyan citizens participate in decision-making that affects them. We achieve this by deploying our interactive radio method involving decision-makers, shaped by audience input (via SMS, instant messaging and social media), to create meaningful spaces for public dialogue. Connecting citizens, authorities, civil society and others in vibrant public discussion, COME Initiative fosters crucial citizen-authority encounters where issues are addressed, action is identified, and those in power are held to account. We then turn this citizen voice into timely and compelling evidence at scale. We tell citizen evidence-based stories and support decision-makers through collaborative insight generation and ideas for action.

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Community Evidence for Social Change

Community Evidence for social Change (CESC) leverages COMEs’ interactive radio and mixedmethods capabilities to put citizens at the heart of programme design and policy response in sectors ranging from education to public health, gender equality and livelihoods. Our interactive radio approach enables large-scale, plural and inclusive discussions to emerge which are contextually-based and citizen-driven. This is immensely valuable in itself, particularly in contexts where the space for public debate is limited. Understanding citizen voice allows COME to help our partners better design programmes and policies in line with citizen needs and opinions. In addition, this citizen voice-centred approach is a valuable tool in unravelling social norms that underpin harmful practices, determining key drivers of social and behaviour change and tracking the shift in beliefs over time. In the mediaenabled discursive spaces we curate, negative views can be contested by the public itself and positive attitudes for social change can be made visible.

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Theatre for Development

The animating principle of COME’s Theatre for Development (TD) Program is equitable Creative Placemaking, which elevates arts, culture and community-engaged design as central elements of community development and planning. Creative Placemaking can involve many approaches. Its core function, however, is elevating the unique attributes of place through the voices of its residents. If we involve artists and culture bearers to rethink the concept of community development, we are able to create a new perspective that embodies the culture and voices of the people who live there. This approach can contribute to enhanced pathways for people with low incomes to lead self-determined, healthy lives and to contribute to more just outcomes.

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Vincent Boitone
Executive Director
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