CPI Launches New Storytelling Program in Kenya

Girls attending storytelling session in Kenya

CPI Launches New Storytelling Program in Kenya

Share This Post

Storytelling for a Brighter Future

Storyteller and children during CPI storytelling workshop in Kenya

ChildsPlay International (CPI) is thrilled to introduce an exciting new Storytelling Partnership aimed at supporting vulnerable children in Kenya. Many of these girls are at risk of child marriage and FGM.

In the past, CPI has successfully conducted Storytelling workshops in Migori and Mikei, both communities deeply impacted by the effects of HIV/AIDS, which has left many children orphaned. Our efforts have been channeled through schools and community groups, providing much-needed assistance.

New Storytelling Project in Kenya to Help Vulnerable Girls Heal

CPI held our first “Storytelling for a Brighter Future” session on July 23. The children and storytellers alike were filled with joy and satisfaction, and we share in their enthusiasm. This partnership marks another step towards making a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this journey.

Storyteller and children attendingCPI Storytelling event for vulnerable children in Kenya.
Gloria Ochola introduced the first storyteller to the students.

Local Partnership is the Key to Helping Vulnerable Children

Gloria Ochola, our esteemed local partner in Migori, is deeply committed to empowering vulnerable children, women, and girls in the community. She collaborates closely with the Tunaweza Empowerment Organization (TEO), a dedicated local non-profit organization that focuses on advancing women’s rights and fostering youth development. The first Storytelling for a Brighter Future session was held in a Kuria school past weekend (we will talk more about the Kuria people further down on the page).

“Tunaweza” in Swahili means ‘we can,’ reflecting their belief in the power of collective effort.

Gloria Ochola is our partner in Migori. We had the pleasure of meeting her during our previous visit to Kenya, where we organized programs at schools to support HIV orphans.

CPI’s Storytelling Collaboration is Play-based Learning and Cultural Preservation

Children proudly showing off their drawing during CPI Storytelling workshop in Kenya

Gloria, along with TEO, has set their sights on implementing CPI’s Storytelling for a Brighter Future program in partnership clubs within schools in the local communities around Migori. This storytelling collaboration aims to bring the transformative power of storytelling to these young minds, providing them with a platform to express themselves, find strength in their voices, and ultimately shape a brighter future for themselves and their community. Through this joint effort, we seek to create a nurturing environment where these vulnerable children can thrive and reach their full potential.

Storytelling is a unique way for kids to develop an understanding, respect, and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude toward other people.

~ Gloria Ochola

Drawing is an Important Part of CPI’s Storytelling Workshops

Storytelling Experiences a Renaissance in Africa

The oral storytelling tradition experiences a renaissance in Africa. In Kenya, it has even become part of the school curriculum, according to the Goethe Institute. The rich tradition of Kenyan storytelling serves as a conduit for ideas that transport the listener to the realms of imagination, offering an escape from the constraints of reality. Through this age-old practice, Kenyans, and especially children, have the opportunity to express and share their unique perspectives on the world, employing their native language as a means of personal communication.

Play Brings Healing to Children Suffering from Trauma

Play brings healing to children suffering from trauma. Trauma takes many forms – pandemics, war, poverty, HIV orphanhood, displacement – and it affects children the most. We can’t rid the world of these conditions, but CPI helps create a place of safety and normalcy through play, allowing respite, resiliency, and joy. 

Play is always at the center of everything that we do, and Storytelling is Play-based learning at its best.

Childs drawing following storytelling session Kenya


Drawing of the story.

CPI’s new program, Storytelling for a Brighter Future Migori, Kenya, aims to preserve and revitalize local cultural heritage in Migori County, located on the border with Tanzania. Storytelling, Song and Dance, Education, mask-making and Cultural Conservation are the pillars of CPI’s programs. Through play, children not only uphold the tradition but also put their own unique interpretations into it. Play becomes a vibrant space where culture and imagination intertwine, fostering a dynamic and ever-changing tapestry of shared experiences and narratives.

Children participating in local Song and Dance before Storytelling session July 23

“One way in which tradition and culture are maintained between generations is through the practice of Storytelling…it is important not to alter or change traditional stories, but rather understand their background and meaning.” 

~ Gloria Ochola

Storytelling as a Means to Help Environmental Conservation Efforts

Many cultures have traditional stories, myths, and folklore deeply connected to nature, and Kenya is no different. Environmental Conservation is important in this part of Africa, and according to Gloria Ochola, one that has political, economic, and social perspectives. It is more than the protection of the animals in Kenya. Conscious collaboration is required between conservationists and indigenous groups such as the Kuria. That being said, collaboration means understanding and respecting one another.
Storytelling presents an intriguing approach as a starting point for environmental conservation.
(Read more about the benefits of using Storytelling as a means to support environmental, wildlife conservation efforts at the bottom of this page).

A look into the History and Culture of the Kuria

Historically the Kuria have mainly practiced pastoralism and farming. They cultivated finger millet, sweet potatoes, sorghum and cow peas, and keep cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys. In the past, the Kuria traded with their neighboring Maasai and Luo communities, with whom they exchanged animals for grains, weapons or ornaments, among other things.

The Kuria by Leonard Kateete, 1997
The Kuria by Leonard Kateete, 1997. Rights: National Museums of Kenya.

Google Arts and Culture states: The Kuria belongs to the Bantu linguistic group. In Kenya, they live in Migori County. They are divided into clans (ibiaro) with minor variations in laws, practices and language. The Kuria do not have a common historical background. Their traditions indicate that they are related with the Abalogoli of the Abaluyia and the Kisii communities, who trace their dispersal point to Mount Elgon region.

Storytelling as Cultural Conservation in Migory County

This Storytelling program for vulnerable children aims to preserve and revitalize local cultural heritage in Migori County, on the border with Tanzania. 

Storytelling has existed as part of African culture for a long period of time. The culture of Storytelling was cultivated and carried forth by oral storytellers who created a powerful sense of intimacy between the storyteller and the audience. Narratives, music and dance were used to preserve and pass down knowledge and to communicate morality and the code of conduct from one generation to the next.

CPI’s Storytelling Manual

CPI Storytelling Manual cover photo
CPI Storytelling program offers two models

CPI has produced a Storytelling Manual that is free of charge to NGOs and schools globally. The manual on CPI’s on-the-ground, hands-on experience, we have successfully placed the programs in schools in several countries! It’s one of the ways we are helping children around the world to experience the benefit of play. Experts in the field of storytelling – Prof. Caroline Beauregard and Dr. Jean-Elie Gilles have weighed in. CPI also considered the feedback of teachers, parents, community leaders, and kids themselves, when creating the manuals.

Storytelling as a Tool in Environmental Conservation – Kenya

Storytelling has proven to be a powerful tool in supporting environmental conservation efforts. By weaving captivating narratives, storytelling can effectively engage people on an emotional level, inspiring them to take action and make positive changes in their behavior.

  1. Creating Awareness: Compelling stories about the beauty and wonders of nature, along with the challenges it faces, can raise awareness about environmental issues. Through vivid descriptions and relatable characters, storytelling brings these concerns to the forefront of public consciousness.
  2. Connecting with Empathy: Personal stories about the impact of environmental degradation on individuals, communities, and wildlife can evoke empathy. When people empathize with the characters in a story, they are more likely to empathize with real-life situations and feel compelled to protect the environment.
  3. Education and Understanding: Stories can simplify complex scientific concepts and explain the consequences of certain actions on the environment. They can help bridge the knowledge gap and increase public understanding of environmental challenges.
  4. Mobilizing Action: Narratives of successful conservation efforts and positive environmental actions can serve as role models, motivating others to join similar initiatives and contribute to the cause.
  5. Preserving Cultural Heritage: Many cultures have traditional stories, myths, and folklore deeply connected to nature. Reviving and sharing these tales can reinforce the importance of preserving the environment within these communities.
  6. Encouraging Sustainable Practices: Through storytelling, messages about sustainable living and eco-friendly practices can be conveyed in a relatable and engaging manner, encouraging individuals to adopt environmentally responsible behaviors.
  7. Advocacy and Policy Influence: Well-crafted stories can influence public opinion and policymakers, encouraging the implementation of environmentally friendly policies and practices.
  8. Community Building: Storytelling events and shared narratives can foster a sense of community among conservation enthusiasts, reinforcing a collective commitment to protect the environment.
  9. Reframing the Narrative: By shifting the narrative away from doom and gloom, storytelling can focus on the positive aspects of conservation and the potential for a brighter, sustainable future.
  10. Long-Term Impact: Through oral traditions and written records, storytelling can leave a lasting legacy, passing down environmental values and knowledge to future generations.

In conclusion, storytelling serves as a potent catalyst for environmental conservation efforts by instilling emotional connections, providing education, fostering community, and mobilizing action. By harnessing the power of storytelling, we can inspire a shared commitment to protect our planet and ensure a sustainable future for all.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates on our activities

Related Blogs

Thank you for subscribing to ChildsPlay International's newsletter

ChildsPlay International does not share our mailing lists or member information with any agency or organization. We will only use your contact information for the purpose for which was submitted, such as sending announcements, replying to inquiries, and processing memberships and responding to requests about our programs.  You can change or remove your information from our list at any time by contacting us at Office@childsplayintl.org.