Popular media changes lives of young people in Africa
Organisation URL: welltoldstory.co.ke
When Kenya’s 2007 elections were disputed, the country catapulted into chaos. 800 to 1,500 people were killed, and a whole generation of youths was left scared and without guidance.
The challenging environment inspired Rob Burnet, an expat who has been in Kenya since 1993, to establish Well Told Story – a research consultancy that is getting through to the hearts of Kenya’s adolescents and 20-somethings through lovingly crafted content.
The company is most famous for Shujaaz. Meaning, ‘heroes’ in Sheng, a slang mix of English and Swahili, Shujaaz follows the story of 19-year-old DJ B, who runs a pirate FM station in his bedroom, and a motley crew of young Kenyans who tune in to his show and get involved with their own ideas.
Launched in 2010, Shujaaz is a free, International Emmy-winning comic book with a monthly circulation of 500,000, and a readership that Burnet estimates to be five million Kenyans aged between 10 and 25. The comic is part of a whole world that also includes a daily FM radio show, Facebook accounts, YouTube videos and SMS text messages, with content produced by young people in Well Told Story’s office in Nairobi.
Crucially, by providing a fascinating story focused on topics teenagers in Kenya care about – relationships, making money, and entertainment – Shujaaz can also educate. Each issue gives readers tips on everything from planting maize to contraception, information about upcoming elections and careers.
While Burnet concedes that societal impact is hard to measure, he believes that 62% of secondary school kids are reading Shujaaz every month, and that the publication inspires them to make good choices. He cites an example of a young woman who successfully used a Shujaaz list of all the documents needed to get a government ID, after three failed attempts. Find out more at www.welltoldstory.com
Image courtesy of Well Told Story
Last updated: 22nd of August, 2016