Using SUNY Buffalo State University’s Anne Frank Project’s Story-based Learning model, this program will provide students in a host of disciplines – education, development, social work, or the arts for example – the opportunity to use storytelling as an analytical lens in exploring the politics of identity and the impacts thereof on their respective disciplines in the context of post-colonial Kenya.
Story-based learning provides a powerful framework for transformational education. It provides paths for self-awareness, social interaction and societal understanding. It also generates and cultivates cognitive skills such as communication, critical thinking and problem solving, all of which can further students’ success in school and beyond. The aim of this program is to engage students in the ancient African art of story-telling and other techniques of story-based learning practice. Using Story-based Learning as a model, students will draw from the context of their study abroad location in Kenya, examining the country’s colonial and resistance history in relation to their subject field. Students will meet and work with people from various identity backgrounds and from various sites (Limuru and the Maasai Mara). These experiences will inform and solidify the training and expertise gained during story-based learning workshops.
Kenya is home to over 42 tribes and 69 languages. The people of Kenya represent a diverse mosaic of culture and expression. Kenya’s ancient history and the traditionality of passing it down from generation to generation through storytelling, has given way to a more rudimentary style of rote-learning and memorization in the classroom. Thus, story-based pedagogy creates an imperative alternative space for mutual growth and understanding through dialogue and interaction. The layered Kenyan context will act as a backdrop against which to unpack issues such as memory, belonging, loss, power, privilege, and oppression.
This program is based at Brackenhurst Learning Centre in Limuru and at the Maa Trust in the Maasai Mara. For a more culturally immersive experience, however, students may opt for overnight homestays during their time in Limuru. Being based in the Maasai Mara will also give students the opportunity to engage with the Maasai; an iconic nomadic people who make their home in Kenya and northern Tanzania. The Maasai have strong oral traditions which they have managed to keep alive despite external pressures to adopt colonial forms of knowledge production and propagation; passing down their histories and traditions through spoken word for generations. This will be an opportunity for students to delve into the dynamism of spoken word.
During this program, students will:
- Demonstrate cultural openness & flexibility in first-hand engagements with local communities
- Use story-based learning techniques to unpack transcontinental and transgenerational understandings of identity and privilege
- Critically reflect on individual growth and transformation by means of structured reflection sessions and transformative assessments
- Examine their strengths, weaknesses, values, and beliefs through daily journal-keeping/journaling
- Examine the inroads Kenyan communities have made and the ways they still have to go in reconciling and redefining identities fragmented as a result of colonialism
- Discuss key themes relating to story-based learning in the post-colonial Kenyan context
- Demonstrate professional competencies through story-based learning training and workshops
Note: Specific learning outcomes and activities can be constructed in collaboration with EDU Africa’s dedicated curriculum development team.
Drew Kahn is a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Theater at SUNY Buffalo State where he teaches acting and has directed over 20 productions. His work has earned him awards such as the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Kennedy Center Award. Drew is the Founding Director of the Anne Frank Project, a multi-layered social justice program at SUNY Buffalo State that utilizes the wisdom of Anne Frank as a springboard for the examination of oppression through the lenses of story and performance.
He presents and teaches internationally on the use of story as a tool for conflict resolution, community building and identity exploration – most recently in Rwanda, Kenya, Switzerland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey, Burma and Vietnam – for which he has earned awards such as the Toby Ticktin Back Award for Holocaust Education and the National Federation for Just Communities-Community Leader Award. Currently, Professor Kahn’s work focuses on training teachers in Rwanda, Kenya and the U.S., providing tools to bring the power of Story to classrooms.
Woodland Star School SBL Champions
Ondiso Madete, Zarina Wafula and Gillian Kemunto are passionately engaged with Story-based Learning both at Woodland Star School and at schools in the surrounding community. Their combined teaching experience span across STEM, art, music, and language subjects but they are united in their commitment to see SBL impact the learning journeys of individuals students and indeed the wider Kenyan education system.
Ntimama is the Maa Trust’s longest-serving employee and is from the local area. He started working at the trust as a young man and has now been trained in various fields. He is the Coordinator of Maa Honey and is fully trained in Beekeeping and Honey Processing from Baraka Agricultural College in Molo, Kenya. Ntimama is also the Trust’s youth Coordinator, overseeing the scholarship and arranging community meetings.
Ntimama is keen to further his education, and the trust is supporting him through his diploma in social work at Maasai Mara University.
Seleyian is the founder of MURUA, an organization that focuses to have a zero FGM/FGC community through training, advocating and sourcing resources to ensure these girls remain in school. Seleyian has joined The Maa Trust as Female Youth Coordinator working on their End FGM Program, school outreach program, and youth enterprise. She has a Diploma in Community Development and Social Work with 11 years’ experience in community development.
Seleyian has a special interest in child protection; sexual health education and menstrual hygiene management; prevention of and education around gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, and child marriage.
Customize Your Program
Our friendly and experienced program consultants will work closely with you to develop your custom faculty-led program from conceptualization to execution. We believe every journey to Africa gives students the opportunity to learn and transform and we pride ourselves in our ability to create unique, sustainable and truly African transformative learning journeys.
Kiambethu Tea Farm
Touring the Kiambethu Tea Farm gives insight into the colonial history and economics of Kenya, as well as the process undergone to transform the leaves of a tea bush into one of the most well known beverages of all time. The tour includes a walk through indigenous forests rich with medicinal trees, as well as a delicious colonial luncheon on the lawn.
River Rafting Rapids Camp
River Tana is the perfect place for white river rafting, with rapids ranging from grades three to five. It is also the only place in for white river rafting in Kenya. Upstream and downstream currents, including waterfalls, provide different technicalities that challenge beginners as well as more experienced rafters. Rafting River Tana is a worthy adrenaline rush!
Big Cat Monitoring
Incredible wildlife is one of Africa’s most appealing icons, and is desperately in need of protection through conservation and educational projects. Many conservation efforts give rise to amazing volunteering programs, such as the opportunity to research and monitor big cats. Taking part in this project gives students a chance to deeply experience and engage with some of Africa’s most powerful and breathtaking wildlife.
Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens
Brackenhurst Botanic Gardens is a vibrant gateway into the world of pre-colonial climate diversity. Rising out of misty, rolling hills of emerald-green tea, these gardens stand as a testament to the power of environmental restoration and protection. The project began in the year 2000 and includes an arboretum of rare tree species that are critically endangered across the continent.