Knowledge Arts and Networking (KAN) Festival
Looking back over several decades, the Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MSTCDC) can legitimately claim to have an interesting, maybe even fascinating story to tell. It all started with the systematic provision of language skills and cultural orientation to Danish Volunteers sent to work in local community settings in Tanzania, as a practical way of offering development assistance and thereafter, extending the same support to locations across the East and Central African regions where Swahili was spoken as the lingua franca. As different needs became apparent, the Centre ventured into new areas of training and learning - providing short courses aimed at sharpening the skills and knowledge base of development practitioners who were in direct contact with communities. From here on the portfolio of subject areas grew, to the point where soon enough, it became a logical next step for the Centre to offer a diploma course in community development.
Traveling along this very organic, evolutionary path in providing training to-date, TCDC continues to offer not just its mainstay - Swahili language skills and cultural orientation, but also a raft of short courses in numerous areas related to the community development enterprise and; for those seeking to further deepen their skills, knowledge and experience base, university level academic training in governance and development. This includes a bachelors degree in Governance and Development and a masters degree in Governance and Leadership.
TCDC now stands at yet another inflection point as the story continues. The unrelenting search for maximizing effectiveness has led to both the development of collaborative partnerships with a range of existing as well as new formations - movements, private and public institutions, non-profit agencies and a variety of other development practitioners and thinkers, while simultaneously, stimulating the emergence of new frameworks for supporting and fostering learning that aims to enhance the capacity of those with whom TCDC relates.
Through purpose designed Experiential Learning Institutes, for example, TCDC hopes to draw on many forms of knowledge - traditional, indigenous or even knowledge derived from lived experience (that we often pay little attention to) in our pursuit of impact in our work. A slightly different approach and framework is demonstrated by the TCDC commitment to hosting ‘group residencies’ that foster learning and knowledge building. This involves a selection of activists, ‘art-ivists’ and scholars coming together for a period of time to undertake an exploration of ideas around new areas of knowledge with intent to build and/or further enrich the existing knowledge base. To complement these initiatives, TCDC is introducing yet another framework of sorts - the annual KAN (knowledge, arts and networking) Festival.
THE KAN FESTIVAL
The KAN Festival aspires to be the platform where TCDC stakeholders - alumni, friends, collaborating partners, thought leaders and development practitioners…all committed friends of Africa, can converge to collectively explore practical ways of understanding and appreciating each others’ role in, and deepening their contribution to development in its various manifestations. KAN will be the place where development practitioners of all walks of life can dedicate their time as the year begins, to reflect on ‘Pan African matters’ that have the potential to in one way or the other impact on the growth and development of our immediate community and by extension at a larger scale on the African continent.
The greatest value addition of KAN to the ongoing development prospects will be the forum it becomes for facilitation of practitioners from all walks of life, age and sectors of work, bringing them together for sharing of ideas and drawing from one another lived experience. At KAN, development practitioners get an opportunity to inspire and be inspired, challenge one another and, in particular, take stock of what has transpired over the past period in their work with the intent of ‘connecting the proverbial dots’ to suggest what path may be best, going forward.
KAN aims to stimulate the community of development practitioners that attends each Festival to play an active role in identifying and advocating for clear tangible movement in terms of development gains, for the year ahead. Each festival will identify a suitable theme for the annual convening.
The theme suggested for the inaugural KAN festival in 2019 is ‘Revisiting Pan-Africanism’
This theme has been arrived at on the basis of an ongoing interrogation of the uncomfortable truth that “Africa is a continent of huge contrasts. It is arguably the richest continent, yet home to the poorest people on earth.”
The overall aims of the festival will be threefold:
- To provide space for development practitioners to reflect on the past while imagining into the future, drawing on available sources of knowledge;
- To create opportunities for mutual stimulation and collaborative analysis of the challenges at hand and surfacing collective action steps;
- To create and strengthen networks of development and leadership practitioners committed to building the socially conscious, just, equitable community that mirror the ultimate aspirations of the African society
The design of features during the four days will happen at three levels:
- Inside track - defining the space and stimulating creativity - e.g. framing issues and creating possible paths for response
- Middle track - what we know, enjoy and find solace in.
- Outer track - exploration of new ways of thinking, working and creating knowledge, development and positive social impac
Features of KAN Festival
- Framing multifaceted conversation sessions
- Storytelling sessions
- Film screenings
- Artistic performances
- Wellness clinic (including health food exploration)
- Inter-generational dialogue
- Written and spoken word (Swahili and English)
- Ubuntu talks
The 4 day program is to be co-created and co-owned with partners and expressions of interest are welcome
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