Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Guitar training for Peace and Trustbuilding in Kenya 

The Nakuru National library is one among five few libraries in the country to have an American corner within. This space which is under the American Embassy allows for different programs to happen all aimed at improving relations and capacity building to the citizen.

The American corner space has A few members of IofC Kenya as its active alumni attending sessions, holding training and forums. We have also had the opportunity to plan some of the activities like book club, writers club, talent show and many more. This time round we have had the opportunity to run guitar training combined with Trustbuilding sessions with the learners.

The program started on 3rd November and is expected to run for 10 weeks this year and possibly the whole of next year. We have currently engaged 18 participants with hope of increased participation in the future. Some of the participants travel from far to get a chance to learn the guitar.

The three hour sessions runs from 9am to 12 noon, with extension from passion of the team. We allocate one hour for dialogue. On the first day there was a discussion on the importance of live music to mental health and also how we can revive the dying culture of learning music as well as playing musical instruments- the guitar being our main focus.

“Making music sharpens the mind and relieves stress.” Words of Martha a public health worker.

Our second session was on good governance. We had a dialogue revolving around the idea “AS I AM SO IS MY NATION’’.

We asked two processed questions:

  • If God was to make you into a nation what kind of a nation would we have?  Your characters, temperament, faults, strengths etc?

No one liked the kind of country that would be created. Yet we look forward to a new change in the country via elective government 2022 and have not realized whom we need to change first, the citizen or the leaders? However our dialogue led to some insight, “I think we all need to change, we are interrelated.” Words of Allan a guitar learner.


  • Are we looking for a leader who will do what the country need or what the people want?

The participants agreed that we all need to make a stand when it comes to the campaign period. We agreed with the saying , “I will do what is right even if no one is doing it;  And I will not do what is wrong even if everybody is doing it”.

We however found ourselves not doing this often enough and thus needs to change. When playing music together we often forget so many things like time, age, gender, class, ethnicity and more interesting our political differences... I wish we could treat politics like music.” Words of Kamau a guitarist and a former DJ. The discussion was very lively as we discovered our stereo types and conscious biases especially in politics, but eventually we drew some healthy conclusions.

‘If I were to write a song on this I would urge the citizen to vote whomever they find right irrespective of status and not mind the opinion of other people” words of grace.

“I think we all should change because leaders come from the citizen and citizen elect leader. We are the same thing anyway” concluded Richard a volunteer at the library.

Report by John Njoroge