“We – the Mukuru Youth Initiative – have built a relationship with The GoDown over the years. I see the wider vision. For me, as someone from Mukuru, and a beneficiary of the GoDown, I know that it’s been a space that has been good to many artists. We have activities in the community and GoDown has been supporting us, and we have also supported the Nai ni Who campaign,” says Nelson Munyiri, one of the many people who have supported us financially in our #GoDownTransforms campaign.
Nelson Munyiri is the founder and executive director of Mukuru Youth Initiative at only 25. Mukuru Youth Initiative is a community based organisation in Mukuru slums, where Nelson lives, seeking to engage the youth positively. They use art to communicate and highlight the issues they face and ignite conversations on solutions. Nelson, who is also a musician, says too many people in the community see art as just entertainment; not fully grasping the power of art: “Art penetrates wide spaces. I’m thinking of all art, not just music. There are different ways people interact with art, even when they’re not realising they are interacting with art, and powerful messages can be carried through it.”
Raising 19 – the drive through which we ask our contacts to reach out to 19 others in their network to raise sh 500 each – has not been the easiest for Nelson. Some people in his group of 19 have already contributed, but completing the number has been a challenge, though not one he is willing to back down from. He is trying to raise the number from the people from the community, because he wants the youth he works with to recognise the value of institutions like the GoDown.
His hope for the GoDown? “I hope the GoDown will continue to inspire the community around it. This is going to be huge, not only for Nairobi and Kenya but also East and Central Africa as a whole. We need such a space; it’ll enable us to have an amazing transformation in the art space.”