Founded in 2008, by two thespians friends, Byron and Mosho, Picha Tamu is a theatre-group-turned-social- enterprise in Naivasha focused on youth empowerment. The Naivasha based youth group currently works with over 50 youths in the county.
Through a number of initiatives, it offers its members sustainable livelihoods as incentives to keep youth off the streets and reduce drug abuse. Since November 2014, PAD has partnered with Picha Tamu to help them grow their business and reach more young people. “Through the program we have reformed a couple of youths addicted to alcohol” says Mosho, adding that the group’s activities are having a positive impact amongst the youths they are working with.
Over the recent past, Picha Tamu has diversified its services. They are now composed of three sub-groups: Picha Tamu Edutainers, a theatre group; Taka Mapato; a garbage collection enterprise, and Young Farmers; an agribusiness venture. According to Byron, “we wanted to create an avenue for other youths to participate, and not everyone is good in acting.”
Each sub-group has a dual social and economic mission. “Picha Tamu Edutainers uses theater as a platform to share a message of hope, peace and social justice,” says Mosho. They perform at national celebrations, weddings, gatherings, and schools to educate and inform students on pertinent life issues, such as HIV/AIDs, abortion, and drug abuse. Every performance pays the actors, allowing them to sustain their work longer.
The garbage collection business Taka Mapato now boasts an outreach of 50 neighborhoods in Naivasha with economical garbage disposal options. At first “only the county government was involved in garbage collection” says Byron, “but demand has grown as the Naivasha population has expanded. We want to keep our neighborhood clean.” Young farmers was formed later, out of the need to grow organic vegetables that the group views as a healthy alternative diet.
Picha Tamu seeks to grow to incorporate and encourage more youths to participate in their own development agenda, and PAD is helping them succeed. Trainings, business workshops and regular consulting visits conducted by PAD have come in handy, according to Mosho, “the trainings on bookkeeping and signing contracts have greatly helped us not only manage our finances but also know how to follow up on projects undertaken.” During a recent training in Naivasha, another Picha Tamu member, Chris Obuba, said, “we now see our potential.”
Such trainings the members say should be conducted more often as they empower the group to understand the business acumen better. The trainings also help them understand business management and how do business whilst impacting their communities positively.