kivu writers organization

now here’s an update that’s long overdue. kivu writers is the project i started working on last year, but it was founded in 2000 by a couple of then-volunteers. each year we take 20 rwandan high school students, selected through a tri-lingual national writing competition, out to lake kivu in the west for a series of three weekend workshops in creative writing techniques in drama, poetry, prose, song-writing, and journalism. it’s quite exciting, particularly as many of them have never travelled to that part of the country and most haven’t had the opportunity to learn about creative writing, a subject remarkably absent in much of the curriculum. the project’s alums have gone on to become teachers, journalists, song-writers, and writers for radio-drama and many have received full scholarships to national universities and even universities abroad. we’d like to think the project has contributed to that in some way. 🙂

anyway, over the last few years kivu writers has become increasingly autonomous with vso, receiving grants from organizations like unicef and care international to name a few, and training rwandan partners to organize and facilitate the workshops. this year we’re taking the next logical step and pursuing independent ngo status for the group. with luck, and a successful fund-raising campaign, i’ll be able to hand over control to the ready and capable hands of my rwandan partners by the time i finish my placement here.

we’ve had a minor set-back, however. vso international has made massive budget cutbacks on the program level this year, which has affected kivu writers, as well as many other projects around the world. so we won’t be holding a national competition or bringing any lucky students out to the lake this year. instead we’re holding three one-day workshops with previous participants of years past, to try to focus on building the capacity of the group and developing the organization. we’re also throwing energy into fund-raising, so that next year we can resume normal activities.

can anyone out there suggest any arts foundations or other donors interested in education or creative writing that might support our project? we’re looking at an operating budget of about $10,000 a year, with the potential for growth. any advice would be much appreciated.

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~ by aliciawolcott on May 8, 2008.

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