A new £720k grant launched in Kenya & Liverpool as part of Newton Fund’s UK-Kenya Joint Partnership on Non-Communicable Diseases

A new £720k grant launched in Kenya & Liverpool as part of Newton Fund’s UK-Kenya Joint Partnership on Non-Communicable Diseases.

As part of the project, I will be serving as a theatre for development specialist and delivering interactive theatre projects for it.

 Launched at KEMRI in Nairobi last week and in Liverpool on 23 January 2019, TUPUMUE, or let’s breathe in Swahili, is a partnership between LSTM and the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI(link is external)).  and is jointly funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF(link is external)) of Kenya and the Medical Research Council (MRC(link is external)) of the UK.

Dr Hellen Meme, Dr Jeremiah Chakaya and Dr Evans Amukoye hosted LSTM investigators Professors Kevin Mortimer and Graham Devereux to celebrate the launch, as well as representatives from the Kenyan MoH and the County Director for Education. A second launch meeting will be held at LSTM next week to take forward ideas generated in Nairobi with all other UK-based investigators.

The project – which will last 3 years – aims to generate new scientific knowledge about the early life course origins, burden, determinants, and prognostic significance of non-communicable lung disease in Kenya by studying the lung health of children and adolescents from two very different communities.

KEMRI Principal Investigator Jeremiah Chakaya said “Our focus is on children and young adults aged 5 to 18 because this is the age at which lungs are developing and ill effects at this time of life can impact future health. We will work in two areas: an informal settlement (Mukuru) and a wealthier area (Buruburu). These two areas are geographically very close but very different in terms of their socioeconomic make up.”

The study will also use participatory theatre to help explore community knowledge about what damages lungs, and the lived experience of air pollution and lung health. The results of the study will be fed back to the two communities via the medium of theatre and other creative outlets such as comics and murals.

LSTM Principal Investigator Professor Kevin Mortimer is Co-Director of IMPALA. He said “One of the novel aspects of the study is the active use of participatory methodologies to firmly embed the study into the communities being investigated. Building  on LSTM’s  research strengths in tropical lung disease, the study aligns with many aspects of the Kenyan National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable diseases and will be a major step in the establishment of a Centre for Research Excellent in chronic respiratory diseases at KEMRI.”

The objective of the UK-Kenya Joint Partnership on NCDs is to deliver research funding that will underpin progress towards achieving the objectives laid out in the Kenyan NCD strategy beyond 2020, and to enable the pursuit of shared research interests. The funders are also encouraging projects that incorporate elements of capacity building within them

Dr Hellen Meme said “This project will strengthen the existing relationship between KEMRI & LSTM in a way that is responsive to locally-identified priorities. The study will be conducted, analysed and disseminated in close partnership with African clinicians, scientists and community members which will contribute to capacity building and help raise a critical mass of researchers to expand chronic lung health research in Kenya and beyond.”

About Matthew Hahn

Matthew Hahn is an independent creative producer, playwright, theatre director and theatre for development facilitator specialising in creating theatre for social change, for examining behaviour and for improving communication skills. He works with emerging and established theatre makers and finding new ways for audiences and communities to access art through partnerships. He works both nationally and internationally and has produced work in the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Ghana, and South Africa. As a theatre for development practitioner, he facilitates interactive and participatory theatre projects focusing on social cohesion, peace-making and conflict resolution. His play, The Robben Island Shakespeare, has been performed in the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa; he regularly facilitates 'Ethical Leadership' Workshops in South Africa based on his interviews with former South African political prisoners and selections from 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.' From 2008 to 20018, he was a Senior Lecturer at St Mary’s University, London specializing in theatre for development. From 2006 to 2016, he was a training facilitator with Theatre for a Change, a UK charity which utilizes interactive theatre to train teachers and facilitators on the topics of gender equality and sexual and reproductive health in the United Kingdom and Malawi. Matthew has degrees in Political Science & Journalism from Indiana University (1995) in the United States and is a graduate of the Goldsmiths College Masters in Theatre Directing programme (2002) in the United Kingdom. He trained with the SITI Company in New York (2000) and with Anne Bogart in Dublin, Ireland (2005). He has also trained with the Cardboard Citizens Theatre Company (2005) in London in their Forum Theatre / Joker Training Programme.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.