Barefeet is an outward looking cultural movement founded in Zambia in 2006 by a group of Zambian and Irish artists who met by chance (some would say fate), and began to collaborate creatively together, delivering theatre workshops with children living on the streets. The workshops were a great success, and many children came off the streets and into the Children’s Centres as a direct result of engaging in the workshops.
The movement seeks to ignite the creative fire in all its participants and audiences. Using the power of art, performance and entertainment to inspire, build and transform lives. Barefeet works with children who have found themselves in difficult situations, to assist in building their confidence and giving them vital skills and information as a weapon to assist them throughout their development.
Over the last 6 years, Barefeet has grown organically into an organization working with 40 partners in Lusaka, and with facilitators in 5 other provinces nationally. Their annual Youth Arts Festival has gone from strength to strength working with over 1500 young people, and including artists from around the world. Barefeet Blaze, their performance group, has also developed hugely in the last year, and is now performing at large scale national events. Although the organization and its work have grown extensively, they have not been able to maintain staff capacity in some areas to keep up with this development. As a result, one area that has suffered is that of communications.
The institution feels communication is a key element of their work, in terms of: awareness raising about the issues that the children they work with face and showcasing their talents and achievements, publicising their events and performances, as well as supporting their fundraising initiatives. Their Artistic Director, who is already pushed for time to deliver on his main tasks, mostly does their communications. Therefore, they do not currently have a clear communications strategy, and they know that if they could improve their communications this would in turn benefit all areas of their work.
By working with TIE, they want to develop their communications strategy, so that they can make full use of and manage effectively their communications across all available forms. They hope to develop and put in place a structure and approach to their communication that is sustainable, effective and accessible to all those who wish to access and/or support their services, and to advocate successfully for the young people they work with, many of whose voices are seldom heard.