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CHIPAWO changes name
July 14, 2005

What's in a name?' - Children's Performing Arts Workshop no longer CHIPAWO would like to inform all its stakeholders and friends that the name Children's Performing Arts Workshop is no longer in use. CHIPAWO is now simply CHIPAWO: arts education for development and employment.

Originally the name CHIPAWO had two meanings. It was an acronym for Children's Performing Arts Workshop and it was Shona for 'please give' or 'give also' - translated more freely, 'share'. Whereas the acronym is now way out of date, the concept of sharing is central to CHIPAWO's Mission and Vision as well as to its pedagogy.

When CHIPAWO first began in 1989 it was a single weekly performing arts workshop for children, held at Blakiston Primary School but open to any children who wished to attend. Since then CHIPAWO has grown and is now operating in up to

75 centres all over the country. At these centres what CHIPAWO offers is no longer a workshop for the performing arts but an arts education for development and employment programme, which is aimed at educating and developing the child, providing communication and life skills, education in child rights, gender equality and HIV/AIDS as well as career skills and employment opportunities. Children involved now include disadvantaged rural and urban children as well as the deaf, orphans and the physically and mentally handicapped.

In addition, the programme is not confined to performing arts. Included now is the media arts, video and television. Though the arts education for development and employment programme is the core of CHIPAWO's activities, it is but one programme among many. There is the Musical Instrument Manufacturing Project, a Wardrobe and Props Unit, Performances, the CHIPAWO Media Centre and the Zimbabwe Academy of Arts Education for Development. The latter does not even work with children at all but with CHIPAWO graduates, other young people and artists, offering diplomas and certificated in Performing Arts and Media Arts.

CHIPAWO has broadened its mandate well beyond even arts education. It now sees the arts as one of the most effective ways of breaking through to children. They become a medium for tackling many different issues of concern to children, such as the problems of sexual maturation, gender, HIV/AIDS and child rights. Hence CHIPAWO has developed projects such as the Kwanatete Girls Clubs and Camps, which are specially targeted at adolescent girls. Then there is Girl Power, an arts and education centre for girls only - where the empowered girl becomes a very effective advocate on gender and other issues related to girls.

Children and the arts can play a vital role in the areas of trade, tourism and international relations. Children can be excellent ambassadors for their country and children to children exchanges a very good way of forging friendship between different countries - as was seen in the Zhou Yakanaka (Beautiful Elephant) project in 2003, when 12 children from China were hosted in Zimbabwe by CHIPAWO. CHIPAWO is currently trying to repeat the success of Zhou Yakanaka  with a similar visit by children from Japan. Obviously this is important for tourism and trade in the context of the Look East Policy. As a result of co-operation between CHIPAWO and Westridge High School, where CHIPAWO has a centre, an encounter between the cultures of India and Zimbabwe is currently taking place, which will see the visit of a group of Zimbabwean children of African and Indian backgrounds participating in a children's performing arts festival in Mumbai, India, and a concert at the Seven Arts Theatre in September

CHIPAWO intends to play a dynamic role in the area of children's advocacy, striving with other organisations to raise the status of children and get adult society to take them more seriously. Hence CHIPAWO is currently hosting a column in a local newspaper in which organisations working with children are invited to highlight what they are doing, the problems, challenges and achievements. Another idea of CHIPAWO's, the Children's Expo, is currently being planned, with involvement from Government, UNICEF and children's NGOs.

The name 'Children's Performing Arts Workshop' no longer describes - in fact it has not described CHIPAWO and its activities for some time. CHIPAWO has dropped it and is appealing to all its stakeholders and friends to drop it too.

Visit the CHIPAWO Fact sheet

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