pretexts logo.png

Pre-Texts in Nairobi

Sing Ngugi's Birth of a Dream Weaver - Pre-texts Workshop by Tom Osborn (Kenya), June/ 2021

Depression and anxiety are common worldwide, disproportionately among poor adolescents. Therefore, design and delivery of effective interventions is a global public health priority. By consensus, traditional psychotherapy presents structural barriers while advances in psychological sciences note that effective approaches support wellness. Our interdisciplinary research explores how a non-clinical art-based intervention can improve adolescents' clinical profile of self-esteem to generate positive cascading effects on their mental health.


This year is an eventful one for our Kenya team. We are gearing up for two projects in Kenya this year. In the first project, we are training recent high-school graduates as Pre-Texts facilitators. These facilitators will be assigned to three high-schools in Kibera—a large urban slum where nearly 300,000 people live in an area the size of Central Park. In our second project, we are collaborating with a renowned Kenyan Doctor, Prof. David Ndetei, on a project to gauge the public health outcomes of Pre-Texts on local communities in Kenya. In the coming months, we look forward to updating you on our progress.

The project “Adolescent Depression and Anxiety in Kibera: Arts Literacy as Intervention” was awarded $50,000 in the Faculty Award from “The Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative” at Harvard University. This award will support the project between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

pasted image 0.jpg

On May 10th, we had the first session of the Pre-Texts Facilitator Training for 22 high school students (18 to 22 years old) in Kenya. After graduating, these students will facilitate Pre-Texts workshops in after-school programs in low-income schools in urban slums in Kenya. The project is led by our Africa Regional Director, Tom Osborn.


Pre-Texts Facilitator trainees

In preparation for the training workshop for our facilitators in January,  we conducted a team building exercise in Kenya led by our Africa Director, Tom Osborn. 



A preliminary Pre-Texts workshop was held at the Nairobi Arboretum in Kenya on Friday, January 17th, 2020 and included the participation of teachers from several local schools including State House Primary School and Jabali School. There was also participation from local artists Joan Atieno and David Thuku. Both artists have been teaching art to young Kenyans for quite some time.


The workshop was led by Tom Osborn, as part of a pilot program that will pave the way for a full course Pre-Texts workshop later in the year. The participants of the workshop were able to share their views at each stage of the process, stating that it was an enjoyable and engaging experience that they would be able to immediately implement with their students.


A follow up workshop was held on July 17th and 18th, 2020.