Including artists in the design and implementation of more health programs can be a catalyst for action against seemingly intractable health challenges. This is why University of Global Health Equity’s Hamwe Festival celebrates and encourages the contributions of creative industries in the global health field and is looking forward to continuing to build this platform to encourage more collaboration and innovation.
"There is an urgent need to bring together perspectives from the creative and health sectors to offer innovative perspectives at tackling the global issue of mental health. At UGHE, we are building this bridge through Hamwe Festival and hope to create a dialogue about the ways we can improve health care by integrating the arts," UGHE Vice-Chancellor Prof. Agnes Binagwaho said.
After last year’s successful debut festival, the second annual Hamwe Festival, under this year’s core theme of Social Justice and Mental Health, is set to take place virtually November 11 - 15.
"Hamwe Festival’s themes, ’Mental Health and Social Justice’ are an example of UGHE’s commitment to innovation, to radically transform health education and health service delivery as well as our acknowledgment of the growing evidence of the role of the arts in improving health and wellbeing," said Injoge Karangwa, Hamwe Festival’s Chief organiser.
This year, Hamwe Festival will be partnering with Wellcome, an independent global charitable foundation, as part of Mindscapes, their international cultural programme about mental health. Wellcome supports scientists, takes on big health challenges, campaigns for better science and helps everyone get involved in research.
Hamwe Festival embodies these values through the provision of a creative outlet where implementers and artists discuss better, more innovative ways to improve health care through the arts.
Wellcome’s Youth Advisor and Mental Health Advocate, Grace Gatera said that the festival will bring together many perspectives and integrate them into a global health conversation about mental health and social justice.
"We are working towards a vision where no one is held back by mental illness. This festival is important not only for Rwanda, but for the rest of the world,” she said.
The dynamic five-day event will unite artists and global health experts from over 20 countries globally to give live virtual performances, contribute to panel discussions, and curate digital exhibitions over Zoom and live-streamed to UGHE and Hamwe Festival social media channels.
The opening ceremony for Hamwe Festival will take place on Nov. 11 at 6:30PM CAT, and will feature remarks from representatives from the Government of Rwanda, UGHE Chancellor and Partners In Health Co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer, UGHE Vice-Chancellor Prof. Agnes Binagwaho, Partners In Health CEO Dr. Sheila Davis, Wellcome Trust Head of Mental Health Priority Area Prof. Miranda Wolpert, and more.
The festival will also feature a variety of sessions through the course of the event, including artists such as award-winning South African artist Tsoku Maela, Nigerian documentary photographer Etinosa Yvonne, Rwandan singer-songwriter Kaya, Moroccan poet and novelist Soukaina Habiballah, and many others. Expert speakers will include Victoria Tischler, professor of arts and health at the University of West London, Lisa Ndejeru, a Rwandan artist and psychotherapist, Mary Bitta, a Kenyan mental health researcher, and other mental health experts from around the world..
Artiste Bill Ruzima said it is through music we can cure such difficulties people are now facing.
“My music revolves around daily life and the things that are happening in it. Due to Covid-19, people are having a hard time, particularly with stress and depression, mostly; stresses and depression," he said.
About The University of Global Health Equity (UGHE)
The University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) is a global health sciences university built in Rwanda focused on training health professionals to deliver quality health care in an inclusive manner including the world’s most marginalized communities.
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Dusingizimana Remy is a journalist for Umuryango.rw. He studied at the University of Rwanda.He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication. He started his career in writing about sports in 2015.Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @REMY SAGAN