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Chipawo Logo
FoundersDavid Chifunyise, Farai Gezi, Robert McLaren, Julie Frederikse
Formerly called
Children Performing Arts Workshop

Chipawo is a non-governmental organisation focused on programmes that benefit and empower Zimbabwean children through participatory arts education.

Chipawo was founded in 1989 by Stephen Chifunyise, a playwright and then a civil servant, Farai Gezi, a music educationist and musician, Julie Frederikse, an author, and Robert McLaren, an academic, writer, and theatre practitioner.[1]

Chipawo administers a number of different projects, including those focused on: arts education; early education; gender; child rights; HIV/AIDS; poverty reduction; the deaf; the mentally and physically disabled; rural children; the girl child; and orphans.[1]

The organisation delivers its programs in partnership with organisations such as Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture, European Union (EU), Forum of African Women Educationists of Zimbabwe (FAWEZI) and others.[1]


Arts Education for Development and Employment

This is CHIPAWO's founding and central activity which is offered on contract to schools or through the bursary scheme and other projects. The arts education for development and employment programme involves weekly workshops in music, dance, drama, and media in over 72 centres including pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, as well as centres in schools that deal with disabled children.[1]

Bringing CHIPAWO to More Children

This programme aims to give disadvantaged children access to CHIPAWO's Arts Education for Development and Employment activities. These include the urban and rural poor, who are supported by the bursary scheme, people who are deaf and people who are unable to speak, the mentally and physically handicapped, children living with HIV/AIDS, and orphans. The bursary scheme, funded by the Swedish bilateral agency, SIDA, supports children at seven urban and 21 rural centres.[1]

Mwana Anokosha (The Child is Precious)

This programme was established in recognition of the fact that the child-as-child - the child outside CHIPAWO sessions - is important. In the spirit of this recognition, CHIPAWO initiated a number of projects relating to the welfare, rights, education, health, and development of children, and, in particular, the girl child. These included the all-girl Girl Power Centre, Kwanatete camps for girls, the Fund of the Trustees (which assists children in need), the Children's Council and Awareness-Raising workshops, camps, performances, and festivals.[1]

The Challenged

This programme is headed by a deaf person, who coordinates various arts advocacy projects in the deaf community as well as opening further arts education centres for the deaf. Support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the German Government and MS Zimbabwe has led to the expansion of this project to include other handicapped children, with an emphasis on the girl child. The project also includes a Handicapped and Girl Child Advocacy Arts Festival, entitled "Give Us a Chance", and television programmes focused on deaf children created by deaf children.[1]


Theatre, dance, music: Work on advocacy themes for United Nations (UN) agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the government, and the corporate sector. This component of CHIPAWO's work includes: a musical instrument manufacturing project, wardrobe and props, wedding services, T-shirts, video hire, contract performances by three special performance groups, the Harare Junior Theatre, and the Harare Youth Theatre. These diplomas are accredited by the Midlands State University.[1]


This division is responsible for all training in CHIPAWO, internal or external. It has established as its main instrument the Zimbabwe Academy of Arts Education for Development, which offers a diploma in performing arts, a diploma in media arts, and certificates in music, dance, theatre arts, and musical instrument manufacturing. The Academy's diplomas and certificates are accredited by the Midlands State University. The Academy also runs a variety of special and vocational courses and offers training, consultancy, supervision, and monitoring to other organisations wishing to develop arts education for development and employment or vocational training programmes of their own.[1]


The Media programme is responsible for developing video, television, and radio for children. CHIPAWO has established the CHIPAWO Media Centre (digital and linear video, sound, and studio facilities) which offers video and sound services, training, and children's television and radio programmes and exchanges. CHIPAWO Media has pioneered children's, young people's, and deaf person's programmes on television. For example, the first series in Zimbabwe in Sign Language, "Handspeak", aired in 2005-6. As of March 2010, the popular children's magazine programme "Nde'pi Gen'a' (What's up, gang?)" has been running for over a year.[1]


Chipawo was instrumental in founding Zimbabwe Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ZATCYP)/ASSITEJ in South Africa. CHIPAWO disaffiliated a few years back as it had become a national organisation in its own right and needed to do this in order to register with the National Arts Council. Individual members of CHIPAWO may and do belong to it.

Famous People That Were Part Of Chipawo Programmes As Children


The word Chipawo is an abbreviation for "Children's Performing Arts Workshop". The word Chipawo however is itself a Shona word, meaning "please give" or "give also". CHIPAWO believes that through arts education – which includes performing arts and media arts - it can make a positive difference in the lives of Zimbabwean children and youth and also ensure a better tomorrow for the society. Communication Strategies: CHIPAWO administers a number of different projects, including those focused on: arts education; early education; gender; child rights; HIV/AIDS; poverty reduction; the deaf; the mentally and physically disabled; rural children; the girl child; and orphans.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 CHIPAWO,The Communication Initiative, Published: 9 Mar 2010, Retrieved: 6 Aug 2019