A progressive, family-run school in Tanzania spreads peace through creativity, one student at a time
In the lush Kilimanjaro district of Mwanga, Tanzania, the creative workshop Seeking Amani (Kiswahili for peace) helps children to gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their community and the wider environment. Branding this non-profit arts organisation brings awareness and cohesion for its champions around the world.
Amani Vumwe Primary School is a progressive and influential school built in Mwanga, a district in the Kilimanjaro region of Northern Tanzania. The name itself, Amani Vumwe, is significant to the community, since Amani is Kiswahili for ‘peace’ and Vumwe is a Kipare word meaning ‘togetherness’. The school is a labour of love established by Pastor Paulina Mndeme, the grandmother of Seeking Amani’s founder.
It was originally designed to teach prekindergarten and kindergarten students, but has grown to accommodate pre- and primary school students and will soon open a boarding house for students who must make long commutes. Having attended her grandmother’s ceremonial school opening, Waridi Valentine wanted to incorporate visual arts within the curriculum.
Working with Waridi on the Seeking Amani brand meant putting ourselves in her shoes, and in the shoes of her students as well. We reviewed the workshop curriculum that starts with focus on the Individual, then slowly moves out over the course of the five days to community and the environment. We assessed the brand context and unique personality, and came up with a strategy that hinged upon each student finding the peace that the workshop seeks - in short, “I am Amani”. After this value proposition was developed, we were inspired to take a closer look at how design could communicate the confluence of culture, contribution and legacy.
Inspiration for the Seeking Amani brand came naturally and easily, and rather than fight it, we let the story and the origins of Seeking Amani guide the design outcome. Seeking Amani’s symbol is playful but not juvenile, staying true to its children’s arts workshop character while maintaining a corporate aesthetic. The primary colour palette borrows from the bright Tanzanian landscape - the clay earth and bright green mountains and trees. By incorporating elements of African fashion which favours bold prints in seemingly-clashing colours into the brand properties, the brand is able to be agile for a wide variety of uses.
Within the design is also the story of progression that Seeking Amani tells each child: onwards and upwards, despite the dips and valleys, but knowing always that once Amani resides within us, the best is yet to come.
Waridi’s diverse international educational background has afforded her a unique outlook, while being able to understand the needs of the students attending Amani Vumwe Primary School. Born and raised in Dar Es Salaam, she is currently based in New York, studying Design Management at the Pratt Institute, where she has gained the support of the Institute as well. Noticing the Amani Vumwe children’s limited access to arts and crafts resources, courses, and supplies, she started the Seeking Amani non-profit arts project to encourage and engage students into creative thinking and expression, with the importance of community as the main focus. Through her workshop, she aims to teach students that art can play a pivotal role in promoting positive expression and creativity.