How and why Kenyan youth are speaking out about contraception access

The #formnigani platform recently held a creative challenge calling on young artists to share their thoughts on the consequences of neglecting family planning services during the pandemic.
April 22, 2021

In 2016, Scope helped launch #formnnigani (“What’s the plan” in Sheng) as an inclusive platform to help Kenyan youth creatively discuss and showcase positivity for family planning. #Formnigani aimed to advance Kenyans’ constitutionally protected right to access quality contraceptive services as part of the country’s universal healthcare coverage. Many young Kenyans recognise the link between family planning and a successful future for themselves and their country overall. However, Kenya’s government has had to rely heavily on external donors to support publicly accessible contraception, with these programmes facing significant cuts in recent years.  

To help address this issue, the #formnigani platform has brought together hundreds of artists, activists, and opinion shapers from across Kenya over the past four year to help raise awareness of the need to increase government funding for contraceptive services. Through engaging youth-centric campaigns, the platform reached millions of Kenyans and started important conversations about the often-taboo subject of family planning. However, the COVID-19 pandemic response resulted in Kenya’s government and donors shifting funds away from supporting family planning information and methods. If contraceptive programming remains underfunded, the long-term consequences could include higher teen pregnancy rates, a rise in unplanned pregnancies, and deaths from unsafe abortions, along with knock-on effects for the country’s economic growth. 

In response, #formnigani once again served as a channel for young Kenyans to make their voices heard to their communities and their leaders on the topic of access to contraception. The project launched a creative challenge in December 2020, #FormNiKurepresent (loosely translating to represent for your fellow youth), calling on young people to use their creativity and skills to highlight the urgent need for more public funding of contraceptive services during the pandemic and beyond. The challenge drew more than 60 submissions from Kenyan youth across four categories. In just under two months, #FormNiKurepresent reached over 1 million Kenyans through social media, inspiring a generation to speak up about an issue of vital importance to their future and that of their nation.

Check out the Gold winners in each category and follow the links to read more about the artists and see all of the winners.


#FormNiKurepresent Kucheki Edition: Visual Arts

Painting, Mixed Media, and Print: Lucy MwangiPainting of a woman who sits on a chair holding her head in her hands looking devastated against an orange background. There is a thought bubble over her, where she is outside, looking happy in a yellow dress that reads "make contraception accessible"

Illustrations and Drawings: Martin MutisyaA colourful drawing done in the #FormNiKuRepresent graffiti style with several elements: Against a yellow and turquoise gradient background there is a naked woman, two kissing people, and a shocked looking man, the scene surrounded with contraceptives (pills, condoms, and IUDs). In the middle, a pregnant woman is crying, hoping she would have had a choice..

Illustrations and Drawings: Lilian Kaguri

See all Kucheki Edition winners.


#FormNiKurepresent Mziki Edition: Music

Hip Hop: Antonela Akiru

R&B:  Jasmine Mwangi

Gengetone: A-Zee Coptel & Levi Leveex

See all Mziki Edition Winners.


#FormNiKurepresent Mistari Edition: Spoken Word

Spoken Word: Kidaka Dorcas Lungashi

See all Mistari Edition winners.


#FormNiKurepresent Hadithi Edition: Writing


Dear person who will find this letter,

As a guy, they say the beginning of the end of your life happens when you meet a girl. I thought my life hung precariously on a cliff’s edge dangling by the long string of all my regrets and crushed dreams. I was ready to pummel down the hopeless abyss that lay below… Read more.

Story: Valerie Atonya Kidavasi

See all Hadithi Edition winners.


Learn more about #formnigani.

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