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Happy Schools

place Kenya

Pioneer dance as a creative solution for mental health and well-being in schools

ChezaCheza pioneers dance as a creative mental health solution in schools across Kenya's underserved areas, by blending dance movement therapy, SEL with mindfulness. We identify and train local dancers to facilitate therapeutic dance sessions for children in schools, alleviating mental health issues, strengthening self-esteem, and fortifying life-skills necessary to build resilient communities.


Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

Web presence






Target group
Students lower
February 2024
We strive to shift the educational emphasis from traditional academic achievement to a more holistic development framework, acknowledging the importance of mental health as part of an enabling learning environment. Our mission encompasses breaking barriers to enrich education in marginalized communities by democratising access to quality mental health resources for children in hard-to-reach areas.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

ChezaCheza was founded as an innovative solution to the rising mental health issues in communities and schools, resulting in declining student and teacher well-being, rising rates of out-of-school children, school violence, learner disengagement and early school leaving, heavy workloads for teachers and students, and teacher burnout and shortages.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

ChezaCheza effectuates profound changes in students' mental health and well-being by integrating a dance therapy curriculum within the schooling ecosystem. Drawing on our love for dance and understanding its therapeutic effectiveness, we crafted a unique solution: combining dance movement therapy with social-emotional learning and mindfulness meditation. ChezaCheza adopts an innovative, community-centric approach whereby it identifies and trains talented dancers from concerned disadvantaged communities to become Community-Based Dance Coaches (CBDCs)—equipping them with context-sensitive dance therapy skills, counselling techniques, and child safety protocols. CBDC deliver weekly therapeutic dance sessions while fortifying children's coping strategies and driving the mental health and well-being narrative in a fresh, fun way. They also deliver training to upskill teachers to deliver parts of the ChezaCheza curriculum in their classrooms.

How has it been spreading?

ChezaCheza Dance Foundation has enacted a model that capitalizes on community strength to uplift and support the next generation of learners. To achieve our goal of mental health transformation in schools and communities, we employ the following tactics:
1. Local Engagement: Our initial step towards achieving scale involves identifying and training local dancers in each community in which we work.
2. Community Mapping: We start our project expansion by mapping new frontier areas. This involves site visits in marginalised urban regions and identifying potential coaches for our programs.
3. Partnerships: We are creating partnerships with schools to integrate our curriculum within their framework — thus making our dance therapy curriculum more accessible within the school.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Reach out to our ChezaCheza team and start the dance journey with us

Implementation steps

Mapping new areas for expansion
We start our project by mapping new areas of expansion in marginalised urban communities. This mapping is done by the following criteria:
1. Socioeconomic level of the area
2. Number of primary and secondary schools
We conduct multiple site visits in the selected areas, connect with partner organisations, visit schools and identify potential coaches for our program.
Conduct interviews to select top coaches for the program
We then hold multiple interviews to select the top coaches; talented dancers committed and passionate about creating social change in their communities. First, we set out a call for applications, and all coaches who applied go through 3 interview rounds to select the top coaches. All interview questions and scoring mechanisms are standardised to ensure transparency in the recruitment process.
Teacher Training
Teacher Training to prepare young dancers to become Community-Based Dance Coaches in the ChezaCheza program. The selected coaches undergo an intensive 5-day training program focused on Dance Movement Therapy, Social-Emotional Learning, Meditation, basic counselling skills and child safety.
School Outreach
School outreach to identify potential schools for the program
ChezaCheza has a few indicators to select schools:
-Private schools (we do not work with government schools due to regulations)
-Schools located in informal/ marginalised settlements
-Upper primary, class 6 and 7
-The school has limited or no extracurricular activities
-The school has limited funding
-The school has strong school leadership
Weekly therapeutic dance session for one year
Trained youth, called Community-Based Dance Coaches, lead weekly therapeutic dance sessions with the dance therapy curriculum rooted in Dance Movement Therapy, Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness Meditation.
Teacher Training in schools on mental health and dance
Teachers in the selected schools receive a 2-day training in schools on mental health, well-being and dance. The training has a knowledge component that focuses on building happy schools and why happiness is essential for learning outcomes, classroom behaviour and the overall school environment. The other day is focused on skills and teaches teachers practical dance/movement exercises that they can incorporate into their classroom.
ChezaCheza Toolkit
The schools receive a ChezaCheza toolkit that supports the implementation of Happy Schools and ensures sustainability afterChezaCheza finalsises the partnership.

Spread of the innovation

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