The Inside Story: Sanatu Zambang Studios (The White Cat)

Sanatu Zambang is a youth driven non for profit media and publication house that is focus on using media and publications to trigger inspiration, innovation and entrepreneurial skills of young people especially women and children. We seek to change the narrative of the northern region by empowering young women and children through our compelling reportage and the content that we produce.

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Sanatu Zambang Fidelity Bank Tamale 1050313986015

What We Do

With our accredited skills and knowledge in communications, journalism, health and film production, we try to use this advantage to produce documentaries and media content in telling stories that tends to trigger and inspire young women, children and young people to take chances in building their dreams and also take up opportunities available to them. We do news reporting, advertisement, public relations, film documentaries, and also make our office available for young girls to learn how to produce media content.

2019 was all about redevelopment and restructuring of the organization. Much Concentration was about piloting projects in our business plan developed in 2019. We tried our best to produce content both in written and video to help us work on their redevelopment. But most importantly, it was to help us have a track record of our work and evidence-based for future references if we have the opportunity to pitch the idea to organizations to upscale the projects.

In the month of November, we held our first event at our space sponsored by Norsaac and ActionAid to mark the 16 days of activism. This project brought together girls from the senior high schools in the region to have a debate and also raised awareness of sexual and gender-based violence in our school.

In many countries, women are responsible for finding and fetching water for their families. All the water they need for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning. They walk miles, carry heavy burdens, wait for hours and pay exorbitant prices. The work is back-breaking and all-consuming. Often the water is contaminated, even deadly. In these instances, they face an impossible choice – certain death without water or possible death from illness.

The first time, this event gave us a picture of how we can organize an event at the space, the number needed and also what we will need for subsequent events.

But this event also made us realized that events are important to us as an organization to grow beyond the social media popularity that we have enjoyed over the last year. People Associate Sanatu Zambang with just our update on our social media platform and never associate us with any building.

This event helped us tore-strategies on giving our office visibility. In December it was more or planning and meeting people to talk about Sanatu Zambang, our vision, mission and what we do.

But we ended it by bringing the female MMDCES in the northern region to talk about women in politics in the region and the development projects they have undertaken as leaders of their area. January was also the time we piloted our end of month program involving people in the creative art industry.

Dubbed: “How to grow Soybeans”, the initiative is being implemented by the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and the Gren-Ef Eco Business Village Ltd.
An adult is a child who has to survive’’ is the motto of Child Right International. How do we create an enabling environment for the development of every child while giving each an equal opportunity to explore their talents and build their future to live up to the saying that children are the future leaders? If we believe that children are our future leaders, what are the plans to raise responsible future leaders devoid of crimes, drug addicts or self-destruction? We can do that through mentorship. Mentorship comes in different ways. Back in Senior High School, we had this mentorship programme called ‘Home Comin
The  Ghana – India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Ghana’s first Advanced Information Technology Institute. Founded in 2003, AITI-KACE is a world-class research facility with a focus on innovating products and services for individual and institutional advancement. At AITI-KACE, students are exposed to industry professionals, mentors and also trained to become IT entrepreneurs.

We held an art exhibition in our space. We brought in artists from senior high schools, tertiary and graduate to come and talk about their art and also show their works to the world. This particular event was sponsored by some professors from Legon and Dutch Professors.

They came to Tamale to do research on the creative art industry in the region and fortunately, we were part of the people that were contacted to be part. After a brief discussion on who and what Sanatu Zambang is, they were interested in our work and asked us what our next project was. Then we told them about the art exhibition, which they brought into and decided to sponsor it.

In January again we played host to two Dutch journalism students who were working on a project at Karimenga. We establish contact through Carole Donkers of Talent for Humanity.

After their three days stay with us, they left back to the Netherlands and since then we have established a connection with their school to form a partnership with them to host their student each year when they are going out for their outreach program. Talks are in progress as we have laisse with their president for the partnership and they have also shown the interest.

It is not every day you see a woman dedicate her life to taken care of children who are not hers. But there are exceptional ones and of such women is Mama Laadi. Mama Laadi is a community nurse in Bolga from the Upper East region of Ghana. The spirit child documentary by Genie Films tells a story of a selfless woman passion to give home to kids abandoned by their families through no fault of theirs.
Mama Laadi a street child once before has made her mission in life to give shelter and hope to the abandoned children in her community.
Mba Sayibu and Mandeya will be appearing for 2 more pilot episodes this December 2019.
sanatu zamnbang “Northern Ghana First Family” sitcom centers on the lives of the Mba Sayibu and his wife Mandeya, — a local women’s advocate and aspiring Assemblywoman.
The show focused on the typical daily observations of a dagomba family life.

In the month of February, we organized a poetry show centered on corruption and good governance. This poetry night titled HearmeRoar was headlined by women in the tertiary institutions.
They all gave a sterling performance.

But Then these two events that we organized so far gave us an overview of how the people of Tamale attend or react to the event of such nature and also gave us a view of how we can improve on our products, the cost involved as well.

In the month of March is a project we are working with Norsaac, we serve as a consultant on a project Norsaac is working on to give voice to women to talk about sexual and gender-based violence in the music industry here in Northern Ghana

Drama is an important instrument in our society especially in changing the perceptions and also the attitudes of people. Drama can be used to empower the youth and also engage them productively to shy away from risky behavior that is detrimental to their growth.
With this backdrop, Sanatu Zambang has partnered with Marie Stopes International Ghana to use drama in educating young people about their sexual reproductive health, rights, and responsibilities in high schools in the northern region.
Her conversation with us after the interview was mesmerizing. It tells us much about her persona. Now, she was not Honourable Mariam Iddrisu, MCE for Sagnarigu but a woman, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a woman activist, an ally and the list continues, who is passionate about the development and empowerment of women
In a country where women are often marginalized in decision-making processes, only a few get the opportunity to speak out their grievances.
This has led to several cases of abuse of women’s rights, and the men representing them don’t usually speak for the rights of women.
While the Ghanaian citizenry is ready to go to polls this December 2020, the Sanatu Zambang Hear Me Roar is a day event that is meant to give women that ambassadorial power to represent the voice of females and question our governance and add up their voice to social issues.
This was the first of its kind in the studios and they hope to continue giving the opportunity to young budding talents in the capital to be heard. The theme for the challenge was “Memories of the past and future”. The perception is that if an artist cannot draw or paint a human being then he/she is not qualified to be called an artist but art is broad.
Artists have their own specialties, some paint with beautiful colors, others draw using a pen or pencil while many sculpt or include foreign materials in their paintings such as cloth or sand.

To mark the 16 days of activism, Norsaac in collaboration with ActionAid Ghana organized debate among senior high school students who are members of the young female parliament to send a message out to the world over the weekend. Yendi played host to Bimbilla Senior High school, Gushegu Senior High School and Wulensi Senior High School while Sanatu Zambang hosted Yendi Senior High School, Nalerigu Senior High School, Islamic Senior High School, Nobisco, Savelugu Senior High and Vitting Senior High, the winners of the debate in both the two-locations are Nalerigu, Islamic and Gushegu Senior High School.
How do we acknowledge our privileges and at the same time strive for equal opportunity for everyone regardless of their race or ethnic group? We discuss how some ethnic groups are marginalized, dehumanized, and sometimes called out for not being Ghanaians because of their features.
The discussion was not about calling out the ethnic groups for perpetuating ethnic supremacy but rather, acknowledging the privileges they enjoy by belonging to a race. This discussing sought to help all understand how the world works, to see the world through a different lens, to  understand the culture they come from and also take away prejudice when we see different people as ‘Human’ rather than ‘Them’ or ‘They’,
On Friday 17th January 2020, Ibrahim Mahama, the Founder of Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art met with Sanatu Zambang team and the participants for the SCCA Tamale Art challenge.
The meeting was to formally introduce the team to him and also for him to get insight to what kind of art they did that will form part of their exhibition.
Ibrahim Mahama tasked the participants to look beyond just the normal drawing and painting for sale. But rather, they should let their environment helped them think outside the box.
Speaking to Sanatu Zambang’s Zakaria Abdul-Hakim, Eline recommended the hospitality of the community and how they interact with them.
“We are part of a family. It feels more of a home as compared to the Netherlands, where people are more keeping to their individual lives…” she remarked.
Stephanie said one thing she has learned includes the wise sayings of the people which is not always the case back home. “… Don’t judge people. Coming to Karimenga has taught me that we don’t need luxury (the phones, cars, etc.) to live.
2020 appears to be the year of a new co-creative adventure around the theme;
Today @Rafiu_fishbone
had a lengthy interaction with Professor Akosua Kesseboa Darkwah and Professor Katherine Gough, alongside their team
Female artistes in the northern region have called on people in the music industry to see them as artists instead of sex objects. According to these artists, most people especially the men who are in charge of the promotion and managing of artists in the region usually see female artists as just sex objects without acknowledging them as creative artists who can also do music.
These women made this known at the studios of Sanatu Zambang in a panel discussion organized by Norsaac, an NGO based in Tamale to mark the international women’s day celebration.

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