Project status:


Lead organisation:

Twaweza Communications


Twaweza Communications is running this project in partnership with Swahili Resource Center and Shungwaya Welfare Association.

Grant award:


Project summary:

The Bajuni dialect, spoken by around 15,000 people in Kenya’s Swahili Coast, is at risk of extinction due to the pressures of conflict and climate change.

Bajuni livelihoods and access to food and water are dependent on fishing and subsistence agriculture. This is being impacted by rising sea levels and consequent flooding, wetland loss and long-term erosion.

Conflict across the border in Somalia is also leading to increased migration and assimilation of the Bajuni community into wider groups.

Coupled with migration due to climate pressures, the language is at risk of dying out through lack of use as those who speak it are forced to utilise other languages in new areas.

The grant has been awarded to work with the Bajuni community to document and record their linguistic heritage.

Bajuni people will be trained in audio-visual documentation so that the language – including songs, poetry and the dialect itself – can be preserved into the future. Learning resources will be developed for wider educational use across Kenya.

The project will also work with teachers and government to embed education on indigenous languages in schools, as well as conducting public performances of Bajuni poetry to engage community members more widely.

A group of men sitting in a circle, singing
Men in Tchundwa perform a Vave song, part of the traditions which are being protected by the project
Three women dancing
Women in Siyu performing a traditional dance
A small team of people recording a radio show
Twaweza and the project team on air at Radio Lamu