Caption: Policy Brief created by MAP Youth Researchers in Kyrgyzstan
Art-based methods enable different stakeholders and audiences to engage with critical ideas and issues. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project ‘Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP): Informing the National Curriculum and Youth Policy for Peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal’ aims to explore the use of art-based methods to enable communication structures between young people and decision-makers from local to regional levels. In a MAP webinar on 10 May 2022, young researchers from 16 participating MAP Youth Researcher Clubs in Kyrgyzstan and six MAP Child Clubs in Nepal demonstrated how they used art-based research methods to explore underlying issues and problems and to communicate these issues with local and regional decision-makers. Experts from the Open Innovation Team, a UK cross-government unit that works with academics to help officials generate analysis and ideas for priority projects, served as respondents. In relation to creating systemic change, respondents stated that it would be important to build a consortium with like-minded organisations or projects to help put pressure on decision-making or policy-making bodies. The webinar enabled the MAP team and webinar attendees to think deeper about next steps concerning how art-based methods might enable shifts in behaviour and attitude in relation to practices that might be embedded within certain cultures. For instance, there is legislation against child abuse in relation to migration in Kyrgyzstan, but some of the practices have become normalised. Art-based outputs including posters, drawings, films, and performances demonstrated the impact of these social issues on the lived experience of young people. Findings related to the causes and recommended solutions to the issues identified by the young researchers, that evolved through conversations between young people and local decision-makers, were incorporated into policy briefs. In our next ‘Agents of Change’ webinar on 24 May 2022, young researchers from all of the four countries will share their youth-led research projects including art-based outputs and policy briefs through a virtual exhibit with respondents from UNESCO. MAP will continue to engage local and regional decision-makers as we move to the next phase of the project which will focus on building communication structures between young people and policy-makers from local to regional to national levels.
You can register now to our upcoming ‘Agents of Change’ Webinar, or contact the Principal Investigator (PI) Professor Ananda Breed.
Caption: A Young participant drawing a Conflict Tree
As a general trend, policy-informing projects in Nepal are decided by donors and decisions are made from the top-down. Young people are often only at the receiving end of development and research projects.
Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Nepal allowed young people to brainstorm and develop a research project by themselves and implement it through the Small Grant Project Call.
From January-April 2022, seven child clubs implemented small grant projects on several topics including caste-based discrimination, gender-based violence, human trafficking, and drug abuse. In this blog, I am writing on how those issues and topics were selected by MAP Child Clubs in Nepal for MAP Small Grant Projects.
In a workshop organized by MAP Nepal team on 27th April 2022, the Small Grants Grantee shared the process how had they chosen issues and topic for the projects. Based on the responses collected in the workshop, I grouped the ideas into five major stages:
- Collection of ideas and issues through self-realization/peer observations by young people
- Analysing the issues through Conflict Tree Methods
- Consultation among child club members
- Consultations with teachers and parents
- Partnership with other local stakeholders.
A conflict tree analysis of drug abuse among young people prepared by one of MAP Nepal Club Member.
First, teams of 4-15 young people were formed in each school, where they had preliminary discussion meetings. They collected possible ideas, and the issues that they are facing. The ideas and issues were shortlisted giving priorities to the issues which are directly experienced by the team members or their peers. For example, a MAP club from Palpa district shared that one of their child club members got married at the age of 14 when she was studying at grade 9, hence, they prioritized child marriage issue on the top. A MAP club from Kanchanpur district shared that they found one of their peer’s attendances to school was irregular because he had to work to make a living, thus they decided to focus on child labour issues.
After the selection of the key issues, all the clubs used Conflict Tree Methods to analyze the issues. They looked at the root causes and effects of the problem. Then, they consulted back with all club members. After discussion, the issues and their analysis were note down and they asked teachers and parents for help. Finally, our MAP Nepal youth clubs collaborated with school management committees, Parents Teachers Association, Mothers Committee, Local Government, Local Music and Arts clubs, Local Artists, Nepal Police, and other local CSOs. They consulted with these local partners and involved them in the small grants’ activities.
Young people engaged in workshop – 27th April 2022
The small grant project allowed young people to gain initiative and leadership skills along with opportunities for co-creation, collaboration, and project planning.
The Small Grant project – supported by MAP – fostered a bottom-up approach in the creation of research and development agendas, thus, allowing young people to move beyond the role of beneficiaries into active creators.
We invite other researchers to give young people an active role in deciding the most pressing issues for research, and to give them a voice in the decision-making process.