Office of Special Representatives – Children As Agents of Positive Change

Office of Special Representatives – Children As Agents of Positive Change

Mobile Arts for Peace is a hub for resources and toolkits relating to arts-led peacebuilding initiatives. MAP’s website features recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The contents are the sole responsibility of the UN

This report was issued by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children. 


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Children as Agents of Positive Change

Save the Children Evaluation Handbook

Save the Children Evaluation Handbook

Mobile Arts for Peace is a hub for resources and toolkits relating to arts-led peacebuilding initiatives. MAP’s website features recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The contents are the sole responsibility of Save the Children.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a key part of realising Save the Children‟s theory of change and common values and strategies, inherent in the child rights programming (CRP) framework. The principles, rights and obligations set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
1989 (UNCRC)1 provide a fundamental framework for the work we carry out with children and young people around the world. All of Save the Children‟s programme and advocacy work should aim to address violations of children‟s rights and gaps in service provision, as well as supporting children as
rights-holders and helping states, as duty-bearers, to meet their obligations. Our vision, mission, values and theory of change 2 reinforce this. It is vital that we clearly articulate, demonstrate and document the outcomes of our work for girls and boys and their carers.


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Save the Children Evaluation Handbook

Dialogue for Peace: Arts-Based Approaches and the Growth of MAP Dialogue Clubs in Rwanda

Dialogue for Peace: Arts-Based Approaches and the Growth of MAP Dialogue Clubs in Rwanda

Authors: Eric Ndushabandi, Victor Ntezirembo, and Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo.

Edited by Helena-Ulrike Marambio

Arts-based approaches to fostering dialogue have been increasingly used in peacebuilding efforts to advance reconciliation and healing in countries emerging from conflict. In Rwanda, Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) has promoted the inclusion and active participation of youth in national peace programmes since 2018. To this end, MAP has adopted different arts-based methods that facilitate two-way communications between youth and local stakeholders on the one hand, and youth and policymakers on the other. This blog looks at how this has developed and how MAP is currently growing its dialogue clubs in the country.


In peacebuilding practices, dialogue is a long-term process that seeks to resolve, to transform, and to prevent underlying tensions and violence caused by complex layers of conflict between two or more parties (Bohm 1996; Bourquin 2003). It can be applied to address both intra- and intergroup disputes (Feller and Ryan 2012; Sternberg 2018). According to the Cambridge Dictionary (2021), ‘dialogue’ refers to ‘a serious exchange of opinion, especially among people or groups that disagree.’ Over the past decades, peacebuilding practitioners have focused on the use of dialogue to reconcile communities in different post-conflict settings (Aarbakke 2002; Dessel and Rogge 2008; Zartman 2008; Stearns 2018; Komlossyová 2019; GPPAC 2019).

Dialogue focuses on establishing trust, sharing personal experiences, and building skills in active listening. It allows individuals to discuss the past events that continue to live in people’s minds and bodies. These moments of personal storytelling can support the process of individual and group healing, reconciliation, and trust-building among former parties in conflict. In the course of time, dialogue alongside conflict analysis can provide knowledge and understanding regarding the root causes to conflict (Musafiri 2013; Wallace et al. 2014; Davis et al. 2019; IRDPa 2020). Exchanges within the group can contribute to awareness of existing prejudices and stereotypes to rectify misinformation or to deepen the understanding about other individuals or groups (Komlossyová 2019; IRDPb 2020). Through dialogue, groups might also come to agreement concerning how to communicate to each other and to mediate future problems (Arai 2015). To succeed, dialogic activities are usually tailored to the cultural background of the target community (Bourquin 2003). Arts-based methods for dialogue range from locally grounded interactive theatre plays, songs, dance to wall paintings (Mitchell et al. 2020). However, while dialogue can be quite constructive, it is not an easy art. 


Community Dialogue in Rwanda


In Rwanda, dialogue has been applied for more than 20 years to reconcile and to unify the country after the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 (Bagilishya 2000; Brown 2008; Clark 2014; UNESCO 2019). That traumatic event left deep wounds that are still felt within society. Everyday peace demands efforts from all parties – victims often live side-by-side with their perpetrators who may be a family member or neighbour. Many people – survivors and perpetrators – also suffer from symptoms related to post traumatic stress disorder (Munyandamutsa 2012; Specia 2017). Several individuals struggle with mental health and/or a disability (Petroze et al. 2015) that affects the entire family, including children and youth (Rugema et al. 2015).

Under such circumstances, healing, reconciliation, and trust-building are difficult to achieve. Moreover, building a nation for all Rwandans requires an equal participation of all groups of society, particularly children and youth who are growing up in the aftermath of genocide (Pells 2009a; 2009b). However, it is them – the next generation – who are often not treated as equal members within the decision-making process.

Despite their marginalization, it is notable that children and youth have increasingly taken up leading roles in conflict transformation and prevention through in- and out-of-school clubs. Equipped with the necessary skills and tools, children and youth have proven their ability to positively influence peaceful conflict mediation and co-existence at school, within their families and the wider community (International Alert 2019; IRDPb 2020). The creation and functioning of dialogue clubs have been supported by national and international organisations that have seen the key role the next generation could play in bringing sustained peace to Rwanda (e.g. Aegis Trust et al. 2017; Benda 2017; International Alert 2019).

IRDP’s Dialogue Clubs


Since its foundation in 2001, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) in Kigali, Rwanda, has established dialogue clubs throughout the country to promote reconciliation, social cohesion, and conflict prevention on a local level. People get the opportunity to reflect about Rwanda’s future, particularly regarding co-existence and the use of their dialogue club to inform policymakers. Moreover, these clubs offer a space for youth and adults to come together to advance intergenerational dialogue (UNESCO 2019; Karuna et al. 2019; IRDPa 2020).



IRDP’s dialogue club meetings happen at least two times each month. The clubs are usually composed of up to 30 members of varying ages who were affected differently by genocidal violence, or who took different stances towards it. Hence, club participants might include female and male survivors, returnees, youth (descendants of survivors, orphans, and those born out of rape), bystanders, and perpetrators. Most of the time, these clubs emerged upon the expression of interest by community members themselves. According to IRDP’s staff observations, it is the pro-active, self-initiating communities that have been more open to engaging with distinct arts-based dialogue approaches.

The dialogue exercises in the clubs are facilitated by community members who took part in the IRDP’s training on open dialogue and observation techniques. In this training they also learn ways to give feedback to individuals who have finished an exercise, as well as skills and tools on how to create appropriate conditions for sensitive topics (i.e. safe space, respectful language, comfortableness). During the initial phase of each dialogue club in the villages, IRDP staff applied a participatory action research approach to identifying suitable local trainers based on their performance in awareness sessions on dialogue and related activities. By selecting and training local people, the IRDP sought to build sustainable structures for dialogue clubs and to transmit knowledge and skills to more remote areas in the country.

To date, IRDP clubs have developed into well-established hubs for dialogue that bridge the communication gap between the grassroots and the regional and national levels through continuous meetings during the year. In these encounters, community leaders take the opportunity to address issues of concern that require regional and/or national support. Additionally, the National Listening Session provides the possibility for community leaders, civil society organisations, and policymakers to discuss ongoing measures for peacebuilding, look at potential challenges for their implementation and for attaining a sustainable peace, and exchange stories of success and lessons learned.


The Emergence of MAP Clubs


IRDP’s experiences with dialogue in Rwandan communities, the incorporation of youth, the use of participatory action research, as well as the integration of arts-based approaches have led to a partnership with MAP in 2018. As part of its main objectives, MAP has sought to grow youth-participation in peacebuilding initiatives, and to introduce diverse arts-based practices as a tool for conflict transformation and prevention. To achieve the first objective, in 2019, MAP and the IRDP decided to accelerate the involvement of children and youth by setting up 25 MAP clubs in collaboration with 25 Rwandan schools in five districts (Huye, Gicumbi, Rubavu, Kicukiro, and Rwamagana). This initiative was part of the AHRC Follow-On Impact project entitled Ubwuzu: Shaping the Rwandan National Curriculum through Arts led by Principal Investigator (PI) Ananda Breed.

The ‘MAP Clubs’ evolved from a series of workshops with schoolchildren, teachers, and local artists that promoted youth-led and participatory arts-based methods for peacebuilding (Breed et al. 2018; Breed 2019). During the sessions, pupils and educators engaged with a combination of local and regional art forms (e.g. bleach painting, Umuduri music, traditional songs, dance) and MAP’s methodologies (participatory art exercises and games) to enhance the development of youth leadership. The sessions also invited participants to reflect about creative two-way communication channels between schoolchildren and teachers but also between youth and adults in general. Other methods, like storytelling and plays grounded in Augusto Boal’s ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ (1974) provided a space for participants to share challenges and to consider solutions through conflict analysis. To assure the sustainability of MAP Clubs, MAP also offered training for youth facilitators and educators (‘MAP master trainers’) on dialogue and peacebuilding carried out by and for children and youth. These trainings created awareness about a diverse range of arts-based methods, including mobile filmmaking – introduced by the renowned Rwandan filmmaker Eric Kabera – and audio recording of poems on mobile phones. The series of trainings and workshops in 2019 ended with the organisation of MAP youth camps to promote creative discussions through the use of interactive drama and storytelling. Some of the issues identified became the basis for policy briefs drafted by youth that were then delivered to representatives of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), UNESCO, and the Rwanda Education Board (REB) during a stakeholder event focusing on Arts-based Methods and Digital Technology for Peacebuilding during the time of COVID (August 2020).


Arts-Based Training for Growth


In 2020, as part of the MAP Network Plus project, Co-Investigator Dr Eric Ndushabandi (Executive Director, IRDP) and Victor Ntezirembo (Project Coordinator, IRDP) have focused on the geographic expansion by linking the 25 MAP clubs and participating schools with IRDP’s dialogue clubs that were created in each of the five districts. The purpose of expanding MAP to link with the dialogue clubs was to extend MAP from in-school clubs to the community. To this end, a five-day training was conducted at IRDP from 25 to 30 October 2020 in Kigali for 25 club members from five districts (Gicumbi, Rubavu, Kirehe, Gisagara, Bugesera). These sessions were facilitated by six local MAP master trainers (originally trained by MAP’s PI Ananda Breed in 2017) and two psychosocial workers.

The training sought to familiarize trainees with MAP participatory arts methods and IRDP community dialogue methods to enhance dialogue, conflict analysis and problem solving with a focus on arts-based methods. Participants were introduced to interactive theatre techniques including Playback Theatre, Image Theatre, and Forum Theatre. Participatory exercises helped participants to express themselves through body language (Playback Theatre), to create powerful frozen scenes (Image Theatre), and to develop skills for improvisation on stage through unscripted plays (Forum Theatre).

During the sessions, youth discussed the feasibility of employing each of these forms to address particular matters of concern for community members. They also explored the potential for each form to create meaningful debates that support the process of finding solutions to maintain peaceful coexistence by identifying everyday problems. Moreover, participants reflected on their roles as facilitators and the resulting possibilities for youth to lead specific debates within their communities.

The sessions were highly interactive and practice-orientated and focused on youth and the development of their skills as central to the MAP methodology and training process. Youth were taught applicable tools to advance critical thinking in terms of conflict analysis and transformation, using exercises such as the Obstacle Tree that allows for participants to identify a problem, its root causes, and possible solutions. Throughout the course of the training, the participants gained self-esteem and self-confidence to present themselves as well as to speak to a wider audience. One youth trainer stated: ‘Before [the training] I was not skilled; I was not able to analyse a conflict or a problem. Now I am different. I am able to think about a problem and analyse it, and try to find a solution. And I can help others. Now I have the confidence. Now I can talk to a small group and large group. Now I am very confident.’


The Power of Storytelling


The training concluded with a session on the power of sharing personal stories within a group. The story circle was facilitated by a psychosocial worker who explained the healing effect of sharing that enables a person to receive support from others (either emotionally or physically) who are facing or have overcome a similar situation. Several participants expressed their feelings and concerns about family conflicts, the prevailing impact of the genocide, and poverty. For some of them, it was the first time that they had shared their story. Deep listening and the inclusion of psychosocial workers in trainings and activities is another element of the MAP methodology.

The training of MAP youth club-facilitators created a space for creativity, learning, sharing and healing. Furthermore, it offered a space for connection during the lockdown. Most participants noted their negative thoughts or feelings of uncertainty before their arrival and recognised a change of their mood over the training days. Discussions on the value of dialogic forms of performance in relation to community concerns and the practical exercises and guidance motivated the new MAP youth trainers to apply the acquired tools and skills in their communities. MAP is currently monitoring the progress.

Working towards sustainable peace requires the active and equal participation of all groups in society. The promotion of arts-based methods for dialogue to enhance two-way communications between youth and adults, especially adults who are policymakers, is a critical step in this direction. Over the next months, MAP will analyse its findings on the evolution of MAP dialogue clubs in different schools and communities. Keep following us to find out more about our work in Rwanda.




Vemind, A. (2002). Mutual learning – Facilitating dialogue in former Yugoslavia. Oslo: PRIO.

Aegis Trust, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), Radio La Benevolencija (RLB) and USC Shoah Foundation – the Institute for Visual History and Education (2009). Stories of Peace. Rwanda Peace Education Programme. Towards Sustainable Peace.

Arai, T. (2015). Engaging conflict history: Toward an integrated method of conflict resolution dialogue and capacity building. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 32(2), pp. 277–298.

Bagilishya, D. (2000). Mourning and Recovery from Trauma: In Rwanda, Tears Flow Within. Transcultural Psychiatry 37(3), pp. 337-354.

Benda, R. M. (2017). Youth Connect Dialogue: Unwanted Legacies, Responsibility and Nation-building in Rwanda. Aegis Trust. Genocide Research Hub, Working Paper 001.

Breed, A., Azeda, H. and Dennison, K. (2018). ‘Mobile Arts for Peace – Rwanda’. 12 March. Available at:

Breed, A. (2020). Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP). Youth and participatory arts in Rwanda. In: Cooke, P. and Soria-Donlan, I. (eds.), Participatory Arts in International Development. Abingdon/ New York: Routledge, pp. 124-142.

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Clark, P. (2014). Negotiating Reconciliation in Rwanda: Popular Challenges to the Official Discourse of Post-Genocide National Unity. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 8(4), pp. 303-320.

Davis, A., Nsengiyumva, C., Hyslop, D. (2019). Healing Trauma and Building Trust and Tolerance in Rwanda. Interpeace Peacebuilding in Practice Paper No 4. Available at

Dessel, A. and Rogge, M. E. (2008). Evaluation of Intergroup Dialogue: A Review of the Empirical Literature. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 26(2), pp. 199-238.

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Dukeshima Emerence, Gicumbi District, 30 October 2020.

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Ubwuzu enabled the creation of a Cultural Artist Network and Youth Advisory Board to inform the design, delivery and implementation of MAP.

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MAP is made possible thanks to the support and funding of the following partners

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MAP at the Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival

MAP at the Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival

Hosted from the 25th-20th November 2020, the Eighth Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival (HRIFF) celebrated the films and filmmakers that spotlight human rights causes and change people’s lives across the world.

The Human Rights Film Center, a MAP partner in Nepal, has organised the HRIFF each year since 2010. Due to COVID-19, this is the first year in which the HRIFF has been hosted online. In 2020, the HRIFF shortlisted 52 films from 29 different countries for this year’s festival. Selected films spanned various formats and topics, from documentary shorts to animations and full-length features about mental health, war, migration, and child soldiers, to list a few topics. In 2020, HRIFF streamed to 100,000 people worldwide, with viewers in countries including the UK, France, Cambodia, and Nepal.

Mobile Arts for Peace was co-partner on the film festival, alongside other supporters, including the European Union, International Organization for Migration, and the Association of Youth Organizations in Nepal.


Highlights of the HRIFF include:

Mobile Arts for Peace documentary (dir. Deus Kwizera, Kwetu Film Institute, Kigali Rwanda).

The HRIFF was the first international premiere of the MAP documentary which focused on MAP’s Ubwuzu project (2019-2020) and documented MAP’s effort to use the MAP methodology to inform Rwanda’s Curriculum Framework and provide arts-based training for educators and young people in each province in Rwanda.

Chitrapuri Nagar (dir. Rajeela Shrestha, Nepal)

In Nepal, a historical route trod for centuries by legions of travellers was suddenly abandoned after the construction of the Tribhuvan Highway. This film focuses on the ancient village at the site, Chitrapuri Nagar, which remains of great socio-cultural importance.

Soundless Dance (dir, Pradeepan Raveendran, France).

In the spring of 2009, Sri Lanka’s decade’s long civil war is entering its most violent phase. Siva, a young Sri Lankan refugee living illegally in France, has lost  contact with the family he was forced to leave behind. Haunted by the trauma of the war that devastated his childhood and obsessed by the flow of images on the Internet, Siva sinks into a waking dream that propels him into the heart of the battlefield.

Can Art Stop Bullet: William Kelly’s Big Picture (dir. Mark Street, Australia)

Can Art temper violence when politics and reason fails? Can art stop bullets? Through the voices of some of the world’s most socially engaged artists and thinkers, William Kelly explores the role of art in achieving change in times of crisis.


Read the full programme for full details of the HRIFF programme

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Report from Nepal International Human Rights Film Festival

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Ubwuzu enabled the creation of a Cultural Artist Network and Youth Advisory Board to inform the design, delivery and implementation of MAP.

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MAP is made possible thanks to the support and funding of the following partners

YouCreate: Participatory Arts-Based Research Toolkit

YouCreate: Participatory Arts-Based Research Toolkit

Mobile Arts for Peace is a hub for resources and toolkits relating to arts-led peacebuilding initiatives. MAP’s website features recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The contents are the sole responsibility of YouCreate.

YouCreate is an initiative of Terre des hommes, and was designed and carried out in partnership with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development. YouCreate is a PAR Project aimed to train youth leaders, with the support of Adult Allies and the ‘Art-kit’ (training manual), to lead their peers in implementing participatory arts-based research projects and ‘Art Actions’ – arts-based activities designed to address issues of significance to youth in their community. Youth are trained to map and explore significant community issues and challenges and to collaboratively select challenges to address in their communities through design and implementation of ‘Art Actions’.

With the objectives of strengthening wellbeing, resilience, and leadership among youth, YouCreate has been positively impacting youth. YouCreate has been carried out in Iraq and Egypt and is expanding to other countries and regions (Ukraine & Greece). This PAR project has been breaking down barriers between youth, their families and communities who are coming together with a common purpose of strengthening wellbeing through the arts.


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YouCreate Toolkit

Can the Local Arts be Used to Promote Learner Centred Approach and Critical Peace Education for Gender Equality in Japan?

Can the Local Arts be Used to Promote Learner Centred Approach and Critical Peace Education for Gender Equality in Japan?

Can the Local Arts be Used to Promote Learner Centred Approach and Critical Peace Education for Gender Equality in Japan?

By Anna Hata

Why is it important to adapt ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ in education in Japan?

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP), led by Professor Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln, has contributed to helping students and teachers exercise a learner-centred approach; using local art forms in a manner that addresses problems in their communities in Rwanda and other post-conflict nations. I participated in the 3-day workshop hosted by MAP from 5-7 August 2020. Through the workshop, I realised the importance of the youth-led social change, and the power of art to create safe spaces where young people can discuss sensitive issues. The workshop made me reflect on challenges in Japan in addressing social problems such as discriminations by gender. I believe that the MAP approach can be adapted to the Japanese context as well, enabling young people to engage the social issue that has persisted for a long term in Japan; gender inequality.

Gender inequality remains a prominent social issue in Japan. Japan ranks 121st among 153 countries in the latest global gender gap index 2020 published by the World Economic Forum. In comparison, many Western countries, including the UK, ranks in the top 30 countries worldwide, and Rwanda ranking 9th globally and 1st in Sub-Saharan Africa, with women accounting for 61% of parliament. In Japan, gender inequality is especially serious in political and economic domains, with only 10% and 5.3% of women in parliament and ministerial positions, respectively. Japan’s low rate of gender equity is noteworthy, and it implies that economic development does not necessarily correlate with human rights movement. It makes us question what is meant by ‘development’, and whether education is contributing to positive change or to reproduce the status quo in Japanese context.


Gender inequality in Japan can be partly attributed to predominance of traditional gender roles that requires men to work in public sphere (politics, decision making/management positions in labour market) and women in private (home). These gender roles were strengthened in the post-war period, after 1945. The rebuilding of the economy after World War Two (WW2) demanded the selfless efforts of the older generations devoting their lives to the company and society. The employment system after the war required men to prioritise their work over their private lives, and the system could function by making women quit their jobs after they get married to become housewives and take a role in child-rearing.

75 years have passed since the end of WW2 and young people have less opportunities participate in conversations on the past nor the root of the gender issues they face, with the older people who remember what happened. History education appears to have been caught in a dilemma between accountability and the reinforcement of collective historical narratives according to the values of the dominant male tradition. However, alternative historical perspectives by gender seem to be often omitted in the classroom.

The situation of gender inequality is gradually improving compared to the past, but discrimination against women, in the labor market for example, still seems to be acceptable, having caused little controversy. In educational terms, it is important to understand what kind of educational inequality exists and how it is related to economic inequalities. Education can be used as a tool to reproduce gender roles. In fact, a medical school deliberately failed women applicants at entrance exams for almost a decade until 2018, because ‘women leave their jobs at high rates’. This logic is legitimised in male-oriented culture in labour markets. Hence, educational inequality can lead to limited opportunities for women to achieve what they value.

It is important to question why these gender issues continue to remain in the long term. One factor would be the strong social norm that, ‘individualization should not be taken to the extreme’ to maintain ‘a balance between the individual wishes of a single person and the general demands of society as imperative’ (Chiavacci, 2005, p.122). The norm to follow the social order may work effectively to control public discourse, but it can also bring negative effects at the individual level and within settings such as family, school and the working environment. It implicitly forces people, especially women, children and other vulnerable social groups, not to openly criticise the injustices imposed by those in power through a patriarchal social system.

How can local arts be used to promote learner centred approach in education for gender equality?

In this context, the role of education to address social issues needs to be emphasised. Peace education would require wider conceptualisation to include both ‘negative peace’ and ‘positive peace’ (Galtung,1969). Negative peace is defined as the absence of direct violence, such as war, sexual abuse and domestic violence. On the other hand, positive peace is defined as absence of indirect violence, such as structural and cultural violence, including sexism and culturally condoned exclusion of disadvantaged social groups. Drawing on the concept of positive peace, critical peace education pays attention to unequal social relations and the potential for educational spaces to bring about individual and collective transformation. It also pays close attention to local context and knowledge generated by communities. Thus, learner-centred approach is important to encourage students to voice their views to create a new insight through dialogue.

In the Japanese context, critical peace education is important but may not be easy for students and teachers to practice. This is because it may take effort to create a space that empowers students to voice their opinions freely and critically discuss gender issues in a classroom where these discussions hardly occur. Moreover, the humbling of the teacher, expected in learner-centred approach, can contradict the traditional power relationship between teacher and student in Japan. This is why the MAP’s approach can facilitate implementation of critical peace education.

The strength of MAP is in using different art forms to enable both students and teachers to feel comfortable to talk about sensitive issues. As one of the cultural art forms in Japan, animation can become a tool to encourage both children and youth easily understand social issues and changes across time. Animation movies have become culture icons in Japan especially since Hayao Miyazaki, an Oscar-winning filmmaker, founded his company, Studio Ghibli, in 1985. As a child, he had to flee his home amid the firebombing during WW2 and witnessed rapid modernisation in post-war Japan. These experiences would have influenced his works, of which feature serious themes such as war, environmental issues, identity, and often tell stories of young girls’ growth in the face of adversity, instead of creating a typical fantasy. He believes that ‘children’s souls are the inheritors of historical memory from previous generations’, and many of his works remain the most popular children’s movies of all time in Japan. These films have been a part of childhood memories for many Japanese young people, and people often rewatch them with their children because they can also find meaning in them. Thus, animated movies have partly been used to deliver important messages across generations in Japan, and now different artists are also creating artworks for children based on their experiences of WW2.

In this context, animated films can be used to create a dialogue on gender issues between students and teachers at the school level. For example, In This Corner of the World (2016), a crowdfunded Japanese animated film that successfully attracted young people in Japan and won numerous awards globally, depicted a girl’s daily experience in Hiroshima in the midst of WW2. What makes this film distinct from the previous Japanese war animation films, is that it pays greater attention to the lived experiences of those trying to find normalcy amidst the changing social upheaval. This story is based on thorough research including interviews with survivors, to cultivate the audience’s imagination. It would be useful for students not only to understand what ordinary people experienced around the time of the war, but also to further discuss gender issues found in the story and the kinds of legacy that continues to exist today. Using these art forms, teachers can encourage students to discuss; what are the historical roots of gender inequality in Japan, who benefits from it, and what power relations and discourses (in the media, textbooks etc.) contribute to construct the gender inequality at family, school, community and national level. Students can then discuss what types of participation are possible and meaningful, and how they can act to bring a positive change in the society they live in.

As such, using local arts in education may be able to help students and teachers practice a learner-centred approach and critical peace education to deal with gender issues in their communities. It helps to highlight the need to explore different ways of apprehending the past, and the importance of recognising the ways to create an alternative dialogue. In this way, more young people can be empowered to act to go beyond limiting concepts of development that are often measured by economic terms, and to promote human development through which people can fulfil their rights to pursue what they value, regardless of who they are.


Cultural Artist Network

Ubwuzu enabled the creation of a Cultural Artist Network and Youth Advisory Board to inform the design, delivery and implementation of MAP.

Our Supporters


MAP is made possible thanks to the support and funding of the following partners

The Role of Arts in Education for Peacebuilding and Learner-Centred Approach in Rwanda

The Role of Arts in Education for Peacebuilding and Learner-Centred Approach in Rwanda

By Anna Hata

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) and Learner-Centred Approach in Rwanda

‘MAP motivates and makes us free’ and helps to ‘resolve conflicts in our community,’ a youth member of Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) announced proudly in his speech at the 3-day conference hosted by MAP and Changing the Story. Hosted in cooperation with the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) in Rwanda, this conference welcomed online participants from different countries worldwide from 5-7 August 2020.

Credit: Never Again Rwanda

MAP is a project led by Professor Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln in collaboration with Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from IRDP in Rwanda. MAP works with young people, using the arts to share their experiences and voice their ideas for peacebuilding and dealing with conflicts in their communities. MAP has been introduced in all five of Rwanda’s provinces, serving over 25 schools, 300 teachers/trainers, and 2,500 young people. The Rwanda Education Board (REB) has also integrated the MAP method into the national curriculum framework in Music, Dance and Drama

The learner-centered approach in education facilitated by the MAP matters for peacebuilding in Rwanda. In April 1994, the genocide against the Tutsi occurred in Rwanda, resulting in over 1,000,000 lives lost within about 100 days. This atrocity adversely affected Rwandan society, with schools destroyed, children and teachers killed, and many children and their families traumatised by witnessing unspeakable levels of violence. Historically speaking, education in Rwanda arguably emphasised the conceptualisation of enemies and allies as well as social stigmatisation along ethnic lines, through the structure of schooling and contents of schooling such as curriculum and pedagogy

For example, schools were used to reinforce the ethnic divisions in the Belgian colonisation period (1919-1962). Schools were established and run under the indirect control of the Belgian colonial authority that favoured the incumbent Tutsi elite. Different ethnic identities experienced extremely limited access to basic education, and most primary and secondary school students were Tutsi, although they were estimated to have made up 10-15% of the population at that time. Moreover, history education consisted mostly of a Euro-centric Rwandan history, using a narrative such as, Tutsi were a superior race that came centuries ago from Ethiopia and dominated the Hutu. The situation changed dramatically in the Hutu-dominated government after Rwanda achieved independence in 1962. Education often played a harmful role in generating hatred between the Hutu and the Tutsi, and teachers in history classes used an opposite narrative to reinforce divisions. These classes included stating that the Tutsi colonised Rwanda. As such, education became a perpetrator, planting the seeds of genocide. 

Currently, Rwanda is in a post-conflict phase focusing on a Rwandan identity to promote national unity and citizens free of prejudices and committed to human rights. In addition, all references to ethnic identities have been prohibited in public in favour of an emphasis on a shared Rwandan identity. In this context, learner-centered education approaches are critical for young people to engage in dialogue for peacebuilding.  

How can MAP help to practice learner-centred approach?

Different art forms, such as sharing stories, performance and dance, are important to create a space for students to freely express their ideas and communicate with others to deal with their communities’ issues. By using these methods, MAP helps students build self-confidence in talking about themselves, not only for themselves but also to help others express their own stories. As Dr. Eric from IRDP argues, the key is ‘not only sharing your stories, but also listening to stories of others and mixing them to progress together’. By doing so, MAP would encourage to co-build psychosocial support. Students can learn to share stories as a way to discuss the problems they face, such as discrimination and corruption. MAP can promote peace through the arts, such as performances that students put on. For example, students perform a play on issues with regards to discriminatory practices against students with disabilities at school, family and community levels. It creates a space for students and the audience (teachers, communities, policymakers) to discuss the issue and how to make a better environment. 

Professor Breed also emphasises the various benefits of MAP. Students can gain a lot of knowledge from each other and acquire crucial skills such as active listening, empathy, critical thinking, and public speaking skills, including those who did not previously have confidence. In this way, students can discover their talents. During the conference, youth members involved with MAP explained four important aspects of MAP from a student’s perspective: 1) to encourage students to be confident in themselves, 2) to strengthen ‘friendship’ between students and teachers, because when teachers start to listen, it strengthens the student-teacher relationship, 3) to make students perform better academically, as students can ask questions to teachers easily and comfortably, 4) to give students more opportunities to participate in dialogues which concern them. MAP encourages students to discover by themselves, instead of receiving everything from teachers. This active participation can give students a sense of ownership to navigate the peacebuilding process within their communities. 

Similarly, MAP can bring benefits for teachers. MAP Master Trainers who have been training other teachers explained the effects brought on by MAP: 1) to bring peace on the ground by enabling students to use art, dance and other art forms to solve conflicts in their communities, 2) to make teachers confident in practicing peacebuilding, by discovering different ways to engage with students and gaining the skills to use arts, games and other methods in teaching 3) to facilitate community dialogue to bring community members together and discuss sensitive topics, particularly related to the past and build intergenerational conversations. Teachers become peacebuilders in their communities by critically thinking about different issues to solve them, and building trust in their everyday lives, both in school and society.  

MAP highlights the importance of intergenerational dialogue which brings together teachers and students to create the foundations to affect a more just society. Through the MAP, teachers and students can learn how dialogues can relieve participants, encouraging them to share stories and find solutions. The MAP approach is adaptable to different local contexts. MAP is also being introduced in other post-conflict nations including Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia and Nepal. By using local arts, MAP’s approach can be applied to different societies to work with young people and use art to promote sustainable peace. 

For further reflections on the  ‘Arts-based Research for Education and Peacebuilding’ conference (hosted from 5–7 August see Beyond voice: expressing youth agency through arts-based approaches in Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP).

MAP in Nepal – Report from Scoping Visit (2020)

MAP in Nepal – Report from Scoping Visit (2020)

In Nepal, MAP Network Plus conducted a series of internal scoping visits between 25 March – 30 August 2020.

The scoping visits’ activities included consultations with representatives of local government, teachers and school management, arts-led organizations and psychosocial organizations.

These scoping visits involved mapping key local partners and schools, briefing research participants, establishing connections with partner schools, child clubs and youth clubs, and conducting six cultural artists workshops.

Scoping visit methods included semi-structured interviews, observation, interactions and reflection based story-telling. In total, the MAP Nepal team interacted with 4 local government officials, 22 school leaders, 6 child club leaders, 17 local artists, and 9 researchers and 16 other stakeholders. In the process of scoping visits, the scoping team introduced participants to observation and reflection based story-telling.

© Human Rights Film Festival and Tribhuvan University, 2020.


Nepal MAP

Report from Scoping Visit

Rethinking young people’s ‘right to participation’: the case of MAP-CTS Project

Rethinking young people’s ‘right to participation’: the case of MAP-CTS Project

Written by: Danae Chatzinikoli and Stefania Vindrola.

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) and Changing the Story (CTS) hosted a three-day conference from 5 – 7 August in collaboration with the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) in Rwanda. The conference focused on encouraging child and youth participation through arts-based methods to inform policy and decision-making. It was an opportunity for MAP facilitators, master trainers, policymakers, organisations, partners and participants from Rwanda, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, the United Kingdom and other countries, to interact through both physical and online spaces.

While attending, the concept of ‘participation’ took many different forms. As in most conferences, one could participate by observing, actively participating or both. But due to the new reality that Covid-19 has imposed, alternative ways of participating were introduced. This conference had people participating by being in the conference rooms practicing social distancing, but it also had most of its participants, actively participating from their spaces all around the world online. Time-zones, connectivity and distances were merged into this event. Talks were delivered online from many different places and discussions were made between people who were on opposite sides of the planet. That surely changes the concept of participation and respects the ‘right to participate’ in a different manner. Under normal circumstances, the right to participate would be respected by allowing anyone relevant wishing to participate. Having a specific location for the event would exclude anyone who was not geographically available; therefore, keeping the event limited to people already at the location or those able to travel there. Of course, that creates other types of inequalities in terms of connectivity. Not everyone has access to the internet, and not everyone has a device they can use at any time. But what worked really well for this specific event is that it was hybrid, by having participants both online and in person. It allowed anyone from anywhere to participate eliminating any spatial difficulties that would otherwise limit them. Equally, it allowed young people in Rwanda – who would potentially have had connectivity issues due to a low internet access – to be involved directly. Therefore, the MAP-CTS event was able to equally promote the ‘right to participation’ going beyond social differences that might affect it.

Despite social distancing measures and restrictions, the conference allowed young people to voice their opinions and suggestions in relation to social issues in Rwandan society. It offered them a space to be, act and feel as citizens and exercise their right to participate and be heard. This is remarkable because young people are often perceived as ‘not-yet-adults’: individuals who have not yet developed the competency, rationality and maturity of adults (Uprichard, 2008). As a result, their ideas and opinions do not receive the attention they deserve. The MAP – CTS conference was structured in a way that promoted youth participation throughout the three days. Every session included moments for young people to express their thoughts and answer questions from policymakers and other attendees. Furthermore, their feelings and ideas – represented in a theatre presentation they performed – were the starting point for further group discussions. Throughout the event, young people were involved as much (if not even more) as adult participants. This reflects that, within the MAP-CTS Project, the right to participate is not ‘given’ to young people but otherwise is constructed on the basis of horizontal relations with adults. According to Lundy (2007), children’s right to participate should be guaranteed in a safe and inclusive space, and with adults that listen (not just hear) actively to their voices. This was clear during the MAP-CTS conference not only because of the high youth participation rate, but also because of the inclusion of a diverse range of participants from different ages, gender and school levels. Moreover, the right to participate was not an imposition from adults; during the group discussions young people were always asked if they would be willing to express their opinion as a way to show them it was entirely their decision and that it was safe to do it.

The MAP – CTS Project encourages children and young people to realise that they can and have the right to participate in broader society. This will motivate them to raise their voices with more impetus and strength, but will also have a significant impact on the way they are conceptualised by other generations. The Project goes beyond common stereotypes that tend to consider young people as irresponsible individuals who always get in trouble and cannot control their actions and emotions (Brown, 2009). It contributes to changing the image we have about them and positions them as valuable contributors and shapers of society. For example, one of the aims of the MAP – CTS Project is to connect young people with policy-makers through art-based methods. By doing that, the ‘right to participate’ is again respected in multiple ways. Firstly, young people have the opportunity to participate in a project that allows them to practice their right. Within the project and its workshops, the young people are trained and then train other people in the arts-based methodology. The methodology acts as a tool to reach the next step of the project which is the promotion of peace-building and constructive change. Through the process of being trained and then potentially training others, young people claim their right to participate. There is not some authority that allows them to do so, the training and learning is the enabler in the specific context.

MAP – CTS Project bridges childhood and youth with the policy-making arena. This is an interesting connection because, in the public discourse, political debates and policy-making are activities usually restricted to adults. The Project opens new possibilities for young people and extends their right to participate from their inner realities (family and school) towards their local contexts more broadly. Young people’s views are the pillar of the Project, the reason that connects adults, teachers and policy-makers, and enables them to construct relations with the aim of fostering social changes. In this sense, MAP-CTS promotes a ‘right to participation’ that goes beyond a tokenistic approach and takes young people’s views seriously (Lundy, 2018). Additionally, the Project allows children and young people to understand how policy-making works, how policy documents are created and enacted by different social actors. Therefore, apart from its goal of connecting young people and policy-makers through arts-based methods, MAP – CTS is also a way for the former to learn how society functions every day.

Through this short analysis, it becomes clear that the MAP-CTS Project contributes to rethinking young people’s ‘right to participation’.  It does so both by its structure and practically. This specific event can be thought of as a paradigm of how this Project respects children’s and young people’s ‘right to participate’ and of how the response to Covid-19 can create new paths to thinking about participation.


Brown, K. (2009). Children as Problems, Problems of Children. In Qvortrup, J., Corsaro, W. & Honig, M-S. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies (pp. 256 – 272). London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Lundy, L. (2007). ‘Voice’ is not enough: conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. British Educational Research Journal, 33(6), 927 – 942.

Lundy, L. (2018). In defence of ‘tokenism’? Implementing children’s right to participate in collective decision-making. Childhood, 25(3), 340 – 354.

Uprichard, E. (2008). Children as ‘Being and Becomings’: Children, Childhood, Temporality. Children & Society, 22, 303 – 313.


Beyond voice: expressing youth agency through arts-based approaches in Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP)

Beyond voice: expressing youth agency through arts-based approaches in Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP)

Written by Di Wu

A 3-day event was hosted by the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) and Changing the Story (CTS), in collaboration with the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) in Rwanda. The event aimed at using art-based approaches to engage young people, educators, cultural artists and policy makers to influence curriculum and policy-making for peacebuilding. The event provided a rich and dynamic platform that enabled participants from Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Nepal, Cambodia, Ugand, and other countries to actively build conversation, share ideas and find solutions by addressing the young people’s theatre play, story-telling and other art-based activities despite the time and geographical differences across the countries as well as the limited conditions caused by Covid-19.

As the founder of MAP Professor Ananda Breed said, “in terms of the projects, there is building of art skills, creative thinking, well being and a space or environment in which young people feel abled to share stories in a deep and meaning ways and apply their stories to influence others, to find solutions to those problems in their community.” In other words, the project enables young people to voice their views and assert their agency through creative and expressive means.  In the study of childhood, children and young people are recognized as ‘voiceless’ due to the lack of power and their minor position in relation to adults. It is true that children and young people are restrained by the limited platforms to express their voices. Even though they increasingly participate in different programs, organizations and governments due to the promotion of children’s rights, there is still a gap between practice and policy and the programs are often “tokenistic, unrepresentative in membership, adult-led in process, and ineffective in acting upon what children want”. [1]

Portraying children and young people as ‘voiceless’ tends to neglect the fact that they are able to utilize art tools, such as theatre play, story telling and music to expressing their agency in creative, articulate and meaningful ways and therefore to negotiate their position in adult-dominant world and actively engage in the political arenas. [2] Through a series of activities including a curriculum workshop, training of trainers and drama clubs organized by MAP, children and young people are expected to be at the centre, voicing their everyday lives in the complex social and cultural contexts through bodily actions, theatre and musical performance and other creative methods in order to build dialogue, influence and challenge their relationships with parents, communities and wider social structures. MAP Rwanda youth trainer Sandrine said that there was a big difference between before and after engaging with MAP. Before being part of MAP, she was a very fearful person who could not stand in front of people. After engaging with MAP, she feels free and can stand in front of people and express her ideas clearly.

The MAP methodology also ensures that the adult educators are able to better understand their students from a new perspective and therefore develop and improve the curriculum and learning environment accordingly. A MAP research participant from Rwanda stated that he used MAP activities including drama plays to prepare lesson plans and learners were more motivated and interested. Those activities enable young people to find ways  to solve their own problems that are there in society; to clarify the root causes, the consequences, and to find solutions. It is through that platform that the school principals know the problems students have and they try to search for the solutions together.

So far, MAP has reached 250 educators and 2,000 young people in Rwanda and more educators, youth facilitators and students in Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia and Nepal. The MAP approach provides creative means for young people to express concerns and ideas through multiple methods t and to be heard, which therefore builds dialogue among young people, trainers, communities and policy makers to identify and find solutions for peacebuilding.


[1] Taft, J. K. (2015). “Adults talk too much”: Intergenerational dialogue and power in the Peruvian movement of working children. Childhood22(4), 460-473.

[2] Emberly, A., & Davhula, L. A. (2016). My music, my voice: Musicality, culture and childhood in Vhavenda communities. Childhood23(3), 438-45

MAP: A Scoping Visit in Jakarta, Indonesia

MAP: A Scoping Visit in Jakarta, Indonesia

In December 2019, MAP Co-Investigators undertook a four-day scoping visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, to explore how varied arts-based approaches have been and can be used to create dialogue and to explore the synergies between MAP and the aims and objectives of related peacebuilding projects. The scoping visit was organized to allow MAP Co-Is to explore the various political, social and cultural contexts within which arts-based approaches to peacebuilding operate within Jakarta. This would support MAP in learning about the needs and deeply held values that exist in communities in Jakarta and hearing about existing work led by young people, teachers and policymakers.

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Scoping Visit in Indonesia took place from 10 to 13 December 2019 in Jakarta. Five MAP team members came from United Kingdom, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, and Nepal. Professor Ananda Breed as Principal Investigator (PI), as well as four co-Investigators (Co-Is) – Tazhykan Shabdanova, Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo, Bishnu Khatri and Rajib Timalsina – were hosted by Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia (AJCUI). The co-Investigator from Indonesia, Harla Octarra, along with local partner organizations Lembaga Perlindungan Anak (LPA) and Yayasan Anak Budaya Indonesia (YABI) organized the events. The UNESCO office Jakarta also supported the Scoping Visit by hosting a half-day symposium that listened to presentations and discussions led by UNESCO Youth and Sport Task Force Team and local organizations working with young people.

The scoping visit was organized according to the following schedule:

Scoping Visit Activities

Day One, 10 December 2019

Consultation meeting: MAP Network Plus team, Faculty of Psychology – AJCUI, Child Protection Agency in Jakarta or LPA, and the Children of Indonesian Nation Foundation or YABI.

MAP Network Plus team held discussions with POs and Faculty of Psychology staff from the above organisations about their dedicated work with street children and children victims of abuse.[1] Before considering whether the existing MAP approach had the appropriate toolkit for developing art-based approaches which would assist and support vulnerable communities in this area, this discussion aimed to explore existing work and services which support street children and youth. More specifically, MAP sought to complement and address current gaps in toolkits that care workers/tutors use when engaging with street connected youth.

[1] Children refers to anyone below the age of 18.

Betawi culture exposure by the river of Ciliwung, East Jakarta

In the afternoon, the MAP team went to the Condet area in the eastern part of Jakarta, by the  Ciliwung river, where they met with a community which works to provide space for local people, especially young people seeking to preserve nature and explore creative arts while at the same time preserving Betawi cultural forms. The community is called Padepokan Ciliwung Condet. The afternoon visit gave the MAP team a clear insight into how local community-based organization works to promote traditional arts while protecting the environment. The Head of the Padepokan, Bang Lantur, shared a key idea about encouraging more people to see and learn about the socio-historical context of Ciliwung river and its importance to preserving the local culture. Bang Lantur says that ‘habit makes custom and custom makes culture’. He believes that keeping the natural environment clean is part of preserving heritage. The MAP team learnt that revitalizing traditional art-forms (i.e. Betawi culture) can be done alongside preserving nature and heritage. This effort, which involves producing and selling traditional snacks and handmade souvenirs among others, can empower the economy of Betawi people.

Day Two, 11 December 2019

Cultural Workshop: The second day of the scoping visit was a showcase on the use of cultural forms as peace-building approaches and how the forms were being used for dialogic purposes among children and youth in Indonesia. This was a valuable opportunity for the MAP team to develop relationships with local level actors and CSOs.

The day began with two short presentations on experiences of using arts and creative educational activities to promote peace in out-of-school setting (Sanggar Anak Akar) and in-school setting (Wahid Foundation). The Wahid Foundation talked about concepts and indicators of their peace-schools program. The program engages students and teachers in five areas: integration of schools’ programs, management of school’s environment, management of learning activities, creation of a working group, and early detection system of intolerance and radicalism. Sanggar Anak Akar, a member of Koalisi Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Art Coalition), introduced their educational approach as Humanist Education through Arts. The approach positions children/young people, mostly those who have lived or spent time on the street, in various roles as the teller, photographer, and observers of their own realities or shared realities – all of which they would then communicate through arts forms, such as music, theatre and photography. 

The MAP team developed a series of observations from this workshop, including:

  • Different local art forms, such astheatre games, as facilitated by Kalanari Theatre Movement; traditional marching dance (Soreng Dance) by Tlatah Bocah; and storytelling as facilitated by YABI, are valuable in two ways: 1) these forms are used for telling stories from the margin; 2) the art forms are able to encourage audiences think and act creatively, even with strangers.
  • Because cultural variations in Indonesia are significant, the art forms would very much depend on the local art/traditions where MAP is going to be introduced. Engaging with the schools and local artists/historians is key in the assessment stage. In general, dancing and music as part of ceremonial acts are common throughout the country. At the same time, there are certain groups who consider traditions/cultural practices are against religious teachings. Members of a local community in East Jakarta highlighted to the MAP team that this is one of the key challenges for young people to engage in arts-based practices.
  • For the out-of-school children, street art forms such as music (self-made) are prominent, and also based on experience. They are open to exploring techniques in which they not only could share personal stories, but also learn leadership and teamwork skills. Examples of what had been done include theatre performance by child victims of sexual exploitation depicting their stories in front of local government officials.

Day Three, 12 December 2019

Symposium at UNESCO

Day Three featured a UNESCO symposium which included presentations from a young person who was a member of UNESCO Youth and Sport Task Force Team. This presenter shared their experiences of taking part in the initiative to promote confidence and anti-bullying. Kampus Diakoneia Modern (KDM), an organization working to deliver shelter and alternative education to street connected young people in Jakarta presented their study from 2015 on the same topic. The symposium closed with an impromptu sharing from Ganara Art, a member of Koalisi Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Art Coalition), who initiated Mari Berbagi Seni, an art sharing movement that has taught creative art education programs to more than 11,000 children and teachers throughout Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia. The symposium spotlighted young people’s role in peacebuilding activities while also informing about challenges of radicalization among Indonesian youth.

Day Four, 13 December 2019

Visit to RPTRA (child friendly integrated public space) in East Jakarta (Cipinang Besar Utara); Informal meeting with street connected youth.

On the final day of the Scoping Visit, the MAP team visited 1 RPTRA (child friendly integrated public space) in East Jakarta. At the RPTRA, the team were welcomed by the chief of the urban village and local community members and leaders, caretakers of the space and local government officials. The RPTRA team presented the facility and highlighted that the space is open 7 days a week, free of charge, and local community members have been using the space for various gatherings, including for Forum Anak (Children’s Forum) to hold their regular meetings. A Children’s Forum is a forum of young people, commonly aged between 12 and 17-years-old, to realize meaningful participation through the promotion of children’s rights and participation in government sponsored community/national development planning. The MAP team met and consulted with local community members and leaders, tutors/caretaker of the space, and local government officials about issues that young people faced and their engagement with arts. The MAP team found that, through children’s forum and street connected youth, MAP ideas can help direct the use of street art forms (e.g. self-made music) for channeling their stories/advocating issues.

The Scoping Visit enabled exchanges of views and sharing of experience among stakeholders working to address global challenges and promote peace among children and youth within informal and formal educational contexts. The activities shed light on cultural diversities, and potentials of different arts forms to be used as dialogue for peacebuilding. In all of the initiatives exemplified during the visit, there is a cautionary note on exclusions of marginalized young people. Lastly, the visit drew insights from stakeholders’ shared views and experiences in order to assess pathways to impact for implementing MAP in Indonesia.

MAP: Large Grants Scheme

MAP logo

Mobile Arts for Peace: Large Grants Scheme

Mobile Arts for Peace is delighted to launch its Large Grants funding scheme for researchers at all levels, supporting research that considers how arts-based research approaches can support structures and modes of communication between youth and policymakers in each of the four project countries.

Applications for Large Grants will open in December 2020. Applications forms and deadlines for applications will be available on this webpage. Awards can be for between 6 and 18 months in duration but must be completed by the end of June 2021. Two upcoming webinar workshops will focus on drafting the Call for Applications. These workshops will be hosted on Zoom on 24th November 2020 (9:30am-1pm UK time) and 26th November 2020 (10am-1:30pm UK time). Please contact Professor Ananda Breed ( and Dr Christina Brennan ( to register interest.

A key aim of MAP is to deliver a comparative study of the use of interdisciplinary arts-based practices for peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. It explores how pathways to peace may be shaped by diverse political, cultural, religious and linguistic factors, as well as the crosscutting issues of gender and intersecting inequalities, environments and the exclusion of children and youth from policymaking processes.


MAP operates across three core components: a) project design and delivery; b) research; and c) arts-based practice that run throughout three strands of activities.

Strand One currently involves scoping visits, literature reviews, community mapping and training of adult and child/youth facilitators in arts-based methods for dialogue and research.

This video introduces Phase One research projects in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal.


MAP is working in partnership with researchers at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the UK and Official Development Assistance (ODA)-recipient countries, using research findings to develop new methods, case studies and practical toolkits, for engaging children and young people with using arts-based approaches to build new communication structures for peacebuilding. In the process we seek to draw out similarities and divergences across the four countries and to consider questions of scalability and transferability, in order to inform youth policy at an international level.

During Strand Two, up to 3 small grants of £5,000 will be awarded in each of the four countries for child/youth and adult MAP trainers to work alongside CSOs to develop projects that address local issues that may incorporate (but are not limited to): child rights-based decision-making; child protection and peacebuilding. Up to 2 grants of £29,500 in each of the four countries for youth to work alongside policy-focused organisations to explore arts-based communication structures. Up to 4 large grants of £100,000 in each of the four countries for researchers of any level and partnering organisations to design and deliver effective monitoring, evaluation and impact delivery alongside the small and mid-size grant awardees. One additional large grant of £100,000 will be awarded in the final two years of the project to synthesize findings, drawing out similarities and divergences across the four countries and to consider questions of scalability and transferability, in order to inform youth policy at an international level.

Strand Three will involve the coordination of community-based dialogue groups and MAP Clubs to inform policy and establish communication structures alongside synthesis and dissemination. The project will be working alongside cultural organisations, youth-serving CSOs, conflict and peace building CSOs, government institutions and ministries, higher education institutions, conflict management, and psychosocial wellbeing organisations. In this way, the project promises diverse impact at local, national and international levels.

Mobile Arts for Peace explores the following research questions:

1. How can different art forms be used to co-design, deliver and evaluate peacebuilding curricula and other approaches for working with children and youth to address local conflict issues?

2. How might cultural forms be used for dialogue with and between children and youth, educators and policy makers to advance peacebuilding through a local and indigenous approach?

3. How might psychosocial support, including local healing practices, be better integrated within peacebuilding approaches by using the arts to promote the wellbeing of children and youth, especially those from marginalised groups?

4. How can cultural forms be incorporated into child- and youth-led participatory action research methodologies and adapted for the purposes of the design, undertaking and delivery of interdisciplinary projects in diverse social, political and cultural contexts?

5. How might these cultural forms be used to create alternative spaces and communication structures for peacebuilding approaches and curricula development to inform local, national and international approaches to peacebuilding?

Applications for Large Grants will open in December 2020. Applications forms and deadlines for applications will be available on this webpage. Awards can be for between 6 and 18 months in duration but must be completed by the end of June 2021. Two upcoming webinar workshops will focus on drafting the Call for Applications. These workshops will be hosted on Zoom on 24th November 2020 (9:30am-1pm UK time) and 26th November 2020 (10am-1:30pm UK time). Please contact Professor Ananda Breed ( and Dr Christina Brennan ( to register interest.

Eligibility for Large Grant Applications


Each grant application must designate a Main Applicant (that is, Principal Investigator). This is the person to whom the grant will be assigned and who will be responsible for the leadership of the project including the reporting of progress, expenditure and outputs. The Main Applicant for a grant can be from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal.or the UK. We will give preference to those who generally get less access to funding opportunities.

Large grants must include a UK scholar as part of the team either as Co-Applicant or as a Main Applicant. UK applicants must be based in a UK research organisation or University.

Large grants must have someone from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal either as Main Applicant or as a Co-Applicant. Applicants from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. could be from an NGO, University, Research Institute, Arts or Cultural Organisation, or Social Enterprise. Please contact Professor Ananda Breed ( and Dr Christina Brennan ( if this poses difficulties or if you have any questions about affiliating with a host organisation. Please contact us if you require assistance to find a UK partner or to discuss collaborations.

In addition to the Main Applicant, applications can also include up to three Co-Applicants from institutions based in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal or the UK. The role of a Co-Applicant is to assist the Main Applicant in the management and leadership of projects as well in carrying out research.

Applicants may be researchers in the broadest sense of the term – people who wish to undertake an inquiry or exploration through arts-based methods (e.g. music, film, theatre, art, interviews, conversation, observation etc.). Scholars, artists or cultural and creative industries may apply.

A grant must be used for Monitoring and Evaluation activity and to assess the impact of Phase One research in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. You are encouraged to include costs for supporting your project (e.g., through training, mentoring or guidance) and mentors, consultants or project partners may be included from any country.

Grant holders will be required to periodically produce reports detailing progress, expenditure and outputs. Grantees are required to make the materials collected Open Access (for rules about Open Access:

Mobile Arts for Peace Large Grants Workshops: 24th November and 26th November 2020


24th November 2020: Activities for this first workshop will include an overview of MAP activities and presentations of Phase One research activities in all four in-country teams.

26th November 2020: Activities for this second workshop will include an overview of MAP’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and presentations from interested applicants.

Arts-Based Research for Education and Peacebuilding Conference (5th-7th August): Reflections from Rwanda

Reflections from MAP Rwanda Project Coordinator – Victor Ntezirembo

From 5 to 7 August 2020, the Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) hosted the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) and Changing the Story (CTS): Arts-Based Research for Education and Peacebuilding Conference. The conference brought together over 40 participants online from around the globe, including the United Kingdom, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Nepal and Indonesia, as well as 38 participants, including students, teachers and dialogue facilitators, physically at IRDP from different regions of Rwanda, who have been trained in the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) approach. During Zoom sessions that spanned over three days, participants discussed how arts can be used to advance peacebuilding in societies emerging from conflict.

The discussion focused on MAP’s aim to work with young people, educators, cultural artists and civil society organizations to inform national education curricula in music, dance and drama. MAP works alongside partners to design and deliver arts-based peace education projects. Different organizations, including the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Aegis Trust, Never Again Rwanda, UNESCO and the Rwandan Education Board, shared their experiences of the role of arts in Rwandan peace education. These presentations showed how art has been integrated into the initiatives of all of these organizations to complement more traditional approaches to help the Rwandan society to come to terms with the events of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. The representative of UNESCO Rwanda encouraged youth to compete for different grants under that institution.

The conference showcased how art and performance are concretely used as a tool for peace education in Rwanda. Participants watched a forum theatre performance that had been created by MAP participants in Rwanda revealing the struggles of a disabled student facing discrimination at school. In breakout groups, participants discussed the root causes of this discrimination and possible solutions at the family, community and national level. The exchanges will feed into a set of policy briefs, which will be shared with policymakers in Rwanda and beyond.

On the last day, participants of the conference dived deeper into MAP methodologies. Students and teachers shared their experience of how MAP changed their way of learning and teaching. They highlighted the arts- and student-centred approach of MAP, which helps to empower students and to promote their self-confidence. The young students stressed how MAP makes them feel like equal participants in policy discussions and how the MAP approach helps them to overcome fear to participate actively in conversations at school or with policy makers.

In addition, participants discussed the fundamentals of peace mediation and conducted a conflict analysis and a mediation simulation using arts-based tools to better understand the root causes of conflict.

Comments from participants outside of Rwanda commended the success of MAP in Rwanda and made a comparative analysis of how the Rwandan experience can be applied to their respective countries. Researchers working on Kosovo and Cambodia highlighted their similar post-conflict situations and appreciated how young students, in partnership with teachers and parents, are essential to the peacebuilding process.

Chaste Uwihoreye, who was Safeguarding Coordinator for the event, works with  Uyisenga Ni Imanzi as a MAP partner organisation, which provides child and youth focused programs to support the needs of orphan headed households in Rwanda. Chaste described how:

It was exciting how the participants and policy makers were enthusiastic about the MAP methodology. As psychologist and psychotherapist, I realized that the MAP Methodology provides simple tools and practices that help people to learn from behaviours and understand and resolve problems. It provides a way of sharing feelings and testimonies with others as an important foundation of peace building and cohabitation. It was a pleasure for me to be part of the event. I learnt a lot and I have been inspired.’

The event was a remarkable success, both in terms of organization and lessons learned through exchange and discussion. It is also worth noting that the digital world is still a challenge for many organisations as they aim to continue their work and foster collaborations during COVID-19. However, the digital focus transformed the event into a positive opportunity, especially for future workshops and meetings and for planning or expanding MAP in other platforms via digital tools.

Beyond voice: expressing youth agency through arts-based approaches in Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP)

Arts-based Methods and Digital Technology for Peacebuilding during the time of COVID

Written by Professor Ananda Breed

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) and Changing the Story (CTS) hosted a three-day conference that focused on ‘Arts-based Research for Education and Peacebuilding’ from 5 – 7 August with the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) as a co-host in Rwanda.[1]

Speakers included the MAP youth facilitators and master trainers alongside the University of Rwanda, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), Never Again Rwanda, Aegis Trust, Rwanda Education Board (REB) and UNESCO as well as workshops, performances and panels. The conference used technology to link partners across Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Nepal, Cambodia, Uganda, the United Kingdom and other countries. Zoom, live camera feed, and combined physical and virtual break out rooms enabled connection and interaction between the 40 participants who were located at IRDP and between 40-50 participants who joined online across the three-day event. [2]

MAP Master Trainers and Youth Facilitators

MAP Master Trainers and Youth Facilitators

Due to travel restrictions and social distancing measures during the time of COVID, the event highlighted the opportunities and possibilities for digital technology to connect research communities on a global level. This focus built upon an online webinar by Changing the Story, ‘From Grassroots Participation to Policy’, which examined new possibilities for grassroots engagement with policymakers.

Beyond the attendees at IRDP and online, there were additional communication hubs set up for MAP participants to engage with the event in each of the five provinces (Northern Province, Southern Province, Eastern Province, Western Province and Kigali Province). Laptops and communication packages were administered for MAP research participants to follow the event through communication hubs (for those who did not own their own computer or smart phone). In this way, MAP created a responsive, creative, and innovative digital platform that used a blended approach between online and physical spaces to engage with our research participants across Rwanda and other countries.

The Principal Investigator of CTS, Professor Paul Cooke, stated: ‘The event was a Master Class in how to turn a necessity into an opportunity. It was great to have such international interaction. While I would have much preferred to be in the room in person in Rwanda, we could never have afforded to bring such an international group together.’

An online participant in Rwanda stated: ‘The event was well organised. I appreciated the discussions in groups and the presentations about the problems in society using the solution tree exercise. Thank you for inviting different partners in education, especially the Rwanda Education Board (REB), which is the one to elaborate education policies. Thank you for providing us with all of the necessary materials needed to follow the event. We were connected and allowed each and everything.’

A MAP Exercise, called the ‘Solutions Tree’, completed by event participants

One of the primary outcomes of the event was the successful generation and distribution of knowledge on a local level (communication hubs across Rwanda) and on a global level (linking the event to participants and partners in Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Nepal, Cambodia, Uganda, the United Kingdom and other countries). In this way, MAP discovered new opportunities provided by communication and digital technology to provide additional opportunities to engage our research participants and to have greater impact on local and international levels. During the conference, MAP youth facilitators and master trainers worked alongside the participants at IRDP and the online community to explore the root causes of conflict and their solutions in response to the staged issue of discrimination (that was illustrated through a video clip of a forum theatre performance about disability that was originally generated through the sharing of personal stories during a MAP youth camp held November 2019).

Another online conference attendee and MAP research participant stated: ‘MAP activities help especially in the teaching and learning process and education in general. For example, when I am teaching, I use these activities to prepare a lesson plan; and because they are engaging, learners are motivated and interested. MAP activities match with competence-based curriculum which is currently used in Rwanda. MAP activities made the youth improve their way to solve their own problems that are there in society; to clarify the root causes (and any other causes), the consequences, and to find solutions. At my school, we have MAP clubs that perform plays in front of the school. It is through that platform that the school principals know the problems students have and they try to search for the solutions together.’ 

MAP activities and discussion groups

Following discussions that linked the physical and online break out rooms, a solution tree exercise elicited feedback in relation to the perceived conflict, root causes, consequences and solutions. In terms of informing policy, a representative from the REB and UNICEF responded very positively to the solution tree and a draft policy brief was presented by the MAP youth facilitators and master trainers.

Ministers from government institutions sent WhatsApp chats to the director of IRDP and CTS Co-I, Eric Ndushabandi, in response to the policy brief. In this way, MAP served to communicate the issues that young people face through arts-based methods (performance, visual arts, film) to policy makers; in this way establishing a two-way form of communication between young people and policy makers. We aim to harness these approaches and findings within the development of an AHRC GCRF Network Plus project entitled Mobile Arts for Peace: Informing the National Curriculum and Youth Policy for Peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal (2020-2024).

For more information about MAP, please go to the website: or contact Ananda Breed at


[1] MAP was a Phase One project for Changing the Story (2017-2021) led by Co-I Ananda Breed and Eric Ndushabandi that evolved into a fully-fledged Network Plus project led by Ananda Breed as Principal Investigator and eight Co-Investigators from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia, Nepal and the United Kingdom (Tajyka Shabdanova, Eric Ndushabandi, Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo, Harla Sara Octarra, Bishnu Khatri, Rajib Timalsina, Kirrily Pells, Koula Charitonos and Fereshte Goshtasbpour).

[2] Registrants included 42 participants on 5 August, 52 participants on 6 August and 43 participants on 7 August.


Open Call for Artists: The Colonial Legacies in Our Minds and Madness

The Colonial Legacies in Our Minds and Madness

Hamwe Festival has issued an open call for artists to join a collective creative project tackling the issue of existing colonial legacies in mental health systems.

You may find the original link with further information copied below:

The text of the open call by the Hamwe Festival is copied below:

Hamwe Festival is a platform that brings together the health sector and the creative industries. Our goal is to generate new insights into global health challenges and corresponding solutions, using the unique and complementary vantage points of artists and global health professionals.

The festival is an initiative of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), an independent, accredited university, training the next generation of global health professionals striving to deliver equitable, quality health services for all. At UGHE, we believe that building bridges across sectors is a necessity, not only to improve access to services and the quality of their delivery globally, but also to eliminate the gap between the most and least disadvantaged.

Hamwe 2020 edition will take place from November 11th to November 15th, it will be an exclusively online festival. The festival theme will be Mental Health and Social Justice.

As it is growing, the “Global Mental Health Movement” has engendered new reflections and research from scholars, artists and activists who question some of its approach and analyze inherent colonial legacies present in that field (Cooper, 2016). This year, Hamwe festival will propose discussions on these issues and invite the public to reflect with creatives and researchers on the existing colonial legacies in mental health systems and how it is a detriment to health of individuals and communities worldwide.

As part of this reflection, an event compiling spoken word, poetry and other performing arts creations will be organized: The Colonial Legacies in Our Minds and Madness. We’re looking for artists who can create engaging online work sharing stories, experiences or research findings on the colonial legacies remaining in mental health systems and the impact they have on mental health.

To inform artists in their creative process, we’re organizing a 3-day workshop with world researchers and artists, availability to attend this workshop will be based on a selection criteria.  The workshop will be conducted in English from the 6th to the 8th of October, during the afternoon Central African Time (CAT).

Performances will be shared with the public on the 15th of November 2020. Selected performers will have the option to conduct live performances or to pre-record their work.


  • Hamwe Festival is open to all. We encourage diversity and welcome applications from all nationalities, gender, ages and backgrounds.
  • We are interested in hearing from spoken word artists, poets, singers, more performing arts forms of expressions.
  • We welcome participation from individuals, groups and
  • Artists at any stage of their career are eligible (from beginners to more established practitioners). However, we will ask for excerpts of existing creations or performances and review them in the selection process.
  • All communications and activities will be conducted in English but performance in all languages can be accepted, as well as silent performances.
  • Availability for the preparation workshop the 6th to the 8th of October, during the afternoon Central African Time (CAT).

Selection Process:

Applications will be reviewed on the following criteria:

  • Submission of a fully filled application form (only in English) including all supporting documentation by September 13th.
  • Motivation to participate and evaluated level of interest in the theme
  • Quality and chosen themes of prior work, based on supporting material
  • Artists will be evaluated based on the information submitted.

Successful applicants will be notified by email by September 20th, 2020. Due to the volume of applications received, we are not able to give feedback on individual applications.


UGHE will provide a fee of 250 USD for each project selected and will provide all technical requirements and technical support for the project. Amount will be transferred to the project participant’s bank accounts at the end of the project

For any questions please email the Hamwe Festival at


Cooper, S., 2016. Global mental health and its critics: moving beyond the impasse. Critical Public Health 26, 355–358.