Children as agents of positive change. A mapping of children’s initiatives across regions, towards an inclusive and healthy world free from violence

Children as agents of positive change. A mapping of children’s initiatives across regions, towards an inclusive and healthy world free from violence

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 Office of the special representative of the secretary-general on violence against children

“We are in the midst of a new era of child engagement, where children are to be considered partners and key players in achieving change. Children are acting against violence and being part of the solution everywhere, taking forward positive change, working as partners with adults and young people.

As part of the mandate’s goal to promote meaningful participation, amplify children’s voices and actions and leave no one behind, the Special Representative took forward a mapping exercise to understand how children are taking part in today’s world, contributing with their views and solutions, and being agents of positive change.

Between April and November 2020, 245 case studies from 86 countries3 were reviewed,4 and in-depth dialogues were taken forward with 36 organizations working at global, regional, or country level.5 Additionally, through UNICEF’s U-Report, almost 5000 children from all geographical regions aged 13 – 18 were polled regarding their experiences regarding COVID-19.

This report provides an overview of the different actions taken forward by children mostly in times of COVID-19, but not limited to it. It looks at children’s diverse roles when helping to prevent, address, and report violence (including supporting their peers); it helps to understand how children are contributing and being part of the solutions  when thinking about building back better, and how children are helping accelerate fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It showcases how children are collaborating with adults and with decision makers, and how children are proving to be agents of change. The report also addresses the many challenges organizations and children have faced in times of COVID-19, including those posed by digital channels when taking forward participation, reaching the hardest to reach, and having regular communication with children disrupted.”

 

Nepal MAP

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

Examining Civic National Values in Kenya and Nepal: Why, how and what next?

Examining Civic National Values in Kenya and Nepal: Why, how and what next?

This post was originally published via Changing the Story (CTS)’s #YoungChangemakers series on 1st October 2019, as part of the CTS sub-project Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal. 

Changing the Story is an AHRC GCRF project which asks how the arts, heritage and human rights education can support youth-centred approach to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world. The ‘Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal’ was closely linked to the methodologies used in the CTS MAP project, and contributed to Nepal becoming one of MAP’s current country focus. Find out more about Changing the Story and see the original post here: https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk 

 

Written by Marlon Moncrieffe (University of Brighton), Principal Investigator on the Phase 2 Kenya and Nepal project.

Examining Interpretations of Civic National Values made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal’ is led by a consortium of UK, Kenyan and Nepalese partners, a fusion of academics, educators, peacebuilders, civil society organisations and Performance Arts Companies that focus on Theatre.

Our project fuses performance arts methodologies as a pedagogical approach to teaching and learning in primary schools. We provide children with the opportunity to reflect on what they may know of past conflict in their countries, but through their understanding of community peacebuilding in the now, and for the future. This project is centred fully as a comparison of young voices from Kenya and Nepal. However, it is a project that speaks comparatively to the statutory teaching and learning of ‘civic national values’ in UK early years settings, primary and secondary schools through the notion of ‘Fundamental British Values’. These have emerged from more recent and current times of social and religious conflict and are stated as: democracy; the rule of law; individual liberty; mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. The statutory teaching of these is aimed at preventing radicalisation in young people and seeks to foster a universal sense of connection and belonging to national identity.

Our decision to develop a comparison of educational responses to teaching and learning about civic national values in Kenya and Nepal was associated with commonalities to the UK context, but more specifically to congruency identified in Kenyan and Nepalese policies for post-conflict citizenship education. This is identified by the discourses of ‘values’ education. In Nepal, this includes the stated provision of ‘Moral Education’ for the teaching of ‘citizens in the community’ ‘civil rights and duties’ (Basic Education Curriculum, 2018). In Kenya the notion of developing ‘Engaged, Empowered & Ethical Citizens’ emerges from their national policy for ‘Values’ education (Basic Education Curriculum Framework, 2017).

Aims

Our project was interested in achieving the following research aims:

  • To empower young people in post-conflict settings to develop and advance their thinking about the past, present and future possibilities of peacebuilding through theories of ‘reflection’, in our case using the method of a reflective diary.
  • To explore how young people in post-conflict settings interpret and communicate civic national values supported by their application of varied performance arts-based tools and techniques.
  • To examine the perspectives of teachers on civic national values including the varied ways they share these narratives with their learners.
  • To facilitate our research partners to continuously analyse, reflect on and conceptualize their understandings and shared communications of civic national values for advancing future policymaking through a performance arts-based ‘scheme of work’, that can be applied locally, nationally and internationally in comparative contexts.

Methods

Our project created a four-part Scheme of Work (SoW). These were lesson plans written by the project team that sought to embellish current aims and objectives of values and citizenship education policies each country. We worked with teachers from primary and secondary schools in Nepal and Kenya and tested the processes of the Scheme of Work. The teachers facilitated their students who reflected on their experiences of ‘community’ and project ideas of and ideal community through their own notions of ‘tolerance’ and ‘mutual respect’. Lesson one and Lesson two both encouraged the young people to reflect on their locality; to articulate and record their experiences of community; cultural and ethnic differences and similarities; and cultural identity and citizenship. These lessons sought to develop thinking, discussion and shared articulation on values such as ‘tolerance’ and ‘mutual respect’ at a micro community level. Participation by young-people and teachers were also filmed by the project team. Lesson three helped the young people to turn their ideas from Lesson one and Lesson two into action and performance. This approach was facilitated by professionals from performance arts organisations: Zenn Theatre Company (Kenya) and Mandala Theatre Company (Nepal). The performances generated by the young people were then captured on film.

Credit: Marlon Moncrieffe

Discussion

There are many comparative opportunities for our project. In each country, we managed to apply the Scheme of Work in two very different schools (urban and rural) (state and private). This allowed us to understand more about the pedagogical variations adopted by teachers in each school with further comparisons of traditional to experimental approaches in teaching and learning. The cultural capital of the teachers and the students were also significant factors in determining the engagement with the Scheme of Work. We ensured that the Scheme of Work document was written in three different languages: English, Nepali and Swahili. This ensured connection and equity in empowering all teachers to facilitate the lesson plans.

Our Civil Society Organisation participants in attendance as spectators were keen to learn more about the research process. This project has brought for them an alternative approach in the selection of performance arts tools in relation to education and peacebuilding with young people (For more on this read the blogs by two young changemakers working on the project). Although the practices and approaches were new to so many, the participants actively engaged with activities using Ipads as their digital diaries of reflection, and participatory approaches founded on child-centred teaching and learning.

Credit: Marlon Moncrieffe

[Nepal explosion kills four in capital] This incident occurred as we began our research in Nepal. As a team it made us critique the term ‘Post-Conflict’ especially where we were told that the suspects of the attack were Maoist Splinter Group linked closely to deep conflict of the past. It reminded us the issues faced by people in this country are indeed relatively current. The explosions caused deaths and a resulting ‘strike’ which slowed Kathmandu. Lack of transport to the city and within it prevented teachers and partners from attending our pre-conference meeting and seminar session.

From gaining our data we reminded ourselves not to draw generalisations from two schools in each country, but to think more carefully about how we assess the children’s work through the processes of the SoW. We also reminded ourselves that a critical stance must be adopted towards our SoW. We see our project both as a research and development project.

Next steps

The aim of Lesson 4 is for the films made to date to shown at each school. Following this, the young people involved will write their reflections; the aim being to share their thoughts on the cross-cultural exchanges and their new knowledge and interpretations of civic national values through hearing the voices of their peers in hard to reach parts of their country. What are the commonalities in their voices? What do they learn from each other about community, mutual respect and tolerance? Lesson 4 will facilitate thinking, discussion and shared articulation on how young people’s interpretations of civic national values can be advanced further towards a sense of connection and belonging with national identity at a macro community level.

 

Examining the Interpretation of Civic National Values made by young people in Nepal

Examining the Interpretation of Civic National Values made by young people in Nepal

This post was originally published via Changing the Story (CTS)’s #YoungChangemakers series on 1st October 2019, as part of the CTS sub-project Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal. 

Changing the Story is an AHRC GCRF project which asks how the arts, heritage and human rights education can support youth-centred approach to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world. The ‘Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal’ was closely linked to the methodologies used in the CTS MAP project, and contributed to Nepal becoming one of MAP’s current country focus. Find out more about Changing the Story and see the original post here: https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk 

 

Written by Pramila Bisunke.

When I (first) heard the title of the project (Examining the Interpretation of Civic National Values made by young people in Nepal and Kenya), I was literally perplexed thinking what this is really about.

My role at Changing the Story

In this particular project I was responsible for administration and documentation. I started by going through the documents about changing the story, program content particularly in case of Nepal and its projects in different countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Colombia, Rwanda, Kosovo and Cambodia etc. We were supposed to pilot (our project) in two schools; one rural and one urban. (My role involved) communicating with the schools and (translating) the documents we had about the project: about Changing the Story, information sheets, consent forms for children and lesson plans for teachers etc. needed to be translated from English to Nepali for field work preparation. It was only through doing this I got the gist of what we were supposed to do while simultaneously still wondering how it (would) work. (I started to) document planning meetings, seminars in Tribhuvan University, sessions in schools and review meetings. I prepared meeting notes and disseminated among the people involved in the project and my understanding about project got even better.

I grew up in such school environment where I just sit on the bench and listen to the teacher. Even today, I believe more than half of the schools follow the same teaching method. I will not say this method of teaching is the best in today’s context. Because the concept of teaching and learning is not only limited to student listening and teacher speaking, it is now more about (the) participation of students and using various artistic methods to learn as well as apply the learning better in life.

Working on the documents in our own local language gave me the concept of new methods in teaching along with the use of technology i.e. Ipad. During the fieldwork when I engaged in the activities (I saw) fun group work among students, their own lessons on community and moral education from their course book, reflections on their actual concept of community, living in harmony, equality regardless of gender, background, caste, culture and profession. Moreover, their capacity to reflect their thoughts into community context through arts such as drama, poetry and songs were amazing. It was all smiles on their faces after the activities.

I believe such projects need to be demonstrated in as many schools and countries as possible to adapt the teaching methods in schools. In addition to that, the teachers should be trained in such a way that the learning can be fun rather than memorizing the textbook. This will be a major educational change if we can adapt the teaching methods to the present context of post conflict settings. Particularly in post conflict because people have been displaced or migrated from one place to another, therefore the society is more mixed up in between rural and urban, people from different backgrounds. As the title says Changing the Story, it might help young people to learn about respect, harmony, peace, equality, non-discrimination from the schooling age in more practical ways that they learned through their own engagement.

Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values made by young people in Nepal: A youth perspective

Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values made by young people in Nepal: A youth perspective

This post was originally published via Changing the Story (CTS)’s #YouthChangemakers series on 1st October 2019, as part of the CTS sub-project Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal. 

Changing the Story is an AHRC GCRF project which asks how the arts, heritage and human rights education can support youth-centred approach to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world. ‘Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal’ was closely linked to the methodologies used in the CTS MAP project, and contributed to Nepal becoming one of MAP’s current country focus. Find out more about Changing the Story and see the original post here: https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk 

Written by Samjhana Balami

Hello, I am Samjhana Balami from Nepal, currently a management student and a freelancer. I am an introvert in nature but always ready to learn if get a chance. In the process of learning, some months ago​, I got a chance to assist ‘Young Changemakers CTS Kenya-Nepal Phase 2 program’ project.

Being an undergraduate student the project theme was vague for me to understand and was beyond my course curriculum and work area. My role was centered on photography, videography and filmmaking. Being a fresher at first I was nervous as I met experienced, talented people involved in this project. I also had a feeling that I do not belong to this project but the first meeting with the team gave me confidence to carry on with the work. Everyone was so humble, down to earth and fun too. With such great team members I got a great opportunity to learn and improve myself.

Although my role was on film making, I was equally given a chance to interact with the audience. I wasn’t bound to my role only. The field work in urban and rural schools created a kind of nostalgia for me. When I was a student in school, I was supposed to focus more on my textbooks. The case was not only of mine but of the whole education system. We, the students were guided as per the syllabus of the textbooks only. Extra curricular activities (were considered) a learning platform but only textbooks were a source for academic teaching. Being the part of Changing the Story (CTS) I found that teaching could be done with various means and resources. I have never thought art could also be a medium for teaching. I was astonished to see how the students were learning about the civic values through the medium of art. Both the technology and art used in teaching during the CTS program could set a reference to our education system.

During all the sessions, I found excitement and interest in every student to learn something different. Everyone was active and giving their best in each tasks. I have seen the joy and amazement in them when the technology and arts were used in teaching and learning. The Ipad introduction and its use in reflection recording, community understanding reflection through graffiti art/dramas/poems/songs, several creative games etc gave them a platform to share their thoughts, talents and also advertise their knowledge. Though the session was for a day I could sense the learning will benefit them throughout life because at such small age they are given ideas and knowledge on civic values which is very rare in our country context.

The activities were fun as well as an effective learning platform for both the students and us. It was a great experience being a part of such an amazing project with amazing, enthusiastic people. This project gave me the knowledge of ‘Learning by Doing’. It became a great opportunity to learn the scenarios about which I was unaware. It changed my perception towards teaching and learning. It made me realize how the technology and arts could be a medium in academic activities. I got an opportunity to personally experience the situation of education system of two different sectors; Urban & Rural. It added an experience to my career and helped to improve my skills. I believe, the things that I have learned should also be the learning of others. As it has changed my way of thinking regarding education, it could also bring changes in others as well the system.

Civil Society Organisations Reflections on Arts Based Methodologies in Schools

Civil Society Organisations Reflections on Arts Based Methodologies in Schools

This post was originally published via Changing the Story (CTS) on 20th December 2019, as part of the CTS sub-project Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal. 

Changing the Story is an AHRC GCRF project which asks how the arts, heritage and human rights education can support youth-centred approach to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world. The ‘Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal’ was closely linked to the methodologies used in the CTS MAP project, and contributed to Nepal becoming one of MAP’s current country focus. Find out more about Changing the Story and see the original post here: https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk 

Written By Nub Raj Bhandari (Janaki Women Awareness Society)

Co-I, Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values Made by Young People in Kenya and Nepal

Project Summary

Two decades of internal conflict and instability in Nepal has brought a drastic reformation in the state structure from central government to federal state including the education system. The school education is divided into two levels: basic (up to 8th grade) and secondary education (9th – 12th grade). Moral education is included in the curriculum of basic education aiming to inform young children about civic national values such as citizenship, social and moral behavior, tolerance and mutual respect. The local government units (LGUs) are responsible for the formation as well as implementation of regulations related to education. Besides the efforts of the central government to reform learning, LGUs, educational institutions and civil society organizations (CSOs) were also seeking opportunities to engage young children in the learning process in post conflict communities. To inform and advance policy making at local (LGUs) and national level on the interpretations of civic national values made by young people, we devised Schemes of Work consisting of reflections-actions-performances-recording and tested them in two schools. The schools and participants were selected randomly from distinct setting: rural/urban, public/private and English medium/Nepali medium. Six young students each from grades six, seven and eight grades, two teachers and two CSOs were selected randomly from each school.

Engagement of CSOs

The selection of CSOs was purposeful. In each school (rural and urban), two CSOs were invited to observe the research process. They overtly observed the engagement of young children and teachers in the arts based methodologies (reflections, actions, performances and recording). Based on a set of open-ended questions, the CSOs provided a reflective overview on the arts based methodologies, overall research process and content.

Reflections of CSOs over the research process

At the planning phase, there were two questions concerning the engagement of CSOs in the research process. The first was ‘whether the CSOs accept arts based engagement of young children as a process of teaching and learning? Similarly, the second question was, ‘how could the engagement of CSOs in the research process add value to the project?’ The reflections from the CSOs showed that their engagement was an essential part of the project. ‘I am wondering, how can I apply these steps in my work?’ was the concern of one CSO participant. While young children were drawing to illustrate their vision of a model community, CSO participants expressed their interest to integrate the activity into their own work at schools. The drawing, according to a CSO, ‘is the best way of engaging students and teachers in the learning and teaching process’. They expressed their interest to learn more about the SOW; ‘I should learn more about the arts based methodologies’, said one urban CSO. Similarly, ‘can we work together on similar project in future’, was the interest of rural CSOs.

According to CSOs, lessons on reflection and performance help young children to learn fast. ‘Everyone is actively participating, so these forms of creative engagement are a better way of engaging young people in the learning processes’ was the common response of CSOs. Though they were watching the actions and performances of young people, they spoke much about engaging adolescents and adults in their community based civic education projects. However, CSO participants know that it is not easy for Nepali CSOs to follow these lessons in their development projects. It could be a challenge to organize multiple opinions of different groups because research is not the common working arena for CSOs in Nepal. Therefore, when they return to their actual work, it could be a challenge for them to integrate the theory of the research they have experienced. However, every opinion made by CSOs in this research project is praiseworthy and it is also a positive indication for the follow up activities based on arts based methodology.

CSO participant observing the research process. Photo credit: Nub Raj Bhandari

Concluding remarks and way forwards

The observations of CSOs throughout the research process from lesson one to four of the SOW’s (reflections, actions, performances and recording), endorse the arts based methodology as a successful research tool to engage people for constructive learning in the post conflict context. CSOs’ keen interest for including the arts based methodologies and SOW in their work could be considered a further step towards sustainability of the process.

With the above reflections, the way forward for future similar projects would be to provide a space for CSOs in the research process to improve their understanding of arts based methodology at a deeper level. This could be done through engaging them in pre-planning meetings, orienting them about the research process well before the fieldwork and engaging them as facilitators as well. CSOs engagement in the pre-planning meeting and orientation will enhance their understanding of the differences between their CSO project and a research project. The facilitation will strengthen them their interest in integrating arts based methodologies in their regular project, which will further support the sustainability of arts based approaches in the post conflict countries.

MAP: Shaping the Rwandan National Curriculum

MAP: Shaping the Rwandan National Curriculum

This post was originally published via Changing the Story on 19th March 2020. Changing the Story is an AHRC GCRF project which asks how the arts, heritage and human rights education can support youth-centred approach to civil society building in post-conflict settings across the world. The development of the MAP project was a major output of Changing the Story and the two projects continue to work closely together. Find out more about Changing the Story and see the original post here: https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk 

 

The role of arts for peacebuilding initiatives has influenced major research and civil society organisations both nationally and internationally. Some of the benefits of arts-based approaches includes the opportunity to create innovative approaches for community dialogue alongside the development of skill building in the performing arts more generally. Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) is one such initiative in Rwanda, spearheaded by Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from the Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), Prof. Dr. Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln and the Rwanda Education Board (REB) to inform the national curriculum framework in Music, Dance and Drama.

MAP delivered arts-based curricula from March 2018–January 2019 in the Eastern Province of Rwanda to inform the national curriculum framework as the Phase 1 practice-as-research project for Changing the Story. In 2019, Breed was awarded £100,000 AHRC Follow-on impact funding as Principal Investigator for the extension of MAP from the Eastern Province to the other four provinces in Rwanda, including the Northern Province, Western Province, Southern Province, and Kigali Province to incorporate all regions in Rwanda. To date, cultural artists, educators and young people have informed the development of a 250-page training manual that has been translated into Kinyarwanda and established numerous drama clubs alongside the incorporation of MAP into the curriculum.

Participants in the stakeholder meeting in Kigali, January 2019

Participants in the stakeholder meeting in Kigali, January 2019

On 23 January 2019, the IDRP launched their role as co-investigator of MAP at a stakeholder meeting in Kigali, Rwanda attended by the Rwanda Education Board (REB), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Sports and Culture, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of ICT and Innovation, and numerous distinguished guests. Mrs. Joan Umurungi from REB served as the guest of honour. Umurungi commented on the importance of arts for peacebuilding and educational processes. Additionally, REB representatives noted their endorsement of MAP as a key partner and how MAP aligns with the vision of the Ministry of Education concerning the development of the competencebased curriculum. The Ministry of Sports and Culture noted the importance of MAP to develop the creative industries nationally. Ministry representatives noted that MAP is practical, grassroots based, and brings a sense of ‘life’ in terms of conflict prevention and the promotion of dialogue through an arts-based approach. Noted endorsements included the ability for MAP to enhance peace values, public speaking, inclusive education and to develop a society that assists with healing. Speakers included: Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from IRDP; Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo from the College of Education, University of Rwanda; Dr. Samuel Rushworth from Aegis Trust; Mrs. Amy Barnecutt from A Partner in Education; Mr. Jeymo Mutinda from Music Mind Consult; Mr. Victor Ntezirembo from IRDP and Ms. Laure Iyaga from Sana Initiative. Presentations and workshops were based on the use of arts with and for young people in peacebuilding initiatives. 

The national competence-based curriculum in Rwanda from primary to upper secondary (2015) includes Music, Dance and Drama as a subject, although at the time of writing there is no provision of curriculum nor training available. In addition to integrating Music, Dance and Drama into the curriculum, the competence-based curriculum promotes participative and interactive methods stating: ‘Teachers need to shift from traditional methods of instruction and adopt participatory and interactive methods that engage young people in the learning process, both in groups and as individuals. This ensures that learning is active, participative and engaging rather than passive, and that it is personalised, addressing learners’ individual needs and expectations’ (Ministry of Education 2015: 73). To address some of these stated needs and objectives, MAP coordinated a series of activities. 

MAP activities in 2018 included a pilot project in the Eastern Province of Rwanda working with ten cultural organisations, five schools, twenty-five adult trainers and ten youth trainers. Following a series of activities including a scoping visit, curriculum workshop, training of trainers and youth camp, the MAP methodology was disseminated to 62 educators and 526 young people on a weekly basis. The methodology incorporates the use of participatory arts for trust building, teamwork, facilitation, leadershipand public speaking. The methodology incorporates mental health awareness and conflict negotiation skills alongside skill development in characterisation, improvisation, voice and movement. In addition, MAP incorporates Music, Dance, Drama and the Visual Arts using an interdisciplinary approach.  

In a presentation delivered by Nzahabwanayo, he reported key data collection findings derived from ten interviews with MAP adult trainers, nine interviews with MAP youth trainers, and six interviews with MAP cultural artists. Key findings included: 

  • MAP has contributed significantly to the improvement of the learning processes of high school students. 
  • MAP has empowered them with public speaking skills. They are now able to argue for a case and voice their opinion publicly. 
  • MAP has improved the academic performance of students. Some say that before engaging with MAP they used to be lazy in the classroom. But after MAP, they learn enthusiastically; they try to link what they learn with their daily life and this contributes greatly to their academic achievement. 
  • MAP has improved parent and student relations. Students stated that before engaging with MAP, they were fearing their parents and were only receiving instructions. After MAP, they have acquired skills to engage in a dialogue with their parents on different issues and come to a consensus. 
  • MAP has enabled them to identify some major problems prevailing in their community, and students feel called upon to contribute in addressing these problems. 

In an interview conducted by Breed on 29 November 2018 with a twelve-year-old youth participant of MAP, she stated:

With MAP, we have confidence to act and contribute. Not only has it influenced me as a person, but by applying the techniques, I’ve been able to realise that I’m empowered. I learned through MAP that the more that I voice my opinion, the more I’m understood.

In an interview conducted by Breed on 28 November 2018 with a twenty-fiveyearold adult educator from Friends of the Children International School, Hassan Ngendahimana, stated:

After the training of trainers, we worked with our school children. They were motivated and developed skills. Among the teachers, we now have a drama team. We teachers are capable to train the children in drama. The impact of MAP in our schools is seen through what we are doing.

Mobile Arts for Peace: Project Update May 2019

Mobile Arts for Peace: Project Update May 2019

This post is a rework of the May 2019 MAP newsletter.

Take a look at what the MAP team have been up to so far in 2019.

Drawing Inspiration from Young People

The artist, Ganza Daniella. Photo Hassan Ngendahimana.

The original image that Ganza drew on a chalkboard.
January, 2019. Photo: Kurtis Dennison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was on a field visit to Friends of the Children International School after the January Stakehold meeting where the identity of MAP would forever be immortalized in our new logo designed by Ganza Daniella and rendered by Sinclair Ashman of the University of Lincoln. The students, excited to be getting a visit from the MAP team, welcomed the visitors with songs and drawings. While there were many wonderful drawings on paper and on the chalkboard, one image stood out: a flower.

A flower wasn’t the first image the project team would immediately associate with peace, but for this project, it made so much sense. A flower has to grow, and when it grows, it opens up to show its beauty much like MAP helps young people open up and express themselves. This project works with many partners (or petals) who are all necessary to the success of the project; the more petals, the more bountiful the flower.  And through adaptation of cultural forms and creation of activities from Rwandan artists and teachers, the project is deeply rooted and cultivated by the people the project serves.

Ganza Daniella was thanked officially by the MAP facilitators at an award ceremony on April 27th.   Her design will now be used to brand the project as we expand through the provinces of Rwanda.

Project Manager Kurtis Dennison (IRDP), Principal Investigator of Connecting Memories Dr. Kirrily Pells (University College London), Ubwuzu Principal Investigator & Changing the Story Co-Investigator Dr. Ananda Breed (University of Lincoln) and Changing the Story Co-Investigator Dr. Eric Ndushabandi (IRDP) give Ganza a certificate and framed image of her design. April, 2019. Photo: Deus Kwizera.

Filmmaking for Peace? Eric Kabera’s Mobile Filmmaking Workshop

Eric Kabera holds his iPhone in a gimbal to demonstrate framing and movement in video making. April, 2019. Photo: Deus Kwizera.

Kwetu Film Institute and the Rwanda Cinema Center have been project partners of Mobile Arts for Peace since its inception. Since the beginning, an interactive workshop with world renowned film creator Eric Kabera has been planned. This April, this dream was finally realized.

Eric Kabera spent three days with the 16 MAP facilitators. Through exercises, the participants learned the basics of filmmaking including lighting, framing, storytelling, dialogue, mise en scène, and themes. The most impactful part of the workshop was the opportunity to hear the stories from Eric Kabera himself. Sharing a story of how he found inspiration once in a shoe, the most important lesson the facilitators learned was the need to be curious.

“I have learned that to make a film or a movie, you can have a plan and you can give the community strong story which can be interesting for them.” (-Sandrine, Rwamagana A)

Leonard, Dorcas, Reuben and Claude review footage at the Mobile Filmmaking Workshop. April, 2019. Photo: Deus Kwizera.

We think filmmaking can be an accessible tool for young people to share the stories that affect them to larger and mobile audiences.  With the growing status of technology and a phone being a device most people have access to, these tools can help us to to see the world through the eyes of young people. Because Rwanda is striving to emphasis their technological potential, we think this is a perfect location to start this work. By thinking about situations they encounter and themes they wish to explore, the young people will continue to develop their skills in filmmaking, peace building and dialogue.

This opportunity was just the start for the MAP participants. By the end of the workshop, each participant had created a fully realized short film using all the elements learned. Each school will receive an iPhone 6 to keep on site allowing them to document their MAP activities and make short films. The participants were also invited to apply to the Rwanda Cinema Center Film Festival in August.

“Before attending the filmmaking session, I spent many years asking myself how different people can take different [pictures], how some people take good [pictures] and some take bad [pictures]. I was curious to know the strategies. From the workshop, I was happy because my worries were answered. What I can say is that making a film or taking a video is not something you do once and stop. You must rehearse many times so it will stick in your mind and you will be familiar with it.” (Ngabbonziza, RLS)

See the film ‘Headphones’ created by Florence, Leonard, Sam and Assia:

 

Connecting Memories: a Participatory Action Research Project

Dr. Kirrily Pells demonstrates data collection as young people and adult facilitators plan how they will conduct their research project. April, 2019. Photo: Deus Kwizera.

Connective Memories (CM) is a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project working alongside MAP. It is a collaboration between University College London (UCL) Institute of Education, IRDP, Uyisenga N’Imanzi and MAP. CM is adapting and extending the MAP methodology to a PAR project for two purposes. First, to engage youth and adult MAP facilitators in a co-designed PAR project on the broad theme of “memories” with the intention of fostering space for intergenerational dialogue through the creative arts. Second, to train youth and adult facilitators in PAR so that they have the skills to research and evaluate the impact of the MAP clubs in their schools.

Ms. Laure Iyaga (Sana Initiative) and Mr. Chaste Uwihoreye (Uyisenga Ni Imanzi) observe youth participation to help with group dynamics and mental health support. April, 2019. Photo: Deus Kwizera.

The first workshops was held training 10 youth and 6 adults in PAR and co-desiging a research project on sharing “memories” or “isangizanyankuru”. We were then joined by another 20 young people from Uyisenga N’Imanzi and the groups of young people worked together to create performances based on issues affecting youth in their communities. On the final day the performances were shared with community members and dialogues facilitated by IRDP with adults and youth. This project also started the integration of community dialogues, a project long held by IRDP, in to the MAP methodology. The project will continue over the next few months as we work with the young researchers to analyse the data and we look forward to sharing the findings with you soon!

MAP Facilitator Leonard leads youth from Uyisena Ni Imanzi through the activity Kabish Kaboo. April, 2019. Photo: Kurtis Dennison.

Understanding the Project Structure: Co-Investigators and researchers attend the Network Plus meeting in Cambodia.

MAP Participants play Dr. Tangles, which is a good visual representation of a way a network plus project works. April, 2019. Photo: Deus Kwizera.

MAP was started as part of a Network Plus project called Changing the Story. This project was funded by a Global Challenges Research Fund grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council lead by Dr. Paul Cooke from the University of Leeds.  A Network Plus project works by first funding an initial pilot project, in our case Mobile Arts for Peace, working with researchers in both the UK and in Rwanda.  Dr. Ananda Breed serves as the UK based Co-Investigator of the Rwanda Strand of this project. Hope Azeda served as the Rwanda based Phase One Co-Investigator while Dr. Eric Ndushabandi serves as the current Phase Two Co-Investigator. The goal of the pilot was to link together other researchers, artists and CSO’s working toward similar goals with an overarching theme of creating safe and inclusive participatory spaces for young people.  We did this through working with Kwetu, Mashirika, Niyo, Future Vision Acrobats, Sana Initiative, REB, MindLeaps, Hope and Homes for Children, and other organisations that supported phase one activities including the training of teachers and creation of drama clubs.

Dr. Eric Ndushabandi (left) joins other researchers and CTS project team including Dr. Paul Cooke (right) in Cambodia. March, 2019. Photo: Unknown.

The Network Plus project then supported new project ideas that were building off original phase one projects and findings, in our case Connecting Memories.  Dr. Kirrily Pells, the UK based researcher, and Dr. Chaste Uwihoreye, the Rwanda based researcher, developed the project together from the work MAP accomplished in phase one.  Their project was taking our initial findings and furthering the research, which connected MAP with new CSO’s and supported the work we hope to continue accomplishing.  The major benefit so far of phase two has been to further expand on the role of psycho-social support and to help to integrate the work project partners are doing in to the original MAP structure.

MAP has been incredibly lucky to be partners with the Institute of Research for Dialogue and Peace for phase two. Eric Ndushabandi has approached MAP with such enthusiasm, and the project is helping to support initiatives within the organization steering future peace building projects to include psycho-social support. Representing Rwanda, Eric, Dr. Chaste Uwihoreye and Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo joined the Changing the Story team in Cambodia to learn more about CTS and share about MAP and their research.

During this time and separate from the original Changing the Story project structure, MAP was awarded three grants (two from the University of Lincoln and one from the Arts and Humanities Research Council) totaling £102,000 to continue the phase one goals and expand throughout the country of Rwanda. Dr. Ananda Breed serves as Principal Investigator of this follow up project which is titled “Ubwuzu: Shaping the Rwandan National Curriculum through the Arts”.

Dr. Eric Ndushabandi presents about Mobile Arts for Peace in Cambodia.
March, 2019. Photo: Unknown.

Changing the Story is going in to phase three to fund larger scale research projects that build off the work and continue the mission of these original two phases. The meeting in Cambodia was a time for all of these researchers to gather and share, meeting people who can help them achieve goals in their own countries and research.  With each phase, new project partners are added creating a global network of people and organisations working toward common goals. Preparations are underway for a similar meeting to be held in Kigali, January 2020. More project information is available at https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk.

Mobile Arts for Peace is continuing to apply for grants and seeks project partners to continue the work of acomplished thus far. As we noted in our previous newsletter, MAP will be expanding to the other four provinces with a target to impact 300 adult trainers and 2,500 young people.

Transforming Trauma: Reimaging the Future through Arts in Rwanda and South Africa

Attendees of the colloquium gather in Kigali to share research and projects.
April, 2019. Photo: Emmanuel Tuyizere.

 

Dr. Eric Ndushabandi represents IRDP and Dr. Pumla Godobo-Madikizela represented Stellenbosch University at the signing of the partnership MOU. Photo: Emmanuel Tuyizere. April, 2019

A colloquium between the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace and the University of Stellenbosch was recently held at the IRDP Peace Center in the days leading up to Kwibuka 25.  This colloquium reflected on the use of arts as a tool to heal trauma.  Each country represented had its own history of trauma that could be explored. Speakers from South Africa reflected on remaining race divisions in artistic spaces while speakers from Rwanda shared initiatives such as MAP or Arts for Peace dialogues that have been used to create unity since the Genocide Against the Tutsi.

The colloquium included field visits to Bugesera to observe an IRDP community dialogue, to Rwamagana to observe a MAP club, a symposium in Kigali for researchers to share work, a publication from the University of Stellenbosch and an official partnership with IRDP for the continuation of work around these topics.