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.
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