Experience of Curriculum Implementation in Palpa, Nepal – Tirtha Prasad Gautam

Experience of Curriculum Implementation in Palpa, Nepal – Tirtha Prasad Gautam

Author:
Tirtha Prasad Gautam

Focal teacher, Janapriya Child Club

Janapriya Secondary School, Tansen Palpa Nepal

Member of Curriculum Development Committee, Tansen Municipality, Palpa

Edition: Camilo Soler Caicedo

Caption: Activities in Palpa and Kanchanpur District

Nepal is a beautiful mountainous country. The Himalayas are full of diversity as they are a combination of mountains and plains. Being a country with about 123 castes and 125 languages, it is also culturally rich. Nepal is the country of the world’s highest peak Mount Everest, the messenger of peace, Gautama Buddha, and Pashupatinath, the idol of Hindus. About 10 religious sects live in Nepal, the land of nature priests. Although not rich in terms of population and geography, it is a rich and prosperous country in terms of diversity, my dear motherland Nepal.

Palpa district is located in the middle of Nepal, extending 1000 km east-west and 200 km north-south. My school Sri Janapriya Secondary School is located in Tansen Municipality, the headquarters of this district. Janapriya Children’s Club is actively established for the development of the multifaceted talents of the students of this school. Janapriya Child Club, a project run by the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) project under the initiative of the Human Rights Film Center, has been running within this school and service area for the past two years. I would like to thank the MAP and the school administration for being associated with this project as I myself am the focal teacher of Child Club.

After the MAP project was implemented in the school, it was felt that there was a difference in the activities expressed by the students. Not only did students’ learning and achievement rates improve, but their ability to take social responsibility also changed positively. There was a radical change in student participation in all school activities. The children’s club started to organize the Friday program which is conducted every week. Children’s bulletins were published fortnightly. Cleaning of the school premises, construction of gardens, pasting of posters and pamphlets against superstitions and stereotypes started. Students began to present their expression through art. The environment of the school has become very beautiful by putting their words through paintings, short stories, plays, poems, songs, comics, movies etc. It has been realized that learning life and art are complementary to each other. Various practices have proven that no matter how complex a problem is expressed through the medium of art, it becomes easier and the initiative to solve it becomes easier. There was a lack of hygiene materials available in the school. One day, there was a discussion in the office about the picture of Kucho, which was given to the headmaster as a gift by the president of the children’s club. No, why this picture of Kucho came as a gift, and the class teachers said, there are not enough materials needed for cleaning in the classroom. It was concluded that their demands should be met soon. On the same day, after office hours, the headmaster asked the accountant to bring 12/12 bins for dust collection and collection baskets. The moment when the students greeted with loud applause when it was made available during tomorrow’s prayer time is still fresh in my mind. That’s why I like to say that art is an indispensable part of teaching and learning.

Meanwhile, the Government of Nepal issued a circular that all local levels should create a local curriculum of 100 full marks and implement it from the next academic session. Tansen municipality formed a 9-member curriculum development and writing committee including me. A time limit has been set for creating the curriculum to be implemented from the next academic session. We asked the team to work to create the curriculum and created a plan and schedule. According to the schedule, we Swaroop car owners conducted direct meeting, interaction and meetings. Meanwhile, the second wave of COVID-19 3 took place. All educational institutions were closed and stopped. Learning, teaching and all activities of daily life took a short break. All the activities in the school were stopped and we teachers were worried. The solution to the problem was not solved due to the mind being disturbed. Let’s remember some of the activities learned while cooperating with MAP Association. . A little hope rose in my heart and I prepared the lesson material accordingly and recorded it on my mobile phone and started connecting with the students. Students also joined enthusiastically. Our presence reached the homes of students through Messenger groups. At the same time, art was used excessively in teaching and learning. A new dimension has been added to the use of art and technology in learning. In fact, in terms of teaching and learning, it can be called work efficiency. But the construction campaign of the curriculum was still in progress. After life became somewhat normal, classes started to be conducted in direct contact.

Caption: Student Practising Mobile Video Film Making – Janapriya Secondary School

 

As the normal daily life resumed, the local curriculum building campaign came alive again and our committee was revived with effect from the next academic session. Work was being done to collect the expectations of Socar people. Further, the technical experts who embodied it had to be tasked. In two meetings, the means of meeting the expectations of stakeholders were discussed. But finding the right tool was confusing. During this time, we remembered about the Problem Tree. While thinking about that, we started to understand the whole of Nepal and the local environment.

The whole of Nepal is like a miniature Nepal under Tansen Mayor. The caste characteristics, religious, linguistic, etc., are remembered here.

It is felt that MAP has come to solve the problem. Six genres were transformed into fields to make it a reality.

  1. Introduction to Tansen Municipality
  2. Tourism and Tansen
  3. Careers Business and Technology
  4. Arts and Heritage
  5. Health Hygiene and Sports
  6. Moral values ​​and useful life skills

After creating the subject area, if art can be the invaluable fund that connects the teaching and learning method and the evaluation method, for our reason, the theoretical and practical aspects were divided into 50 / 50 percent and the evaluation tool was decided. As a result, opportunities to develop students’ talents through project work were arranged. The curriculum which has been implemented in all schools of Tansen Municipality today.

I think my passion for art would have been comparatively less if I had not been associated with MAP. I have been working as a teacher for the past 29 years. In terms of educational qualification, I have done master’s degree in educational planning and management. However, MAP has realized the role of curriculum development during teaching and learning and educational management. I am pleased with the work of MAP. MAP has taken an incomparable role in the moral and social responsibility of the local curriculum. Its contribution should be properly evaluated and requested for cooperation with contact persons of Nepal Bishnu Khatri, Rajib Timalsina, Pandav Khatri and Mayor Ashok Kumar Shahi. MAP played an important role and the mayor decided to take this project to the executive meeting. In addition, the Municipality has given permission to be the MAP publisher and take the local syllabus for 1500 copies by raising the cost of printing the booklet. As a result, this course has been implemented within the Tansen city area today. I would like to thank all the thinkers who have directly and indirectly helped in making this course. Finally, I will leave by just thanking Ananda Breed, the big sister of us all.

 

Reflections on Agents of Change Webinar – Ayesha Mohanty

Reflections on Agents of Change Webinar – Ayesha Mohanty

Author: Ayesha Mohanty

Edition: Camilo Soler Caicedo

Caption: Kyrgyzstan’s Team Presentation, part of the Agents of Change Webinar

 

 

If you wish to envision the future of world peace, young people from the MAP project shall be your reflective lens. From Nepal to Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia to Rwanda, the young peacebuilders from these regions, equipped with the tools of arts-based research, documented critical issues that they believed impacted their society. Traditionally while these approaches are utilized for peacebuilding endeavors in reconciliation processes, today, there is a need for incorporating the same into preventive efforts and driving more targeted interventions.

In the context of the Agents of Change event on the 24th May 2022 Each project developed by the teams communicated challenges that often went unnoticed in transitional societies and used the skills learned through the Small Grants Project to bridge meaningful participation and partnership for their communities. While navigating through the stigmas and prejudices that marginalized people in their communities face, the teams brought a multitude of creative outcomes. Documented through films, posters, photographs, stories, and comic strips, the young people ensured adequate safeguards by working with skilled professionals such as lawyers, trainers, community leaders, and psychologists to drive their interventions. For example, in a project involving violence against the children of migrants, the members were working with high-risk and vulnerable children prone to anxiety and trauma. Using mitigation measures like involving a psychologist and legal professionals, the team parallelly encouraged legal advice and therapy for those who sought the same. Aside from the mitigation measures, the teams took cognizance of the broader historical context of the region. For example, the project in Nepal identified the ethnic and socio-cultural conflicts that impacted their societies. Integrating a bottom-up approach toward policy intervention, the team used multiple channels for continued advocacy on the issues.

Based on the foundation of the “Theory of Change” analysis, each of the projects reflected a sincere effort to dig deeper into the immediate problems that their communities faced and the existing gaps within the institutional structures – both formal and informal. Through inter-generational dialogues with key decision-makers, they furthered the historical roots of their culture and carried it with a fresh perspective towards the future with the use of social media as a critical channel for communicating their assessments. The event also fostered intercultural learning amongst the team members of different countries and as a member of the audience, one could also identify the common concerns for the protection of the vulnerable and the prevention of the atrocities against those marginalized despite the geographical barriers.

A key highlight for me was the keen awareness and recognition of the diverse socio-cultural factors by young people and their usage in the planning, designing, and implementation of the project based on the arts-based tools. For example, the team in Rwanda took cognizance of the long history of war and conflict that has fractured the society. Involving elements of transitional justice as a part of solutions and recommendations while simultaneously working with the members of the civil society to transform the situation for children was critical. As the teams realize the projects alongside the communities they serve, it is a hope that the documentation of these lived experiences that is often unnoticed realizes into concrete policy efforts by local, state, and national governance.

About Ayesha:

Ayesha is an incoming LLM student at Georgetown University for the academic year 2022-23 on the prestigious Georgetown Merit Scholarship. In the recent past, Ayesha co-lead the Youth Wellbeing team under the UNESCO Youth as Researcher program for the Asia-Pacific Region . Here, she represented both in the Knowledge-sharing Meeting and High-Level Political Conference advocating for the access to mental healthcare within the region for university students with various stakeholders. Her priority interest areas are in security issues, human rights laws and peacebuilding that impact lives of young people through the intersection of mental health, gender and technology.

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You can also access the whole Webinar recording here

How Can Young People Engage Policy-makers?

How Can Young People Engage Policy-makers?

Author: Ananda Breed

Edition: Camilo Soler Caicedo

 

Caption: Policy Brief created by MAP Youth Researchers in Kyrgyzstan

Art-based methods enable different stakeholders and audiences to engage with critical ideas and issues. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project ‘Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP): Informing the National Curriculum and Youth Policy for Peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal’ aims to explore the use of art-based methods to enable communication structures between young people and decision-makers from local to regional levels. In a MAP webinar on 10 May 2022, young researchers from 16 participating MAP Youth Researcher Clubs in Kyrgyzstan and six MAP Child Clubs in Nepal demonstrated how they used art-based research methods to explore underlying issues and problems and to communicate these issues with local and regional decision-makers. Experts from the Open Innovation Team, a UK cross-government unit that works with academics to help officials generate analysis and ideas for priority projects, served as respondents. In relation to creating systemic change, respondents stated that it would be important to build a consortium with like-minded organisations or projects to help put pressure on decision-making or policy-making bodies. The webinar enabled the MAP team and webinar attendees to think deeper about next steps concerning how art-based methods might enable shifts in behaviour and attitude in relation to practices that might be embedded within certain cultures. For instance, there is legislation against child abuse in relation to migration in Kyrgyzstan, but some of the practices have become normalised. Art-based outputs including posters, drawings, films, and performances demonstrated the impact of these social issues on the lived experience of young people. Findings related to the causes and recommended solutions to the issues identified by the young researchers, that evolved through conversations between young people and local decision-makers, were incorporated into policy briefs. In our next ‘Agents of Change’ webinar on 24 May 2022, young researchers from all of the four countries will share their youth-led research projects including art-based outputs and policy briefs through a virtual exhibit with respondents from UNESCO. MAP will continue to engage local and regional decision-makers as we move to the next phase of the project which will focus on building communication structures between young people and policy-makers from local to regional to national levels.

You can register now to our upcoming ‘Agents of Change’ Webinar, or contact the Principal Investigator (PI) Professor Ananda Breed. 

Small Grants to Grant Young People a Voice

Small Grants to Grant Young People a Voice

Caption: A Young participant drawing a Conflict Tree

As a general trend, policy-informing projects in Nepal are decided by donors and decisions are made from the top-down. Young people are often only at the receiving end of development and research projects.

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Nepal allowed young people to brainstorm and develop a research project by themselves and implement it through the Small Grant Project Call.

From January-April 2022, seven child clubs implemented small grant projects on several topics including caste-based discrimination, gender-based violence, human trafficking, and drug abuse. In this blog, I am writing on how those issues and topics were selected by MAP Child Clubs in Nepal for MAP Small Grant Projects.

In a workshop organized by MAP Nepal team on 27th April 2022, the Small Grants Grantee shared the process how had they chosen issues and topic for the projects. Based on the responses collected in the workshop, I grouped the ideas into five major stages:

  1. Collection of ideas and issues through self-realization/peer observations by young people
  2. Analysing the issues through Conflict Tree Methods
  3. Consultation among child club members
  4. Consultations with teachers and parents
  5. Partnership with other local stakeholders.

 

Young people engaged in workshop on 27th April 2022

A conflict tree analysis of drug abuse among young people prepared by one of MAP Nepal Club Member.

First, teams of 4-15 young people were formed in each school, where they had preliminary discussion meetings. They collected possible ideas, and the issues that they are facing. The ideas and issues were shortlisted giving priorities to the issues which are directly experienced by the team members or their peers. For example, a MAP club from Palpa district shared that one of their child club members got married at the age of 14 when she was studying at grade 9, hence, they prioritized child marriage issue on the top. A MAP club from Kanchanpur district shared that they found one of their peer’s attendances to school was irregular because he had to work to make a living, thus they decided to focus on child labour issues.

After the selection of the key issues, all the clubs used Conflict Tree Methods to analyze the issues. They looked at the root causes and effects of the problem. Then, they consulted back with all club members. After discussion, the issues and their analysis were note down and they asked teachers and parents for help. Finally, our MAP Nepal youth clubs collaborated with school management committees, Parents Teachers Association, Mothers Committee, Local Government, Local Music and Arts clubs, Local Artists, Nepal Police, and other local CSOs. They consulted with these local partners and involved them in the small grants’ activities.

 

Young people engaged in workshop – 27th April 2022

The small grant project allowed young people to gain initiative and leadership skills along with opportunities for co-creation, collaboration, and project planning.

The Small Grant project – supported by MAP – fostered a bottom-up approach in the creation of research and development agendas, thus, allowing young people to move beyond the role of beneficiaries into active creators.

We invite other researchers to give young people an active role in deciding the most pressing issues for research, and to give them a voice in the decision-making process.

How Does It All End?

How Does It All End?

Author: Harla Octarra

Edition: Camilo Soler Caicedo

 

Stigma is adding to the pain of victims of sexual violence, particularly adolescent girls in urban poor communities of East Jakarta. The stigma tends to overlook the disabling environment causing the girls to be at risk of sexual violence. MAP young researchers created a short film to address the problem. The film will be a research tool to create dialogue with community members about stigma and the causes of sexual violence.

The young researchers led all the stages of filmmaking together, had their say about different pros and cons in the contents of the script, and debated different technical choices. Before creating the film, they sent out questionnaires to community members and interviewed adolescent survivors of sexual violence in order to create the script. They consulted Kalamtara, MAP partner filmmakers, from writing down a synopsis, to the cast rehearsal, filming and editing. In particular, the technicalities of filming were also assisted by young people of Jakaringan Cinema, a film-based advocacy youth groups based in East Jakarta.

In back-to-back discussions between Kalamtara filmmakers and young researchers, the researchers learned about what films should be and how to plan each production stage. Meanwhile, the filmmakers learned how to guide young people to create films they were passionate about. This process ultimately led to a discussion on how the film should end. In the young researchers’ view, the film should have no ending because they wanted to use the film in dialogues with community members to help find solutions. For the filmmakers, the film should at least show the main character is challenging the status quo or trying to get out of the violent situation.

The ongoing nature of the collaboration between young researchers and filmmakers constitutes a great example of what we consider a participatory arts-based approach.

You can find the final film in Indonesia’s Artistic Outputs page.

 

 

Training of Young Changemakers in Kyrgyzstan

Training of Young Changemakers in Kyrgyzstan

Authors: Anara Eginalieva, Tajyka Shabdanova, Helena-Ulrike Marambio

 

‘I will no longer believe in the word “impossible”, [instead] I will act’ stated one young participant after the attending a five-day ‘Training the Trainers’ (TOT) workshop organised by the Kyrgyz non-profit organisation and MAP partner Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI). FTI ran a series of five-day TOTs with young people and educators across the country. The blended face-to-face and online workshop sessions were organised in partnership with 16 schools in Batken, Osh, and Jalal-Abad provinces (oblasts), and the new migrant settlements around the capital city of Bishkek. The MAP partnerships enabled FTI to train over 140 schoolchildren between 14 and 18 years, and 8 teachers between November 2020 and March 2021.

Participants from new migrant settlements (Bishkek)

 

The training aimed: a) to enhance critical thinking introduce young people to research methods; b) to explore creative and artistic tools; and c) to increase young people’s self-confidence and self-esteem in order to engage with diverse audiences. By including educators as trainees (and eventual trainers), FTI aimed to raise awareness about creative methods to facilitate two-way, intergenerational communication between young people and adults.

 

Critical thinking 

Creative exercises like the ‘Conflict Tree’ helped young people to identify the root causes of problems and their consequences. Young people shared personal and community-based issues such as the theme ‘family conflicts’ and its effect on their motivation to study. In addition to this, participants identified issues such as the precarious situation of young people whose parents migrated to other countries for work and the influence of social media on people’s time and self-perception. After a first round of brainstorming, each group was asked to pick a specific problem and to analyse its root causes and consequences in depth. The results were presented to the whole group as a means to develop the young people’s confidence in public speaking and to extend peer-to-peer and community-based problem-solving.

Following the conflict analysis via ‘Conflict Tree’, FTI carried out a mapping exercise that signposted young people to relevant organisations, local authorities, and individuals who could help to address the identified problems. During the activity, one young participant stated: ‘I did not think about our problems before. Now, I want teachers, the mayor, and the police to know our problems.’ Another young person from Jalal-Abad stated: ‘This [training] pushed me to think about various problems in our village; now I look at the problem from different perspectives.’

 

Young researchers: ‘It’s about unravelling something’

FTI created 16 MAP Young Researcher Clubs to train the youth research participants in critical thinking and research methods. During the first activity, young researchers explored the meaning of ‘research’, its purpose, and research approaches. To prompt the conversation, FTI asked participants to think about the beneficiaries of their study and how they could use the findings. Young participants commented: ‘It’s about unravelling something’; ‘It’s an analysis’; and ‘It’s to investigate the problems [and] to solve them correctly.’ Moreover, young people considered the purpose and advantage of ‘collaborative action research.’ They recognised the value of a research team – its strength based on the members’ varying skills and talents – and its efficiency resulting from the possibility to distribute tasks, to consider varying viewpoints, and to share responsibilities. Moreover, they examined the characteristics of a researcher through the exercise ‘Super Explorer’ that asked participants to compile a list of required skills, abilities, and tools of a good researcher. Based on discussions, young people were able to list several skills (e.g. good observer, clear writing), abilities (e.g. patient, tolerant, flexible), and tools (e.g. pen, paper, recorder, documents). They also reflected on their weaknesses, like lack of punctuality and patience.

Conflict analysis (Batken)

In the training, FTI focused on conflict analysis and the active participation of young people in decision-making at a community level. To this end, as part of the first exercise, participants had to sort a set of cards in chronological order that featured six research stages and tasks (research topic; target research participants; research methods supporting data collection and analysis; and ways to disseminate the findings). Next, participants were divided into groups. Each group had to decide upon a problem and explain the steps and measures they would take to design a research proposal to examine the youth-based issue. The ‘problem’ had to meet three criteria: 1) it needed to have an impact on a great number of people, 2) it had to influence the development of young people and, 3) it had to be resolvable at the local level. In Jalal-Abad and Osh oblast, participants chose to present a study on the lack of interest in education by youth. The proposed research question sought to examine the reasons for their disinterest. In Jalal-Abad, participants aimed to collect data through surveys with students of grades 9 to 11 and count the responses. Furthermore, they proposed to present their findings through video clips and forum theatre. Young people from Osh took a slightly different approach – they surveyed teachers, students, and parents, and presented their findings through drawings and video clips. At this point of the training, both adults and young people were struggling with the final step – the dissemination of findings.

‘You feel that you are treated like an adult’

Overall, the exercise sought to place young people in the position of decision-making: what type of problem would they pick and how would they tackle it? How would they discuss and take decisions? By the end of the TOT, an adult research participant from Osh (educator) observed a change in the attitude and behaviour of participants during the TOT as well as an increased level of tolerance and respect for the opinions of other students in class. This observation was made by other adult participants who noticed a general change in the attitude and behaviour of schoolchildren after the training in both ways – among their peers and with educators. One youth participant noted: ‘In [this] project I really like the fact that you can speak openly about the problems that bother you. You feel that you are treated like an adult, a full-fledged person, they [MAP team and educators] give you the opportunity to convey your opinion to others.’

To deepen participants’ analytical skills, FTI carried out two activities that focused on the cause and consequences of a problem as well as affected persons and other stakeholders. Young people from Chui (a new settlement around the capital of Bishkek), talked about the absence of a psychologist at school due to a lack of state funding. Another obstacle identified was the lack of awareness of the role and relevance of a psychologist by teachers and parents. The overall lack of awareness and knowledge were determined as reasons that led to a rising trend of suicides among young people and youth, intergenerational conflicts between children and parents, teachers and pupils, as well as growing cases of mental health conditions in the community. To interrogate and visualise young people’s concerns, groups were asked to develop a ‘Conflict Tree’ to be presented to the group. The day closed with a mapping of the target groups who are directly affected by the problem, immediate stakeholders (other individuals who are also impacted by the situation) and indirect stakeholders (individuals or institutions that seek to address an issue). The last activity was challenging for many participants who were not familiar with governmental structures and other existing organisations. However, they were able to point to several affected groups, such as young people, parents, teachers, youth committees, NGOs and community leaders and community activists. Whilst reflecting, FTI considered the necessary step to introduce and clarify the term ‘decision-maker’, his/ her tasks, and ways to interact with the corresponding individual.

 

Arts-based Methods

FTI introduced arts-based methods including forum theatre and film making, among others, to enable young people to communicate their problems and potential solutions. To begin the discussion on arts-based communication, FTI asked young people to reflect on ‘communication’, its meaning and what it takes to create a meaningful conversation and to transmit a powerful message. Some participants stressed the usefulness of drawings to convey a message. One participant recognised the value of traditional Kyrgyz art to bring people together: ‘Art unites us. If we look at the works of Chinghiz Aitmatov [Kyrgyz novelist], they unite us.’ By choosing different arts-based forms, FTI equipped the trainees with additional tools to reach out to various social groups from local (e.g. peer, parents, teachers), regional (e.g. Mayor’s Office) to national levels (e.g. Ministry of Education) – either online through social media or face-to-face.

Forum theatre (Batken)

At first, FTI introduced ‘forum theatre’, its methodology, the roles, and rules (i.e. the interaction between the actor(s) and the audience facilitated by a Joker). Then, FTI encouraged participants to think about different situations in their communities and to share moments in which a person tried to do something but was faced with various obstacles. In the next step, young people had to select a story that set the baseline for two scripts and productions. In Batken, participants opted for alcohol abuse by a family father and the negative impact of early marriage on a female young person. Most people, both male and female, stressed that girls and women are always blamed for existing problems in daily life. In turn, participants took up different roles in the forum theatre performance – this way, they got the opportunity to familiarise themselves with this tool from different perspectives. Furthermore, they discussed the ability of forum theatre to visualise and transmit their research findings and engage in a dialogue with the audience to find joint solutions for identified problems.

Subsequently, FTI used video and different social media channels to share young people’s concerns and research findings. It further explored the link between video clips, social media, and social activism. As one young participant noted: ‘Social networks are a platform to exchange information with your eyes.’ Moreover, FTI showed participants how to develop video scripts, filming (e.g. angles) and editing before asking each group to develop their video clips. These clips were quite diverse and ranged from patriarchal structures, environmental pollution to corruption and problems to access education.

‘There are no languages in art, there are no barriers to understand each other.’

Video clip production (Osh)

Throughout the sessions, young people considered the usefulness and feasibility of each tool for specific issues of concern. One participant stated: ‘There are no languages in art, there are no barriers to understand each other. I believe that with the help of art, we [can] raise important problems of young people and bring them to our deputies and ministers.’  Another young person reflected on the presence of art in daily life and its potential for conflict prevention: ‘If we get a little closer to the arts, people would not have time for conflicts. I have never thought about the role of art in our life before; it turns out it surrounds us everywhere!’ Participants – schoolchildren and educators – echoed the potential of the arts to communicate issues of concern and address them through creative dialogue. In an interview after the training, one educator shared her plans to use forum theatre and video in parent-teacher meetings to raise awareness about the impact of parental conflicts on children.

In feedback sheets, participants expressed the impact the training had on their personal perceptions of arts-based research.  One participant from Chui wrote: ‘Before I [did not think that I could] be a director, actress, [and] editor – now I am sure that I can!’ Another person stated: ‘For forum theatre and the filming of video stories, [it is] necessary [to be] skill[ed] in teamwork, balancing [opinions], good thinking, strong energy, [and] creative search.’

 

Self-esteem and self-confidence

Energizer (Batken)

Throughout the training, FTI collected various statements by young people who continuously expressed their change of mind and personal development. Several of them mentioned feelings of shyness, insecurity to express their opinion, and perceived lack of talents at the start of the training. This changed dramatically and ranged from feelings of comfort to speak in front of a group, the ability and freedom to share one’s thoughts (‘listen and be listened to’), the feeling of being taken seriously as an adult, and the skillset to identify and address a problem. The gained confidence and developed skillset to express oneself supported the group dynamics in class – some young people who were struggling with learning and socialising were able to communicate better with educators and peers, and developed a renewed interest in education. Overall, young people become more mindful and proactive in addressing issues for conflict prevention. At the end of the five days, one participant concluded: ‘Even if I cannot solve the problems of the [whole] village, I can freely express my thoughts now.’

 

 

We would like to thank FTI’s staff members Shakhsanam AkmatalievaNurgul Sultanova, Cholpon Kylzhyrova, and Bakhram Rakhmankulov for their invaluable insights.