Small Grants Final Evaluation report

Small Grants Final Evaluation report

This report focuses on the Small Grants awarded across the four countries, and acts as a follow-up to the Phase One Report produced in the winter of 2021. It seeks to demonstrate, through a narrative case-study approach, how the Small Grants work delivered has promoted arts-based peacebuilding and supported community cohesion. The research reported took place between February and October 2022 and focuses on the research aim below and three key research questions: 

Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of the MAP Small Grants projects and understand their impact in communities. Specifically: 

  1. What outputs were delivered through the Small Grants projects? 
  2. What outcomes for beneficiaries/stakeholders were delivered through the Small Grants projects? 
  3. What impacts delivered for communities and societies across the four countries were delivered through the Small Grants projects? 

A key finding: “Power of arts-based methods: Ultimately, the strength of the projects rested in their use of arts-based methods, which across the funded projects repeatedly demonstrated their power and value in helping to develop community understanding of problems, build empathy and cohesion and drive wider impact through policy” (p.80).


Small Grants Final Report [January 2023]

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

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

Written by Professor Ananda Breed

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

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

MAP Master Trainers and Youth Facilitators

MAP Master Trainers and Youth Facilitators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAP activities and discussion groups

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

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

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


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

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


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: 

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.