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).


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.


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


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.


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.