Aug 27, 2020 | Blog, Related Activities & Initiatives, Resources
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.
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. 
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: map.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk or contact Ananda Breed at ABreed@lincoln.ac.uk.
 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).
 Registrants included 42 participants on 5 August, 52 participants on 6 August and 43 participants on 7 August.
Mar 23, 2020 | Blog, MAP archive, Peace Education, Related Activities & Initiatives, Toolkits for Youth
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
‘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.
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.