Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values made by young people in Nepal: A youth perspective

Examining the Interpretations of Civic National Values made by young people in Nepal: A youth perspective

This post was originally published via Changing the Story (CTS)’s #YouthChangemakers 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. ‘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 Samjhana Balami

Hello, I am Samjhana Balami from Nepal, currently a management student and a freelancer. I am an introvert in nature but always ready to learn if get a chance. In the process of learning, some months ago​, I got a chance to assist ‘Young Changemakers CTS Kenya-Nepal Phase 2 program’ project.

Being an undergraduate student the project theme was vague for me to understand and was beyond my course curriculum and work area. My role was centered on photography, videography and filmmaking. Being a fresher at first I was nervous as I met experienced, talented people involved in this project. I also had a feeling that I do not belong to this project but the first meeting with the team gave me confidence to carry on with the work. Everyone was so humble, down to earth and fun too. With such great team members I got a great opportunity to learn and improve myself.

Although my role was on film making, I was equally given a chance to interact with the audience. I wasn’t bound to my role only. The field work in urban and rural schools created a kind of nostalgia for me. When I was a student in school, I was supposed to focus more on my textbooks. The case was not only of mine but of the whole education system. We, the students were guided as per the syllabus of the textbooks only. Extra curricular activities (were considered) a learning platform but only textbooks were a source for academic teaching. Being the part of Changing the Story (CTS) I found that teaching could be done with various means and resources. I have never thought art could also be a medium for teaching. I was astonished to see how the students were learning about the civic values through the medium of art. Both the technology and art used in teaching during the CTS program could set a reference to our education system.

During all the sessions, I found excitement and interest in every student to learn something different. Everyone was active and giving their best in each tasks. I have seen the joy and amazement in them when the technology and arts were used in teaching and learning. The Ipad introduction and its use in reflection recording, community understanding reflection through graffiti art/dramas/poems/songs, several creative games etc gave them a platform to share their thoughts, talents and also advertise their knowledge. Though the session was for a day I could sense the learning will benefit them throughout life because at such small age they are given ideas and knowledge on civic values which is very rare in our country context.

The activities were fun as well as an effective learning platform for both the students and us. It was a great experience being a part of such an amazing project with amazing, enthusiastic people. This project gave me the knowledge of ‘Learning by Doing’. It became a great opportunity to learn the scenarios about which I was unaware. It changed my perception towards teaching and learning. It made me realize how the technology and arts could be a medium in academic activities. I got an opportunity to personally experience the situation of education system of two different sectors; Urban & Rural. It added an experience to my career and helped to improve my skills. I believe, the things that I have learned should also be the learning of others. As it has changed my way of thinking regarding education, it could also bring changes in others as well the system.

Mobile Arts for Peace: March 2019 Update

Mobile Arts for Peace: March 2019 Update

This post is a rework of the March 2019 MAP newsletter.

This post is a re-post of the MAP newsletter of March 2019.

Facilitators at the training of trainers make a tableau, or frozen image, August 2018. Photo: Deus Kwizera

In 2018, MAP was launched in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. Initial activities included a curriculum workshop with cultural artists to inform the methodology, a training of trainers with educators to adapt the methodology to local and regional contexts, and a youth camp to train young people as facilitators working alongside the adult educators to develop drama clubs and to integrate the methodology into schools.

In Rwamagana, MAP worked with five schools, ten cultural organisations, twenty-five educators, and ten young people to design and deliver the MAP methodology. Following the training events, youth and adult trainers extended the training to an additional 62 educators and 526 young people by the December 2018.

Teachers, cultural artists and young participants gather for a photo at the youth camp, December 2018. Photo: Deus Kwizera

What’s Next in 2019? 

Countrywide Expansion
Thanks to AHRC follow on impact funding, MAP youth and adult trainers from Rwamagana district will train adult educators and young people in Gicumbi, Rubavu, Nyamasheke, Huye and Kicukiro using the same structure as the pilot phase.

Small Grants
In order to support their extraordinary success, MAP adult and youth trainers have been invited to apply for small grants that can help to deliver ongoing training; to initiate drama clubs; and to expand MAP to other schools, communities and districts in the Eastern Province.

Mobile Filmmaking
MAP adult and youth trainers will participate in a Mobile Filmmaking workshop conducted by Eric Kabera of Kwetu Film Institute in April 2018. Mobile phones will be given to each of the participants to document, edit and produce short films.

Partner Highlights: Sana Initiative

Laure Iyaga speaks to facilitators about sojourning, August 2018. Photo: Deus Kwizera

Thanks to Laure Iyaga, MAP is a peace building initiative in Rwanda that integrates mental health awareness and support for its participants.

In addition to offering workshops and counselling during MAP activities, Sana offers ongoing support to MAP youth and adult trainers.

Ms Iyaga stated: ‘The equality among trainers and trainees creates a safe space and is working to heal deep wounds from the lack of a support system experienced by many young people.’

Learn More about Sana Initiative and their work in a broader Rwandan context by following this link.

24 January Stakeholder Meeting

A young participant leads and activity during the youth camp, November: 2018. Photo Deus Kwizera

On 24 January 2019, the Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) launched their role as co-investigator of Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) at a stakeholder meeting in Kigali, Rwanda attended by the Rwanda Education Board (REB), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Sports and Culture, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of ICT and Innovation and numerous distinguished guests. Mrs. Joan Umurungi from REB served as the guest of honour. Mrs. Umurungi commented on the importance of arts for peacebuilding and educational processes. Additionally, REB representatives noted their endorsement of MAP as a key partner and how MAP aligns with the vision of the Ministry of Education concerning the development of the competence based curriculum. MAP enhances peace values, public speaking, inclusive education and develops a society that assists with healing.

MINISPOC noted the importance of MAP to develop the creative industries nationally. Ministry representatives noted that MAP is practical, grassroots based, and brings a sense of ‘life’ in terms of conflict prevention and the promotion of dialogue through an arts-based approach. Speakers included: Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from IRDP; Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo from the College of Education, University of Rwanda; Dr. Samuel Rushworth from Aegis Trust; Mrs. Amy Barnecutt from A Partner in Education; Mr. Jeymo Mutinda from Music Mind Consult; Mr. Victor Ntezirembo from IRDP, Ms. Laure Iyaga from Sana Initiative, Dr. Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln and Kurtis Dennison, MAP Project Manager. Presentations and workshops were based on the use of arts with and for young people in peacebuilding initiatives.

The role of arts for peacebuilding initiatives has influenced major research and civil society organisations both nationally and internationally. Some of the benefits of arts-based approaches includes the opportunity to create innovative approaches for community dialogue alongside the development of skill building in the performing arts more generally.

Initial Research Findings from Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo

Young people participate in MAP activities at a Rwamagana Schoool, September 2018. Photo: Kurtis Dennison

Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo from the College of Education, University of Rwanda provided the following research findings based on interviews and focus groups with MAP youth and adult trainers, cultural artists, and stakeholders:

MAP keeps us awake in the classroom
Students reveal that by engaging in MAP activities amid a busy day with lessons, they are kept awake and do not feel sleepy. Given the introduction of the module system in advanced level in high schools (where a lesson can take up to 5 hours), it is important to keep students’ momentum.

MAP has enabled us to speak in public 
The vast majority of students admit that before engaging with MAP they could not stand in front of their peers and make an argument. MAP has empowered them with public speaking skills. Students who were shy in the classroom confess that they can now raise questions to the teacher.

MAP has raised my marks
Preliminary findings of this study show that MAP has improved the academic performance of students. Some say that before engaging with MAP they used to be lazy in the classroom. But after meeting MAP, they learn enthusiastically; they try to link what they learn with their daily life and this contributes greatly to their academic achievement.

MAP has allowed me to engage with my parents
Students tell that before engaging with MAP they were fearing their parents and were only receiving instructions. After participant in MAP, they have acquired skills to engage in a dialogue with their parents on different issues and come to a consensus.

I am attentive to what happens in my society   
The vast majority of students affirm that before engaging with MAP they were indifferent to fundamental problems of the Rwandan society. Students admit that after participating in MAP trainings, they are now awake to what happens around them.

After the training of trainers, we worked with our school children. They were motivated and developed skills. Among the teachers, we now have a drama team. We teachers are capable to train the children in drama. The impact of MAP in our schools is seen through what we are doing.

-Hassan Ngendahimana, Friends of the Children International School

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.