Understanding TfaC’s unique culture begins by understanding the principles underlying TfaC’s work.
Our Key Principles
The key principles behind our values and methodology are:
1. Participants are the experts in their own lives
Creating the contexts for understanding this experience, and its patterns, is the starting point. What is happening in participants’ lives?
“Only by knowing reality can we change it.” – Brecht
This is the most important knowledge, and we put participants’ knowledge first – their voices, their experiences.
Our methodology is the embodiment of this principle.
2. Awareness is the foundation of behaviour change
The more aware we are of our thoughts and perceptions and behaviours, and their consequences, the more these open up to change, and the more choices we have about how we act in our lives.
“We are what we think – all that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” – Buddha
Our methodology places self-awareness and reflection at the centre of the learning process.
3. The balance of power is our aim
We want to achieve Gender Equality – a balance of power. Power that is held over others by one person or one group is not healthy or sustainable – we know we are healthier and happier when power is shared between people equally.
This is the power of balance – and the more attention we pay to balance in our voices, our public and private spaces, the more empowered we will all be.
4. Actions have consequences – if we change our behaviour, the consequences change
Our methodology enables participants to experience the ability to actually change their attitudes and behaviours, and to experience the empowerment this brings.
This three-part structure is the foundation of our behaviour change methodology:
- What’s happening?
- What are the consequences of what’s happening?
- What can we do differently?
5. Behaviour change is individual and collective
Our cycle of empowerment has change starting with the individual. There is a unique opportunity with our methodology for individuals to connect with themselves, and value themselves and their experiences, in ways that are very unusual in international development.
This process, embodied in the methodology and the Six Stages of Behaviour Change, starts with awareness of what is happening in our bodies (sculpting, body scans), with our thoughts and perceptions, and in our habit behaviours. It is a conversation with ourselves, where we notice what is happening, without judgement, and is a radical act in itself.
Individual change has a symbiotic relationship with group change – it is supported by others in our cycle of empowerment. The group supports the individual to change, and reflects back the progress that is being made. The principle of equal participation of all group members underpins this.
This is true on an organisational basis too – our organisational culture supports people to grow as individuals.
6. Individual change needs structural change
Our cycle of empowerment shows the interrelated dynamic of individual, group and social change. This is borne out of an understanding that power is structural as well as personal – there are structures that support it.
In our methodology, participants use their voices to influence power holders and change the narrative, literally and figuratively: telling the truth to power, and inviting power holders to create the conditions where the rights of marginalised women and girls are upheld.
We don’t speak for participants in the conventional sense of advocacy; we enable participants to speak for themselves.
7. Interactive Theatre is a natural form for behaviour change and advocacy
Interactive Theatre (in all its forms) and our methodology, is based on participants’ experience and involves showing how people behave and sharing our stories – it is a perfect form for changing behaviour and advocating for our rights.
It is also a perfect medium for changing gender norms – gender is all about playing roles – and these roles can be changed physically using our methodology.
“The body is the first word of theatre.” – Augusto Boal
The essence of our methodology is learning through experience – participants’ experience.
The culture of TfaC is one where these principles are being manifested – sometimes simultaneously. Everyone is engaged in developing knowledge, awareness and action – this is the foundation of behaviour change.
At TfaC, we are responsible for embodying this culture, from how we reflect on our own attitudes and actions, and how we use our voices, our bodies, and space in meetings, to how we support this culture across the organisation.
We are working to hand over power, to generate empowerment at every level and in every context.