Interactive Theatre Training in Bangladesh, Nepal, Rwanda, Swaziland and Tanzania

In September 2017, Theatre for a Change began partnering with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) on their sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes for adolescents and youth in Bangladesh, Nepal, Rwanda, Swaziland and Tanzania.

Each pilot project trained groups of youth leaders to devise, perform, facilitate and evaluate the impact of Interactive Theatre performances in their communities. The film below tells the story of how these projects unfolded, as told through the eyes of our participants.

Bangladesh

Theatre for a Change trained a group of 17 youth club leaders from Birampur, Parbatipur and Mongla Districts in September 2017. The training focused on how to use Interactive Theatre for Justice to change social norms around child marriage and girls’ education. Bangladesh has the highest rate of girls being married under the age of 15 anywhere in the world.

Watching this short film transports you to the heart of the performance in Parbatipur, and allows you to hear the local power holders and visiting British MP Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan (who has now become our Ambassador) speak about its impact, and the importance of preventing child marriage:

I have never seen anything like what I have seen today. The calibre of the acting, the improvisation and the audience participation… It is through important work like this that together we understand and empower our community to work for our young men and women. Child marriage, as you all have heard and seen today, is a very serious issue” – Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan

Nepal

In February to March 2018, a group of 20 participants – mostly young women – were trained to use Interactive Theatre in their child marriage prevention campaigns in Dhading, Lamjung, Parsa and Surkhet Districts. Power holders including mayors, police chiefs, doctors and district council members are now attending performances and being asked what they can do to help prevent child marriage in their communities.

Being a human being, being a lady, and now also being a representative, it’s my responsibility to ensure that everything in my municipality goes right, and no rights should be violated. We will take strict steps against child marriage” – Salma Khatun, Deputy Mayor, Pokhariya Municipality, Nepal

I could really feel the performance. I had little knowledge of child marriage, but seeing the performance gave me more knowledge, and the realisation that from now on, I can spread the message amongst my relatives and friends that child marriage is wrong” – Audience member, Nepal

Rwanda

A group of 19 activists from local organisations were trained to use Interactive Theatre in January to February 2018 to help parents develop the confidence and communication skills to talk openly and honestly about sex with their 10 to 14-year-old children. Participants are now implementing Interactive Theatre workshops and performances involving parents in Nyagatare, Gasabo, Kicukiro and Nyarugenge Districts.

Click here to discover a photo story about our work in Rwanda.

This photo and title photo copyright Jean Bizimana for Taking Pictures, Changing Lives

Eswatini (Swaziland)

We trained 18 youth leaders from two VSO partner organisations – the Red Cross, and the Family Life Association of Swaziland (FLAS) – in February to March 2018 to use Interactive Theatre to promote gender equality and reduce gender-based violence among teens and young adults in Manzini Region.

In October 2018, we returned to Swaziland – called Eswatini as of April 2018, and held a refresher training with the 10 original participants from FLAS – with the aim of further developing the breadth and depth of their Interactive Theatre performance, facilitation and leadership skills.

We are the voice for the voiceless, through Theatre for a Change you too have a voice of your own. It’s high time we broke this bondage of our great-grandparents. Let’s speak up and let people hear our loud voices” – Sindile, Interactive Theatre Training Participant, Eswatini

Watch our participant Sindile share her thoughts on the refresher training:

Tanzania

In January to February 2018 we trained a group of 20 national and local volunteers to use Interactive Theatre to reduce teen pregnancy in Lindi Region, which has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country. The project is targeting three key groups – parents, traditional leaders, and men and boys – who have great influence over girls’ behaviour in the community.

The training will change me. I can pass on my knowledge to the other people in the community, and together we can bring the change that we all want to see” – Interactive Theatre Training Participant, Tanzania

To learn more about these exciting pilot projects, as well as our plans for the future, click on the image to read our Partnership Report.

To learn more about how your organisation can partner with Theatre for a Change, visit the Training in our Methodology page.