The Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) launched their role as co-investigator of Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) to enhance peace values, public speaking, inclusive education and to develop a society that assists with healing. A stakeholder meeting took place in Kigali last week.
The role of arts for peace-building 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.
Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) is one such initiative in Rwanda, as spearheaded by Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from the Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), Prof. Dr. Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln and the Rwanda Education Board (REB) to inform the national curriculum framework in Music, Dance and Drama.
The national competence-based curriculum in Rwanda from primary to upper secondary (2015) includes Music, Dance and Drama as a subject, although at the time of writing there is no provision of curriculum nor training available.
In addition to integrating Music, Dance and Drama into the curriculum, the competence-based curriculum promotes participative and interactive methods stating: ‘Teachers need to shift from traditional methods of instruction and adopt participatory and interactive methods that engage young people in the learning process, both in groups and as individuals. This ensures that learning is active, participative and engaging rather than passive, and that it is personalised, addressing learners’ individual needs and expectations’ (Ministry of Education 2015).
The more that an opinion voiced, the more understood
MAP activities in 2018 included a pilot project in the Eastern Province of Rwanda working with ten cultural organisations, five schools, twenty-five adult trainers and ten youth trainers. Following a series of activities including a scoping visit, curriculum workshop, training of trainers and youth camp, the MAP methodology was disseminated to sixty-two educators and five hundred and twenty-six young people on a weekly basis.
The methodology incorporates the use of participatory arts for trust building, teamwork, facilitation, leadership, and public speaking. The methodology incorporates mental health awareness and conflict negotiation skills alongside skill development in characterisation, improvisation, voice and movement. In addition, MAP incorporates Music, Dance, Drama and the Visual Arts using an interdisciplinary approach.
In an interview with a twelve-year old youth participant of MAP, she stated: ‘With MAP, we have confidence to act and contribute. Not only has it influenced me as a person, but by applying the techniques, I’ve been able to realise that I’m empowered. I learned through MAP that the more that I voice my opinion, the more I’m understood.’
A twenty-five year old adult educator from Friends of the Children International School, Hassan Ngendahimana, stated: ‘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.’
Among other stakeholders, the Rwanda Education Board (REB), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Sports and Culture, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Information, Technology and Communication, and numerous distinguished guests attended the meeting on 23 January 2019.
Mrs. Joan Umurungi from REB, commented on the importance of arts for peace-building 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.
On behalf of MINISPOC, 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.
Other speakers included: Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from IRDP; Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo from the College of Educatio; 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 and Ms. Laure Iyaga from Sana Initiative.
To date, cultural artists, educators and young people have informed the development of a 250 page training manual and established numerous drama clubs alongside the incorporation of MAP into the curriculum. By the end of 2019, MAP will have reached over 150 trainers and 2,500 young people within the initial pilot phase of the project.
In 2019, MAP will extend programming to the remaining four provinces in Rwanda including the Northern Province, Western Province, Southern Province, and Kigali Province to incorporate all regions in Rwanda to both test and inform the MAP methodology.