27 Kenyan and Somali men and women have completed a six day training of trainers (TOT) at Quaaba Primary School in Majengo, Mombasa (Kenya) in Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT) techniques. They now have the skills to work as youth leaders using DCT to help foster peaceful dialogue and discussion on issues of conflict and tension in their communities. DCT is a specialized version of Forum Theatre which creates a safe space for youth to positively express their views and frustrations on key issues including poverty, lack of access to education and gender issues, drivers of conflict among others.
A multicultural urban area of Mombasa, Majengo district is home to a diverse mixture of Somalis, Kenyans, Indians, and Arabs, reflecting the dynamic ethnic mix of this coastal city. Through a four day selection process, IREX Europe interviewed around 140 adults, and made a final selection of 27 outstanding Kenyan and Somali men and women to become youth trainers. The trainers will go on to train 100 Kenyan and Somali youth using DCT techniques in January.
Drama for Conflict transformation methodologies is a powerful Forum Theatre technique which engages citizens in powerful and positive societal change. Trainees are taken through a unique experience in which they build up their individual and group teamwork and leadership abilities, culminating in drama performances which are shown and discussed with the community at large.
On the final day of the workshop, participants showed the community plays they had created. The plays reflect issues of concern to participants and to Kenyans and Somalis in Majengo at large:
Girls denied education
Marriage between a Christian and a Muslim
Discrimination against Somalis and other ethnic groups
IREX Europe project leaders brought in two co-trainers from our previous DCT project working with Somali communities in Kenya. They helped with community mobilization and with training the new and future trainers. Both co-trainers helped set up a local NGO, IMPACT, in the Nairobi slum of Eastleigh under the former IREX Europe project and have been using DCT there with local youth. This experience and the initial training and work with IREX Europe has empowered them to take their skills beyond their local environment demonstrating the local capacity building in DCT that such projects can and do achieve.
IREX Europe has successfully utilized DCT techniques with Somali communities in Kenya as well as in Indonesia. To find out more:
Somaliland: Theatre to promote peace and understanding
Kenya: Learning theatre to promote peace and understanding among Somali communities
Indonesia: Promoting Tolerance and Dialogue through Interactive Theatre in Eastern Indonesia
DCT expert Christine Cox preparing workshop with co-trainer, Mohamed Hassan, trained in last year’s Theatre for Peace project in Eastleigh, Nairobi
In this play, participants showed how Somalis have faced problems of discrimination within their community. Here, a Somali man is refused an ID card
Rehearsals for the play about governmental corruption. Here a young girl attempts to get a job, but is faced with both indifference and corruption among those who are supposed to help
Play about a potential marriage between a Kenyan Christian man and a Somali woman. The couple face resistance by their families both due to religion and clan/tribal issues