My Hetauda Experience

Anjana Nagarkoti

Anjana Nagarkoti, a youth researcher, shares her experience on how art-based learning methods can be an effective way to create social awareness among young people who want to learn and contribute to bringing change in their community. Here, she shares her 4-day research experience where she observed the learning style of the young participants at Jana Jagriti Secondary School, Hetauda in Nepal.

Anjana Nagarkoti, 6th Cohort of young researchers (YAARs)

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) is a research project led by the University of Lincoln that focuses on empowering young people through art-based methods to have a deeper knowledge of the policies that affect them. Our team  was led by Karkhana Samuha with co-investigators from Kathmandu University and Midwest University, specifically exploring the possibilities of involving youth to improve the education system in Nepal. 

In the Youth Advisory Advocacy Research (YAAR) project, I worked with a talented and creative group of 30 members. I worked closely with a team of seven people for this project. For this research project, we led an art based community program to explore the use of  theater-based methods for effective learning at Jana Jagriti Secondary School in Hetauda and studied its effects and efficacy. 

I along with a team member, studied the nature of participation as well as the effectiveness of reception of the information by participants, while the other 4 members facilitated the program.  We had a total of 15 participants from  grade 6, 7 and 8. 

Initially, the participants were hesitant to interact with the team, however, the program had been designed taking this possibility into account. The facilitators started with several ice-breakers such as introducing themselves with adjectives and actions and playing games to lighten the atmosphere which made everyone enthusiastic and interested throughout the session.  

During the session, participants had to work in teams and they acted as clay and sculptures to present social issues. They shared different perspectives on the displayed pictures and were able to understand social issues and brainstorm the solutions. They talked about a variety of social issues including, drug addiction, caste discrimination, child marriage, conflict in neighbourhoods, violence against women, sexual harassment, and child labor. They shared their ideas using several art-based methods to do so more effectively and even encouraged each other to engage. Overall, they did a great job presenting social issues and their solutions. Some of the solutions presented by the studentswere: Drug addiction can be reduced by prioritizing the need for education among children, child marriage can be potentially solved by making parents aware about relevant laws and encouraging them to educate their children, etc. This experience has reinforced the idea that using images and art is a great way to understand and communicate social issues. 

We were informed that it was the first time these students were participating in a program conducted by an external organization. As a researcher, I observed that the participants were able to express their problems to their friends and actively participate in group activities. Through this, I learned that everyone has a different and unique perception to understand the same thing. I also understood that a blanket approach to learning is not effective if we want to ensure a higher success rate am. Thus, learning can happen in several ways including Art based methods  It was interesting to note that even though everyone was taught the same thing, each participant had different learnings and takeaways from the session. 

The participants expressed their thought that along with their studies, they also need some extra curricular activities so they can better focus on their studies. They were able to express what they wanted using an art-based method. Everyone expressed that they found it easier to understand and remember things through the use of art-based tools in learning showing its effectiveness.

This blog was originally produced on the  Samaanta Foundation website (June 26th 2023)

Children as agents of positive change. A mapping of children’s initiatives across regions, towards an inclusive and healthy world free from violence

Children as agents of positive change. A mapping of children’s initiatives across regions, towards an inclusive and healthy world free from violence

Mobile Arts for Peace is a hub for resources and toolkits relating to arts-led peacebuilding initiatives. MAP’s website features recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The contents are the sole responsibility of The Office of the special representative of the secretary-general on violence against children

“We are in the midst of a new era of child engagement, where children are to be considered partners and key players in achieving change. Children are acting against violence and being part of the solution everywhere, taking forward positive change, working as partners with adults and young people.

As part of the mandate’s goal to promote meaningful participation, amplify children’s voices and actions and leave no one behind, the Special Representative took forward a mapping exercise to understand how children are taking part in today’s world, contributing with their views and solutions, and being agents of positive change.

Between April and November 2020, 245 case studies from 86 countries3 were reviewed,4 and in-depth dialogues were taken forward with 36 organizations working at global, regional, or country level.5 Additionally, through UNICEF’s U-Report, almost 5000 children from all geographical regions aged 13 – 18 were polled regarding their experiences regarding COVID-19.

This report provides an overview of the different actions taken forward by children mostly in times of COVID-19, but not limited to it. It looks at children’s diverse roles when helping to prevent, address, and report violence (including supporting their peers); it helps to understand how children are contributing and being part of the solutions  when thinking about building back better, and how children are helping accelerate fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It showcases how children are collaborating with adults and with decision makers, and how children are proving to be agents of change. The report also addresses the many challenges organizations and children have faced in times of COVID-19, including those posed by digital channels when taking forward participation, reaching the hardest to reach, and having regular communication with children disrupted.”


Nepal MAP

Office of Special Representatives – Children As Agents of Positive Change

Office of Special Representatives – Children As Agents of Positive Change

Mobile Arts for Peace is a hub for resources and toolkits relating to arts-led peacebuilding initiatives. MAP’s website features recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The contents are the sole responsibility of the UN

This report was issued by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children. 


Nepal MAP

Children as Agents of Positive Change

Save the Children Evaluation Handbook

Save the Children Evaluation Handbook

Mobile Arts for Peace is a hub for resources and toolkits relating to arts-led peacebuilding initiatives. MAP’s website features recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The contents are the sole responsibility of Save the Children.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a key part of realising Save the Children‟s theory of change and common values and strategies, inherent in the child rights programming (CRP) framework. The principles, rights and obligations set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
1989 (UNCRC)1 provide a fundamental framework for the work we carry out with children and young people around the world. All of Save the Children‟s programme and advocacy work should aim to address violations of children‟s rights and gaps in service provision, as well as supporting children as
rights-holders and helping states, as duty-bearers, to meet their obligations. Our vision, mission, values and theory of change 2 reinforce this. It is vital that we clearly articulate, demonstrate and document the outcomes of our work for girls and boys and their carers.


Nepal MAP

Save the Children Evaluation Handbook

Dialogue for Peace: Arts-Based Approaches and the Growth of MAP Dialogue Clubs in Rwanda

Dialogue for Peace: Arts-Based Approaches and the Growth of MAP Dialogue Clubs in Rwanda

Authors: Eric Ndushabandi, Victor Ntezirembo, and Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo.

Edited by Helena-Ulrike Marambio

Arts-based approaches to fostering dialogue have been increasingly used in peacebuilding efforts to advance reconciliation and healing in countries emerging from conflict. In Rwanda, Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) has promoted the inclusion and active participation of youth in national peace programmes since 2018. To this end, MAP has adopted different arts-based methods that facilitate two-way communications between youth and local stakeholders on the one hand, and youth and policymakers on the other. This blog looks at how this has developed and how MAP is currently growing its dialogue clubs in the country.


In peacebuilding practices, dialogue is a long-term process that seeks to resolve, to transform, and to prevent underlying tensions and violence caused by complex layers of conflict between two or more parties (Bohm 1996; Bourquin 2003). It can be applied to address both intra- and intergroup disputes (Feller and Ryan 2012; Sternberg 2018). According to the Cambridge Dictionary (2021), ‘dialogue’ refers to ‘a serious exchange of opinion, especially among people or groups that disagree.’ Over the past decades, peacebuilding practitioners have focused on the use of dialogue to reconcile communities in different post-conflict settings (Aarbakke 2002; Dessel and Rogge 2008; Zartman 2008; Stearns 2018; Komlossyová 2019; GPPAC 2019).

Dialogue focuses on establishing trust, sharing personal experiences, and building skills in active listening. It allows individuals to discuss the past events that continue to live in people’s minds and bodies. These moments of personal storytelling can support the process of individual and group healing, reconciliation, and trust-building among former parties in conflict. In the course of time, dialogue alongside conflict analysis can provide knowledge and understanding regarding the root causes to conflict (Musafiri 2013; Wallace et al. 2014; Davis et al. 2019; IRDPa 2020). Exchanges within the group can contribute to awareness of existing prejudices and stereotypes to rectify misinformation or to deepen the understanding about other individuals or groups (Komlossyová 2019; IRDPb 2020). Through dialogue, groups might also come to agreement concerning how to communicate to each other and to mediate future problems (Arai 2015). To succeed, dialogic activities are usually tailored to the cultural background of the target community (Bourquin 2003). Arts-based methods for dialogue range from locally grounded interactive theatre plays, songs, dance to wall paintings (Mitchell et al. 2020). However, while dialogue can be quite constructive, it is not an easy art. 


Community Dialogue in Rwanda


In Rwanda, dialogue has been applied for more than 20 years to reconcile and to unify the country after the Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 (Bagilishya 2000; Brown 2008; Clark 2014; UNESCO 2019). That traumatic event left deep wounds that are still felt within society. Everyday peace demands efforts from all parties – victims often live side-by-side with their perpetrators who may be a family member or neighbour. Many people – survivors and perpetrators – also suffer from symptoms related to post traumatic stress disorder (Munyandamutsa 2012; Specia 2017). Several individuals struggle with mental health and/or a disability (Petroze et al. 2015) that affects the entire family, including children and youth (Rugema et al. 2015).

Under such circumstances, healing, reconciliation, and trust-building are difficult to achieve. Moreover, building a nation for all Rwandans requires an equal participation of all groups of society, particularly children and youth who are growing up in the aftermath of genocide (Pells 2009a; 2009b). However, it is them – the next generation – who are often not treated as equal members within the decision-making process.

Despite their marginalization, it is notable that children and youth have increasingly taken up leading roles in conflict transformation and prevention through in- and out-of-school clubs. Equipped with the necessary skills and tools, children and youth have proven their ability to positively influence peaceful conflict mediation and co-existence at school, within their families and the wider community (International Alert 2019; IRDPb 2020). The creation and functioning of dialogue clubs have been supported by national and international organisations that have seen the key role the next generation could play in bringing sustained peace to Rwanda (e.g. Aegis Trust et al. 2017; Benda 2017; International Alert 2019).

IRDP’s Dialogue Clubs


Since its foundation in 2001, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) in Kigali, Rwanda, has established dialogue clubs throughout the country to promote reconciliation, social cohesion, and conflict prevention on a local level. People get the opportunity to reflect about Rwanda’s future, particularly regarding co-existence and the use of their dialogue club to inform policymakers. Moreover, these clubs offer a space for youth and adults to come together to advance intergenerational dialogue (UNESCO 2019; Karuna et al. 2019; IRDPa 2020).



IRDP’s dialogue club meetings happen at least two times each month. The clubs are usually composed of up to 30 members of varying ages who were affected differently by genocidal violence, or who took different stances towards it. Hence, club participants might include female and male survivors, returnees, youth (descendants of survivors, orphans, and those born out of rape), bystanders, and perpetrators. Most of the time, these clubs emerged upon the expression of interest by community members themselves. According to IRDP’s staff observations, it is the pro-active, self-initiating communities that have been more open to engaging with distinct arts-based dialogue approaches.

The dialogue exercises in the clubs are facilitated by community members who took part in the IRDP’s training on open dialogue and observation techniques. In this training they also learn ways to give feedback to individuals who have finished an exercise, as well as skills and tools on how to create appropriate conditions for sensitive topics (i.e. safe space, respectful language, comfortableness). During the initial phase of each dialogue club in the villages, IRDP staff applied a participatory action research approach to identifying suitable local trainers based on their performance in awareness sessions on dialogue and related activities. By selecting and training local people, the IRDP sought to build sustainable structures for dialogue clubs and to transmit knowledge and skills to more remote areas in the country.

To date, IRDP clubs have developed into well-established hubs for dialogue that bridge the communication gap between the grassroots and the regional and national levels through continuous meetings during the year. In these encounters, community leaders take the opportunity to address issues of concern that require regional and/or national support. Additionally, the National Listening Session provides the possibility for community leaders, civil society organisations, and policymakers to discuss ongoing measures for peacebuilding, look at potential challenges for their implementation and for attaining a sustainable peace, and exchange stories of success and lessons learned.


The Emergence of MAP Clubs


IRDP’s experiences with dialogue in Rwandan communities, the incorporation of youth, the use of participatory action research, as well as the integration of arts-based approaches have led to a partnership with MAP in 2018. As part of its main objectives, MAP has sought to grow youth-participation in peacebuilding initiatives, and to introduce diverse arts-based practices as a tool for conflict transformation and prevention. To achieve the first objective, in 2019, MAP and the IRDP decided to accelerate the involvement of children and youth by setting up 25 MAP clubs in collaboration with 25 Rwandan schools in five districts (Huye, Gicumbi, Rubavu, Kicukiro, and Rwamagana). This initiative was part of the AHRC Follow-On Impact project entitled Ubwuzu: Shaping the Rwandan National Curriculum through Arts led by Principal Investigator (PI) Ananda Breed.

The ‘MAP Clubs’ evolved from a series of workshops with schoolchildren, teachers, and local artists that promoted youth-led and participatory arts-based methods for peacebuilding (Breed et al. 2018; Breed 2019). During the sessions, pupils and educators engaged with a combination of local and regional art forms (e.g. bleach painting, Umuduri music, traditional songs, dance) and MAP’s methodologies (participatory art exercises and games) to enhance the development of youth leadership. The sessions also invited participants to reflect about creative two-way communication channels between schoolchildren and teachers but also between youth and adults in general. Other methods, like storytelling and plays grounded in Augusto Boal’s ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ (1974) provided a space for participants to share challenges and to consider solutions through conflict analysis. To assure the sustainability of MAP Clubs, MAP also offered training for youth facilitators and educators (‘MAP master trainers’) on dialogue and peacebuilding carried out by and for children and youth. These trainings created awareness about a diverse range of arts-based methods, including mobile filmmaking – introduced by the renowned Rwandan filmmaker Eric Kabera – and audio recording of poems on mobile phones. The series of trainings and workshops in 2019 ended with the organisation of MAP youth camps to promote creative discussions through the use of interactive drama and storytelling. Some of the issues identified became the basis for policy briefs drafted by youth that were then delivered to representatives of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), UNESCO, and the Rwanda Education Board (REB) during a stakeholder event focusing on Arts-based Methods and Digital Technology for Peacebuilding during the time of COVID (August 2020).


Arts-Based Training for Growth


In 2020, as part of the MAP Network Plus project, Co-Investigator Dr Eric Ndushabandi (Executive Director, IRDP) and Victor Ntezirembo (Project Coordinator, IRDP) have focused on the geographic expansion by linking the 25 MAP clubs and participating schools with IRDP’s dialogue clubs that were created in each of the five districts. The purpose of expanding MAP to link with the dialogue clubs was to extend MAP from in-school clubs to the community. To this end, a five-day training was conducted at IRDP from 25 to 30 October 2020 in Kigali for 25 club members from five districts (Gicumbi, Rubavu, Kirehe, Gisagara, Bugesera). These sessions were facilitated by six local MAP master trainers (originally trained by MAP’s PI Ananda Breed in 2017) and two psychosocial workers.

The training sought to familiarize trainees with MAP participatory arts methods and IRDP community dialogue methods to enhance dialogue, conflict analysis and problem solving with a focus on arts-based methods. Participants were introduced to interactive theatre techniques including Playback Theatre, Image Theatre, and Forum Theatre. Participatory exercises helped participants to express themselves through body language (Playback Theatre), to create powerful frozen scenes (Image Theatre), and to develop skills for improvisation on stage through unscripted plays (Forum Theatre).

During the sessions, youth discussed the feasibility of employing each of these forms to address particular matters of concern for community members. They also explored the potential for each form to create meaningful debates that support the process of finding solutions to maintain peaceful coexistence by identifying everyday problems. Moreover, participants reflected on their roles as facilitators and the resulting possibilities for youth to lead specific debates within their communities.

The sessions were highly interactive and practice-orientated and focused on youth and the development of their skills as central to the MAP methodology and training process. Youth were taught applicable tools to advance critical thinking in terms of conflict analysis and transformation, using exercises such as the Obstacle Tree that allows for participants to identify a problem, its root causes, and possible solutions. Throughout the course of the training, the participants gained self-esteem and self-confidence to present themselves as well as to speak to a wider audience. One youth trainer stated: ‘Before [the training] I was not skilled; I was not able to analyse a conflict or a problem. Now I am different. I am able to think about a problem and analyse it, and try to find a solution. And I can help others. Now I have the confidence. Now I can talk to a small group and large group. Now I am very confident.’


The Power of Storytelling


The training concluded with a session on the power of sharing personal stories within a group. The story circle was facilitated by a psychosocial worker who explained the healing effect of sharing that enables a person to receive support from others (either emotionally or physically) who are facing or have overcome a similar situation. Several participants expressed their feelings and concerns about family conflicts, the prevailing impact of the genocide, and poverty. For some of them, it was the first time that they had shared their story. Deep listening and the inclusion of psychosocial workers in trainings and activities is another element of the MAP methodology.

The training of MAP youth club-facilitators created a space for creativity, learning, sharing and healing. Furthermore, it offered a space for connection during the lockdown. Most participants noted their negative thoughts or feelings of uncertainty before their arrival and recognised a change of their mood over the training days. Discussions on the value of dialogic forms of performance in relation to community concerns and the practical exercises and guidance motivated the new MAP youth trainers to apply the acquired tools and skills in their communities. MAP is currently monitoring the progress.

Working towards sustainable peace requires the active and equal participation of all groups in society. The promotion of arts-based methods for dialogue to enhance two-way communications between youth and adults, especially adults who are policymakers, is a critical step in this direction. Over the next months, MAP will analyse its findings on the evolution of MAP dialogue clubs in different schools and communities. Keep following us to find out more about our work in Rwanda.




Vemind, A. (2002). Mutual learning – Facilitating dialogue in former Yugoslavia. Oslo: PRIO.

Aegis Trust, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), Radio La Benevolencija (RLB) and USC Shoah Foundation – the Institute for Visual History and Education (2009). Stories of Peace. Rwanda Peace Education Programme. Towards Sustainable Peace.

Arai, T. (2015). Engaging conflict history: Toward an integrated method of conflict resolution dialogue and capacity building. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 32(2), pp. 277–298.

Bagilishya, D. (2000). Mourning and Recovery from Trauma: In Rwanda, Tears Flow Within. Transcultural Psychiatry 37(3), pp. 337-354.

Benda, R. M. (2017). Youth Connect Dialogue: Unwanted Legacies, Responsibility and Nation-building in Rwanda. Aegis Trust. Genocide Research Hub, Working Paper 001.

Breed, A., Azeda, H. and Dennison, K. (2018). ‘Mobile Arts for Peace – Rwanda’. 12 March. Available at:

Breed, A. (2020). Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP). Youth and participatory arts in Rwanda. In: Cooke, P. and Soria-Donlan, I. (eds.), Participatory Arts in International Development. Abingdon/ New York: Routledge, pp. 124-142.

Boal, A. (1979). Theatre of the Oppressed. London: Pluto Press.

Bohm, D. (1996). On dialogue. New York: Routledge.

Bourquin, J-F. (2003) Violence, conflict and intercultural dialogue. Council of Europe Publishing

Clark, P. (2014). Negotiating Reconciliation in Rwanda: Popular Challenges to the Official Discourse of Post-Genocide National Unity. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 8(4), pp. 303-320.

Davis, A., Nsengiyumva, C., Hyslop, D. (2019). Healing Trauma and Building Trust and Tolerance in Rwanda. Interpeace Peacebuilding in Practice Paper No 4. Available at

Dessel, A. and Rogge, M. E. (2008). Evaluation of Intergroup Dialogue: A Review of the Empirical Literature. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 26(2), pp. 199-238.

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Dukeshima Emerence, Gicumbi District, 30 October 2020.

Feller, A. E. and Ryan, K. K. (2012). Definition, necessity, and Nansen: Efficacy of dialogue in peacebuilding. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 29(4), pp. 351-380

GPPAC (2019). ‘Promoting Dialogue with Youth for Peace in Kyrgyzstan’. Available at

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King, R. U. (2014). Key factors that facilitate intergroup dialogue and psychosocial healing in Rwanda: A qualitative study. Intervention: Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas 12(3), pp. 416–429.

Komlossyová, E. S. (2019). Moving beyond personal change: Using dialogue in ethnically divided communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Conflict Resolution Quarterly 37(1), pp. 33-47.

Mitchell, J., Vincett, G., Hawksley, T., Culbertson, H. (2020). Peacebuilding and the Arts. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Musafiri, E. (2013). Introduction. Peace and Conflict Management Review 2(2), pp. 5-11.

Munyandamutsa, N., Nkubamugisha, P. M., Gex-Fabry, M. and Eytan, A. (2012). Mental and physical health in Rwanda 14 years after the genocide. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 47, pp. 1753–1761.

Pells, K. (2009a). We’ve Got Used to the Genocide; It’s Daily Life That’s the Problem. Peace Review 21(3), pp. 339-346.

Pells, K. (2009b), “No one ever listens to us”:  Challenging the obstacles to participation of children and young people in Rwanda. In: Percy-Smith, B., Thomas, N. K., O’Kane, C., Twum-Danso Imoh, A., A Handbook of Children and Young People’s Participation Perspectives from Theory and Practice. Abingdon/ New York: Routledge, pp. 196-203.

Petroze, R. T., Joharifard, S., Groen, R. S., Niyonkuru, F., Ntaganda, E., Kushner, A. L., Guterbock, T. M., Kyamanywa, P., Calland J. F. (2015). Injury, Disability and Access to Care in Rwanda: Results of a Nationwide Cross-Sectional Population Study. World Journal of Surgery 39, pp. 62–69.

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Cultural Artist Network

Ubwuzu enabled the creation of a Cultural Artist Network and Youth Advisory Board to inform the design, delivery and implementation of MAP.

Our Supporters


MAP is made possible thanks to the support and funding of the following partners

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MAP at the Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival

MAP at the Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival

Hosted from the 25th-20th November 2020, the Eighth Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival (HRIFF) celebrated the films and filmmakers that spotlight human rights causes and change people’s lives across the world.

The Human Rights Film Center, a MAP partner in Nepal, has organised the HRIFF each year since 2010. Due to COVID-19, this is the first year in which the HRIFF has been hosted online. In 2020, the HRIFF shortlisted 52 films from 29 different countries for this year’s festival. Selected films spanned various formats and topics, from documentary shorts to animations and full-length features about mental health, war, migration, and child soldiers, to list a few topics. In 2020, HRIFF streamed to 100,000 people worldwide, with viewers in countries including the UK, France, Cambodia, and Nepal.

Mobile Arts for Peace was co-partner on the film festival, alongside other supporters, including the European Union, International Organization for Migration, and the Association of Youth Organizations in Nepal.


Highlights of the HRIFF include:

Mobile Arts for Peace documentary (dir. Deus Kwizera, Kwetu Film Institute, Kigali Rwanda).

The HRIFF was the first international premiere of the MAP documentary which focused on MAP’s Ubwuzu project (2019-2020) and documented MAP’s effort to use the MAP methodology to inform Rwanda’s Curriculum Framework and provide arts-based training for educators and young people in each province in Rwanda.

Chitrapuri Nagar (dir. Rajeela Shrestha, Nepal)

In Nepal, a historical route trod for centuries by legions of travellers was suddenly abandoned after the construction of the Tribhuvan Highway. This film focuses on the ancient village at the site, Chitrapuri Nagar, which remains of great socio-cultural importance.

Soundless Dance (dir, Pradeepan Raveendran, France).

In the spring of 2009, Sri Lanka’s decade’s long civil war is entering its most violent phase. Siva, a young Sri Lankan refugee living illegally in France, has lost  contact with the family he was forced to leave behind. Haunted by the trauma of the war that devastated his childhood and obsessed by the flow of images on the Internet, Siva sinks into a waking dream that propels him into the heart of the battlefield.

Can Art Stop Bullet: William Kelly’s Big Picture (dir. Mark Street, Australia)

Can Art temper violence when politics and reason fails? Can art stop bullets? Through the voices of some of the world’s most socially engaged artists and thinkers, William Kelly explores the role of art in achieving change in times of crisis.


Read the full programme for full details of the HRIFF programme

Nepal MAP

Report from Nepal International Human Rights Film Festival

Cultural Artist Network

Ubwuzu enabled the creation of a Cultural Artist Network and Youth Advisory Board to inform the design, delivery and implementation of MAP.

Our Supporters


MAP is made possible thanks to the support and funding of the following partners

YouCreate: Participatory Arts-Based Research Toolkit

YouCreate: Participatory Arts-Based Research Toolkit

Mobile Arts for Peace is a hub for resources and toolkits relating to arts-led peacebuilding initiatives. MAP’s website features recommendations for practitioners and researchers. The contents are the sole responsibility of YouCreate.

YouCreate is an initiative of Terre des hommes, and was designed and carried out in partnership with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development. YouCreate is a PAR Project aimed to train youth leaders, with the support of Adult Allies and the ‘Art-kit’ (training manual), to lead their peers in implementing participatory arts-based research projects and ‘Art Actions’ – arts-based activities designed to address issues of significance to youth in their community. Youth are trained to map and explore significant community issues and challenges and to collaboratively select challenges to address in their communities through design and implementation of ‘Art Actions’.

With the objectives of strengthening wellbeing, resilience, and leadership among youth, YouCreate has been positively impacting youth. YouCreate has been carried out in Iraq and Egypt and is expanding to other countries and regions (Ukraine & Greece). This PAR project has been breaking down barriers between youth, their families and communities who are coming together with a common purpose of strengthening wellbeing through the arts.


Nepal MAP

YouCreate Toolkit

Can the Local Arts be Used to Promote Learner Centred Approach and Critical Peace Education for Gender Equality in Japan?

Can the Local Arts be Used to Promote Learner Centred Approach and Critical Peace Education for Gender Equality in Japan?

Can the Local Arts be Used to Promote Learner Centred Approach and Critical Peace Education for Gender Equality in Japan?

By Anna Hata

Why is it important to adapt ‘Mobile Arts for Peace’ in education in Japan?

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP), led by Professor Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln, has contributed to helping students and teachers exercise a learner-centred approach; using local art forms in a manner that addresses problems in their communities in Rwanda and other post-conflict nations. I participated in the 3-day workshop hosted by MAP from 5-7 August 2020. Through the workshop, I realised the importance of the youth-led social change, and the power of art to create safe spaces where young people can discuss sensitive issues. The workshop made me reflect on challenges in Japan in addressing social problems such as discriminations by gender. I believe that the MAP approach can be adapted to the Japanese context as well, enabling young people to engage the social issue that has persisted for a long term in Japan; gender inequality.

Gender inequality remains a prominent social issue in Japan. Japan ranks 121st among 153 countries in the latest global gender gap index 2020 published by the World Economic Forum. In comparison, many Western countries, including the UK, ranks in the top 30 countries worldwide, and Rwanda ranking 9th globally and 1st in Sub-Saharan Africa, with women accounting for 61% of parliament. In Japan, gender inequality is especially serious in political and economic domains, with only 10% and 5.3% of women in parliament and ministerial positions, respectively. Japan’s low rate of gender equity is noteworthy, and it implies that economic development does not necessarily correlate with human rights movement. It makes us question what is meant by ‘development’, and whether education is contributing to positive change or to reproduce the status quo in Japanese context.


Gender inequality in Japan can be partly attributed to predominance of traditional gender roles that requires men to work in public sphere (politics, decision making/management positions in labour market) and women in private (home). These gender roles were strengthened in the post-war period, after 1945. The rebuilding of the economy after World War Two (WW2) demanded the selfless efforts of the older generations devoting their lives to the company and society. The employment system after the war required men to prioritise their work over their private lives, and the system could function by making women quit their jobs after they get married to become housewives and take a role in child-rearing.

75 years have passed since the end of WW2 and young people have less opportunities participate in conversations on the past nor the root of the gender issues they face, with the older people who remember what happened. History education appears to have been caught in a dilemma between accountability and the reinforcement of collective historical narratives according to the values of the dominant male tradition. However, alternative historical perspectives by gender seem to be often omitted in the classroom.

The situation of gender inequality is gradually improving compared to the past, but discrimination against women, in the labor market for example, still seems to be acceptable, having caused little controversy. In educational terms, it is important to understand what kind of educational inequality exists and how it is related to economic inequalities. Education can be used as a tool to reproduce gender roles. In fact, a medical school deliberately failed women applicants at entrance exams for almost a decade until 2018, because ‘women leave their jobs at high rates’. This logic is legitimised in male-oriented culture in labour markets. Hence, educational inequality can lead to limited opportunities for women to achieve what they value.

It is important to question why these gender issues continue to remain in the long term. One factor would be the strong social norm that, ‘individualization should not be taken to the extreme’ to maintain ‘a balance between the individual wishes of a single person and the general demands of society as imperative’ (Chiavacci, 2005, p.122). The norm to follow the social order may work effectively to control public discourse, but it can also bring negative effects at the individual level and within settings such as family, school and the working environment. It implicitly forces people, especially women, children and other vulnerable social groups, not to openly criticise the injustices imposed by those in power through a patriarchal social system.

How can local arts be used to promote learner centred approach in education for gender equality?

In this context, the role of education to address social issues needs to be emphasised. Peace education would require wider conceptualisation to include both ‘negative peace’ and ‘positive peace’ (Galtung,1969). Negative peace is defined as the absence of direct violence, such as war, sexual abuse and domestic violence. On the other hand, positive peace is defined as absence of indirect violence, such as structural and cultural violence, including sexism and culturally condoned exclusion of disadvantaged social groups. Drawing on the concept of positive peace, critical peace education pays attention to unequal social relations and the potential for educational spaces to bring about individual and collective transformation. It also pays close attention to local context and knowledge generated by communities. Thus, learner-centred approach is important to encourage students to voice their views to create a new insight through dialogue.

In the Japanese context, critical peace education is important but may not be easy for students and teachers to practice. This is because it may take effort to create a space that empowers students to voice their opinions freely and critically discuss gender issues in a classroom where these discussions hardly occur. Moreover, the humbling of the teacher, expected in learner-centred approach, can contradict the traditional power relationship between teacher and student in Japan. This is why the MAP’s approach can facilitate implementation of critical peace education.

The strength of MAP is in using different art forms to enable both students and teachers to feel comfortable to talk about sensitive issues. As one of the cultural art forms in Japan, animation can become a tool to encourage both children and youth easily understand social issues and changes across time. Animation movies have become culture icons in Japan especially since Hayao Miyazaki, an Oscar-winning filmmaker, founded his company, Studio Ghibli, in 1985. As a child, he had to flee his home amid the firebombing during WW2 and witnessed rapid modernisation in post-war Japan. These experiences would have influenced his works, of which feature serious themes such as war, environmental issues, identity, and often tell stories of young girls’ growth in the face of adversity, instead of creating a typical fantasy. He believes that ‘children’s souls are the inheritors of historical memory from previous generations’, and many of his works remain the most popular children’s movies of all time in Japan. These films have been a part of childhood memories for many Japanese young people, and people often rewatch them with their children because they can also find meaning in them. Thus, animated movies have partly been used to deliver important messages across generations in Japan, and now different artists are also creating artworks for children based on their experiences of WW2.

In this context, animated films can be used to create a dialogue on gender issues between students and teachers at the school level. For example, In This Corner of the World (2016), a crowdfunded Japanese animated film that successfully attracted young people in Japan and won numerous awards globally, depicted a girl’s daily experience in Hiroshima in the midst of WW2. What makes this film distinct from the previous Japanese war animation films, is that it pays greater attention to the lived experiences of those trying to find normalcy amidst the changing social upheaval. This story is based on thorough research including interviews with survivors, to cultivate the audience’s imagination. It would be useful for students not only to understand what ordinary people experienced around the time of the war, but also to further discuss gender issues found in the story and the kinds of legacy that continues to exist today. Using these art forms, teachers can encourage students to discuss; what are the historical roots of gender inequality in Japan, who benefits from it, and what power relations and discourses (in the media, textbooks etc.) contribute to construct the gender inequality at family, school, community and national level. Students can then discuss what types of participation are possible and meaningful, and how they can act to bring a positive change in the society they live in.

As such, using local arts in education may be able to help students and teachers practice a learner-centred approach and critical peace education to deal with gender issues in their communities. It helps to highlight the need to explore different ways of apprehending the past, and the importance of recognising the ways to create an alternative dialogue. In this way, more young people can be empowered to act to go beyond limiting concepts of development that are often measured by economic terms, and to promote human development through which people can fulfil their rights to pursue what they value, regardless of who they are.


Cultural Artist Network

Ubwuzu enabled the creation of a Cultural Artist Network and Youth Advisory Board to inform the design, delivery and implementation of MAP.

Our Supporters


MAP is made possible thanks to the support and funding of the following partners

MAP in Nepal – Report from Scoping Visit (2020)

MAP in Nepal – Report from Scoping Visit (2020)

In Nepal, MAP Network Plus conducted a series of internal scoping visits between 25 March – 30 August 2020.

The scoping visits’ activities included consultations with representatives of local government, teachers and school management, arts-led organizations and psychosocial organizations.

These scoping visits involved mapping key local partners and schools, briefing research participants, establishing connections with partner schools, child clubs and youth clubs, and conducting six cultural artists workshops.

Scoping visit methods included semi-structured interviews, observation, interactions and reflection based story-telling. In total, the MAP Nepal team interacted with 4 local government officials, 22 school leaders, 6 child club leaders, 17 local artists, and 9 researchers and 16 other stakeholders. In the process of scoping visits, the scoping team introduced participants to observation and reflection based story-telling.

© Human Rights Film Festival and Tribhuvan University, 2020.


Nepal MAP

Report from Scoping Visit

MAP: A Scoping Visit in Jakarta, Indonesia

MAP: A Scoping Visit in Jakarta, Indonesia

In December 2019, MAP Co-Investigators undertook a four-day scoping visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, to explore how varied arts-based approaches have been and can be used to create dialogue and to explore the synergies between MAP and the aims and objectives of related peacebuilding projects. The scoping visit was organized to allow MAP Co-Is to explore the various political, social and cultural contexts within which arts-based approaches to peacebuilding operate within Jakarta. This would support MAP in learning about the needs and deeply held values that exist in communities in Jakarta and hearing about existing work led by young people, teachers and policymakers.

Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Scoping Visit in Indonesia took place from 10 to 13 December 2019 in Jakarta. Five MAP team members came from United Kingdom, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, and Nepal. Professor Ananda Breed as Principal Investigator (PI), as well as four co-Investigators (Co-Is) – Tazhykan Shabdanova, Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo, Bishnu Khatri and Rajib Timalsina – were hosted by Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia (AJCUI). The co-Investigator from Indonesia, Harla Octarra, along with local partner organizations Lembaga Perlindungan Anak (LPA) and Yayasan Anak Budaya Indonesia (YABI) organized the events. The UNESCO office Jakarta also supported the Scoping Visit by hosting a half-day symposium that listened to presentations and discussions led by UNESCO Youth and Sport Task Force Team and local organizations working with young people.

The scoping visit was organized according to the following schedule:

Scoping Visit Activities

Day One, 10 December 2019

Consultation meeting: MAP Network Plus team, Faculty of Psychology – AJCUI, Child Protection Agency in Jakarta or LPA, and the Children of Indonesian Nation Foundation or YABI.

MAP Network Plus team held discussions with POs and Faculty of Psychology staff from the above organisations about their dedicated work with street children and children victims of abuse.[1] Before considering whether the existing MAP approach had the appropriate toolkit for developing art-based approaches which would assist and support vulnerable communities in this area, this discussion aimed to explore existing work and services which support street children and youth. More specifically, MAP sought to complement and address current gaps in toolkits that care workers/tutors use when engaging with street connected youth.

[1] Children refers to anyone below the age of 18.

Betawi culture exposure by the river of Ciliwung, East Jakarta

In the afternoon, the MAP team went to the Condet area in the eastern part of Jakarta, by the  Ciliwung river, where they met with a community which works to provide space for local people, especially young people seeking to preserve nature and explore creative arts while at the same time preserving Betawi cultural forms. The community is called Padepokan Ciliwung Condet. The afternoon visit gave the MAP team a clear insight into how local community-based organization works to promote traditional arts while protecting the environment. The Head of the Padepokan, Bang Lantur, shared a key idea about encouraging more people to see and learn about the socio-historical context of Ciliwung river and its importance to preserving the local culture. Bang Lantur says that ‘habit makes custom and custom makes culture’. He believes that keeping the natural environment clean is part of preserving heritage. The MAP team learnt that revitalizing traditional art-forms (i.e. Betawi culture) can be done alongside preserving nature and heritage. This effort, which involves producing and selling traditional snacks and handmade souvenirs among others, can empower the economy of Betawi people.

Day Two, 11 December 2019

Cultural Workshop: The second day of the scoping visit was a showcase on the use of cultural forms as peace-building approaches and how the forms were being used for dialogic purposes among children and youth in Indonesia. This was a valuable opportunity for the MAP team to develop relationships with local level actors and CSOs.

The day began with two short presentations on experiences of using arts and creative educational activities to promote peace in out-of-school setting (Sanggar Anak Akar) and in-school setting (Wahid Foundation). The Wahid Foundation talked about concepts and indicators of their peace-schools program. The program engages students and teachers in five areas: integration of schools’ programs, management of school’s environment, management of learning activities, creation of a working group, and early detection system of intolerance and radicalism. Sanggar Anak Akar, a member of Koalisi Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Art Coalition), introduced their educational approach as Humanist Education through Arts. The approach positions children/young people, mostly those who have lived or spent time on the street, in various roles as the teller, photographer, and observers of their own realities or shared realities – all of which they would then communicate through arts forms, such as music, theatre and photography. 

The MAP team developed a series of observations from this workshop, including:

  • Different local art forms, such astheatre games, as facilitated by Kalanari Theatre Movement; traditional marching dance (Soreng Dance) by Tlatah Bocah; and storytelling as facilitated by YABI, are valuable in two ways: 1) these forms are used for telling stories from the margin; 2) the art forms are able to encourage audiences think and act creatively, even with strangers.
  • Because cultural variations in Indonesia are significant, the art forms would very much depend on the local art/traditions where MAP is going to be introduced. Engaging with the schools and local artists/historians is key in the assessment stage. In general, dancing and music as part of ceremonial acts are common throughout the country. At the same time, there are certain groups who consider traditions/cultural practices are against religious teachings. Members of a local community in East Jakarta highlighted to the MAP team that this is one of the key challenges for young people to engage in arts-based practices.
  • For the out-of-school children, street art forms such as music (self-made) are prominent, and also based on experience. They are open to exploring techniques in which they not only could share personal stories, but also learn leadership and teamwork skills. Examples of what had been done include theatre performance by child victims of sexual exploitation depicting their stories in front of local government officials.

Day Three, 12 December 2019

Symposium at UNESCO

Day Three featured a UNESCO symposium which included presentations from a young person who was a member of UNESCO Youth and Sport Task Force Team. This presenter shared their experiences of taking part in the initiative to promote confidence and anti-bullying. Kampus Diakoneia Modern (KDM), an organization working to deliver shelter and alternative education to street connected young people in Jakarta presented their study from 2015 on the same topic. The symposium closed with an impromptu sharing from Ganara Art, a member of Koalisi Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Art Coalition), who initiated Mari Berbagi Seni, an art sharing movement that has taught creative art education programs to more than 11,000 children and teachers throughout Jakarta and other cities in Indonesia. The symposium spotlighted young people’s role in peacebuilding activities while also informing about challenges of radicalization among Indonesian youth.

Day Four, 13 December 2019

Visit to RPTRA (child friendly integrated public space) in East Jakarta (Cipinang Besar Utara); Informal meeting with street connected youth.

On the final day of the Scoping Visit, the MAP team visited 1 RPTRA (child friendly integrated public space) in East Jakarta. At the RPTRA, the team were welcomed by the chief of the urban village and local community members and leaders, caretakers of the space and local government officials. The RPTRA team presented the facility and highlighted that the space is open 7 days a week, free of charge, and local community members have been using the space for various gatherings, including for Forum Anak (Children’s Forum) to hold their regular meetings. A Children’s Forum is a forum of young people, commonly aged between 12 and 17-years-old, to realize meaningful participation through the promotion of children’s rights and participation in government sponsored community/national development planning. The MAP team met and consulted with local community members and leaders, tutors/caretaker of the space, and local government officials about issues that young people faced and their engagement with arts. The MAP team found that, through children’s forum and street connected youth, MAP ideas can help direct the use of street art forms (e.g. self-made music) for channeling their stories/advocating issues.

The Scoping Visit enabled exchanges of views and sharing of experience among stakeholders working to address global challenges and promote peace among children and youth within informal and formal educational contexts. The activities shed light on cultural diversities, and potentials of different arts forms to be used as dialogue for peacebuilding. In all of the initiatives exemplified during the visit, there is a cautionary note on exclusions of marginalized young people. Lastly, the visit drew insights from stakeholders’ shared views and experiences in order to assess pathways to impact for implementing MAP in Indonesia.

MAP: Large Grants Scheme

MAP logo

Mobile Arts for Peace: Large Grants Scheme

Mobile Arts for Peace is delighted to launch its Large Grants funding scheme for researchers at all levels, supporting research that considers how arts-based research approaches can support structures and modes of communication between youth and policymakers in each of the four project countries.

Applications for Large Grants will open in December 2020. Applications forms and deadlines for applications will be available on this webpage. Awards can be for between 6 and 18 months in duration but must be completed by the end of June 2021. Two upcoming webinar workshops will focus on drafting the Call for Applications. These workshops will be hosted on Zoom on 24th November 2020 (9:30am-1pm UK time) and 26th November 2020 (10am-1:30pm UK time). Please contact Professor Ananda Breed ( and Dr Christina Brennan ( to register interest.

A key aim of MAP is to deliver a comparative study of the use of interdisciplinary arts-based practices for peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. It explores how pathways to peace may be shaped by diverse political, cultural, religious and linguistic factors, as well as the crosscutting issues of gender and intersecting inequalities, environments and the exclusion of children and youth from policymaking processes.


MAP operates across three core components: a) project design and delivery; b) research; and c) arts-based practice that run throughout three strands of activities.

Strand One currently involves scoping visits, literature reviews, community mapping and training of adult and child/youth facilitators in arts-based methods for dialogue and research.

This video introduces Phase One research projects in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal.


MAP is working in partnership with researchers at Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the UK and Official Development Assistance (ODA)-recipient countries, using research findings to develop new methods, case studies and practical toolkits, for engaging children and young people with using arts-based approaches to build new communication structures for peacebuilding. In the process we seek to draw out similarities and divergences across the four countries and to consider questions of scalability and transferability, in order to inform youth policy at an international level.

During Strand Two, up to 3 small grants of £5,000 will be awarded in each of the four countries for child/youth and adult MAP trainers to work alongside CSOs to develop projects that address local issues that may incorporate (but are not limited to): child rights-based decision-making; child protection and peacebuilding. Up to 2 grants of £29,500 in each of the four countries for youth to work alongside policy-focused organisations to explore arts-based communication structures. Up to 4 large grants of £100,000 in each of the four countries for researchers of any level and partnering organisations to design and deliver effective monitoring, evaluation and impact delivery alongside the small and mid-size grant awardees. One additional large grant of £100,000 will be awarded in the final two years of the project to synthesize findings, drawing out similarities and divergences across the four countries and to consider questions of scalability and transferability, in order to inform youth policy at an international level.

Strand Three will involve the coordination of community-based dialogue groups and MAP Clubs to inform policy and establish communication structures alongside synthesis and dissemination. The project will be working alongside cultural organisations, youth-serving CSOs, conflict and peace building CSOs, government institutions and ministries, higher education institutions, conflict management, and psychosocial wellbeing organisations. In this way, the project promises diverse impact at local, national and international levels.

Mobile Arts for Peace explores the following research questions:

1. How can different art forms be used to co-design, deliver and evaluate peacebuilding curricula and other approaches for working with children and youth to address local conflict issues?

2. How might cultural forms be used for dialogue with and between children and youth, educators and policy makers to advance peacebuilding through a local and indigenous approach?

3. How might psychosocial support, including local healing practices, be better integrated within peacebuilding approaches by using the arts to promote the wellbeing of children and youth, especially those from marginalised groups?

4. How can cultural forms be incorporated into child- and youth-led participatory action research methodologies and adapted for the purposes of the design, undertaking and delivery of interdisciplinary projects in diverse social, political and cultural contexts?

5. How might these cultural forms be used to create alternative spaces and communication structures for peacebuilding approaches and curricula development to inform local, national and international approaches to peacebuilding?

Applications for Large Grants will open in December 2020. Applications forms and deadlines for applications will be available on this webpage. Awards can be for between 6 and 18 months in duration but must be completed by the end of June 2021. Two upcoming webinar workshops will focus on drafting the Call for Applications. These workshops will be hosted on Zoom on 24th November 2020 (9:30am-1pm UK time) and 26th November 2020 (10am-1:30pm UK time). Please contact Professor Ananda Breed ( and Dr Christina Brennan ( to register interest.

Eligibility for Large Grant Applications


Each grant application must designate a Main Applicant (that is, Principal Investigator). This is the person to whom the grant will be assigned and who will be responsible for the leadership of the project including the reporting of progress, expenditure and outputs. The Main Applicant for a grant can be from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal.or the UK. We will give preference to those who generally get less access to funding opportunities.

Large grants must include a UK scholar as part of the team either as Co-Applicant or as a Main Applicant. UK applicants must be based in a UK research organisation or University.

Large grants must have someone from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal either as Main Applicant or as a Co-Applicant. Applicants from Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. could be from an NGO, University, Research Institute, Arts or Cultural Organisation, or Social Enterprise. Please contact Professor Ananda Breed ( and Dr Christina Brennan ( if this poses difficulties or if you have any questions about affiliating with a host organisation. Please contact us if you require assistance to find a UK partner or to discuss collaborations.

In addition to the Main Applicant, applications can also include up to three Co-Applicants from institutions based in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal or the UK. The role of a Co-Applicant is to assist the Main Applicant in the management and leadership of projects as well in carrying out research.

Applicants may be researchers in the broadest sense of the term – people who wish to undertake an inquiry or exploration through arts-based methods (e.g. music, film, theatre, art, interviews, conversation, observation etc.). Scholars, artists or cultural and creative industries may apply.

A grant must be used for Monitoring and Evaluation activity and to assess the impact of Phase One research in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia and Nepal. You are encouraged to include costs for supporting your project (e.g., through training, mentoring or guidance) and mentors, consultants or project partners may be included from any country.

Grant holders will be required to periodically produce reports detailing progress, expenditure and outputs. Grantees are required to make the materials collected Open Access (for rules about Open Access:

Mobile Arts for Peace Large Grants Workshops: 24th November and 26th November 2020


24th November 2020: Activities for this first workshop will include an overview of MAP activities and presentations of Phase One research activities in all four in-country teams.

26th November 2020: Activities for this second workshop will include an overview of MAP’s Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and presentations from interested applicants.

Arts-Based Research for Education and Peacebuilding Conference (5th-7th August): Reflections from Rwanda

Reflections from MAP Rwanda Project Coordinator – Victor Ntezirembo

From 5 to 7 August 2020, the Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) hosted the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) and Changing the Story (CTS): Arts-Based Research for Education and Peacebuilding Conference. The conference brought together over 40 participants online from around the globe, including the United Kingdom, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Nepal and Indonesia, as well as 38 participants, including students, teachers and dialogue facilitators, physically at IRDP from different regions of Rwanda, who have been trained in the Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) approach. During Zoom sessions that spanned over three days, participants discussed how arts can be used to advance peacebuilding in societies emerging from conflict.

The discussion focused on MAP’s aim to work with young people, educators, cultural artists and civil society organizations to inform national education curricula in music, dance and drama. MAP works alongside partners to design and deliver arts-based peace education projects. Different organizations, including the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Aegis Trust, Never Again Rwanda, UNESCO and the Rwandan Education Board, shared their experiences of the role of arts in Rwandan peace education. These presentations showed how art has been integrated into the initiatives of all of these organizations to complement more traditional approaches to help the Rwandan society to come to terms with the events of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. The representative of UNESCO Rwanda encouraged youth to compete for different grants under that institution.

The conference showcased how art and performance are concretely used as a tool for peace education in Rwanda. Participants watched a forum theatre performance that had been created by MAP participants in Rwanda revealing the struggles of a disabled student facing discrimination at school. In breakout groups, participants discussed the root causes of this discrimination and possible solutions at the family, community and national level. The exchanges will feed into a set of policy briefs, which will be shared with policymakers in Rwanda and beyond.

On the last day, participants of the conference dived deeper into MAP methodologies. Students and teachers shared their experience of how MAP changed their way of learning and teaching. They highlighted the arts- and student-centred approach of MAP, which helps to empower students and to promote their self-confidence. The young students stressed how MAP makes them feel like equal participants in policy discussions and how the MAP approach helps them to overcome fear to participate actively in conversations at school or with policy makers.

In addition, participants discussed the fundamentals of peace mediation and conducted a conflict analysis and a mediation simulation using arts-based tools to better understand the root causes of conflict.

Comments from participants outside of Rwanda commended the success of MAP in Rwanda and made a comparative analysis of how the Rwandan experience can be applied to their respective countries. Researchers working on Kosovo and Cambodia highlighted their similar post-conflict situations and appreciated how young students, in partnership with teachers and parents, are essential to the peacebuilding process.

Chaste Uwihoreye, who was Safeguarding Coordinator for the event, works with  Uyisenga Ni Imanzi as a MAP partner organisation, which provides child and youth focused programs to support the needs of orphan headed households in Rwanda. Chaste described how:

It was exciting how the participants and policy makers were enthusiastic about the MAP methodology. As psychologist and psychotherapist, I realized that the MAP Methodology provides simple tools and practices that help people to learn from behaviours and understand and resolve problems. It provides a way of sharing feelings and testimonies with others as an important foundation of peace building and cohabitation. It was a pleasure for me to be part of the event. I learnt a lot and I have been inspired.’

The event was a remarkable success, both in terms of organization and lessons learned through exchange and discussion. It is also worth noting that the digital world is still a challenge for many organisations as they aim to continue their work and foster collaborations during COVID-19. However, the digital focus transformed the event into a positive opportunity, especially for future workshops and meetings and for planning or expanding MAP in other platforms via digital tools.