Ubwuzu: Informing the Curriculum Framework in Rwanda
The story of Ubwuzu
Ubwuzu (meaning great joy and fullness in Kinyarwanda) set out to realize the full impact of the original research project ‘Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP)’. This project began as a ‘proof of concept’ pilot project developed and delivered through the AHRC GCRF Network Plus project Changing the Story: Building Inclusive Societies with, and for, Young People in 5 Post-Conflict Countries.
AHRC follow-on funding for impact and engagement (2019-20) extended the original pilot project’s reach and generated policy-level impact through our partnership with the Rwanda Education Board (REB). In conducting initial research, we discovered that, although Music, Dance and Drama was included as a subject in the Curriculum Framework for Pre-Primary to Upper Secondary students (2015), this arts-based curriculum had not been available nor had educators been trained in the subject.
Thus, one primary goal for the Ubwuzu project led by Principal Investigator Ananda Breed was to use the methodology to inform the Curriculum Framework, design a bespoke creative arts curriculum, and provide training for educators and young people in each province.
Ubwuzu included a mobile filmmaking workshop, in partnership with Kwetu Film Institute (April 2019), Training of Trainers (July/August 2019), Youth Camp (November 2019), and a policy-informing event addressing Arts-based Research for Education and Peacebuilding’ (August 2020). The Ubwuzu project has worked closely with partners Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), University of Rwanda, Uyisenga Ni Imanzi, Kwetu Film Institute, Sana Initiative, and Rwanda Education Board.
Rwanda ratified the UNESCO Convention 2005 in 2012 based on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and ‘focussed on the upgrading of national cultural expressions and popular participation as a means to promote dialogue and unity.’ The UNESCO Diversity of Cultural Expressions Rwanda 2017 report states that measures have ‘significantly contributed to regional integration and sustainable development through the production and dissemination of cultural and artistic performances and peace promotion activities’.
However, the report notes that these initiatives still need to be scaled up to benefit a much wider audience. Additionally, two of the report’s targeted measures – the implementation of Music and Arts in pre-primary, Primary and Secondary schools and the initiation of the Department of Performing Arts at the University of Rwanda – are yet to be fully realized. The AHRC follow-on impact funding addressed some of these stated needs, to scale up cultural, artistic, and peace promotion activities, to promote dialogue and to provide skills in the creative arts.
Main aims for the Ubwuzu Project
The Ubuwzu project aimed to:
1) Create pathways to policy impact via our partner organizations, their network of community-based organizations and connections with local and national governments through the Rwanda Education Board (REB) and Aegis Trust.
2) To produce an open access practical ‘tool kit’ available in Kinyarwanda and English to inform the national Curriculum Framework for upper secondary school children and educators.
3) To establish an interdisciplinary arts network in Rwanda and train cultural artists to inform and deliver the MAP methodology as master trainers in each province.
Key activities for the Ubwuzu Project
MAP served over 479 educators and 9,682 young people overall through AHRC follow-on funding for Ubwuzu.
Breed worked with local communities to identify how cultural forms can be adapted for dialogic purposes and to stage possible solutions to conflict issues using MAP methodologies. She conducted an initial scoping visit and curriculum workshop with cultural artists in Kigali, Rwanda from 15 – 17 March 2018 with ten cultural organisations. These organisations were: Future Vision Acrobats, Kigali Arts Initiative, Niyo Art Gallery, MindLeaps, Niyo Cultural Centre, Kwetu Film Institute, Umuduri Band, Kigali Centre for Photography, Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, and Music, Mind Consult LTD.
Breed worked with these partners to develop the curriculum for a Training of Trainer (TOT) workshop from 27 August – 1 August 2018 and youth camp from 28 November – 4 December 2018.
Ubwuzu funded the extension of MAP to all five provinces in Rwanda through TOT workshops conducted from 20 July – 4 August 2019 and a youth camp from 21 – 30 November 2019 engaging 25 additional schools.
In 2018, Breed trained 25 adult educators in the Eastern Province who trained an additional 68 adult educators in their schools, amounting to 93 adult educators trained in the MAP methodology.
Additionally, Breed trained 10 youth facilitators who created MAP clubs in their schools. Each of the five drama clubs in the Eastern Province has a minimum of 50 members amounting to 250 members overall. MAP adult educators have integrated MAP into weekly curriculum and subject activities which reach over 500 young people per week.
During 2019, due to Ubwuzu funding, Breed extended MAP to 25 schools in five districts (Gicumbi, Rubavu, Huye, Rwamagana, Kicukiro) and all five provinces (Northern, Western, Southern, Eastern, Kigali) of Rwanda.
TOT and youth camps reaching an estimated 150 MAP adult educators and 50 youth facilitators (including 10 youth master trainers) who implemented MAP activities through in-school and co-curricular activities. These activities served over 497 educators and 9,682 young people overall within the MAP affiliated schools.
Monitoring and evaluation reports conducted by Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo evidenced the reach of MAP across the five provinces of Rwanda through the Ubwuzu project:
In the Gicumbi District, Northern Province, MAP served over 592 young people through the delivery of MAP in the curriculum; over 136 educators and 733 young people were served through the delivery of MAP Professional Development workshops; and over 20 educators and 283 young people were served through the delivery of MAP Clubs on a weekly basis. MAP served over 156 educators and 1,608 young people overall.
In the Rubavu District, Western Province, over 1,734 young people were served through the delivery of MAP in the curriculum; over 20 educators and 194 young people were served through the delivery of MAP Professional Development workshops, and over 29 educators and 189 young people were served through the delivery of MAP Clubs on a weekly basis. MAP served over 49 educators and 2,117 young people in the Rubavu District overall.
In the Huye District, Southern Province, over 597 young people were served through the delivery of MAP in the curriculum; over 29 educators and 153 young people were served through the delivery of MAP Professional Development workshops; and over 36 educators and 158 students were served through the delivery of MAP Clubs on a weekly basis. MAP served over 65 educators and 908 young people in the Huye District overall.
In the Kicukiro District, Kigali Province, over 1,140 young people were served through the delivery of MAP in the curriculum; over 121 educators and 871 young people were served through the delivery of MAP Professional Development workshops; and over 40 educators and 977 young people were served through the delivery of MAP clubs on a weekly basis. MAP served over 161 educators and 2,108 young people in the Kicukiro District overall.
In the Rwamagana District, Eastern Province, MAP served over 1,763 young people through the delivery of MAP in the curriculum; over 26 educators and 672 young people were served through the delivery of MAP Professional Development workshops; and over 22 educators and 506 young people were served through the delivery of MAP clubs on a weekly basis. MAP served over 66 educators and 3,992 young people in the Rwamagana District overall.
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.
MAP is made possible thanks to the support and funding of the following partners