January 7th, 2013 - IREX Europe and its partner organization KOW Media Foundation held their first youth drama workshop for 22 Somali youth in Hargeisa. In the next two months, we will work with 60 more young actors between the ages of 14-17 in Gabiley, Bur’o, and Borama, using drama exercises and discussion techniques to explore community issues.
The workshops act as an extension to the Geediga Nabada peace caravan shows, which are performing before over 30,000 people in the 6 regions of Somaliland. The interactive show contains a mixture of poetry, music, and theatre performances, which explore community issues such as clan conflict and extremism. The methodology (forum theatre) allows audiences to become involved in the show and propose novel solutions to community issues. At the end of each performance, community elders and the audience are also invited to discuss challenges and solutions specific to their communities. As local communities have few models for civic discourse, and tribal and cultural traditions make reaching out to local communities extremely difficult, the Geediga Nabada peace caravan provides a locally accepted way to foster discussion on and education about local drivers of confllict and to work toward peaceful solutions to conflict. Drama attracts large audiences, giving the community the opportunity to be both entertained and to engage in meaningful debate.
The youth drama workshops immediately follow the community performances, giving youth the opportunity to debate the issues raised in the stories as well as to create their own dramas on community issues. Through the drama workshop pilot, IREX Europe and KOW Media Foundation are exploring if drama workshops can further youth dialogue created during the theatre performances, and increase the impact of our project. Suffering from limited education and work opportunities, youth remain a high risk group, vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups. These showings and discussions are key to engaging youth in meaningful discussions around extremism, conflict and other issues they are facing within their communities, helping them to create and lead peaceful solutions to community issues, rather than inciting violence.
The project is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and runs until March 2013.
Theatre facilitator Gane leading youth workshop
Actors Kacye and Halima demonstrating a game
One of the youth discussing the Geediga Nabada play