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Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) – How the Arts are Promoting Peace in Post-Conflict Rwanda
Published: 19th November 2019, 8:48am
Professor Ananda Breed with young people taking part in MAP activities The arts are having a significant impact on communities across Rwanda thanks to a project exploring how disciplines like dance, drama and music can empower young people to be a driving force for peacebuilding.

Rwanda is a country still living with the impact of the 1994 genocide that saw upwards of 800,000 people killed over a 100-day period. An estimated 10 per cent of children up to the age of 18 lost one or both parents as a result and over 100,000 children live alone or are the sole carers for their siblings as a result of their parents being killed or imprisoned.

Led by Professor Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln’s School of Fine and Performing Arts, Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) works with young people to use the arts as a way to share their experiences and communicate their own ideas for peacebuilding and conflict prevention within their own communities.

Working with national and international partner organisations like the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), MAP has involved the creation of a ‘toolkit’ for educators to teach the Performing Arts as well as training sessions to enable them to deliver residential workshops for young people. The Rwanda Education Board (REB) has already integrated the MAP methodology into the national Curriculum Framework in Music, Dance and Drama through training of trainers and MAP clubs.

Professor Breed said: “We are now working in all five provinces, across twenty-five schools serving approximately 300 teachers and trainers as well as 2,500 young people. This idea  of using the arts as a way to draw on personal experience is new to this region and as well as building skills in music, dance and drama,  MAP is providing safe, progressive spaces for dialogue and shared problem solving for peacebuilding.

“Another important strand of the project is the integration of mental health awareness and support in all MAP activities, to help participants deal with their own emotions and experiences and offering an outlet to share their stories.”

As well as the more traditional arts, participants are also being given the opportunity to learn other skills such as film making. As part of a recent MAP workshop in the Eastern Province, a ‘Filmmaking for Peace Workshop’ led by renowned filmmaker Eric Kabera explored how objects and environments tell stories. The group learnt basic film making skills from lighting and camera techniques to editing, and four of the shorts created were later showcased as part of the Hillywood event at the international Rwanda Film Festival.  

Professor Breed added: “These stories take us through the twists and turns of the human experience; finding new ways to share common problems and to find solutions. The screening of their work as part of Hillywood alongside international feature films serves as a testament to the possibilities of generating grassroots films produced by young people.”

The next step will be to expand the MAP initiative to other post-conflict nations. To find out more about the wider Mobile Arts for Peace project visit:

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