Learning advocacy through drama

Kinara for Youth Evolution is working with CIVICUS in collecting missing information under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 which is Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Under this goal, citizens need to have participatory decision making in different matters within their community concerning the development issues. We use drama during our workshop as part of the process in data collection, since we have come to notice that the use of drama is very useful. In our workshop guidelines, in step six we had a “What’s the story?” step whereby  Kinara recommends to replace and add “doing advocacy as drama“ as a step six. According to our experience using drama in peer education, drama has many uses to our participants because it shows the reality of advocating for decision making on various issues.

DRAMA PLAYS THE FOLLOWING ROLES IN DATA COLLECTION PROCESS

  • Drama is more enjoyable part of the workshop so can be used as the energizer during the session while participants are also learning. During drama people move, laugh and interact with each other causing them to pay more attention in the workshop.
  • As facilitators to the group, it becomes easy for us to measure the participants’ experiences in different issues concerning SDG number 16. We can test their advocacy skills, presentations to the decision makers and their capability in making arguments because many ideas fail due to poor presentation to decision makers.
  • Drama increases the accountability of participants to each other because drama acts like platform for participants to raise their voices. It motivates and commits them to their responsibilities. For example, during our workshop with youth Community Change Agents (CCAs) after practicing drama they felt more accountable to start advocacy about reducing the garbage collection fee within their community because during drama they came up with real examples and evidence which made them be confident enough.
  • Drama also gives us a chance of giving them feedback concerning their advocacy approach in order to tell them areas for improvement. For example, the group should be prepared with organized talking points. We also encourage the use of actual data to have stronger arguments.
  • Drama increases the confidence to the participants and builds their communication and leadership skills.

PROCESS OF DOING ADVOCACY AS DRAMA

  1. From large group we split into two groups to allow all participants to participate effectively in creating a drama. Also, it saves time to split into two groups rather than having many groups.
  2. After having two groups we choose one solution from Step 5 then we ask the participants to create drama of implementation.
  3. Then participants prepare an advocacy scenario while facilitators prepare realistic objections and challenges which the participants may face during the process of advocacy activities.
  4. Then proceed with the role-play – one group after another.

THE FOLLOWING FEEDBACKS QUESTIONS ARE IMPORTANT TO ASK THE PARTICIPANTS AFTER DRAMA

  1. Which barriers did they face during doing advocacy as drama and how effectively did they face them?
  2. Which strategies were more successful and why?
  3. Which emotions did they feel in doing advocacy and how were they able to handle such emotions?
  4. Did they involve allies who have influence, expertise and facilitation skills in doing advocacy?
  5. Did the participants come up with SMART objectives which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound? How was the quality of the arguments which consider facts, emotional and ethical reasons? Did they come up with evidence in order to convince decision makers to achieve the objectives?
  6. Did participants follow the chain of command and identify the correct decision makers who have power to achieve the objectives? It helps to know their values and best approach to decision makers in order to reach her or him effectively.

We faced the following challenges:

  • Time is limited during our workshops for the participant to be well organized during acting in workshop to know position of each one in drama. As Kinara we recommend having two separate sessions.
  • Some of our participants have no experience in practicing drama so provide enough time for all participants to understand what is being asked and to practice it.

CONCLUSION

We found it very powerful to use drama during workshops, since it shows the reality of decision-making and through drama participants develop their advocacy skills, we measure their ability in making arguments and it gives us a chance to give them feedback. Drama plays a vital role for participants not to forget about the goal itself, so this makes the participants feel committed to be part of the SDGs implementation.

Kinara for Youth Evolution is working with CIVICUS DataShift to learn about the process to measure inclusive and responsive decision-making (SDG 16.7.2), using a participatory workshop approach with members of our community. We are a youth-led grassroots NGO based in Morogoro, Tanzania, empowering youth to create change for themselves and in their communities through programs in Sexual Reproductive Health and Gender, Livelihoods, Education, and Citizen Data for Advocacy.

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