Drama Awareness Outreach Programme: Wabag Tour (January-February, 2016)

Members of Seeds Theatre Group Inc. (Photo Credit: Willie Doaemo)

Members of Seeds Theatre Group Inc. (Photo Credit: Willie Doaemo)

Seeds travel to Enga Province
Seeds Theatre Group travelled to Wabag (Enga Province) in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea to carry out a Drama Awareness Outreach Programme as part of the Women NOT Witches (WNW) project. The Group focused on awareness-raising and education targeting primarily boys and young men in the Wabag province. This initiative was funded by the Canadian Government through the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).

On arrival in Wabag, Seeds met with Peter Kipil, a local community leader from Kafe Urban, to arrange for suitable accommodation and eventually checked in to Wabag Lodge.

Training
Prior to the tour, members of the Group underwent 5-days of training in drama strategy. In total, 17 performers were trained on issues relating to all forms of violence, with emphasis on sorcery-related violence and violence against women (VAW), as well as drama techniques to educate boys and men on the reasons why current perceptions of sorcery and witchcraft are misguided and extremely dangerous. This training really helped to build the capacity and confidence of performers and volunteers. Billboards, flyers, banners and pamphlets, along with radio play scripts and radio spots were also created and designed during the preparation week January 15-28, 2016.

VAW Training
The training on violence against women covered topics such as:
• “What is Gender-based Violence?’’
• The different types of violence (physical, verbal, financial, sexual).

Performances

Drama by Ester Sam at Wabag Market (Photo Credit: Robert Tom)

Drama by Ester Sam at Wabag Market (Photo Credit: Robert Tom)

Drama role play was used, depicting real-life situations of everyday life in a community, including beliefs and interaction where scenes portrayed events which lead to the murder of a women accused of sorcery. These performances provided the audience with a clear understanding that killing is wrong, against the law, against Christian principles and against human rights. A number of comedy-style shows also took place, after which the following topics were discussed: sorcery-related violence and its consequences; perceptions held by churches towards sorcery and witchcraft; diseases that may be the cause of death within communities (as opposed to supposed sorcery and witchcraft) and the new laws enacted by the Government as regards to sorcery-related killings.

Comedian Omoko and Peter Watete (Photo Credit: Willie Doaemo)

Comedian Omoko and Peter Watete (Photo Credit: Willie Doaemo)

Seeds also received good support from several artists namely, Peter Watete and his Team who helped in staging several shows prior to our discussions with the audience on the relevant topics outlined above.

Activities
60 performances were carried out in villages/cities and schools of the 3 target regions and approximately 5,000 informative materials were distributed – billboards, flyers and pamphlets (with input from experts and Church elders – both in Pidgin and English – containing pictures and signs for illiterate community members).

The Group also delivered 2 additional training courses for social workers and community leaders, as well as training sessions (including coordination and facilitation of training) for Government representatives/magistrates on gender-based violence, conflict resolution and sorcery violence. The intention is to increase support for the project and implement the training activities.

As part of the WNW project, Seeds also ran an awareness-raising campaign via media: re-broadcasting an advert/radio spot and video produced in Phase 1 and (2) campaigning and advocating work through media and social media (Facebook, internet pages, radio, other media – own channels and partners’ channels). It was calculated that the Group reached more than 30,000 people and distributed more than 2,700 pamphlets and 140 posters. Of the total number of people reached within the targeted communities, 64.66% were male, 30.22% female, 50.66% children and 5.91% were marginalised. During the project the Group distributed a total of 2,739 pamphlets and 142 posters and covered 16 locations and 3 provinces and towns reaching more than 19,694 men, 9,204 women and 1,543 children, including 18 marginalised/disabled people.

Seeds would like to thank the Canadian Government for their support, as well as members of the Police Force, who provided an escort for the Group, Educational Representatives and the Church, for their advice and assistance during the outreach campaign. A big thanks also to all volunteers, national, international and UNV Online volunteers.