Nigeria Toolkit: Advocacy
Leverage and Strengthen Community Theater & Drama Groups
What is it?
The LGA Health Educators identify relevant local theater groups with a goal towards creating a cadre of community-based drama groups that have the capacity to effectively and skillfully deliver health messages and engage target audiences in health promotion through theater for development techniques.
Why is it important?
- Build the capacity of local drama groups to conduct effective community theatre for health promotion
- Build the capacity of theatre groups to develop entertaining and target-audience centered dramas focusing on the thematic areas of family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) and adolescent health
- Improve theatre group members’ confidence and skills in community theatre facilitation
- Build the capacity of theatre groups to create a conducive space for effective audience participation
What are the steps for implementing this approach?
Step 1: Identify Drama Groups
Selection criteria may include:
- Experience in performance arts: Evaluate the group’s performance history and the genres that they have engaged in. Interest in, comfort with, and skills in performance should be considered.
- Presence in the group of skilled playwrights, directors, actors, etc. is an added advantage.
- Majority of group members should be fluent and articulate in the local language.
- There should be an acceptable gender balance in the group – preferably 50%:50%. A group should have a total of at least 10 members.
- Interest in social and health issues, including family planning and commitment to tackling a community health challenge.
Step 2: Facilitate a 4-Day Training
The training includes two days of workshop and script writing. Then, Day 3 is a mock rehearsal where TCI and the LGA Health Educator provide feedback and correct any misinformation. And, on Day 4, it’s time for the actual community theater performance where mobilizers will come and distribute referral cards.
The two-day workshop is facilitated by team of facilitators which include the SBCC Committee members, particularly the State/LGA Health Educators with support from TCI. The facilitating team is also present during the mock rehearsal.
At the end of the community theater performance, social mobilizers give out referral cards (Go-Cards) to members of the audience who indicate interest in adopting a family planning method.
See the training curriculum for additional guidance.
Intervention in Action
TCI recently supported the Niger State government in Nigeria in training a drama troupe in Kontagora LGA (local government area) to disseminate family planning messages such as child birth spacing through community theater. After the training, the troupe not only became family planning advocates, but decided to access family planning services themselves.
At the end of the training, which culminated in the play performance, all troupe members and their friends asked for referral cards for themselves or for their spouses. Yusuf, a young trader and member of the drama group, said the troupe had to live out the reality of the play themselves by talking to their real-life spouses and then requesting referral cards. TCI was encouraged by seeing this change in mindset beginning with the actual change agents.
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