Niger State Drama Troupe in Nigeria on Becoming the Change They Want to See
The Challenge Initiative 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.
Members of Dila drama group learned about child birth spacing, its importance and different methods of family planning. They also were asked to list every myth and misconception they had ever heard about family planning. Once the trainers addressed and corrected those myths, the troupe had a change of heart and accepted the benefits of family planning.
The change started with Yusuf Sanusi, a young trader and a member of Dila drama group who is married with two wives. After the first day of the training, Sanusi raised his hand as though to ask a question but instead requested referral cards for his wives. He said he had heard about family planning but never knew how beneficial it was.
“The root of every other problem we face in the society is that people don’t plan their family,” Sanusi said.
By the second day, Yusuf had spoken to his neighbors about family planning and got referral cards for all of them too. 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 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.