Learn more about Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP)

Kwibuka translates in Kinyarwanda as “to remember”. April 2019 marks 25 years since the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The 7th–14th April 2019 was a national week of mourning, and the remembrance period lasts until the 4th July. More information may be found on the official Kwibuka25 website. During this time, Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) Rwanda is taking time to commemorate the loss of many lives during the Genocide Against the Tutsi.


This post is a re-post of the MAP newsletter of March 2019.

Facilitators at the training of trainers make a tableau, or frozen image, August 2018. Photo: Deus Kwizera

MAP is a practice-as-research project supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of a larger project entitled Changing the Story: Building Inclusive Societies with and for Young People in 5 Post-Conflict Countries. The aim of MAP is to work with young people, educators, cultural artists and civil society organisations to inform the National Curriculum Framework in Music, Dance and Drama in Rwanda.

Championed by Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) and Prof. Dr. Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln, MAP is working alongside partners to design and deliver project activities.

In 2018, MAP was launched in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. Initial activities included a curriculum workshop with cultural artists to inform the methodology, a training of trainers with educators to adapt the methodology to local and regional contexts, and a youth camp to train young people as facilitators working alongside the adult educators to develop drama clubs and to integrate the methodology into schools.

In Rwamagana, MAP worked with five schools, ten cultural organisations, twenty-five educators, and ten young people to design and deliver the MAP methodology. Following the training events, youth and adult trainers extended the training to an additional 62 educators and 526 young people by the December 2018.

Teachers, cultural artists and young participants gather for a photo at the youth camp, December 2018. Photo: Deus Kwizera

What’s Next in 2019? 

Countrywide Expansion
Thanks to AHRC follow on impact funding, MAP youth and adult trainers from Rwamagana district will train adult educators and young people in Gicumbi, Rubavu, Nyamasheke, Huye and Kicukiro using the same structure as the pilot phase.

Small Grants
In order to support their extraordinary success, MAP adult and youth trainers have been invited to apply for small grants that can help to deliver ongoing training; to initiate drama clubs; and to expand MAP to other schools, communities and districts in the Eastern Province.

Mobile Filmmaking
MAP adult and youth trainers will participate in a Mobile Filmmaking workshop conducted by Eric Kabera of Kwetu Film Institute in April 2018. Mobile phones will be given to each of the participants to document, edit and produce short films.

Partner Highlights: Sana Initiative

Laure Iyaga speaks to facilitators about sojourning, August 2018. Photo: Deus Kwizera

Thanks to Laure Iyaga, MAP is a peace building initiative in Rwanda that integrates mental health awareness and support for its participants.

In addition to offering workshops and counselling during MAP activities, Sana offers ongoing support to MAP youth and adult trainers.

Ms Iyaga stated: ‘The equality among trainers and trainees creates a safe space and is working to heal deep wounds from the lack of a support system experienced by many young people.’

Learn More about Sana Initiative and their work in a broader Rwandan context by following this link.

24 January Stakeholder Meeting

A young participant leads and activity during the youth camp, November: 2018. Photo Deus Kwizera

On 24 January 2019, the Institute for Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) launched their role as co-investigator of Mobile Arts for Peace (MAP) at a stakeholder meeting in Kigali, Rwanda attended by the Rwanda Education Board (REB), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Sports and Culture, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of ICT and Innovation and numerous distinguished guests. Mrs. Joan Umurungi from REB served as the guest of honour. Mrs. Umurungi commented on the importance of arts for peacebuilding and educational processes. Additionally, REB representatives noted their endorsement of MAP as a key partner and how MAP aligns with the vision of the Ministry of Education concerning the development of the competence based curriculum. MAP enhances peace values, public speaking, inclusive education and develops a society that assists with healing.

MINISPOC noted the importance of MAP to develop the creative industries nationally. Ministry representatives noted that MAP is practical, grassroots based, and brings a sense of ‘life’ in terms of conflict prevention and the promotion of dialogue through an arts-based approach. Speakers included: Dr. Eric Ndushabandi from IRDP; Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo from the College of Education, University of Rwanda; Dr. Samuel Rushworth from Aegis Trust; Mrs. Amy Barnecutt from A Partner in Education; Mr. Jeymo Mutinda from Music Mind Consult; Mr. Victor Ntezirembo from IRDP, Ms. Laure Iyaga from Sana Initiative, Dr. Ananda Breed from the University of Lincoln and Kurtis Dennison, MAP Project Manager. Presentations and workshops were based on the use of arts with and for young people in peacebuilding initiatives.

The role of arts for peacebuilding initiatives has influenced major research and civil society organisations both nationally and internationally. Some of the benefits of arts-based approaches includes the opportunity to create innovative approaches for community dialogue alongside the development of skill building in the performing arts more generally.

Initial Research Findings from Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo

Young people participate in MAP activities at a Rwamagana Schoool, September 2018. Photo: Kurtis Dennison

Dr. Sylvestre Nzahabwanayo from the College of Education, University of Rwanda provided the following research findings based on interviews and focus groups with MAP youth and adult trainers, cultural artists, and stakeholders:

MAP keeps us awake in the classroom
Students reveal that by engaging in MAP activities amid a busy day with lessons, they are kept awake and do not feel sleepy. Given the introduction of the module system in advanced level in high schools (where a lesson can take up to 5 hours), it is important to keep students’ momentum.

MAP has enabled us to speak in public 
The vast majority of students admit that before engaging with MAP they could not stand in front of their peers and make an argument. MAP has empowered them with public speaking skills. Students who were shy in the classroom confess that they can now raise questions to the teacher.

MAP has raised my marks
Preliminary findings of this study show that MAP has improved the academic performance of students. Some say that before engaging with MAP they used to be lazy in the classroom. But after meeting MAP, they learn enthusiastically; they try to link what they learn with their daily life and this contributes greatly to their academic achievement.

MAP has allowed me to engage with my parents
Students tell that before engaging with MAP they were fearing their parents and were only receiving instructions. After participant in MAP, they have acquired skills to engage in a dialogue with their parents on different issues and come to a consensus.

I am attentive to what happens in my society   
The vast majority of students affirm that before engaging with MAP they were indifferent to fundamental problems of the Rwandan society. Students admit that after participating in MAP trainings, they are now awake to what happens around them.

After the training of trainers, we worked with our school children. They were motivated and developed skills. Among the teachers, we now have a drama team. We teachers are capable to train the children in drama. The impact of MAP in our schools is seen through what we are doing.

-Hassan Ngendahimana, Friends of the Children International School


If you have any questions or requests for further information, project manager of MAP, Kurtis Dennison, can be contacted on mobileartsforpeace@gmail.com. You can read more about the January 2019 stakeholder meeting in this post by Prof. Dr Ananda Breed.

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