FGM takes centre stage in Nigeria

1 October 2017

How can theatre be used to end FGM? Our End FGM Grants programme funded Active Voices, an NGO working on health and development, to put on a series of plays called ‘Together: One Community’s Story of Ending FGM’. Don’t worry if you couldn’t be there – the play is available to watch on YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsUp2oCz2c0&t=232s

We sat down with the playwright and founder of Active Voices, Chiamaka Uzomba. 

1. How did the drama event go?

The event went well. The drama was done in different areas in Abuja and over 290 people attended. The local authorities from Kuje (southwest of Nigeria's capital, Abuja) sent representatives to attend the play.  

2. What was the audience response?

After the screening of the drama, Active Voices had a stand in Kuje and close by in Ggwagwala, where audience members got to ask questions around the practice and received information on what they can do to help end it. A panel discussion was held after the drama event in the City Centre where a lot of comments and suggestions were also made. Those in attendance were mainly aware of the practice and expressed the need to have everyone as an ambassador without leaving this to specific organisations.

A lot of people were excited about the drama series and commended it. They requested Active Voices to reach out through theatre/drama to more communities who are practicing. 

3. Do you think that theatre is a good way to deliver messages on ending FGM based on your experience?

Theatre is a good way to pass the message on ending FGM. This is not a normal approach of engagement but would work best with communities who are already on the contemplation stage and towards abandonment. For communities who are have not yet been engaged in the conversation, it may be better to do some ground work first before using this approach.

There was appreciation by the audience on the use of theatre to captivate the audience and pass the message around FGM –one of the participants highlighted that this was captivating and likely to catch the attention of the audience as compared to other conventional means that can easily lose the audience.  

4. So what are your plans now?

In Kuje, we have been requested to do some follow-ups during community events and are considering this. There is also a possibility of doing more theatre events in other practicing communities.

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