IREX Consulting: Youth Theatre for Peace

When considering the McKenzie-Mohr (2000) model of successful psychological involvement in social marketing, we find that the Youth Theatre for Peace (YTP) (2011) successfully incorporates several of presented principles. As youth make up approximately half of the population of Tajikistan (Tackling Community Issues on Stage, 2011), IREX, with the support of USAID has created this project in order to train educators, implement student participation in Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT), and facilitate the presentation of these forum theatre performances throughout communities in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The stated goal of the YTP is to successfully affect a sustainable community change in the prevention of conflicts via forum theatre.

Forum Theatre is a type of play in which audiences are encouraged to participate in resolution. The core of the story is scripted to present an identifiable conflict via the protagonist, which the protagonist is unable to overcome. The audience is then asked to suggest possible alternative solutions, and those are played out (Forum Theatre, n.d.)

YTP addresses barriers both internal (e.g., educating individuals via scripted plays then soliciting participation for critical consideration of how the problems may be resolved) and outside the individual (e.g., creating a summer camp which trains students and educators, providing continued guidance, and facilitating touring) (McKenzie-Mohr, 2000).

No information is given regarding any specific attempts at identifying barriers, nor pilot studies that may have been used to evaluate potential alternative programs. However, examples of social change via forum theatre are widespread (Forum Theatre, n.d.; Houston, Magill, McCollum, & Spratt, 2001; Youth Drama Clubs Shed Light on North-South Tensions, n.d.), and may have motivated the assumed effectiveness of the medium. If these steps were not taken in this specific case, this is certainly one thing I would recommend. McKenzie-Mohr (2000) points out that these are steps which are often overlooked.

Case studies were provided as evaluative materials, as well as, presumably, agents for reinforcing support and donations. However, a final evaluation was provided (Youth Transformed: Final Evaluation Of Youth Theatre For Peace Released, 2011) which cites the use of focus groups, comparison groups, surveys, and the like.

Executive Summary

References:

Forum Theatre. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.attempt-eu.org/uploads/media/FORUM_THEATRE.pdf

Houston, S., Magill, T., McCollum, M., & Spratt, T. (2001). Developing creative solutions to the problems of children and their families: Communicative reason and the use of forum theatre. Child and Family Social Work6, 285-293.

McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000). Fostering Sustainable Behavior Through Community-Based Social Marketing. American Psychologist, 55(5), 531-537.

Tackling Community Issues on Stage. (2011). IREX. Retrieved from: http://www.irex.org/news/tackling-community-issues-stage

Youth Drama Clubs Shed Light on North-South Tensions. (n.d.). USAID. Retrieved from: http://www.irex.org/sites/default/files/USAID%20Success%20Story.pdf

Youth Theatre for Peace. (2011). IREX. Retrieved from: http://www.irex.org/project/youth-theater-peace

Youth Transformed: Final Evaluation Of Youth Theatre For Peace Released. (2011). IREX. Retrieved from: http://www.irex.org/news/youth-transformed-final-evaluation-youth-theater-peace-released

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