At the advent of the 21st Century, technology was being looked upon as the silver bullet in improving learning outcomes. Millions of dollars were invested in projects such as One-Laptop per child. However, recent data reveals shows that access to technology in itself has no impact on learning. Children in Peru who were a part of the programme showed an improvement in computer skills, but their learning levels could not be directly correlated to their access to a laptop.
“People are the experts of their own lives. Development only happens if it is owned by the people and participation is fundamental to real development.”
Owing much to Robert Chambers’ insights into Participatory Learning and Action, and the educational theory of Paulo Freire, participation has become a very important concept and practice in development. Theatre for a Change (TfaC) is an NGO founded in 2003 that uses drama and interactive theatre to work with the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, particularly those at risk of poor sexual and reproductive health and who have limited opportunities to assert their gender rights. The methodology was first applied in Ghana in 2003 as a response to rising rates of HIV/AIDS. Today, TfaC works in Ghana, Malawi and the UK.
Say for Development had the opportunity to have a conversation with TfaC’s Founder and Executive Director, Patrick Young*, on how gender equality can be achieved through using participatory theatre methodologies.