Malaria Prevention Play with RAPP — WATCH THE VIDEO!
(a) the objective of the activity
We were to draft a short skit to be performed in Nyamirambo about prevention and treatment methods for malaria. This was to fulfill funding requirements from PSI and the target audience were at risk children and pregnant women. The play was an attempt to raise awareness about malaria symptoms, medication and prevention measures (sleep with a mosquito net, cut high grasses, close windows in the evening, pour out sitting water).
(b) the results of the activity
Later in the morning, we shared our ideas with the actors who had come in for a rehearsal and collaborated to make a final piece. That afternoon, RAPP actors gathered a large audience by using loud music, onstage activity and prizes to appeal to people passing by. The muzungus (white people, GYC international delegates) were also a source of attraction. Then, the skit was performed by these actors and the GYC volunteers to an audience that was gathered around a store front in the village. A discussion was led by RAPP trainers afterwards to ask the audience what they learned from the skit and if they would employ these methods in the future.
The next day, GYC volunteers accompanied RAPP trainers as they scouted out a location in coordination with the local government official for a second performance. Some of the group went to a primary school, unloaded the equipment for the performance in the afternoon and then made an announcement to all of the students. They were gathered in the middle of the school yard, and the RAPP focal point, Phillippe, encouraged all of them to tell their parents about the performance later in the day when they went home for lunch. He successfully rallied the crowd and raised their anticipation for the performance and in turn the GYC international delegates were eagerly greeted by dozens of excited students.
(c) challenges faced and how you overcame them
The language barrier was difficult to overcome when explaining the concept for the skit that GYC volunteers had come up with. With the help of our Rwandan delegate who helped to translate and the use of body language and expression, we were able to communicate the ideas which were ultimately well received. There were some logistical challenges that we had to overcome throughout the day such as a meeting scheduled in the middle of rehearsal and a miscommunication with the local authorities and the owner of the location where we would be performing. During the GYC meeting when we were gone, the actors further cultivated the skit to localize it to our performance venue and then shared with the volunteers what they had done while they were gone. Upon hearing of the discrepancy with the local government and store owner, the project supervisor had an open discussion to fix the problem.
Due to scheduling arrangements beyond our control, we were unable to attend the second performance at the primary school.
(d) next steps planned and recommendations for this activity for the future
Although there are not set plans for continued use of this play, the group now has it in their repertoire and call on it when necessary. Along with every performance RAPP does, it would be helpful to return to the two communities where this play was shared and assess if any changes have been made as a result of seeing this play. If there were messages that were not successfully communicated, adjustments should be made to the play itself. Especially it should be assessed whether having the foreigners in the play had a beneficial impact. If yes, then this should be considered for future actions and collaborations with GYC.
(e) Are there any recommendations for you as alumni as to how you can continue to support this activity in the future?
For this particular project, it would be extremely beneficial for the alumni to write a script of the play and submit it to RAPP so that there is a hard copy to reference if this play will be used again. In comparison with other RAPP “scripts,” this would consist of a detailed synopsis in lieu of specific lines as this allows the actors to personalize and localize the performance. Although it should be noted that there could be a message problem if the actors are not continually monitored for the content of what they are saying.