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USAID Community Engagement Project Uses Theatre to Stop Gender-Based Violence

Published 12/16/2013 by Global Communities

USAID Community Engagement Project Uses Theatre to Stop Gender-Based Violence in Jordan

USAID-funded Project Launched under the Patronage of HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal

Under the Patronage of HRH Princess Basma Bit Talal, the National Centre for Culture and Arts of the King Hussein Foundation kicked off a new project that uses interactive theatre to raise awareness of gender-based violence. Funded by the USAID Community Engagement Project, the six-month national project, entitled “Enough! Human Rights for All,” will raise awareness of gender-based violence in local communities in Irbid and Mafraq Governorates and in Al Ramtha District.
The project launching ceremony, which was hosted by the National Centre for Culture and Arts (NCCA), featured a welcome note by Lina Attel, the Director General of the NCCA, followed by a documentary that explained how Theatre-Based Education Training works.
“It is a valuable recognition by USAID to support community level awareness on gender-based violence through utilizing interactive theatre. Theatre is a power medium in raising awareness on social issues and changing perceptions and behavior,” said Lina Attel, NCCA Director General. “We are grateful for this opportunity that will enable us to create an interactive play on gender based violence in Jordan and will build the capacities of talented youth in the north,” she added.
“The first step towards the elimination of gender based violence is through creating awareness of the issue, its effect on the victims, and realistic solutions to address this intolerable practice. NCCA’s interactive theatre approach to promoting awareness of gender-based violence enables the audience to deeply understand and internalize the problem,” said Christopher Barnes, Chief of Party, USAID Community Engagement Project. 
Interactive theatre is a unique medium that encourages the audience to ask questions and reflect on the drama through a facilitator who acts as a bridge between the audience and the actors. The project, in partnership with the National Interactive Theatre Troupe, will produce an interactive play that tackles physical and psychological abuse of women, sexual violence during conflicts and forced marriages.
The play will be performed sixteen times in Irbid, Mafraq and Ramtha for Jordanian community members including students and Syrian refugees. The NCCA will conduct an intensive 30-hour training workshop on theatre-based techniques to address gender-based violence and will assist the participants in producing two drama scenes to be performed for local communities.
Speeches were followed by an NCCA performance entitled “Tawazun,” a black comedy interactive play addressing violence against women and gender equality issues facing youth today. The interactive play is based on seventeen monologues written by both male and female youth, based on real life experiences. 
Representatives from ministries of Culture, Education and Foreign Affairs, the USAID Community Engagement Project, renowned Jordanian artists, directors from various cultural centers in Jordan, and community members attended the event.
The National Center for Culture and Arts (NCCA) is an internationally recognized institution that promotes social development, human rights, and cross-cultural understanding through the performing arts. Highly interactive and intensely creative, NCCA works in the community to develop talents in the performing arts and to explore issues related to a better quality of life. NCCA coordinates a rich variety of activities and educational programs. Annually, NCCA hosts the International Arab Children’s Congress (IACC). The IACC was initiated by Her Majesty Queen Noor after the 1980 Arab Summit Conference was held in Amman. It brings together young people from around the world for one week of travel and learning designed to promote cross-cultural understanding, tolerance and solidarity.
The USAID Community Engagement Project (USAID CEP) is a three-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Global Communities (formerly CHF International), in collaboration with Jordanian partners Al Jidara and Jordan River Foundation. USAID CEP builds community cohesion and enhances the resilience of communities to more effectively address evolving challenges. It is a grassroots program that utilizes a participatory process to engage community members in addressing community needs and stressors within the context of regional volatility and transitions associated with domestic policy reform, economic conditions, and demographic changes. In addition to community members, USAID CEP works with Jordanian Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), local government, and the private sector.  USAID CEP consists of three components: Component 1: Grants to NGOs and in-kind support to local government, Component 2: Community engagement, Component 3: Capacity building. USAID CEP uses a gender mainstreaming approach in order to reduce gender inequality between men and women, create more opportunities for women, and empower women and youth within the targeted local context.
The USAID Community Engagement Project is made possible by the generous assistance from the American people. The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.