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The Impact of Community Theatre

Members of the community theatre troupe at Meconta Secondary School in Mozambique. Photo: Richard Librock

May 3, 2016

By Simon Chambers

Sometimes it takes young people to get through to young people.  Especially when the topic is something they’d rather not talk about with adults, like teen pregnancy.

PWRDF, with funding from the Government of Canada, works with our partner EHALE (“health” in the local language) in Mozambique in a program to promote maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition.  One of the ways EHALE seeks to ensure that mothers and babies are healthy is by helping to cut down on the rate of teen pregnancies.

The Meconta secondary school lost 12% of its female students when they became pregnant before the EHALE program started in the area.  EHALE workers began to talk with students at the school about early pregnancy, family planning, and other similar topics.

And a group of students got really excited.

They began to work together to develop community theatre productions on topics of sexual health that they perform for their peers and for the community at large.  Their productions approach the topics with humour and sensitivity, and have helped to bridge generational gaps and get people talking about these issues.

EHALE has built a youth centre at the Meconta secondary school so these students have a space to meet, learn, plan, and laugh together.  The students in the theatre program say that they now want to finish secondary school before they think about marriage or starting families.

And their peers are catching the same message.  Since the theatre program started, the drop out rate for girls due to pregnancy has dropped to just 2%.

With advocates like these, sharing their humour and excitement, the future is looking bright in Meconta!

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