Tuesday, July 29, 2014
For many girls in war-ridden South Sudan, the future looks bleak. Forced marriage, domestic violence and limited freedom of movement are a daily reality. A change of society will have to be preceded by a change of mind. To turn the tide, women themselves as well as society will have to start reflecting on these issues. Street theater is an accessible and influential tool to initiate the debate.

Discussion about the position of girls and women
Two weeks ago, Free Voice (Free Press Unlimited's field office in South Sudan) and the South Sudan Theatre Group teamed up to bring a series of street theater plays to the streets of Juba. In the plays the position of girls and women and sensitive issues such as access to education and domestic violence are raised. After each performance, the players engage the audience in a lively discussion about the contents of the play. Everyone gets a chance to raise his or her voice in the debate.

Direct impact
During the first discussion, an older man came to the stage and spoke to his fellow villagers: "We men need to encourage women to go to school. We can not support early and forced marriage. We men need to act together. (...) If these problems are happening in our neighborhood, we must do something about it."

Broadening the outreach
The impact of the plays reaches far beyond the audience that witnessed it. Media ensure that the audience can be multiplied. Hundreds of people watched the street performances that were recorded and broadcast on the local and international media, including Al Jazeera, Sky News Arabic, Reuters, AFP, and the local organization Kapital Movie.

Take a look behind the scenes of the street theater.

This project is supported by UNESCO.