Each quarter, the Community Engagement Team working in the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project, meets with each of the four local institutions in each zone – Zone Development Committees (ZDCs). The development committees are comprised of traditional leaders, such as headmen, as well as other respected and influential members of the community. This quarter, we decided to bring a drama group for the meetings in all four zones. The drama group, Kumunzi Kwathu Culture and Dance Group, is based in Lusaka and is well known in the arts community in Zambia. Bringing in the drama group to the communities would increase involvement in the meetings, send a fun but informative message, and encourage small drama groups to form locally.
The group started out in each zone, beating the drums to send the message that they had arrived and we’re ready for people to start gathering. Once it was time to begin, the group began their first skit, in which a mother was yelling at her son for being lazy and not producing charcoal, after which an argument arose and the single mother complained of not making enough money from traditional charcoaling to feed the family. A neighbor, overhearing the arguments intervenes in the fight and advises the mother and son to accompany him to a meeting being held by a Zambian owned company (BCP) which he has partnered with and has learned the best way of making sustainable charcoal which is less labor intensive, profitable and also promotes regeneration of forests.
Many community members would get involved and it was fun to see them in a different atmosphere. The group even got a few headmen and BCP members to dance! Dramas are a great way to incorporate traditional culture and for people to see that BCP understands and is working within community dynamics. We hope that from this program, local drama groups will form so that we can work directly with our communities and to promote a full understanding of our aims and projects!
Note: In follow-up to these dramatic performances, BCP is now working with local “drama groups” that have been established to build their capacity to similarly use drama to deliver important messages about local issues.
— This post was written by members of the BCP Community Engagement Team