YWCA USES STREET THEATER TO FIGHT AGAINST SEXUAL GBV IN BURUNDIAN MAHAMA REFUGEE CAMP

Mahama Refugee Camp, located in the Eastern Province of Rwanda bordering Tanzania, has become home to approximately 43,000 Burundian refugees since it first opened in March.

In partnership with PLAN International Rwanda, YWCA Rwanda has resumed street theater performances in Mahama Camp in order to sustain the activities of the “Protection of girl, boy, men and women Burundian refugees in Mahama Camp” project. The overall objective of the project is to improve the protection of approximately 60,000 refugees living in Mahama Refugee Camp through the delivery of comprehensive child protection and sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) prevention and response interventions.

During the final few months of 2015, YWCA Rwanda and PLAN International Rwanda successfully implemented “Relief Support for Burundian Refugees in Mahama Refugee Camp.” The performances, titled “Mwiterwa NGO Mwitere” which translates to “Don’t create additional trouble while in trouble,” focused on delivering key sensitization and prevention messages on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) within Mahama Refugee Camp. The majority of the theatre actors were Burundian. These were joined by 7 well-known Rwandan actors and actresses.

Under the renewed partnership, YWCA continued activities and arranged 3 additional performances between January 19th and 28th, 2016. Attendance at these 3 events totaled about 40,500 people with approximately 18,000 being male and 22,500 female. Those who have attended have reported positive behavior change in their families, specifically among husbands and wives after watching and learning from the street theater events.