Positive Masculinities Travelling Theatre in Kikuyu Sub County

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Theatre has been used as a tool for social change and CEEC under its projectPositive Masculinities: Working with Young Men to combat Gender Based Violence in Kiambu Countychose this methodology in recognition of its appeal to young people.After a training of 30 young performing artists on combating gender based violence through promotion of positive masculinities, the trainees from five wards in Kikuyu Sub County embarked on community sensitization through travelling theatre. Due to the vastness of the wards the trainees organized one theatre performance per month per ward from March to June 2016. The 20 performances were carried out in different churches reaching out to over 2000 people with the message of combating gender based violence. The skits were a display of the situations that young men are facing in the community and how they are dealing with the crisis of masculinity manifested in alcoholism, inability to discharge their duties and gender based violence including violence against men among others. The performances were followed by a debriefing session by the trainees as well as a question/answer session. Those answered questions correctly were given t-shirts and wristbands with advocacy messages on combating gender based violence In most churches the message of the skit was also used in the sermons, emphasizing the need to address the masculinity crisis by socializing both boys and girls in the right way. It is important to promote positive masculinities/femininities in order to combat Gender Based Violence and raise healthy families. With religion playing a big role in the social construction of gender, the choice of performing in local churches was appropriate in addressing some of the gender stereotypes particularly those relating to the roles of men vis a vis those of women. The message that the trainees were putting across was that roles do not define a man or a woman; they are just roles prescribed by the society. The message seemed to strike a chord with the community members who requested for more performances.

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