Enacting Change: Theatre for Development and Former Child Soldiers
Enacting Change investigated if Theatre be used to activate Psychological processes to change attitudes toward child soldier reintegration and post-conflict community reconciliation. Twenty Lord’s Resistance Army returnees and never-recruited community members from northern Uganda participated in a four-week theatre workshop aimed at identifying community problems and practicing reconciliation skills. Workshops were accompanied by a before-during-after interview process to identify themes including productivity, alcoholism, trauma and stigma, and widow’s rights. Core attitudes underlying these themes, including advocacy, cooperation, and self-accountability, were highlighted and addressed. Participants viewed the project as successful, and high to moderate attitude change was identified in 15 participants. Possible factors underlying who changed on which topics include age, gender, and combatant status; irrespective of these, active engagement emerged as the strongest determinant of change. Limitations and conditions for future success include participant and facilitator language skills, positionality and power dynamics, consultation and communication, and adequate time and compensation.