NYABIHU - Pyrethrum farmers in Nyabihu, Musanze and Rubavu districts are set to begin using theatre to sensitise residents on various health issues.
Last week, students from the National University of Rwanda grouped under ‘Les stars du Theatre” drama troupe trained over 100 farmers in community theatre.
The training was organised by SPREAD, a project that supports coffee and pyrethrum farmers to improve their production and livelihoods.
It is expected that the farmers will use theatre to sensitise residents on health issues, including family planning, mother and child health, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation as well as HIV/AIDS prevention which, according to farmers, are the major challenges to rural communities.
Speaking to The New Times, farmers noted that behavioural change was important in improving their production and consequently their living conditions.
“Pyrethrum farmers seem to be changing their attitude towards family planning and HIV prevention methods due to other efforts we used. Theatre is a new and effective tool to reach a wider number of people and positively influence behaviour change,” said Augustin Mbyariyehe, the leader of Butaka Pyrethrum Farmers’ Cooperative (KOKIBU) in Rubavu District.
“When you act, people pay attention and you get to pass your message successfully. Actions changes behaviours better than theories,” he added.
Farmers vowed to use the skills for the benefits of the entire local community.
Phocas Hakuzimana of Bugeshi Pyrethrum Farmers’ Cooperative (KOHIBI) in Nyabihu District said the same theatre would encourage more people to embrace voluntary HIV counselling and testing.
“For instance, in our community there are some people who do not understand the reason for HIV testing. We will use theatre to show them that testing for HIV is to their own advantage,” he said.
Hyppolite Ntigurirwa, one of the trainers, told this paper that, through theatre, they want to help the population identify its own problems.
“Theatre for development in all its forms is an effective tool that helps the society discover its problems and get solutions,” Ntigurirwa said.