Working in partnership with the UN World Food Programme, AGHCA uses participatory theatre to engage communities on issues affecting food security.

wfp pilot Project 2016

In 2015, droughts and floods caused by climate change left nearly 2.86 million people in Malawi facing food insecurity. The WFP and its partners stepped up efforts to provide relief food and cash assistance. Responding to recurrent hunger, however, means addressing peoples’ immediate needs, while also supporting them to better withstand inevitable climate shocks in the future. Positive decisions about nutrition, water, hygiene, sanitation, gender protection and living with HIV/AIDS all affect food security in the long run.

That year, AGHCA launched a partnership with the WFP to encourage behaviour change on these issues. AGHCA equipped WFP partners in two districts, Phalombe and Chikwawa, with the skills to make traditional workshops focused on Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) more participatory, interactive and engaging. In both districts, AGHCA trained four local drama groups, comprised of 43 community members, in Theatre for Development. Drama groups – combining the experiences of people in their communities with factual information provided by WFP – developed participatory plays addressing myriad issues connected to food security. Each performance culminated in Community Action Plans, through which community members developed solutions to the issues raised in the plays. 

WFP PRoject expansion 2017

AGHCA is expanding its partnership with WFP in 2017. In Phalombe and Chikwawa, AGHCA will run refresher trainings to roll out participatory performances in 8 new communities. We will also run Training-of–Trainers (ToT) workshops enabling drama group members trained in TfD last season to train additional drama groups in nearby communities. In the two new districts, Zomba and Machinga, AGHCA will replicate its approach from last season, incorporating evaluation findings. Finally, AGHCA will run two-day trainings in participatory arts-based approaches for WFP field staff, NGO partners, and local stakeholders in all four districts. 

  • The questions that are asked by the performers to the audience feel like we are also in the performance, and we find ourselves judging our own practices.
    — Audience member, Mwananjobvu, Chikwawa district
  • The major difference is that, at first the drama group used to just entertain people, they were plays just for entertainment, But now they are sensitising people on sanitation and hygiene, diversified eating habits of the six food groups. As you know, we receive maize, but we used to just sell it, now the plays are sensitising us to stop because if we continue, we will die of hunger.
    — Group Village Headman, Mwananjobvu, Chikwawa district
  • I’m seeing a lot of changes taking place for the better using the methodologies we’ve learned here, mainly to do with participation - involving the people to solve the problems they are facing in the communities.
    — Victor, Blantyre Implementing Partner training participant