Workshops encourage participants to actively engage with issues of stigma and discrimination, particularly as they relate to LGBTI communities, through the lens of “Umunthu.”
A Pan-African philosophical concept, Umunthu is often defined in the phrase, “I am because we are.” Umunthu respects and celebrates the interconnectedness and interdependence of humanity with emphasis on tolerance, togetherness, diversity, co-existence and unity.
Workshops are designed to address the underlying attitudes and behaviours that undermine the health, welfare and rights of marginalised people- particularly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people. Using Process Theatre, story-telling and role-playing, participants critically explore the concept of Umunthu, reflect on their own experiences with discrimination and examine which groups face discrimination in society. Each workshop culminates in action planning, with participants collaborating on strategies to create a more inclusive environment in their community, educational or professional setting.
Umunthu Workshops currently focus on Health Workers, and aim to promote a more inclusive environment for LGBTI people in accessing healthcare.
In 2016 we ran a workshop project for Higher Education institutions including students, faculty and administration and leaders of community organisations in the surrounding areas. During this project 435 people were reached through 15 workshops. The project evaluation found significant shits in attitudes:
o There was a 27% increase in the proportion of respondents who agree or strongly agree that they would be comfortable with a homosexual neighbour (27% pre-workshop - 46% post-workshop - 54% at follow-up)
o There was a 14% increase in the proportion of respondents who agree or strongly agree that they would be comfortable being friends with an LGBTI person (37% pre-workshop - 43% post-workshop - 51% at follow-up)
o There was an 18% increase in the proportion of respondents who agree or strongly agree that they would sign their name to a petition asking the government to protect the employments rights of LGBTI people (26% pre-workshop - 36% post-workshop - 44% at follow-up)
o There was an 21% increase in the proportion of respondents who agree or strongly agree that universities should not discriminate against LGBTI people (36% pre-workshop - 48% post-workshop - 57% at follow-up)