Creativity in Action: Youth-Led Community Projects 2014 - 2016
BST's Creativity in Action project has mobilized over 375 youth from 25 Afghan provinces to learn leadership skills and implement local community improvement projects.
Groups underwent rigorous leadership training in their home provinces through workshop sessions using theatre and arts exercises to foster creative problem-solving, leadership and improved communication skills. Each group created a Community Profile illuminating what they love about their community and the issues that need correction.
Phase two brought two groups at a time to Kabul from two different provinces – often representing different ethnicities, religions, or languages – for a week-long brainstorming and training session in community development, advocacy, and proposal-writing. During the week in Kabul, youth teams worked on their Action Plans while living, learning, socializing and, together, working toward creating a unified Afghanistan.
In a country divided by ethnic, linguistic, and customary differences, these exchanges built a sense of community and cohesion across regional boundaries. As one participant explained:
"It gave me hope for my own future and helped me analyze issues within my personal life and my community. And it helped me to find solutions for these difficult issues."
Film by:Heddy Lahmann. Editing, translation and subtitles by: Fatema Hussaini.
This project is so exciting to us because we are helping to create a culture of volunteerism. Many young Afghans are eager for a chance to be a part of this project. They want their ideas heard, their influence realized, and their vision for their country attained.
The groups have implemented successful community service projects in provinces across the country, including:
The female youth volunteers of Kunar implemented an awareness campaign about domestic violence and the abuse of women in their community. The women provided workshops and trainings in seven different villages reaching 318 individual women, and facilitated the re-enrollment of 17 girls in school. They are also consulting with community elders on the prevalence of violence against women and the steps they can take to eradicate those practices.
The male Kunar volunteer youth implemented a project to establish a culture of environmental protection in their province. They reached 480 youth with capacity-building workshops, and have established a locally-composed committee in the main market, responsible for environmental upkeep and accountability. They are also cleaning the streets of Asadabad themselves, focusing on the center of the city, and have recruited over 50 fellow youth to help.
The Balkh Provincial Volunteer Youth Team chose to mobilize their community against child labor and illiteracy by setting up an educational tent in the most populated area of their province. Forty child-laborers were invited in to the tent daily to learn to read for free. By educating these young people about their rights and providing them with some basic skills the team is promoting a culture of protection throughout the province. As a result of the youth's advocacy, the local government established a commission focusing on children's issues.
The Logar province youth volunteers also chose to focus on the serious environmental pollution affecting their community. Through their self-designed awareness campaign they provided workshops and information to school teachers, and religious and community leaders. They have reached approximately 15,000 audience members through educational theatre shows. They are also leading by example by cleaning the streets of Pul e alam themselves, promoting healthy urban culture and protecting their city from further pollution. Their enthusiasm caught the eye of the local Director of Youth Affairs, who immediately stepped up the city’s clean-up efforts.
In Kandahar province, volunteers tackled the issue of child labor and lack of educational opportunities for the youth in their community. Their awareness campaign was designed to motivate families to enroll their children in school and make education a priority for all youth. The volunteers performed plays in schools, worked with community and religious leaders, and raised awareness thorough workshops and seminars. Through the program, an additional 350 local youth have joined the volunteer youth team as members, committed to working to promote education.
Simorgh Film and Theatre
White Star Theatre
Nangarhar Film & Theatre
Kandahar Film & Theatre Company
Women for Afghan Women
Afghan Women's Network
Afghan Women's Educational Center
Afghans for a Civil Society
Voice of Women
Afghan Human Rights Organization
... and others
Read a condensed version of our 2014-2016 Creativity in Action project report. To request a full version of the report, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.