What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
SFCG has been working in Burundi on land issues for several years. In 2008, when we opened an office in Rwanda, the need for a similar project given the overwhelming demands on land in the country was immediately obvious. SFCG's project draws on experiences from Burundi, while tailoring it to the unique context in Rwanda in terms of the media sector, government initiatives, and the new land legislation. We combined several existing tools for conflict resolution already being used by SFCG (radio, theatre, leadership training) to create a program for assisting people with land right's issues here in Rwanda.
The radio program has been the aspect of the project that has evolved most significantly as it has been implemented. Originally envisioned as a pre-recorded program, in the first few editions, SFCG found a substantial interest for audience participation and the question and answer sessions. The format was subsequently changed to emphasize this component in favor of pre-recorded interviews and similar elements. The number of input received--through emails, SMS, and phone calls--continues to grow, and several programs have been entirely dedicated to fielding audience questions on complex and relevant issues.
The organization was founded in 1982 in the belief that it could make a difference in the way the world deals with conflict. The Rwanda program has grown out of the experience gained by SFCG's global work, while adapting to the local context.
Tell us about the social innovator—the person—behind this idea.
Each component has developed with the input of a number of people on the SFCG Rwanda team. The producer, Jean Paul Ntezimana, has developed the radio program format, tweaking it to respond to audience interests as well as the challenges of getting regular guests on the programs, particularly from the government side. Christine Uwamahoro has led up the participatory theatre efforts, using her acting experience to coach a local theatre group on how to gather ideas from the communities targeted and then develop tailored performances that respond to their specific contexts and conflicts. This approach builds on a technique developed in the DR Congo, which won a previous award from Ashoka. The Abunzi trainings are led by Narcisse Kalisa, who is the National Programs Manager and leads other training exercise SFCG conducts in Rwanda.
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