CNFA awards John H. Costello Innovation Award annually among its existing projects and its successful recipients FOR 2017, are working with Agricultural Markets Development (AMD) Project implemented by CNFA in Pakistan. This year’s award was entitled “CNFA’s solutions to achieve gender equity in international development.” Winners of John H. Costello Award will implement an activity that employs street theater to promote gender equity among a selected community in Pakistan.
Street theater using skits, songs and comedy routines can be a very powerful way to change perceptions by highlighting positive role models in a more comic setting and subtly inducing a change in perception about women and restrictive roles embedded as traditional stereotypes. A group of local actors can engage an entire village community holistically, men, women and children by reaching out to various segments within the audience through different characters and themes and in familiar languages and dialects.
Large amounts of load shedding (power outages) due to lack of electricity severely restricts access to TV, and comic street theater is an effective approach to convey messages among a largely illiterate population about gender constraints in food processing industries.
In this scenario, a comic performance can entertain communities and simultaneously instill knowledge and awareness about gender constraints in food processing industries. If men, women and children engage in such reformative therapy as a group, it can lead to a positive change in perception and help dissolve barriers that rigidly reinforce existing gender stereotypes. Couching a performance within a carefully constructed comedy setting also creates a light hearted and relaxed mood among the audience which helps minimize the opportunity for anyone to misconstrue the message as offensive towards existing social, cultural and religious norms.
This activity will complement AMD’s gender-related objectives and is designed using the medium of street theater to organize two events - one venue in Sindh and one venue in Punjab which are AMD Project Grantee factories or agricultural land premises. The objectives of this activity are two-fold:
1. To highlight selected AMD Project grantees as progressive role models who advocate increased integration of women; and
2. Encourage gender sensitization among the surrounding communities through engagement of men, women and children to help change perceptions about existing stereotypes that inhibit the integration of women, particularly in agricultural food processing industries that are relevant for AMD Project.
Details for the assignment can be found in the attached document.