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Brother2Brother uses art to tackle issues

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

Senior Lecturer in drama and Head of Department in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, in Zomba, Zindaba Chisiza, has said the Brother2Brother (B2B) Project he has introduced has registered positive outcomes.

Some of the positive results, he said, include seeing positive change being registered among the core group of young men that he is working with.

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Since 2014, Chisiza has been working with young men using arts-based techniques to examine issues that affect them.

“Generally, there is little evidence of this work going in Malawi, hence I felt the need to pursue it. I also felt that young men need spaces to critically reflect on identity and how men are socially, the pressures boys feel in order to be considered men and other related issues,” Chisiza said.

He said the B2B Project draws on his doctoral research project which focused on using theatre methods to engage young men on masculinities, Gender-based violence and risk of sexually transmitted infections.

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Chisiza said for the B2B Project he was specifically interested in using a range of art forms such as theatre, music, film and radio drama as tools for helping boys explore what it means to be a man; the harmful ways boys are socialised and to help them develop gender equitable behaviours and attitudes.

“Brother2Brother is a creative gender transformative programme for young men in Malawi. It uses art-based workshops to enable young men talk on issues relating to gender norms, identity, sexual health and gender-based violence with the aim of empowering them to explore gender equable identities,” he said.

Chisiza said the project is supplemented by an arts-based outreach programme in secondary school and colleges.

He said the project also has a multimedia campaign that includes music, film and, in early 2019, a 16-part radio drama series to be aired on Yoneco FM.

The project, according to Chisiza, has been made possible with support from the Prince Klaus Fund for Culture and Development under their Next Generation 2018 Grant.

“The grant was given to individuals and originations in order to work with young people using the creative arts in order to give young people a platform to explore different issues ranging from social norms, sexual identity, gender relations and culture,” he said.

He said in 2018, he was among the first recipients of the grant and the only one from Malawi.

Currently, Chisiza said he has recruited 16 young men from Chancellor College, who have formed the core group of young men that he will engage with for the next 10 months.

“In early 2019, we will establish 10 listening clubs in schools within Zomba and Blantyre districts. These clubs will participate in our interactive radio drama series set set to start airing on Yoneco FM in early 2019,” Chisiza said.

He also revealed that they are currently finishing an album titled Mamuna wa Ngwiro set to the released for free on multiple platforms by mid next month.

“By the end of November 2018, we will release and premiere five five-minute short films made by the participants and a 30-minute short film which I am directing and co-writing with the young men,” Chisiza said.

He said people can connect with them on their social media accounts on Facebook (Brother2Brother), instagram and twitter using handles @ Brother 2 Brother_mw.

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