Freedom of expression and intercultural dialogue: creating cultural spaces and synergies for peace-building and democratic societies.
“African Space Makers” in Nairobi involves and gives voice and visibility to cultural and community spaces from the capital metropolis of Kenya, a city that grows at a speed rate never experienced before by humanity. It featured an “interactive participatory virtual reality mockumentary series” shot in five local creative spaces formed by artists, community groups and social entrepreneurs : Maasai Mbili - a self-financed collective of artists, Brush Tu - an art centre, Keroche - an independent graffiti artist, the Skaters -a community group, and the Zazi collective - an urban subculture music collective. The project shows how cultural actors contribute to rethinking current urban models, raise key urban debates by questioning social norms related to critical issues such as to race, gender, age, religion, sexuality and more, and create safe spaces for minorities to express themselves and dialogue, enhancing social cohesion between communities.
“Ciné-débat pour la paix: pour le dialogue interculturel et la cohésion sociale au Cameroun” brought cinema as a safe and neutral space for intercultural dialogue. Forty-five films followed by educational talks and inter-community debates, creating in this manner spaces for intercultural dialogue between communities and enabling different populations of all regions of the country (including those rocked by Francophone/Anglophone violence) to freely and fully express themselves on the crisis they were facing as well as to discuss the factors which were undermining peace and living together in the country. Village chiefs; community, religious and traditional leaders; women's, men's and youth groups as well as displaced people’s communities were finally able to sit together and start proposing collective solutions to the different threats and obstacles they were facing, as well as to openly dialogue on the conditions of their peaceful coexistence.
Ciné-débat pour la paix: pour le dialogue interculturel et la cohésion sociale au Cameroun
“Young Ugandans and Kenyans demonstrate the value of social cohesion” involved more than 120 peace and community local institutions and formations from Uganda and Kenya – 100 peace clubs in Kenya, and 21 cultural heritage clubs and community museums from Uganda – as they reimagined the concept of competition and created a cultural and creative contest based on positive values such as the intercultural dialogue, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. The competition aimed at welcoming a diverse range of creations, such as drawings, paintings or 3-minute videos demonstrating a particular cultural practice. Participants discussed mistaken perceptions, misunderstanding and tensions leading to systemic conflicts, towards a new basis for a future dialogue and peace.
Young Ugandans and Kenyans demonstrate the value of social cohesion
“Stimulating Intercultural Dialogue in East Africa using Technology” produced the Kikatuni series (16 episodes, a teaser and a promotion video) with the aim of offering a creative safe space for critical thinking, social dialogue and free expression around topics such as social justice, climate change, the future of work, technology, social, community and cultural development through an innovative audio-visual incubator process involving cartoonists, film-makers and musicians in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
“Action jeunesse pour le dialogue interculturel et la dignité pour tous en Afrique” built on the potential of virtual communication as a lever for intercultural dialogue and peace among young people in Senegal, Benin and Cameroun, taking advantage on the reaching capacity of slam and poetry as storytelling techniques that can help reduce violence, intolerance and socio-economic exclusion linked to ethnicity or religion. The project was targeted to young people aged 18 to 35, school and university students from underprivileged backgrounds in the cities of Guédiawaye-Dakar and Saint Louis (Senegal), Cotonou and Parakou (Benin), Yaoundé and Douala (Cameroon). Other beneficiaries included schools and universities, youth centres and associations in the project sites.
Action jeunesse pour le dialogue interculturel et la dignité pour tous en Afrique
“Relinking Communities Through Culture”, enhanced empathy and social cohesion between the Shona and Ndebele ethnic groups of Zimbabwe. The difficulties inherent to this conflict were courageously and explicitly addressed using creative methodologies which brought together cultural practitioners, columnists, social media commentators, and journalists. Several intercultural consultative fora and cultural and creative projects provided opportunities for bridging dialogue on ethnic identity, polarisation and divergence, within and across cultural divides, thus contributing to peace-building and to slow and progressive reconciliation of local populations.