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Please note: our former name of Thare Machi Education is used in articles written before 2020.

Building Hope with ‘Speaking Plates’ in DR Congo Villages

17th December 2018

By Mugisho N. Theophile, Cofounder/Exec. Director, COFAPRI

The commitment of COFAPRI to empower the people in the villages of DR Congo does not only aim at income generating activities, but also empowerment by changing negative behaviours into positive ones. In this line, COFAPRI is using educative DVDs supplied by Thare Machi Education.

The people from different villages meet at a communal village place where they often screen their DVDs. The screening is something new in the villages of DR Congo. Many people are not aware of what a screen is or looks like, what a generator is or looks like, what a DVD is or looks like. However, this does not hinder them from showing their interest in attending massively the screenings on weekly basis. They have hope and confidence for changing their lives.

“Yes, I think we are underdeveloped, and we have been getting civilisation here with you as you bring us these small and circular plates where speaking images are hidden. This is like magic, you look at it, you see nothing, but it has a lot of stories and people in it. This is giving us more hope and desire. We love what those people say, because it builds our confidence and courage for a better future, and we are learning new and good things here. You can now see that many come because we like this.”
Attendee in Ishamba village.

In order to discuss any misconceptions that might appear during the screening, the coordinators always meet and first watch the educative DVD on the agenda for screening, so that they can share about its contents and go with common understanding. This is helping the coordinators a lot in being ready to answer any questions from the audience.

“We have to make sure we better understand what we are going to screen. It would cause the audience to lose hope and motivation, even shame and mistrust if the audience ask some content based questions and I, as the screening facilitator, fail to answer. I know another answer will come from the audience as they are always encouraged to discuss and come up with a common answer, but I have to be ready as well. Since in some areas they are not familiar with the tools we use, one may ask what this or that is called, and we have to know what to tell them. Other times, when answering questions, they use their own terminology that they have coined due to lack of appropriate vocabulary. In this case, we have to explain them how to say it correctly, and in this way we encourage them to discuss and develop confidence and hope for a better life where hygiene matters.”
COFAPRI Coordinator

It is in this context that the village people become familiarised with basic hygiene and its impact on their lives has been effective. This has become widespread since everyone is changing their negative attitudes and behaviours into positive ones. One of the pupils who participated to a screening in his school said:

“This was an amazing moment of watching this DVD on avoiding alcohol. I am sorry to hear this is the last session we are having this school year, but we have learned a lot of helpful notions via these DVDs. They have taught us a lot we would not know, and you have also given us materials to use at home; we loved that a lot. I never knew that alcohol and tobacco are that bad. I never take them, but these DVDs have informed me of what I can tell my friends who take them. We wish that you continue to help us and other schools in the same way because we have been changing our way of behaving, our hygienic conditions have improved, and we have known you as a good parent who cares about us. God bless you and Thare.”

See the COFAPRI video here.

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