COMAGEND recently held a drama therapy session and advocacy at the Bamenda II council under the “ADJUST FOR ME: Transforming Institutions and Communities for Better Access to SRHR Services” project Funded by AmplifyChange. This activity brought together community members, youth leaders, religious leaders and traditional leaders from four vibrant communities: Mulang I, Nitop II, Ntambang, and Ntarinkon. This session actively engaged participants through Art Performance to challenge societal norms and promote rights-based access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). This served as a platform to raise awareness, challenge, and advocate for the change of societal norms that pose a threat to accessing SRHR and fuels GBV.

Mr Akumbu Louis, a trained drama therapy Expert and Founder of La Liberte Arts Group, led the participants through a series of drama exercises designed to explore the influence of power dynamics and ways to prevent toxic masculinity and other harmful social norms within our communities and improve access to SRHR services. Through these exercises, participants were able to Identify the toxic masculinity traits manifested in their communities, brainstorm on the negative impacts of toxic masculinity on SRHR and develop strategies for challenging social norms while promoting inclusive access to SRHR services.

The drama therapy session for advocacy was a powerful example of how arts can be used as an advocacy tool to promote social change and challenge harmful social norms that fuels GBV and hinders access to inclusive SRHR services. The beauty of this activity was the ability of the audience (spec-actors) to freeze the actors on stage and enact scene which did not cleaning align with the goal to challenge harmful social norms and contribute to the advocacy by taking up roles and demonstrating what communities should advocate for. 

According to the participants, “the intersectionality between tradition, science, religion and laws in addressing issues of SRHR is most relevant”, “It is necessary to draw the line between spirituality and health, as our traditions play a great role in influencing access to SRHR services”, “the session is an eye opener to the ways in which toxic masculinity can harm communities and I am committed to using my voice to speak out against toxic masculinity and to promote inclusive SRHR”. 

This activity saw the presence of the Mayor of Bamenda II council, who at the end of the activity pledged his support in contributing to the realization of the project and urged all present to collaborate in fighting against these harmful traditional and social norms that exits within our communities. COMAGEND is committed to Transforming Institutions and communities for better access to SRHR services. 

Deputy Mayor Dr. Louis Tse Angwafo addressing the spec actors

By Marie Clare Ijunghi

Fostering Gender Equality and Equal Access to Decision Making.