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Offer: Performance for Inspiring Communities and Workshop for Vocal Empowerment-the MOTHER tour

The MOTHER tour is made up of a one-woman performance (54 minutes) for inspiring mothers on social issues and a workshop, Empowering Mother Voices, to invigorate mothers with the tools and confidence to speak out and act up. It was created by Beth Osnes with Mothers Acting Up and the Philanthropiece Foundation to provide mothers and others with the inspiration and tools to use their voice voices to act on behalf of their most passionate concerns. Please feel free to use these tools we created in whatever way serves your communities. I would love to communicate with anyone who has questions about the tools or has requests for help in using or adjusting them for your community to empower their own voices. It is my greatest hope that when women gain the confidence in their voices that they will be able to finally communicate to a world out of balance all that they know and feel and care about. We women have much to share. Let's bring our confident voices out into the world to share this with a ready world.
With great love and audacious hope, Beth Osnes
*If you cannot get the performance and workshop online, please feel free to contact me if you need a DVD sent to you--I can send some for free to women who have limited economic resources. If you want this, I want you to have it!

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Beth Osnes's picture

Please feel free to contact

Please feel free to contact me with questions and requests! Love, Beth

ntoweett's picture

MOTHER DVD

Dear Beth,
I came across this page and I am very excited. I am a founding member of an all women theater company , Kenya's first and only all women theater company WOMEN IN PARTICIPATORY THEATRE - WEPET

Below is a brief on our organization.

Our Mission
To use theatre as a medium of communication and women’s rights advocacy.
To create a forum for women artists to articulate women’s issues through the use of participatory theatre .
To produce works by women playwrights and perform them for edutainment.
To encourage young women to join the arts and use it to express themselves and enhance their capacity to participate in development processes

Our successes.
• 2nd African Development Forum: 3rd – 7th December 2000 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Supported by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), this forum brought leaders from all levels and sectors of society, to establish an African led agenda on the theme: ‘AIDS: The Greatest Leadership Challenge’. WE-PET performed a play incorporating music and dance on the plight of the young women in the HIV pandemic as the infected and the caregiver – the challenges they face socially, economically and also psychologically. The play was performed during plenary in the 3 successive days considering the mini themes of the day. The play dubbed: ‘the train – mkiki mkuku’ served both as an educational piece and an icebreaker since the participants were engaged in the train’s movement and the stops it made along the way to its final destination.

• 1st Agender Festival: 7th – 9th March 2003 Nairobi, Kenya
‘Agender’ Festival aimed at bringing together artistes from various fields to celebrate their achievements, share ideas and experiences, identify hurdles and find a collective way of dealing with them. The three day event which also coincided with the World Women’s Day was supported by the French Cultural and Corporation Center (FCCC) in Nairobi and Ms Joy Mboya, the Director of the GODOWN Arts Center. The event was a host to visual artists, actors, actresses, musicians, puppeteers, media personalities, writers, business people, lawyers, human rights activists and various representatives from women organizations among others. A total of 13 individuals and 7 groups staged artistic performances, presented talks and organized presentations. The highlight of the festival was a performance by WE-PET of Italian poet Darcia Mariani that was a fusion of poetry and contemporary dance, that highlighted issues of a woman’s freedom to express herself in whatever circumstance she may find herself. He right to laugh, cry in essence her right to be human.

• HIV/AIDS in schools: May – October 2003
With support from Institute of Performing Artists Limited (IPAL) WE-PET undertook a HIV/AIDS Participatory Theatre pilot project in secondary schools in Nairobi targeting girls in Forms I and 2 between the ages of 14 and 18 years. The projects main objective was to generate debate and discussion among the youth on HIV/AIDS that will influence positive behavior change. We were able to reach 19 out of the 22 pre-selected schools with a population of 2345 girls benefiting directly from the project.

• 16 Days of Activism 2004
WE-PET supported by WOMANKIND Worldwide devised and performed “Beyond the Silence” a participatory theatre piece using storytelling and music focusing on women’s reproductive health and their choice and access to contraception that is woman initiated and controlled. We-pet performed on 10th December 2004, during the International Human Rights Day celebrations at the All Saints Cathedral, Nairobi to an audience of about 500 people.

• 16 Days of Activism 2005
Supported by WOMANKIND Worldwide, We-pet built on the issues raised in 2004; thus dealt with issues of safe sexual choices and practices, and preventing violence against women. The play dubbed, “Four Women Four Stories” was performed in 3 different venues where 16 Days activities organized by various women and human rights organizations were taking place.

The above mentioned collaborative partnerships in WE-PET’s Outreach and Advocacy Program have yielded the following successes:

• Violence Against Women Campaign: May – July 2001
A long term collaboration with Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) which has been focused on devising and performances of participatory plays in five informal urban settlements namely: Kangemi, Kibera, Mukuru, Kawangware and Ngara, highlighting the different forms of violence against women and their impact on socio political and economic development in Kenya.

• World Refugee Day 2002
WE-PET collaborated with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in creating and performing a participatory theatrical piece that incorporated story telling, music and dance in highlighting the plight of the refugee youth and women and the challenges they face living far from home. The performance formed one of the major activities organized to mark the world refugee day in 2002.

• St Kizito Day 2006
This day is commemorated every year on the 13th of July in Kenya by various women organizations. The day dates back to 1991 when 19 Kenyan schoolgirls died and several others got injured as a result of rape by their male counterparts during a strike in the school. WE-PET begun taking an active role in the St.Kizito commemoration in 2006 where it devised and performed skits on sexual violence during the event. The skits generated debate on the role of the youth in preventing and dealing with sexual violence in schools and communities. The event was done in partnership with the Young Women Leadership Institute (YWLI) and other women organizations in Nairobi

• 16 Days of Activism 2006
During the 16-days campaign 2006,WE-PET partnered with the Young Women Leadership Institute (YWLI) on training activities whose theme was: 72 hours of action: stop and think. During the training, We-pet performed a participatory drama that provided the backdrop for the day’s discussions sexual violence and the available services available to the survivors of sexual violence.

• The World Social Forum 20th - 25th of January 2007
Once again WE-PET partnered with the Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI) and Sister’s Beyond Boundaries (SBB) to organize an event dubbed “Young Women’s Village” as part of the bigger world social forum held in Nairobi in January 2007.
The village” which emerged as a powerful mobilization tool for young women to participate in the World social forum used participatory theatre to educate women and explore strategies for future engagement within feminist movements. Women both young and old from different parts of the world interacted and dialogued on different social justice concerns and their role within the broader feminist movement. It with this success in mind that WE-Pet would like to replicate the village to tackle the issue of women’s rights abuses and their vulnerability to multiple discrimination.

We are interested in MOTHER for us as part of our work. We are currently completing the organization restructuring, and will relaunch the new face and name of WEPET - WOMEN EMPOWER.

I hope to hear from you.
Thank You

Naijeria Toweett

Beth Osnes's picture

Wonderful to hear form you!

Greetings Naijeria! I am so sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you! I had trouble figuring out how to respond with my account and my kids are all home now from school so I am so busy. I am so impressed by all that your women's theatre group has done. You are all an inspiration. If any part of the Mother Tour is useful to you, please use it. I would be very interested in helping in whatever way could be useful. I'd be happy to send you a DVD of the Mother Tour that you could play on a computer (I don't think it will work on DVD players in Kenya as we in the USA use a different format). If you send your address, I'll be glad to send it out right away. Please feel free to contact me via my email address, beth.osnes@colorado.edu We could also Skype if that would ever be helpful. I'm hoping to travel to Namibia in a year or two so we could discuss the possibility of a visit too.
I recently returns from India where I was doing the Vocal Empowerment Workshop and I conducted a "training the trainers" workshop there. That could be something we could consider too--either in person or via Skype! I would love to visit and experience first hand what all of you are doing as well to help women empower themselves for social change. The primary benefit of the Vocal Empowerment Workshop is that it gives women a physical experience of their voices as strong and powerful, it invites women to use these strong voices to declare in the workshop setting their most passionate concern facing their lives or the world, and it provides an opportunity for women to rehearse using their voice to act on this concern, thereby encountering likely obstacles, and, together devising solutions around these obstacles to action. I look forward to hearing from you again, In sisterhood, Beth Osnes

Beth Osnes's picture

Theatre for gender equity

Greetings! It has been a while since I have written and I hope you are so well. I am writing a book on Theatre for Gender Equity in Sustainable Development and would love to be able to ask about your company to include your work in my book. Can you give me an update on what you are all doing now? I am particularly interested in using theatre as a tool for women who are living in poverty to be able to participate in their own sustainable development. Here's a short description of the book:

Theatre for Gender Equity in Sustainable Development
Book Proposal by Beth Osnes, Ph.D.
University of Colorado

1. Blurb
Though development researchers have proven that the participation of women is required for effective sustainable development, development practitioners lack culturally appropriate, gender-sensitive tools for including women, especially women living in poverty. Current tools often consist of surveys written in the dominant, colonial language with which an indigenous woman who only speaks her language cannot participate. Furthermore, due to the fact that she is likely only semi-literate and not cultured in abstract thought, the entire approach favors the skill set of the development practitioner and is a mismatch with the skills she does have.
Theatre, on the other hand, can serve as a dynamic tool for allowing women to participate in sustainable development projects happening within their own communities. This study analyzes case studies from India, Ethiopia, and Guatemala that have successfully used theatre-based methods for gender equity in sustainable development. The Forum Theatre techniques established by Augusto Boal have been adopted and used by theatre practitioners in various forms. From radio dramas to street theatre, these have proven effective in actively involving women.
Because interactive theatre necessitates that these women take an active rather than a passive role, it promotes critical engagement and growth of consciousness of one’s oppression. As supported by the theoretical foundation for this study, this book establishes that this active engagement is necessary for any kind of sustained social change.

I look forward to hearing from you, With warmth and blessings- Beth Osnes

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