The motor-bike cinema could be used for all types of social change communications in health, education and entertainment sectors.
The idea behind Cine-boda in Northern Bahr al Ghazal is that it could contribute to bridging gaps between local political processes and wider populations, specifically to support inter-community relations between migrating Arab pastoralists from Sudan and host populations.
In Northern Bahr al Ghazal, VISTAS has been supporting a remarkable process of government led peaceful coexistence between Sudanese nomadic pastoralists and Dinka host communities for years. Read more about this amazing work here.
As in most places, the peace processes in Northern Bahr al Ghazal generally involve elites (albeit an inclusive group of local ones) in the form of local officials, chiefs, civil society leaders and members of peace committees.
Dialogue among these ‘key-people’ (to borrow a term generated from decades of practical peace building research) is absolutely necessary to develop and enforce peaceful rules that can govern relations between communities in, or at risk of, ongoing conflict.
However, as anyone who has been involved in any public policy process knows, a major challenge is to ensure that outcomes of higher-level dialogue, confidence building and rule-making actually leads to wider social and behavioral change within and between communities, the “more people”.
Part of the solution is the strict and impartial enforcement of rules by state actors (in Northern Bahr al Ghazal this has included for better or worse the threat of “firing squad” for even minor deviation).
But an important part of the solution lies in disseminating the contents of agreements (the “rules”), demonstrating mutual benefits (such as reduced market prices), communicating successes (such as the payment of diya), addressing rumor and communicating authority. To meet these needs and prevent spoilers undermining the buy-in that exists, VISTAS has supported dissemination tours by joint-peace committee members.
This is where film can also play a role (with sufficient reach). Indeed, we believe it can complement these efforts in a unique and important way.
Film allows communities to experience the development of the rules they are expected to follow; to hear directly and incontrovertibly the commitments of leaders from both communities; and to see in Technicolor justice done, security guarantees enforced and economic benefits accrued.
Read part III of this post for more detailed results of the pilot tests.