"Through theater, we hope to achieve a society where women are valued." — Charlotte Nyiraneza

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Achieving a Better Life

Using Theater and Film to Fight Violence Against Women

According to team leader Charlotte Nyiraneza, physical, emotional, economic and sexual violence against women is responsible for the overall oppression of women throughout Rwanda.

Achieving a Better Life is using theater to educate the population about the causes and consequences of violence against women. The guided conversations following each performance are designed to encourage men to make better decisions and educate women about their rights and alternatives to violence. Achieving a Better Life aims to see a 70% reduction in physical violence and fighting within the target population, a 75% decrease in husbands who seek the services of prostitutes, a 95% increase in family planning, a 50% increase in the number of girls sent to school and a 70% improvement in women's psychological wellbeing.

Since beginning operations in 2009, this team has performed roughly every month in five communities within Kigali on the topics of domestic violence, violence against domestic workers, adultery and bearing children out of wedlock. Their performances have been attended by ever growing crowds - over 1,200 at each of the first three performances of 2013. The reaction of the audience during the hosted discussions afterwards is very positive. Many women have reported that following the performance, they have gone to seek help for domestic violence and have talked to their husbands about how to improve their relationships. Many men also attend the performances, and have stated that they have started to think more seriously about how they treat their wives. Since beginning the performances, domestic violence rates in these communities has been reduced by 60%. The team has also produced two full-length films on the topic of domestic violence and marital relations.

The group was awarded a tender by the American NGO, Intrahealth, to perform a theatre on domestic violence for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, an event attended by the director of USAID, the US Ambassador, and the Minister of Gender. In February 2009, they performed the very first V-Day Vagina Monologues in Rwanda, adapted to a Rwandan context with monologues of Rwandan women, tackling tough and taboo topics not often discussed publicly. On International Women's Day in March 2009, the team was invited by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion to perform one of their plays, which was broadcast nationwide three times, reaching at least 25,000 people. Project leader Charlotte Nyiraneza won the World Pulse Second Annual Bold Ideas Contest in January and was even nominated for a CNN Hero Award. Achieving a Better Life continues to perform new plays and hopes to make another film about the oppression of Rwandan women.

Project Details

Achieving a Better Life

Grant Amount: $3100
Team Size: 20 Members
Social Impact: 150 Households and Audiences of 25,000+

Team Work

Achieving a Better Life

View the Achieving a Better Life Project video

Achieving a Better Life
by the Achieving a Better Life team

This film is about stopping domestic violence through theater.

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This film is about stopping domestic violence through theater.

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Project Press

February 3, 2009
> Stopping Domestic Violence Through Theater
World Pulse Magazine

January 19, 2009
> Achieving a Better Life Wins World Pulse Second Annual Bold Ideas Contest
Focus Media Online

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