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INNOVATING CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

October 12, 2010

INNOVATING CONFLICT MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

Drum Café 2010 Peace Festival 20 -21
Kenya Institute of Education, Nairobi

Boaz Adhengo

Research Consultant, Creative Economy Studies

Fellow: American Biographical Institute

Senior Fellow: Eco Ethics International Union

Tel: 0733 867644

Email : boaz.adhengo@aku.edu

What is Conflict Management

n    Conflict management refers to the long term management of intractable conflicts. It is the label for the variety of ways by which people handle grievances – standing up for what they consider to be right and against what they consider to be wrong

Common Conflict Management Strategies

     Conflict is not just about simple inaptness but is often connected to a previous issue. However, there is a menu of strategies we can chose from when in conflict situations

  •       Forcing – using formal authority or other power that you posses to satisfy your concerns without regard to the concerns of the party that you are in conflict with.

  •       Accommodating – allowing the other party to satisfy their concerns while neglecting your own.

  •       Avoiding – not paying attention to the conflict and not taking any action to resolve it.

  •       Compromising – attempting to resolve a conflict by identifying a solution that is partially satisfactory to both parties, but completely satisfactory to neither.

  •       Collaborating – cooperating with the other party to understand their concerns and expressing your own concerns in an effort to find mutually and completely satisfactory solution (win – win).

Origins

     History and current experience shows that so deep are pains of most of the conflicts experienced in Africa that the popular individualized and rationalistic approaches to healing and transformation simply lack the language and resources to solidly address the challenge of holistic peaceful transformation. Arts approaches provide an accessible language, compelling processes that affirm everyone’s creativity and above all, an inclusive space that enables healing, genuine dialogue and transformation to happen particularly where the violent conflicts and pains are experienced by masses of people.

  •      The carnage that followed Kenya’s disputed election in late 2007 shocked the world.  An exceptional country once considered an oasis of peace and stability in a troubled region had degenerated into disorder, chaos and ferocious violence. Its exceptionalism was in many ways a myth.

  •     The failure of the election was merely a trigger for events that would have taken place at some point in the future. There had been an overwhelming sense of exclusion and alienation among large sections of the populace, thus, the youth saw the violence as moment of unity and empowerment, making them unregrettable for their violent actions.

The road to success

  •     Fixing Kenya is not about building more roads, hospitals and schools. It is about returning some semblance of confidence in the Kenyan state and imbuing the population with a sense of nationhood.

  •     The 2007 post election conflict management innovation was motivated by pro –social team atmosphere as manifested in team identity, the team’s capacity to maximize the potential gains of task conflict.

Strategy

  •      Conflict processes are determined both by the larger geopolitical context and the domestic political structure. Because parties have to appeal to both their domestic and international constituencies, cross cutting alliances between the two levels become crucial to the settlement of a civil insurgency. Yet current studies tend to examine either international or domestic factors; each level of analysis is studied in isolation.

  •      Such an approach neglects the fact that conflict actors often engage in ‘double – edged diplomacy’

 

Specifically it was hypothesized:

  •         Integrating would predict innovation

  •         Team identity would be positively related to integrating, and that integrating would mediate the positive relationship between team identity and team innovation.

  •        Task conflict would be positively related to integrating whereas relationship conflict would negatively relate to integrating.

African Dilemma

  •     In African countries where insurgencies co-exist with stable, democratic institutions, external intervention is more beneficial if it works with existing institutions in building trust and affecting change.

  •     Because it does not challenge the reputation concerns of the government, non-coercive intervention, such as mediation, can play a more constructive role than military or other forms of high impact action.

Focus ?

  •     The arguments of this paper are a significant shift from existing literature that tends to focus on conflicts in failed, anarchic states where coercive international intervention becomes necessary (e.g. Somalia).

  •     It argues that conflict management can be homegrown, nurtured and people oriented, given the construction and cooperative management accorded by the public preference at any one time.

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KENYAN FILM EDUTAINMENT

October 12, 2010

KENYAN FILM EDUTAINMENT :

Depiction of Conflict Resolution 

in Wale Watu and Pieces for Peace

Prepared for The Drum Café 2010 Conference, Nairobi

 By Rosemary N. Kowuor

Daystar University, Kenya

 

Introduction

•      This paper draws attention to conflict resolution interventions embedded in two Kenyan films:

 

Ø Mary Migui/Cajetan Boy’s

   Wale Watu

Ø Robby Bresson/Mburu Kimani’s Peaces for Piece

Introduction Cont…

•      One big influence in the lives of youth is media and entertainment

•      Low budget filmmaking has resulted in sweeping changes in the Kenyan media scene

•      Young people are typically up-to-the-minute on these developments

 

Youth & Media

•      The impact of media content on African culture poses major threat to Kenyan youth.

•      Young people face severe threats to negative influence and general well-being.

•      What has the local film industry done to enable Kenyan youth make responsible life choices?

Youth & Media Cont…

•      Young people have the tendency to emulate drama cast members they consider as role models.

•      A methodology that informs and motivates mainly by stimulating interpersonal communication among peers is needed for any massive behaviour change to be achieved (Poindexter, 2004).

 

Study Goal

•      Explore edutainment strategy with the aim of ascertaining the Dynamics that have influenced the development of the edutainment elements in Kenyan film.

•      It has established that Kenyan Film can be a viable advocacy tool for sustainable peaceful coexistence.

Study Objectives

•      To identify dominant social issues addressed by Kenyan filmmakers through film.

•      To establish different ways film characters are shown to cope with social challenges and ascertain the most preferred by viewers in terms of role modeling.

What is Edutainment?

•      The art of integrating social messages into popular and high-quality communication formats, based on a thorough research process (Japheth, 1999) .

•      Commanding the attention of the audience while encouraging their growth and development (de Fossard, 2005)

Edutainment Defined

•      A type of communication which delivers prosocial messages in a pleasurable manner (Njogu 2005).

•      Edutainment is thus any communication initiative that sets out to educate and entertain at the same time.

•      Edutainment film can be an innovative intervention for conflict resolution and sustainability peace

Edutainment’s Definitive Goal

Key Findings

•      Edutainment strategy contributes to social change by influencing an individual’s awareness, attitudes, and behaviour toward a socially desirable end.

•      It can serve as a social mobilizer, an advocate, or an agenda setter, influencing public and policy initiatives in a socially desirable direction.

 

Film Peace Initiatives…

Ø Wale Watu and Pieces for Peace were a response to the 2007 Kenya’s post election violence.

Ø Titles:

Ø Why do neighbours become ‘those people’ just because a politician has said so?

Ø Do we have to tear one another to pieces to attain peace?

 

Wale Watu

•      Long shot at the beginning of the film portrays an aura of happy two families celebrating the joy of their children’s wedding plans.

•      A local politician incites the village youth that Daktari has taken their lands, jobs, and women and deserve to be driven out of their village.

Wale Watu  Cont…

Ø Each side of the drive refers to the other as ‘those people’ simply because a politician tells them so.

Ø Why have, all of a sudden,   neighbours they had coexisted with peacefully turned out to be mere ‘those people?’

 


Pieces for Peace

Ø The plot revolves around two brothers, James and Stanley.

Ø Their father, Mr. Makwere, had bought land among a tribe different from their own.

Ø They have all along lived peacefully.

Ø In a subplot, Wairimu and Rono, are engaged and want to get married.

Ø Irate youth insist that Rono cannot marry Wairimu since she comes from the ‘wrong’ tribe.

Ø Wairimu’s home is burnt down and members of her family seek refuge in an IDP camp.

•      The film ends with the birth of Wairimu and Rono’s child, which symbolizes a new beginning for Kenya.

•      Thematic background music speaks of Kenya as a nation of one people reinforces edutainment message:

–    A call for all Kenyans to bury their tribal differences and uphold peace.

Values Depicted in the Films

Participant Viewers Opinions

•      Looking up to, political leaders to make decisions for us can at times be misguiding.

•      More often than not, it is the same politicians who have an upper hand in the riots that happen in our country due to their selfish political ambitions.

 

Participant Viewers Opinions…

•      After watching this film, the title (Pieces for Peace) has become a melodious song in my mind to date. I keep wondering:

–   Must we tear one another to pieces before we can forge any lasting peace?

–   Never again!

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films

•      In both films, tribal inclinations spark off clashes that result in massive loss of lives and properties.

•      In Wale Watu, rowdy village youth burn down Daktari’s hospital resulting in his brother’s (Mark) death.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      In Pieces for Peace, Stanley’s business is reduced to ashes by unruly youth incited by local politicians.

•      This serves as a lesson to people who put their hope in politicians to the extent that they turn against their own neighbours.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      The screenwriters made use of shots depicting different camera angles to tell their story in a captivating but educative manner.

•      A scene, in Wale Watu, involving a politician scheming with village youth to attack non-members of the community is presented in low angle shots.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      This provides a distorted perspective, showing a world out of balance.

•      A scene in Robby Bresson’s Wale Watu when Robert is accidentally shot:

–    An oblique shot (dutch angle) is employed as the politician steps over Robert and casually walks away.

Ways Edutainment Messages are Embedded in the Films Cont…

•      This Presents an overwhelming sense of betrayal and portrays a world where human values and actions are distorted. 

•      It serves the purpose of stirring viewers’ inner emotions resulting in a strong urge to stand united against political misuse of youth.

 

What Motivates Kenyan Filmmakers?

•      Desire to Instigate Social Transformation

•      Provide Caution

•      Draw Attention to Daily Occurrences

•      Challenging Existing Beliefs/Values

•      Platform for Sharing Ideas

•       Emotional Release/Catharsis

•      Religious Ministry

 

Summary of Discussion

•     Most of the Kenyan filmmakers base their storyline on societal experiences deduced from personal observation and conversations.

•     Kenyan films under study facilitated dialogue among participant viewers.

•    Through the characters, some participants found archetypical essence of themselves that interact with the social messages.

•     This epitomizes Jung’s theory which is a basis for developing characters that embody universal psychological and physiological characteristics to address themes within a drama.

•    Films that sprang forth from societal experiences appealed to viewers more than the ones that relied heavily on formal research for content generation.

•     The films acted as agenda setter for the participants who arrived at this resolve:

–   It is time to put down our tribal differences aside and live together in peace. This way, we make our society a better place.

•      Politicians are portrayed as inciters, fostering tribalism and nepotism.

•      Wale Watu warns viewers of the dangers of mob mentality.

•      In the end it narrows down to individuals:

–    Robert’s was the politician’s front man but ended up being abandoned by the politicians during his hour of need.

•      Instead, it is Daktari (whom he was incited to kill) who saved his life.

 

In a Nutshell

•     This study has established that edutainment messages are embedded in some Kenyan films.

•     There has been both deliberate and unconscious effort to use film as tool for promoting peaceful coexistence.

 

Conclusion

•      In Kenya, an edutainment filmmakers greatest challenge is to understand, appreciate, and respect the knowledge of people’s lived experience not a mere formal research.

•      This mirrors Freirie’s concept of education empowerment, the conceptual framework upon which this study was based.

Conclusion Cont…

•     In Kenyan context this study has coined edutainment definition as:

Ø “The art of integrating popular communication formats based on a thorough understanding of experiences and worldviews of the target audience with the salient aim of initiating change.”

Acknowledgements

•             Daystar University, Research Department

•             Kenyatta University, Theatre Arts & Film Technology Department

•             Kenya Film Commission

•             Population Services International

•             United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

•             Kenyan Filmmakers

•             God, the Almighty

 

Parting Shot: It's Not Easy

•      A Ugandan production released in 1991 is another example of edutainment film project of The Development through Self‑Reliance agency.  The film tackles the AIDS issue in a drama.

•      Let us all join hands and use theatre/media for positive change in Africa

 End!

•      Film edutainment is lifelong process that may take many years before its impact is tangibly felt in the society.

 

•      Thank You!

 

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