Storytelling Can Make a Difference in Conflict

The Times of India (New Delhi, India) , October 1, 2007


Sarah Kyankya is a writer- publisher at Fountain Publications, Kampala, Uganda’s largest publishing house. She was asked, “There is an ongoing conflict situation in Uganda. Can storytelling make a difference?”

Kyankya replied, “The war has meant that the north of the country is cut off from the south. People in the south don’t know what is happening in the north. Uganda is almost like two different countries, the system in the north is dead and the people there have no amenities.”

“Storytelling can make a particular difference when children are involved. There are many child soldiers in Uganda. When children from the north come to the south and have a chance to tell their stories, and to witness another way of life, they realise that their existence is not normal. The exchange of stories, of experiences can help children from both parts understand each other better.”

storytelling is also used as a tool for education.

Kyankya said, “In classes, children are allotted time to tell their stories in their own way, whether they want to draw, use pottery or act. In the community we normally have drama boards where different associations come together and talk and sing about the major topics affecting people. At the moment in Uganda the most important issue is HIV. During festivals people stage plays, sing songs and recite poems about HIV in the form of stories. This is considered to be a very effective means of educating people about AIDS.”

Subjects Covered: diversity training, education, healing, medicine, personal storytelling

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