February 1, 2012

Over the past two years, IREX has witnessed transformation in youth and educators firsthand: Robiya, who convinced her parents to let her continue school; Gulnara, who bravely addressed discrimination-based bullying; and Suhrob, who brings divided border communities together.

Now, with the support of USAID, IREX is pleased to release the full results of the final evaluation of the Youth Theater for Peace Program in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The quantitative and qualitative results from the final evaluation support these and other inspiring stories, providing evidence that the program helps youth increase their capacity to mitigate conflict. An external consultant led the evaluation, using a mixed quantitative and qualitative methodology to collect data from participants, a comparison group, and community members over a period of one month.

The YTP program sought to promote sustainable conflict prevention at the local level, enabling young people to engage their communities in resolving conflicts and addressing other local issues. Key findings indicate that youth participants developed confidence in their ability to help resolve conflict in their communities and lead adults and other youth in constructive dialogue around local issues. About 99% of participant respondents reported feeling more empathetic to their peers of other ethnicities, religions, and nationalities after participating in YTP. Participants also reported increases in positive interactions with members of conflicting groups—all through a participatory theater technique called Drama for Conflict Transformation (DCT).

“Seeing these results from the external evaluation confirmed for us that the youth theater model works in helping youth engage their communities in peace. YTP gives young people the tools to resolve conflict peacefully and foster dialogue that can lead to sustainable, locally-driven solutions. The benefits of the DCT methodology are two-fold: participants experience a powerful individual transformation, and then they engage thousands of other community members in dialogue,” said Ambassador W. Robert Pearson, President of IREX. “We are committed to quality monitoring and evaluation and eager to improve the program even further based on the report’s recommendations.”

The evaluation was conducted using comparison groups of demographically similar non-participants. Evaluation tools included surveys with participant groups—both youth participants and trained adults who facilitated theater activities— and comparison groups, focus group discussions with participant groups and audience of the plays, and structured observations. In addition, the facilitators used a rubric to assess the degree to which groups were able to speak about conflict in an open, unbiased manner.

See sample key findings above, and find more in the executive summary below. Click here for the full report.

*All results are based on self-reported data. Respondents must strongly agree or agree with the statements relating to their confidence or abilities in a given area.

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Conflict Resolution, Education, International Education, Youth, Eurasia, Youth Theater for Peace