CLEAN ACTS: Theatre for Hygiene and Health

Theatre for hygiene and sanitation 

There are currently over 1 million Rohingya refugees living in the camps near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, making it the largest refugee camp in the world. Living in cramped, over-crowded conditions, hygiene and sanitation are some of the many challenges faced on a daily basis by people living in the camps.

With the support of Oxfam, Arts for Action has been working with Bangladeshi NGO Unite Theatre for Social Action (UTSA) to creatively engage children living in the camps on hygiene issues. Through play, clowning, forum theatre and visual spectacle, this has involved:

  • Running interactive research workshops with children in the camp to gauge existing understanding around hygiene and what the children identify as the barriers to keeping clean and using latrines
  • Facilitating an intensive training programme in theatre facilitation for Oxfam field staff and UTSA actors to help build capacity in the use of theatre to deliver WASH education
  • Devising lively and interactive performances on hygiene for children in the camps, co-created with actors from UTSA, young performers from the local community, and Oxfam field staff.

In July and August 2018, 90 children participated in interactive research workshops, over 800 attended performances, and 80 took part in post-show reflections. Feedback from these sessions revealed that most children learnt something that they hadn’t known before about hygiene, including what germs were, the role of flies in spreading disease, and the importance of hand washing. Over 95% of audience members who were interviewed also said they enjoyed the show and gave it a rating of 10/10!

Read our project report