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The Macedonian UXO/Mine Awareness Programme: Theatre performance for children - July 2002


The fourth phase of the Macedonian UXO/Mine Awareness Programme has successfully started and the first part has been recently completed.

Very good results were gathered during these past few weeks. Actors performed 34 theatre plays with an audience of over 1,600 beneficiaries in collective centres and villages most affected by the conflict. Children obviously enjoyed the performance, responded to the actors and repeated the message correctly. The main audience consisted of school children accompanied sometimes by their parents and younger brothers and sisters. The performances started on 10 June and run until the 26 June 2002 covering villages in Tetovo and Kumanovo regions and collective centres of the cities of Skopje and Kumanovo. Some figures:

 Tetovo region: 19 performances in 11 villages

 Skopje: 4 performances in 3 collective centres

 Kumanovo region: 9 performances in 3 villages and 2 performances in 2 collective centres

 Plays performed in Macedonian: 17

 Plays performed in Albanian: 17

Two teams of three professional actors, one team performing in Macedonian and the other in Albanian languages, were trained on a three-day workshop on 7, 8 and 9 June. The play was based on a scenario written by mine/UXO awareness officers and was adapted to the creativity and understanding of each group during the workshop. Slight differences are to be noted due to the fact that each team of actors participated in sharing per sonal experience with children audience. However the basic story remains the same.


 Mine awarness using theater.  

The purpose of the theatre performance entitled "What it means to be brave" is to change the behaviour of children up to the age of 14, showing them in part icular how to react in a group of friends seeking adventure, when encountering a mortar. Therefore, a specially persuasive and comprehensive message had to be conveyed to the children. The scenario underlines the importance not to touch UXO and how children/teenagers should react to this problem in society.

The first part of the fourth phase of the programme lasted three weeks and is now suspended until September when school classes will resume. The second part of the phase will then continue until all/most affected villages are covered over a period of 4-6 weeks.

During the Summer the UXO/Mine Awareness team will analyse results of the survey carried out at each performance. The purpose of this evaluation is mainly to monitor how much the children knew about behaving in the presence of UXO before and after the performance. This survey is also a pedagogical tool which will help engrave the message on the children's memory. The programme will be adapted according to the results of the evaluation.

MAIs from local communities and MRC helped the MA team in organising performances and carrying out the evaluations. They repeated the message with the children and explained the danger to them, emphasising adequate behaviour. When needed, they also helped the younger children fill out evaluation forms and made sure they understood the message.