Kigali: Refugee children use brushes and colours to express their lives and difficulties during the Participatory Assessment

This year (2018), UNHCR and partners introduced creative methodologies to capture the views and opinions of the refugees during the participatory assessment.

Kigali: UNHCR protection staff teaches a refugee child how to take pictures. Photo: Courtesy

The Participatory Assessment is a consultative process carried out on an annual basis for evaluation purposes, where the views and expectations of the refugee community are gathered and analysed for a better understanding, planning and implementation of activities to address their needs.

For the Participatory Assessment of 2018, UNHCR Rwanda, together with the Minister in charge of Emergency Management, (formerly known as MIDIMAR) and the other partner organizations, has opted for introducing creative methodologies to capture the views and opinions of the refugees. Guided tours by the refugees in their day-to-day life, theatre and arts are the methodologies selected for the exercise, which allowed the increase of the level of engagement of the community, by giving refugees a sense of greater ownership over the exercise, while significantly reducing the risk of assessment exhaustion.

In particular, building from the experience of the Participatory Assessment of 2017 where photography was used as a means to capture the views and expectations of teenagers in the refugee camps in Rwanda (add link: https://www.unhcr.org/rw/12977-refugee-children-speak-lives-photos.html), the urban refugee children in Kigali were invited to participate in an arts workshop for one day, organized with the assistance of the elected leaders of the urban refugee committee.

The activity with the children, aged 10 to 17, benefited from the precious support of Mike Katihabwa, a Burundian painter who currently lives in Rwanda. He taught the boys and girls how to use brushes and colours to express their emotions and opinions about their lives in Kigali, what they like and what difficulties they experience in the city.

The feedback of the participants was enthusiastic and they asked that such activities be carried out more often to allowing the children of the urban refugee community to develop their artistic talents, while being able to share their experiences and voice their concerns.

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Kigali: UNHCR protection staff teaches a refugee child how to take pictures. Photo: Courtesy

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Kigali: Refugee children speak out through drawings about their daily life in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy

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Kigali: Refugee children speak out through drawings about their daily life in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy

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Mike Katihabwa, a Burundian refugee painter talking to one of the refugee children during the Participatory Assessment. Photo: Courtesy

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Kigali: Refugee children speak out through drawings about their daily life in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy

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Kigali: Refugee children speak out through drawings about their daily life in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy

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Kigali: Refugee children speak out through drawings about their daily life in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy

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Kigali: Refugee children speak out through drawings about their daily life in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy

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Kigali: Refugee children speak out through drawings about their daily life in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy