Drama to make a Difference: Raising agricultural awareness through theatre in Bangladesh

I like community theatre. Over the past couple of months I’ve seen amateur performances of Amadeus and Lady Windermere’s Fan. The former in particular was great. But what I saw last night was something else!

In the playing field of a rural upper school in the Sirajgunj district of Bangladesh, a troupe put on a drama about good practices in small scale agriculture to a packed out local crowd. By a conservative estimate at least 400 children and adults of all ages, women and men, came from nearby villages to laugh (a lot) and sigh (not cry, although the wedding scene I must admit was quite touching) while learning about how to improve their cattle rearing, vegetable farming, and pond fishing.

It was part of Practical Action Bangladesh’s Making Agriculture and Market Systems Work for Landless, Marginal and Smallholder Farmers project, which is funded by the European Commission. Through the project Practical Action is already helping 15,000 farmers and 300 micro enterprises directly, but in order to reach even greater scale, the team is raising awareness much more widely through the region with activities ranging from agriculture fairs to community-based drama shows like the one I was lucky enough to catch.

It was really something special! My Bangla isn’t up to scratch so I didn’t catch every word (Read: my Bangla doesn’t exist and I didn’t understand a word) but the slapstick comedy, hilarious characters, touching story, and important messages were easy to see. The show had everything: music and dance, advice about cattle vaccinations, stick-on beards, tips on how much and when to fertilise your vegetable crop, a crazy old match-maker, how many fry (baby fish) to put in your pond cage, over-sized sun-glasses…

I was particularly pleased to see lots of women standing together enjoying the show. Often kept away from public gatherings by cultural norms, women make up the majority of livestock carers in Bangladesh. So getting these messages to them is particularly important.

The evening went down a storm. And that’s a great sign that people will talk about it in weeks and months to come, remember and share its lessons with others.

One response to “Drama to make a Difference: Raising agricultural awareness through theatre in Bangladesh”

  1. Raquel Jonson Says:

    You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I find this topic to be really one thing which I believe I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very large for me. I’m looking forward in your next put up, I’ll attempt to get the grasp of it!

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