Update from the Field:  April 5, 2019: Posters Finalized!

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Just one more week of painting and postering to go!

The posters are in their final form so we have printed multiples of them and started pasting them in the four neighborhoods where we are working:  Mapendo, Murara, Kyeshero and Mugunga.  There will be 7 posters in each neighborhood totaling 28.  

The posters are based on the four themes of: A female judge, a female artist, a female construction worker, and a woman who creates, nurtures and educates society. These were decided by the community arts council of local leaders working with our group of adolescent girls.  

For more information on why these themes were selected to represent women and girls and how it forwards our agenda to achieve gender equality and prevent sexual violence in the region please visit our two blog posts: http://blog.colorsofconnection.org/post/183141545414/what-community-leaders-think-their-input-on-the and http://blog.colorsofconnection.org/post/183314065399/field-update-happy-iwd2019.  

How were the posters created?

Poster style: With the themes selected, the participants reviewed different poster styles and techniques, ranging from abstracted imagery to cartoon styled drawings to realistic photos and were invited to select their preferred style.  For all four themes the participants opted for the technique of using actual photos.  

Photo portraits:  We worked with our photographer and videographer Bernadette Vivuya.  She brought her creative vision to the portraits, and photographed people here in Goma for the different themes. Two of the images, the female construction worker and female artist are portraits of participants in our project. The female judge is in fact a current sitting judge in Goma.  The woman who creates, nurtures, and educates society is a professor at the University of Goma and also an aspiring politician. She was a candidate in the last election for the position of provincial deputy, and has inspired other women as a role model in politics.  As a teacher and a role model she was well placed to represent the theme of the women who creates, nurtures, and educates society.    

Block Printing:  Then the practice of craving potatoes and making stamps finally paid off!  The girls identified different objects and symbols associated with the themes, for example a judge: sources her knowledge from books, scales symbolize the fairness of the judicial process in which each side is given equal consideration, and of course the famous gavel is a symbol of her authority.

We used linoleum blocks and created block prints of the different symbols and objects for the four themes.  This was the first time our artist assistants Wisline and Salima ever worked with this art medium, and a first for the girls as well. It was so exciting to see them discovering how it worked for the first time.  

Written Message: Making letters the old-school way, we cut out paper letters to create the phrases for each theme given to us by the community arts council. They are written in Swahili, the predominant language spoken in the region.  

Here are the translations:

Woman who creates, nurtures and educates society: Mwanamke msingi wa maadisho =  Women are the pillars of education in society.

Female construction worker: Ndio naweza jenga = Yes, I can build.

Female judge: Mwanamke katika ngazi zote za sharia = Women, in all domains of the justice system.

Female artist:  Kubali ujuzi wangu  =  Consider my talents.  

In our first community engagement forum we already received requests from a pastor of a church and a woman who runs a pharmacy for copies of the posters to share with their communities.  Beyond the 7 in each neighborhood we will be printing smaller ones for community members to take with them. It’s exciting to have more avenues of communication and dissemination.  

-Christina

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