Kinshasa, 9 May 2011 – The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) sponsored a theater festival involving school children at both primary and secondary levels in Kinshasa. The theater competition ended with the Vocational School of Barumbu district as the clear winner among four finalists competing after a pre-selection process from the capital’s 24 districts, which kicked off in March.
The event, which was named Peace Easter Festival, and was organized this year under the theme “United Nations, Peace, and Development in the DRC,” took place in the multi-functional hall of Boboto high school in Goma district.
The festival gave the school children a chance to demonstrate their knowledge about the theme as well as their talents through theatrical expression.
The play that won the competition portrayed violence against women in armed conflicts, and highlighted the central role played by women in conflict resolution.
Speaking on behalf of the United Nations during the closing ceremony, Ms. Raphaëlle Martinez, a Planning Officer at UNESCO in Kinshasa, noted that « the aim of such competitions is not just about theater as a form of expression and entertainment but, more importantly, it is an education and a communication tool.” “Some of the plays that we have seen during the festival,” she added, “remind us that peace requires, among other things, behaviors that are respectful of human rights, State institutions, and State rules.”
The representative of the Congolese Ministry of Culture and Arts lauded MONUSCO’s efforts “to promote the welfare of the youth in light of the UN Charter, and to preserve future generations from the scourge of war.” He also expressed hope that the festival would be sustainable over time, as it would help cultivate the culture of peace, and also reveal young talents to perpetuate the performing arts in the country.
The Peace Easter festival is an initiative of a local theater company known as Tuma-Haut.
Laurent Sam Oussou/ MONUSCO