Empowering Young Artists to Inspire Others

Through participatory theater and PDev II we understood and helped others to understand that we can solve our problems with humor and in a peaceful manner, instead of resorting to violence. We understood that we can banish violence in all its forms and that to empower youth is to promote a culture of peace.
— Ali Mahamane, a performer in PDev II supported participatory theater

Ali Mahamane took an early interest in performance arts and began acting at the age of eight. From traditional storytelling and singing, he moved into theater and “parenté à plaisanterie,” a humor-based oral cultural tradition widespread in West Africa and a UNESCO-designated Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Representing his region in several classical theater and sketch competitions, he caught the eye of PDev II. Through this experience, he learned to employ conflict analysis and participatory performance techniques to address sensitive community challenges. He refined his performance skills while training and mentoring his peers in the theater arts.

As a result of his involvement in the PDev II project, he was able to create his own theater troupe, Djairoa. The troupe’s subsequent participation in Diffa’s regional cultural competition was so highly acclaimed that they were invited to represent the region in the national “parenté à plaisanterie” competition. Ali’s troupe emerged as competition laureates, earning them a place on a national theater tour. With the support of the Ministry of Youth, Djairoa traveled across Niger to perform their plays, using participatory theater to encourage dialogue among citizens and the development of peaceful solutions to community conflicts.

Today, Ali acknowledges the positive impact of the PDev II project on his life. He has been able to channel his long-time passion for theater into mobilizing fellow youth to find peaceful, artistic outlets for expression. As a result, Ali is a respected and positive role model for young artists in his community and across Niger. 

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