Trialing different technologies to assess their value for peace building and peace education in Rwanda is one of the aims of the Isooko project. We are interested to find out how we can help develop people’s active listening and critical thinking skills through the use of digital technologies. To that end we tested a tool called ‘Democratic Reflections’ with people in Rwanda.

Why Democratic Reflections?

Active listening and critical thinking are peace building capacities. It is assumed that people with these skills highly developed make better peace builders than those whose skills are less developed. Peace and values education, in the way it is implemented in Rwanda by Aegis Trust, is meant to enhance those skills in individuals and society as a whole.
From trials elsewhere we knew that the use of Democratic Reflections can help develop those skills. However, the tool had never been trialled in Rwanda to see if it makes a difference in this cultural context. We decided to find out.

How does it work?

Democratic Reflections works in combination with online videos. A person uses the Democratic Reflections tool to watch a video as they would, for example, on youtube. However, the tool asks people to express what they think and feel while watching the video. People can click on statements, that have been decided upon by whoever set the tool up, to express this. As they watch the video they can keep clicking on those statements.

At the end people can see how they have reacted to the video and whoever set up democratic reflections (e.g. the people distributing the video) can see how audiences react to the content they are making available. Since people do not just passively watch the video but actively engage (via clicking the statements) they are practicing their active listening skills. Through thinking about how the statements relate to the video they are practicing their critical thinking skills.

Where we are at.

We have conducted the trial and are currently analysing the data. We will then make the findings available on our website (the ISOOKO repository).

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