Using an Action Research/Learning approach, research, monitoring and evaluation are embedded in every level of the intervention. arepp:Theatre for Life has researched and developed specific indicators for the applied theatre presentations which capture and record the development of the audience’s perceived self-efficacy regarding the specific issues, and thus the impact of the projects.
Each presentation is evaluated by the teachers and groups of students, who complete assessment questionnaires. Every question asked and the discussions that follow are also recorded, by gender and by grade. These, along with the performance team’s report, assess each presentation and the engagement and interaction of the audience at each show, highlighting concerns, trends and issues, and assessing knowledge, attitudes and the audience’s perceived self-efficacy. These assessments are then tracked and compared with the assessments gathered from other presentations and other schools.
In addition, eleven independent external evaluations of the project have been completed to date. These all demonstrate clear evidence that the approach encourages and promotes openness, plain speaking and debate; shows a positive improvement in such areas as understanding about HIV/AIDS information, gender equality, human rights, views on relationships, choice-making skills, tolerance around making mistakes, and self-esteem; and that there is an increase in a sense of competency, agency and control, and thus self-efficacy, with regard to the issues in the audiences.
The evaluators further consistently found that that the stated aims and goals were being achieved efficiency and cost effectively, and that the arepp:Theatre for Life projects are certainly effective.
Successes are listed as
- Effective operational systems
- high level of cost-effective output
- meticulous reporting - both financially & programmatically
- motivated workforce
- Defined methodology, rigorously applied
- Age and language specific, unique, innovative interventions
- Multi-faceted feedback/assessments
- Ability to evolve and remain relevant
- Awareness of potential threats
- Positive reputation
- Strong network links - NGO’s, Schools and Government
- Willingness to work on joint projects for common good.
arepp:Theatre for Life is a Documented Department of Social Development Best Practices HIV/AIDS Case Study in South Africa.