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August 13, 2011

The PETA-Mekong Partnership Project

Background

In 2004, the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) kicked off its Southeast Asia Regional Program through its Mekong Partnership Program. Its main aim is to mobilize, build partnership and support for the performing arts community in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region which is composed of Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and China's Yunnan Province—to do advocacy work on gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS through theater and performing arts.

For five years, the Program operated with support from The Rockefeller Foundation Southeast Asia Regional Office. It has also forged activity-based partnerships with UNESCO Bangkok, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Save the Children, and Japan Foundation.

PETA's years of engagement in Mekong resulted to pioneering works and benchmark projects that facilitated cross-border exchange, capacity building, and solid partnerships among the Mekong performing arts communities to harness arts and creativity to effect change. It explored various ways of using the creative space for learning, artistic expression, social advocacy, and engaging the public to tackle social issues confronting the region.

Building from the successful partnership it has forged with several groups and institutions, the PETA Mekong Partnership Program expands and extends its regional agenda by forging new partnership with Save the Children UK's Cross Border Project in the GMS. In the next years, PETA hopes to contribute to this larger initiative for children's protection and child rights advocacy in the Mekong sub-region by continuously building and engaging communities of committed and progressive artist-advocates.

With four decades of experience in making theater for the people, we seek to broaden our reach to a wider margin of the global society. We want to assert our commitment to social development and empowering people through the arts by developing and strengthening our network with the "creative communities" who share the same vision. Through the Mekong Partnership Program, PETA affirms its commitment to theater as an alternative to people's education and development and reasserting a pride in cultural diversity in the face of the various threats to human security.

Five Year Goals: (2007-2012)

Theater for Cultural Development/Theater for Artistic Excellence
strengthened partnership and alliance with Southeast Asian performing troupes through artistic collaboration, regional capability building, and cultural exchange;
Theater for Development

enhanced participation of socially committed artists within Southeast Asia Region in advocacy work and in advancing peoples theater, culture, and development
enhanced peoples participation in issue advocacy and socio-cultural development work through theater and performing arts;
established community and/or a loose network of committed and progressive artists-advocates for socio-cultural development work;
enhanced theory and practice on theater for development work through research, publications, performances, education, partnership and institutional building
enhanced artistic and pedagogical skills of artist-teachers-advocates in doing theater for development work

Specific Program Thrust (2009-2011)

Mobilizing the Performing Arts Communities in Mekong for Child Protection Work and Children's Rights Advocacy through Theater and Performing Arts

Specific Objectives:

Build partnership and support to performing arts groups in Mekong for child protection work and children's rights advocacy;
Strengthen the capacity of children's rights advocates and other stakeholders in the Region on advocacy and education work;
Strengthen creativity, self-confidence, and leadership of the children and youth leaders in Mekong;
Foster more effective partnership of the project with media and the creative arts community in the region to engage the public, intensify public debate, and promote awareness building child exploitations and abuse

Strategies & Project Components

A. Regional Education and Capacity Building

Regional Youth Empowerment and Leadership Development Training Through Integrated Theater Arts (a 10-day Leadership training course for children and young people from Mekong)
Regional Training on Child Rights, Child Protection and Child Participation Using PETA's Creative Pedagogy (a 10-day Leadership and skills building course on building child protection systems and advocacy for children's rights and child participation)
Mekong Performing Arts Laboratory (An annual 3-week intensive training course on theater for advocacy)

B. Partnership & Support Program Through Arts & Media

Mekong Creative Communities: Arts for Advocacy Annual Fellowship A partnership and support program through theater and performing arts. Project assistance is given to the performing arts community (individual or group) to do advocacy performances & art projects that tackle issues on child protection and children's rights.

C. Research and Documentation

Research and publication of various creative initiatives in addressing development issues in Mekong with special focus on gender and children's rights through theater and performing arts.

The Program currently operates with the support of Save the Children UK's Cross Border Project through the European Union with additional contributions from Terre des Hommes-Germany.

You can contact us at:

PETA Mekong Partnership Project
350/2061 Ratchada-Chuanchom Mansion
Soi Ladphao 23, Ladphao Road
Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900 THAILAND
Telephone: (66-2) 909.2649 or 939.0200 to 4 local 2061
Tel/Fax: (66-2) 930.7851
e-mail: peta_mekong@yahoo.com ; peta@truemail.co.th

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