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The Community Arts Festival concluded its fifth round on October 30, with performances focusing on Climate Change this year, to contribute to global efforts toward climate solutions and shed light on its effect on women, girls and young people.

Six theatre performances were presented during this edition, which kicked off on October 23, with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and Etijah Foundation and Zad Art Team.

The annual festival aims to amplify the role that community theater plays in development and the effect of arts on behavioral change. It also allows young people to contribute to confronting challenges faced by their communities by employing creative means including theatre and music.

It is supported by the European Union (EU), the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Norwegian Embassy, the Canadian Embassy, and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

UNFPA has been organizing an annual Community Art Festival since 2018 to recognize the efforts of young volunteers from different governorates in Egypt.

The Community Arts Festival comes under the slogan identified by youth, “Planting a Seed for Change,” and is run by youth and for youth. It has been running for five consecutive years, presenting an opportunity to incorporate theatre and music to discuss and present perceptions around population issues from the represented governorates. 

The first edition took place in 2018 bringing about seven theatre teams from Sharqeya, Giza, Damietta, Beni Suef, Qena, Aswan and Fayoum.

The second edition the following year brought together nine theatre teams and Music Shamandora teams. The Shamandora music team presented songs that were developed and performed by those theatre teams during this edition.

The third edition saw the participation of 12 theatre teams, defying the restrictions and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Theatre teams were able to adapt to the challenges of social distancing, and sought different online channels to work on their performances and deliver it with the highest quality.

Last year, 17 teams participated in the festival’s fourth edition including independent teams. Some of the performances were also held in four governorates Qena, Luxor, Minya and Cairo.

Nawah Community Art Network is a youth network formed with the support of UNFPA in 2017, in cooperation with Ministry of Youth and Sports, Etijah and ZAD Art Team.

The network comes as part of UNFPA’s efforts to support the implementation of the National Population Strategy. One of its main programs is the Population Awareness Clubs (PACs).  Nawah Network has been strengthened and capacitated to support the PACs’ activation. Since then, the PACs have been the main hub for Nawah Network events to reach out to different community members with various messages on population issues.

The Network is present now in 17 governorates with 17 teams for theatre and music:

Sharqeya, Damietta, Giza, Fayoum ,Beni Suef, Kafr Elsheikh, Menufiya, Suez, Beheira, Red Sea, New Valley, Minya, Assuit, Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan.

They managed to produce around 50 interactive performances and 25 songs.