Together with adherents of other faiths, Quaker Concern for Animals joined in campaigning against the Gadimai sacrifice in 2009. It is encouraging to receive this report from Lucia de Vries of AWNNEPAL:
One of the main strategies of AWNN’s SAS (Stop Animal Sacrifice) Campaign in 2012 is social mobilization in Bara district, aiming to change people’s views on animal sacrifice.
In November 2009, at Gadhimai, Bara district, the world’s largest sacrifice festival took place. Here, in the span of just 24 hours, some 250.000 animals were sacrificed, most of them in an extremely cruel fashion. AWNN campaigners, shocked by what they saw, vowed they would do anything in their power to ensure this would not happen again. They launched a five-year national Stop Animal Sacrifice (SAS) campaign.
The Training of Trainers (TOT) programme was the first major intervention in Bara to create critical leaders and educators to teach community members about the importance of animal welfare and the senselessness of blood offerings.
The follow up of TOT is a main concern. Without field programmes, we cannot maximize our cause, so, in June 2012, with local partner CWSC, we chose three types of programmes for social mobilization in Bara district.
1 .Community awareness programme
2. Street drama in public places
3. Documentary shows at night
Community Awareness Programme:
To highlight the issue of animal sacrifice and animal welfare among different women groups and teachers of the communities.
When we called the participants of TOT, 15 out of 30 participants joined the follow up programme. From these 15 participants we selected a drama team and a presenter to introduce animal welfare and animal sacrifice issues during the public meetings. We organised four community programmes in different villages. In Babuyain and Bariyarpur, over 500 people were directly involved during the programmes. The presenters were encouraged to use their native language speakers so that participants could easily understand the messages.
Street drama in public places:
Spreading the message in public places like markets, streets and gatherings.
Street drama is one the major tools for creating mass awareness in a country like Nepal, where literacy levels are low and people ho have limited exposure to mass media feel greatly attracted to drama shows.
The drama team was provided with a basic concept and was asked to develop an outline for a play. We selected the weekly market day, as these attract many people.
The theme of the play was stop animal sacrifice as well as people’s attitudes towards blood offerings. The play, in the native language of Bara district, lasted for 30 minutes and was observed by over 1000 people. We also distributed fliers and stickers during and after the show.
Addressing children, women, and youths and spreading the message through a documentary show regarding animal sacrifice.
In the villages of Bara district, organizing documentary shows at night time after work is a very effective way to spread a message. At Bariyarpur village, close to the Gadimai temple, we invited every household to the documentary show.
More than 250 people came to the communal courtyard to watch the documentary “Tears of Fear”, produced by Nepalese filmmaker Sabnam Mukhiya. Based on the previous Gadimai festival, the 45 minute long documentary shows the negative aspects of animal sacrifice and animal cruelty. We received many responses from the people, most of them positive, although some disagreed with the producer’s main message. Overall, it was a successful documentary show and we will continue this in coming days in other villages as well.