Stress is a massive issue in protracted areas.
Cyrcus Collective works on similar principles of traditional Circus where participants collaborate, participate and enjoy the magic and find relief.
Project components: This activity is replicable based on pre-designed and ready-to-set-up resources:
- Operationalization concept, including an implementation guide/support, step-by-step guidance on working with various contents
- Digital visual library, including digital content (open source visuals, animated content, sensor reactive content, etc.)
- Hardware, including sound and motion sensors (often built-in), projectors, set-up props for space design
Resource efficiency: By using light projections, set-up requires a minimum in resources, especially staff, and the activity can be adapted to nearly any space. Within minutes contents can be adapted to the participants and/or chosen by them. The intervention can be stand-alone or integrated with broader initiatives by other development partners.
Project phases include (see image):
- Community participation and engagement
- Technical set-up
- Use of tool and activity
- Documentation and evaluation
Community participation and engagement
Understand local specific needs and requirements, and adapt and decide on project implementation together. Camp area leaders, social/community workers and others are invited to a meeting to be introduced to the project, (video for demonstration) and explain the possible content and formats. The representatives discuss and shall agree on the content, location and organizational support.
Team reaches location and physically sets up at the location any given space can be used. to allow for creating an immersive experience through projections (instead 2D squares); seamlessly project on all walls, ceiling, floor.
Resource efficient, quick set-up
Depending on the location and availability of resources, activities can be set-up on a smaller or larger scale. To start, micro-processors/controllers, electronic sensors runs on small (9V, 2A) batteries packed like 2 ‘AA’ in size. The most energy consuming appliances are projectors and laptops. However, pico-projectors and modern laptops have their own quite sturdy battery packs (at average up to 4 hs) which allows us to get by without electricity for a while. To still use electricity, we could either use home-made solar power, 12V battery from motors or cars or bring along a generator. An additional idea of this initiative is to teach people to be resourceful – use what you have and make something extraordinary with proper guidance. While some of the softwares we use are complex, the set-up is not because we want the hardware to be sturdy.
We also observed that access to hardware can also be easier than expected. In some refugee camp schools, donors provided projectors in each classroom. Steph observed some of these projectors even pointed out the window (!) which gives an idea of how much they are actually being used. Thus, where suitable, we could consider utilizing existing devices and return after use.
The intervention aims at bringing people together and require set-up in one spot. We focus on larger communities (incl. camps) for this first phase for practical and impact reasons. We can basically set-up almost everywhere. However, we do need to take budget and impact concerns into consideration.
Use of tool and activity
We aim at providing both, ambient and playful content to enhance psycho-social well-being which we see as a basis for a safe and supportive learning environment, as well as foundational learning content. : Various stations and rooms involve participants through entertainment, learning and immersive, reflective experiences (see example options).
Content for experiential learning
We would like to stress that this intervention is mainly for experiential education. We aim at creating awareness for broader concepts and develop new perspectives which are also important for participants’ life skills. This could touch on social cohesion topics, reflection on oneself and one’s social impacts, but also social skills, develop creativity as well as simple hygiene or other topics. We also want to spark behavior change towards stress and aggression relief and opening up participants’ minds and hearts. We do not aim at replacing educational programs at all. It shall rather incentivize and inspire curiosity for learning to motivate participants for more formal education.
We categorize content broadly in four areas, which we can realistically provide and which we feel address the various possible needs of our target group. These are
- relaxation and therapeutic content
- social cohesion related content and thought-provoking (art) installations.
- recreational content and games
So far, we rely on existing open source content, which has been used in other settings and we redefine its use. In this field, we can luckily also draw on a lot of good quality, tested and proven content. Below we are listing some existing examples, that we could very well imagine to use, adapt or create own content along these lines. Still there is virtually no limit to content and activity creation appropriate for needs and interests of different groups. Down the line, we envision to also create our own, locally adapted content – possibly by working with local artists, entrepreneurs and others. What you see in the pilot is open source content combined with little development at our end. We envision to create similar installations with help of locals and the possibilities are endless.
Guidance and reflection
Provide a guidance area, where trained facilitators (local team) instruct participants and support reflection of the experience
Trained facilitators guide the activity. Visual information is created digitally – communication and interaction shall happen in person.
Create groups to strengthen objectives (e.g. female groups for their comfort, intergenerational to facilitate appropriate interaction, interethnic groups to address social cohesion issues [note simplified examples]), where suitable
Especially to provide a psychosocial safe space, the reflection round at the end is really important. Through focus group and one-o-one conversations with participants, we aim at qualitatively capturing the participants’ perspectives, life situation, psychological well-being and educational benefits of the intervention. We want to deepen the learning experience – especially if we used controversial content or we engaged in deeper, personal sharing. Considering this in a crises context, in case the intervention triggered something, we want to make sure participants’ receive appropriate guidance and to support as closure of the intervention.
4. Documentation and evaluation and outcome measurement
Monitoring, evaluation, reporting and learning (MERL) is indeed an area to which is essential and we still need to improve. We have in this phase mainly focused so far on the prototyping and enhancing implementation. We aim at multi-media documenting the intervention for subsequent evaluation. Through the reflection round at the end including focus group and bilateral conversations with participants, we aim at qualitatively capturing the participants’ perspectives, life situation, psychological well-being and educational benefits of the intervention. Quantitatively, we could , document demographics and use a quick “tap on tablet” survey (e.g. using KoboToolbox) for overall data collection based on multiple choice.
Indeed, educational impacts in out-of-classroom education require a different approach to documentation and evaluation. We shall address this in more detail in the coming weeks as we want to ensure we create best possible impact and learn on how to do it better. At the same time, we understand that partners or donors also require full reporting and proof of impact as part of our potential collaboration, and would like to ensure our delivery here.
In terms of assessing the effectiveness of the content that is delivered, exit tickets can be utilized on the group to check in on comprehension by creating discussion at the end of the session, or exit questions relating to the content delivered. These exit tickets will be adapted and optimized progressively as more and more sessions are undertaken.