The base for the idea is not new; but since it has demonstrated to be successful in one context, it might also be successful in another. The base idea is to create mobile puppet theaters that travel the country and retell orally told folk tales with puppets.
Puppets will reflect a country's culture, and esthetics while the stories, of which many already exist in a written form, will portray the values, ideology and important behaviors that children need to develop their character and certain "Dos" and "Donts."
Puppet theaters will provide three different types of stories during the time in which they will be part of a community:
- Stories for the entire family/community with a pure entertainment purpose
- Stories for kids that focus on certain "dos" and "donts" with an education purpose where the hero of the story explains to the kids at the end why they should and shouldn't do certain things
- Stories for parents that focus on explaining the "dos" and "donts" that their kids should adapt in addition to stories that focus on healthy practices families and communities should adapt such as growing certain crops in comparison to others (such as vitamin A rich crops)
In addition to the puppet shows, puppet theaters would give workshops to show communities how to create their own puppets and puppet theaters with easily available tools and materials to use puppets shows as one way to get the communities together and to educate their kids in a playful way. This workshop will focus mainly on the elderly of the community, as it is assumed they are the ones with the most wisdom to share and are stereotypically eager storytellers. As part of the workshop, puppet theaters will sell a "puppet design kit" of which the community would only need to by one each as the knowledge in it should be shared by the community through coming together.
We found a great web about puppetry that has easy to follow puppet creation manuals (check out the videos)
Thinking about including the elderly of a community is a reocurring theme which has potential to be implemente in the overall idea.
Traveling puppet theaters, as an additional product, could provide/sell "puppet design kits" to enable the communities that were visited a way to implement puppet storytelling in their own communities by showing how to create puppets in an easy and simple way.
Puppet theaters could provide three types of shows: on the one side they could provide a simple entertaining story with the goal to bring children and families together; on another hand, a story that in simple ways speaks about some "Do´s" and "Dont´s" to education children and build their character; and at last some shows could be only for the parents that focus on the explanaitions of the "Do´s" and "Dont´s" that their kids learned in the previous shows. Shows for parents could also focus on other "problems" and "solutions" that parents need to take care of their kids.
One could also try to hold some kind of workshop in making the puppets. That way, the folktales will be much 'blended' on the daily life of the children and they will be more familiar with the village's heroes.
Use the elderly in communities to become major storytellers through puppet theathers. Thus, the idea might shift focus to enable communities to create the needed puppets and leave the rest to them.
To expand the idea it might be useful to think about including a series of "puppet" talks in which the hero of the previously enacted story talks about "does" and "donts" regarding the things that happened in the story to further reinforce the education message behind the stories.
To get an idea of possible folktales on the African continent, we found a website with several examples that could be used to create the first prototypes of puppets and the actual enactment of the story.