South African learners offer insight into benefits of animal welfare theatre production

South African children enjoyed a live theater production for humane education.Following a successful five-day run of “A Dog’s Life,” staged by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Jungle Theatre Company for nearly 800 children in Cape Town, South Africa, we wanted to know:

What did the children think?

We have received an armful of drawings and thank you letters from some as young as seven years old. So many expressed that they learned how important it is to always feed and look after one’s dog, one of the main messages of “A Dog’s Life. Others thanked us simply for the opportunity to see the show at all.

Isla, a South African student, shares what she learned and why she enjoyed the performance.

My favourite part was when everyone went with terry on the stage we had lots of fun.  I also enjoyed the show.  Angel was a very good dog and don’t forget I liked the song…I learnt you must give your dog respect give it love water shelter and food if you want your dog to survive. – Isla, 8

Another student, Jethro, shares his favorite part of the performance.

The best part of it was when Angel met John. – Jethro, 8

Jethro’s response may be short, but for me it speaks volumes, for Jethro knew that when Angel met John, Angel wasn’t lonely anymore. Another young student wrote that “A Dog’s Life” is “a very nice show because the man does not leave the dog.”

My favourite part is when the dog went to the Animal well fair and they started a place for Animals to clean them and to get them medicine” – Connor, 9

My favourite part of “A Dog’s Life” was at the end where everybody decided to look after Angel and they opened a shop called A Dog’s Life and they used the shop to help take care of dogs. – Layla, 9

These great responses highlight how successful educational theatre is as a medium for humane education.

Monitoring and evaluation, undertaking research and surveys, and encouraging feedback are all important tools in efforts to ascertain the level of impact a project or initiative is having on one’s targeted audience. But when you rely too much on educators, who are already overburdened with meeting curricula targets, administrative deadlines, etc., you don’t necessarily get the honest responses the children provide.


Watch the video below, a sampling of the “Twinning Project,” a key part of IFAW’s Animal Action Education programme activities. This unique initiative brings together youngsters from different socio-economic backgrounds to learn about animal welfare-related issues.

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project