Swaziland: Awareness-raising incorporates arts and edu-tainment

Swaziland: Awareness-raising incorporates arts and edu-tainment

Date: January 29, 2013
  • SHARE:

The Swaziland Alliance of Mayors Initiative for Community Action on AIDS (AMICAALL) is using arts and edu-tainment in its local level education and awareness programmes about women and children’s rights issues.

As part of its community mobilisation strategy, AMICAALL has been working with local level community members (religious groups, local and traditional leaders, business people and youth) to raise awareness on the SADC Gender Protocol provisions.

The AMICAALL strategy’s major objective involves disseminating information (including Information Education Communisation materials) about the SADC Protocol during local training sessions. The project has a small budget and makes use of special dates, such as the Day of the African Child and Women’s Day, to educate communities about their rights using Protocol provisions and other gender related instruments.

With the help of the Gender Links Swaziland Office, the Piggs Peak council and AMICAALL received training on gender mainstreaming in order to create a gender programme. AMICAALL then conducted village level workshops aimed at empowering women and men about their rights using the SADC Protocol. This is now an integral part of AMICAALL’s work.

The project uses drama and theatre about gender-based violence (GBV) issues and HIV and AIDS to communicate key provisions of the Protocol.

AMICAALL has also created an essay writing competition for school children. Students are encouraged to reflect on GBV and child abuse. This helps them communicate better and increases their awareness of these important issues.

AMICAALL’s strategy also focuses on ensuring access to sexual and reproductive services. It provides services such as PMTCT, condoms, counselling, contraceptives and HIV and AIDS testing.

Changing male attitudes has proven challenging. The strong patriarchal culture of the community, which is reinforced by the chieftaincy, results in serious misconceptions about the meaning of gender.

Since April 2011, AMICAALL has reached more than 1000 people each month. Its gender disaggregated data shows an increase in men’s participation in the meetings. However, overall numbers show that more women and youth attend meetings.

The strategy has seen one important outcome: the emergence of gender champions at village level. These champions motivate difficult to reach sectors of the community such as the community police. The programme has also seen an increase in the number of GBV cases reported to police as well as an increase in reporting on intra-family GBV. This shows that attitudes are changing.



Comment on Swaziland: Awareness-raising incorporates arts and edu-tainment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *