The John Hopkins Univesirty on behalf of its Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) embarked on a project entitled “Promoting Normative Change and Increase Preventative Behaviour in Malawi” with support from the United States Agency for international Development (Sponsor) under its cooperative Agreement no: 674-A-00-09-00024-00; and JHSPH has entered into a sub agreement with the story workshop (sub recipient) under purchase order #2000948865.
The Bridge II Project under the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Centre for Communication Programs (CCP) implemented CheniCheni Nchiti (CNN)? (What is the reality?). The overall goal of CNN is to contribute to the reduction of new HIV infections by promoting normative social change and increasing (HIV) prevention behaviours amongst adults in the general population in 11 districts in the southern region of Malawi where HIV prevalence is comparatively higher than the northen and the central Regions.
The program uses real people and real stories to inspire individuals and families to take action to prevent HIV and communities to create a supportive environment for HIV prevention. CNN also promotes dialogue for collective charge. Chenicheni Nchiti? gained a large audience over the last two years and is now broadcast up to 15 times every week on 11 different radio Stations. Story Workshop produces this program on behalf of the bridge II project. The program also seeks to air experiences, feelings, opinions and ideas of members of the audience in order to facilitate both individual behaviuor change as well as to create a dialogue forum supportive for collective change.
Interactive Community Theatre Program was aimed at empowering communities to use dynamic, interactive, theatre techniques to engage in dialogue on HIV and AIDS and related issues towards enacting healthy sexual behaviours by promoting dialogue. The interactive community theatre program builds on the concept that high awareness on its own does not motivate positive behavioral change.
The community discussion initiated through theatre provides a valuable means to transform knowledge into decisions and actions likely to reduce the risk of the spread of HIV. Participatory theater allows audience to acquire deeper understanding of the power structures, habits, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours which derive risky behaviours and increase risky perceptions and responsibility.
Under the Bridge II Project, CCP intends to engage story workshop to implement the interactive Community theater program is aimed at strengthening capacity of community theater groups to initiate community discussion around normative behavior issues towards reduction of HIV infection.
Existing theatre groups are identified and mentored with skills to lead participatory theatre performances in their communities. Under FY10, through FY11, the program has been implemented in Chiradzulu phalombe Thyolo mulanje chinkhwawa and Nsanje districts.