IMPACT STORY

Data Converges with Fashion for Social Change

Temeke-Based CSO FASDO Brings Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues Center Stage through Khanga Design Competition
Tanzania

Background

As reinforced through PEPFAR’s investments in DREAMS partners across Tanzania, young people in Tanzania and globally often face the most significant “social, cultural, economic, and structural barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services at a time when they need these services the most, making them vulnerable to poor health outcomes.” The challenge of accessing this information and services was consistently raised across the four wards in Temeke District, where Data Zetu held Listening Campaigns earlier this year (Listening Campaigns are ward-level meetups where citizens identify, discuss, and prioritize challenges facing them in their communities).

Additionally, in a modernizing and globalizing society, information dissemination happens in new and different ways than those adopted by previous generations, requiring innovative public outreach tools, particularly when aiming to reach the youth of Tanzania. Many of the innovative arts-based groups in DZ’s are aware of the importance of these health and development challenges and of the power of their platform, but have not fully explored the possible intersections between the arts and data-driven health messaging.

The Temeke-based FARU Arts and Sports Development Organization (FASDO) is committed to promoting youth engagement in arts and sports to combat drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and other development priorities.

The Temeke-based FARU Arts and Sports Development Organization (FASDO) is committed to promoting youth engagement in arts and sports to combat drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and other development priorities. Since 2016 they have hosted two online fashion design competitions, led via strong social media campaigns, which resulted in over 500 applicants from local fashion designers. These competitions sought to highlight the artistry of Tanzanian young people, without any specific linkage to health or other development challenges.

FASDO team participate in workshop led by Data Zetu consortium partner Tanzania Bora Initiative.

Problem

Despite their success and strong following for their fashion competitions and their clear mission to reduce HIV/AIDS and drug abuse in their target communities, FASDO had not yet explored how their fashion platform and large arts network could be channeled to foster more meaningful conversations and public outreach around these critical development challenges.

 

FASDO was reaching a wide audience, but had not considered nor tried to better incorporate social messaging informed by community challenges, priorities, and data into their work.
FASDO was reaching a wide audience, but had not considered nor tried to better incorporate social messaging informed by community challenges, priorities, and data into their work.

Solution

Data Zetu, led by partner Tanzania Bora Initiative (TBI), partnered with FASDO to design and lead a khanga design competition for artists across Temeke district. This competition would challenge these young designers to visualize sexual and reproductive health and/or sexual and gender based violence priorities as identified through Listening Campaigns through their designs, incorporating specific data or information that reflects the challenges most-faced in Temeke, and directs the wearer or viewer to actionable next steps. As a result, FASDO is empowered to bring valuable social messaging to their fashion events, local designers are challenged to consider the value and impact of bringing development priorities into their designs, and citizens have the issues and messages that are most meaningful to them reflected in their clothing.

Process

TBI led a workshop with the FASDO team to introduce the Data Zetu program and gauge their interest in building a partnership for the khanga design competition. Further meetings resulted in the development of the competition concept note, which was shared with the DZ consortium for feedback and edits.
In October, TBI and FASDO will issue a press release to publicize the challenge to young designers working in Temeke District. Applications will be received throughout November, with the final selection completed in late-November. The selection panel will include PEPFAR DREAM’s partners focused on SGBV and SRH issues, to ensure that the designs reflect these issues accurately and respectfully. Following selection of the winner, a limited batch of khangas will be printed, which will be worn at Swahili Fashion week in December, and publicized through local media. There may be an opportunity for larger production and distribution of the khangas.

Preliminary illustrative khanga designs developed by Temeke-based fashion designer. Left: “30 regions, 50 million people, We stand and put a stop to female genital mutilation”. Right: “1 out of 9 girls between the ages of 15-18 will get pregnant.”

Outcomes and Impact

As a result of this initiative, the potential impacts are numerous. On the institutional level, FASDO is motivated to expand their traditional approach to engaging youth through the arts, to better integrate data and be community-driven. As the Operations Manager of FASDO shared,

“We expect to continue using data in all our upcoming arts and innovation design competitions. We promise to always use data that is relevant to our community and incorporate it in our challenges for the sake of bringing positive change to our community.”
“We expect to continue using data in all our upcoming arts and innovation design competitions. We promise to always use data that is relevant to our community and incorporate it in our challenges for the sake of bringing positive change to our community.”

On an individual designer level, artists in Temeke are motivated and better understand the value of designing for a greater purpose. And for using their platform of fashion to communicate on issues that matter to their customers, using data and information collected at the community-level.

On the community level, individuals and families receive information about the issues that matter to them in their communities, and are introduced to these products through innovative social media campaigns that inspire conversation, debate, and direct individuals to resources to access more information to inform their health outcomes.

For more information, contact obakari@irex.org.

 

Key Collaborators

Through ICT, Media and Arts, Tanzania Bora engages the Tanzania community, specifically youth, in providing civic educational programs and projects based on effective leadership, democracy and accountability, good governance, human rights, and development issues.

FASDO promotes and develops children and young talents in arts and sports, encouraging children and youth to work together and rehabilitating, rescuing, and protecting youth from drugs abuse, HIV/AIDS, family or social disintegration, and prostitution.

Data Zetu aims to empower communities to make better, more evidence-based decisions to improve their lives. Through partnerships and collaborations with local communities, Data Zetu works with stakeholders to build skills and develop digital and offline tools that make information accessible to everyone.

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