Although there have been developments in recent years in the treatment of HIV, the number of people living with HIV continues to grow, as does the number of HIV deaths. In many regions of the world new HIV infections are heavily concentrated amongst young people aged 15-24 years of age. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to bear the brunt of the epidemic, with two thirds of all adults and children with HIV globally living in the region, with the epicentre in Southern Africa.
Theatre for a Change (TfaC) uses innovative strategies to empower vulnerable and marginalized groups through positive behaviour change and advocacy of gender and sexual equality.
Theatre for a Change equips socially and economically marginalised communities with the communications skills, knowledge and awareness to transform their lives and the lives of others personally, socially and professionally.
They provide child-centred training to pre-service teachers as a unique tool for positive behaviour change.
They empower young people to protect themselves from HIV and advocate for their gender and human rights.
They do this using a highly experiential form of learning. It is through participation that vulnerable and marginalised individuals generate the awareness and ability to implement practical and positive changes in their own lives and gain a voice in society as a whole.
Personal transformation is a goal at the centre of TfaC’s methodology. They want to change individual’s behaviour as well as educate them through the development of a sense of collective responsibility. For TfaC, choosing an appropriate location was very important. Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi is the hub of most of the project activity in Malawi, because it is well-connected by road and is the site of one of Malawi’s leading teacher training colleges. It is also an HIV hot-spot, with a prevalence amongst the urban population of 20%, and there are many sex workers in the district, around 60% of who rely solely on income from sex work to support themselves and their children (Kalanda 2010). Participants are selected through local recruitment drives. These are done with the permission and help of local community leaders, enthusiastic members of the target groups, and staff at teacher training colleges and medical centres.