Art & Global Health Center Africa (ArtGlo) and Dignitas International (DI) collaborated on a new project Make Art / Stop AIDS (MASA): Youth. The project grew out of the MASA: Film project, a participatory film and theatre seeking to break the social, cultural, and structural barriers to HIV testing, treatment, and care.
MASA: Youth focused on college and secondary school students, including any youth living with HIV. We also focused on reaching other adolescents and youth, as they are particularly vulnerable and in need of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education, HIV prevention programmes, and HIV testing, treatment, and care services.
Through the project, we engaged with secondary school teachers, staff and administrations, community leaders, and parents who all received training and built valuable knowledge and skills in SRH education and participatory arts based approaches towards HIV/AIDS and SRH. The team collaborated with people living with HIV, health workers from local clinics, and members of youth or community-based support groups.
The project was conducted in Zomba, Phalombe, and Machinga districts. Students from Chancellor College and Domasi College of Education were recruited and trained as MASA Squads. These Squads created their own plays around SRH topics and performed them on their school's campus.
The MASA Squads then went out to secondary schools in the surrounding districts, where they then lead the training of the students there. These Youth Squads then hosted festivals of their own performances, that were open to the surrounding community.