As promised, here’s a report from a couple of my colleagues visiting Zambia to explore restart possibilities for dance4life Zambia…read and enjoy!
“The mission: Having met with a number of possible implementing partners over the past few days, today it is time to go external and let everyone know that dance4life Zambia is still here!
The team: Kate Pruce, regional programme manager Africa, Zganga Mvula, international youth council member and Susan van Esch, manager youth involvement.
So here we go: first stop, the National AIDS Council to meet with the Executive Director. It was quite a wait but worth it, as the meeting gave us the chance to learn more about the national strategies and plans and discuss how dance4life aligns with them. Equipped with this knowledge (and a packet of stroopwafels – dutch people know what I mean :-)) we went for a meeting with the Dutch embassy, a regular on our visits to the countries. As unfortunately, due to the new plans of the Dutch government, Zambia is no longer one of the core countries for the Dutch development aid, our meeting focused on identifying embassies that would continue the work on youth and SRHR. This turned out to be quite a challenge as due to the global situation and changes in government around Europe, many more countries are changing their funding portfolio and stepping out of Zambia. Odd – as yes, there are quite some economical developments in Zambia, but this doesn’t seem to trickle down, and definitely not to the people in the rural areas.
The next visit however cheered us up. As a true dream team, we presented dance4life in Zambia to the country director of UNICEF who at the end was jumping in his chair with enthusiasm! And what a good coincidence that UNICEF is just looking into working more around comprehensive sexuality education for youth. That is exactly dance4life! Energised and hopeful, we left the office for an afternoon with the dance4life Zambia ambassadors Mix Master, Rizen Rizon, Hezron, Lulu and Matthew who manages the singer Rachel. Cactus unfortunately couldn’t make it, but luckily we did manage to meet him the following day to get his input. This was the first time all ambassadors were together in the same room and what a great energy it created with some many creative minds together! Different ideas on using art to empower youth, a greater involvement of the ambassadors in the project, on making dance4life known in Zambia tumbled over the table and led to a lot of laughter and innovative ideas to explore further. This was one of the first times dance4life organized such a sessions, but is definitely one to be replicated in other dance4life countries.
Inspired and fulfilled we ended the day, ready to continue our mission the next day!”
Thanks Susan! So, where will the next stop be for dance4life ? Keep tuned to find out…