Tag Archives: Dance4Life

a peek behind the scenes with the dance4life communications team…

Young people all over the world are taking action within their communities to contribute to halting HIV and AIDS. It really is quite awe inspiring. But how do we let the rest of the world in on this amazing collection of personal stories? And, how do we ensure that these young people, whether in Kenya, Peru or India feel part of a global movement : that they can draw inspiration from the power of the masses?

The communications team’s key task this year is to indeed give the agents4change vehicles to “showcase” their activities and to draw inspiration from others.  Hence, the development of a so-called ‘social platform’…a dance4life story book, written by, and for, young people worldwide.

So, where do we start?

Since we see internet as the best low cost channel for storytelling we’ve decided to develop an online platform. You can see this as a stand alone website which links to Facebook and other social networks like Hi5, Vkontakte , Hyves and Twitter. Young people can post their stories, share their experiences – and connect with the world.

So, problem solved! Or not…? In countries with low internet penetration and low computer access (which is the case in many dance4life countries) we cannot reach all young people through the online platform. That’s why we decided to look for alternatives…

Mobile technology

After the buzz around social networks the new buzz word seems to be mobile. Especially in the developing world. Mobile technology and mobile phone use in the developing world is quickly increasing. Young people are considered enthusiastic adopters of mobile phones and avid users of text messaging. By the end of 2008, Africa had 246 million mobile subscriptions -and mobile penetration has risen from just five per cent in 2003 to well over 30 percent in 2009 and still rising (with internet penetration around 10%).

So what are the next steps?

To start off we put together a task force to work out possibilities for specific countries and services. Those are numerous.. of course we can sum up all the possibilities etc. but why not ask the experts themselves? Our agents4change; the young people at the heart of what it is all about!

So, this will be our first (baby) step; we will set up a poll (possibly surveymonkey) and distribute it through our own social media channels. Talking about empowering young people…

Interested in the results? Have any tips? Keep checking this blog or contact Martine at m.keukenkamp@dance4life.com!



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dance4life:where next?

So, with 27 countries already on board, dance4life is excited to be exploring new possibilities. As promised, I’d like to share with you some news. Next week, colleagues will be visiting Pakistan and Ethiopia to talk to local organisations about rolling out dance4life there. Exciting! New countries of course always offer challenges, both culturally and as each country/region has it’s own specific HIV and AIDS issues. In Ethiopia, for example, we will reaching out to young people from a nomadic background – a VERY new experience for dance4life! But it’s great that dance4life is going to be enriched by these new cultures and environments, and that we will be able to reach even more young people to create change, pushing back HIV on  a  global level.

My colleagues will be allowing us a glimpse into their experiences …so watch this blog next week to hear more from Jacquelien and Susan in Pakistan, and Colin and Kate in Ethiopia.  It’s going to be great!

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So, what will 2011 bring?

Thank you to everyone who has supported dance4life in 2010, in whatever way, shape or form. It was a great year. If you missed it in December, take a look at our “Greatest Hits of 2010” to get an idea of just some of the things dance4life achieved in 2010.

So, looking forward, what does 2011 have in store…

Coming up on the horizon in February is the annual dance4life international meeting in Amsterdam. A chance for representatives of all 27 dance4life countries to spend a week exchanging ideas, building on plans for the future, and, perhaps most importantly, connecting with each other face to face. In my experience, a wonderful, inspiring, energising week.  A week that once again never fails to make me proud to be part of dance4life.

2011 will be a big year for dance4life in terms of nurturing and facilitating the dance4life movement. All these young people worldwide making a change in their communities and pushing back HIV need to be connected and showcased – to each other and to the outside world. So that’s what dance4life will be working hard to achieve through online platforms and offline projects.  I’ll be sure to keep you all in the loop with developments as they happen…

And what else?  Of course, the schools programme is at the heart of what we do – the creation of more and more youngpeople motivated and empowered to drive this movement. We will be concentrating on safeguarding the quality of the schools programme, whilst of course looking at growth both in existing countries and looking to new countries.

In short – there is enough to do! I’ll be sure to keep you updated during our journey through 2011! It’s going to be another exciting year!

In the meantime, if you want to know more, follow us on facebook to get daily news, updates and insights!

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Things are hotting up here in the Netherlands. The  new Dutch government are controversially planning a second round of budget cuts on international aid meant for entrepreneurial men and women living in developing countries, and the organisations supporting them. In reaction to this, Dutch development organisations have joined forces to stop further budget cuts.


After a first round of budget cuts was announced in early November, the government is now planning to cut the budget even more. This would result in a net reduction of over a third of the total development budget.

By cutting the budget, the Dutch government is abandoning those who are seeking to make a decent living under difficult circumstances. It is abandoning brave individuals who dare to take up issues where their governments fail. And it is abandoning activists fighting for human rights, struggling against corruption and working to improve governance.

dance4life are one of the many organisations actively opposing the government plans.  Eveline Aendekerk, director of dance4life international spoke to Vice Versa, about the cuts (article in dutch).  We have also been tweeting, blogging, and using all our avenues to generate awareness for the ENOUGH is ENOUGH campaign. Because something needs to be done.

Today, in the Hague, members of the government from all parties are debating the budget cuts.  This should prove interesting, with the majority of the cabinet opposing the cuts.  I’m sure that I’ll be coming back to the results of this debate in the near future…

Join the action!

If you want to support the opposition to further budget cuts on international cooperation, you can! Go to the Genoeg is Genoeg website and see what you can do…every little bit helps!

Thank you!

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It’s World AIDS Day and time to take ACTION!

What an amazing week it’s been.

The global dance4life event on the 27th November was a huge success! 21 countries were linked by satellite, with tens of thousands of young people united, celebrating  their achievements in pushing back HIV and AIDS. From Russia to Argentina, and from Kenya to Barbados, young people danced together for life.  What a moment.

Missed the live event? Click the image below to meet Sharon from dance4life Kenya. Hear her story…and experience the thrill of the live satellite link.

We’ve witnessed all these young people taking a stand for change. These young people demand that the World Leaders take responsibility. Today, on World AIDS Day, it’s time for all of us to come into action.  So what can you do? Go to http://dance4life.com/en_4life_news_article/15974, sign the petition and DO SOMETHING TODAY! The Dutch government are the third largest financial contributor to the international fight against HIV and AIDS. They have now made it known that they no longer see the fight against HIV and AIDS as a priority and will be cutting their funding. THIS CANNOT HAPPEN. So, please, let your voice be heard – sign the petition. And make a difference on this World AIDS Day.

These young people have already made their voices heard.  Will you?

(click image to see film)

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24 hours to go…

This will be a quick one – as you can probably imagine, it’s all hands on deck as we start counting down the last 24 hours to the kick off of the dance4life event worldwide.  This year, in order to allow for all the time differences, we are actually having 2 satellite links 6 hours apart. We kick off at 1pm CET with the first link up – so that’s less than 24 hours away now (deep breath…) The second one is at 7pm CET – and is available to view LIVE on www.dance4life.com.

I must admit, the butterflies are starting…

Please join us in celebrating the achievements of all these young people on Saturday 27th November!

And to get you in the mood for tomorrow:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-IzXf11oiE

..are you listening???

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3 days to go…the adrenalin is kicking in!

With only 3 days to go to the worldwide dance4life event, the adrenalin is definitely starting to kick in : it’s no mean feat connecting over 20 countries with each other live via satellite, not to mention the hard working local dance4life organisations who are also organising fantastic events in each country. Terms such as SNG vans, satellite coordinates, world feeds…once a foreign language, but now rolling with ease off the tongue of some of the dance4life team!

But let’s not forget WHY we are all working so hard to make this a special day : we are CELEBRATING. Young people all over the world are making a difference – taking the future in their own hands and creating change within their communities. In a week when UNAIDS released information about HIV infection rates having fallen in the last 10 years, and the Pope addressing condom use, change is becoming tangible. It’s up to young people to take this forward – youth are, after all, the most infected and affected by the pandemic. So let’s all take a moment on Saturday to salute these young people and recognise that their achievements, however small, are part of something much bigger.

Join us Saturday 27th November on http://www.dance4life.com and watch LIVE at 6-6.35 PM GMT / 7-7.35 PM CET (GMT+1).

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