Tag Archives: movement

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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Another step forward for youth involvement!

 dance4life´s international youth council has kicked off! A proud moment for everyone involved in dance4life.  30 young people from 15 countries* will assist dance4life in growing, and leading, the dance4life movement.

15 amazing youth council members gathered last week, from August 7th to 13th, in South Africa for what turned out to be a life changing experience for many of them. Just to give you a flavour of what they did that week…Transformational Leadership training by Lucca Leadership, which included meeting Eddie Daniels, an activist and political prisoner who was on Robben Eiland with Mandela for 15 years…connecting to mentors from the corporate world for support throughout the year… they held their first meeting, to discuss the youth council annual plan….and of course, they shared their stories and their spirit. 

I can’t imagine the kind of impact that this week will have on these 15 young people, coming from all corners of the world, each with their own history and their own future rolling out before them.  But I am definite that this week WILL have an impact, and it’s up to these amazing young people how they share the significance of this with the world.

The youth council is also a really important and exciting milestone for dance4life, as we are now a step further in our journey to establishing a platform for young people´s voices.  And they need, and deserve, to be heard.

*) Barbados, Germany, Kenya, Kyrgystan, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe


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so, dance4life, who are you?

My name is Natasha and this is my dance4life story. 

The facts : I’m an englishwoman, who has made the Netherlands home for the past  15 years. I am a busy mum and wife.  I joined the dance4life international team 4 years ago and have been working in the communications team now for nearly 2 years.  But to be honest, this doesn’t tell you too much about who I really am…let’s try again. Cold rosé, earrings, wild flowers, bright bright colours, fresh bread, SHOES, silly jokes, knitting, sushi, HANDBAGS, a good book….getting the picture? It’s a start anyway.

But enough of me, let’s talk dance4life…just what do we do and why? dance4life empowers young people to push back HIV/AIDS : as the single largest group infected and affected by the virus, a huge part of the potential solution lies with young people. That’s exactly why dance4life involves them. Through international schools programmes and media campaigns, dance4life creates awareness, educates, raises political support and funds. The schools programmes are built around a 4 step approach: inspire, educate, activate and celebrate. Young people who have participated in the schools programme become an agent4change, creating social change worldwide. 

So where do I come into the dance4life equation? The international team, headquartered in Amsterdam, supports local teams running the dance4life programme worldwide.  As a member of the communications team, I do my utmost best to support my dance4life colleagues worldwide and get dance4life out there. So hence this blog.  Not only my story, but dance4life’s story.  It’s a great ride – hope you can join me…. 

ps : next stop on the dance4life ride for me is Vienna – at the International AIDS Conference 2010…more news to follow very soon….


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