Malawi has a high rate of HIV infection, particularly in the Southern part of the country where BRIDGE II was implemented. BRIDGE II developed and implemented a vibrant Tasankha (“we have chosen”) mass media campaign with the end goal of enabling and inspiring people to prevent HIV infection. The campaign’s key idea was that choices are central to behavior and that everyday choices can lead to negative or positive outcomes, such as preventing or contracting HIV. Tasankha then promoted and modeled the positive choices adults could make to prevent HIV infection. Tasankha built upon the successful Nditha! (“I can do it!”) campaign, implemented under BRIDGE I, and shifted public discourse from strengthening individual self-efficacy to prevent HIV to a collective response among families, communities and the nation to stop the spread of HIV.
The Tasankha campaign formed the foundation and platform for all other BRIDGE II core interventions: 1) reality programming, including the Chenicheni Nchiti? radio program and the Radio Diaries program, 2) community mobilization, including outreach to traditional leaders, the use of Transformative Tools, working with people living with HIV, and work with Faith Based Organizations, 3) capacity building for social and behavior change communication, and 4) linking people to HIV-related services. All these and other BRIDGE II activities underscored the benefit of positive choices in ones’ life.
The campaign was implemented in two phases; the first focused on multiple and concurrent partnerships as a key driver of the HIV epidemic, and the second on linking people to HIV prevention services with HIV testing as the entry point. Campaign messages were spread through a community discussion guide, nine radio spots, eight posters, a colorful chart detailing how to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, community theater groups, village discussion groups and support materials such as bandanas, t-shirts, and stickers. Chenicheni Nchiti? was the flagship radio program of the Tasankha campaign and generated interactive dialogue about choices among listeners.
Overall, BRIDGE II reached over 1,000,000 people with HIV prevention messages through Tasankha branded materials, community wide events, Tasankha open days, village discussion groups, interactive drama and radio spots. Campaign reach included:
- 10,199 radio spots aired in Chichewa on MBC 1, MBC 2, ZBS, Joy Radio, Malawi MIJ Radio, Dzimwe Community Radio, Capital FM and Nkhotakota Radio Station.
- 200,000 posters and 2,000 PMTCT flip charts printed and strategically displayed and used during small group discussions and health education sessions in community buildings and health centers.
- Other promotional materials that built the campaign identity included 2,269 T-shirts, 3,400 stickers and 1,500 bandanas.