Tasankha Campaign Development and Implementation Process

Tasankha Message Development and Audience Identification

BRIDGE II conceptualized the Tasankha Campaign during a Message Development and Material Design Workshop involving several government and NGO stakeholders including: the Ministry of Health’s Health Education Services and HIV and AIDS Unit, the National AIDS Commission, Save the Children, PSI Malawi, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, the National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi, Galaxy Media Consultants, Corporate Graphics, and other HIV implementing partners. Based on the available evidence presented and a strategic interactive design process, participants decided the campaign should be positioned around “choices.” Research indicated that HIV prevention knowledge amongst adults was consistently high and yet this knowledge did not translate into behavior change; most people were tired of messages that encouraged them to follow prescribed behaviors to avoid contracting HIV; transmission was concentrated in stable relationships, including marriage, which many people assumed to be safer than short term relationships.

Workshop participants also considered how they could build on the successful Nditha! (“I can do it!”) campaign developed under BRIDGE I, which was implemented at a time when few Malawians   discussed HIV openly or felt they could take action to prevent its spread. Having increased dialogue around HIV and individuals’ sense of self-efficacy to prevent it, the new Tasankha platform shifted the emphasis from potential action to firm action, and from an individual perspective (I can!) to a collective one (We have chosen). Tasankha promoted collective efficacy and action to prevent HIV spreading between couples and within communities. The campaign helped people understand that choices are central to behavior and that everyday positive choices can lead to better health outcomes.

Campaign messages were developed to enable people to think about the consequences of their choices for themselves, their families and their community. Key outputs of the Message and Material Design Workshop included creative briefs for various audiences: men 15-49 years old, women 15-49 years old, and couples of the same age as the primary target groups. Client profiles were created for each of these   groups as well as for traditional leaders as a secondary audience. The creative briefs and client profiles formed the foundation for further campaign message and materials development.  

Phases of the Tasankha Campaign

The campaign had two phases. The first phase focused on addressing multiple and concurrent partnerships as a key driver of the HIV epidemic. This phase was further broken down into three focused themes: The first addressed Family Values, asking people to define who and what they value most, with the intention to motivate people to cherish, support and protect their loved ones. The second theme was Know Your Risk, which aimed at increasing peoples’ risk perception regarding multiple and concurrent partnerships and other related behaviors. Messages under this phase highlighted the risks of sexual networks; that the choice to have more than one sexual partner is a choice to join a sexual network and puts oneself and one’s family at risk of HIV. The third theme was Reduce Your Risk, which focused on reducing the number of sexual partners, leaving the sexual network and using condoms consistently and correctly.

The second phase of the campaign focused on linking people to various HIV prevention services with HIV testing as an entry point. Issues covered included couple communication, couple HIV testing and counseling, prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), discordancy of HIV status within a couple, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), and condom use. Importantly, this phase encouraged people to use available HIV services as evidence of their changed behavior.

Building the Campaign

BRIDGE II contracted the Malawian advertising agency Corporate Graphics through a competitive bidding process to design the campaign’s outputs. Together, BRIDGE II and Corporate Graphics drafted messages and materials for the various campaign audiences based on creative briefs and client profiles developed during the Message Development and Material Design Workshop. These were then pre-tested with target audience members to assess their clarity, acceptability, appropriateness and potential impact. The campaign produced a total of one community discussion guide, eight posters, nine radio spots and one detailed chart that highlighted critical steps in preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child. Other support materials that helped in building the campaign identity included bandanas, t-shirts, and stickers.

Implementing the Campaign

BRIDGE II distributed campaign materials to CBOs and NGOs, who further distributed and posted the materials in strategic places such as trading centers and health centers. Radio spots were aired in Chichewa on nine Malawi radio stations. Some radio spots during Phase I were also produced and aired in Sena and Yao. Trained community facilitators and Health Center staff used Tasankha posters in small group discussions and health education sessions. Community-based discussions helped to reinforce messages heard though mass media and created an opportunity for further clarification. 

The Tasankha campaign served as a platform and foundation for core BRIDGE II interventions and provided campaign messages and themes that were used across the entirety of the BRIDGE II project, focusing on the benefit of making positive choices in ones’ life. This was evidenced in the CheniCheni Nchiti? radio program, a key component of the Tasankha campaign that focused entirely on how choices can impact ones’ life.