EngenderHealth leads the CHAMPION Project, an innovative five-year initiative to increase men’s involvement in preventing the spread of HIV in Tanzania. Supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the project takes a holistic approach to HIV prevention and addresses the underlying gender issues that drive HIV transmission.
Over a two-year period (2009 and 2010) I worked closely with CHAMPION Project to engage communities in Tanzania in a local and national discussion about gender-based violence. In 2009, I designed and implemented a qualitative research project examining the impact of women’s constructions of gender in Tanzania — specifically beliefs and practices related to masculinity and gender-based violence — and how these constructions influence healthy and unhealthy behavior. Data collection was completed in December 2009 and an abstract of the research was presented at an oral session of the International AIDS Conference held in Vienna (2010). For the abstract, titled “The Language of Love: Tanzanian women discuss intimacy, sexuality and violence in the 21st century,” I was awarded the IAS/ARNS Young Investigator’s Award (behavioral sciences). Read the abstract here.
In addition to the abstract, I produced a short documentary film (short above) using video interviews with women (study subjects) who volunteered to share their story as advocates against gender-based violence. The film entitled, ‘Wanawake 8’ (or 8 Women in English), was an official selection at the 2010 Zanzibar International Film Festival and was chosen to open the festival’s Women’s Panorama screening – an element of the festival that screens films in rural villages on the island of Zanzibar. The same year, the film was selected by EngenderHealth CHAMPION Project and the Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children (Tanzania) to be shown nationally during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.