DREAMS Innovation Challenge | Success Story
More than anything, Taurai Kamfosi loves to sing. Music has played an important part of her life since she was a small child and at 10 years old, she composed her first song. It became even more important to her when her parents could not afford her school fees, and she focused on pursuing a passion for music.
For Taurai, music is a powerful tool. Even from an early age, Taurai has dedicated her musical talents to empowering women. As a young girl, she performed in her community to encourage young girls to resist peer pressure, to value their education, and to make smart choices for themselves. She has seen firsthand the pressure many girls face from older men – and she knows how early pregnancies and teenage marriage can prevent women from pursuing their dreams.
Recently, Taurai has turned her musical talents to a new cause: Chipatala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF) for Adolescents – a youth-friendly, toll-free health hotline that provides vital sexual and reproductive health information to youth in Malawi.
Turning music into action
In July 2017, Taurai met a team of Adolescent Advisors representing Chipatala Cha Pa Foni, or “Health Center by Phone,” who traveled to her area to promote the hotline service. An Adolescent Advisor spoke about the importance of understanding sexual and reproductive health, and the challenges youth face in accessing correct information.
Taurai herself had many questions and realized how CCPF for Adolescents could help her, her friends, and her community. After this meeting, the Adolescent Advisor set up a WhatsApp group for youth like Taurai to share questions and connect with each other. Taurai was particularly active on this group – posting songs she recorded and slogans she created about the hotline. The other youth took notice. And so did the Adolescent Advisors.
With encouragement and support from the Adolescent Advisors, Taurai organized meetings for eleven local youth groups to share information about the CCPF for Adolescents. In these two meetings, she reached more than 3,025 young people.
During these meetings, youth talked about their hesitation in visiting health facilities because of negative attitudes of some health providers regarding youth accessing SRH information. It was a great opportunity to share how CCPF for Adolescents is working with health facilities to ensure callers are linked with the services they need and with youth-friendly providers who can provide further guidance and counseling.
Recognizing the success and momentum from these meetings, the CCPF for Adolescents team invited Taurai to become a local champion for the hotline. With the team’s encouragement and recognition of her talents, Taurai became the first local celebrity to promote CCPF for Adolescents. She was proud to use her talent to transform the lives of girls in her district.
“I like telling my fellow youth about the project because it has come at the right time. Most of the youth do not have much information on SRH, puberty, menstruation, contraceptives, or STIs,” Taurai explained.
With the knowledge and support from the CCPF for Adolescents team, she set her sights higher – reaching out to more young people in her district.
Taurai’s approach to sensitizing youth is effective because it is authentic. She has benefited personally from the hotline, “CCPF has also assisted me to understand sexual reproductive health and rights. It helps me build my future because I am able to prevent myself from contracting HIV and choose the right partner who will support my dreams and my future.”
“CCPF has also assisted me to understand sexual reproductive health and rights.” -Taurai
So far, Taurai has sensitized more than 8,000 in-school youth and another 5,000 community members. Working with the CCPF for Adolescents team, Taurai is dedicated to continue sharing information about CCPF – even after the formal outreach ends. Her efforts will contribute to the success and sustainability of CCPF for adolescents for years to come.
Read more about the DREAMS innovation challenge here.