At FunDza, we are always keen to work with partners who share our values and, like us, believe in the power of stories. Last year we developed four stories for the Dreams Thina Abantu Abasha programme which is a youth-led pilot programme, funded by Johnson & Johnson, that aims to decrease the rate of HIV infection amongst young African women and teens who currently make up for 74% of new HIV infections among all adolescents living in sub-Saharan Africa. The stories were accompanied by information from the programme compiled into ‘Talking Points (you can see them here).

The stories were very successful, with many readers commenting on the issues that arose out of them. So we were delighted when Dreams Thina Abantu Abasha were keen to support another project, this time a course competition. Our courses are growing in popularity, and when a competition is attached it increases registration and completion, and so it is an effective way to achieve deeper reader engagement with various issues.

The course is called My life My Choice and consists of questions based on the story Bad Reputation which was one of the stories that formed part of the project last year (about peer pressure, teen pregnancy etc), together with three other articles written by young people that explore related topics. The competition began at the beginning of October, and comes to an end mid-November. Once the competition closes, ten lucky participants will be chosen randomly to win R1000. So far just under 4000 people have registered for it.

We can see that it is having an impact from the comments on the final survey such as:

  • It was eye opening since it covered some issues which I thought I knew but then realised that I knew nothing.
  • It has literally all the information a teenager may need which they may not get from parents because some parents are not supportive at all
  • I learnt alot about life, self respect and more knowledge about HIV/AIDs”
  • This course tackled a very huge ‘awkward’ social issue. It has taught me a lot, especially about making responsible choices and refusing negative peer pressure
  • it got me thinking about how to help girls in my community

Once the competition is completed, the names and photographs of the winners will be published on the site – exciting for them, and also exciting for us to get a sense of just a few of our thousands of readers.