How Femina has impacted the youth for over 20 years

Tuesday January 22 2019


By Salome Gregory

This year Femina Hip, the largest civil society initiative using multimedia strategies to communicate with youth and influence positive behavior change is celebrating 20 years of working with and for youth in the country. As part of the celebration Amabilis Batamula, Femina Media Director shared their experiences with Success over the past 20 years with regards to Femina’s work and related initiatives.

Tell us about Femina and the importance of Fema magazine in connection to youth empowerment.

Soon as we started in 1999 Femina launched its magazine Health Information Project (HIP), as the first youth media product in Tanzania.

Femina Hip is a well-established, trusted and popular brand that drives a movement for healthy lifestyles, including, sustainable livelihoods and active citizenship. A magazine designed for community members especially youth to explore, discuss and implement different activities. It contains information about Sexual Reproductive Health, Economic Empowerment and Citizen Engagement. It also features issues of gender, entrepreneurship, relationships, youth participation and financial literacy. Through the magazine we have been able to educate and entertain young people and give them a voice to speak up and share experiences.

Kindly explain how Femina engages youth in the agenda for better results

Femina engages youth in all matters concerning Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights. It includes information about safe sexual behavior, biological changes, contraceptives and accessibility of health care services relating to sexual reproductive health. Femina also opens dialogue about economic opportunities that can benefit youth from their respective locations. It provides youth with important economic tips. With economic engagement we encourage youth to participate in different activities in the community, challenging gender norms, respect diversity and differences, speak up for their rights, take individual and collective actions which benefit communities and participate in political processes.

Femina has TV and radio shows; how do they operate?

We use broadcast media (Tv and Radio) to share information about gender equality, youth participation, and influence youth engagement in income generating activities. Broadcast media also influences positive behavior by using the power of positive examples. There is also SMS technology where by use of SMS technology focuses on simplification of communication between targeted audience (mentors/clubbers) and Femina. Also, through social media we are able to reach significant number of youth.

What can you point out as success of Femina for the past 20 years in connection to Fema Clubs?

In 2001 Femina magazine study Clubs in secondary schools were established and distribution expanded. The magazine devotes a double page spread to encourage club activity and gives advice on what the clubs could do and discuss. Other outreach activities evolve including ‘road shows’ and festivals with music entertainment, guest speakers, and ‘open talk’, questions and answers about sex and HIV/AIDS from community members. It all started in Nachingwea where students came together and dedicated weekly slots on their schedule to read Femina magazine they receive after every three months. With 2,500 Fema Clubs across the country this initiative has gained a reputation as a safe space for young people to voice and share their thinking, to learn and exercise leadership skills, to nurture talents and explore potential career paths, as well as to engage in meaningful action to protect and build their lives, to better the environments in which they live and thrive.

What are other activtities in your timeline for the past ten years?

In 2015 Femina rolled out the Girl Power Program in Fema schools to 10 000 form one students and teachers. In 2016 Femina started a formal Fema volunteer program for university students. The program designed to give talented youth who have been Fema Clubbers an opportunity to contribute to Femina Hip’s work, and gain relevant job experience, training and exposure. In 2017 The Femina Girl Power team was launched to complement and embody the Girl Power Programme. In 2017 The Tanzania Fema Club Mentors’ National Network met formally for the first time. Fema Club Mentors, self-organised and gathered together in one forum for the purpose of learning, sharing and influencing each other to improve and create opportunities which will strengthen the Fema Clubs. 2018. The Femina Boy Power team was established to mirror the Girl Power team.