Bed nets and mosquitoes are not often mentioned as sources of inspiration for fashion designers, but they featured prominently at this year’s Swahili Fashion Week.
Swahili Fashion Week is an annual fashion extravaganza for designers from Swahili-speaking countries. It promotes the “Made in East Africa” design industry as income-generating and job creating, and enables designers to showcase their work and network broadly. But in November 2010, the latest runway designs shared the spotlight at Fashion Week with malaria messages.
CCP’s VOICES for a Malaria-Free Future project and Malaria Haikubaliki (Malaria is not Acceptable), Tanzania’s national malaria communication campaign, partnered with Swahili Fashion Week to promote the message that government must sustain current malaria prevention and treatment efforts in Tanzania.
Three young, rising designers – Francisca Shirima, Mtoko designers and Diana Magesa – were selected to create a clothing collection that depicted their vision of malaria eradication. Their malaria-inspired clothing line was shown on November 4 at a fashion show attended by highly influential women from across Tanzania, including the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Blandina Nyoni.
At a cocktail party hosted by VOICES following the show, Honorable Nyoni urged all the fans of fashion present, as well as the Ministry of Health employees, lecturers from Dar-Es-Salaam and Muhimbili Universities, media and public figures, to participate in efforts to influence malaria control in Tanzania.
The Tanzanian government hopes to eliminate malaria by 2015. In order to reach this goal, the government is distributing free insecticide-treated nets across the country in an effort to cover all sleeping areas in Tanzania with nets by the end of 2011.
No stranger to unique partnerships, CCP’s VOICES project has also joined with the Tanzania Football Federation to raise awareness about malaria through the Council of East and Central African Football Association (CECAFA).
View photos of the malaria-inspired clothing collection at Swahili Fashion Week.
Learn more about VOICES for a Malaria-Free Future.