PACTO Launches HIV Prevention Lyrics Contest in Mozambique

If songs can spread messages about love and peace, why not use them to share messages about HIV risk and prevention?

The idea to use songs to inspire and drive change led the PACTO (Active Prevention and Communication for All) project in Mozambique – a USAID and PEPFAR-funded partnership between JHU∙CCP and the Foundation for Community Development (FDC) – to join efforts with renowned international musician, Moreira Chonguiça, to launch a contest aimed at the country’s youth seeking the best song lyrics about sexual practices and preventing HIV transmission.

“Young people love music – they always know the lyrics of the top pop songs,” explains Felisberto Massingue, PACTO Program Officer. “We thought that if we capitalized on this interest but encouraged youth to write lyrics with positive health messages […] it could be a good way to transmit these ideas, without lecturing.”

The contest, which was launched in January, supports the National AIDS Council (CNCS) in its efforts to reach youth with positive, empowering messages about HIV/AIDS prevention. Entrants are challenged to submit inspiring lyrics which will be judged by a jury that includes representatives from CNCS, the Ministries of Health and Education, Eduardo Mondlane University/School of Communication and Arts, National Music School, Academic Development Community/Comunidade Académica para o Desenvolvimento (CADE), CCP and FDC. The top ten songs will be performed by the best emerging and established singers and young bands in Mozambique at a youth music festival in Maputo, “SensaSons”, later this year.

The contest and “SensaSons” festival has been endorsed by prominent Mozambican musicians and Vodacom, Mozambique’s leading cell phone company. Moreira Chonguiça has agreed to produce a CD containing the winning tracks from the “SensaSons” contest.

Chonguiça has a history of supporting children’s rights; he donated part of the revenue from his first album to rehabilitate the National Music School headquarters, a school he attended as a young child. Since then, he has sought out opportunities to assist aspiring artists and assist them to overcome challenges, especially those from HIV and AIDS.

This festival provides an opportunity to reach out to youth across Mozambique and raise awareness about health issues and HIV prevention. Moreira Chonguiça and the festival’s music bands will encourage young fans to become the leaders in their own lives, get tested for HIV/AIDS and make healthier choices for a safer and promising future.

Now that is something to sing about!

Watch the “SensaSons” TV spot.

Like “SensaSons” on Facebook.

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