Objective="To develop coping up abilities among children of age 6-18 years; with the emotions due to the presence of STIs."
Details for Reform Option "Dancing Feat, Mumbai"
Dancing Feat is a child- friendly strategy which involves the use of dance and interpersonal communication as tools for psychosocial support. The children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS usually have difficult circumstances in their background which further gets aggravated by social stigma as a ‘double discrimination’ against them. The Shiamak Davar’s Institute for the Performing Arts (SDIPA) and Committed Communities Development Trust (CCDT) entered into partnership in November, 2001, for the project Dancing Feat to work towards ‘no discrimination’ for HIV/AIDS infected/affected children. The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with technical support from Family Health International (FHI).
All participating children; irrespective of their HIV/AIDS status, perform their dances together at public forums; sending the message of ‘no discrimination’ to the audience. At annual public performances, the young participants get the opportunity to perform in front of an audience comprised of their families, friends and communities.
Children are also involved in development of dances exploring themes related to their own lives such as gender disparities, money utilisation, coping up at a time of death of a loved one due to AIDS. Life Skills Education (LSE) sessions are designed to teach positive behaviours that enable children to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday living.
Peer groups are encouraged to express out their problems and discuss the probable solutions. It is supported by the group counselling sessions that explore reproductive and sexual health, growing up, relationship, gender, reduced vulnerabilities and HIV risk behaviours. Group counselling session facilitate the child’s decision making process towards healthy growth, avoiding risk situations. There are also sessions on issues related to children development such as bed wetting, coping with examinations, relationship with opposite sex and on sexually transmitted diseases as part of prevention, care and support strategies.
The project team also offers capacity building which involves training the staff of partner NGOs to enhance the quality of existing activities. The project staff reaches out to the children by going to the community based NGO centres where the children receive other services. The Dancing Feat has its partners all across Mumbai, from Andheri–Colaba.
Clients: Children in the age range 6-18 years; children of women in prostitution or of infected persons, children in sex work or with a high probability of being abused or exploited, street children, slum children and those with a history of multiple sex partner and substance users/abusers.
An evaluation of the Dancing Feat initiative was done in June, 2006 which has shown encouraging results for a developing understanding among children for positive sexual and reproductive health, building self-esteem and raised awareness about prevention against STI.
It depends on the scale and extent of the programme events and activities. Exact information is not available.
To start a similar programme for strength of children over 1500, it takes approximately 4 months.
Building up self-esteem: with improvement in life skills, the children learn to develop a self-recognizing and asserting personality.
Promoting positive sexual and reproductive health: it helps in the reduction of stigma against STIs and HIV/AIDS afflicted persons.
Socio-cultural barriers: the prevalent prejudices, norms and values in the society act as resisting factors to efforts of stigma reduction.
Difficulty in designing and implementing counselling: it is because the children joining the programme have quite different background and circumstances. It is a tedious job to design a common counselling tool for all.
Resources and capacity building: networking of NGOs is difficult owing to varying ideologies. Planning and linking of Dance, counselling, life skills education, STIs prevention, care and support services in relation to issues of children still a challenge owing to resources constraint.
Sensitivity and confidentiality in case of HIV/AIDS positive children: it is well taken care of but persistent efforts are needed to maintain it.
Baseline data, need assessment, supportive environment and advocacy campaign
Open space for the children and a music system
Life skills education training
Child friendly material (art, craft, puppets)
Expert counsellor, cultural and dance teacher, child psychologist, committed professionals
Donors to support staff salary, cultural and counselling sessions
Who needs to be consulted
Sex workers, children, health professionals, key informants from the community, NGOs working on HIV/AIDS issues, donors.
Director, Committed Communities Development Trust for any technical input.
Fair: Persistent support from the donor agencies and continuous capacity building is required.
Chances of Replication
The states with high prevalence of STI and HIV/AIDS can think of this initiative after having assessed the local needs, incidence of HIV/AIDS among adolescents, demography and socio-cultural patterns. Chances of replicating it are good enough. The similar initiatives to reduce stigma against HIV/AIDS and to impart life skills education have been tried in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. The Dancing Feat programme has developed a resource manual for interested NGOs.
It is a good and appropriate attempt with fun, to impart life skills education, positive sexual and reproductive health understanding among children living in high risk environment.
Dr. Anil Bhola, Research Consultant, National Institute of Medical Statistics, New Delhi November, 2006