"My job is more than just regular journalism," says Amabilis Batamula. "I am not just telling a story, I am contributing to young people gaining a sustainable livelihood."
Photo: Goodluck Mushi
Communication increases youth employment
In Tanzania, 65% of the population are under 25 years old. The government is making great efforts to get all young people to complete primary school, but the proportion who drop out is still high and many young people find it hard to find employment. Only 6 per cent of those under 25 hold a formal position. It is also more difficult for young people to be granted loans and insurance. To stimulate entrepreneurship and enterprise among young people, the TV show Ruka Juu, 'Jump up!' in Swahili, began in 2011. The initiative is a development by the communications venture Femina HIP which, for the last 12 years, has been discussing sex, intimacy and HIV/AIDS openly through magazines, TV shows and radio. Ruka Juu was conceived due to a demand from Femina's viewers, as the link between exposure to HIV and the shortage of employment and income is quite clear.
Ruka Juu's concept was to let six young entrepreneurs compete for prize money to invest in their company and an education in entrepreneurship at the University of Dar es Salaam. The contestants were tested in the branches of business economy, marketing, customer care and attracting financiers.
Femina HIP Multimedia platform. Femina collaborates with, among others, Financial Sector Deepening Trust with regard to Ruka Juu.
Sida is supporting Femina HIP with SEK 90 million for the period 2006-2013.
Results for Ruka Juu?
- Ruka Juu had 3.1 million viewers (12.5% of the population).
- 22,000 people got involved in the programme via text messaging, partly to vote for the contestants, but also to answer the weekly question. 12,000 of the text messages answered the weekly question on the subject of entrepreneurship or HIV/AIDS.
- Femina's contact database (people who, in various ways, keep contact with and receive continuous information from the programme) increased from 3,100 to 12,200.
- The programme has conducted qualitative evaluations in focus group form which has revealed that knowledge relating to starting a business had increased in the viewers. The increase was greater for women than for men. In the focus groups, the viewers also expressed a desire for more programmes. There are examples to be found of people who started their own companies after being inspired by Ruka Juu.
Overall results Femina HIP
- HIV/AIDS among young people between 15-19 years old has fallen from two per cent in 2003-04 to one per cent in 2007-08. It is impossible to gauge the extent to which FEMINA HIP has contributed to this fall, but eight per cent of women in Tanzania and nine per cent of men reported that they had seen or listened to the programme prior to the statistical investigation conducted in 2007-08.
- According to the studies, 42 per cent of Tanzania's population were familiar with FEMINA HIP's products. Each week, 2.8 million people read the newspaper Fema, making it the most widely read in the country. The newspaper, Si Mchezo!, which is focuses more on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS is read by 2.6 million Tanzanians. 95 per cent of those readers questioned stated in a study that Si Mchezo! has had a positive impact on their sexual and health choices. The TV show has one million faithful viewers and is watched periodically by 3.4 million people, 37 per cent of them being between the ages of 15 and 24.