Songs of an epidemic : responding to HIV/AIDS through song, poetry and drama in Nakuru, Kenya

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Institutionen för naturvetenskap, miljö och teknik


This study examines the use of songs, poems and drama to raise awareness of, and respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nakuru, Kenya. The primary focus is that of youth-oriented interventions, but additional examples are also examined and analyzed. A qualitative approach is used and the study is based on semi-structured interviews with teachers, performers, students, NGO-representatives and former students conducted during four weeks in November and December 2012. Additionally, songs, poems and dramas have been collected and observed and finally analyzed using a theoretical framework that combines the Health Belief Model, the Social Cognitive Theory as well as principles of the research discipline of Medical Ethnomusicology. The study shows that songs, poems and drama are important methods to communicate messages and play an important role in shaping the local HIV/AIDS discourse. Due to its effectiveness, it is vital that the messages promoted are culturally appropriate as well as correct since the study shows that false information through these methods can hamper a desired behavior change.

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