An interview with Plot Mhako, Projects Director, Jibilika Dance Trust
When was Jibilika Dance Trust formed?
Jibilika was formed in March 2007, initially registered as a limited company then in 2009 we registered as a trust. We started Jibilika to promote dance and youth culture for development and engagement purposes
Who plays the leading role in this important work?
The youth play a pivotal role in all our projects. Our target group are young people and all our work is tailored for them and also administered by youths.
And your vision?
Our vision is youth engagement and development through popular culture. The initiative seeks to promote the dance industry, exploit capabilities to alleviate poverty, generate employment, as well as economic, social and cultural growth.
What kind of programmes are you currently implementing?
We are running Step Up 2 HIV project, a dance and music project that engages young people in promoting an HIV and AIDS free generation. The project uses popular youth culture as a medium to ‘step up’ the fight against HIV and AIDS. Step Up 2 HIV uses mediums that young people are interested in outside of the classroom such as elements of hip hop and dancehall as the bridge to teach them about HIV/AIDS empowering them with the knowledge, tools and opportunity to use their own art, media and ideas to promote and work for an AIDS free generation. The project was launched in 2012 with support from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and is running in schools and communities in five provinces.
We also organise the Jibilika Dance Festival that celebrates its 7th year anniversary as well as other community programs.
Are you fulfilled by the work you do?
We are greatly fulfilled by our work owing to the positive response we get from young people who come in numbers for our community work and outreach programs.
Do you have any activities planned for the rest of the year?
We will produce and present Step up 2 HIV dance and music performances in at least 30 schools and 10 communities in Harare, Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Gweru. The performances will be on issues around HIV Prevention and Sexual Reproductive Health. School clubs and community peer groups will be established and empowered to replicate the campaign. We are also hosting the national finals of the Jibilika Dance Festival on the 4th of October in Harare.