Picture it. Biology labs, awkward conversations with teachers, and tedious textbooks. Sound familiar? At Dance4Life we take a different approach to sexual health awareness. Sexuality education cannot be seen as a regular school subject, like biology; it is an integral part of adolescent development and should be approached as such. That’s why the Dance4Life places empowerment at its core.
Based on insights from over a decade of implementation and the most recent evidence and scientific findings, the Dance4Life Empowerment Model is developed by and for young people. The core of our model is the Journey4Life, a curriculum that is delivered by trained peer leaders called Champions4Life who empower young people rather than educate them. We also know it’s not enough to empower young people as a stand-alone intervention; they also need access to youth friendly services and fewer structural barriers to their well-being. So we strictly select franchisees with a strong track record of working on these issues, either themselves or within networks, alliances and partnerships.
The Dance4Life Empowerment Model
Based on insights from over a decade of implementation and the most recent evidence and scientific findings, the Dance4Life Empowerment Model is developed by and for young people. The core of our model is the Journey4Life, a curriculum that is delivered by trained Champions4Life, who empower young people rather than educate them.
Five key strategies underpin our Empowerment model. Three with a specific focus on delivery and two with a focus on linking empowerment with the uptake of services and enabling community support.
- Peer-led approach in which Champions4Life serve as role models who stimulate challenging social norms.
- Experiential learning methodologies that resonate with youth culture and address real life problems.
- Engaging and creative facilitation that creates a safe space for sharing personal experiences.
- Activating young people for community support.
- Referral to services and factual information.
Building social emotional competences
The Dance4Life Model is based on the evidence that young people with developed social emotional competencies are empowered to take informed decisions about their life. The model promotes positive development by enhancing five interrelated competencies, which are key to effectively and ethically dealing with daily tasks and challenges:
- social awareness,
- (healthy) relationship skills,
- responsible decision-making.
For young people to practice healthy and safe sexual behaviour, they have to form intentions to change their behavior and take personal leadership over their sexual lives. The core determinants for these intentions to be formed are:
- Building confidence;
- Creating gender equal attitudes and;
- Critically assessing and challenging existing social norms.
Decreasing those health threats can only happen if young people practice healthy and safe sexual behaviour which contributes to their well-being. Examples are: buying and using contraceptives, delaying sexual debut, forming healthy relationships, decreasing the number of (irregular) sexual partners and accessing health services.
Dance4life’s ultimate goal is to decrease the prevalence of three of the biggest sexual health threats young people face these days: HIV, unwanted pregnancies and sexual and gender based violence.