Culture and communication strategies in HIV prevention in Mozambique (VLIRUOS-IUS UEM)

Start - End 
2015 - 2018 (ongoing)



Lurdes Rodrigues (PhD to be defended in summer 2018)

Background: The primary adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) challenges in Mozambique are: early marriage, early pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. In 1999, the Programa Geração Biz (PGB), based on peer education, was created to address these issues faced by young people - ‘the busy generation’ as the programme’s name in Portuguese suggests. Additionally, its purpose was to improve their sexual and reproductive health (SRH). However, Mozambican youths continue to be exposed to risks related to their SRH. Academic literature recognises that factoring in local culture is key to enhancing effective delivery of communication programmes. Concurrently, studies point to a lack of research and analysis of health campaign communication strategies. Given the country’s wide variety in terms of language and culture, this dissertation explores whether current PGB communication strategies take into account the country’s diverse and complex cultural reality. The goals of this dissertation are: (i) examine PGB communication strategies, accessed by analysing the communication strategies used by peer educators; (ii) reveal cultural challenges identified by peer educators and adolescents when delivering and receiving health messages; (iii) explore the peer educators’ strategies to deal with the identified cultural challenges; and (iv) identify the implications of these challenges for the PGB. Methods: Research methods included non-participant observation, in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. Research questions were based on the McGuire Communication/Persuasion Model, and data analysed thematically using Nvivo Pro11.