:: THE PROJECT
WATU WA WATU
Evolving Social Movement, Festival and Film
General Report and Information, last up-date August 2008
|The maize top - symbol of |
Watu Wa Watu
|Different fabric to stand togehter|
Watu Wa Watu, ' People of People' , is an evolving grassroots movement of individuals and communities to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS through concerted efforts to raise HIV/AIDS awareness.
The idea of WATU WA WATU originated in the region of Morogoro at Malinyi, Ulanga District.
The local doctor M. Mwemi working at Lugala Lutheran Hospital, Mailinyi, invited MAAA members to visit Tanzania, in order to introduce to them the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the area.
During the first visit of his collegue and MAAA founder R.E. Futterer an analysis of the situation in winter 2004 was made. It became obvious that an estimated 10% of the population was possibly HIV/AIDS infected . Also, Dr. Mwemi shared the fact that in the past no sensitization of the community had taken place.
The community consists of various tribes spread in many villages across the region including Bena, Sukuma, Maasai and others with different socio-cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs and denominations.
As a first step, different tribes and groups of communities were visited and interviewed [videotaped not yet available]
about their needs and concerns related to HIV/AIDS.
The Sukuma tribe - Ngoma Salama ("Safe Drumming")
Realizing their openness and eagerness to be provided with basic information about the disease, spontaneous speeches and discussions on HIV/AIDS issues were held in both public and social institutions. Written information was also sent to key persons in society such as teachers, youth, priests, village and tribal leaders.
Simultaneously, different artists like painters, ngoma (drums and song), performance and drama groups in the region were gathered and they prepared to participate in a huge sensitization festival planned for the winter to come.
Meanwhile the preparations for the festival which was completely based on a participatory approach, community involvement without sponsorship, a WATU WA WATU HIV/AIDS Committee formed at Malinyi. This consists of leaders of upcoming women's, youth, artist and football groups - all of them dedicated to the concept of Watu Wa Watu.
WATU WA WATU at Malinyi August 2005
The essence of Watu Wa Watu is to support the community at large to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and mitigate its impact on society.
The first festival took place on 7th August 2005 on the grounds of Nawigo Primary School at Malinyi. More than 2000 people came to listen and learn about the biological, medical and socio-cultural dimension of the disease. The festival programme included speeches
of HIV/AIDS activists, group leaders and various artistic performances and also Kindergarten and school performances.
Br. Samuel giving a speech on HIV/AIDS and Youth
Moreover, peer condom demonstrators and distributors for selected youths supported the teaching sessions between artistic performances. An arts gallery was also open to all visitors.
SEEDS OF AWARENESS (rice, beans, chillie and green gram seeds)
|Know AIDS, listen and learn||Beware of AIDS, to Save Lives
|Wazima Moto: The fire (Ukimwi - AIDS) extinguishers, Usiku usiweke
According to many voices of participants from different corners of society the festival was a big success and a cornerstone for future development and expansion of Watu Wa Watu activities.
Invited guests included Youth, student and group leaders from Kilimanjaro Area, Dodoma, Morogoro, Ifakara, Itete, Dar-es-salaam and two NGOs from Switzerland and Germany.
All of them appreciated and encouraged the Watu Wa Watu movement and promised to support this unique and genuine impulse and to spread this initiative throughout the country and East Africa.
The whole event was documented by video and photographs. The first documentary with the same name, WATU WA WATU, was edited in 2006 and is meant to serve the communities as learning and teaching materials in the future. To see the film, click here
During the evaluation of the festival by members of Watu Wa Watu and Tanzanians Youth leaders, plans emerged to create a common network of information and communication among interested individuals and groups inside the country and across the border.
Start from top left: Rikamanjaro -"In the footsteps of Kilimanjaro" at Kinukamori Waterfalls - Marangu, Wooden bridge at the waterfalls; Preparations for the PEACE TILES PROJECT at Marangu.
It is hoped this will help to co-ordinate future events like festivals, seminars, workshops and conferences. This will also ensure meaningful collaborations and networking with other grassroots movements, local, national and international friends and partners, in order to enhance social mobilization and change at large.
PRINCIPLES of WATU WA WATU
Watu Wa Watu is a non-profit, non-Governmental, charitable, non-sectarian and politically independent grassroots movement. Watu Wa Watu is A Honorary Member of Mankind Aids Arts Awareness (MAAA).
Watu Wa Watu is based on the following principles:
(people serve people)
Relationship and Mutual Respect
Protection of the Environment
Development of the Human Creative Potential
Universal and Adult Education
MEMBERS of WATU WA WATU
Watu Wa Watu Women's Group, Lugala
Amani Youth Group, Malinyi
Amani Artist Group, Malinyi and Ifakara
Amani Youth Social Profession Group, Malinyi and Marangu
Usiku Usiweke,'Beware of the Darkness' (dance and performance), Kipingo
Umoja Cultural Group (dance, performance and drama), Lugala
Ndendeule Theatre Group, Ifakara
TUI group, Itete (tentative)
MAAA Members, Germany
Other future plans and activities of WATU WA WATU and MAAA (realized or still in progress from 2004 onwards)
Contact WATU WA WATU:
International Youth Leader Conference (IYLC) 'Highway to HIV/AIDS Awareness' at Marangu Kinukamori Waterfalls, Kilimanjaro, February 2006.
'The Chagga Mirror' - an artistic documentation about Chagga culture and history in the context of HIV/AIDS, 2006-2007
The 'Kumbukumbu' - a virtual MAAA Memorial (PDF file) for all AIDS victims and supporters around the world, 2007-
MAAA Sponsorship Initiative EDUFOUNDATION (school fees) for poor students interested in social professions in the region around Malinyi, 2005-
Establishing WATU WA WATU information centers at Malinyi, 2007-
Being part of other creative arts communication projects for HIV/AIDS prevention, see e.g. THE FORUM, 2008-
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