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Padare Engages Sulumani Chimbetu

Padare organized a Family Fun Day with the main objective to mobilize men in support of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV. The day was held specifically to bring families together to discuss on how best to protect unborn babies from contracting the HIV virus at and during Birth. Previously in most of the dialogues held, it was noted that men would shun such discussion forums because they viewed them as places were only the HIV positive hang out and some men also viewed the dialogues as boring hence Padare’s engagement of Sulumani Chimbetu and drama groups to provide edutainment to these men and their families. Sulumani is also a favourite for all age groups thus engaging him helped bridge the generation gap. In attendance were traditional leaders from the province including Chief Chiveso and Chief Musana, also supporting Padare were representatives from the different government Ministries such as Gender, Women’s Affairs and Health. A mobile testing center was also on site to test people at the stadium.

Through engaging the crowd in question and answer segments and giving away prizes, Padare made sure that those who attended the show did not just come and enjoying themselves rather people were made to answer questions which were focusing on the PMTCT program, this deepened the engagement with people because as people strived to win prizes they also managed to grasp what Padare is  all about and also an understanding of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) program.

Chief Musana led by example by being amongst the first people to be tested on the day. This was an important as it showed that traditional chiefs were already fulfilling carrying out what they had committed in their commitment charter which they agreed upon during the launch of the program. It also showed that engaging traditional leaders was bearing fruits as they are now being seen in the forefront urging their subjects to follow suit.

During the process of partnering with the artist, Padare takes the opportunity to engage artist like Sulumani Chimbetu on a brief overview of what Padare is and also what the PMTCT program hoped to achieve. Padare is cognisant of the fact that most men in Zimababwe including such musicians may be sexist. Hence Padare seizes the opportunity to engage this artist when partnering with them. In this case through further engagement, the band members got a clearer understanding of the reason why men should actively participate in PMTCT programs. Further engagement is however needed with the artist as some of the stereotypical views they have emanate from the nature of their jobs and socialisation take time to abandon.

Engaging artist like Suluman Chimbetu who has a big name in the music industry also has the advantage of attracting big crowds most being men. In this case the family fun day was attended by close to 2000 people and three quarters of those in attendance were men. Men not only outnumbered women in attending the show but also outnumbered the number of women who visited the mobile clinics for VCT. Statistics from the mobile testing centres on site during the show showed that a total number of 76 people were tested in four hours and 50 of these were men whilst women were 20. The same statistics show  that seventy-six people were tested in just four hours this translates to 246 people getting tested in 24hrs, such statistics are a great achievement and of special note is that males who got tested far outnumbered the females. This is a clear indication that the event achieved its goals which were to mobilize men and get them to participate in the PMTCT programs.