Storytelling game unearth otherwise hidden vision.

“I want to be a farmer” said a 15 years old mother from Manyara Region

 “My dream has come true; I now keep poultry that my father bought me after he knew that my passion was to keep chicken. He would not have known if it was not the story telling game introduced by USAID|Afya yangu at our family….” said Stella.

Stella Damian is 15 years old young mother from Manyara who lives with her aunt and uncle Mr. and Mrs. Andrea Hans. When Stella was three years old, Mr. and Mrs. Hans adopted her from her biological parents because her mother and father had separated.

As one of many teenagers who contracted HIV from their parents but are still living with it, Stella has been able to lead a normal life, Stella is one of many adolescents living with HIV and ARVs have made Stella live her life until today. Stella’s life would have been changed if her mother used PMTCT, but now she has faced the challenge and attempting to protect her own child. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy who tested HIV-negative.

Stella is one of 27 girls in every 100 who get pregnant as teenager in Tanzania. Stella dropped from Secondary school because of pregnancy and this was probably because she did not have comprehensive Sexual and reproductive health education.

One day the whole family was playing the storytelling game, Stella was holding her card that said “what are your dreams? What do you hope to achieve in your life?”. Then she said “I want to be a farmer” and then her father asked “what kind of a farmer?”, then Stella said she wants to become a poultry farmer. Her father then promised to buy her two chickens to start with, a cock and a hen. In the next week Stella’s father bought her the chicken as he promised and told her that she will buy her more after managing to keep the two chickens. Poultry keeping has become one of the famous businesses in the world and in Tanzania, accounting to about 72 million chicken. Chicken is a source of protein as eggs and as meat. This project will not only benefit economically but also health wise. Stella’s parents would not have known about their daughter’s passion if it hadn’t been for a story-telling game. 

USAID Afya yangu is implementing the Human Centered Design (HCD) approach to identify barriers to use health services and co-create with communities’ solutions that will be game changer to their challenges. One challenge identified was lack of communication among family members, which then limit children’s ability to express themselves and live their dreams. As a result of HCD, a story telling game was developed in Dodoma, piloted and approved for roll out final testing. The solution was introduced in Manyara region and the family of Mr. Andrea Hans was among the five families that benefited from this final testing.