Tai started the Pamoja Project in 2019, using 3D animation videos to create awareness about issues faced by disabled people in Tanzania and to reduce stigma and taboo related to this often-marginalized population.
Project status: On going
The issue we addressing
The Tanzanian education system is to promote and develop all individuals’ potentials and personalities; to do so this the Tanzanian government likewise implemented “The Education and Training Policy” in 2014, which ensures free universal education (Martinez, 2017).
Nevertheless, studies of students with disabilities in Tanzania indicate the urgent need for new initiatives to destroy the barriers which hinder education opportunities for children with disabilities.
According to the national study of persons with disabilities in Tanzania (Tanzania 2008 Disability Survey), 13.2% of all Tanzanian households have at least one member with a disability (Tanzania 2008 Disability Survey) and more than 4.2 million people in Tanzania live with a disability (CCBRT.org). Persons with disabilities are more likely to end up suffering from illiteracy, with about half (47.6%) of the population over 15 years of age living with a disability being illiterate.
There are several reasons behind the low school attendance amongst persons with disabilities. One of the biggest challenges is activity limitations caused by the disability. This is often caused by inadequate physical environments, such as the inappropriate design of school buildings which limits the ability to take part in activities. Many students face difficulty when it comes to learning materials because most schools do not have the necessary materials for students with disabilities (Mkumbo, 2008).
Children with disabilities often experience stigma and discrimination both in school from other students and from the surrounding community (Martinez, 2017). Because of the stigma, many disabled children are hidden away by their families and never enrolled in school.
By creating community dialogue, the Pamoja Project aims to reduce negative stereotypes and stigmas that people with disabilities face, using 3D animation.
Tai’s goals work closely in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) created by the United Nations: SDGs 1 and 4 focus specifically on issues related to people with disabilities. SDG 4 focuses on quality education which aims to secure inclusive education for all, including students with disabilities, and SDG 1 focuses on the connection between poverty and disability.
To address the many challenges people with disabilities face, Tai recognizes the unique value of using storytelling as a development method because it is known to be a successful tool to create social behavioral change! 3D animation films are a particularly useful tool for the development field because of their ability to create engagement, address sensitive topics, and deliver complex ideas.
As we aim to secure recognition and reflection from the viewers, each episode is based on stories and issues highlighted and given from people with disabilities themselves, reflecting five different disabilities: blindness, albinism, deafness, physical impairment, and mental disabilities. Each episode will revolve around a specific disability and reflect challenges and stigmas related to that disability. The project is based on the human-centered design (HCD), which is a method used to develop solutions to problems with the involvement of human perspectives in the problem-solving process.
We use 3D animation as an edutainment means, to engage the community.
We collect testimony from people with disabilities to give visibility on the challenges they face.
We share our videos to disseminate educational materials to the community, so as to reduce negative stereotypes and stigmas
Currently, the project is in its starting phase with an upcoming pilot episode reflecting physical impairment, which will be showcased through media and community engagement events.
During the starting phase of the half-year pilot in September 2019, Tai conducted a stakeholder engagement with representatives from several NGOs working with disabilities, teachers with disabilities, and students with disabilities. After this, we have collected stories from persons with a physical impairment to learn about issues they face, so that the episodes could be built around real-life experiences.
Each episode will be showcased on television channels, and radio theatre episodes will be played on national radio stations. Additionally, the episodes will be shared on social media platforms and community engagement events will take place. All episodes and the partnering activities will be in Swahili, the national language of Tanzania so that the intended message will easily be conveyed to students and community members.
The primary beneficiaries of the Pamoja Project are primary school students with disabilities and the main characters and stories in each episode will reflect their lives. The primary targets will be community members, including policymakers, community influencers, such as religious and community leaders, institutional leaders, social- and traditional media influencers, etc. These different levels of community members are chosen because they either influence peoples; attitudes towards disabled persons or because they engage with them.