Kuwa Mjanja is a girl-powered call to action that seeks to reframe the narrative about girls, and contraception, in Tanzania.
In Tanzania, A360’s Kuwa Mjanja delivers entrepreneurial skills and contraceptive counseling sessions— tailored to and branded for the unique needs of the girls we serve. Across disciplines and in partnership with girls, Kuwa Mjanja supports girls aged 15-19 to explore the role contraception plays in helping them achieve their life dreams, today.
Girls served with modern contraception
Districts holding events
% of girls voluntarily adopting a method after engaging with A360
% of girls voluntarily taking up a long-acting method
Data from Jan. 2018 through Jan. 2019. Data pending validation.
A Girl-Powered Call to Action
Kuwa Mjanja girls stand tall, wear their crown and are sweet on the inside. It’s a movement defined by and for girls.
It takes the bravest of us to make important decisions. That’s true of every girl Kuwa Mjanja serves. As a brand, Kuwa Mjanja is a living embodiment of respect, fun and youthfulness. Girls redefined “Kuwa Mjanja” (Be Smart). The traditional Swahili phrase was used as a euphemism for”being clean” (in reference to menstrual hygiene) and “staying away from boys.” Blending delightful branding with a redefined message, Kuwa Mjanja is disrupting the status quo, with girls driving ship.
This video was produced in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation.
In Tanzania, there are 2.3 million girls aged 15-19. More than half of girls within this age group are sexually active, but three in five do not have access to a family planning method. Of those who do use contraception, only three in 10 resort to a modern method. It’s within this landscape that Kuwa Mjanja (Be Smart) delivers life, skills and contraceptive counseling sessions—tailored to and branded for the unique needs of the girls we serve.
Kuwa Mjanja taps into girls’ priorities: finding ways to make money, managing growing responsibility and navigating the transition to adulthood. This framing helps girls figure explore how they might achieve these goals, of which includes contraception.
With programming offered in delightfully branded pop-up outreach events and public and private health clinics, Kuwa Mjanja creates a space for girls to feel special and part of something bigger than just themselves.
And it works. 1 in 2 Tanzanian girls who adopt a modern contraceptive through Kuwa Mjanja events does not yet have a child. In a country in which more than half of Tanzanian girls fall pregnant before the age of 20, our efforts are delaying girls’ first births.
A360 flips traditional family planning messaging on its head— building from what girls say they want to deliver reproductive health services when and how they need.
Click the below breakouts to explore the insights that shaped how A360 is changing the conversation around contraception.
Insight: Many girls experience a sense of isolation after marriage due to restrictions on physical movement and a redefining of their social relational roles.
In order to even consider contraception, Tanzanian girls first need economic and social support systems.
Through community-based and in- or near-clinic events, Kuwa Mjanja offers social outlets to promote inclusion, all structured around the Kuwa Mjanja brand that girls know and trust.
Insight: Menses and body changes are safe entry points for talking to unmarried girls about their contraceptive needs.
Through Know Your Body classes, girls learn more about their bodies, puberty, and reproduction. Here – and during private counseling with a youth-friendly provider – girls can openly dig deeper into their questions about their reproductive health, which includes contraception.
Insight: Girls trust their mothers and want to share with them.
We transform mothers and fathers into contraceptive allies by engaging them in pre-counseling efforts.
Kuwa Mjanja's Approach
Click the below breakouts to explore our approach.
We make contraception relevant and valuable to girls, today.
- Kuwa Mjanja approach: Reframe the conversation. This isn’t about family planning. This is about girls. Bring the brand to life to demonstrate the reframe. By blending adolescent developmental science with social marketing, cultural anthropology, Human-Centered Design (HCD) and Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH), Kuwa Mjanja delivers programming offered in delightfully branded pop-up outreach events in partnership with public and private health facilities.
- Messaging to girls: “Get inspired, discover what’s possible and take action. You are part of something bigger than yourself.”
- Messaging to parents: “Girls are valuable. To achieve their health and non-related health goals, they need support.”
We build credibility through branding that communicates "you are worthy."
- Kuwa Mjanja approach: Kuwa Mjanja is a girl-centric brand that leverages storytelling, symbolism and beauty as ways to connect with girls. The brand uses a pineapple motif as an inspirational and familiar symbol to showcase our slogan: Stand Tall, Wear a Crown and are Beautiful on the Inside.
- Messaging to girls: “Be like these Mjanja girls who have taken control of their lives and are on a path to achieve their goals.”
- Messaging to parents: “Your daughters can be like these Mjanja girls if given the right tools and skills.”
We create a supportive environment for young girls to access reproductive health-services and information.
- Kuwa Mjanja approach: We work alongside girls’ influencers to fuel a movement, from the ground on up. Engaging parents, for example, allows us to address their concerns and demystify our activities. By reaching them through pre-counseling outreach, we debunk misconceptions surrounding contraception and build their support so they encourage their daughters to partake in Kuwa Mjanja.
- Messaging to girls: “The community is talking about this and recognize your value. They support you.”
- Messaging to parents: “Girls are depending on you. We cannot let them down. We all benefit when girls succeed. Encourage your daughter to engage. Talk to your community about the importance of this.”
We segment outreach to reach girls where they are emotionally, socially and cognitively.
- Younger Farida and older Bahati are the archetypes of typical Tanzanian girls that Kuwa Mjanja serves. By segmenting our outreach, we ensure we’re delivering information in a way that resonates with speaks to where girls are developmentally, emotionally and cognitively. By doing so, girls have the capacity to make informed decision about her body, her health and her life.
- Farida participates in clinic-based learnings and service delivery experience where mobilizers use menses and puberty as entry points to discuss contraception and introduce the Kuwa Mjanja brand. Here, she engages in an opt-out moment with a Kuwa Mjanja-trained and youth-friendly health provider.
- Bahati learns about Kuwa Mjanja through a Kuwa Mjanja Queen, or a “super-user” who engages peers to onboard new Kuwa Mjanja members. The Queen tells Bahati about a pop-up event, and asks for Bahati’s phone number so she can send her an SMS reminder. Bahati gets an SMS reminder day of, and attends a pop-up event designed to inspire girls to dream and map out the steps they can take to achieve their life goal. During the event, Bahati meets with a nurse to learn more and, should she choose, take up a contraceptive method.
We work within spaces that girls say they feel most comfortable in.
- Kuwa Mjanja Pop-Up Events hosted in communities, in-clinics or near clinics spark excitement and inspire younger girls to return to clinics for services. Public messages broadcasted via Kuwa Mjanja-branded cars’ loudspeakers share information about upcoming Kuwa Mjanja events through fun, hip and on-brand messages.
- Kuwa Mjanja Clinic Days build girls’ understanding that clinics are safe spaces for girls to access reproductive health service from youth-friendly providers—when and wherever they want. It’s designed as not just an educational, but a safe space to help girls thrive.
With and for girls, we're creating digital pathways to contraceptive continuation.
- Mjanja Connect, developed in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation and implemented through Kuwa Mjnaja, is an interactive pre-counseling Android app that supports community health workers to connect with and refer girls aged 15-19 to reproductive health services.
- Through a series of “BuzzFeed-style” quizzes to segment girls by life stage and videos with actors giving testimonials on the methods chosen, Mjanja Connect reframes the value of contraception for girls and her influencers by meeting her where, when and how she needs.
- Developed alongside A360’s Young Designers, Mjanja Connect iterated on young people’s insights to design the digital solution. Girls told A360 that they feared contraception could hurt their fertility. As a result, Mjanja Connect’s testimonial videos featuring “girls like me” lead with a return to fertility; interactive quizzes demystify the myths surrounding changes in mensuration. Girls told A360 they wanted options, yet didn’t want to be overwhelmed by the choices. Based on answers to the quizzes, the app presents two method recommendations for girls to compare side-by-side, and watch video testimonials delivered by “girls like me” to hear first-hand of why they selected the method, what they can expect when they receive it at the clinic and what side effects are a product of the contraceptive chosen.
We work alongside the government to leave behind a system for continued coverage.
- Kuwa Mjanja supports the Tanzania MOH to provide vocational skills training and contraceptive counseling with youth-friendly health providers for free, across channels girls can access and through messaging that speaks to girls at their respective life stages.
Voices from the Field
HCD elevates our target population as equal project designers and implementers. It means we are continually listening to what adolescent girls say they want so that we can deliver what they need.
Going into the field to learn from adolescents has changed how we listen to each other. HCD has left us with a deep empathy for the girls. It assures us that all the views we raise are in favor of the girls we serve.