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Zathu: using the power of music and storytelling to unite boys and girls for a more equal Malawi

Born out of Malawian culture, Zathu uses the power of music and storytelling to close the gender gap and tackle challenging topics such as relationships, stereotypes, self-expression and sexual health. Zathu, meaning ‘ours’ in Chichewa, was launched in Malawi by Girl Effect in 2017 to help tackle the structural and negative social drivers that reinforce gender inequality. Created in collaboration with PEPFAR DREAMS, Zathu’s mission is to unite boys and girls and, in turn, reduce HIV diagnosis among adolescent girls and young women.

Zathu reaches 4.3 million people in Malawi with its content. 1.8 million young people aged 10-19, including 820,000 girls, consume Zathu’s branded content through music, a radio drama and youth clubs. Results show:

    • 93% of Zathu girl consumers have improved friendships with boys.
    • 94% of regular consumers of Zathu learnt about gender equality.
    • 95% of consumers aged 12-17 have increased confidence levels, making them “feel more in control” of their lives.   

U.S. Department of State

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