Eh!woza operates at the intersection of public engagement, youth education, advocacy, and skills development. Projects are primarily youth focussed and driven by a desire to engage people and areas most heavily impacted by infectious disease. This is accomplished by connecting young people to high impact biomedical research conducted locally, and by providing the skills and equipment to produce industry standard health-related media that reflects the individual, social and emotional cost of disease. The project aims to encourage positive health seeking behaviour, engender trust, and ultimately decrease associated stigma.
The organisation was established in 2013 as an informal collaboration between local artists and scientists, and exists today as a trans-disciplinary initiative involving biomedical researchers at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), University of Cape Town (UCT), conceptual artist, Ed Young, social scientists, and youth from Khayelitsha, a peri-urban township situated on the outskirts of Cape Town.
Since its inception, Eh!woza has developed multiple inter-related community and public engagement projects, Eh!woza doccies, MSF/Musos/DR-TB Collab and Eh!woza Schools. Eh!woza also places strong emphasis on capacity development both among junior biomedical researchers and previous participants of Eh!woza projects to facilitate knowledge. Training concentrates on the conceptual, logistical and creative aspects of Eh!woza work, ensuring critical sustainability as well as a mechanism for creation of media that is situationally relevant, and informs co-production and dissemination of knowledge.
Enhanced by strategic collaborations with local partners, Eh!woza successfully applied to the Wellcome Trust for a Discretionary Award in Public Engagement in 2019. This prestigious multi-year award has catalysed Eh!woza’s transition from an informal grouping into an independent NPO that provides a sustainable platform for high quality CPE within southern Africa. Eh!woza was incubated within the IDM and UCT and continues to receive funding from the South African National Research Foundation. The organisation maintains very close ties with these local institutions.
NPC registration number: 2018/371328/08
NPO registration number: 223 233
Section 18A PBO pending registration.
Eh!woza doccies. Eh!woza’s oldest project engages youth in Khayelitsha with high impact TB research conducted at the IDM and combines the exposure to biomedical research with intensive film production workshops over a period of six months, in which learners are provided with industry grade film equipment and guided to produce short documentaries about the personal and social impact of TB. Around 4 – 5 documentaries are produced annually, dealing with TB and associated issues of poverty, mental health, HIV, sexual violence, access and social justice.
MSF/Muso/DR-TB Collab is a collaboration with the global humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), that facilitates story-telling between survivors of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) and young Khayelitsha-based musicians. The aim is the production of music, music videos and cyphers reflecting the experience of having and surviving DR-TB.
Still in its developmental phase, Eh!woza Schools aims to use media produced in the two projects above to stimulate robust and lively discussion around health and the social determinants of health, and widely disseminate knowledge through school attending youth.
Key collaborations and partners:
Molecular Mycobacteriology Research Unit. The MMRU has been closely involved in the organisation’s growth and development over the years. Having provided seed funding for Eh!woza’s pilot project, the MMRU provided key support for Eh!woza’s inaugural public engagement work. Postgraduate students from the unit are closely involved in facilitating science workshops and Prof. Digby Warner, the co-director of MMRU, is one of Eh!woza’s founding directors.
IkamvaYouth. Learners enrolled in Eh!woza Doccies are recruited from the Makhaza branch of IkamvaYouth, an NGO that provides extra-curricular tutoring to high school learners. Ikamva Youth thus forms a close and long-standing partner and provides much needed advice around the needs of learners in Makhaza.
Médecins Sans Frontières. The Khayelitsha project of MSF is a partner on the MSF/Musos/DR-TB Collab. Young adults that are part of MSF-facilitated drug resistant TB treatment adherence groups are brought together with Khayelitsha-based musicians to encourage the production of music, music videos and cyphers inspired by the experiences of surviving DR-TB.
Botswana Harvard Partnership (Lucy Mupfumi and others). SANTHE PhD fellow, Lucy Mupfumi, was awarded a DELTAS Africa Seed Award in public engagement grant to engage young people in Gaborone with TB research by applying an Eh!woza-style model. Workshops, conducted over a period of two weeks in Jan 2020, led to the production of a film developed and shot by workshop participants. This film forms a key output of the pilot work that will hopefully become an annually run project.
Wellcome Centre of Infectious Disease Research in Africa. CIDRI-Africa has provided strong institutional support for Eh!woza over the past five years. Ed Young currently holds a PE Award administered by the centre (until May 2021) and Prof. Digby Warner leads CIDRI-Africa’s basic sciences platform. The two groups have already co-implemented several projects, with more to come over the next few years.
University of Cape Town. The Office for Social Responsiveness at UCT has provided important advice and support to Eh!woza around engaged scholarship and socially responsive research. Directors, Tasha Koch and Bianca Masuku, have both completed the Engaged Scholarship programme facilitated by the OSR, which has enriched Eh!woza’s perspective of engaged research.
Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (Prof Nolwazi Mkhwanazi). By co-supervising two PhD students, Prof. Nolwazi Mkhwanazi forms a key partner for qualitative assessment and research around Eh!woza’s outcomes. Moreover, Eh!woza was a key collaborator on Wellsexuality, a project that aimed to gain insights into young people’s perceptions of sex and sexuality and how this might influence the uptake of public health programmes.
Interfer (Nabeel Petersen). While no formal projects have been co-implemented as of yet, several potential projects are being developed with Nabeel. He is also a partner in arranging a symposium that will bring together individuals and organisations interested in or already implementing public engagement work to establish a Southern African community of practise.
WigWam (Michael Linders). Michael Linders from WigWam TV provides invaluable creative and technical input for art department and production design for all of Eh!woza’s music videos.