Hip Hop Meets Health Education

During the recent needs assessment exercise I conducted with children participating in the strong>Hip Hop Therapy Project (HHTP) two of the needs that emerged were:

  • 1.The children expressed a need for more information around sexual and reproductive health.
  • 2. The children expressed the desire to showcase their breakdance skills and talents.

  • In an effort to respond to the first expressed need, I decided to partner with Straight Talk Foundation. Straight Talk Foundation is a Ugandan health communication organization that promotes communication for social change through print, radio and face-to-face interventions for adolescents (ages 10-19) and young adults (ages 20-24). Straight Talk Foundation also operates the Gulu Youth Centre, which provides free tests and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), counseling services, and health information materials for young people.

    Straight Talk Foundation has agreed to provide space at the Gulu Youth Centre for breakdance classes to take place. This will help to expand the size of the Hip Hop Therapy Project as well as increase direct access to sexual and reproductive health education and services for the young people participating in the project.

    In order to get the word out about the new classes at the Gulu Youth Centre, I organized a Breakdance School Tour, during which teachers from Breakdance Project Uganda went to different schools in the area and gave free dance classes.

    Here are a few photos from the School Tour:

    Classes are currently being held at the Gulu Youth Centre twice a week (Wednesdays and Fridays) during the school holidays and will continue once a week after school starts up again on May 25th.

    In response to the second need expressed by the children, I’m organizing a “Back to School reakdance Challenge” on May 23, 2009. The purpose of this show is to provide the young people participating in the project with an opportunity to showcase their skills and talents and to reward them for their hard work and dedication.

    There will be individual competitions in different components of breakdancing (Toprock, Footwork, Popping) as well as a Beatmakers competition (making breakdance beats using traditional instruments) and a best overall B-boy and B-Girl competition.

    The prizes will include t-shirts, scholastic materials, bags, cash, and the grand prize will be a bicycle.

    I plan to use some of the funds I received from Fulbright and mtvU to organize the event but I’m looking for additional sponsors so if anyone knows any companies or organizations that might be interested in getting involved please contact me ASAP.

    The kids are really excited about the competition and so am I. I’ll be sure to report back on how it goes!

    7 thoughts on “Hip Hop Meets Health Education

    1. Hi Melissa
      Great to see the work you’ve been doing out in Uganda, it sounds really exciting. I was living in Uganda from 93-2001 and then in 04-06 and helped start the Breakdance Project Uganda and developing and shooting a documentary about it ever since. It would be great to chat and hear more about your work!Emile Dinneen (please drop me an email at bombaxfilms@gmail.com)


    2. Hey, Jay just told me about your blog the other day and I read the whole thing this morning. I have to say that I’m really impressed and proud of what our people can do with the potential that we all have. Keep it up and hopefully I can catch up with yall after you get back stateside.


    3. iam geria jordan from uganda. ilove break dancing but with nobody to help me. at school we have acrew called the sky steppers who we practise regular


    4. Hi Geria,

      Great to hear that you are breakdancing. I also like your crew’s name!

      Where in Uganda do you live? If you are in Kampala, you can go to Nsambya Youth Center for classes with Breakdance Project Uganda on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 – 8:00pm. The classes are free and all are welcome.

      If you are in Gulu, there are free classes at the Gulu Youth Center every Saturday from 2-4pm.



    5. First of all I would like to say terrific blog! I had a
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