Initiated in 2006, the JOMA (Jovens Para Mudança e Acção) Project develops young Mozambicans’ capacities to recognise and adopt behaviours that reduce HIV transmission by pairing life skills with technical skills training in more than 40 secondary school-based clubs across Mozambique. The project facilitates the formation of communication clubs in schools which are designed to teach youth competencies in communication, health, civic responsibility, and leadership. Activities challenge youth to think critically about their behaviours and how to make decisions that positively influence their personal health and the health of the community.

Communication Strategies: 

The United States Peace Corps places volunteers with various skills, including teaching skills, around the world for a two-year period. According to the organisers, the JOMA Project in Mozambique takes advantage of Peace Corps Volunteer teachers' dual roles as colleagues and mentors, working with both the volunteers and their local counterparts to develop tools and strategies to facilitate school communication clubs. These clubs focus on journalism, photojournalism, theatre, music, or art, and train students as peer educators to promote and support healthy behaviours among their fellow students. Students participating in JOMA clubs produce school newspapers, theatre and music performances, photo exhibitions, and murals. Using JOMA’s curriculum to facilitate these activities provides youth with life skills and creates debate among youth on issues including cultural norms and healthy behaviour. The activities also offer club participants an outlet for creativity and a sense of accomplishment—promoting youths’ self-esteem, an important aspect of HIV prevention.

The objectives of the JOMA clubs are to:

  • reduce the incidence of HIV transmission among Mozambican youth through the promotion of positive behaviours;
  • implement community-level communication projects by secondary school youth and teachers;
  • identify and train Mozambican teachers to guide youth in the exploration of Mozambican cultural norms and the selection of healthy behaviours; and
  • promote healthy behaviour among youth through various communication media produced by the project.

Working as a team, teachers and student leaders form a JOMA Club. Although the clubs' overall purpose is to promote behaviour change, develop critical thinking and life skills, and develop peer educators, they are styled as communication clubs, and therefore not viewed by students as "peer education" or "activism" focused. However, they are both, as club participants promote to their communities the very behaviours that they learn and practice themselves.

According to organisers, the JOMA project ensures that participating students and teachers are working from a solid knowledge base. JOMA has partnered extensively with Mozambican professionals in club project areas, who annually visit schools to participate in the training process. Every year, the JOMA Project organises regional training conferences to supplement in-school club activities. The conferences are attended by teacher and student representatives from participating clubs in order to develop skills necessary to form their clubs and implement club related activities. Volunteers also seek out local organisations working in HIV prevention to develop partnerships and draw on their strengths and experience.

Development Issues: 


Partner Text: 

United States Peace Corps and Acquire Project


The JOMA Project website on December 1 2008 and email from Matthew Rysavy on April 24 2010. Image credit: Kevin Skolnik