Beulah Emig knew the Tsa Banana project was off to a good start when 12% of her total target population showed up at the project launch. Beulah, the 19-year-old coordinator of Population Services International (PSI) Botswana’s adolescent reproductive health project, was surprised to see that her audience contained 3,000 of the 25,000 13- to 18-year-olds in the Botswana town of Lobatse.
“I had expected about 300 kids. Until that point we had done a lot of shows as part of our normal social marketing activities,” Beulah said, “but this audience was the most vocal and active I had seen.” A successful launch was imperative because Beulah’s project would need to produce measurable results in only eight months.
Tsa Banana—which means “For Adolescents” in Setswana—was a USAID-funded project to test the impact of youth-oriented social marketing techniques. The project ran from March 1995 to March 1996. The project commissioned baseline and follow-up knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices studies in Francistown (the control site) and Lobatse (the intervention site). Though the project ended in 1996, most of the components and strategies of Tsa Banana have continued in Botswana, and have been replicated in Zambia, Malawi, and Namibia.