dance4life youth empowerment

dance4life youth empowerment

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our vision is to live in a world without HIV and AIDS, that is also a main aim of the project. In order to achieve that, we are educating young people about HIV and AIDS, ways of transmission, risky and safe behavior, proper and regular use of condoms, and develop their life skills and healthy lifestyles that become an integrated part of their lives, and we are creating youth movement. We use dance, music and rhythm to inspire young people and send a positive message about importance of HIV/AIDS prevention. By gaining skills and making informed choices, young people are less likely to get infected. Methodology that we use is peer education. By changing oneself, environment and peers, change is happening on the society level.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

First of all, even though HIV and AIDS, and generally, reproductive health of youth, is an important problem of our society, there is only a few organizations that address these issues and dance4life is unique in its approach. Unfortunately, this is not a popular topic in Serbia. We are the only ones who use dance, music and rhythm as an innovative approach to education about HIV/AIDS. Music inspires and energizes young people, this is something that they are interested in and therefore, it makes education much more powerful. We empower young people firstly by educating and informing them, and secondly, by developing their life skills so they can always make informed choices when faced with risk. These life skills stay with them for the whole life, and it is something that they can share with their peers, friends, and environment they live in, thus making a strong impact. We stand out from the others because we include many young people, of different backgrounds, and help them become active participants in changing the society (therefore, term agents for change). We also have a special body called Youth Counsel, and it is consist of 12 agents for change, beneficiaries of the project, that are helping us to stay youth friendly project.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Primary activities of dance4life project are education and active involvement of youth. Our target group are young people in schools age between 13-19 years. In educative dimension, first step is Heart connection tour, when pupils learn universal dance4life choreography-dance, and gain basic knowledge about HIV and AIDS. This is our unique approach to education. We use dance to motivate young people, and then they acquire knowledge with least effort. Second step is having skills4life workshops, that addresses issues of discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS, changing attitudes and behavior, and gaining deeper knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Young people are invited to take their own actions in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, that takes them to third step, act4life. Young people can freely express and realize ideas and share knowledge in their environment, through for example, street actions, flash mobs, parties, and many other ways. After completing these three steps, young people become agents for change, they have mastered skills and healthy lifestyles necessary for prevention of HIV/AIDS, and making informed choices. Every second year we organize Live connection, big event that is simultaneously happening in all countries that are implementing the project worldwide, connected by satellite, where thousands of young people dance universal choreography and send a message of unity in this important goal of spreading the HIV/AIDS infection.
About You
Association against AIDS - JAZAS
About You
First Name


Last Name




About Your Organization
Organization Name

Association against AIDS - JAZAS

Organization Phone

+381 11 344 11 54

Organization Address

Njegoseva 41, 11000 Belgrade

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact
How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

The population of Serbia at the beginning of 2010. counts for 7.320.807 people. Serbs make up 82.86% of the population, many other nationalities live in the country, the biggest groups of which form Hungarians 3.91%, Bosniaks 1.82%, Roma 1.44%, Yugoslavs 1.08%, Croats 0.94%, Montenegrin 0.92%, Albanians 0.82%, Slovaks 0.79%.
Beside the Christian Orthodox population, there are also other religious communities in Serbia: Islamic, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and others.
Serbia has a relatively low rate of HIV prevalence which is largely concentrated in the vulnerable and marginalized populations of injecting drug users (IDUs), sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), Roma people, children and youth in institutionalized care, prison inmates and the military.
The volatile post-conflict environment of Serbia has also contributed to high levels of violence, against women, peer violence, violence against LGBT population, and other minorities, which serve to decrease respect for human’s rights and contribute to the pressure on young men to exhibit aggressive characteristics. These factors combined with strong patriarchal customs and low wages for women place all girls and young women in Serbia in a vulnerable position. Dance4life recognizes these problems and through tolerance and anti-discrimination tries to educate and empower them.
Taboos, and biases are still connected with condom use, and HIV/AIDS myths are main topic among youth, and sexual and reproductive health.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

In 2003, our two founders, Dennis Karpes and Ilco van der Linde, were struck by the force of the HIV pandemic and shared a passion to use their commercial expertise to turn the problem around. They created a new way of approaching youth in schools and an iconic brand to go with it. By involving young people and engaging millions of people around the world, their vision became reality.

In 2004, dance4life began in three countries: the Netherlands, Indonesia and South Africa. Now, dance4life has grown into an international organisation, active in nearly 30 countries. In 2007, Eveline Aendekerk became the director of dance4life international, taking over the baton from Ilco van der Linde.

In 2006 Vojislav Arsic [Y-PEER Serbia National Coordinator] and Milos Stojiljkovic [Y-PEER Serbia National Coordinator Alternate], met with dance4life movement in NYC on Y-PEER Global Advisory Bord meeting, and immediately started to advocate for this project to start in Serbia. At the time, in Serbia, there were a lot of HIV/AIDS projects, but they were all leaking something that will be attractive to young people, something that will motivate them to go through education, and become active member of the movement. After 2 full Years, in 2008 Serbia officially become part of dance4life movement, and Association against AIDS - JAZAS become National Concept Owner and Milos Stojiljkovic become Managing director of the movement. From then dance4life spread in 6 regions across Serbia with intention to grow. More then 13.000 young people were educated through dance4life project.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Since the beginning of dance4life project in 2008., we have educated more then 13000 young people, through series of workshops and inspired them to actively participate in society. These young people, agents for change, have developed healthy lifestyles and skills necessary to avoid risks that come with sexual intercourse.

All of our training's are followed by report from educators/trainers, and lists of participants, with contact details. Each region has Local Coordinator, and Assistant of Local Coordinator, and they are compiling reports from educators/trainers, and submit monthly report to dance4life national team. Dance4life National team is submitting report to dance4life International quarterly.

Indicators that we are following are # of schools receiving education (HCT-Hearth connection tour, or Skills for life- peer education workshop), # of females reached, # of males reached, # of schools with Organizational teams, # of teams that are conducting training's/educations, # of agents for change, # of ambassadors that support dance4life project, # condoms distributed, # of activities organized by agents for change, # of implementing partners, # of press releases, # of advertisement placed (TV/radio/print/Cinema/Internet), # of media partnership.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

-Organization of mass education for 3000 young people from schools in Belgrade
-Fundraising, media campaign, support from institutions, organizations, government, school authorities, ministries

Task 1

Organization of mass education for 3000 young people from Belgrade schools. Media campaign and increasing visibility of project in media and general public

Task 2

According to fundraising strategy, gaining financial help from both in order to acheive goals, and increase the number of educated young people. Writting project proposals.

Task 3

Gaining support from Ministry of education, that is going to ease entering schools and include more young people. Support from international organizations, and private sector.

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Making sexual and reproductive heath issues more popular, and becoming a part of school curriculum. Educate over 10000 young people in the next year.

Task 1

Organization of mass education, above mentioned.

Task 2

Partnership with Ministry of education, and school authorities, that is going to lead toward recognizing sexual and reproductive health as an important part of formal education system.

Task 3

Organizing trainings and workshops in schools in Serbia. Including new cities, apart from present 6, that are going to implement project localy.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

In the next years, we have set ourselves a great goal, to educate 1.000.000. young people until 2014., who will become agents for change. In this way we are supporting Millenium Development Goals, sixth goal to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other desease until 2015. We believe that a million educated young people can really make a difference in the world, and if every one of them acknowledges importance of HIV prevention and spread knowledge this becomes highly possible.
On the other hand, we currently exist in 6 cities in Serbia, but we intend to include more cities in different regions, that will implement project localy, and by doing this, help educate even more young people.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

Regarding barriers that may stand in way to our success, most important is to have support of the government and Ministry of education. We are in a process of obtaining their support, and believe this will happen in next six months. In case it doesn`t we will go from lower levels, that is, school authorities. These are most relevant stakeholders, for their support enables us to reach young people. Prevention of HIV/AIDS is important in every society, and since our activities are proved to be useful, there is a big chance that they will support us officially.

Also, youth is considered a powerful resource of a society, and therefore, our vision of educating young people is in line with a progress of society.

Also, we need their support in order to get sexual and reproductive health education into formal education system.

Another problem is cultural and social background, tradition, taboos, presence of discrimination in society, and lack of tolerance. This can all be changed through education, being informed and accepting people that are different. Only through understanding and knowledge can this be changed.
These processes take a long time, and change can`t happen overnight. But, in time, with constant effort, and sustainable projects like this one, change is becoming a reality.

Tell us about your partnerships

Dance4life project is being implemented in six regions in Serbia. In every region we have a partner organization that is implementing the project. In Belgrade, JAZAS – Association against AIDS is national licence owner and is leading a project at national level, and Center E8 is partner organization that is responsible for media and promotion. We are financially supported by Ministry of Youth and Sports Republic of Serbia, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Commission, UNFPA, UNICEF, Durex and other. We also have support from Youth Offices from different cities, this is governmental body responsible for youth related project, and many other NGOs.
In Loznica, we have NGO Iskra as a local partner and Youth Office Loznica is supporting us.
In Novi Pazar, Youth Office Novi Pazar is implementing project.
In Jagodina, Youth Creative Center is a partner.
In Novi Sad, we have partnership with Center Live Upright.
In Vranje, NGO Generator is implementing dance4life.

Internationally, we have collaboration with Sensation, Orangina, dance4life international, Red Zebra, and many more.

Explain your selections

dance4life is a network that is gathering stakeholders and forming a partnerships, in order to achieve goal to stop spread of HIV/AIDS. Anybody that can support us, is welcome.

We have a big network, and since we educated more than 13.000 pupils, much more people knows about us. Young people that liked the project are constantly bringing their friends, or brother or sister, that they would like to become part of our movement.

From Regional and National government we mostly get in kind donations, like premises for training's, or some events that we are organizing. Sometimes we manage to get some financial support from them. Dance4life is a long lasting project, our mission is till 2014, with annual budgets, according to activities, but we are constantly seeking for donors, foundations, and other NGO's that can support us financially, and we are submitting project proposals. This is our way of providing ourselves sustainability.

Unfortunately, government of Serbia, doesn't have financial support for HIV/AIDS prevention related projects, so we decided to include Businesses and Individuals as donors as well. For instance, we are working with Belgrade clubs, and we are promoting healthy lifestyles on their parties, and distribute condoms, and our educational material, and they are giving donation as support for the project. Other companies are giving us in kind donation, in their products that we would have to buy for some events that we are organizing.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

First level of project development is creating a movement of agents for change, educated and active young people. This will be obtained through constant educations in schools, mass education in 2011. and including new cities that are going to implement the project in. Our agents for change are the best sustainability we can possibly ask for. Once they go through our educations, they will be life time advocates for HIV/AIDS prevention, gender equity and equality, human rights. This is something that will become part of their life's, and even without us being present there, they will educate their peers, while playing, or partying, or in any other occasion, because they will have right information's, and they will fight with myths that are surrounding HIV/AIDS.

Another level is creating strategic partnerships that are going to improve, develop, and strenghten our project, and enable sustainability. Most important partner is Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia, and school authorities that are key stakeholders.

We are also going to make partnerships with local NGO`s that have most capacities to implement dance4life project in new cities.

Private sector and corporations are always encouraged to support our project as part of their socially responsibility, and by doing this help educating young people about importance of HIV prevention.

We will increase project visibility through carefully planned media campaign, that will bring attention to issues we are working on, and attract new partnerships and supporters.

Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Health behavior change


Lack of access to targeted health information and education


Restrictive cultural norms

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Dance4life is aiming directly at health behavioral change, because we believe that knowlegde alone isn`t enough to prevent HIV. Young people also need life skills and active involvement will make them accept healthy lifestyles.

Since there is a lack of formal education and information about HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health, among youth in our society, we are organizing education in schools and providing young people with all the information.

Our culture is very traditional, and there are many taboos in terms of sexual behavior, and there is a strong feeling of shame when bying condoms, and around sexual intercourse altogether. We are changing that with constant education and motivation of young people to use condoms as the only way to prevent HIV/AIDS, STD, and unwanted pregnancy.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.



Grown geographic reach: Global


Repurposed your model for other sectors/development needs

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Firstly, we intend to include more regions with local partner NGOs that have a capacity to lead the project locally, and that will happen during next year. We are currently covering six different regions of Serbia.

Secondly, dance4life is an international project that exists in 28 countries on all continents, and this makes us a global youth movement, united in prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Thirdly, our model can be easily translated into formal education system, and thus answer current development needs, especially in terms of establishing a democracy, strong civil society, values of tolerance, anti-discrimination and education reform.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Biggest support comes from NGOs that are implementing the project, and use this innovative approach successfully.

Government has an important role, especially in sense of sustainability because they have a power to include these methods in formal education system and improve it according to much necessary educational reform, give access to information to even more young people, and pay more attention to issues like HIV/AIDS that represents a big social problem.

For profit companies and Technology providers were supporting us by their contribution, either financially or in use of different technologies that our partners put on our disposal. Academia/universities are supporting us with their expertise in different fields, and they are upgrading knowledge of our management team.