The communication approach of the loveLife HIV/AIDS prevention programme
loveLife, the South African national HIV/AIDS prevention programme for youth, is known for its brand-oriented billboards and mass media campaign that ranges over various print-, broadcast- and alternative media. However, the organisation also implements a national grass-roots peer motivation programme where various activities are co-ordinated by youths (GroundBREAKERS and Mpintshis) from the community. The organisation has been criticised for its communication approach, with many researchers primarily focusing on the organisation's mass media and billboards. This study investigates the communicative approach(es) in loveLife's programme implementation in the light of the normative theory of participatory communication. The focus of this study is to identify how loveLife describes its communication approach, what communication approach the organisation employs and how the organisation's communication approach is perceived by a sample of its target audience. The research was conducted by means of a literature review, qualitative content analysis of loveLife's policy documentation and a selection of the organisation's media. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted at head office, which are contrasted with focus groups with the participants at an implementation site. Broadly, it was found that loveLife's programme is more participatory than most critics would expect and that the organisation attempts to put its primary focus on face-to-face communication. But, there is also tension in what loveLife communicates on a national level and how it relates to grass-roots activities as the national / media-driven communication is more modernistic in its approach, whereas the grass-roots communication is more participatory.
- Humanities