(Post B) – A glimpse into the workings of the ‘She Conquers’ AIDS Campaign in South Africa.

‘She Conquers’ is a not-for-profit, multichannel, national campaign in South Africa. The Campaign is run by the South African National Aids Council, partnered with UNAIDS to tackle the AIDS epidemic. It is a 3-year long campaign running from 2016 to current.

“The campaign will leverage of the DREAMS project funded by PEPFAR in 5 districts in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, projects funded by the Global Fund in 10 districts as well as funding by KfW (Development Bank) for a project in Buffalo City”-(She Conquers Campaign Handbook 2016).

The problem:

One third of South African teenage girls become pregnant and 10% will have acquired HIV. Young women’s acquisition results from unprotected sex with a usually older man who has HIV. This problem is driven by the low status and power of girls and women, social norms related to masculinity can also explain the high statistics of rape. The low levels of protected sex are fuelled by alcohol consumption and poverty. Other factors include insufficient awareness of risks, lack of access to appropriate contraception and health care. All this contributes to the exacerbated high school drop-out rates and therefore youth unemployment.

Campaign Target Market:

The campaign targets young women and adolescent girls and boys; particularly vulnerable groups such as orphans, young sex workers and youth living in regions of poverty where there is a lack of education on sexual health and limited access to health clinics. This is considered a successful market for social and behavioural change as habits and healthy practices start from a young age.

“UNAIDS estimates that there are 1975 new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years each week. In addition, there are 70 000 babies born to adolescent girls and young women aged 18 years and younger each year – many of them unplanned. South Africa needs an evidence-based, strategic response to lift the burden of ill-health and disadvantage from the shoulders of young women and release our communities from the web of health and social problems”(She Conquers Campaign Handbook 2016, p. 2).

Campaign Objectives

‘She Conqueurs’ Campaign Objectives (She Conquers handbook 2016).


‘She Conquers’ plan of action flow chart (She Conquers handbook 2016).

Critique on Methodology:

What do we learn from this campaign?

Multichannel delivery is essential to increase exposure however, it appears that ‘word-of-mouth’ (WOM) can change attitudes and behaviour more effectively as it is highly engaging, persuasive and pervasive (Hoyer, Macinnis, Pieters, Chan & Northey 2018, pp.338). Hearing from friends and family, members of the same support group makes information sincere and memorable. In countries where citizens are sceptic of their government due to corruption etc., it is better to communicate through ‘WOM’. In Australia, for example, advertisements always have the ‘issued by Australian Government Department of –’line as Australian’s view this as a credible source. In South Africa and Indonesia, this may not be as effective.

Fear factor appears to stimulate behavioural change, especially in the public health sector, educating people about the risks and consequences can positively influence peoples’ decision making ability (Fairchild, A., Bayer, R., Green, S., Colgrove, J., Kilgore, E., Sweeney, M. & Varma, J. 2018). People are able to make better decisions when they are well informed.

In addition, from the She Conquers Intervention, it is apparent that the success of the campaign was due to the target of young people. The development of habits, attitudes and values are malleable at a young age and the schooling environment plays a vital role (Halstead & Taylor 2000).

Furthermore, increasing awareness and exposure discussed above, the level of accessibility plays a vital role in change. The She Conquers Campaign set up affordable youth friendly, check-up clinics in low socio-economic regions to increase accessibility. On the flip-side, tobacco in Indonesia is cheap, readily available for anyone to purchase and the industry is unregulated thus authorities should look into decreasing accessibility whether it be adding tax to enforcing the age limit of purchasing (WHO FCTC guideline, 2013).

She Conquers Campaign is considered successful as they reached campaign objectives to decrease new HIV infections in girls and young women, decrease unplanned teenage pregnancies, increase retention of adolescent girls and young women in school, decrease sexual violence and increase economic opportunities for young people. The 3-year long campaign contributed to the improved statistics recorded on the UNAIDS website.

Reference list:

Fairchild, A., Bayer, R., Green, S., Colgrove, J., Kilgore, E., Sweeney, M. & Varma, J. 2018, ‘The two faces of fear: A history of Hard-hitting Public Health Campaigns against tobacco and AIDS.’, American Journal of Public Health, no.9; pp. 1180-1186. <https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304516>

Halstead, J.M & Taylor, M.J. 2000, ‘The development of values, attitudes and personal qualities’, National Foundation of Educational Research, pp. 1-40. <https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/91009/91009.pdf>

Hoyer, W.D., Macinnis, D., Pieters, R., Chan, E. & Northey, G., 2018, ‘The pervasive and persuasive influence of word of mouth’, Consumer Behaviour, 1st edn, Cengage Learning, Australia.

National Aids Council 2017, She Conquers National Campaign Document, viewed 20 Nov 2019,<http://sheconquerssa.co.za/partner-gno-connect/>

UNAIDS 2019, South Africa overview, viewed 19 Nov 2019,<https://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/southafrica>.

World Health Organisation 2013, Guidelines for Implementation of of the WHO TCTC, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, viewed 19 Nov 2019,<https://www.who.int/fctc/treaty_instruments/Guidelines_Article_6_English.pdf?ua=1>


National Aids Council 2016, She Conquers logo, viewed 20 Nov 2019, <http://sheconquerssa.co.za/>.

National Aids Council 2017, She Conquers Campaign flow chart, Campaign handbook, viewed 20 Nov 2019, <http://sheconquerssa.co.za/partner-gno-connect/>.

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