The teen girl empowerment campaign SKY Girls was awarded ‘highly commended paper’ at the World Social Marketing Conference held in the UK from 5-8 September 2022. The award recognises outstanding work in the field of social marketing, an approach that uses innovative marketing techniques to promote positive behaviours. Representatives from local communications agency The Dialogue Group were in attendance to receive the award, as developers and managers of the SKY Girls campaign.
Dialogue Group Director/Partner and Grant Manager for SKY Girls Botswana & Zambia, Tonderai Tsara, said, “We were happy to have a paper accepted to this global conference, and didn’t expect to win anything. This award validates the approach we have taken at SKY Girls, which is to listen to the girls in our audience and always be led by what they say, to have real impact”. SKY Girls is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and focuses on creating edutainment content for teenage girls to empower them and increase their resilience and confidence. The University of Botswana has carried out evaluation of the programme and found that 95% of teenage girls in the testing area are aware of SKY Girls, with 82% agreeing that “SKY has helped me improve on my life in some way” and 85% agreeing that “SKY has helped me feel confident about my decisions”.
SKY girls in Botswana’s success since 2014 has led to roll-out of the campaign in 6 other African countries. The behavioural change campaign (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) for adolescent girls aged 13-19 years old, was formed with the intent to empower and help them build resilience. Since 2014, its mandate has been to inspire girls to stay true to themselves and make informed decisions. SKY Girls uses multiple channels to reach the teenage girls; in Botswana this includes a free SKY magazine distributed to schools, six seasons of a radio drama (Matswaka Bae), SKY Live radio show presented by teen girls, social media with over 200,000 combined followers, and two TV shows: The Mix and Sure Ka Rafiwa.