The Dume Challenge

While Steve and I were standing in line at Tanesco (Tanzanian Energy Supply Company) to pay our electricity bill, we noticed a reality-type game show playing on the TV in the corner. It looked like any other reality show – an attractive host, beautiful beach scenes, some participants battling out the challenges for the ultimate prize… And it looked to be a Tanzanian show, with a very high production quality. Since I’m already interested in the state of video/television production in Tanzania, I was intrigued.

At the end of the next commercial break, as the show was starting up again, we noticed that it was sponsored by a product… Dume… but we couldn’t figure out what the product was. Of course, we asked the young Tanzanian man in front of us what this product was, and after fumbling with his words for a few seconds, he told us “condom.”

It was then that I noticed that the game show participants were all wearing t-shirts and caps with the Dume logo emblazoned across them. How odd to us from the US, to see an entire reality show very boldly sponsored by a brand of condoms!

At first I assumed this was just one of those ‘cultural differences’ between Africa and the US. But after a little bit of searching online, I came across a few things that make me think this is more than just your typical Tanzanian game show.

The first is this article,
http://allafrica.com/stories/201209010390.html
which is about Tanzania’s continued efforts against HIV/AIDS transmission, and which mentions this reality show in the last paragraph, as part of that effort. The Dume Challenge.

And then I looked up the organization that is behind the reality show, T-MARC.
http://www.tmarc.or.tz/index.php?id=39
A local, Tanzanian-run social marketing organization, with partners like USAID, the CDC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose purpose is “to develop and expand consumer markets for a broad range of health products” in Tanzania.

Turns out the Dume Challenge game show is part of a larger AIDS awareness/education campaign funded by USAID, in coordination with PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). On their website, PEPFAR has stated that some of their current goals are to create ‘country-owned and country-driven’ projects and to ‘address HIV/AIDS within a broader health and development context.’ It is interesting and encouraging to see these goals unfolding on this end, with local players addressing local issues. My sleuthing only got me so far, however. What I’d really like to know is who came up with this HIV/AIDS campaign idea in the first place?

On that note, let me leave you with the intro to The Dume Challenge, which I found on YouTube.

2 thoughts on “The Dume Challenge

  1. Hi Esther,

    Thanks for giving me an insight into what Dume Challenge is and how this came to be. I saw it sometime ago, but thanks to your imaginative mind and sleuth method of uncovering what I never knew.

    I have been able to watch the beginning Episode one Part A, now I know the setup of Dume.

    I am a native Swahili speaker based in Los Angeles, CA.

    I am also interested in video production, am self taught my peers are all over the Internet.

    Wishing you the very best in your endeavor. Having chosen Tanzania as a place to do video production/television to me is a very gratifying and positive thing; congratulations on your selection. Esther you will definitely enjoy working with and living among Tanzanians. Of course there will be moments of frustrations but I ask you to never give up on your dreams or aspirations.

    Tanzanians are a very hospitable people and their ways are simple, please never get frustrated since you will encounter some culture shock in the way things are done in Tanzania (or in other African countries). Yes the way things are done where you came from are different, don’t let this get in the way of your work.

    Esther you will find more cooperation and willingness than the bad you will encounter from time to time.

    Hope to read from you.

    Yunus

    • Thanks for your comments, Yunus!

      Yes, I have definitely enjoyed getting to know some Tanzanians during my time here.

      How long have you lived in LA, and how has that experience been? I have never been to LA, but I would imagine it is pretty different from Tanzania!

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