swaziland-logo.jpgSwaziland Health Communication Environment

Find out more here.

  • Population:
  • Population below the poverty line:
    69% (2005)
  • Age structure:
    0-14 years: 40.7% (male 233,169 / female 229,103)
    15-64 years: 55.8% (male 303,260 / female 330,460)
    65 years and over: 3.6% (male 16,071 / female 24,271) (2006 est.)
  • Literacy rate:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 81.6%
    male: 82.6%
    female: 80.8% (2003 est.)
  • Infant mortality rate:
    total: 71.85 deaths / 1,000 live births
    male: 75.25 deaths / 1,000 live births
    female: 68.34 deaths / 1,000 live births (2006 est.)
  • Life expectancy rate:
    total population: 32.62 years
    male: 32.1 years
    female: 33.17 years (2006 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:   
    38.8% (2003 est.)
    Swaziland has surpassed Botswana as the country with the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS infection.
  • HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:   
    220,000 (2003 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - deaths:   
    17,000 (2003 est.)
  • Languages:  
    English (official, government business conducted in English), siSwati (official)

Our History

This programme began in Swaziland when DFID requested Soul City in South Africa to adapt a youth publication called Choose Life in 4 SADC countries of which Swaziland was one. After an extensive consultation process with government and key stakeholders in the health and NGO sector, Schools HIV/AIDS and Population Education (Shape) was chosen as the partner in Swaziland.

Between 1999 – 2001 Choose Life, an exciting and innovative youth publication was tested and adapted in Swaziland. 116 000 copies of this booklet were distributed to youth in and out of schools in both English and Siswati. Youth out of school were reached through clinics and via Tinkundla Centres.

An independent evaluation of the Choose Life youth booklet in Swaziland was conducted. The trends in impact emerging from the qualitative evaluation indicated that Choose Life created an opportunity for communication and discussion amongst peers, and awareness around the need to communicate; it improved awareness and attitudes around gender based violence; it served as a catalyst for assertiveness (in girls); and it improved awareness & attitudes around people living with AIDS, and stigmatization. The process of developing the Choose Life publication also highlighted a further need in Swaziland, and that was the need to build local capacity to do effective health communication in order to strengthen the countries fight against HIV/AIDS.

Following the success of the initial Choose Life publication, Soul City and Shape entered into a further 5 year partnership (2001 – 2006). The partnership with Shape was part of a broader Regional Health Communication Programme in 8 SADC countries, funded by EU, RNE, DFID, Irish Aid and BP. A new local brand was tested and developed and Lusweti, a local indigenous health communication brand was born. The partnership with Shape was part of a broader Regional Programme with 7 other SADC countries.

Our Mission and objectives

The purpose of the programme in Swaziland is to impact on priority health and development issues in particular HIV/AIDS by:

  • building local capacity in Swaziland for effective health communication
  • Adapting existing Soul City media for Swazi use (print, radio, TV)
  • Creating a regional network across SADC to share best practice in the region.

Our philosophy

To use education in various forms in order to change the behaviour of Swazi citizens and non-Swazi residents in the country, and to develop life styles which reduce risky behaviour and which also avoid risky situations. The central goals of the HIV/AIDS education strategy have been to prevent HIV infection, deal with impact mitigation and eliminate stigma.

What we’ve done

To date the following media have been produced in Swaziland

  • Lusweti has developed and distributed a booklet called ‘HIV and AIDS … Action Now’. 420 000 booklets were distributed in two languages across the country in December 2005.
  • The Lusweti team has another booklet called ‘Alcohol and You’ distributed in the second half of 2006.
  • A 60 episode radio drama series in SiSwati on the national broadcaster was broadcast in 2005/6 reaching all corners of the country. A second radio drama series was aired towards the end of 2006.
  • Two 13 part TV series have been aired on Swazi TV. These magazine/ documentary programmes dealt with key health issues including HIV and AIDS in Lesotho.


Our Evaluation Outcomes


A baseline survey showed that even before the implementation of the Regional Programme, Soul City had considerable reach in Swaziland. Some 15 % of people in Swaziland spontaneously mentioned that they had learned about HIV/AIDS from Soul City. In Swaziland approximately 1 in 3 adults had heard of Soul City prior to the start of the Regional Programme and approximately half of those had watched or listened to Soul City “often” or “always” while it was on air. Preliminary indications of reach of Lusweti productions are very positive. Quantitative measures of Lusweti’s reach will be available towards the end of 2007.

Qualitative research

Extensive qualitative formative audience research of Lusweti material has been done through the course of the materials development process in Swaziland. The Lusweti productions have been received very well by local audiences, and various spontaneous accounts of self-reported impact have been documented:

“What I like about the Lusweti programme is the part where they talk to Swazi people… where they interview Swazis and get their opinions. I liked that because first of all it shows us what Swazis in different parts of the country know and think about health issues. Another thing is that it shows us that this programme is Swazi and not just from South Africa. (Lusweti TV, Urban Male, Swaziland)

“Well, my life changed because there was somebody I was in a relationship with for a long time, and because she was mine, I told myself that I could do anything to her at any time even if she doesn’t agree. That changed and I won’t do that ever again.” (Hluthi male, 16-24 – in the context of exposure to LUSWETI Radio, series 1)

“As I was reading the book I learnt that it is very important to wear a condom when you have sex to protect yourself from diseases and HIV.” (Lubombo rural boys, 16-19 years).

Impact evaluation

Independently contracted Qualitative Audience Reception and Impact evaluation recently completed in Swaziland confirms the positive audience reception and self-reported impact observed in the in-house research:

“There were a number of messages and lessons learnt from both the Lusweti publication and television programme. These were mainly around dealing with HIV and AIDS, and sexual abuse. Respondents felt that they were empowered to protect themselves from HIV and AIDS. They said they also acquired strategies to cope with an HIV positive status, providing care and support to HIV positive relatives, and avoiding stigma discrimination. The respondents felt that they were also empowered with life skills such as growing up and choosing the good friends… Overall, both Lusweti products have had positive impact on the lives of Swazis, particularly the target audience aged 16-35 years.”
(Independent Evaluator, Swaziland)

Contact us

Programme Manager: Ms Fortunate Thwala

+268 416 1082
+268 416 1030
+268 416 1039 Fax

Office # 26B Gables, Ezulwini: Old Mbabane-Manzini Road. Swaziland

This is a page heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, qui quem consetetur cu, mucius singulis molestiae eam et. Utinam nominati principes vis ne. Similique theophrastus eu nec, ea fugit impedit mediocritatem sed.