In Kalimbira village, not far from Malawi’s capital, there is a drama unfolding. Fortunately, this is a staged one, played out by actors. While this scene of an alcohol-infused domestic row is clearly providing some amusement, it has a more serious purpose: to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. The local organisation behind this play, RISE Malawi, is targeting young people because it’s easier to encourage changes in people’s ways during their formative years, before they become habits. Drama is an engaging way of transmitting key messages and it draws larger audiences, meaning that information can flow to a whole community through just one short performance.

RISE is one of six community-based organisations (CBOs) that the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) supported in Malawi. For these organisations, drama, song and dance are popular methods of conveying key health messages about HIV transmission and the connected issues of contraception, reproductive health and antenatal healthcare.

Here, Robin has combined his technical knowledge with an aptitude for ‘freezing’ the moment to portray the dynamic movement and energy of the performance he was witness to. He travelled the entire length of Malawi with EGPAF to visit each of the six CBOs in turn and capture the vibrancy of projects like this one on camera. EGPAF used the suite of visual storytelling outputs he produced to showcase the achievements of its CBO project and demonstrate accountability to its donors. As the project came to an end, it also gifted the material to the CBOs to use for future communications purposes, now that they would be ‘going it alone’ without EGPAF’s support.


Using drama to drive change

Public health, HIV/AIDS, education


Kalimbira, Lilongwe, Malawi

Camera settings
24mm, ISO 500, 1/160, f/5.6