An evaluation of Dance4Life’s social franchising and empowerment models

Dance4Life participants

Photo copyright Dance4Life (used with permission)

Dance4life, an international youth initiative to raise awareness and promote prevention of HIV/AIDS, developed and piloted a new programme and also a new model for implementing the programme. An evaluation of the pilot found many successes but also areas where improvements could be made.


Dance4Life is an international initiative working with 15 partner organisations in 13 countries to provide young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to protect their health and promote safe sexual choices, with a particular focus on mobilising young people against the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In 2017, Dance4Life developed both a new programme and a new approach for implementing their work. The new programme, called Journey4Life, was piloted from September 2017 to June 2018 in four countries: Ghana, Nepal, Russia and Tanzania. It targets young people aged 10-24, delivering weekly sessions focusing on HIV/AIDS, as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights. In order to promote sustainability for the programme and encourage local ownership, Dance4Life also adopted a new approach for implementation. Social franchising gives local partners more responsibility in raising funds and contributing to programme costs.


Dance4Life commissioned RAND Europe to carry out a process evaluation of the piloted programmes and their new implementation model, to understand how effective they have been in achieving their aims. The study aimed to cast light on two fundamentally important issues:

  1. How best to support young people to make safe sexual choices in a variety of settings.
  2. How efforts might be scaled up using a social franchise model.

With this in mind, the evaluation answered the following questions:

  • How effective is Dance4Life at supporting its local partner franchisees in the aims of the programme?
  • How effective are the franchisees at supporting the young people delivering the programme, the ‘Champions4Life’, in the aims of the programme?


Several data collection methods were used to carry out the process evaluation, including the collection of ongoing calls, meetings, briefings and documents for review within Dance4Life; interviews and assessments of the franchisee organisations; and surveys and focus groups with the Champions4Life.


How effective is Dance4Life at supporting its franchisees in the aims of the programme?

  • On the whole, the franchisees found support from Dance4Life accessible and effective, providing valuable training and feedback. This analysis was however limited by the fact the model was not a ‘fully-fledged’ social franchise, as Dance4Life was still providing varying degrees financial support.
  • The start-up package and support that Dance4Life provides appears sufficient for franchisees to implement the model, though key barriers were identified in practice when raising funds, such as convincing potential funders of value for money, as well as coordinating with schools.

How effective are the franchisees at supporting Champions4Life in the aims of the programme?

  • The Champions4Life felt that initially they were effectively supported by franchisees, with positive feedback around training and ongoing support.
  • A number of areas were also suggested for improvement, such as increasing the length of training to cover more content. They also described challenges in finding sufficient time to deliver sessions, and in referring programme participants to health services.
  • A number of factors affect the Champions4Life motivation to work, including salary.


To improve Dance4Life’s support of franchisees:

  • The sustainability of supporting franchisees should be considered, alongside reviewing whether the proposed annual fee would cover the level of ongoing support required.
  • Clarity is needed on whether the social franchising model would entail an ongoing subsidy to franchisees. Once this level of subsidy is determined, a further pilot should be run based on a ‘fully-fledged’ model.
  • Greater support and training should be provided to franchisees on how to identify funders and effectively market the programme. To support this, more impact evidence should be generated to highlight the model’s effectiveness.
  • More guidance should be provided to franchisees around engaging school leadership, staff and parents to gain support for the programme, such as obtaining letters of support from local authorities.

To improve franchisee support of Champions4Life:

  • Expanding the training of Champions4Life should be considered, such as around referrals, teamwork, and managing large or challenging groups.
  • Consider allowing Champions4Life to continue serving beyond the current maximum age of 25, to retain expertise.
  • Consider recruiting more than the minimum number required for each area, to relieve burdens on delivering sessions.
  • Provide support to Champions4Life on coordinating with schools regarding scheduling sessions.