Dance4Life was founded in 2003, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, by Dennis Karpes and Ilco van der Linde. Bringing their commercial expertise to the table, they joined forces to turn the problem of the HIV pandemic around. They created a new way of approaching youth in schools, soon transforming Dance4Life into a well-known brand that young people were eager to identify with and which attracted famous brand ambassadors to further the cause. Dance4Life started off as a movement intended to remind world leaders of their commitments to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The voice of young people was an effective means to hold leaders accountable. The initiative took flight – in 2004 Dance4Life set-up operations in three countries: the Netherlands, Indonesia and South Africa. Soon after, Dance4Life grew into an international organization, eventually expanding to over 20 countries and active across 5 continents. Right from the beginning, the foundation’s universal language of dance and the positive energy of music, enabled a different kind of connection: young people were approached as equals. Young people were the driving force and the solution.
Dance4Life eventually broadened its horizon from HIV/AIDS to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and contextualized the model per country. The Dance4Life 2.0 model introduced a set of 4 steps for teachers and peer educators to use, broadening the scope of their existing sexuality education curricula using the Dance4Life DNA. The 4-steps format engaged young people through the inspire step, educated them in the next, added a community activation in the third step and a chance to celebrate in the final step. At the beginning of 2017 Dance4Life embarked on a new journey away from traditional comprehensive sexuality education and towards a brand new, evidence-based youth engagement and personal leadership model, implemented through a social franchise model for stronger local ownership and greater impact. Created, enhanc
We envision: a world where all young people are able to shape their future the way they see it. A world in which they are able to make healthy sexual choices and develop healthy relationships.
Mission: Dance4Life beliefs the impact can be tremendous and with long lasting impact. That is why we invest in youth by specializing in youth empowerment. We believe deeply that real change always starts from within. It starts when every individual discovers their inner power. Their own potential. That is the real game changer.
Ultimate goal: To decrease the prevalence of three of the biggest sexual health threats young people face today: HIV, unwanted pregnancies and sexual and gender-based violence.
Our 2030 goal is that our global network will have empowered at least 5 million more young people to lead healthy sexual lives and feel comfortable about their future, leading to demonstrable improvements in their sexual health.
Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe/Central Asia (EECA region)
- Empowering young people (10-24 years) to take personal leadership over their sexual lives, through the implementation of our empowerment curriculum: the Journey4Life
- Research, development and innovation into our empowerment model, including through a PhD trajectory in collaboration with Maastricht University to study the impact of the Journey4Life
- Franchising: continuously expanding and strengthening our network of franchisees implementing the Journey4Life and strengthening learning and exchange between our franchises.
- Generating buy-in and support for young people's sexual health through awareness-raising and engagement with decision-makers, media and general public in the Netherlands and beyond.