Programs and Activities of Population Media Center
Since PMC’s inception, we have initiated projects in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire,
nine island nations of the Eastern Caribbean, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Mexico, Mali, Niger,
Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South
Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, the United States, and Vietnam. PMC has new projects in
development in Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Haiti, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, all 23
countries in Latin America, Pakistan, the Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and
Uganda. In 2007, PMC was recognized by the Population Institute with a Global Media
Award for having the Best Electronic Communications Service for its entertainment-
education television and radio dramas, featuring family planning, gender equality, and
reproductive health issues. In 2009, PMC won third place in the Peter F. Drucker Awards
for Nonprofit Innovation. In 2011, PMC won our second Global Media Award for Best
Serial Drama for PMC-Ethiopia’s radio serial drama, Mieraf (“New Beginning”).
Following is detailed information about PMC’s work.
Population Media Center has been funded by the UN Population Fund (UNPA) to
develop two 156-episode radio serial dramas for promotion of family planning use. One
of the programs will be in the Mooré language and one will be in Djoula.
In Burkina Faso, the barriers to use of modern methods of contraception are largely
informational and cultural. Among sexually active, fertile women in union, the top
reasons for non-use are the desire for more children (18%); personal, partner, or religious
opposition (17%); fear of health effects (10%); and not knowing a method or a source
(10%). Cost is cited by only 2.5%, and lack of access is cited by only 0.7%.
The annual population growth rate in Burkina Faso is 3.4 per cent, which means that the
population is doubling every 20 years. The total fertility rate is the 8th highest in the
world at 6.0 children per woman. The majority of the population is young: 46% of the
population is under the age of 15. Population growth and population dynamics are
important challenges that must be addressed in order to reduce poverty.
Childbearing begins early in Burkina Faso: almost half of all women in union less than
20 years of age have already given birth to at least one living child. The actual fertility
rate closely follows the desired family size for women: Married women interviewed
during the 2003 Demographic and Health Survey in Burkina Faso said they would like to
have about six children on average. Married men would like seven children.
Although knowledge of contraceptive methods in Burkina Faso is high (92% of those
interviewed know at least one modern method) only 13% of married women are currently
using a modern method of contraception.
Following a training workshop for writers in April 2012, two new programs have been developed.
In the Mooré language, PMC is producing Yam Yankre (“The Choice”), and in the Dioula
language, PMC is producing HƐrƐ S’ra (“The Road to Happiness”).
As of January 2012, Population Media Center-Ethiopia started broadcasting its seventh
radio serial drama, Yeregebu Fetiloch (“Broken Dreams”), to address the inter-related
issues of alcohol and substance abuse and HIV/AIDS, with support from the Ethiopian
Public Health Association. Simultaneously, PMC is broadcasting a talk show, Fenote
Lesiket (“The Right Path to Success”), to explore the same issues in depth. The project
also includes a series of training workshops for religious leaders, youth group leaders,
women’s group leaders, and community leaders, plus production of a book in February
2012, called Azurit (“Whirlwind”) with real-life stories of victims of alcohol and
Simultaneously, with support from Save the Children Norway and Bayer Corporation,
PMC-Ethiopia is conducting a multi-media campaign to address harmful traditional
practices, with an emphasis on ending the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting
(FGM/C). The project, which runs from July 2011 to July 2015, includes a national talk
show in Amharic, two regional radio magazine shows, print materials, and TV and radio
spots. In addition, PMC is conducting awareness creation and capacity building
workshops in the Afar and Somali regions for religious leaders, school youth, high school
teachers, journalists and other media practitioners. The partnership with Save the
Children Norway has continued for several years to address the rights of women through
various programs. This work has been described by Women’s E-News as being highly
effective at stopping the practice of FGM.
Previously, as part of a project to improve the delivery of health services in Ethiopia
through increased awareness and communication between the 30,000 health extension
workers in rural Ethiopia and the communities they serve, PMC-Ethiopia broadcast
Mieraf (“New Beginning”), a 180-episode radio drama series in Amharic, from June
2010 through November 2011, with funding from UNICEF. The program addressed rural
health care, including family planning, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and STIs,
hygiene and sanitation, and was designed to model positive health care and client rights
to information on their health status. Mieraf received the 2011 Global Media Award for
Best Serial Drama.
From October 2010 to November 2011, PMC conducted a program with support from
UN Women, designed to address violence against women in Ethiopia. The objective of
the project was to provide information and increase the knowledge of change agents and
communities on issues related to violence against women and female empowerment. The
project included TV and radio spots, plus print materials including a book, Yenealem
(“My World”), a collection of real-life stories. As part of the project, PMC conducted
five capacity building workshops to address the issue of violence against women.
o The first workshop was “The Role of Journalists and Media Practitioners
to Address Violence against Women in Ethiopia.”
o Workshop 2 was for women leaders of all regions.
o Workshop 3 was for youth leaders from all regions.
o Workshop 4 was for law enforcement bodies from all regions.
o Workshop 5 was for senior writers of all regions.
The Oak Foundation in 2012 will renew support for PMC-Ethiopia to address issues of
child abuse and protection through its programs.
From 2005 to 2010, PMC produced a talk show and panel discussion, called Alegnta
(“Security”). The serial drama, Sibrat (“Trauma”), was broadcast from September 2007
through February 2010. Sibrat was broadcast over the National Service of Radio Ethiopia
and FM Addis. PMC continues to produce an Afar-language radio program on FGM,
called Naedetai (“Let’s Stop”), and a Somali program, called Igaddaa (“We Do Not
Want It Anymore”). These programs in the Afar and Somali regions follow a magazine
style format and include short dramas, interviews, storytelling, and narration.
From 2002 to 2004, PMC-Ethiopia aired two radio serial dramas addressing the issues of
reproductive health and women’s status, including HIV/AIDS, family planning, marriage
by abduction, education of daughters, spousal communication, and related issues in two
major languages. Yeken Kignit (“Looking Over One’s Daily Life”) was broadcast in
Amharic in 257 episodes; Dhimbibba (“Getting the Best Out of Life”) was broadcast in
Oromiffa in 140 episodes. Broadcast of the radio serial dramas in the two languages
began in June 2002. Quantitative research (14,400 client interviews at clinics) done in
November 2004 found that 63% of new clients seeking reproductive health services at 48
service centers in Ethiopia reported that they were listening to one of the PMC serial
dramas. In fact, 18% of new clients named one of PMC’s programs by name as the
primary motivating factor for seeking services.
Of new clients who cited radio programs as a motivation for seeking services, 96% said
that they were motivated by one of PMC’s programs. About half the population reported
being regular listeners.
In just two and a half years of nationwide broadcasting, the following changes were
Listeners were 5.4 times more likely than nonlisteners to know at least 3 or more
family planning methods. (Adjusted odds ratio with p<.00001 controlling for age
Among married women in the Amhara region who were listeners, there was a 55
percentage point increase in those who had ever used family planning methods,
while among non-listeners, the change was only 24 percentage points. A similar
increase occurred among male listeners in the Amhara region.
Among married women in the Amhara region who were listeners, current use of
modern family planning methods went from 14% to 40% among listeners vs. 25%
Listeners sought HIV tests at 2.5 times the rate of non-listeners*.
Among married women who know of a method of family planning, spousal
communication about family planning issues climbed from 33% to 66%.*
*These findings remained significant after running statistical controls for all significant
socioeconomic and demographic variables.
PMC’s first serial drama project in Ethiopia was supported by the David and Lucile
Packard Foundation, the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office of the Government of
Ethiopia (HAPCO), the Hughes Memorial Foundation, the Flora L. Thornton Foundation,
CARE-Ethiopia, the UN Population Fund, and 35 individual contributors. Yeken Kignit
is currently being rebroadcast in southern Ethiopia with support from the Packard
A partnership with Save the Children-US involved production and distribution of a third
serial drama on audiocassettes for play by truck drivers and other high-risk groups. The
support from Save the Children allowed production and distribution of 24 episodes of this
program, plus the writing of another 28 episodes. The evaluation of the cassette-based
drama showed major changes in self-reported behavior by those who listened to the
program. HAPCO awarded PMC additional funds to complete production of the
remaining episodes and to distribute them to high-risk populations via cassette, as well as
to broadcast a modified version on Radio Ethiopia. The broadcast of this program,
Maleda (“Dawn”), started in May 2005 and was completed in September 2006. Among
other findings, the evaluation showed that listeners were 4.3 times more likely than non-
listeners to know where to go for counseling and testing services.
PMC also received support from the Packard Foundation for two additional projects in
Ethiopia designed to involve the creative community in addressing population and
reproductive health issues. These projects included creating traveling stage plays to
address reproductive health issues; developing two video documentaries on population
and HIV/AIDS issues in Ethiopia; holding contests for the best short stories and poems
that address reproductive health issues; and conducting training of journalists in covering
reproductive health issues.
PMC produced a full-length stage play entitled Yesak Jember (“Laughter at Dusk”),
focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention. The stage play was launched in September 2003 and
was attended by the former President of Ethiopia, Dr. Negasso Gidada. The play was
staged in the capital for five months, followed by performances in 14 other cities around
Ethiopia. The script was then given to local drama groups for adaptation. PMC received
additional support from the Packard Foundation for additional training of journalists in
covering reproductive health issues, and that project was completed in 2006.
As part of this work, PMC-Ethiopia began publishing a series of books. The first is a
collection of eight national prize-winning short stories and three poems focusing on
HIV/AIDS and related social issues, published in 2003 under the title Yehiwot
Tebitawoch (“Drops of Life”). The creative pieces were selected from among 146 short
stories and 176 poems submitted in response to a national competition for the best poems
and short stories that address reproductive health and HIV/AIDS issues. Ten thousand
copies of this book were published and distributed throughout Ethiopia.
A second volume of short stories was published in 2004 as a result of a second
nationwide competition. The book, Kinfam Hilmoch (“Winged Dreams”), was also
widely distributed and dealt with major health, social and health issues. A third book,
Wenzoch Eskimolu (“Waiting for the Rivers to Rise”), was published and distributed in
2006. In 2007, PMC published a fourth book, Yemaleda Shekim (“Burden at a Tender
Age”), consisting of 13 short stories on harmful traditional practices in Ethiopia, chosen
from 99 submissions.
A fifth book, published in 2008, is entitled, Zaren Ketegubet (“If You Become Diligent
Today”). A collection of essays, the book focuses on youth mental and physical
development and holds out positive role models for young people.
In 2009, PMC published a sixth book, Yaltenabebu Libotch (“Incongruous Hearts”),
focused on social and economic problems affecting women. It consists of 11 short stories
written by nine women writers. It highlights the inequalities faced by women with regard
to economic, educational and employment opportunities.
Also in 2009, PMC published Wurse (“Inheritance”), consisting of 11 non-fiction stories
on harmful traditional practices. The writers were given financial support to visit various
parts of Ethiopia to collect the stories first hand from victims of these practices.
In 2010, PMC published Mulu Sew (“The Complete Personality”). The stories in this
volume show the consequences of people’s attitudes toward harmful traditional practices.
It consists of 11 short stories.
In 2011, PMC published the book Literature for Social Change & Development. This
book covers the weaknesses and strengths of writing short stories and real-life stories for
As mentioned above, on February 28, 2012, PMC held a launching event for two new
books with real-life stories: Azurit (“Whirl Wind”) on alcohol and substance abuse (with
support from EPHA) and Yenealem (“My World”) on violence against women (with
support from UN Women).
All of these books have been distributed to the libraries of government agencies, UN
organizations, Professional associations, schools, and other relevant organizations.
In 2005 and 2006, PMC received support from UNICEF, HAPCO and the Flora L.
Thornton Foundation to develop and broadcast a youth-focused radio serialized
melodrama to motivate young people to adopt positive behaviors regarding HIV/AIDS,
reproductive health and related social issues. The program, Menta Menged
(“Crossroads”), began broadcasting on Radio Ethiopia in March 2005 and was completed
in March 2007. The evaluation of Menta Menged demonstrated that it had significant
behavioral effects among listeners. These included the following:
Listeners were 3.2 times more likely to know about STIs than non-listeners.
Listeners were 2.5 times more likely to discuss issues relating to HIV/AIDS than
Listeners were 1.8 times more likely to take measures to protect themselves from
HIV/AIDS infection than non-listeners.
Listeners were 3.2 times more likely to know about voluntary counseling and
testing (VCT) than non-listeners.
Listeners were 1.4 times more likely to be tested for HIV/AIDS than non-
This same project involved production of a talk radio program aimed at youth. The
program, Alegnta, began in October 2005, with youth-led panel discussions with experts.
The Alegnta project also involves production of print materials for youth on reproductive
and sexual health issues. A total of five booklets have been published and distributed in
32,000 copies each, along with four leaflets distributed in 40,000 copies each.
The outpouring of emotion in Ethiopia, in response to PMC’s programs, has been
overwhelming. From all over the country – and even beyond the borders of Ethiopia –
27,000 letters have poured in to PMC’s office in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia’s news media
have run almost a hundred stories on the soap opera phenomenon PMC has created.
The West African country of Mali has among the highest fertility rates in the world (6.6,
according to the 2006 Demographic and Health Survey). The DHS showed that only
6.9% of married women currently use modern methods of contraception. The top reasons
for non-use included: personal opposition to family planning (22.1%), wanting as many
children as possible (17.6%), male opposition (9.0%), and not knowing a method (8.6%).
Among non-users, 33.7% say they intend to use contraception in the future, while 54.5%
To address these issues, PMC broadcast a radio serial drama, Jigi ma Tignè (“Hope Is
Allowed”), from March to September 2009. The 74-episode drama was heard nationally
on eight regional stations of the national radio network and 50 local community radio
stations. The project was carried out with support from the Wallace Global Fund, the
Jewish Communal Fund, the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation, USAID/Mali,
and an individual donor. USAID’s support was intended to also promote reducing stigma
and discrimination against people with disabilities. Following is the data from the
endline survey. The University of Vermont Statistics Department conducted a logistic
regression analysis to identify significant differences between listeners and non-listeners
on key indicators after controlling for other variables, as shown below.
Listeners were 2.6 times more likely than nonlisteners to know at least two
methods of contraception. (Adjusted odds ratio with p<.0001 controlling for age,
sex, education, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 2.6 times more likely than nonlisteners to know one or more places
to obtain a method of contraception. (Adjusted odds ratio with p<.0001
controlling for age, sex, and education).
Listeners were 1.5 times more likely than nonlisteners to say “yes” when asked if
they have “ever used a contraceptive method.” (Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0032
controlling for age, sex, and education).
Listeners were 1.8 times more likely than nonlisteners to say they “currently use
something to delay or avoid pregnancy.” (Adjusted odds ratio with p=.00121
controlling for age, education, marital status, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 3.4 times more likely than nonlisteners to say they “approve of
using contraceptive methods.” (Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0005 controlling for
age, sex, marital status, education and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 2.1 times more likely than nonlisteners to say that the “health of
the mother” is the reason they approve of using contraceptive methods. (Adjusted
odds ratio with p<.0001 controlling for sex and education).
Listeners were 2.1 times more likely than nonlisteners to say they “discussed birth
spacing with their spouse/partner in the last 12 months.” (Adjusted odds ratio
with p<.0001 controlling for sex, education, marital status, and urban/rural
Respondents who were not using contraception at the time of the survey were
asked if they “intend to adopt a method of contraception in the future.” Results
show that listeners were 1.5 times more likely than nonlisteners to say “yes.”
(Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0123 controlling for age, sex, and education).
Listeners were 1.8 times more likely than nonlisteners to say they “favor equality
between the sexes.” (Adjusted odds ratio with p<.0001 controlling for age, sex,
education, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 1.8 times more likely than nonlisteners to believe AIDS is a fatal
disease. (Adjusted odds ratio with p<.0001 controlling for sex and urban/rural
Listeners were 2.4 times more likely than nonlisteners to say they “approve of
condom use as a means to prevent AIDS.” (Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0008
controlling for sex, education, marital status, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 1.7 times more likely than nonlisteners to say “yes” when asked if
they will “use a condom in the future.” (Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0125
controlling for age, sex, education, and marital status).
Listeners were 1.8 times more likely than nonlisteners to say “yes” when asked if
they “discussed HIV/AIDS with anyone in the last 12 months.”(Adjusted odds
ratio with p<.0001 controlling for sex, education, and marital status).
Listeners were 1.7 times more likely than nonlisteners to say that “people with
disabilities have a right to prosthetics.” (Adjusted odds ratio with p<.0001
controlling for sex, education, marital status, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 1.9 times more likely than nonlisteners to know of a source of
information for people with disabilities. (Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0003
controlling for age, education, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 3.3 times more likely than nonlisteners to have spoken with
someone they know about rights of people with disabilities. (Adjusted odds ratio
with p<.0001 controlling for age, sex, and education).
Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso
Previously, in West Africa, PMC produced a radio serial drama to address issues of child
slavery and the link between this problem and poverty-inducing factors, such as
unwanted pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. Formative research was completed, and training
was conducted for the producer and writers in June 2004. The radio serial drama went on
the air in November 2004 and was completed in October 2005. The program, Cesiri Tono
(“Fruits of Perseverance") was done in partnership with First Voice International, which
distributed the program via WorldSpace satellite to 169 community radio stations. These
stations then broadcast the program throughout Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso.
PMC received a grant from USAID to support this work. The Ashoka Foundation
awarded PMC the Changemakers Innovation Award (one of three worldwide) in their
global competition for the most creative programs designed to prevent human trafficking.
A random-sample, household evaluation survey was conducted in Mali, Burkina Faso,
and Côte d’Ivoire to determine the impact listening to Cesiri Tono had on awareness of
and attitudes towards child trafficking and exploitation and its underlying causes in the
three countries. The December 2005 survey data indicated that the program produced the
22.4% of respondents listened to the drama.
Listeners in Mali were half as likely as non-listeners to prioritize educating boys
over girls (11% vs. 22%).
31% of listeners in Mali had discussed exploitative child labor during the period
of the program, compared to 17% of non-listeners during the same period.
The belief that it is acceptable for women to work outside of the home was 53%
higher among listeners than it had been at baseline.
In Burkina Faso, 23% of listeners had taken action against exploitative child
labor, compared to 9% of non-listeners.
96% of listeners could identify at least one place that provides family
planning/reproductive health services, compared to 80% of non-listeners.
43% of listeners in Côte d’Ivoire had discussed children’s rights in the 12 months
before the end of the program, while only 25% of non-listeners had discussed
children’s rights in the same period.
32% of listeners knew at least three factors that can lead to child trafficking,
compared to 14% of non-listeners.
All Three Countries
Listeners in all three countries were substantially more aware of child trafficking
Thanks to a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, Cesiri Tono is now being
rebroadcast over six stations nationwide.
In March 2005, PMC received USAID funding to implement a 2-year radio serial drama
project in Niger to address similar issues to those addressed in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, and
Burkina Faso. The program, entitled Gobe da Haske (“Tomorrow Will Be a Brighter
Day”) was on the air from February 2006 to January 2007, distributed by First Voice
International via WorldSpace satellite to community radio stations in Niger. USAID
provided PMC with a no-cost extension through December 2007, to allow for re-
broadcast of the program throughout Niger.
The final evaluation provided strong evidence of widespread listenership and significant
changes in several indicators among listeners, as opposed to non-listeners.
Of all households surveyed, 67.2% were familiar with the serial drama program.
The vast majority of the listeners (94%) had no education or only primary
39% of listeners could identify at least three methods of family planning,
compared to 10% of non-listeners.
67% of listeners had heard about exploitative child labor, compared to 28% of
55% of listeners had heard of child trafficking, compared to 28% of non-listeners.
23% of listeners knew the link between use of family planning and reducing
exploitative child labor, compared to 6% of non-listeners.
40% of listeners had discussed exploitative child labor during the past 12 months,
compared to 19% of non-listeners.
34% of listeners could cite at least three practices that lead to exploitative child
labor, compared to 15% of non-listeners.
29% of listeners could cite at least three practices that lead to child trafficking,
compared to 14% of non-listeners.
PMC has completed its second serial drama project in northern Nigeria, with support
from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Conservation, Food and Health
Foundation and an individual contributor. The 208-episode drama program, Ruwan
Dare (“Midnight Rain”), was broadcast in Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Sokoto states
from July 2007 to June 2009. The program was a hit, with 72% of the population aged
15-59 reporting they listened at least every week. The endline survey in 2009 showed
significant differences between listeners and non-listeners on key programmatic
indicators. The program was rebroadcast three times per week from July 2009 through
November 2010. Following is data from the endline survey and clinic monitoring.
At the time of the baseline survey in the four states where we were planning to broadcast,
the mean desired number of children for all respondents was 7.43 (females 7.71, males
7.03), and this decreased significantly* to 5.93 by the endline survey, most notably
among females (females 5.39, males 6.96). (*Non-parametric t-test p<.0001).
The likelihood of respondents saying they did not want to have another child was
5.7* times greater at endline compared to baseline. (*Adjusted odds ratio with
p=.0001 controlling for sex, urban/rural location, education, age, marital status,
The likelihood of respondents saying they “currently use something to delay or
avoid pregnancy” was 5.6* times greater at endline compared to baseline.
(*Adjusted odds ratio with highly significant p=.0001 controlling for sex,
urban/rural location, education, age, marital status, and state).
o On this indicator, listeners were 2.4* times as likely as nonlisteners to say
they “currently use something to delay or avoid pregnancy.” (*Adjusted
odds ratio with p=.01 when controlling for sex, urban/rural location,
education, age, marital status, and state).
To monitor the effects of the program on listeners’ behaviors, PMC established 11
clinic research sites in the four states. Four rounds of client exit interviews were
conducted during the broadcast period. The survey data was analyzed to
determine motivating factors for new clients seeking reproductive health and
family planning services. The results showed that Ruwan Dare achieved
significant success with increasingly higher percentages of new clients reporting
seeking services because of listening to Ruwan Dare. (See Table 1).
Monitoring Period Percent motivated by Ruwan Dare
Round 1: October 2007 - December 2007 55%
Round 2: January 2008 - April 2008 66%
Round 3: May 2008 - July 2008 64%
Round 4: September 2008 – Dec. 2008 67%
Table 1. Percent of new clients motivated by Ruwan Dare radio serial drama.
The likelihood of respondents saying they had talked with their spouse or partner
“once or twice” or “more often” about family planning in the last three months
was 4.5* times greater at endline compared to baseline. By sex there were notable
differences regarding this indicator: for males there was a notable relative
increase of 48% from baseline to endline; however for females there was a sharp
relative increase from baseline to endline of 172%. (*Adjusted odds ratio with
highly significant p=.0001 controlling for sex, urban/rural location, education,
age, marital status, and state). This result shows that the program strongly
benefited both females and males in increasing the amount of discussion of
reproductive health with their partner.
o On this indicator, listeners were 1.7* times more likely than non listeners
to say they talked to their spouse or partner “once or twice” or “more
often” about family planning in the last three months (*Adjusted odds
ratio with p=.04 controlling for age, urban/rural location, education,
marital status, and state).
The likelihood of respondents saying they “discussed the practice of family
planning with family, friends, or neighbors” in the past three months was 2.7*
times greater at endline compared to baseline. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0001
controlling for age, education, state, and marital status).
On this indicator, listeners were more 1.9* times more likely than
nonlisteners to say they “discussed the practice of family planning with
family, friends, or neighbors” in the past three months. (*Adjusted odds
ratio with p=.0002 controlling for age, education, and marital status).
The likelihood of respondents thinking that “couples should space children 2.5 to
3 years apart” was 1.5* times greater at endline compared to baseline. (*Adjusted
odds ratio with p=.0009 controlling for sex, urban/rural location, education, age
marital status, and state).
o On this indicator, listeners were 1.9* times more likely than nonlisteners
to think that “couples should space children 2.5 to 3 years apart.”
(*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0003 controlling for sex, urban/rural
location, education, age marital status, and state).
Listeners were 1.7* times more likely than nonlisteners to say “yes” when asked
if “couples should share responsibility for making decisions about family size.”
(*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.00001 controlling for sex, urban/rural location,
education, age marital status, and state).
Respondents who were not married or in a union were asked if they would “ever
use contraceptives if married;” the likelihood of answering “yes” was 1.9* times
greater at endline compared to baseline. (*Adjusted odds ratio with significant
p=.01controlling for sex, urban/rural location, education, age, marital status and
Listeners were 1.6* times as likely as nonlisteners to think that “children 12-14
should be taught about using condoms to avoid AIDS.” (*Adjusted odds ration
with significant p=.04 controlling for marital status, state, and education).
The likelihood of respondents thinking that “people should plan how many
children they have” was 1.4* times greater at endline compared to baseline.
(*Adjusted odds ratio with significant p=.01 controlling for sex, urban/rural
location, education, age, marital status and state).
On this indicator, listeners were nearly two times as likely as nonlisteners
to think that “people should plan how many children they have.” (Adjusted
odds ratio (1.9) with significant p=.01 controlling for sex, urban/rural
location, education, age, marital status and state).
The likelihood of respondents saying that using contraceptives is not “against the
will of Allah” was 3.6* times greater at endline compared to baseline. (*Adjusted
odds ratio with highly significant p=.0001 controlling for sex, location,
education, age, marital status and state).
o On this indicator, listeners were 1.5* times more likely than nonlisteners
to say that using contraceptives is not “against the will of Allah.”
(*Adjusted odds ratio with highly significant p=.04 controlling for sex,
location, education, age, marital status and state).
Listeners were 1.7* times more likely than nonlisteners to “know a place to obtain
a method of family planning.” (*Adjusted odds ratio with highly significant p=.01
controlling for sex, location, education, age, marital status and state).
Previously, from June 2006 – February 2007, PMC produced and broadcast Gugar Goge
(“Tell It to Me Straight”), a 70-episode radio serial drama addressing reproductive health,
family planning, and obstetric fistula in northern Nigeria. Obstetric fistula is a condition
commonly resulting from early childbirth that makes its victims incontinent.
The drama was produced in collaboration with the Rotarian Action Group on Population
and Sustainable Development (RFPD) and with support from the David and Lucile
Packard Foundation and the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation.
Gugar Goge was broadcast over regional government-owned and private radio stations in
Kaduna and Kano states. PMC worked with clinics throughout Kaduna and Kano to
conduct exit interviews with clients; 47% of new reproductive health clients indicated
they were listening to the program. The clinic monitoring determined that Gugar Goge
served as the primary motivation to seek health care services for 33% of family
planning/reproductive health clients and 54% of fistula clients.
The endline evaluation of the program showed that 93.7% of the population in Kano and
Kaduna states had heard at least one episode of the program. Even more impressive was
the fact that 82.1% of those interviewed reported listening to the radio serial drama at
least weekly (four or more episodes per month). The endline evaluation also found that:
When asked their opinion as to whether “a woman with fistula should be part of
the community like everyone else,” more male listeners (32.1%) “strongly
agreed” with this statement than did non-listeners (17.6%).
When asked if they or someone they knew had “ever sought treatment for fistula,”
more female listeners (59.7%) said “yes” than non-listeners (48.5%).
A significant difference was found between male listeners (92.8%) reporting
knowing of a place to get a male condom compared to non-listeners (75.0%). A
significantly larger percentage of female listeners (96%) also knew of a place to
get condoms than did female non-listeners (64.4%).
When asked if a condom was used the last time they had heterosexual intercourse
in the last 12 months, significantly more female listeners (79.5%) said “yes”
compared to female non-listeners (35.6%).
When asked if it is “acceptable or not for information on condoms to be
provided,” significantly more female listeners (87.2%) compared to female non-
listeners (49.1%) said it is “acceptable.”
A post-broadcast qualitative evaluation, which consisted of participatory sketching and
photography with avid listeners of Gugar Goge, demonstrated the personal impact of the
obstetric fistula story line. Many listeners, both in their sketches and photos, focused on
the interrelated themes of early marriage and pregnancies, the development of obstetric
fistula, and the debilitating (and often fatal) consequences of such practices.
With support from UNFPA, PMC also carried out an additional project dealing with
obstetric fistula. “Fistula Voices” involved a capacity building among community leaders
for promoting behavior change to prevent fistula. A training workshop was held for
fistula spokespersons in October 2007. Twelve women who had experienced fistula were
trained to reach out to other women in their communities to let them know how to
prevent and treat fistula.
PMC has completed its first project in Rwanda. The 312-episode program, Umurage
Urukwiye (“Rwanda’s Brighter Future”), was broadcast nationwide from July 2007 to
August 2009 on Contact FM and Radio Salus. It addressed a combination of issues,
including reproductive health, prevention of HIV/AIDS, preservation of wildlife habitat,
preservation of natural resources, land conservation, sustainable farming practices, and
promotion of civil harmony. PMC carried out this project with support from UNFPA, the
Flora L. Thornton Foundation, the Mulago Foundation, the Arcus Foundation, the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service, and USAID.
In Rwanda, the fertility rate is 5.5 children per woman, according to the 2008
Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), a figure that has not changed appreciably since
1992. Knowledge of family planning is nearly universal in Rwanda: 97 percent of
married women and 99 percent of currently married men have knowledge of at least one
modern method of contraception. Only 27 percent of married women use modern
methods of contraception, but this figure represents nearly a tripling from 2005, when the
DHS showed only 10 percent of married women used modern methods of contraception.
As of 2008, fully 71 percent of married women who were not currently using
contraception intended to do so in the future, a 22 percent increase in less than three
Among the reasons for non-use, perceived religious opposition has dropped by 58 percent
since the 2005 survey. Partner opposition dropped by 65 percent. Fear of negative health
effects of contraception remains a significant barrier (12% of the non-users cited this
concern), but this reason has dropped by more than a third since the previous survey.
Cost and lack of access to family planning methods remain insignificant as reasons for
non-use, at less than 1 percent each.
At the time of the 2005 survey, the desired number of children among married women
was 4.5; by 2008, that had dropped to 3.6. If contraceptive use continues to climb, we
can expect the fertility rate to drop by the time of the next survey.
At the time of the 2005 survey, 59 percent of women had not seen or heard any family
planning messages on radio, TV or in print in the previous few months. That question
was not asked in the 2007-2008 survey. Population Media Center started broadcasting its
radio serial drama to promote family planning use in July 2007. The extent to which it
played a role in the dramatic progress Rwanda made prior to the 2008 survey, which was
carried out from December 15, 2007 to April 20, 2008, is impossible to determine.
However, here is what we do know about the program, its popularity, and its impacts on
Results from the final evaluation show that 37% of respondents listened to the
broadcast one or more times. Listenership for males (44%) was higher than for
females (32%). Unmarried respondents (40%) were more likely to listen to the
program than married respondents (35%). Listenership levels found in both clinic
monitoring (57%) and monitoring at tree seedling distribution points (52%)
confirmed the popularity of the broadcast.
More than half of all listeners (females 52%, males 58%) said they talked to
someone about the drama.
Desired Family Size
Population Media Center’s program had significant effects in changing desired family
size among those who were listening. At the time of the baseline survey the mean desired
number of children for all respondents was 3.61 (females 3.73, males 3.44), and this
decreased significantly* to 2.94 by the endline survey, with both females and males
showing similarly significant decreases (females 3.02, males 2.81). (*Non-parametric t-
test with p<.0001).
On this indicator, listeners were 1.5* times more likely than nonlisteners to desire
three or fewer children, as opposed to four or more. (*Adjusted odds ratio with
p=.0159 controlling for age, sex, and urban/rural location).
Clinic exit interviews showed that 15% of new reproductive health clients cited the PMC
drama as their reason for seeking services. Of those seeking family planning, 9% cited
the program as their source of motivation. The analysis of the survey data showed:
The likelihood of respondents saying they “currently use something to delay or
avoid pregnancy” was 1.6* times greater at endline compared to baseline.
(*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0083 controlling for age and marital status).
Listeners were 1.6* times more likely than nonlisteners to say they talked to their
spouse or partner “once or twice” or “more often” about family planning in the
last three months. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0506 controlling for age, sex,
urban/rural location, education, and marital status).
Listeners were 1.4* times more likely than nonlisteners to agree that “having
fewer children reduces the health risk to the mother.” (*Adjusted odds ratio with
p=.0181 controlling for sex, education, and marital status).
Listeners were 2.9* times more likely than nonlisteners to say “yes” when asked
if they could obtain a condom themselves and would not need to rely on someone
else. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0009 controlling for sex).
Listeners were two* times more likely than nonlisteners to know of a place to get
a male condom. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0007 controlling for sex, age,
education, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 2.1* times more likely than nonlisteners to know of a place to get a
female condom. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0052 controlling for sex,
education, and urban/rural location).
The likelihood of respondents knowing that a female condom can prevent
pregnancy was 1.4* times greater at endline compared to baseline. (*Adjusted
odds ratio with p=.0007 controlling for sex, urban/rural location, education, age,
and marital status).
o On this indicator, listeners were 2.3* times more likely than nonlisteners
to know that a female condom can prevent pregnancy. (*Adjusted odds
ratio with p<.0001 controlling for sex, urban/rural location, education,
age, and marital status).
Clinic exit interviews showed that, of those seeking voluntary counseling and testing
(VCT) for HIV/AIDS, 17% cited the program as their source of motivation. Of clients
seeking help with preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, 24% cited the program
as their reason. The analysis of the survey data showed the following:
Listeners were two* times more likely than nonlisteners to have heard about a
medication mothers can take to prevent transmission of HIV/AIDS to a baby.
(*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0319 controlling for age and education).
Listeners were 2.7* times more likely than nonlisteners to want to know their HIV
status by getting a blood test. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0030 controlling for
The likelihood of respondents saying “yes” when asked “apart from AIDS, have
you heard of sexually transmitted infections?” was 2.6* times greater at endline
compared to baseline. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p<.0001 controlling for age,
education, marital status, and urban/rural location).
o On this indicator, listeners were 2.2* times more likely than nonlisteners
to say “yes” when asked “apart from AIDS have you heard of sexually
transmitted infections?” (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0027 controlling
for sex, age, and urban/rural location).
Preservation of Mountain Gorillas and Natural Resources
In an effort to reverse the problem of erosion of farmland, the government of Rwanda
sponsors a reforestation program. Tree seedlings are made available at nurseries
throughout the country, and there is a designated national tree seedling planting day.
PMC’s drama capitalized on that effort and featured characters that planted trees to
stabilize farmland and encouraged others to do the same. An independent survey found
that 11% of those buying tree seedlings were motivated by the program. In addition:
Listeners were 1.5* times more likely than nonlisteners to cite population growth
as the primary cause of environmental degradation and loss of gorilla habitat.
(*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0013 controlling for sex, education, and
The likelihood of respondents knowing that protection of gorillas and their habitat
can reduce poverty and bring tourists was 3.4* times greater at endline compared
to baseline. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0471 controlling for sex, age,
education, and urban/rural location).
o On this indicator, listeners were 1.6* times more likely than nonlisteners
to know that protection of gorillas and their habitat can reduce poverty and
bring tourists. (*Adjusted odds ratio with p=.0167 controlling for sex, age,
education, and urban/rural location).
Listeners were 1.5* times more likely than nonlisteners to have talked with their
spouse or partner in the past three months about the connection between family
planning and conservation of natural resources. (*Adjusted odds ratio with
p=.0196 controlling for sex, age, education, marital status and urban/rural
Population Media Center received funding from USAID and UNFPA-Senegal for two
radio serial dramas that went on the air in October and November 2008. One serial
drama, funded by USAID, was written in the Wolof language was broadcast nationwide
throughout Senegal in 168 episodes through June 2011. This program, Ngelawu Nawet
(“Winds of Hope”), addressed USAID/Senegal’s core themes of family planning,
reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, child survival, and malaria prevention. The second serial
drama, Coñal Keele (“The Harvest of the Seeds of Life”), completed its broadcast in
2010. It was funded by UNFPA and was written in the Pulaar language for broadcast in
the UNFPA target region of Matam. This 58-episode program targeted youth and focused
on HIV and STI prevention, and sexual and reproductive health. The Matam region has
been identified by UNFPA as a priority region, having a high need for youth health
interventions. For the USAID program, PMC was a subcontractor to the Agence pour le
Développement de Marketing Social (ADEMAS), which implements USAID-Senegal’s
health social marketing activities. For both programs, PMC worked in coordination with
RAES (Réseau Africain de l’Education pour la Santé) based in Dakar, Senegal and the
University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health.
Population Media Center has received funding from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
in Sierra Leone for a 208-episode radio serial drama for promotion of family planning
use. The program will also address such issues as stopping child marriages, preventing or
repairing obstetric fistula, ending female genital mutilation, stopping gender based
violence, and preventing HIV infection. Following a training workshop in February
2012, the writers have created a program called (Saliwansai, “Puppet on a String”),
which was launched on April 1, 2012.
Sierra Leone is a country of approximately 6 million people with a population doubling
time of 32 years. The total fertility rate of 5 children per woman is among the highest in
the world. This high fertility rate is compounded by low use and knowledge of modern
contraceptive methods by men and women throughout the country. The fertility rate is,
in part, a reflection of the ideal number of children among married women (5.3) and
among married men (6.8).
Only 7% of married women (15-49 years of age) in Sierra Leone use a modern method of
contraception. Among non-users of modern contraception, the reasons given for non-use
are partner opposition (14.4%), fear of side effects or health concerns (14.2%), personal
opposition (13.5%), lack of knowledge of methods or sources (12%), wanting as many
children as possible (10.8%), and religious opposition (9.3%). Cost was cited by only
1.3%, and lack of access was cited by only 0.3%. There is a critical need to change social
norms with regard to ideal family size, acceptability of family planning, and self-efficacy
with regard to decision-making about family matters, and to provide correct information
regarding the relative safety of contraception compared to early and repeated
childbearing. PMC hopes that its program will have a major impact in on these norms.
In February 2010, PMC provided training to the scriptwriters and producers of a series
called Isithunzi Siyalandela (“The Shadow that Walks with You”) for Ochre Moving
Pictures. The South African Broadcasting Company (SABC) is very interested in
developing local talent, specifically to produce programs in a telenovela format. Season
2 of the series will be launched on SABC 1 in 2011. It follows the young male initiates of
a sacred ceremony from the first season, as they learn to navigate their lives as men in an
ever-changing and complicated South Africa.
In August 2006, PMC completed a radio serial drama project dealing with reproductive
health issues and elevation of the status of women and girls. The program, called Ashreat
Al Amal (“Sails of Hope”), was broadcast over Radio Omdurman, with free air time
provided by the government's Ministry of Information and Communication from
November 2004 to June 2006. Evaluation research was conducted by a team from Ohio
University led by communications scholar Professor Arvind Singhal. Support for the
work in Sudan was provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Highlights of the July 2006 evaluation of the project in Sudan include the following:
Monitoring data showed that among the targeted group (women of reproductive
age) there was high listenership. Data gathered from clinic clients in 2005
indicated that between 29% and 39% of clinic clients listened to Ashreat al Amal.
Respondents to the impact evaluation were over 2 ½ times more likely to have
discussed HIV/AIDS with their partners after the program than respondents at the
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
In Brazil, PMC is working in partnership with Comunicarte, an organization in Rio de
Janeiro, to assist TV Globo with tracking the social and health issues in its entertainment
programs and measuring the impact of these programs. TV Globo’s programming is
received throughout 98% of Brazil. With telenovelas, the lives of the characters mix with
people’s lives. And these characters can influence the knowledge of people.
TV Globo inserts messages related to reproductive health and other issues in its most
popular programs. The air time TV Globo has donated to issues of social concern would
have costs tens of millions of dollars within the last year alone.
Audience research has shown that people value educational content in entertainment
programming, as long as it is not presented in a boring way. In fact, TV Globo has
received numerous national and international awards for the social relevance of its
telenovelas. In 2011, TV Globo integrated 452 scenes into its prime-time telenovelas
dealing with reproductive health, small family size, gender relations, and related social
and health issues. These programs are broadcast nationwide in Brazil and exported to
dozens of countries worldwide, dubbed into various languages. The project is supported
by the Weeden Foundation.
In 2007, PMC and Comunicarte helped TV Globo to measure the effects of a popular
telenovela, titled Páginas da Vida (“Pages of Life”), on audience behaviors, knowledge,
and attitudes. The program completed its broadcast of 203-episodes in March 2007.
At the conclusion of the program, women were interviewed at reproductive health clinics
throughout Brazil to monitor the effects of Páginas da Vida on decisions to seek family
planning services. The data point to the widespread effects of this popular telenovela:
60% of women interviewed watched Páginas da Vida on a regular basis.
There was more than a 50% increase in knowledge among women interviewed
with regard to various reproductive health issues such as: contraceptive methods,
family planning, maternal health, maternity/paternity, unwanted pregnancy,
adolescent pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS.
Among viewers interviewed at BEMFAM family planning clinics, 60% of clients
age 18-24 said that scenes in Páginas da Vida served as a stimulus for them to
seek a health service.
65.4% of female viewers interviewed said they would be “more careful” to
prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Additionally, the issue of Down syndrome was especially important to include in Páginas
da Vida, because it is rarely discussed in Brazilian society. Both quantitative and
qualitative research was used to evaluate changes in viewers’ knowledge, attitudes, and
practices regarding people living with Down syndrome. One focus group participant said:
“The biggest impact of the telenovela was seeing the awakening of a series of questions
and sensitizations that were made relating to Down syndrome. Moreover, the image of a
person with Down syndrome on television during prime time opens space for a new set of
In Jamaica, PMC worked in coordination with JA-STYLE (Jamaica’s Solution for Youth
Lifestyle and Empowerment) to produce and broadcast a 155-episode radio drama. The
drama, titled Outta Road (“What’s Happening Out in the Streets”), was a story about
twelve teens from different social backgrounds whose lives are interconnected. The
characters in the drama were confronted with the same issues that plague Jamaican teens,
such as love, friendship, peer pressure, violence, sex, drugs, and HIV/AIDS. Funding for
this project was provided by USAID and UNFPA. Commercial sponsorship for broadcast
was provided by Digicel.
Outta Road was broadcast on two of Jamaica’s most popular national radio stations from
March 2006 to March 2007. In addition to national broadcast, listening groups were
established in schools as a part of the guidance curriculum. Youth listened to the
programs in a classroom setting and were also given CDs of the program to bring home
to listen to and share with their friends. Guidance counselors used the program as a
stimulus for discussion about the difficult and highly sensitive issues addressed in Outta
JA-STYLE distributed flyers, pamphlets, handbooks, CDs of Outta Road, and good
parenting calendars to encourage further discussion among listeners. This supplemental
information, what PMC refers to as the Whole Society Strategy, helped to reinforce
lessons learned through the program and provided another platform for discussion. This
integrated strategy was cited by the teens interviewed as being very helpful, especially in
building better relationships with their family and friends.
A quantitative evaluation conducted at the conclusion of the program found:
31% of the adolescents surveyed had heard of Outta Road
32% of listeners discussed the Outta Road drama with friends
56% of listeners were motivated by Outta Road to seek healthy lifestyles
services. These include reproductive health, substance abuse, parenting,
parent-child relationships, sexuality, and conflict resolution services.
PMC is co-producing a telenovela with MTV-Mexico to address teenage pregnancy
issues. The plan is to broadcast the program, Ultimo Año (“Last Year”), throughout Latin
America once it is launched in the second half of 2012. With an estimated audience reach
of 22 million households in 23 territories, the program will include 70 one-hour episodes
that weave in issues related to teen sexual health, avoidance of unwanted pregnancy,
contraception, prevention of HIV infection, and formation of healthy relationships.
Previously, PMC worked with the Adolescent Orientation Center (CORA) of Mexico to
produce a series of radio mini-serials mixed with talk shows in the five states of Mexico
with the highest fertility rates. These programs were developed by young people and
were aimed at youth audiences. PMC tested the model, called Dimensiones Sexuales
(“Sexual Dimensions”), for the radio programs in Puebla State and then developed a
manual for the methodology. PMC and CORA expanded the use of the methodology to
other states, including Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, and Michoacán. In addition to the radio
programs, the project included intensive training of health care providers and youth
service agency staff in how to effectively deal with adolescent sexuality issues. Support
for the work in Mexico was provided by the Bergstrom Foundation, the Compton
Foundation, the Jewish Communal Fund, Path, Interact Worldwide, an individual donor
and the participating state governments.
In 2006, PMC and CORA revised the Dimensiones Sexuales model to keep it current
with youth needs. To evaluate the needs and interests of Mexican youth, PMC engaged a
local research firm to conduct a series of focus group discussions with Mexican youth.
This research helped to inform the development of PMC’s next program in Mexico, a
radio call-in show called Válvula de Escape, Un Espacio sin Censura. Sexo Netas y
Preguntas (“Escape Valve, a Space without Censorship: Discussion and Questions about
Válvula de Escape provided an outlet for teens to discuss issues relating to
sexual/reproductive health on the air with health professionals and other teens. In order to
gauge the success of the show, a survey of 300 students was conducted in the fall of 2007
at schools in one of the broadcast areas. Respondents were asked a series of questions
about their awareness and exposure to the radio program Válvula de Escape; knowledge
of HIV and STIs; and knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors with regard to family planning.
When asked to recall youth radio programs about sexuality, 73% of students
interviewed mentioned Válvula de Escape.
The radio show had high appeal among those who listened, with 88% of students
indicating they “liked it” or “liked it a lot.”
68% of listeners found Válvula de Escape to be a “useful” radio program.
Family Planning Knowledge
Listeners were significantly more likely than non-listeners to know about various
family planning methods including birth control pills (74% vs. 60%), female
condoms(44% vs. 27%), and injections (28% vs. 10%).
Listeners (92%) were significantly more likely than non-listeners (83%) to
recognize emergency contraception as a form of birth control.
Knowledge and Attitudes about HIV and STIs
Significantly more listeners (93%) compared to non-listeners (72%) correctly
indicated that, without an HIV test, “a person can’t tell when another person has
HIV just by their appearance.”
Listeners were significantly more likely than non-listeners to know HIV can be
- By having sex without a condom: listeners (77%) vs. non-listeners (52%).
- From sharing needles: listeners (58%) vs. non-listeners (22%).
- Through blood transfusions: listeners (63%) vs. non-listeners (29%).
Listeners (59%) were significantly more likely than non-listeners (26%) to know
that a blood test will not detect HIV infection one week after exposure to the
Listeners were significantly more likely than non-listeners to know about sexually
transmitted infections (STIs), including knowing symptoms and modes of
PMC and CORA also developed a program in Mexico using the web to improve
adolescent sexual health. The project, known as Sexpertos Saludables (“Healthy
Sexperts”), has several components that complement each other to create a forum for
young men and women where they can share their thoughts and questions about sexuality
with each other in an entertaining format. Interactive components, including quizzes,
information, the debunking of myths, animations, and a video game, are accessible to
Mexican youth by going to the Sexpertos website. Youth also have the opportunity to
chat with a virtual counselor.
The animations are two-minute segments about a group of friends dealing with their first
sexual experiences. The target audience is between the ages of 11 and 16. To ensure the
interest of this age group, the animations have been created in the style of Japanese
manga, a very popular graphic style. An important feature of the entire approach in
Sexpertos is to be sure that the information presented never feels as though it is coming
from an “official source.” Based on years of investigation, the serious scenarios are
presented with a sense of humor to engage the audience and to ensure their frequent
return to the site. PMC is funding Sexpertos with additional help from the Carso
Foundation of Mexico. The website was launched in February 2011.
Papua New Guinea
PMC is currently broadcasting two radio drama series nationwide in PNG. The series,
Nau Em Taim (“Now is the Time”), written and broadcast in Tok Pisin, and Echoes of
Change, written and broadcast in English address a broad array of issues pertaining to the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This project has been adopted under
the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Campaign in PNG.
Nau Em Taim and Echoes of Hope each follow three separate transitional characters
through the trials and tribulations of their lives as they face daily struggles with poverty,
violence, family size, educational barriers, land ownership and destruction, the downward
spiral of drinking and drugs, HIV/AIDS, and sexual behavior decisions. Audiences will
find themselves deeply engrossed in the dramatic lives of the characters while
simultaneously learning through the characters’ experiences about family planning,
avoidance of risky sexual behavior, community organizing, communication alternatives
to violence, environmental protection, and improving the status of women in society.
Through the course of the dramas, both the characters and the audience have the potential
to emerge profoundly changed. Both programs launched in February 2011 and will air for
UNFPA and the UN Country Team are providing both financial and technical support for
the project. In addition, the project is supported by Population Services International, the
David and Lucile Packard Foundation, AusAID, and Colgate Palmolive. In addition,
Population Services International is supporting the creation of CDs for distribution to
truck drivers and a discussion guide for groups listening to the radio serial dramas.
In 2005, PMC produced and broadcast a radio soap opera in the Philippines called Sa
Pagsikat ng Araw (“The Hope After the Dawn”). The radio serial drama was supported
by UNFPA for broadcast nationwide on affiliate stations of the Manila Broadcasting
Corporation. This 120-episode drama was aired intensively between July and December
2005. A participatory evaluation of the impact of the program was conducted by a team
from Ohio University (led by Dr. Arvind Singhal) in December 2005, and the findings
indicated profound effects of the program on the lives of listeners.
In addition, in 2005, PMC conducted a training workshop for members of the AIDS
Society of the Philippines and for scriptwriters brought together by them, as well as a
seminar for the International Rice Research Institute on the use of entertainment-
education for the farming community.
Previously, in 2001, PMC held a "Soap Summit" for producers and writers of the 29
television soap operas and dozens of radio soap operas on the air in the Philippines. A
one-day meeting, co-sponsored by three committees of the Philippine Congress and held
in the largest hearing room of the Congress, attracted 300 participants from the
broadcasting industry, various government ministries, communication scholars,
advertisers, members of Congress, NGOs, and other agencies. In addition, a half-day
seminar by Miguel Sabido on the design of entertainment-education serial dramas, held at
the National Library, attracted 150 broadcast professionals and was followed by dinner
hosted by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Malacanang Palace.
In November 2003, PMC led a session focused on the role of female scriptwriters in
elevating the status of women and in bringing about social change worldwide at the
Women Playwrights International conference in Manila. In addition, in 2003, PMC
conducted a training workshop for members of the AIDS Society of the Philippines.
At the invitation of UNFPA-Vietnam, and in collaboration with The Voice of Vietnam
Radio (VOV), PMC launched its first serial drama in Vietnam in March 2008. The radio
program, Khat Vong Song ("Aspiration to Live"), was created to promote reproductive
health and avoidance of HIV/AIDS. This 104-episode drama began airing on VOV2, but
because of the drama’s huge popularity after just 2 months on the air, Voice of Vietnam
decided to extend Khat Vong Song’s broadcast to its two other stations, VOV1 and
VOV3. Each episode was followed by a 15-minute call-in show, where experts answered
listeners’ questions. The program aired through March 2010, with broadcast coverage in
all 64 provinces and cities. Support for this project came from the Danish government via
PMC and VOV have launched a second broadcast serial on radio, designed to address
climate change issues. The program is called Hanh Trinh Xanh (“Green Journey”). PMC
conducted the training workshop for the writers in June 2011, and the program launched
in July. Hanh Trinh Xanh addresses many of the environmental challenges that Vietnam
is being confronted with as a result of climate change. The drama unfolds in four
different geographical regions - ranging from the mountain areas to the coast to the river
deltas. Hanh Trinh Xanh not only focuses on hardships of surviving in an economy based
on natural resources, but it also draws the audience into the personal conflicts, romances,
and relationships between the characters from the different regions. Episodes will air
once a week through 2013. The project is funded by DANIDA, the Danish International
PMC is currently developing a 90-episode webnovela addressing teenage pregnancy
prevention among American Latinas. The first Sabido-style program in the United
States, East Los High will also help to promote reproductive health, prevent HIV/AIDS
and other STIs, promote healthy relationships, encourage healthy eating and exercise
habits, and improve self-image among teens. PMC has engaged a talented team of
Hollywood producers and writers to create the program. The program is also being
prepared for possible distribution on a network or cable system.
In 2006, PMC engaged Sonny Fox, former Chairman of the Board of the National
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, to represent the organization on the West
Coast and to work with the entertainment industry to engage them in positive treatment of
population and reproductive health issues. As part of this work, in May 2007, PMC held
the Entertainment-Public Health Summit to bring together entertainment industry leaders
and public health professionals for the purpose of creating dialogue and an ongoing
mechanism for regular and speedy input by the public health community into
entertainment programs on reproductive health and other health concerns. The Summit
was held in Atlanta at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, which
was a co-sponsor of the event. The Summit was presented in association with the
Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the Harvard School of Public
Health, the Writers Guild of America West, and the Academy of Television Arts and
Key presenters at the 2007 Summit included Dr. Albert Bandura, Stanford Psychology
Professor and originator of Social Cognitive Theory; Bill Ryerson, President of
Population Media Center; Vicki Beck, Director Hollywood, Health and Society, Norman
Lear Center, University of Southern California; Dr. Zoanne Clack, Co-Producer and
Writer for ABC’s hit series Grey’s Anatomy; Gary Knell, President and CEO of Sesame
Workshop; Cindy Popp and Tracy Melchior from The Bold and the Beautiful TV series;
Sonya Lockett, Vice President for Public Affairs of Black Entertainment Television;
Diana Cristina Diaz, Director, Corporate and Community Relations, Univision; Michelle
Alban, Director, Primary Research, Telemundo; Arvind Singhal, Professor of
Communication Studies and Presidential Research Scholar at Ohio University; Kriss
Barker, Vice President for International Programs for Population Media Center; Patric
Verrone, President, Writers Guild of America West; Dr. Susan Allen, Director of the
Rwanda, Zambia HIV Research Group; and Dr. John Brooks, Director, HIV Clinical
Epidemiology Team at the Centers for Disease Control.
The proceedings of the Entertainment-Public Health Summit are available online on
Emory University’s website at www.sph.emory.edu/media/EPH/Summit.html. A link
under the screen of the opening session leads to a menu of other sessions that one can
In November 2008, PMC conducted a daylong Climate Change Summit in Los Angeles
in partnership with the Writers Guild of America West, the Academy of Television Arts
and Sciences, Women in Film and the Environmental Media Association. The Summit
gave attention to the health and security consequences of climate change and the role that
population growth plays in accelerating the climate crisis. As mentioned at the Summit,
the projected addition of 2.5 billion people to the world’s population between now and
2050 is the carbon equivalent of adding two United States to the planet. Writers and
producers of numerous American television shows attended the Summit.
Key presenters at the 2008 Climate Change Summit included Patrick Verrone, President,
Writers Guild of America; Jane Fleming, President, Women in Film Foundation; Debbie
Levin, Executive Director, Environmental Media Association; John Shaffner, President,
Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; Dr. Howard Frumkin, Director, National
Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dennis
McGinn, Vice Admiral, (Ret.) U.S. Navy; David Rambo, Writer/Supervising Producer,
CSI; Chris Alexander, Senior V.P. of Corporate Communications, 20th Century Fox
Communications; Dr. Neal Baer, Executive Producer, Law &Order: SVU; William
Ryerson, President, Population Media Center; Steve Schiffman, General Manager,
National Geographic Channel; and Professor Edward Maibach, Director of the Center for
Climate Change Communication, George Mason University. The proceedings of the
Climate Change Summit can be viewed at
PMC is conducting a program to place population and sustainability experts on talk
shows and news interviews in order to better inform the American people about
population issues and the ramifications of continued population growth. As of September
2011, over 500 placements have been made on talk shows across America. These
placements have resulted in over 200 hours of core programming; figuring in
syndications, there have been in excess of 3,500 broadcasts and at least 1,000 hours of
total airplay. This project also distributes editorial columns by population experts via the
Cagle Syndication Service to its 800 subscribing U.S. newspapers and magazines. This
service has distributed a series of editorials on population issues generated by PMC,
including two by PMC President William Ryerson, an editorial from Dr. Thoraya Obaid,
Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund on World Population Day
(July 11, 2005), plus columns by former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm; Lindsey
Grant, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population and Environment; attorney
John Rohe; John Flicker, President of the National Audubon Society; UCLA professor
Ben Zuckerman; Berkeley professor Malcolm Potts; and Population Institute’s Executive
Vice President, Robert Walker.
PMC is also distributing frequent news articles and editorials about population and global
sustainability issues to a global list of population-concerned individuals and institutions.
This email service has generated a flood of letters reacting to both negative and positive
statements by political leaders, the news media, environmental leaders and others.
Individuals can sign up for the mailing list at www.populationmedia.org/who/subscribe-
to-pmc/. As part of this project, PMC conducted a Roper poll of segments of the
American public to understand their perceptions of various ways of framing the
population issue. Three PMC staff authored an article in Worldwatch Magazine
summarizing the findings of this research.
With support from the Wallace Global Fund, PMC and the Population Institute held a
meeting of population experts and ecological economists in October 2009 to develop
responses to the claims that the economy depends on endless population growth. The
material developed during this meeting is being used to advise those appearing on talk
shows and news interviews so that they can provide this information to the American
people. Podcasts and PowerPoint presentations from “Population Growth and Rising
Consumption: What’s Sustainable?” can be viewed online. Podcasts are available (via
iTunes) at http://www.populationinstitute.org/newsroom/podcasts/. PowerPoint slides are
available at http://www.populationinstitute.org/newsroom/news/view/25/.
Speakers included: William Catton Jr., author of Bottleneck: the Human Impasse (2009);
Laurie Mazur, editor of A Pivotal Moment: Human Population, the Environmental Crisis
and the Justice Solution (2009); Peter Victor, York University, author of Managing
without Growth (2008); Dennis Meadows, author of Limits to Growth (1972) and
Limits to Growth: the 30 Year Update (2002); Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute,
author of Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (2007); and Robert
Engelman, WorldWatch Institute, author of More: Population, Nature, and What Women
In 2004 and 2005, PMC conducted nationwide contests, which awarded prizes for the
best published editorial cartoons dealing with population-related issues. In 2004, the first
year of the contest, 188 published cartoons were submitted. In the 2005 contest, 156
entries were submitted. The National Cartoonists Society and the Association of
American Editorial Cartoonists publicized both contests to their members.
Judges in the 2004 contest included former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm, retired
United Media Chairman Robert Metz, Yale University Professor Robert Wyman, Planned
Parenthood Federation's Vice President for International Programs Allie Stickney, and
cartoonists Edward Koren and Signe Wilkinson. The 2005 panel of judges included
cartoonists Greg Evans (Luann), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues), Rick Stromoski (Soup to
Nutz) and population experts John Seager (President of Population Connection) and
Nancy Yinger (Director of International Programs for the Population Reference Bureau).
The awards event for the 2005 contest was held in the Senate Environment Hearing
Room in the Dirksen Building in Washington, DC. Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords spoke
at the event. Many of the 2004 finalists can be viewed on the world's largest editorial
cartoon website at www.cagle.com/news/NationalPopulation/1.asp.
Electronic Game against Gender-Based Violence
PMC is working in partnership with the Emergent Media Center of Champlain College to
create an electronic game to prevent violence against women. Breakaway is a
football/soccer game targeted toward boys aged 8 to 15. Utilizing the Sabido
methodology and the FIFA Fair Play Code, Breakaway offers a variety of features that
appeal to boys in various cultures while engaging them in a compelling narrative that
promotes non-violent values. Project development of the e-game began in 2008 with
support from UNFPA. The game has become part of the Secretary General’s UNite
Campaign to End Violence against Women (http://endviolence.un.org/). Cameroonian
football star, Samuel Eto’o is the public spokesperson for the game. The game contains
music by Francis Mbappe.
The game contains 13 episodes. Episodes 1-3 of Breakaway were released in June 2010
and were distributed to the following groups during the World Cup in South Africa.
Fundación Privada Samuel Eto’o:
Grassroot Soccer: http://www.grassrootsoccer.org
Man Up Campaign: http://www.manupcampaign.org/
Students Partnership Worldwide:
Ikamva Youth: http://ikamvayouth.org/
Chapters 4-6 were released in August 2010, and episodes 7-13 were completed in
February 2011. In addition, PMC and Champlain College are producing a facilitator’s
guide to the game. More information about E-game can be found as follows:
To play the game, visit http://www.breakawaygame.com.
For a summary and to view a ten minute video produced by EMC, go to
Project web site (http://www.emergentmediacenter.com/unvaw) linked to the
already existing project blog (http://emc-gamestakeonvaw.blogspot.com).
Facebook group (Facebook: Empowering Play
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=108661302908) that helps spread the
In 2003, PMC implemented a project for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) on a
region-wide basis in Africa and the Asia/Pacific Region to assist local FM and
community radio stations in addressing HIV/AIDS and reproductive health issues
through entertainment-education. The project included training workshops in the use of
entertainment-education techniques for community radio producers and representatives
from selected NGOs. Personnel from radio stations and NGOs from Angola, Guinea
Bissau, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria and South Africa received training
at a workshop in Johannesburg in March 2003. In the Asia/Pacific Region, personnel
from Cambodia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Vietnam
participated in a similar workshop in Manila in May 2003. As part of the project, PMC
produced a report of a needs assessment, Strengthening Partnerships among Local FM
Radio Networks and Reproductive Health Agencies on HIV/AIDS, which can be found at
In follow up to the workshops, PMC has developed long-running social-content serial
drama projects with several of the participants.
Training Guide & Best Practices Manual
In 2004, UNFPA asked PMC to develop a training guide with detailed information on the
application of the serial drama methodology to address such issues as the way in which
gender discrimination impacts women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. The training guide
was published in 2005. A PDF of the Training Guide is available on the PMC website at
hivaids/. As a result of the positive response to the training guide, UNFPA asked PMC to
develop a manual with examples of excellent social change communication programs
worldwide. That book was published in December 2011 and can be downloaded at
http://www.populationmedia.org/resources/publications/training-guides/. An article on
PMC’s work appears on the UNFPA website at
International Media Presentations
PMC personnel have made presentations at Commonwealth Broadcasting Association
(CBA) global meetings on the use of broadcasting for social change and the importance
of broadcasters addressing issues related to population, reproductive health and the rights
and status of women.
PMC’s West Coast Representative, Sonny Fox, was one of the founders of the
International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, which is the largest organization
of global broadcasters, with members from nearly 70 countries and over 400 companies.
In 2006, PMC participated in the International Emmy World Television Festival (held the
weekend before the International Emmy Awards) with presentations on socially
responsible broadcasting, in a panel chaired by TV Globo of Brazil. In 2007, PMC co-
sponsored and participated in four panel discussions focused on socially responsible
broadcasting. The 2007 panels can be viewed at
PMC has been invited to present its work at various international conferences, including
the 2006, 2007, and 2010 Rotary International Conventions, several Global Health
Conferences, the UNFPA Africa Regional Fistula Knowledge and Experience Sharing
Meeting held in Mauritania in 2007, the Y-PEER conference of UNFPA held in Istanbul
in 2007, the first and second national Behavior, Energy and Climate Change conferences
held in Sacramento in 2007 and 2008, the National Endowment for Democracy
conference on Community Radio Development held in 2007, two conferences of the
International Association of Business Communicators, the Sundance Film Festival, the
biennial meeting of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, the Boulder World
Affairs Conference, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and
Development, UNICEF headquarters, the 2008 and 2009 Bioneers by the Bay
conferences, the 2009 Bioneers conference, the International Family Planning
Conferences in Kampala, Uganda in November 2009 and in Dakar, Senegal in December
2011, the meeting of European Parliamentarians on Population and Development in Paris
in May 2011, the World Bank conference on entertainment-education in June 2011, and
various civic organizations, colleges and universities in the U.S. and overseas.
For more information, contact:
Population Media Center
P.O. Box 547
Shelburne, Vermont 05482-0547