A newly-established International NGO in Sierra Leone, Population Media Center (PMC) with funding from UNFPA, will produce 208 episode radio serial dramas for the promotion of women’s health.
The program will also address issues on family planning, preventing or repairing obstetric fistula, ending female genital mutilation, stopping gender-based violence and preventing HIV infection. Briefing Reporters at their Congo Cross office in Freetown, Country Representative, Victor Massaquoi, stated that “we are undertaking a three-year project funded by UNFPA which will focus on the production of a social content radio serial drama addressing issues of reproductive health, contraceptive use, safe motherhood and women’s status in the country”.
Massaquoi explained that PMC was founded in 1998 by William Ryerson, with the intention of using the extensive experience of experts in entertainment-education to spread the application of the Sabido methodology in addressing population and reproductive health issues
The PMC Country Representative pointed out that the Atunda Ayenda by Talking Drum Studio and Mammy and Omo by Cotton Tree News (CTN) are examples of dramas that have some amount of the sabido methodology.
He added that the project will include formative research to design a long-running radio serial drama, production of the serial, community-based activities in support of the drama and quantitative and qualitative evaluation to measure the effects of the project.
The Country Representative noted that serial dramas (soap operas) are the centerpiece of this behaviour change communications strategy, because of the known effectiveness of this approach in changing attitudes and behaviours. Massaquoi stated that there is strong evidence that mass media, particularly entertainment broadcast media, have played a significant role in a number of countries such as Brazil, Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, St. Lucia and Tanzania in bringing about changes in reproductive behaviour and in promoting other health measures.He maintained that since the inception of PMC, the organization has been a pioneer in the use of new methodologies for informing people about reproductive health issues and promoting behaviour change. UNFPA Country Representative, Madam Ratidzai Ndlovu reiterated that she is aware of the outstanding performance of PMC in their countries of operations.