Educating through Entertaining: Confronting Taboos and Understanding Fertility
This month a new serial radio drama, IMPANO N’IMPAMBA (“A Gift for Today That Will Last for a Long Time”), is being broadcast across Rwanda. Through the tangled love lives of its characters, IMPANO N’IMPAMBA will address complex issues like sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, and maternal and child health. The radio program is created by the Population Media Center (PMC), a nonprofit media expert with over a decade of experience working to improve people’s health and well-being through role modeling in entertainment-education programming.
Entertainment comes first.
PMC’s approach to creating serial dramas emphasizes entertainment first. The program must resonate with the audience and engage them emotionally. The resulting behavior change from the program relies on the audience building a strong connection with the characters. So, IMPANO N’IMPAMBA takes on racy and controversial issues and confronts taboos like sex among unmarried youth, domestic violence, unfaithfulness within marriage, and the struggle to understand true pregnancy risk and avoid unwanted pregnancies.We’re measuring impact.
Since rigorous research frames our work, we’re testing a hypothesis through this radio program, funded in part by the FACT Project led by IRH. If people understand their fertility and pregnancy risk by listening to the characters grapple with such issues in the story, will it result in improved sexual and reproductive decision-making and outcomes like use of family planning or reduction in unintended pregnancies? We’ll explore the feasibility of conveying fertility awareness through this mass media channel and assess its impact on the audience’s attitudes and behaviors.
We already know that individuals’ awareness is very low regarding how their bodies work or when they are likely to become pregnant. These topics are often taboo in many cultures, and this reduces the likelihood of transmitting accurate information on a wide scale.
A nationally broadcast radio program aimed at educating through entertaining provides a fascinating opportunity to confront these taboos and usher in new conversations. We invite you to join us in the dialogue! @IRH_GU @PopulationMedia #FertilityAwareness