Soaps for Social Change
You can't solve the world's problems sitting around listening to soap operas. Or can you?
The world's population is growing by 80 million annually. In countries such as Mali, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, the average woman gives birth to between five and eight children. For the poorest families, this can lead to dire consequences and ugly choices; face starvation or give children up to human traffickers.
A group called the Population Media Center is targeting the problem of human trafficking at its root cause and tackling it in a novel way. They produce serial radio dramas that educate men and women about family planning through gripping dramas and lovable characters.
The programs, written by West Africans trained by the Population Media Center have a wide and devoted following. They effect behavioral change not by hitting their audience over the head, but by taking them on a journey. Listeners come to identify with characters, and over the course of the program’s run, they learn along with them about the choices they can make to avoid or overcome problems.