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Democratic Republic of the Congo Tunes in their Radios on September 16th

September 9th, 2014

KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO–A new radio show airing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo doesn’t promise to solve every challenge, but it is promising top-notch entertainment that will spur conversation and change.

Radio Okapi, a nationwide radio station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, starts broadcasting Vivra Verra (“Time Will Tell”) on September 16, 2014. Vivra Verra, written and produced in French, promises action and suspense, but the writers and producers know Vivra Verra’s casts of characters and plot twists will also get the audience talking about important issues, such as maternal and child health, gender-based violence, and adolescent reproductive health.

“Long-running dramas are a powerful vehicle to introduce audiences to important social concepts,” says Bill Ryerson, President of Population Media Center, which is producing the program. “We’ve been telling stories for social development for over 15 years, and we’re very excited to work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to bring our method of entertainment-education to the airwaves.”

Population Media Center (PMC), an international nonprofit based in the United States, specializes in entertainment-education, producing what much of the world would describe as “soap operas” for TV, radio, and the web, but these soap operas effect changes in health and social attitudes and behaviors.

“We’re excited about Vivra Verra,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President of International Programs. “Our method for producing these dramas – we use the Sabido Methodology – has been tested through a variety of environments, cultures, and issues. We’re eager to bring our expertise to bear on these important issues facing the Congo.”

As of 2013, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked as second to last of all countries on the Human Development index. The Democratic Republic of the Congo also has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, and PMC explains that these two facts are directly connected. PMC works to address human health and human rights issues, which are key factors in lowering fertility.

“When people are empowered with information and choice,” says Ryerson, “the fertility rate drops while health, human rights, and economies advance. In fact, every country that has been reclassified from developing status to developed status since World War II first started with fertility reduction by promoting family planning and small family norms.”

“Radio Okapi welcomes the broadcast of serial dramas as they reconcile the two basic elements of radio: information and entertainment,” says Denis Faoud, Head of Media at the Hirondelle Foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which oversees Radio Okapi. “Such programs are a good complement to our range of program information, such as news programs and cultural programs. This allows us to talk about serious things without necessarily doing so in a serious way.”

PMC also hopes to launch up to four more dramas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to address similar and additional issues in local languages of Lingala, Swahili, Kikongo, and Tshiluba.

“The writers and producers of our programs are always local, and the Vivra Verra staff is superb,” says Barker. “The local PMC staff looks forward to the Vivra Verra characters coming alive in the minds and conversations of people throughout the Congo and seeing real dialogue around important issues.”

This project is funded by DFATD (Canada), the US Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), DKT International, UN Women, and UNAIDS.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):
Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Two Global Health Corps Fellows Head to Burundi to Change Lives through Radio

July 23rd, 2014

SHELBURNE, VT–“I can’t believe we’ll be in Bujumbura on Friday,” says Alex Bozzette, a 2014-2015 Global Health Corps fellow being placed with Population Media Center. It was a Tuesday, and Bozzette was sitting with his co-fellow, Jean Sacha Barikumutima, in the modest offices of Population Media Center (PMC) in Shelburne, Vermont. On Thursday, July 17, the two would make the 27-hour trip to Bujumbura, Burundi for their year-long placement in PMC’s Burundi office.

“For me, this is the perfect opportunity at the perfect time,” says Bozzette. “It combines my experience in international public health project management with my interests in design and communications. Family planning is a huge priority for public heath, but family planning is also a huge priority for gender equality, environmental sustainability, and economic development.”

This is the first time US-based Population Media Center has teamed up with Global Health Corps to offer year-long paid fellowships in Burundi, one available to a US citizen, Bozzette, and one available to a Burundi citizen, Barikumutima. This opportunity coincides with the launch of a new radio soap opera produced by Population Media Center’s Burundi office to address women and children’s health.

“This year, I’m really excited by PMC’s approach and to see its impact,” says Barikumutima, who had been interning in PMC’s Burundi office when he was awarded the fellowship. “I believe this approach has the ability to address cultural mindsets. It draws people in and as they listen to the drama, they understand the message themselves. I’m excited to see how people change.”

The radio drama, Agashi (“Hey! Look Again!”), addresses issues such as child nutrition and family planning through intriguing storylines and plot twists. Over the course of the episodes, characters demonstrate choices and consequences, learning from their actions and teaching listeners as well. Agashi will run for approximately two years, airing two episodes per week.

Barikumutima, who now lives in Bujumbura, the capital, but grew up in the Kayanza province, explains that many of the issues addressed in Agashi will help individuals and communities that he cares about.

Prior to traveling to Burundi, Bozzette and Barikumutima spent two weeks at Yale University’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut for Global Health Corps training.

“I couldn’t sleep,” says Barikumutima. “I was thinking about things. This is a great opportunity to work on specific issues, and also to work with partners in Burundi to understand what is being done while being part of change. I want to give back to my community. After all this, my family and friends will be proud of me.”

Bozzette will be further from home for the year, but that won’t be a new experience since the California native spent last year coordinating a public health initiative in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

“We come from very different backgrounds, Sacha is from Burundi and I’m from San Diego, but we’re both dissatisfied with the world as-is. The simple truth is that everyone, everywhere, deserves to be healthy, and they aren’t,” says Bozzette. “Global health inequity is wrong, and something needs to change. This year, we are pushing that change in our own small way by promoting women and children’s health with Population Media Center.”

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

ABOUT GLOBAL HEALTH CORPS (GHC):

Global Health Corps mobilizes a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC believes young people are the future to solving global health challenges. We place recent college graduates and young professionals from diverse professional backgrounds in health non-profits and government offices in the US, East Africa and Southern Africa for a year of service in order to strengthen and learn from the organizations. Fellows focus on creating solutions for a variety of current health issues like HIV, maternal child health, nutrition, and healthcare access. Through additional training, community building, leadership development and mentorship these young people complete their fellowship with skills to be change-makers and paradigm-shifters in the global health field throughout their careers. Since its founding in 2009, GHC has deployed 322 fellows to work in 7 countries.

http://ghcorps.org/

 

Telephone Surveys in Burundi Enhance an Already Powerful Form of Behavior Change Communication

July 8th, 2014

BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI– Since January, people in Burundi have been listening to a new radio program called Agashi! (“Hey! Look Again!”).  This 208-episode soap opera will air twice per week for two years, and uses Population Media Center’s highly successful entertainment-education approach to behavior change.

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit organization that uses entertainment-education to address pressing social issues all over the world, impacting more than 50 countries over the past 16 years. All PMC soap operas are steeped in research:

  • formative research to assess the policy and service framework within a country and to determine audience habits and perceptions in order to create realistic characters and settings;
  • research around the greatest health, human rights, and environmental protection needs;
  • clinic monitoring to assess impact of the PMC drama on new and existing clinic clients;
  • listener letters, text messages, and calls to assess understanding and likability of characters and storylines;
  • and endline data to determine the overall impact of a program.

But the PMC-Burundi office has developed a new form of audience research that’s turning out to be tremendously useful to the drama’s writing team: random telephone surveys.  The responses from the telephone surveys are made available to the scriptwriters and producer within a matter of hours.  Such quick turnaround of valuable information from listeners allows the creative team to make revisions to upcoming scripts.  Respondents’ telephone numbers are noted, along with any comments or suggestions they might have about the program, so that the creative team can phone back to get more in-depth feedback if necessary.

The idea for random telephone surveys was sparked by Jean Sacha Barikumutima, a PMC-Burundi intern who went over the pretest results of the first pilot episodes of Agashi. He realized that listeners provided a lot of ideas that could be useful to the creative team in the writing of the episodes.

“I realized that in a society with such a strong oral culture, a telephone survey had the potential to be a very powerful tool,” Barikumutima says.

Barikumutima and Willy Nsengiyumya, the Finance Manager at PMC-Burundi, demonstrated that the telephone surveys were not only the simplest, but also the most cost-effective method for gathering listenership feedback. Barikumutima conducted the first survey in late January, and the results proved incredibly valuable to the creative team.

“This feedback helps the writers understand how people are reacting to the characters and the characters’ decisions,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President of International Programs. “They also provide ideas for positive and negative consequences that can be used in future episodes.”

Barikumutima usually conducts the surveys on Thursday and Friday, sometimes continuing through the weekend.  The PMC-Burundi creative team meets the following Monday to discuss the results. PMC-Burundi has conducted four random telephone surveys since launching the drama in January.

Although not statistically significant, the informal telephone surveys also give the PMC-Burundi team a sense of how many people are listening and the geographic distribution of those listeners. In January, about 38 percent of people surveyed said they listened to Agashi. In April, the percentage had risen to 68 percent and every comment noted the entertainment value of the program. One male Agashi  listener said, “For me, Agashi is full of tips and entertainment.  So I continue to follow it.”

“This is such a fantastic, simple, and effective survey,” says Stephanie Tholand, PMC’s Program and Partnership Development Associate. “It’s definitely a tool that every PMC country office will want to include in their program management going forward.”

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

PMC’s Tom Kazungu Speaks About How to Stop Illegal Trade in Wildlife: with Serial Dramas

June 27th, 2014

Nairobi, Kenya – On June 24th, PMC’s Kenya Country Representative and long-time Sabido Methodology trainer Tom Kazungu spoke to a room full of people who were all concerned about illegal poaching and trade in wildlife products and told them that addressing the issue through entertainment might be the best approach to creating change, and saving species like the African elephant.

Experts predict that the extinction of the African elephant in the wild could happen within eleven years – by 2025 – and the forest elephant could be extinct within ten years – unless drastic changes are made. In addition to losing incredible wild animals, African communities are also seeing increased violence and crime associated with the illegal trade, and those working to stop the poaching are often in a direct line of danger.

It was issues like this that led the United Nations Environmental Programme to host the first UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. The event took place from June 23-27, 2014 with side panels focused on particular issues. Population Media Center, The Tsavo Trust, and the Kenyan Government partnered to present a side panel on “Illegal Trade in Wildlife.”

The Kenyan government focused on the complexity of wildlife crime and how it needs to be dealt with on various levels of government including enforcement, demand reduction, and legislation. Ian Saunders, COO of The Tsavo Trust, discussed sustainable development and wildlife management practices, and conservation and anti-poaching efforts in East Africa. Kazungu described PMC’s approach as “entertainment with proven social benefits,” citing impressive impacts from previous socially-oriented serial dramas and proposing a long-running TV series to catalyze behavior change and stop illegal wildlife trade. PMC has successfully addressed environmental issues in several of its programs, including deforestation of gorilla habitat in Rwanda, illegal dynamite fishing in Papua New Guinea, and adaptation to climate change in Vietnam.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Mende’s signature propels 5 new serial dramas in D.R. Congo

June 27th, 2014

Kinshasa, D.R. Congo – Tuesday in Kinshasa marked a pivotal point for Population Media Center (PMC), as Lambert Mende, the Congolese Minister of Media, signed a Protocole d’Entente that will allow PMC to launch five new radio serial dramas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Not only will PMC be producing more shows in a single country simultaneously than ever before, but programs will air in five different languages, targeting the Congo’s pressing health and human rights concerns related to reproductive, maternal, and child health.

Pascal Amasi, Mende’s deputy chief of staff and a former journalist, was the major actor in obtaining the signature that sets PMC’s new collection of projects in motion. Mende discussed the value of PMC’s work with Congolese media and encouraged them to promote healthy behavior through their own productions.

Present at the 30-minute ceremony were representatives from UNICEF; UNFPA; UNAIDS, Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development; and UN Women; as well as PMC staff Kriss Barker, Gabin Kifukiau, and Philippe Ntonda. Kriss Barker, PMC Vice President of International Programs, told the minister that Population Media Center is looking forward to a long and fruitful collaboration with the Congolese government.

“This gives us the green light to proceed,” said Barker with a smile, as Mende signed the document in green ink.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Burundian Celebrations Revolve Around a Socially-Themed Radio Drama

June 25th, 2014

SHELBURNE, VT – Food, music, dancing….these are some of the elements you’ll find at different events throughout Burundi. And, although it’s not unusual for Burundian events to include these festive and cultural activities, it might be unusual for people to be rallying around a radio serial drama that has social importance.

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization that strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world. One of their programs hit the airwaves in Burundi in January of 2014. Agashi (“Hey! Look again!”) is a 208-episode radio serial drama that airs in Kurundi, which is one of Burundi’s two official languages.

“I was in Burundi with our Burundian staff in April,” says Scott Connolly, PMC’s Director of Research, “and was lucky enough to get a T-shirt and a hat. This country team is pro-active about promotion, which is great because we love to see as much community involvement as possible. It builds trust for people to be able to speak openly and honestly about the issues the program addresses.”

PMC strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television. PMC uses a methodology called the Sabido methodology, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience, with some of those characters exhibiting and benefitting from positive behavior change.

PMC hires all local staffs to write, produce, and promote the programs, making sure that the characters and storylines are all culturally sensitive and relevant. The Burundi team has moved quickly and efficiently in putting together a variety of events, many of which feature singing, dancing, drumming, prize giveaways (such as radios), and speeches by members of the PMC-Burundi team and other locals.

At each event, participants can receive Agashi t-shirts, hats, banners, or stickers.  Click here to see fabulous photos from some of the Agashi events.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

GuideStar Gives Population Media Center Gold Status

June 23rd, 2014

Listener club in Katsina JUN 2008SHELBURNE, VT – There are a number of nonprofit organizations working to make the world a better place.  GuideStar makes it easy to figure out what these organizations are really doing, what their missions are, and whether or not they are having an impact. In June, GuideStar gave Population Media Center, an international non-profit organization, gold status.

“We push ourselves to higher levels every time we fill out or update a profile like GuideStar’s,” says Paul Ugalde, Population Media Center’s Director of Development. “We’re dedicated to meeting the highest standards.”

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit organization that creates entertaining serial dramas for radio and television that address social issues. The long-running soap operas inspire thought and conversation among the audience to increase understanding around issues like family planning, reproductive health, women’s rights, education, and HIV/AIDS.

GuideStar is an online listing service that displays key information about non-profit organizations, such as an organization’s impact and mission statements.  Their mission is to increase transparency about non-profits to allow donors to make better decisions and encourage charitable giving. GuideStar rates non-profit organizations according to three levels – bronze, silver, or gold – and they are looking for transparency and accountability.

“By achieving GuideStar’s gold status, PMC has shown again that it’s a credible organization,” says Ugalde. “PMC is consistent in its message, image, and practices. We are doing what we say we’re doing and it’s having significant impact. We deal in trust, transparency, and accountability.”

Visit PMC’s profile on GuideStar.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Nigerian Radio Drama for Social Change Expanding to 18 Million More People

June 16th, 2014

SHELBURNE, VT – A radio soap opera aimed at improving human health and enhancing human rights will now be broadcast to more than 18 million additional Nigerians. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has partnered with Population Media Center (PMC) to increase the broadcast area for a radio soap opera designed to increase knowledge around family planning, HIV/AIDS, adolescent reproductive health, women’s education, and gender-based violence. Tafigawalo (“Working Toward Change”) is a nine-month radio serial drama that began airing in southern Nigeria in November of 2013. The new broadcast begins across seven different radio stations this June.

“UNFPA is looking for partners like PMC,” says Adeola Olunloyo, UNFPA’s National Programme Officer in Nigeria for behavior change communications and advocacy, “to reach large numbers of people, particularly women and girls, and empower them to reach their full potential. They can be what they want to be. They can aspire to have a bigger life – a better life.”

Tafigawalo has been airing twice per week in the Pidgin language in three southern Nigerian states. UNFPA’s funding will expand the broadcast to several more southeastern Nigerian states, reaching the states of Abia, Benue, Cross River, Ebonyi, the Federal Capital Territory, Imo, and rebroadcasting in Lagos.

“I’m excited about this because it not only shows UNFPA’s confidence in our program and our ability to achieve results, but it greatly expands the reach of Tafigawalo, and that means we’ll be able to positively impact more people’s lives,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President of International Programs.

The rebroadcast area includes 18 million additional people, not including the potential to reach more people in Lagos. This broadcast will more than double the population in the original broadcast area.

“PMC has produced three other radio dramas in Nigeria with promising results,” says Bill Ryerson, PMC’s President. “Sixty-seven percent of reproductive health clients in Ruwan Dare’s broadcast area named that PMC program as their motivation to seek health services in 2009. We’re pleased to have that kind of impact and are excited to partner with UNFPA to continue building on the good work being done in Nigeria.”

UNFPA agrees, which is why they decided that Tafigawalo would be a powerful way to address cross-cutting issues like family planning, girls education, and gender-based violence.

“This is a good platform to address issues UNFPA is passionate about,” says Olunloyo. “A drama of that duration allows many issues to be addressed. The characters in the drama allow people to see themselves and evolve with the characters from someone without information or with misinformation to someone who is better informed about life saving issues.”

Tafigawalo is aimed at some of Nigeria’s most pressing health and human rights concerns, such as family planning. Only 14.1 percent of people in Nigeria say they use any form of contraception, and UNFPA estimates that anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million women suffer from obstetric fistula. Tafigawalo also stresses the importance of girls’ education, which is important when only 43 percent of Nigerian women obtain a secondary education. And Tafigawalo also addresses gender-based violence, an issue that is prevalent in Nigerian communities.

“The current crisis of kidnapped school girls in northern Nigeria is symptomatic of the low status of women and girls in all of Nigeria,” says Ephraim Okon, PMC’s Nigeria Country Representative when discussing the importance of Tafigawalo.

It is hoped that enhancing the health and rights of women and girls will not only improve people’s lives today, but it will also benefit Nigeria’s overall infrastructure. Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world with over 170 million people and an annual population growth rate of 3.18 percent. This means that Nigeria’s infrastructure needs to be prepared to support a population that’s expected to be more than 207 million by 2020, a short six years away.

“The writing and production of Tafigawalo is of extremely high quality, and this program deserves to be aired across the southern part of Nigeria,” said Barker as she talked about PMC’s vast experience in creating long-running radio serial dramas, like Tafigawalo, that engage audiences and effect change. “It has the power to change lives, and UNFPA’s funding will result in more lives changed.”

The rebroadcast of Tafigawalo will run until spring of 2015. PMC will be conducting research during the broadcast and at its conclusion to assess impact.

“UNFPA is really looking forward to seeing the results and hopes that many lives are transformed through this partnership with PMC,” says Olunloyo. “Due to societal, cultural, and religious barriers, many families don’t get to live fulfilling lives. If we can separate misconceptions from facts and help people make informed decisions about their health, particularly reproductive health, we can empower families to build a better society.”

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

 

ABOUT UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND (UNFPA):

UNFPA is the lead United Nations agency that expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives. We deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA accelerates progress towards universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary family planning and safe motherhood. We also advance the rights and opportunities of young people. www.unfpa.org

Population Media Center Part of First Wave of SXSW Eco Programming

June 12th, 2014

SHELBURNE, VT – The people have voted! Population Media Center, a global leader in entertainment-education for social good, has been chosen to be part of the program line-up at the 2014 South by Southwest Eco (SXSW Eco) conference taking place October 6-8 in Austin, Texas.

SXSW Eco attracts several thousand members of the global community to explore, engage, and co-create solutions for a sustainable world each year. This piqued the interest of Population Media Center’s Texas-based state chapter (PMC-TX) – which works to engage local elected officials, community leaders, and the Texas public on population and sustainability issues, explaining how Population Media Center (PMC) addresses these issues in ways that enhance human health, human rights, the environment, and economic justice.

PMC submitted a proposal for the panel “Women First: Improve Society and Protect the Environment” featuring four female panelists from a diverse group of organizations that focus on entertainment-education, technology for social good and women’s rights and empowerment.

“It is an honor to be part of this event and take a leadership role in convening this panel,” says Keith Annis, the Director of PMC-TX. “SXSW is well known and respected around the world, and the competition to be selected was tough.”

PMC’s idea for the panel had to be voted on by the general public to gauge interest. Response was so strong that the panel was selected to be included in the first wave of 2014 SXSW Eco programming. The panel will feature Missie Thurston from Population Media Center, Kelly L’Engle from FHI 360, Katie Mota from Wise Entertainment, and Diana Lugo-Martinez from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

These women, experts in their field, will discuss and address:

  1. The definitions of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and the challenges being faced locally, nationally, and internationally in realizing them.
  2. How the attainment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for women locally, nationally, and internationally translate into healthier societies and improved environmental protection – in addition to the individual benefits for each person.
  3. What innovative methods are being used to address these incredibly personal, cultural, and often controversial topics. Powerful behavior change communications examples that will be discussed include, but are not limited to, entertainment-education, gaming, and targeted use of technology.

“I believe the diversity of experience and depth of knowledge represented by our panelists, as well as the timeliness of our topic, were two of the most important reasons we were chosen,” says Annis. “This promises to be a panel that anyone who cares about the environment won’t want to miss. It’s an angle of environmental protection that’s not often discussed and in addition to protecting the planet, it improves the lives of men, women, and children today.”

“Women First: Improve Society and Protect the Environment” promises to enrich the SXSW Eco programming, engaging the audience in dialogue to further explore the issues and approaches. If you want to be part of this lively and enlightening conversation, register before June 20th to get a discounted admission.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Bram Kleppner Becomes Chair of Population Media Center’s Board of Directors

May 19th, 2014

SHELBURNE, VT – Bram Kleppner believes in working hard to tackle difficult problems. This is just one of the reasons Population Media Center recently named Kleppner as Chair of its Board of Directors.

“We are very lucky,” says Population Media Center President, Bill Ryerson, “to have a Board Chair with Bram’s experience and expertise, not to mention his dedication to our mission.”

For 15 years, Population Media Center (PMC) has been reaching audiences around the globe. PMC uses entertainment-education to tell compelling stories that address important health and social issues. PMC’s primary activity has been to create long-running serial dramas, soap operas, with “positive,” “negative,” and “transitional” characters that model behavior based on extensive formative research. To date, PMC’s work has impacted more than 50 countries.

“PMC is now in a virtuous circle in which the support we have allows us to do great work, and that work produces quantitative data showing the wonderful effects of that work, which in turn draws more support,” says Kleppner. “I hope we can continue and accelerate the expansion of that circle until every single woman in the world has the information, skills, and resources she needs to make the best decisions possible for herself and her family.”

Kleppner was voted in as Chair of the Board on Thursday, May 15th during PMC’s Board meeting. Kleppner is excited to get to work.

“Theodore Roosevelt once said there is nothing so satisfying as working hard at something worth working hard at,” says Kleppner. “I would add to that and say there is nothing so satisfying as working hard and effectively at something worth working hard at. Population is a problem worth working hard at, and PMC is working effectively on that problem. PMC makes a bigger impact per dollar spent than any other organization I know of.”

Kleppner is the CEO at Danforth Pewter, co-chair of the Vermont Medicaid and Exchange Advisory Board, and is a member of the Vermont Governor’s Business Advisory Council on Health Care Financing. Kleppner has served on PMC’s board for the past ten years, including serving as the Board’s Treasurer most recently. Kleppner and his family live in Burlington, Vermont.

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):

Population Media Center (PMC) is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

RELATED RESOURCES

2010/2011 Annual Report

In 2010-2011, PMC had projects in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Caribbean, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, the United States, Vietnam and a worldwide electronic game.

2010/2011 Annual Report (PDF, 5.5 MB)

Soap Operas for Social Change to Prevent HIV/AIDS

This training guide is designed to be used by journalists and media personnel to plan and execute the production and broadcast of Sabido-style entertainment-education serial dramas for HIV/AIDS prevention, especially among women and girls.

Using the Media to Achieve Reproductive Health and Gender Equity

In 2005, as a companion piece to the training guide, PMC developed a manual documenting best practices in the application of the Sabido methodology of behavior change via entertainment-education.

Read more about these guides and download »