PMC is now in its eleventh year working in Ethiopia and is continuously focusing on the promotion of family planning, reproductive health, and women’s status, with the ultimate goal of stabilizing population growth and managing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
In July 2011, PMC began developing its seventh radio serial drama in partnership with the Ethiopian Public Health Association. The program will address issues of substance abuse and unprotected sexual activity. The first capacity training workshop was held in July 2011.
Population Media Center – Ethiopia received funding from UNICEF to develop an interactive radio program to promote rural health among the general population, with a special emphasis on the 30,000 Health Extension Workers serving rural communities. The program, Mieraf (“New Beginning”), was Population Media Center’s sixth radio serial drama in Ethiopia. It was launched in June 2010 and ran through June 2011. The drama supported information exchange and the improved delivery of preventive and curative health services in Ethiopia. Family planning was a major component of the program’s content. PMC also began broadcasting a magazine style program, Finot (“The Right Road”) in October 2010, which focuses on the Health Extension Program of Ethiopia. It carries interviews with health extension workers and provides information about various health issues to listeners.
PMC is also conducting a program with support from UN Women, which is designed to address violence against women in Ethiopia. The project’s objective is to provide information related to violence against women and female empowerment through a multi-media communication and capacity building program. PMC has conducted five capacity building workshops to address these issues.
To date, we have produced 6 radio serial dramas, a radio phone-in and panel discussion program aimed at youth, 2 radio magazine programs, as well as various publications including a youth magazine, a full length play, and 3 collections of short stories all with the goal of promoting behavioral change by altering attitudes about reproductive health.
From June 2002 through November 2004 we aired our initial 2 radio programs: Yeken Kignit (“Looking Over One’s Daily Life”) and Dhimbibba (“Getting the Best Out of Life”). Both of these programs focused on the core issues of reproductive health, family planning, HIV/AIDS, and the elevation of women’s status as well as the themes of marriage by abduction, the education of girls, and spousal communication. Approximately half of the population of Ethiopia listened to one PMC’s radio dramas. This equates to approximately 40 million listeners.
The tremendous success of these initial serial dramas led to the production of two new programs: Menta Menged (“The Crossroads”) and Maleda (“Dawn”). Menta Menged, launched in March 2005, incorporated the particular social issues facing youths with a focus on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), unemployment, job creation, and drug abuse. Maleda was broadcast from May 2005 to September 2006 and focused on the lifestyles of long distance truck drivers and sex workers living and working along the Addis Ababa-Djibouti highway. The main themes included the spread of HIV between these groups as well as the dangers faced by young women forced into these professions.
In addition to these serial dramas, PMC produced a talk radio and panel discussion program in 2005 aimed at youth entitled Alegnta (this word has multiple definitions including ‘a person to lean on,’ ‘safeguards’, or ‘the feeling of security’). During the program young people called in with questions and concerns regarding social and health issues, and a panel, including other young people, adults, professionals, and/or teachers discussed the topic raised by the caller. The aim was to stimulate dialogue on these issues and disseminate accurate information. Topics covered included adolescent sexuality, addiction in youths, the development of life skills, building self-confidence, developing communication skills, and developing successful interpersonal relationships.
In addition to the radio program, the Alegnta project also produced printed materials for youth on reproductive and sexual health issues. Focus groups, youth interviews, and research studies were all used in the development of the booklets. These booklets included articles written by the young writers in which they drew on their own experiences with adolescent sexuality, early pregnancy, abortion, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS. A total of five booklets on the subjects of addiction, life skills, and success and role models were published with over 150,000 copies distributed.
Additional publications produced by PMC in Ethiopia include 3 collections of short stories entitled: Drops of Life (2003); Winged Dreams (2004); and Waiting for the Rivers to Rise (2006). These short stories were selected from a national competition for the best stories addressing reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, a full length play entitled Ysak Jember or (“Laughter at Dusk”) was launched in September of 2003 and was attended by the former President of Ethiopia, Dr. Negasso Gidada. It was staged in the capital for 4-four months and then performed in 14 other cities around Ethiopia.
Photos from Ethiopia