Jamaica is facing many challenging social problems, such as an increase in the incidence of HIV/AIDS, escalating violence in inner city communities, and one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the Caribbean.
PMC produced a radio serial drama called, Outta Road (“What’s Happening out in the Streets”). The drama addressed issues such as HIV/AIDS, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, violence prevention, and substance abuse prevention. Outta Road aired from March 2007 to March 2008 on RJR FM and, additionally, from November 2007 to July 2008 on Roots 96.1 FM. Episodes of the drama were also distributed to schools along with lesson plans. PMC worked in partnership with University Research Corporation (URC) and JA-STYLE (Jamaica’s Solution for Youth Lifestyle and Empowerment).
Outta Road is the story of Jamaican teens and young adults from different social strata whose lives are interconnected. The social ills identified through formative research helped guide the development of characters and plot lines. The characters grapple with conflicts ranging from love, friendship, peer pressure, violence, sex, drugs, HIV/AIDS, and more. Outta Road used epilogues to provide listeners with more information about the topics addressed and issues raised, such as where to access services and/or counseling for HIV, substance abuse, resolving disputes, obtaining contraceptives, and other services offered at adolescent-friendly centers.
The program targeted 10-19 year olds across Jamaica, who through identification with transitional characters vicariously experienced the repercussions of their life choices. Listeners were highly engaged by the dramatic conflicts, natural dialogue, and popular reggae music interspersed in the soap opera.
In April 2008, PMC conducted a qualitative assessment of Outta Road. Below is a drawing done by a male listener. The photo represents what he learned from the drama.
(click on photo to enlarge)
For more on the results of Outta Road, click here