On June 13th 2006 William Ryerson, President of the Population Media Center (PMC) received the Nafis Sadik Prize for Courage at the Annual General Meeting of the Rotarian Action Group on Population and Development in Copenhagen, Denmark. The award recognized Ryerson’s 35 year dedication to the field of reproductive health. The prize is named after the previous Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Nafis Sadik, a national of Pakistan. In addition the Rotarian Action Group on Population and Development named Ryerson a Paul Harris Fellow.
Ryerson gave the keynote address at the meeting, which was held as a part of the International Rotary Conference. His talk covered the issue of population, the need for motivational communications to slow population growth, the work of PMC worldwide, and the joint project PMC and Rotary are conducting in northern Nigeria to combat the problem of obstetric fistula (a condition commonly resulting from adolescent childbirth that makes its victims incontinent). In Nigeria, PMC is producing a radio program to promote delaying marriage and childbearing until adulthood and to promote maternal health through having professional birth attendants on hand for childbirth. Rotary is doing surgical repairs for fistula victims.
The Population Media Center (PMC) is an international nonprofit organization headquartered in Shelburne, Vermont. PMC works worldwide to bring about stabilization of human population numbers at a level that can be sustained by the world’s natural resources and to lessen the harmful impact of humanity on the earth’s environment. PMC uses entertainment broadcasting to change cultural attitudes and individual behavior with regard to health and social issues in various developing countries. To achieve this, PMC adopted the Sabido methodology, which uses long-running serialized melodramas, written and produced in participating countries in local languages, in order to create characters who gradually evolve into positive role models for the audience to bring about use of family planning, adoption of small family norms, avoidance of AIDS, elevation of women’s status, protection of children, and related social and health goals, depending upon the relevance of each to the policies of the country in which PMC is working.
PMC has completed projects in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Mali and the Philippines with very impressive results and currently has programs either broadcasting or developing in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, China, Vietnam and the US.
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