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PMC Announces Two New Funding Awards from The Erik E. and Edith H. Bergstrom Foundation

May 19, 2020 • News

Rwandan children looking out of a doorwayRwandan children looking out of a doorway

Population Media Center (PMC), a nonprofit leader in entertainment for social good, is pleased to announce two new funding awards from The Erik E. and Edith H. Bergstrom Foundation (Bergstrom Foundation).

Bergstrom Foundation’s generous philanthropic gift includes a $180,000 award in support of a 54-episode rebroadcast of PMC’s hit Rwandan radio show, Umurage (“Inheritance for a Better Future”). This rebroadcast is much more than a typical rebroadcast, however. Custom-designed epilogues will communicate basic information about COVID-19, such as known symptoms and what to do if a suspected infection occurs. The original story will also be amended to include a dramatization of behaviors and attitudes of importance in battling the pandemic. A new, specially designed storyline will role model best practices for audiences to both avoid contracting, and spreading, the contagion.

The new version of Umurage will be just one component of a highly focused 6-month communications campaign led by PMC addressing multiple issues facing Rwandans, including family planning and basic hygiene.

“This timely funding supports PMC’s leadership as a trusted voice of reliable information in Rwanda during this critical period,” says Sarah Henshaw, PMC’s Senior Advisor of Program & Partnership Development. “Our unique multidimensional media approach will allow critical information that might otherwise get lost in COVID-19 messaging to be front of mind for our audiences.”

Bergstrom Foundation has also awarded PMC $200,000 of funding in support of Agashi 3 (“Hey! Look Again!”), the latest in the highly successful Agashi radio series in Burundi. Similar to earlier Agashi series, Agashi 3 addresses family planning, maternal and child health, nutrition, and sexual and gender-based violence. However, it also adds two new, cross-cutting issues. The series will role model healthy intergenerational communications between youth and parents, and water, sanitation and hygiene best practices.

As with all of PMC’s entertainment productions, Agashi 3 was created using PMC’s Theory of Change — a reproducible formula for creating hit entertainment that works across people, places, and media environments. Since 1998, PMC has used its Theory of Change to impact multiple social, health, and environmental challenges in more than 50 countries around the world.

“PMC is extremely grateful for continued support from the Bergstrom Foundation,” continued Henshaw. “Not only does it provide much needed resources to critical programming, their support validates our approach and impact in increasing acceptance and utilization of reproductive health services, even in a time of global crisis.”

The Erik E. and Edith H. Bergstrom Foundation’s work is based on the belief that human well-being, economic development, environmental protection, and slowing population growth are inextricably connected. Bergstrom Foundation focuses exclusively on family planning in Latin America, the Caribbean, United States and 9 countries in East Africa; Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Sudan.


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