Ethiopia was the first country in which Population Media Center (PMC) broadcast long-running radio dramas for social change, beginning in 2002. Now, ten years since the last PMC-Ethiopia long-form drama was on the air, Nekakat (“Cracked”) is live in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNP).
“The launch of Nekakat is an important milestone for the PMC-Ethiopia team and the country,” says PMC Program Manager Wendi Stein.
The 156-episode radio show follows several characters as they navigate life and make tough decisions on social issues, like the character Begashaw. Neither choice seems ideal as he debates going against his relative’s wishes to use family planning methods after pregnancy complications threaten his wife’s life.
“By addressing family planning, sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage, and female genital mutilation, PMC is contributing to a more equitable Ethiopia,” says Stein. “A world in which girls and women are not harmed and in which boys and men and women and girls can embrace their full potential.”
The issues and impact goals of Nekakat were strategically designed to match countrywide initiatives set by the Ethiopian Government and United Nations Population Fund. They will be measured by post-broadcast surveys and service point monitoring. Ethiopia’s set objectives include zero tolerance for female genital mutilation by 2024 and an increase the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) for women 15 to 49 years old.
PMC’s execution of a large communications plan across social media, epilogues, listening groups, talk shows, and other marketing initiatives will engage audiences and move the needle on issues addressed in the show.
“The significant impacts of previous programs in Ethiopia gives us confidence that the new program will be successful in bringing about changes in social norms on the issues being addressed,” shared PMC President and Founder Bill Ryerson.
Nekakat, supported by the United Nations Population Fund through the Canadian Global Action Fund and Population Institute, was produced by local writers and actors using PMC’s Theory of Change. Since 1998, PMC has used its Theory of Change — a reproducible formula for creating hit entertainment that works across people, places, and media environments – to impact multiple social, health, and environmental challenges in more than 50 countries worldwide.
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