Woman wearing an "Umurage" t-shirt sets up a computer while working in front of an event crowd.
project

Umurage Series

format
Radio Show
location
Rwanda
The Umurage series ("Inheritance for a Better Future") captured the hearts and imagination of Rwandans with four seasons reaching millions of loyal listeners every week. Each season combined relatable characters, captivating theme music — and vital, interwoven health and social resources. Women, children, and entire families are celebrating, but people aren’t the only species benefiting from Umurage. Mountain gorilla populations are rebounding in the region, proving popular entertainment can drive planet-positive behavior change.
“This is really an innovative and educative drama series which helps to promote positive heritage in communities which will undoubtedly build an environment free from violence against every child.”
– Patricia Lim Ah Ken,
Chief of Child Protections Services at UNICEF
“Following the messages passed through Umurage 2, my husband and I thought of a modern contraceptive method to use.”
– Female Listener,
Bugesera District

Making A Difference

A Musician on a Mission

In order the programming to be effective, the entertainment component must come first — including catchy theme music.
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PMC’s initial season of Umurage in Rwanda was so popular that a rebroadcast was a given. Forty-nine percent of listeners to the original broadcast reported that they had talked to a spouse or partner about family planning and 39% said they followed advice about family planning. Listeners were 1.5 times more likely than non-listeners to cite population growth as the primary cause of environmental degradation and loss of gorilla habitat. Numerous other indicators tell similar stories, like listeners being 2.7 times more likely than non-listeners to want to know their HIV status. PMC-Rwanda has since broadcast three follow-on seasons in Kinyarwanda, one of Rwandan’s official  languages, only expanding impact.

Beyond the broadcast, Umurage content is available on YouTube. During broadcast, Umurage had with accompanying digital components on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp. PMC-Rwanda also hosted large in-person celebrations and smaller listener groups to promote the series and open dialogues.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Umurage writers and producers introduced COVID-19 prevention methods into the wildly popular program’s fourth season. An accompanying social media campaign included timely public service announcements on the importance of handwashing and facemasks to prevent the spread.

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