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Excitement in the Streets of Nigeria

Feb 21, 2017

Thousands of spectators took to the streets and markets across two Nigerian states February 10th and 11th. People clamored to watch live roadshow performances and participate in the interactive radio sessions all related to popular radio dramas Jangala (“Song of Life”) and A Dade Ana Yi (“Truth Always Prevails”).

“Everywhere we went, curiosity was written on faces irrespective of gender,” said Population Media Center Resident Representative, Abom Ephraim Okon. “People were eager to know what was happening, they quickly gathered to find out what the train was about.”

In celebration of World Radio Day, the Nigerian producers of the dramas organized the two-day events across these two states. It was the perfect moment to celebrate radio – and all it can do to improve people’s lives. Jangala and A Dade Ana Yi are designed to do more than just entertain – although that is certainly important. These dramas are designed to seamlessly weave human rights, health, and environmental information into the stories. They are produced by Population Media Center (PMC), a nonprofit that uses entertainment to help people live healthier and more prosperous lives. The dramas rely on formative research and are written entirely by local creative teams.

PMC’s Nigerian staff decided to conduct interactive radio sessions about major issues like reproductive health, family planning and environmental protection. People could call in and talk with experts. Then, the roadshows filled the streets with live performances of the dramas, dancing, demonstrations, and promotional giveaways. The roadshows navigated through the states of Abuja and Akwa Ibom.

In Abuja, the one hour interactive live radio session was broadcast on Hot 98.3 FM and featured PMC Program Officer, Joan Jeremiah; Chief Executive Officer of Community Development (CODE) and Environmental Specialist, Hamza Lawa; and Nurse, Midwife and Personalized Health Specialist, Olufisoye Modupe. The panel discussion centered on reproductive health, family planning, environmental protection, and climate change with plenty of opportunities for listener call-in questions and answers.

Following the interactive session, the Abuja roadshow started its journey at the PMC-Nigeria office in Gwarinpa, Nigeria. The caravan of vehicles and people navigated through major markets, parks, plazas and towns strategically chosen as areas that would attract large audiences. The caravan stopped to highlight different demonstrations including the uses of female condoms and short drama presentations on both radio dramas. Dance competitions among the audience and promotional items such as t-shirts, pens, face caps, nail cutters, bottle openers, stickers, and fliers with the broadcast schedule were thrown into the crowds.

Similarly, in the Akwa Ibom State, the live radio session was broadcast on Atlantic FM (104.5) and featured Okon; Family Planning Coordinator of the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health, Emen Itu; and Gynecologist and Family Planning Expert of the Dynamism Clinic, Dr. S. Etokakpan. This panel focused on some of the issues in the drama Jangala, such as Emen Itu discussing family planning services and Dr. Etokakpan speaking on different types of contraceptives, common myths and misconceptions and side effects. The panel also discussed gender equity and overcoming current existing challenges. Another major issue tackled was environmental issues which centered on environmental quality issues and the populace such as air and land pollution, land use planning, oil pollution, hazardous wastes, forest and wildlife, safe agricultural practices, climate change and open defecation. With the same spirit and energy as the Abuja roadshow, a caravan of PMC vehicles traversed the Akwa Ibom State spreading the word about “Jangala” after the interactive radio session.

With audiences currently enjoying these dramas, it was the perfect time to engage audiences with more excitement and more information related to the health and social issues presented in the shows. This included family planning, reproductive health, environmental protection, gender equity, and peace building and social cohesion. The family planning unit of the Akwa Ibom State government supported the roadshows with a donation of two large cartons of UNFPA condoms. The condoms were exhausted during the event with people demanding more.

“Most people attested to the fact that they have been listening and were very happy to get PMC promotional material,” said Okon. “They were happy and excited, asking when next the road show will visit the area again.”

About Population Media Center

Population Media Center is a nonprofit leader in entertainment-education, dedicated to women’s rights and empowerment, population stabilization, and the environment. For the past two decades, PMC’s entertainment programming has promoted social and cultural change and has helped 500 million people in more than 50 countries.