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Population Media Center (PMC), a nonprofit leader in entertainment for social good, has received initial funding of $579,005 to support the work of UNFPA-UNICEF’s Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation. It’s expected, and already being seen, that COVID-19 increases the practice of female genital mutilation. PMC will use its proven social behavior change communication (SBCC) approach to model alternative attitudes through compelling mass media productions in two countries and train UNFPA partners in 13 countries on how they can use entertainment to continue their female genital mutilation prevention efforts.
“PMC is excited to use our proven SBCC methodology to support UNFPA as it must pivot efforts to maintain safe social distancing and other COVID practices while still making sure to successfully fight female genital mutilation in each country” says PMC’s Program & Partnership Development Senior Advisor Sarah Henshaw. “PMC is well-poised to support these efforts because our unique method of entertainment is very effective. We can reach and influence large audiences without needing people to gather together, allowing us to work on important issues even while COVID restrictions are needed”
Activity number one includes four virtual training workshops across 13 countries – two in English and two in French – to introduce PMC’s proven SBCC approach to UNFPA and its local implementing partners. Country-specific COVID-19 context will be integrated at multiple touchpoints as each region is experiencing the global pandemic differently, from impacts on daily life and citizens’ health to risk-reducing restrictions. Participants will end the training with an integration plan for on-going female genital mutilation elimination initiatives, which they will lead post-workshop without PMC oversight.
The second activity will broaden PMC’s female genital mutilation elimination SBCC intervention in Burkina Faso and launch new programs in Kenya. Prevalence and impact of female genital mutilation differ between Kenya and Burkina Faso, as does PMC’s pre-existing programming and presence.
“This project is particularly exciting for PMC as we are re-invigorating our efforts in Burkina Faso and expanding our reach to Kenya. We have the opportunity to affect lives in new communities where we have not broadcast before,” says Henshaw.
PMC will produce two new 104-episode shows in Kenya, over 18 months. Funding allocated for this program will support personnel, formative research, production, and marketing.
In Burkina Faso, PMC will rebroadcast Yam Yankré (“The Choice”), a 156-episode radio show in Mooré addressing female genital mutilation and other gender-based violence issues. Other activities, such as epilogues, radio talk shows, radio quizzes, and social media campaigns, will be produced to include COVID-19 references and further learning and reflection to accompany this rebroadcast.
As with all of PMC’s entertainment productions, Yam Yankré 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 worldwide.
The UNFPA-UNICEF’s Joint Programme on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation is the world’s most extensive program focused on eliminating female genital mutilation. It works in partnership with governments, CSOs, social movements, religious leaders, communities, and other organizations.