Edutainment is entertainment designed to educate as well as inform or amuse. TV and radio serial dramas (“soap operas”) are the best-known contemporary forms of edutainment, and widely used especially across Latin America and Asia. They appeal to their viewers’ minds and emotions, developing multi-layered storylines inspired by people’s daily lives over successive installments. Their characters offer opportunities for emotional identification and role modeling. Popular series maintain long-term contact with their viewers, exposing them to different aspects of the same theme over several months or years. Although it tends to be difficult to trace direct cause-to-effect lines between specific features of edutainment programmes and behaviour-change among the audience, evaluations demonstrate that edutainment can leave a lasting impression on its audiences. Often, TV and radio programmes are combined with more interactive interventions at community levels, e.g. through youth clubs or discussion groups, to more deeply engage with audiences.
Other forms of edutainment that are becoming increasing popular today include video and digital games, and games developed for mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets (in the form of ‘Apps’ or applications). This form of edutainment is especially popular with youth, and can be an important medium for engaging them, by communicating ideas and social messages, and challenging stereotypes.
SextoSentido by Puntos de Encuentro in Nicaragua and Soul City in South Africa are among the most popular TV series in their countries and have prompted significant change in knowledge and stated opinions on VAW. Download the Sexto Sentido episodes and see the full case study.
Soul City Series 4, which addressed violence against women, included a 13-episode prime time television drama, a 45-episode radio drama in nine languages, three full-color information booklets with a nationwide distribution of one million copies each, and community events including school-based programmes. A full case study is available here.
Radio drama is another popular edutainment tool. In Malawi, Kamanga Zula is a serial radio drama based on real-life stories of Malawians, followed by panel discussions on issues of prevention through education and skills building. Panelists include policymakers, community leaders, and law enforcement officers of both sexes.
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