International Conference on Family Planning 2009

Family Planning: Research and Best Practices

Soap Opera Education

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Throughout South America, Brazilian soap operas and telenovelas are extremely popular—on average, six hours air every day. Because of the far reach of these television shows, Population Media Center (PMC) and Comunicarte joined to have messages about sexual and reproductive health inserted into scenes in the programs. On Monday afternoon, Scott Connelly, of PMC, presented encouraging findings about this form of social merchandising.

“When characters portray certain health behaviors,” said Connelly, “we think there’s an opportunity for behavior change.”

By conducting exit interviews at 50 family planning clinics throughout Brazil, PMC was able to gather data about the effect of the insertion of social themes on audiences. The findings supported “vicarious learning” as an effective form of educating women about gender relations and sexual and reproductive health.

More than half of the women interviewed said that they had watched the program and were motivated by the programs to get family planning services. More than 50 percent reported of the women said the shows had increased their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues. About 65 percent said they watched the shows with children, husbands and partners, which Connelly sees as a positive step toward stimulating dialogue about family planning.

Written by C. Grillo | JHSPH

November 16, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Posted in Nov. 16 Talks

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