The World Bank’s recent evaluation of MTV Shuga in Nigeria suggests that soap operas can be an effective tool for large-scale behaviour change. This was one of the first studies exploring the social mechanisms through which edutainment works.
Prior to being exposed to our edutainment program, viewers were half as likely to report concurrent partners and were almost twice as likely to get tested for HIV.
The study results show that exposure to MTV Shuga led to a 55% decrease in the likelihood that women tested positive for chlamydia. Women with positive test results declined from 3.1% in the comparison group to 1.7% among viewers. Even 8 months after watching the show viewers were half as likely to report concurrent sexual partners and were almost twice as likely to be tested for HIV. One of the unintended effects of being exposed to the program was that the intervention also increased participants’ friends’ and family’s knowledge about HIV transmission, suggesting that viewers were relaying the messaging they learned from the show to others.
Considering the huge reach of MTV Shuga, these results are significant and demonstrate the vital importance of approaches such as MTV Shuga.
To read more about this study please follow this link: HIV Policy Brief MTV Shuga