Investments in entertainment education as a way to catalyse and sustain social and behavioural change

July 7, 2016


'Entertainment education' success stories will be showcased at an event at the Rockefeller Foundation Office in New York on July 12, 2016. The event will feature case studies from our Network members, Population Foundation of India and Population Media Center.

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‘Entertainment education’ (EE) is used across the world to educate, inform and influence social and individual behaviour. Through carefully crafted stories, social issues are woven into popular dramas, which have the potential to reach millions and bring about social change.

As the field of edutainment and its allied investments grows globally, questions of evaluation, evidence and sustainability become paramount. Recognising this, the Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Ford Foundation, UNICEF and UNFPA, are convening a day-long meeting on “Investments in Entertainment education as a way to catalyze and sustain social and behavioral change,” at the Rockefeller Foundation Office in New York on July 12, 2016.

At this meeting, three case studies from three continents – Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything) from Asia, Soul City from Africa and East Los High from North America - will showcase how EE formats, particularly, “soap operas” are being used in very different socio-economic, cultural and geographical contexts to engineer change on a wide range of social and health issues.

Evaluation specialists will engage with communication researchers and various EE programmers to examine the existing evidence of change, identify gaps and discuss robust evaluation techniques for digital media interventions.

This event on EE will provide an opportunity to not just share learnings, discuss evaluation and devise strategies for growth and sustainability, but also provides a forum to explore synergies for those working in the field of development and EE around the world.

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (I, A Woman, Can Achieve Anything)

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH) is an Indian trans-media (TV, radio, internet, mobile phone and social media) edutainment initiative launched by Population Foundation of India (PFI) in 2014 to challenge the prevailing social and cultural norms around family planning, early marriage, early and repeated pregnancies, contraceptive use, domestic violence and sex selection.

The key plot elements in MKBKSH are based on real life situations and characters, which serve as role models to bring important family planning concepts to life. Positive storytelling and an easily relatable and captivating storyline are used to build women’s agency and steer people’s perceptions on various social determinants of health.

Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon revolves around the inspiring journey of Sneha, a doctor working in Mumbai. She represents the young Indian woman of today, who thrives on challenges.  As the story progresses, Sneha returns to her village and finds herself embroiled in a series of family dramas. Her sense of family responsibility, along with her no-nonsense approach to responding to the drama around her, makes her a role model for many young Indian women who face similar realities

Emotionally torn between family and society, between professional aspirations and personal commitment, her struggles and triumphs form the core of this memorable soap opera. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but it will also make you think. It is entertainment like you’ve never seen before.

PFI is a national non-governmental organisation at the forefront of policy advocacy and research on population, health and development issues in India. It leads advocacy efforts and works as a think-tank dedicated to promoting and advocating for the effective formulation and implementation of gender sensitive population, health and development policies and national programs.

PFI addresses population issues within the larger discourse of empowering women and men, so that they are able to take informed decisions related to their fertility, health and well-being. It works with the government, both at the national and state levels and with NGOs, in the areas of community action for health, urban health, scaling up of successful pilots and social and behaviour change communication.