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Soul City: Edutainment strategy to create awareness and behavior change

Using an edutainment strategy to create awareness and change values and behaviors around important health and societal issues

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I remember reading in a previous challenge about Soul City, a TV that was launched in 1994 in South Africa as part of an edutainment strategy: bringing education and entertainment together to create messages that are more impactful and to reach out to more people.  Soul City was one of the favorite shows in South Africa for 17 years. Some more information below:

"Launched in 1994, the Soul City television drama series is part of a multimedia health promotion and social change project by the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication (SC IHDC). Using the edutainment strategy, the television series deals with a range of health and development issues with the aim to empower audiences to make healthy choices - both as individuals and as communities. The television series is supported by radio, print, and advocacy campaigns designed to keep people talking about the issues raised in the drama.Communication Strategies: 

According to Soul City, the television series has been designed to affect the individual, the community, and the socio-political context. It is mainly intended for adults, with other media in the campaign (i.e. Soul Buddyz) designed for younger audiences. "  http://www.comminit.com/africa/content/soul-city-television-series

You can find more about Sould Buddyz targetting 8-12 year old kids here 

"Set in the fictional Soul City Township, the Soul City mirrors the social and development challenges faced by poor communities everywhere. It weaves health and social issues into real-life stories for the millions of people who have grown to trust the powerful messages of this very popular programme.

Thirteen half- hour prime time TV episodes carrying riveting drama air on the national broadcasters SABC 1 channel. The drama has also been broadcast in many other countries to millions of viewers. Designed to keep people talking about the issues raised in the drama: SC takes these discussions to other supporting mediums such as:

  • Radio: Popular and important topics highlighted in the respective series’ are further debated in depth on community and commercial radio stations across the nine provinces, where target audience participation is ensured
  • Print: Around 1 million full colour easy to read booklets covering health and development l topics raised by the TV series are distributed for each series. The booklets deal with the topics carried by the series in greater detail and can be kept by readers for future reference. To date X million copies of X booklets have been distributed
  • Social Mobilisation: Engaging and motivating a wide range of partners at local or national levels to raise awareness and shift in social norms within communities." (http://www.thehealthcompass.org/project-examples/soul-city-its-real-tv-series)

You can read more about the programs created by Soul City Institute  for Social Justice: http://www.soulcity.org.za/


Main insights from Soul City's:

- Power of entertainment and media in creating awareness and reaching out a large number of people

- Making important information relevant to people as they can connect with their own lives and contexts.

- Using multiple touch points: Soul City was more than a TV show, they used multiple media - TV, radio, print, etc. 

- Role modeling to inspire behavior changes and shaping the socio-cultural values that influence the life of individuals


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Photo of olanrewaju Giwa

Sometimes when things are visualized or realized with entertainment accessories, the better the message to be passed.