Rado Mozambique

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Children in Mozambique face an array of obstacles and challenges regarding their health and well-being. Their under-five mortality rate remains one of the highest in the world (97/1000). Chronic malnutrition affects 43% of children, 410 new HIV infections occur every day, and Mozambique has one of the world’s highest child marriage rates. More than two-thirds of enrolled children leave school without basic literacy skills (USAID Mozambique, 2016). Half of the people in Mozambique have no access to safe water and about 80% have no access to adequate sanitation facilities (UNICEF, 2016). These issues reflect the urgent need for education and behavior change, particularly among girls and young women and –in response--UNICEF Mozambique created its Facts for Life Life (FFL) Communication Initiative to provide caregivers and communities with handbooks that provided vital social and behaviour change messages and information for to use in protecting the lives of children. Yet reaching the vast numbers of people at risk and with the potential to make a difference demanded a large-scale and innovative strategy that could engage young women where more traditional educational have failed to do so. Furthermore, it was important to identify a distribution medium that could reach those most in need, given, the lack of access to TV and internet, high illiteracy rates and geographic isolation that all function as barriers to reaching at-risk adolescents and their families.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The solution was to create the portugese-language radio drama Ouro Negro (Black Gold) for broadcast on radio using Entertainment-Education methodology. It was created as a collaboration between content experts and creative production and distribution teams to deliver a compelling saga on par with any high quality mainstream drama. This was only made possible by Radio Mozambique’s contribution of free broadcasts which allowed for large scale saturation of the airwaves that also opened doors among more local broadcasters for distribution on over 60 channels. Grounded in cultural context and informed by the target population’s incentives, myths and barriers and stories harvested through formative research, Ouro Negro features storylines with themes of nutrition & infant development, sexual & reproductive health, gender equity and education. The program aims to improve maternal and children’s health and social well-being through increased dialogue, a positive shift in knowledge and attitudes and through linking inner motivations of the target audiences with desired behaviors.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Radio Mozambique’s leadership in this public-private partnership, along with NGOs UNICEF and PCI Media Impact, made it possible to transform UNICEF’s Facts for Life handbook into a drama rooted in local culture that resonated with low-literate poor and vulnerable listeners. With a large, engaged audience, Ouro Negro (Black Gold) has become Mozambique’s longest running radio drama. The program has successfully communicated and promoted behavioral and social change on several key health and gender equity issues in a Mozambican context, ranging from maternal and child health to nutrition, child protection, and education. It has also operated as a communications vehicle and distribution network that allows different partners and topics to come on board and sustain the movement. The long-running aspect of Ouro Negro allows its fan base to grow and ultimately reaches more people consistently and economically. By bringing characters to life through the scripts and acting of very talented Mozambican writers and performers, Ouro Negro has brought familiar stories and situations that poor and vulnerable women and men in rural and peri-urban areas are able to see themselves and their communities. Because of its 84 episode annual run, Ouro Negro is able to develop stories gradually with the sensitivity and complexity that difficult issues around challenging social norms warrant. This is key to stimulating change whereas more traditional education campaigns may not penetrate in this way. The initiative has effectively reached its target audience of women aged 15-35, and its secondary audience of men aged 15-35, younger adolescents aged 10-14, grandmothers and front-line service providers such as community health workers, nurses, teachers, domestic helpers, and police officers.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Ouro Negro is an optimal example of an innovative Entertainment Education program that increases knowledge and influence change in attitudes, social norms and behaviors by tapping into intrinsic motivation and focusing on enabling the target audiences to be the driver of desired behavior changes. Content is developed based on formative research to assess community perceptions and motivations and guidance from key stakeholders to ensure information accuracy and alignment with country laws. Key messages are communicated through an entertaining story and based on actions and motivations of characters. Characters are not strictly categorized as good, bad or transitional characters, as the classical Entertainment-Education methodology often defines. By creating realistic characters and stories, it ensures that people relate to the drama, a critical foundation for stirring debate.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Ouro Negro is built on partnerships between diverse stakeholders and originated with the partnership between Radio Mozambique, UNICEF, and PCI Media Impact, an NGO that specializes in communications for development and Entertainment-Education. UNICEF is the primary program funder and is instrumental in fostering partnerships with government and NGO partners. PCI Media Impact leads production of Ouro Negro radio drama and transmedia components. Other program partners include World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA and the Institute of Social Communication. Our ongoing rapid response surveys have revealed 25 – 30% of the potential radio audience has been exposed to the drama, with approximately 1.5 million people (15 years +) reached.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
• After an initial pilot phase, in 2014, UNICEF partnered with Radio Mozambique, PCI Media Impact and the World Food Program to produce and broadcast Ouro Negro (Black Gold) in Mozambique. Ouro Negro is conceived as the FFL flagship communication program targeting women aged 15-35. • A coalition was developed to bring together Radio Mozambique, UNICEF, PCI Media Impact, Entertainment-Education Experts, Creative and Production Talent and Thematic Experts from NGOs and Mozambique ministries on Facts for Life (FFL) issues to provide technical advice on developing a strong program design. • Formative research, including a baseline study by an independent evaluator, was conducted to understand the obstacles, fears, motivations and myths and media preferences that affect target audiences in relation to FFL. • The production of each story of Ouro Negro follows a rigorous design and production process. In the pilot, scriptwriters and actors were carefully selected in order to ensure a high-quality production. A 50-page production book serves as a resource for all involved production members and artists, providing an overview of the overall program vision and purpose, program features, the target audience, and the history of the world of the story for Ouro Negro. • Each production cycle starts with the identification of key themes in a collaborative process with the partners and are assessed by solid formative research. During a creative retreat, the premise, the dramatic question, the storyline and the story message for a season are designed. Back from retreat, the creative team discusses the set-up with the key stakeholders from UNICEF and their partners. Stakeholders give their input in the form of “opportunities and concerns,” that will then be taken into account in the next phase of the story writing. The creative team then embarks on a 3-step mission to write character beats, story treatment and eventually, the dialogue. Each step is reviewed with the stakeholders in a Technical Reference Group. There is no going back and forth within these steps. Inputs are taken into account in the next step, in a forward moving process. • Recording and post-production • Pre-test and adjustments • Radio Distribution: Radio Mozambique hosts are trained to sensitively promote and air Ouro Negro episodes and provide monitoring information to the program team to document broadcast execution. Episodes are broadcast and rebroadcast on national and local radio outlets for a total of 168 episodes per year. • Monitoring and Evaluation. Drexel University was contracted to conduct in-depth impact and process evaluation activities, with support by GfK Intercampus as a local research partner. Both the project design and evaluation framework are theoretically grounded in the social ecological model, which considers the complex interplay of personal and environmental factors that determine individual and collective behaviors. • Funding. UNICEF Mozambique is the primary funder of Ouro Negro and has committed over $2,500,000 since 2014. In 2015 and 2016, WFP and UNFPA joined the campaign and contracted with UNICEF to integrate programmatic messaging into additional radio stories. Radio Mozambique has contributed thousands of dollars in free air time that has been vital to making the program financially viable.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The primary stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and its implementation were Radio Mozambique, UNICEF and PCI Media Impact, with UNICEF initiating the concept of the drama as a transformative vehicle for its Facts for Life handbook for caregivers and communities. In 2015, the first year of full operation, PCI Media Impact built in Mozambique Technical Reference Group, (TRG), involving local institutions, like the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and Human Development, and a series of organisations from civil society to discuss and design the E-E drama treatment and scripts in order to ensure that the national priorities and policies are rightly addressed in the E-E Drama. The production of program outputs is based on rigorous formative research processes, including secondary and primary research. Scriptwriters are a central part of the research process in order to ensure realistic stories the primary and secondary target audience can identify with and reflects the local context.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Ouro Negro has become Mozambique’s longest running radio drama. Our audience of as many as 1.5 million people, including a high proportion of our targeted listeners of vulnerable and poor women, was exposed to over 200 episodes (to date) of high-quality social and behavior change radio drama content that brings together 1) great entertainment by expert writers and celebrated actors along with emerging talent; and 2) integration of vital messaging on at least six Sustainable Development Goals: good health and well-being, no poverty, end hunger, quality education and gender equality. The result is a media product that stimulates the emotional connection essential for fostering knowledge, attitude and behavior change as modeled by Ouro Negro characters facing and overcoming challenges and social norms. Partnerships were developed with World Food Programme and UNFPA in season two in addition to UNICEF that have supported the sustainability of the program financially and enhanced the breadth of SDGs covered on the program (nutrition, reproductive and sexual health). This is a valuable model that recognizes the complexities of the lives of poor Mozambicans as they simultaneously struggle in making better choices in nutrition, protecting themselves from disease, and preventing pregnancy. It is also an economical way to leveraging one media platform to reach the target audience. Furthermore, these NGOs are adapting the content to reach people in need in different ways. For instance, we have provided Toolkits with recorded stories (thematic groups of episodes) and discussion guides on SRH, the right to live free of child marriage and domestic violence and life skills to UNFPA’s Action for Adolescent Girls, a program that aims to reach over 1 million girls through mentor-led sessions in safe spaces for girls. While the anchor of the program has been the broadcast radio drama, it has spurred the creation of a range of media content that reinforces program messaging and expands audience engagement and interpersonal communication. For example, in 2016 Ouro Negro piloted community theater productions in Zambezia based on Ouro Negro characters and scripts to bring the power of the SBCC drama to communities lacking radio access. Furthermore these shows are adapted into local languages. The theatre director shared: “I think some things change after they see the play. I think this is the power of the theater of the oppressed. Because in the end, someone will go, will get in, and then say what they think about the issue that we, we show[ed].”

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The first obstacle was that the target audience was not always available to listen to the program during its broadcast times. This was addressed in a couple of ways. First, the program was broadcasted twice each day, each during different times. Second, episodes were made available online through the website, and with areas with limited internet access, Our Negro worked with partners, such as UNFPA, to make stories and discussion guides locally available. Another challenge was determining how to make a program that could appeal to a broad population and be economically viable, given Mozambique’s large number of regional languages. Ouro Negro found the balance between accessibility and affordability by producing the radio drama in portugese at a literacy level accessible to most Mozambicans and developing program add-ons in other languages. Radio Mozambique has just spearheaded the development of a new weekly talk show to accompany Ouro Negro called Ouro Negro ao Vivo! which allows people to share their stories of their struggles and how they have overcome them, in their local languages. Our theater program (see question 8) represents another example of how we have extended the reach of Ouro Negro to more isolated communities.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Ouro Negro has provided a number of benefits for Mozambicans, especially women and girls who are poor and vulnerable. At heart is the access to life saving information made possible through 168 annual broadcast on over 60 channels and platforms for listeners who have low literacy levels and minimal exposure to information on health and equity. The program demonstrates the power of drama to engage listeners with the stories and feel the emotions a character feels, identify with the characters, understand the value of a promoted action and change their own behaviors. Target audiences witness the consequences, good and bad experience by a character based on his/her choices and are left with the question: what kind of lives do they want to lead. Another key benefit is that the drama offers a safe platform for exploring sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS and pregnancy prevention by allowing target audiences—whether in conversations with family members or participation in facilitated listener groups—to debate characters’ struggles and decisions without having to refer to their personal situations if they do not wish to. And while the stories are fictional, they draw on the very real and urgent situations that threaten the health, well being, opportunity for independence and economic stability and life free from violence for women and children, both girls and boys. In showing characters make difficult choices to stay in school or resist abusive relationships or properly wash their hands to avoid disease, based on relatable motivations, we present models for a more equitable, positive and healthful environment for people who see few of these representations in the media and in their lives. Quantitative (2000 surveys) and Qualitative (30 focus groups) evaluation by Drexel University as well as ongoing monitoring performed by GfK (Gesellschaft fuer Konsumforschung) confirms the impact of the program in a number of ways. For instance, evaluation results showed those exposed to Ouro Negro demonstrated gains in knowledge about key Facts for Life indicators, considered these issues to be important (especially HIV/AIDS), believed in gender equity, and showed improved self-efficacy. Exposed respondents also showed significant increases over time in four pertinent behaviors, including healthy nutrition, use of mosquito nets, water treatment and using soap for handwashing. The interpersonal-level results indicated positive shifts between baseline and endline on interpersonal communication, with significant increases in communication with friends. Increasing dialogue is an important and proven step towards positive behavior changes. Ongoing monitoring has found that an average of 25.8% of the people that do listen to radio have heard of Ouro Negro. Measured over the days that Ouro Negro is on air a minimum of 69.8% of the 25.8% has listened to Ouro Negro yesterday, or on average a 17.9% audience share of the total measured radio listenership over these days. That is a high audience share by international standards.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
n/a

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The Ouro Negro program is explicitly designed to benefit women and girls and improve the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable Mozambicans. While the stories are fictional, they draw on the very real and urgent situations that threaten the health, well being, opportunity for independence and economic stability and life free from violence for women and children, both girls and boys. In showing characters make difficult choices to stay in school or resist abusive relationships or properly wash their hands to avoid disease, based on relatable motivations, we present models for a more equitable, positive and healthful environment for people who see few of these representations in the media and in their lives.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Rado Mozambique
Institution Type:   Public Agency  
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E-mail:   kmilkens@mediaimpact.org  
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