Thursday, December 25, 2008

USING SOAP OPERAS TO SLOW POPULATION GROWTH

Tree Hugger - Did Judy sleep with Alejandro? Even though she's married to Sebastian, who's in a coma from leaping in front of a bullet fired at her by Don Curio, Alejandro's jealous evil twin brother? Will she learn the error of her ways, and that promiscuity and unprotected sex are dangerous global threats that lead to overpopulation and health woes?

She might if the production happens to be helmed by the Population Media Center, a Vermont organization that creates serialized radio and television dramas that use "entertainment education" strategies to positively influence the social behavior of audiences in third world countries around the world. The shows' creators believe these soap operas, which currently air in 15 countries across 4 continents, will slow population growth, increase HIV/AIDS awareness, and promote family communication. Basically, PMC hopes to be a sort of General Hospital to the world. . . PMC uses the Sabido method, first made famous in the Mexican telenovelas, to tell stories of high drama about conflicted characters that eventually develop into role models that practice safe sex, honor gender equality, and do responsible family planning. . .

Phone calls requesting family planning information increased . . . Many people calling mentioned that they were encouraged to do so by the telenovela. . . More than 2,000 women registered as voluntary workers in the national program of family planning. This was an idea suggested in the telenovela. Contraceptive sales increased 23% in one year, compared to a seven percent increase the preceding year. More than 560,000 women enrolled in family planning clinics, an increase of 33% (compared to a 1% decrease the previous year). During the decade 1977 to 1986, when these Mexican soap operas were on the air, the country experienced a 34% decline in its population growth rate.