A is for Aids Education

Clearly the word is out about the efficacy of television as a teaching tool, and how entertainment programming can serve in health education and development. The countries with the largest population affected by HIV/AIDS are South Africa, Nigeria, and India (in that order), and it makes sense for these and other poor and developing countries to apply communication tools to raise awareness and combat a problem for individuals and society.

From Takalani Sesame‘s Kami in South Africa and Nigeria, to Jasoos Vijay in India, the key is to create a context and characters, be they Muppet or human, with whom viewers, young and old, can identify. Sesame Street combats stigmas associated with the disease through children’s programming. As a drama aimed at adults, Jasoos Vijay can delve into some of the meatier issues, and can address taboos and sexuality more directly. 

Underlining these approaches to entertainment education seems to be the aspect of showing, rather than telling. Positive role models can be much more effective than bombarding people with information, especially concerning a delicate topic that causes unease. And if a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then the entertainment quality is the sugar in this scenario.

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