This past week, Lauren and I had the pleasure of attending Queen’s International Development Week activities. Our presentation focused on “edutainment” campaigns that convey health-related messages, including within a YCI programming context.
For YCI, edutainment takes on a range of different forms to convey messages. In Ghana, we’ve used media campaigns, such as radio jingles, to encourage youth to vote and participant in local governance. In Kenya and Tanzania, YCI volunteers and partners have used methods of music, dance, drama and talent shows to focus on issues of sexual reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and substance abuse.
Working with the Queen’s workshop participants, we identified some of the strengths and weaknesses of edutainment as a programming methodology. We also worked with them to develop their own health-related edutainment campaigns.
Even though edutainment is method commonly used to convey messages of health sexuality and health and hygiene, many workshop participants were surprised to realize just how common edutainment campaigns are.
Still confused by what “edutainment” is exactly? Check out some of our favourite YouTube videos to get a better idea of what edutainment looks like in a northern context:
Strength: Edutainment has the ability to modify key messages for different audiences.
Weakness: It may not hit its target audience.
Strength: It’s entertaining and appealing to a youth demographic.
Weakness: Its message is fleeting and could become lost in a media-saturated environment.
Strength: This video is just hilarious.
Weakness: Okay, so this last one isn’t really and edutainment campaign, but it does identify a key weakness of real campaigns: they can over-simplifying messages or make them too complex.
Thank you to Queen’s University for hosting us and I hope everyone had a healthful International Development Week!
-Jessica Lockhart, Program Coordinator