Author: George O. Ndukwu, April 20 2016 - I had a wonderful experience supervising the scripting and production of "TAFIGAWALO" (Working towards change) for the Population Media Center[PMC]/ Nigeria. A 78 Episode Pidgin English Serial Radio Drama based on Positive Role Modeling/Sabido Methodology and set in a fictionalized country named Saboba Republic, it focused on a large geographic area and different demographics.
Story lines ran through four settings representative of geopolitical zones in Nigeria, with cities like Asozuma[Capital City] in the north, SumtikpoTown in North-Central, Ojeda Community in South-West and Atako village in the South-South of the Republic.
Tafigawalo thematically focused on and tackled controversial attitudes toward Secondary education of girls, Adolescent Reproductive Health & disposition towards sex education, HIV/AIDS, Gender based violence, family planning & Safe Motherhood, and Nutrition by showing different scenarios in the lives of positive, negative and transitional characters.
The drama does not preach any point of view but presents varying views to listeners through entertainment-education. At the end, some characters would have been punished or rewarded.
Typical of the Sabido style drama, there were positive, negative and transitional characters who in the subsequent episodes inter-played as they related issues and challenges to their audiences.
Being an entertainment-education drama, it had several elements that ultimately aim for gain in behavioral change in Nigeria, as evident in the values grid. One of the themes also deals with adolescent sexuality and risky behavior among youths indulging in premarital sexual relations. A lot of the characters have their own stories, and thus the programme was character driven.
The drama employed simple cultural elements and music to subtly reach listeners and carry them along as the drama unfolded. The drama did not directly proffer solutions to the challenges advanced in the cause of the programme; rather, the listener is subtly attracted through positive "role modeling" which brings out benefits of positive behavior and shows implications of bad behavior, essentially in showing people how to take worthwhile decisions by taking their destiny in their hands for the sustainable development of Nigeria and improved health outcomes.
Story lines portraying real-life situations through the on-air characters depended on cliffhangers to spur the listeners into sticking with subsequent episodes.
The project started with a formative research on Nigeria major issues of which we were able to collate data from, and with, other NDHS [Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey] reports to give us the values grid for story-lines and scripting the drama. PMC/Nigeria then conducted a workshop for the creative team leading to the production of the Pilot which was subjected to pre-test across the would be listeners. Afterwards a press conference was conducted followed by community outreach and sensitization. On conclusion of the production, we did programme promotions across all the radio stations that were booked to broadcast the drama.
This experience enabled me to additionally grasp the Sabido methodology and other learning/cognitive theories involved in positive role modeling and SBCC. The reports from the M&E [monitoring and evaluation] field team indicate across the board, positive behavior change and improved health outcomes amongst our listeners.
In 2014, the entertainment-education SBCC drama TAFIGAWALO was broadcast across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, with a rebroadcast in 2015.