Adelaida Trujillo
Publication Date
June 1, 2012

This Colombian project, begun in 2007 and now ongoing as Revela2, uses theory and evidence, ongoing research and university partnerships, monitoring and evaluation, strengthening of local and regional capacity, local participation, a focus on national, regional and local levels of intervention, inter-institutional and multisectorial work, and sustained knowledge management and networking to create "Edutainment+Mobilization = Social Change".

Through a multimedia edutainment platform aimed at facilitating dialogue and behaviour change about sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) amongst adolescents and youth 12-19 years of age, with emphasis on the 15-19 age group, the process has created a model of collaborative work in the public health sector where specific interventions can be informed and supported by local communities and civil society organisations. The strategy, inspired by Soul City, Soul Buddyz, and One Love from southern African countries and Puntos de Encuentro in Nicaragua, draws on the strength of existing social networks on the ground, particularly youth organisations working on SRR and teen pregnancy prevention. "It is coordinated by Citurna/Imaginario (CSOs), supported by the former National Program for the Promotion of Rights and Social Networks for Peace (PPRSNP)  and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MPS). Key partners include : a) for research and M&E: Universidad del Norte, Universidad de los Andes ( Grupo de Familia y Sexualidad ); b) for TV production and broadcast:  the National TV Comission (CNTV)  and the network of regional public TV channels ( Región TV);  c) for knowledge management and  online networking: The Communication Initiative Latin America ( CILA);  d) for outreach and local social mobilization:  the Ministry of Education (MEN), and e) for administrative and technical support,  the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Colombia.  Since 2007, Imaginario´s team and its partners  (national, regional and local ) have received capacity building  from leading edutainment experts from the  Soul City Institute."

Training has included the following topics: a foundation course for all partners and counterparts on the Soul City Edutainment model; formative research and  monitoring and evaluation (M&E); and outreach materials and M&E indicators, as well as "permanent consultation on the diverse phases of the intervention."

The 2010 pilot intervention strategy attempted to stimulate public dialogue and debate that allows "individuals and communities to challenge existing social norms and cultural practices that prevent them from fully exercising their HSRR [health and sexual and reproductive rights]." It focused on: key population groups; strong, existing social networks on the ground with youth and citizens’ leadership (the Redes Sociales de Apoyo (RSA) is present in 245 municipalities/8 departments); the public TV system; the education system at the national and local level; and health and social services providers.  It worked through "several multichannel communication components (with ongoing capacity building) such as TV and radio dramas and documentaries in the mass media…,  and the social mobilization component includes popular media, community media ( local TV and radio), interpersonal communication, community and youth dialogues, and counselling."

The 2012 intervention includes: broadcast coordinated in 4 regional channels and social mobilisation supported by the educational outreach package for students and teachers  in schools and community settings (produced during 2011 and 2012 based on the 20 TV programmes  and four (4) guides as print support material). Working in 1,100 schools, the evaluation process is coordinated by Universidad de los Andes and UNINORTE and includes identifying new priorities for adolescents and youth.

From the document - "Results and Key Findings (the pilot phase - 2010):

  •  One of the most important results of local participation in every single decision making process, is the autonomy that each municipality had in the development of its own products, ie., musical contests, theatre forum in jails, cinema-forum and ‘love campfires’.
  • Activities such as theatre-forum and radio debates were more useful in terms of generating reflection, dialogue and debate.
  • Issues related to sexual diversity are still difficult to approach for most of the participants. However, it is important to point out that this challenge was used as an entry point to understand how sensitive this issue is for the Colombian society.
  • The major problem faced by the platform during the first pilot phase, was the lack of synchronicity between local mobilization processes and the national TV broadcasting. It emerged as result of the inclusion of many actors, each of them with particular timeframes and bureaucratic rhythms.

Knowledge contribution/ Program implication:
One of the most challenging goals of this platform is to provide a new way of planning and designing communication processes with involvement of national and regional government institutions and multiple media and communication channels.

In this sense, we put forward recommendations that could be helpful when dealing with public resources and national-regional health priorities in an edutainment methodology with successful models, such as Soul City´s:

  • It is fundamental to ensure the participation of all national institutions related to the issues that the platform is dealing with. Their experience and technical knowledge is crucial.
  • As an edutainment strategy, we cannot lose sight of the importance of local, existing creativity in the process of designing good, relevant content for the national level audience - capacity building is crucial.
  • This multilevel intervention illustrates the challenges of engaging in dialogue with key social actors at the local and regional level.
  • It is important to recognize that setting the conditions for productive dialogues between national decision makers and local leaders is not an easy task; many cultural circumstances could affect the “horizontality” of the process, but at the end it is possible to see how inspirational, effective and productive it could be to have different actors working together and empowered to express their concerns and perspectives on critical issues such as HSSR.
  • Mapping the communication contexts at the local level, the use of technologies and channels by adolescents is critical, so appropriation happens and a real sense of belonging at the local level is reflected.
  • Simultaneous consensus building of broadcast  and communications strategies at the regional level  whilst the ‘message brief’  is constructed is critical : Colombia is still a centralized country at the decision, public policy level, yet with a decentralized implementation and huge resources allocated at the regional and municipal level. “

Click here to dowload this document in MS Word format.


Email from Adelaida Trujillo to The Communication Initiative on September 11 2014.