Soap Operas That Teach but Don’t Preach (Reasons to be Cheerful)

Advocates are inserting storylines into TV and radio shows to promote behaviors that could lead to social change. Just don’t call it infotainment.

When Aisha Bekele’s (not her real name) daughter was 14, she was abducted on her way to school, raped and forced to marry the man who did it. Scared the same thing would happen to her 12-year-old, Bekele kept her younger daughter at home in her southern Ethiopian village to protect her. 

It was only when the mother of two heard a radio program about marriage by abduction on Yeken Kignit (“Looking Over One’s Daily Life”), a soap opera that was broadcast across Ethiopia between 2002 and 2004, that she learned that not only was the practice common in the region, it was also illegal. 

Continue reading the story on Reasons to be Cheerful’s website.

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