The role of edutainment as an HIV and aids communication strategy among the youth in Nairobi county : a case of Shuga television series
Megeke, Pauline K
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More than 30 years into the HIV and AIDS epidemic, it remains one of the most serious challenges to global health (Advocates for Youth , 2014). Over 70 million people worldwide are infected with the HIV virus since the beginning of the epidemic and over 38 million people have died of AIDS related illnesses (UNAIDS 2013). An estimate of 35 million people were living with HIV, 2.1 million people became newly infected with HIV and 1.5 million people died fron HIV related illnesses,worldwide (UNAIDS 2013). Among all the continents of the world, the Sub-Saharan Africa was the most affected.The purpose of this study was to analyse the role of edutainment as a tool for communicating social change among the youth in Kenya. It examined the potential of edutainment as a tool for communicating social change as far as HIV and AIDS among the youth in Kenya is concerned. The study population was students enrolled for Bachelor of Arts (development communication), and Bachelor of Arts (broadcast production) in School of Journalism and Mass Communication who are between the ages of 18 to 24years only from the University of Nairobi, main campus in Nairobi County. A sample of 180 students was selected. A descriptive study design was used in this study. This study utilised both quantitative and qualitative data. To collect the data, a survey method was applied. The quantitative data was then analysed using descriptive statistics with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The analysis entailed descriptive statistics (computation of frequencies and percentages). Qualitative data from focus key informant interviews transcripts was analysed using content analysis with the help of a systematic coding procedure. The study made intertextual comparisons between the different interviews and comparing the considered elements to relevant literature. The analysed data then presented in prose form. The study found out that the Shuga television series was effective in communicationg HIV and AIDS messages and that edutainment has an enomous potential in communicating developmental issues like HIV and AIDS, which is a health issue. the study also found that Shuga television drama had significant impact by; showing that HIV affects all walks of life regardless of social standing and race and creating awareness on the kinds of behaviour, including sexual involvement with multiple partners, sexual exploitation, and alcohol abuse can make young people more vulnerable. The study further found that that television drama was most effective in; reaching a large number of adolescents with HIV prevention messages, stimulating social action for particular issues, stimulating public discussion and debate and changing the youths’ thinking around HIV testing. Finally the study found that the packaging of HIV and AIDS messages in the Shuga Television Series; focused on a current trends amongst the target audience, educational issues were presented in entertaining formats and social issues are seamlessly integrated into the entertainment, model positive attitudes and behaviours through characters that the respondents can bond with and numerous media houses for bigger impact and reach. Based on these findings, the study recommends that the national government of Kenya and the film industry should invest more on producing education entertataiment programmes to communicate developmental issues, especially HIV and AIDS, which is a health concern. The media stakeholders should also be encouraged to offer platforms for airing entertainment programmes that educate people at the same so as to reach and impact on many people.