Entertainment for democracy, social justice and reconciliation
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The Transformative Power of Story-Telling: An Edutainment Guide for Social Change

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 05:28

"Stories bring us closer to people's past and present and allow us to learn about their points of view, their values and their aspirations. They have the power to move us, to inspire us, and also, to stimulate dialogue and debate." - Harriet Perlman, South African writer and producer

Mass media entertainment programmes have been widely used throughout the world as a powerful means to educate, inform, and influence social and individual change. Entertainment education (EE) is the name given to any communication project that uses popular entertainment formats to tackle serious social issues in a bold and entertaining way. EE, also called edutainment, is rooted in research and a deep understanding of the intended audience. It aims to get people talking and thinking, while stimulating social action and effecting policy change. This guide is meant for people and organisations interested in using evidence-based EE to address situations of complex social justice and reconciliation, in particular.

EE programmes often make use of a combination of theories of social and behaviour change (SBC) to help drive change by building self-efficacy, stimulating debate, challenging social norms, shifting attitudes and personal skills, and developing positive habits. The opening section of the guide introduces the various SBC theories relevant to EE, including Bandura's Social Learning Theory, Lewin's Theory of Change, Social Identity Theory, the Theory of Interpersonal Behaviour, and the Information-Motivation-Behaviour Skills Model.

The guide shares with producers and non-profit organisations a step-by-step approach to creating an EE strategy. The guide is enriched with case studies that document the experiences of two organisations, Fundación Imaginario and Heartlines, with a focus on the challenges they faced and the lessons they learned implementing two EE projects: Romper el Silencio ("Breaking the Silence") in Colombia and "Beyond the River" in South Africa.

Following the introductory orientation, the guide features 9 chapters that each cover a specific step in the EE development process (see Related Summaries, below):
  1. Key steps and decisions
  2. Formative research
  3. From research to message
  4. The story is the message
  5. Designing a multimedia strategy
  6. Pre-testing
  7. Production
  8. Promotion
  9. Monitoring & evaluation
Participation, capacity building, and knowledge management are key throughout the entire process.
A Collaboration between Imaginario Foundation, Heartlines and The Communication Initiative, with the support of DW Akademie
Publication Date
English, Spanish
Number of Pages
173 (English); 165 (Spanish)

Information sent to The Communication Initiative by Juana Marulanda, Fundación Imaginario, November 22 2022.

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