Entertainment for democracy, social justice and reconciliation
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far

The Transformative Power of Story-Telling: An Edutainment Guide for Social Change - Step 1: Key Steps and Decisions

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 05:21

"Authentic storytelling can promote dialogue and discussion, inspire change and mobilise communities into action."

This chapter covers the key decisions that need to be made in the process of creating evidence-based entertainment education (EE) to address situations of complex social justice and reconciliation. It focuses on identifying the problem to be solved and the intended audience. It also looks at the alliances and partnerships required to implement and design an EE initiative.

As outlined here:
  • A crucial first step in any EE strategy is to define the general objective, which must be specific, measurable, and achievable. Since an edutainment strategy aims to change individual and collective behaviours, it is helpful to express your objective in terms of what will be changed - for example, increasing understanding and respect towards people with different racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Next, one identifies whom the EE approach intends to reach: The primary audience is the people directly affected by a problem; secondary audiences are people who influence the decision-making in the primary audience.
  • Overall, the project is held by the project team who contracts a team of service providers, including the creative team, to produce the EE product and partners with other organisations to implement the campaign. Because working in partnerships can maximise impact, the resource provides guidance for identifying partners to build a supportive environment. Organisations working in the field could be in a range of sectors: government, civil society, academia, and communities. Among the principles that matter: Ensure a collaborative, participatory and dialogue-based approach, with a horizontal peer review strategy that features diverse perspectives and inclusion of multiple points of view on the crisis issues being addressed.
Case studies include:
  1. Colombia: In the context of 60 years of armed conflict that have left hundreds of thousands of civilian victims and a humanitarian tragedy, Imaginario and its partners designed Romper el Silencio ("Breaking the Silence"), a multimedia communication strategy that is designed to encourage conversations, stimulate reflection, strengthen knowledge about the armed conflict, and contribute to historical thinking with a critical approach.
  2. South Africa: In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which generated submission of thousands of victims' testimonies that aimed to restore human and civil dignity by giving voice to accounts of violence at the hands of the apartheid government or the anti-apartheid movements, Heartlines created a space for South Africans to learn about each other's stories through a feature film, "Beyond the River", supported by a multimedia campaign #WhatsYourStory?
Lessons learned from Step 1 experiences:
  • Start with an understanding of the environment.
  • Have a good understanding of the problem and define it clearly - consulting with experts in the field if necessary.
  • Set your objectives, and be realistic about what you can achieve.
  • Clearly define your intended audience(s).
  • Understand whether your problem is local, regional, or national and how far you can go with your human and financial resources.
  • Do not underestimate the value of your allies, and spend time and effort building these relationships.
  • Consider the fact that donors or funders can do much more than just provide resources.
  • Choose your team carefully, and, if possible, hire them full time.
  • Carefully analyse the property rights of the materials produced.
A Collaboration between Imaginario Foundation, Heartlines and The Communication Initiative, with the support of DW Akademie
Publication Date
English, Spanish
Number of Pages

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

Add new comment

Your Priorities, Opportunities and Challenges? Complete the SURVEY