Can watching an educational TV series improve young women’s knowledge and attitudes related to gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health? This is the question answered by Melissa Hidrobo, Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI, who presented her work “Short-term impacts of an entertainment education series ‘C’est la vie!’ on young women’s knowledge and attitudes in rural Senegal”. Considered as ‘edutainment’, the popular Senegalese TV series addresses issues related to health, sexuality and women's rights: abortion, polygamy, rape, domestic violence, excision, early marriage, but also corruption.
Women who were randomly invited to a community screening of ‘C’est la vie’ had at followup better knowledge around gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health, compared to women invited to screening of a placebo TV series, without educational content. However, their attitudes and beliefs are unchanged.
Moreover, women who were randomly nudged to invite a male guest to the screening have larger increases in knowledge compared to those who were nudged to invite a female guest. These results show that edutainment is a promising strategy for improving knowledge in rural settings, however, indicate that more intensive exposure or directive messages may be needed for attitude and norm change.