Siri ya Mtungi, a television serial drama produced by CCP’s Tanzania Capacity and Communication Project (TCCP), is the winner of an AfriComNet Annual Award for Excellence. The AfriComNet awards recognize outstanding contributions made by individuals/organizations to strategic communication for health. Siri ya Mtungi, or Secrets of the African Pot, won in the category of Best Mass Media.
TCCP created Siri ya Mtungi to promote HIV prevention, family planning, and maternal and child health. Tanzania has a relatively low contraceptive prevalence rate and ranks 13th in the world for HIV prevalence. New HIV infections occur despite widespread knowledge of HIV prevention, indicating a gap between knowledge and behavior. Additionally, less than half of pregnant women in Tanzania give birth in a health facility, indicating a continued need for education efforts to promote safe motherhood.
Prior to Siri ya Mtungi, there had been a dearth of local TV serial dramas. The show filled a gap in programming while artfully weaving behavior change messaging into storylines. Targeting adults of reproductive age, Siri ya Mtungi tells the story of “relationships won and lost through a cast of colorful characters, inspired by love, brought down by fear, superstition and betrayal, and strengthened by the intimate bonds of family and friendship.” The show is wildly popular and has been widely viewed: Siri ya Mtungi’s Facebook page has over 290,000 followers as of April 2015, making it one of the largest followings in Tanzania, and Swahiliwood’s YouTube Channel, which hosts Siri ya Mtungi episodes, has 38,000 subscribers and averages 30,000 views/day. Siri ya Mtungi aired from December 2012 – March 2013 (Season 1) and from December 2014 – March 2015 (Season 2), and has been rebroadcast on several stations since.
Research indicates that Siri ya Mtungi has had a positive impact on several of the health behaviors it targeted. A national, structured, household-based cross-sectional midline survey was conducted in April 2014 to evaluate exposure to Siri ya Mtungi and associated health behaviors and beliefs. Individuals who watched episodes of Siri ya Mtungi had more positive views of condoms, improved sexual protection self-efficacy, and less accepting views of multiple concurrent partnerships.
Siri ya Mtungi was licensed by many of Tanzania’s regional broadcasters, media houses, and the country’s largest mobile phone company (Vodacom), exceeding all expectations of its commercial viability, and therefore sustainability.
Learn more about TCCP here.