Young people’s positive changes in behaviour are significantly linked to watching sex edutainment

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Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • Sex education is essential as it intends to provide young people with the knowledge and abilities they need to make healthy decisions about sex and sexuality throughout their lives.
  • Many young people learn about sexual health information from schools, parents, peers and even social media. But it is through shows like MTV Shuga and movements like MTV Staying Alive Foundation that they get to see practically.
  • They get to see what happens in a young person's life and they learn how to deal with the issues they face.

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation is a movement that tells stories that change lives and those that young people can relate to.

The foundation, in partnership with MTV Shuga, gives young people the opportunity to learn beyond what is taught to them in school. They learn how to make the right decisions in their sexual lives and are able to tackle and talk about anything and everything that they face.

For instance, MTV Shuga’s ‘Down South’ series has been found to help young people adopt new HIV prevention tools such as self-testing and oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug taken by HIV negative people before and after sex that reduces their risk of contracting HIV.

READ MORE | So your STI test came back positive. Now what? 3 women share their stories

A study by Tulane University funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Nigeria found that MTV Shuga Naija has had a positive impact on the behaviour of young people. They found that girls who have watched the show are more likely to open up about sexual violence.

Executive Director, MTV SAF, Georgia Arnold, says, “These results are fantastic news and further evidence that our model of edutainment works. For over a decade, MTV Shuga has proven adept at influencing young people’s behaviours through entertaining, immersive, and challenging content, combined with relatable characters who audiences care deeply about. It is why we must continue investing in positive storytelling to improve public health.”

Monde Twala, MTV SAF Board member and Senior Vice President, ViacomCBS Africa says that MTV Shuga is good for young people, and it teaches them a lot and it engages with them on certain issues.

READ MORE | Two main characters on MTV Shuga: Down South interrogate the "their side of the story" narrative around rapists and abusers

“It is inspiring to see the positive impact from the research back up the power of edutainment formats that reach into people’s hearts. The authentic and engaging content drives important behavioural change. With the pandemic placing intense strain on health services and people in lockdown for months, we have seen how MTV Shuga content and engagement is often a lifeline for young people. These are powerful collaborative platforms and I’m excited to see where MTV Shuga innovates next,” says Twala.

MTV Shuga plan on including topics such mental health, vaccine hesitancy, TB, as well as sexual reproductive health.

Sources: ViacomCBS Networks Africa

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