A Meeting of Expressions

Radio Soap Opera Address Youth Sexual Health in Guatemala
Jul 16, 2010 4:25 PM ET

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) New York, NY - July 16, 2010 - The youth of San Juan Ostuncalco, Guatemala are sitting on pins and needles. 

After two dramatic years, the third and final season of “The Intruder” has begun broadcasting in the communities around Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, and this year promises to be as - if not more - intense and drama filled than the last two tear-jerking seasons.

“The Intruder”, produced by Asociacion Comunicares, with support from PCI-Media Impact, IDEI, Stereo Arcoiris, and UNAIDS, is an Entertainment-Education soap opera designed to address issues of sexual and reproductive health, such as HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and diseases, sexual violence and access to services.  The program targets rural youth who otherwise have little to no access to information about their health.

The drama is accompanied by a weekly radio magazine talk show called “Meeting of Expressions,” which is produced and hosted by youth volunteers as young as 11-years-old.  In addition, the Comunicares team executes a traveling fair that visits communities throughout Guatemala to educate local teens with the facts about HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention, treatment and stigmas.

Even beyond the tireless work the local coalition does to bring these important health messages to the community, they also train and empower local youth to learn, communicate and advocate about issues important to their own lives.

“It’s incredible to see 11-year-old kids producing and hosting a program that is so popular in the local community,” said Media Impact Program Coordinator, Lindsey Wahlstrom.  “The energy in the studio and in the community, especially at the live broadcasts, is tangible and invigorating,” she added. 

“The Intruder” is part of PCI-Media Impact’s My Community, a series of message-oriented, pro-social grassroots media programs throughout Latin America. With 25 years of experience in the field, Media Impact has long been at the vanguard of educational media. My Community represents its latest response to a pressing but often overlooked problem in international development: how to engage low-income communities in open discussions about crucial though sometimes controversial issues.

Each My-Community program covers community-specific issues, such as democratic principles, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the mismanagement of solid waste. And each program is above all a grassroots soap opera, developed at every stage by members of the communities themselves.

Previous programs have impacted communities in direct and measurable ways.  La Ruleta (The Roulette), developed and broadcast in Guatemala to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS resulted in a 400% increase in visits to “Tan Ux’il” pharmacies; Tan Ux’il was the leader of the local coalition for that program.  The programs continue to generate collective actions and raise awareness about what people can do to improve their lives, and the lives of their children.

To learn more about PCI-Media Impact go to www.mediaimpact.org.