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Cablegate: Embassy-Funded Soap Opera to Tackle Hiv/Aids,

VZCZCXRO8813
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #1015 3040934
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300934Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9481
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0137
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0269

UNCLAS MAPUTO 001015

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KHIV EAID MZ
SUBJECT: EMBASSY-FUNDED SOAP OPERA TO TACKLE HIV/AIDS,
OTHER HEALTH ISSUES

1. (U) SUMMARY: On October 15, the Charge participated in a
signing ceremony to award a one-year, $400,000 grant to
Mozambican media giant SOICO. The grant is funded from the
Embassy's PEFPAR Small Grants Program and will be used to
produce 15 episodes of a soap opera with a 30-minute format
focusing on health issues, including HIV/AIDS. The project
represents the first major public/private partnership
involving the Embassy and a major private media company in
Mozambique and could serve as an example for future projects.
END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------
INVESTING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR
-------------------------------

2. (U) The grant agreement with SOICO, the parent company of
the largest independent media group in Mozambique, which
includes the daily newspaper O Pais and the television
station STV, should prove to be an important strategic
partnership with one of the most influential private
companies in the country. O Pais, formerly a weekly
newspaper, became a daily earlier in October, and STV is now
estimated to be the country's most watched television
channel. The project falls under SOICO's wide-ranging social
initiative "Mozambique in Action," which utilizes public
relations to stimulate society into actively contributing to
the country's growth and development. In this case, a focus
on health, hygiene, and infectious diseases offers an
opportunity to educate the public and motivate them to
protect themselves and their loved ones.

---------------------------------
THE SOAP OPERA AS A TEACHING TOOL
---------------------------------

3. (SBU) The soap opera, entitled "Life for Everyone," will
initially produce 15 30-minute episodes (possibly expanding
to 30 episodes). Episodes will focus on a specific
health-related topic within a real-life Mozambican context,
followed by a 30-minute discussion of the story to include
audience and viewer participation. Such a format will allow
viewers not only to learn from the story presented, but also
to further engage and ask questions following the program.
While TV is still not the primary source of media for most
Mozambicans, coverage continues to expand, and the production
team has future plans to transfer the soap opera stories into
radio programs to reach a larger audience. Since signing the
grant agreement, STV has worked closely with the Embassy to
tailor the focus and content of the programs to ensure
consistency with the USG message on HIV/AIDS and malaria.

--------------------------------------------- --
COMMENT: AN INNOVATIVE BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUTURE
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (SBU) There are several reasons to believe the project
will be successful. First, key members of the production
team are Brazilian, and the team has produced Brazilian soap
operas (which are very popular in Mozambique) as well as the
Mozambique segments of several Hollywood movies, including
Blood Diamond. Such experience should help build the
capacity of Mozambican producers. Indeed, the creativity of
the proposal was a major factor in the decision to partner
with SOICO. Second, the project hired a group of popular
Mozambican theater actors, generally considered to be the
best in the country. Finally, STV's willingness to confer
regularly with us concerning the show's content should ensure
that the USG message, particularly concerning HIV/AIDS, is
clear. We also believe that partnering with a growing
independent media giant will cement our ties with this
important sector and lead to future opportunities for
cooperation.

Chapman

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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