“Let’s Talk!” 2019 Zambia Country Launch
“Every day in developing countries, 20,000 girls under age 18 give birth.” United Nations Population Fund
When girl children give birth, their lives and their futures are at risk. But because of persistent social norms, cultural beliefs, and policies, millions of girls experience the diminishing effects of early pregnancy. COVID-19 has compounded the problem, and we are proud to work with partners that are serious about finding solutions that arise to the challenge of the moment.
About “Let’s Talk!”
“Let’s Talk!” is a 21-country campaign to reduce early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) across Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). The campaign uses a multimedia design to spread awareness of the impact of early and unintended pregnancy, early marriage, gender-based violence, lack of access to education, and to encourage discussions among audience groups. In-person meetings have been an integral part of the campaign for both driving policy changes and reaching young people.
Through our “Let’s Talk!” campaign—in partnership with UNESCO, Save the Children, UNFPA, and SAfAIDS—PCI Media is changing the way governments, communities and families protect girls from unplanned pregnancies. In our second year, because of the pandemic, we had to shift our approach from public conversations to a digital approach that encouraged conversations within families at home.
Rethinking Personal Connections and Community Mobilization
Through classroom and public conversations, teachers and local advocates connected with young people to talk about sexual and reproductive choices without judgment or discrimination. Being able to speak to adolescents in accessible spaces was paramount to changing knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors around contraception, child marriage, gender-based violence, and access to education.
Let’s Talk! Campaign launch in South Africa.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made these outlets inaccessible while gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy has increased during this time. According to the United Nations Population Fund, 7 million additional early and unintended pregnancies in low income and developing countries could result from COVID-19 disruptions. The need for targeted messaging, information, and resources for young people has become even more critical.
We were able to pivot the program in three major ways to respond to COVID-19.
We increased the campaign’s strong social media element to boost messaging around issues of access to family planning products, service, and advice during lockdowns. The tagline changed from “Let’s Talk!” to “Let’s Talk at Home.” Since March, we’ve increased our social media following by 500%.
In November, we launched a youth-led webinar series, Say It Louder. The six-part webinar series addresses issues of adolescent health and education from multiple vantage points as moderators, speakers, and youth come together from different countries and contexts across the region.
To reach these audiences where radio is more accessible than the Internet, we’ve created a 6-episode radio drama and call-in show, “Say It Loud.” In lieu of in-person discussions and workshops, the dramas and shows inform and entertain the public about EUP issues, foster informed conversations, and encourage key behavior changes to reduce EUP, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To-date, “Let’s Talk!” has launched in 10 countries, supported through PCI Media’s consultation on sessions, feedback and advice on using or adapting materials.
We’re continuing to support campaigns in an additional 3 countries with implementation planning, coordination, and advice. “Let’s Talk!” social media channels have over 10,000 followers. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we’re committed to finding new ways to adapt and serve our communities and our partners.