HIV/AIDS AWARENESS follows Ethiopians who are working to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through wide range of educational approaches. Modes of communication, such as radio, television, and print media, provide basic information about how to avoid becoming infected with the virus. Styles of presentation include everything from comical performances that make people laugh to poignant pleas from people who are themselves infected. Prevention education comes alive in a variety of places where people gather: street theater, coffee ceremonies, and even at funeral gatherings.
One example of an effort with wide-reaching impact which we profile is Yibekal, a popular radio program which uses a magazine format, addressing the challenge of educating listeners in various ways. These include interviews, art, pen pals, first person true stories and more. Yibekal reaches listeners six times a week. Public figures and celebrities add their voices by giving interviews and sharing their interests and concerns. The program is listened to by an estimated 1.8 million people. The primary beneficiaries are the most vulnerable populations, teenagers and young adults, along with people who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. The filmmakers even go into the studio and document the producers at work. Using these examples of prevention education, the film explores the work of Ethiopians committed to controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS, while promoting respect and compassion for those living with the virus.
"Concentric Media's efforts are helping many others to find their voices and is allowing them to participate in the healing process. In the end it is their voices that will teach the community and thereby start reversing the high trend for the incidence of HIV/AIDS in nations like Ethiopia. HIV+ people have taken more than a first step in creating awareness about the disease. It is our turn to listen and get involved."
AMY L. HILL
Center for Digital Storytelling
"Whether in Ethiopia or in the US, accurate information and honest communication about sexuality are essential. This includes information to dispel the myths about HIV/AIDS that lead to fear of and discrimination against those living with or orphaned by the virus, and to a reluctance to get tested for the virus. It also includes a willingness to overcome deeply rooted cultural discomfort with discussions about sexual behavior."
Submitted by NOMBUSO
The Communication Initiative Network
Producing these films about HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia was inspired by my work on an earlier film, WOMAN by WOMAN, a film on women's rights in India.
Working on that film awakened me to the challenges women face in developing countries. I was approached by the Executive Producer of WOMAN by WOMAN, and asked if I was open to making a film about the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, a disease which was disproportionately impacting women. I said, "Yes" without hesitation.