Ouro Negro (Black Gold)

Tradition and modernity, forced to team up to discover new truths. Black Gold is the story of the village of Jambolane, a traditional community in Mozambique. When the residents of Jambolane are confronted with the arrival of a foreign mining company they must negotiate the resettlement of the community and their ancestral spirits in order to extract coal from their land.

Each year, around 6 million children die from preventable and treatable illnesses before reaching their fifth birthday. Those who do live are at risk to health issues, such as stunting, which 43% of children experience due to malnutrition. PCI Media Impact partnered with the World Food Programme, Radio Mozambique, and Unicef to create Ouro Negro (Black Gold), a radio drama aimed at discussing issues facing Mozambique while opening a space for dialogue.

Ouro Negro was conceived as the flagship program for UNICEF’s Facts for Life (FFL) initiative targeting women aged 15-35. The Fact’s for Life program utilizes a social and behavior change communication, the use of communication tools to change behaviors, strategy in the form of a handbook. Ouro Negro pulls from the FFL and behavior change initiative bringing it to life via storytelling in an effort to connect with the audience. Storytelling is sharing our experiences and life lessons. Doing so creates an avenue to discuss important issues affecting communities, conflicting dialogue can then implement change. The drama discusses the following topics that are impacting the nation: nutrition, with a focus on IYCF; HIV/AIDS prevention; hygiene and sanitation; maternal and child health; and prevention of violence and child marriage.

Following every broadcast are interactive call in shows designed to spike debate in order to initiate change. Only when individuals recognize that change will positively affect their lives will they feel the need to actively change. This is when lasting change occurs. Ouro Negro’s strength is the ability to identify with the audience. The storytelling Entertainment-Education method creates an emotional link between audience members and the characters. With this in mind, the debate among audience members is more likely to occur because the audience is invested in, and can relate to, the characters.

The success of the first season resulted in an action plan to expand our listener base. Originally planned to last 84 episodes and broadcast only on national radio, Ouro Negro has now 168 episodes to be aired in the national radio station and 10 provincial stations from Radio Mozambique, 58 community radios and 2 commercial broadcasters. The drama airs two new episodes per week at 6:30pm, and rebroadcasts at 2:30pm the next day. They feature interactive talk shows and local language adaptations.

Season 2 is currently on air, Season 3 will broadcast in July, and Season 4 is in the development stage.

Radio Mozambique
World Food Programme

For the formal evaluation of Season 1, UNICEF Mozambique contracted the local research partner Gfk Intercampus, and Drexel University in collaboration with the renowned Communications for Development M/E expert, Dr. Suruchi Sood. This is an depth qualitative and quantitative analysis designed to understand if the program was effective and if there were any behavioral or social changes as a result. Prior to the launch, 2,250 women were interviewed for the quantitative analysis. The qualitative analysis interviewed approximately 300 men and women over the course of 15 years.

The analysis of Season 1 indicated Ouro Negro gained a loyal audience. Every episode broadcast generated 1.2-1.4 million listeners, approximately 25-30% of all Mozambican radio listeners. 50% of listeners follow the drama regularly and 56% of the respondents reported strongly liking Ouro Negro. 43% of respondents discussed the drama with other people, 67% of those respondents discussed the topics Ouro Negro covered. These statistics prove Ouro Negro stimulates interpersonal communication that is crucial for promoted behavior changes with 70% of respondents reporting behavior change. Most behavior change was shown to be in the following categories: general behavior change, improved social behavior, disease prevention in HIV/AIDS, child protection and health, nutrition, and WASH.

Ouro Negro aims to go from reaching an audience of one million in year one, to two million by year four of production. Such an ambitious goal is possible because of the drama’s popularity, and the ability to reach audiences through multiple sources. The drama itself uses likeable characters that form bonds with audience members. Audiences and characters share life experiences and learn together about solutions to the broad scope of issues discussed. The popular call-in shows facilitate active dialogue to share and debate experiences thus encouraging community bonds. Additionally, the high frequency of PSAs enforces circulation of important content.

In order to facilitate a lasting impact, Ouro Negro will implement a multi-media communication strategy to build on Season One’s success. Based on evaluations, the upcoming seasons of Ouro Negro will incorporate the following: discussion guides in the call in show Voices from Jambolane to fuel debates, continued circulation of PSAs or short stories, Magic Potato Band will use local music productions to promote Ouro Negro‘s lessons, theatre adaptations of the drama using local languages, a low budget TV series titled Ouro Negro TV Campfire Stories based on the radio drama, cartoons dispersed in primary schools, and a social media presence.

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