Mucho Corazón tells the story of Maruch, a young indigenous woman from a rural community in Chiapas. Maruch suffers from harassment, corruption, racial and gender discrimination and a lack of opportunities because of her social class. In the absence of her mother, Maruch supports her alcoholic father and tries to help him overcome the disease. Determined to see her father get better and improve her own life, Maruch takes advantage of government programs for women and empowers other women in her community to start their own tomato farm. Everything seems to be going well until Don Justo, the town’s leader, forces Maruch’s father to give his daughter’s hand in marriage, even when Maruch loves another, Justo’s son. In her struggles, Maruch is confronted by several dangerous situations and falls victim of injustice before overcoming it all.
The 36-episode drama is written by Georgina Tinoco and Alberto Aridjis, two prestigious Mexican writers with a long history of telenovela scriptwritng. The series, which features local talent, promotes women’s economic opportunities, equal rights for women and Indigenous Peoples as well as equal access to government health services, women’s empowerment, financial literacy and girls’ education. The program was launched in January 2012 and since, a new 30-minute episode has been airing weekly on Canal 10, a channel run by the Chiapas Radio, Television and Cinematography System. Right after each episode’s broadcast, the drama is complimented by a television talk show, which hosts experts and characters from the show and aims to enhance audience participation through the State of Chiapas radio and television networks and community action campaigns to encourage viewers to adopt behaviors modeled throughout the drama. An agreement with Televisión de América Latina (TAL) has been signed and the series is broadcast on over 23 stations throughout Latin America. In addition, Mexicanal and Mexico TV are broadcasting the drama to Hispanic populations across the United States and Canada.
The Mexican State of Chiapas is the first in the world to base its constitution on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to accelerate development in communities housed there. Mucho Corazón (A Lot of Heart), an exciting new Entertainment-Education (E-E) television drama, is helping spread the word about the MDGs and the importance of sustainable development, gender equity and respect for Indigenous Peoples by weaving information about the MDGs into a dramatic story.
The program partners are implementing Media Impact’s My Community approach to E-E and social change communications to strengthen the capacity of local ministries and State government institutions to develop and produce a comprehensive communications campaign to generate positive social change and community development. A cornerstone of the program is to build a network between State ministries to use the power of law and communications to showcase the natural resources and human diversity of Chiapas, enhance knowledge sharing, engage the public and support community-based adaption activities across the state.
The partners previously collaborated to produce and broadcast Corazón de Mujer (The Heart of a Woman), which began broadcasts on the International Day of Women in 2011. The drama promotes women’s access to government health services and legal rights. Corazón de Mujer was originally broadcast on the State Government’s radio station, and has since been rebroadcasted on more than 50 stations in three countries.
Impact on change
74.2% of viewers of the TV drama are concerned with abuse towards women, compared to the 55.7% of non-viewers. Likewise, 61.6% of people who watched the TV drama are concerned about girls staying at home to work instead of going to school, compared to the 35.8% of people who did not watch the series. The percentage of people who learned about discrimination against indigenous people is almost 10% higher among viewers, at 73.1% compared to the 63.8% of non-viewers. All of the women that participated in Focus Groups confirmed the positive impact of the TV drama, stating that they feel empowered and learned about their own rights as indigenous people and women through Mucho Corazon. The most important aspect learned from the watching the soap opera, according to several female viewers is that “I now know how to defend myself against domestic violence” and “that women can overcome hardship, succeed for themselves and become independent by knocking on the right doors and asking for help”.
Impact on community
The TV drama also contributed to intercultural understanding and respect for indigenous people among the actors of the drama. The actress playing the mother of Luz said that her role in the show also validated and revitalized her own ten-year struggle to ensure an education for indigenous adolescents, bringing what she learned from the drama into her classroom and teaching her children to treat each other with respect and dignity. “I want them to know they can have the life they’ve always dreamed of, no matter where they come from.”
Impact on capacity
We held a five-day workshop in Mexico attended by 30 representatives from each of the local coalition members and volunteers. Through on-site and virtual mentoring during all program design and implementation stages, PCI Media Impact provided training in how to design successful and engaging E-E dramas and community mobilization campaigns.
One of the actors was so inspired by her work that she started her own non-profit organization and offers free community workshops: “In some ways it helped me see the problems that we have here. It woke me up to do something really important to help people. So I got together and we organized a group “viajeros en el arte”. We dedicate ourselves to visit colonies here in the highlands and we are in each colony for 3-4 months. Our objective is to bring workshops of storytelling, acting, painting and skills to encourage financial independence and it is all free. At first we needed to pay out of our own pockets but little by little we have gained money for the project”.
In an effort to overcome the low level of financial literacy among low-income families and women in Chiapas, particularly addressing the state’s indigenous population, the Women’s World Banking joined in as a program partner. After careful review two central messages were identified to be added into Mucho Corazón: 1) Savings goals help you stay focused on priorities, and 2) Budgeting is a simple way to make a plan to reach your goals.
The TV drama had a great community impact – compelling not only viewers but also the actors that were part of the show to take action and bring about long-lasting and sustainable change. One of the actors set up free community workshops catered to increasing financial literacy:
“In some ways it helped me see the problems that we have here. It woke me up to do something really important to help people. So I got together and we organized a group “viajeros en el arte”. We dedicate ourselves to visit communities here in the highlands and we are in each community for 3-4 months. Our objective is to bring workshops of storytelling, acting, painting and skills to encourage financial independence and it is all free. At first we needed to pay out of our own pockets but little by little we have gained money for the project. Before we also wanted to recycle clothing and sell it to people for really cheap like 5 pesos, so we can keep the project going. We also leave a little library. I think that the two projects will keep on giving more and more. It was the idea of me and my friend and then we just gathered other people- we hope to create sustainable projects so they can continue with them”.
The Mexican State of Chiapas is the first in the world to base its constitution on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Mucho Corazón (A Lot of Heart) is helping spread the word about the MDGs and the importance of sustainable development, gender equity and respect for Indigenous Peoples by weaving information about the MDGs into a dramatic story.
Callaloo is a steamy radio drama making a big splash in fifteen Caribbean countries. The compelling drama is part of a larger communications program, My Island – My Community, using media and communications to address a suite of pressing HIV/AIDS, environment, and climate change issues to build community resilience.