Audience Connections: Channels
Informational and educational posters and leaflets are useful in clinics, and may also be disseminated to target populations at the hotspots they frequent. For outreach initiatives, leaflets are an effective leave-behind material, providing individuals with information to reference later. Some campaigns have found success in thinking creatively about their printed materials, producing stickers, bookmarks, playing cards, or other entertaining products that carry key messages. 1
Mass media outlets are also possible channels for communication, although they should be considered carefully. Billboards can be useful, along with bus and taxi advertisements. While this needs to be locally assessed (and different sizes and advertising rates are possible), print advertisements in newspapers may be less useful in reaching smaller target populations. If the audience is broader, it is still important to assess whether newspaper advertising is worth the investment for your specific campaign goals. For example, 3 million Kenyans still read a newspaper every day, but printed newspaper circulations in the country are falling or stagnant. Across sub-Saharan Africa, many newspapers are also increasing their online presence, suggesting online content may be a more valuable investment. 2
Pusha Love Billboards
As part of the “Pusha Love” campaign (discussed below, under “Social”), these billboards in Lesotho used resonant taglines like, “I’m taking control of my life” to promote healthier social norms. Check out the full story, including the creative brief for the project, here. 3
Across sub-Saharan Africa, mobile access is increasing, offering new opportunities for individual engagement through SMS technology and messaging programs (like WhatsApp, Mxit, or WeChat). 2 Individual, group, and automated messages can be deployed at various levels of intervention. For example, mobile messages can be used to share clinic information, send referrals, and remind clients about appointments or to take medication. Mobile messages can also be used to share one-on-one information, offer advice, or host group discussions. Finally, it can be a way to deliver engaging and informational content such as podcasts, video clips, and web-based content.
Engaging marginalized communities online is increasingly possible in certain contexts; local investigation should guide investments in this technology. For example, mobile tools may be useful in Kenya, where 78 percent of people own a mobile phone 4 ; further, 21 percent of mobile phone owners said they share their phone with someone else 4 , which increases access (while also raising questions about confidentiality). Texting is the most common use 4 , with WhatsApp boasting the highest number of monthly users (12 million). 5 Additionally, ownership of smartphones is on the rise in Kenya, with the highest rates among younger, educated, and English-speaking individuals; overall, 43 percent of the total population own a smartphone. 5
The growth of mobile technology and smartphone coverage is also increasing the reach and potential for campaigns that use social media and online/digital content. See the “Social” and “Online/Digital” outlet connections for more.
Student Flash Mob in Botswana
Flash mobs are often organized via social media or mobile coordination. For this mob, organized at the entrance to an education fair, students performed a massive, choreographed dance to raise HIV awareness among their peers. Watch the dance here. 6
Along with the rise of mobile, smartphones, and connectivity, social media is increasingly accessible. Social media can be a powerful vehicle for broadcasting information and advice, as well as building and cultivating community, by identifying and engaging at-risk individuals who may be afraid to participate in physical spaces. Online campaigns can create a “safe space” for learning and, in certain circumstance, anonymous discussion.
In Kenya, 7 million people use Facebook. 7
In Lesotho, about 13 percent of Basotho are Facebook users. 7
Across sub-Saharan Africa, the most-used social media platforms are Facebook and WhatsApp 8 , and community-based organizations do host pages/groups on this platform to engage audiences. However, these organizations also report that maintaining a number of groups on Facebook can require a steep time and resource investment; there is a high level of initial effort required to “seed” discussions, which then require effort to read, post, respond to comments, and generally build a social community. Another potential tactic is to use paid Facebook ads, which can be effective in reaching specific, targeted audiences (such as people who have liked a particular page). 9
Other potential platforms include Twitter, WhatsApp, and dating sites. WhatsApp can also be used for education, and to provide a low-cost means of one-on-one counseling with providers. 9 In terms of advertising, Facebook enables the use of data to target specific demographic groups. 9
Deciding to engage through social media should be driven by local investigation and research. For example, one local project in Kenya found the most at-risk youth were not on social media. 10
Given the exploding growth of mobile and internet connectivity, creating content and/or sites for web-based devices may be an increasingly effective way to spread information and messages. Access varies by demographic and country, so local investigation should guide investments. For example, in 2016 in Lesotho, there were more than 400,000 internet users (approximately 18% of the population). 11
However internet access is limited by the lack of infrastructure as well as economic constraints. 11 In 2015 in Kenya, there were 23 million internet users (approximately 55 percent of the population); 90 percent of people access the internet from their mobile phones. 12
When creating messages for online dissemination, it is important to keep in mind the low-strength internet connectivity that many mobile phone users experience. As an example of how to accommodate this, one community organization that works with MSM deliberately designed an informational site in low resolution so as to be accessible from mobile phones. 13 It’s also important to translate content into local languages. 13
“If You Know You Are a Champion” Song
A collaboration between three music superstars in diverse styles (to attract a wide audience), this popular, energetic song promotes male circumcision, encouraging men with lyrics like “there is no need to fear” and spreading widely through online channels. Learn more here. 14
HIV Web Series Gets Nominated for an Emmy!
In order to get HIV prevention back on young people’s radar in Brazil, UNAIDS teamed up with Globo’s social responsibility branch to create a web series, Eu Só Quero Amar (All I Want is Love), with two of the most loved characters of the teen soap opera Malhação, a serodiscordant couple. In the five-episode spinoff web series, the couple appears alongside real serodiscordant couples to talk about their relationships, sexuality, and the impact of HIV in their daily lives. The series soon became a hit—from April to June 2016, it was the third-most-watched original series on the platform, with almost 1 million views. And on October 16, 2017, it was nominated for an Emmy Kids 2017 Award in the digital category. 15
Radio remains the dominant way to reach and engage populations en masse. Radio can evoke emotion and create a personal connection—for many, radio may be a companion. People also turn to community or local radio because they feel it addresses their needs and interests specifically as community members. 16
In a 2017 OPTIONS study conducted in Kenya, all of the at-risk target populations (adolescent girls and women, female sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, and serodiscordant couples) reported “listening to the radio” as an interest and activity. 17 , 18 , 19 , 20
Radio broadcasts may be a great way to deliver content that is both entertaining and educational. It can also be interactive. For example, in Tanzania, 76 percent of radio listeners listen to call-in radio shows. 21
TV is still considered a common way to reach a mass audience at the national level. In the 2017 OPTIONS study in Kenya 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , all at-risk populations cited “watching TV” as an interest and activity. TV and video series may be a great way to deliver both entertaining and educational content at once.
It’s also important to note that mass media channels like TV and radio tend to give a product credibility that smaller-scale channels (e.g., brochures) do not 9 . However, the feasibility of broadcasting television content varies greatly by country. In Kenya, a 2017 study showed that only 30 percent of households have a television set, which may not make the production of TV communication materials a worthwhile expense 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 .
News media is an important stakeholder in the rollout of any PrEP campaign. Media can be a useful partner in helping disseminate clear and helpful information to the public, and media coverage can reinforce and validate campaign communications.
It is also very important to engage journalists in order to avoid negative or ill-informed media coverage. Some countries have seen inaccurate and inflammatory information about PrEP spread on the internet when first rolling out the drug. This, combined with the fact that PrEP communications are engaging stigmatized populations and dealing with sensitive issues, makes the potential for damaging media coverage real. Engaging the press in a constructive and ongoing conversation can smooth the way for positive, well-informed coverage that helps you reach your campaign goals.
To read more, including examples of practical ways to engage journalists, see the “Engage Journalists” section under Demand Creation 101.
Many people will likely hear about PrEP from friends or family. Recognizing this reality, campaigns can seek to inform how people talk to their friends or family about PrEP.
For example, during oral PrEP and microbicide clinical trials, recruitment teams asked participants to talk to their friends about PrEP and encourage them to participate—a strategy called “word of mouth.”
In a study based on interviews with clinical trial staff, the researchers felt this strategy was successful in reaching more of a target audience (i.e., encouraging communication about PrEP from peers could lead to higher PrEP uptake among that target group). While the researchers felt that encouraging word of mouth could be successful, they also warned of potential challenges, including the potential to spread rumors, misinformation, and negative experiences with side effects. To counteract these risks, researchers gave participants pamphlets to share as part of their word-of-mouth efforts. 9
We Are The Generation Case Study. Lesotho, 2017.
Gicheru C. The Challenges Facing Independent Newspapers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Source. Published 2014. Accessed December 24, 2018.
Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs. Pusha Love Billboards. Billboards displayed in 2012; Lesotho.
McCann Worldgroup, Truth Central. Truth About Africa Report. 2015.
Bloggers Association of Kenya. State of the Internet in Kenya 2017. Source. Published February 2018. Accessed September 6, 2018.
te AIDS. Gearing-Up against HIV…Botswana Students Flash Mob.; 2013. Available at: Source. Accessed December 28, 2018.
Africa. Internet World Stats website. Source. Updated August 24, 2018. Accessed December 24, 2018.
Wangari N. African Millennials; Mobile Usage and Media Consumption. GeoPoll website. February 27, 2017. Source. Accessed July 19, 2018.
According to the qualitative analysis memos from the Reaching High Risk Women for PrEP: Learning from ARV-based HIV prevention trials study, provided by K Stankevitz, MSc, in May 2018.
HIV Prevention Market Manager. End-User Research Landscape Mapping and Findings. Source. Published January 2017. Accessed July 19, 2018.
Lesotho Profile. BBC. August 29, 2017. Source. Accessed July 19, 2018.
Communications Authority of Kenya. Quarterly Sector Statistics Report: First Quarter of the Financial Year 2014/15. Source. Published January 2015. Accessed December 24, 2018.
Bourne A, Fearon E, Nutland W. Mapping & appraisal of HIV prevention & care interventions for men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda & Zimbabwe: A report of the SHARP programme. Source. Published 2016. Accessed December 22, 2018.
Chinowaita M. Tuku, Winky D, Vee collaborate on circumcision song. Nehanda Radio website. January 22, 2012. Source. Accessed December 28, 2018.
UNAIDS. Globo–UNAIDS original series on young serodiscordant couple is among nominees for the Emmy Kids 2017. November 7, 2017. Source. Accessed December 28, 2018.
Tabing L, UNESCO. How To Do Community Radio. Source. Published 2002. Accessed December 28, 2018.
OPTIONS. OPTIONS Market Intelligence Report: Kenya (Adolescent Girls and Young Women). Source. Published April 20, 2018. Accessed December 22, 2018.
OPTIONS. OPTIONS Market Intelligence Report: Kenya (Female Sex Workers). Source. Published July 31, 2018. Accessed December 23, 2018.
OPTIONS. OPTIONS Market Intelligence Report: Kenya (Men Who Have Sex With Men). Source. Published July 31, 2018. Accessed December 22, 2018.
OPTIONS. OPTIONS Market Intelligence Report: Kenya (Serodiscordant Couples). Source. Published November 27, 2018. Accessed December 22, 2018.
Murthy G, InterMedia. Tanzanian Media Environment. Source. Published March 2011. Accessed December 28, 2018.