Education does not always come from a curriculum. For young people, media can be an invaluable, familiar and entertaining source of life’s lessons.
Take the Yegna TV show. Since its first national broadcast in 2019, the drama has become a household name in Ethiopia, captivating an audience of 9.8 million.
A large part of its popularity is down to its ability to connect with young people. Storylines respond to the challenges they face and equip them with knowledge to take action.
But millions of adolescents living in Ethiopia’s remote areas do not have access to the drama, even if they have heard of it. Reliable infrastructure is not guaranteed and television ownership, often a luxury.
“The vast majority of Ethiopia’s adolescents live in rural areas, where life can look very different compared to the city.” said Liya Haile, Country Lead in Ethiopia. “We don’t want these differences to become barriers that prevent these young people from accessing information that could transform their lives. It’s important that we meet them where they are, with the knowledge they need.”
Last year, we set out to tackle this with UNICEF through the Yegna Rural Schools Programme, an educational initiative bringing the TV show to adolescents aged 13-15 studying in Ethiopia’s rural regions and providing them with knowledge that could be crucial to decisions at this pivotal time in their development.