Communication for Social Change award recognises South Africa health champion
A South African community organisation that fights key health issues such as HIV and AIDS through the innovative use of the mass media was the winner of the University of Queensland’s ‘Communication and Social Change Award’ for 2007.
The Soul City Institute (www.soulcity.org.za) had been recognised by judges from the UQ School of Journalism and Communication as a pioneer of producing television programs that combined education with entertainment to promote social change in South Africa.
Mr John Molefe, Senior Executive Marketing and Public Affairs collected the Communication and Social Change Award at a special ceremony on Thursday 11 October at the SMI Conference Room, Sir James Foots Building, University of Queensland. Mr Molefe’s acceptance speech explored the complex interplay between the individual, society and politics in health communication strategies directed towards the making of attitudinal and behavioural change, and the critical role played by advocacy in South Africa.
Through drama and entertainment programs Soul City reaches more than 16 million South Africans. This is done through 2 main brands, Soul City which targets adults, Soul Buddyz (8 - 12 year olds), and Regional Programme which is a partnership with local organisations in 8 Southern African countries. Programs have also been broadcast in many parts of Africa as well as Latin America, the Caribbean and South East Asia.
Soul City examines many health and development issues, imparting information and impacting on social norms, attitudes and practice. Its impact is aimed at the level of the individual, the community and the socio political environment.
Through its multi-media and advocacy strategies aims to create an enabling environment empowering audiences to make healthy choices, both as individuals and as communities.
Head of the School of Journalism and Communication, Professor Michael Bromley, said the award recognises Soul City’s outstanding long-standing achievement in using communication strategies and operations to advance social well being.
“Soul City is making a real and positive difference to the lives of some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged people, mainly in city slums and regional and rural towns, by harnessing the power of the mass media to produce relevant, informative and entertaining programs” Mr Bromley said.
“While many health projects focus on influencing the individual alone, Soul City views good health as a product not simply of individual choices, but as the product of an enabling environment in which the structural barriers to achieving health and development are removed.”
The Institute views health and development as integrally related: poor health impedes development and development is central to improving global health.
The School of Journalism and Communication is the longest established journalism program in Australia and one of the oldest in the world.
For further information contact John Austin, Journalist-in-Residence, School of Journalism & Communication, The University of Queensland, +61 07 3365 7329 firstname.lastname@example.org