My Neighborhood's Smoke Guatemala
In Guatemala, we took a dramatic approach to changing behaviors by creating a radio “novela” or soap opera called “Los Humos de mi Barrio” (“My Neighborhood’s Smoke"). The star of “My Neighborhood’s Smoke” was Doña Blanqui, the market lady who shares all of the town gossip. While gossiping, Doña Blanqui sets the stage for the plot lines, while other characters discuss the negative effects of cooking on a stove without a chimney and the advantages of using an improved cookstove. Doña Blanqui’s friend Lupita works for a company that sells improved cookstoves, and, while promoting stoves to her family and friends, Lupita falls in love with Justo, her boss’s son. The radio soap opera was an entertaining and engaging love story that culminated in Lupita and Justo’s wedding.
The campaign created further awareness of and demand for improved cookstoves by using social media (@estufasmejoradas on Facebook) and stakeholder interviews on local cable and TV stations. Information about the benefits of cookstoves and available outlets was also disseminated through flyers distributed and posters displayed throughout the targeted region.
At the end of the campaign, soap opera listeners were invited to attend live finales, which included Lupita and Justo’s wedding. During these events, local stove manufacturers were on hand to demonstrate and sell their stoves. In total, an estimated 250,000 people were reached with cookstove messaging via the various channels, demonstrating how entertainment channels can be effectively used to reach large numbers of people with health behavior change communication.
- Amalia Quexel Cay
- Rosa Guisela Escot