Population Media Center "Gives Her Allies" with Entertainment Media

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The theme for week two of the PMC Annual Campaign is Give Her Allies.

Join Us: Population Media Center's #GETREEL

If one person in a community has a new and better idea about how they might live their life, if it contradicts age-old social norms, they won’t get very far -- unless they have additional support.

Population Media Center, a U.S. based non-profit producer of entertainment programming designed to advance human rights and environmental sustainability, is reaching out to supporters and volunteers concerned with global sustainability with the #GETREEL campaign.

From September 12th through October 24th, #GETREEL aims to raise $200,000 USD in unrestricted donations in support of Population Media Center (PMC). Donors can register their support through PMC’s secure on-line giving portal, through text messaging, or via check.

PMC uses the power of entertainment and local story-tellers to advance sustainability, human-rights and environmental conservation around the world. Founded in 1998, PMC’s programs have impacted over 500 million people in 50 countries.

After week one of the campaign, themed “Help Her See It,” PMC had raised over $37,000 from 54 donors – representing 18% of the goal.

The theme for week two is “Give Her Allies.”

“They say no man (or woman) is an island,” says Joe Bish, PMC’s Director of Issue Advocacy. “That’s never truer than in the evolution of social norms: the largely invisible, unquestioned behavioral fabric of everyday life. Long-established and widely practiced, social norms include the daily habits, unwritten rules and normalized behaviors that everyone in the community accepts, and to a large degree, expects. If one person in a community has a new and better idea about how they might live their life, if it contradicts age-old social norms, they won’t get very far -- unless they have additional support.”

“Social norms can be good, bad or indifferent,” continued Mr. Bish. “In some places where PMC works, for example, it may be normal for a man to physically hit his wife for cooking dinner late. It may be fully expected that adolescent girls, much younger than 18, will be forced to marry much older men. It may be accepted that girls will only be educated, fed and cared for if there are resources left over after the boys have been taken care of. To short-circuit oppressive norms like this, a key accomplishment is creating awareness that change is both possible and desirable across a critical mass of society. “

PMC’s dramas offer irresistible, scintillating stories on radio, TV and internet in communities around the world – attracting audience members from across the spectrum of class, gender, education, and other cultural strata. These diverse community members now share an important common denominator: they have all been exposed to new ideas and possibilities. Some will be motivated to implement these new ideas in their real lives.

As audience members listen or watch the key characters navigate through difficult life-decisions over successive episodes, their emotional ties and identification with these entertaining characters sparks an emotive, psychological desire to adopt similar values and actions in their real life. Simultaneously, as they follow these character successfully navigating the challenge of repeated decision making and the resulting consequences, audiences gain vicarious experiences of self-efficacy on the process of implementing change.

When delivered to large audiences via broadcast media, these individual empowerment experiences are replicated across significant percentages of the entire community and catalyze previously latent capacities of that community to construct and implement broad social norm change on the issues at hand.

The door to social change has been cracked open, with newly minted agents of social change in all segments of society who are emotionally committed to pushing them wide open.

“These are the allies that women and girls need around the world,” concluded Mr. Bish. “This is the work of Population Media Center.”

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Missie Thurston
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