Population Media Center Launches #GETREEL Campaign

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U.S. non-profit producer of entertainment-education to raise $200,000 in philanthropic support over six weeks.

Population Media Center's #GETREEL Campaign Runs Through October 24th.

Catalyzing individual behavior change and social norms change around the status of women and girls is a crucial step in our efforts to advance global sustainability.

Population Media Center, a U.S. based non-profit producer of entertainment programming designed to advance human rights and environmental sustainability, has launched a six week annual campaign, called #GETREEL.

From September 12th through October 24th, #GETREEL will 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.

“PMC is mission-driven,” says Bill Ryerson, founder and president. “We are committed to working towards a sustainable planet with equal rights for all. We feel one of the most efficient ways to pursue this goal is to make progress on the many social issues related to the full rights of women and girls.”

Each week of the #GETREEL campaign will feature a new theme related to the value PMC’s media programs can bring to at-risk populations around the world.

The theme for week one is Help Her See It.

PMC’s executive vice-president, David Walker, says, “Unfortunately, in many societies around the world, women and girls are still unable to think about pursuing their dreams, exploring their creative talents, or even enjoying basic social parity with men and boys – this is, in part, because many women and girls actually do not know such paths exist.

“They may have never seen other girls go to school, may have never seen a woman entrepreneur, and perhaps may never have seen their mother treated as a respected member of the household.”

Population Media Center’s entertaining shows – radio, TV, and internet – use the power of fiction to introduce new ideas to eager audiences around the world. Culturally authentic characters speak in local dialects, moving through scenes, settings, and day-to-day activities that are familiar, believable, and engaging. But, beyond action-packed, emotive drama, PMC’s stories introduce new, potentially revolutionary ideas to audience members about what is possible in real-life.

As people watch PMC’s suspenseful stories unfold from episode to episode – emotionally riding along with key-characters who are navigating the challenges of implementing new knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors – the audience gains a vicarious experience of self-efficacy in implementing change in challenging circumstances. They can then turn around and use this confidence to implement similar changes in their real-life. What was once merely fiction turns into a progressive new reality.

PMC’s ability to inspire social norm change in diverse communities rests on the application of time-tested social and communication theories, with Albert Bandura’s Social Learning and Social Cognitive Theories playing a central role. According to these theories, much of human behavior is learned through observation of role models, whether in person or through the media.
Meanwhile, high-quality entertainment is in demand nearly everywhere on the planet. Likewise, as the vast majority of people on Earth have access to some form of broadcast media (whether radio, TV, internet, or other), the delivery of entertainment via mass media outlets can reach large audiences cost-efficiently and reliably.

“Decades of work has shown that education can be combined with entertainment, attracting enthusiastic audiences and informing, empowering, and motivating positive behavior change,” concludes Bill Ryerson. “Catalyzing individual behavior change and social norms change around the status of women and girls is a crucial step in our efforts to advance global sustainability.”

PMC supporters, campaign volunteers, and the general public can share powerful videos, electronic postcards, and more stored in the campaign toolkit to help their family, friends, and colleagues understand the realities currently facing women and girls around the world and what can be done to change it.

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Missie Thurston
@PopulationMedia
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Population Media Center
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