Background: In Nigeria, there were 3.5 million people living HIV/AIDS as of 2015 (UNAIDS, 2015). While the prevalence rate at 3.1% is lower than countries in southern Africa such as Zambia (13%), the large Nigerian population means that these figures actually represent the second biggest HIV epidemic in the world. Data from 2014 showed that prevalence among young women age 15-24 (2.9 per cent) is three times higher than among men of the same age (1.1 per cent), according to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and UNAIDS 2011. Additional data shows that about one third of adolescent girls are sexually active by 15 years of age, and about half by 18 years. More importantly, by 20 years of age, nearly 50% of these young women will be pregnant (WHARC, 2014).
In 2013, UNFPA launched the “No Hoodie, No Honey” social media campaign in Nigeria with the main goal of educating adolescents and young people, particularly girls, on the importance of practising safe sex. The aim of the campaign was to inform and empower girls aged 15-24 with accurate information and life skills that would allow them to make informed decisions regarding sexual health and relationships.
Target Group: Girls, Urban and Rural, Aged 15-24.
Technology: UNFPA used social media sites YouTube and Twitter to engage young people. Click here for more technical details.
Technology Use: UNFPA produced two 3D animated videos, each 5 minutes in length, which were placed online on social websites such as YouTube and were made freely available to the public. In these videos, which were targeted mainly at adolescent girls, the two main female characters, Ene and Toju, discuss having sex for the first time, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDs, and using and carrying condoms. The second video also features a young male character whose behaviour and attitudes are also supportive of the film’s main messages – namely, girls in relationships should not feel pressured into having sex but if they would like to have sex then carrying condoms and asking male partners to use them does not make them promiscuous but is rather a sign that they are in charge of their life and sexual health. The videos encourage young girls and women to carry condoms and to be assertive when it comes to their use, regardless of how the man feels regarding their usage. The videos also try to encourage discussions about how to have conversations around initiating condom use.
The animations were modelled around young people that the target audience would feel familiar with. Pidgin English is used to make the conversation seem less formal and more engaging for young Nigerians. The target group, young women and girls, are frequent users and consumers of social media channels in Nigeria. Using this medium was found to be the most efficient and cost-effective way of reaching large numbers of the target audience.
UNFPA Nigeria also utilized several social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to promote the campaign. UNFPA runs a regularly updated and interactive Twitter feed since the launch of No Hoodie, No Money in 2013. They actively push out messages with the #NoHoodieNoHoney hashtag and encourage engagement and activity through the use of online competitions and Twitter chats on issues of sexual health. The campaign was widely reported in the Nigerian media, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. On YouTube, the first video has been seen over 6,400 times, and the second video has over 3,300 views. Over 7,000 people have liked the UNFPA Nigeria page
The #NoHoodieNoHoney hashtag has been tweeted and retweeted on an almost daily basis since 2013. This data suggests that the campaign has had significant success in reaching their target audience and creating dialogue around sexual health and girl empowerment. Similar to other projects utilizing mass and social media tools for information dissemination, it has been difficult to judge the amount of behaviour change such a program might initiate.
Organization and Partners: United Nations Population Fund, formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities is a UN organization that works towards ensuring universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health to all couples and individuals around the world. UNFPA supports programs through the creation of national strategies and by providing supplies, services and support in more than 150 countries, territories and areas spread across four geographic regions: Arab States and Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. UNFPA also provides support in terms of data and analysis, advocates directly with governments and conducts in-country training and monitoring.
Challenges and Lessons Learned: In terms of lessons learned, this case study emphasizes the importance of formative research in deciding target group, message and medium of disseminating information. Background research on sexual activity and health in Nigeria highlighted the need to focus on improving knowledge of sexual health among young women, and revealed the lack of women’s empowerment when it comes to making decisions around their bodies and sexual health.
The campaign also highlights the importance of ensuring those without access to electricity or ICT tools do not miss out on a social media campaign. For this purpose, the NoHoodieNoHoney videos were also adapted into free comic books that were distributed around the country.
This case study was compiled using the following online sources:
- UNAIDS Nigeria HIV and AIDS estimates 2015. Retrieved from http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/nigeria. Accessed on 20 March 2017.
- Youth Friendly Health Services: An Investment in Our Youth’s Future (2014). Retrieved from http://www.wharc-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/2014.04.23_WHARC-Press-release.pdf. Accessed on 20 March 2017.
Image source: https://twitter.com/UNFPANigeria