Background: In 2013 UNFPA launched its “No Hoodie, No Honey” social media campaign in Nigeria in order to try to educate young people, particularly girls, about the importance of safe sex. The campaign was driven by recent figures that half of girls under the age of 18 are sexually active and that Nigeria has one of the highest rates of adolescent HIV/AIDs prevalence: 3.4%. The aim of the campaign is to inform and empower girls aged 15-24 with accurate information and skills that will allow them to make informed decisions when it comes to sex and relationships.
What did the Programme Involve? UNFPA produced two animated videos, 5 minutes in length to which were placed online and were freely available.
In these videos, targeted mainly at adolescent girls, the two main female characters, Ene and Toju, discuss having sex for the first time, pregnancy, sexual 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 women to carry condoms and to be assertive when it comes to their use, even when the man disagrees. The videos also try to stimulate discussions about the embarrassment girls face when it comes to initiating condom use, and give ideas for how that can be overcome.
UNFPA Nigeria has also run a regularly updated and interactive Twitter feed since 2013 – pushing the messages with the #NoHoodieNoHoney hash tag and encouraging engagement and activity through the use of online competitions and Twitter chats.
Why Animations and a Social Media Campaign? The target group, young women and girls, are frequent users of social media in Nigeria. Therefore it was felt that this medium would reach the largest number of the target audience.
The animations allowed a greater engagement as the characters were young people that the target audience felt familiar with and could relate to. Pidgin English is used to make the conversation seem less formal and more engaging for young Nigerians.
Results Observed: 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 6,000 times, and the second video has over 3,000 views. Over 7,000 people have liked the UNFPA Nigeria page, which focuses on issues of sexual health and the #NoHoodieNoHoney hash tag has been tweeted from, to and about on an almost daily basis since 2013. All of which suggests that the campaign has reached significant amounts of the target audience and is sparking conversations about sexual health, which was the aim of the campaign. Due to the nature of the campaign it is difficult to judge the amount of behaviour change it might initiate.
Lessons Learnt: This case study emphasises the importance of formative research in deciding target group, message and medium. Background research about sexual activity and health in Nigeria highlighted the need to focus on improving sexual health among adolescents, and revealed the lack of young women’s empowerment when it comes to sex.
It also highlights the importance of ensuring those without access to electricity/ICT do not miss out in social media campaign as the NoHoodieNoHoney videos were adapted into free comic books to ensure the message was spread.