The series will premiere on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322), Nigerian terrestrial broadcasters and other MTV networks and third party broadcasters around the world from World AIDS Day (1 December 2013).
Other elements of the Shuga campaign will include a radio drama series, a peer educator programme, a comic book in Hausa and English, a mobile information service, social media and a range of digital platforms.
MTV Base and MTV Staying Alive Foundation have joined forces with the Nigerian government’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to combat a lack of awareness and misinformation about HIV, sexual responsibility and teen pregnancy among Nigerian youth, using the medium ofShuga, MTV’s award winning TV series and multimedia campaign. PEPFAR (The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) has also expressed the intention to join forces with the campaign.
The event which held at the WheatBaker Hotel on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 had top bosses in the entertainment and health sectors like Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa, Georgia Arnold, Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Emmanuel Alhassan, Director, Resource Mobilisation for the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Mairo Mandara, Nigeria Country Representative, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a and Dr Okey Nwanyanwu, CDC Country Director, Nigeria among many others.
Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, VIMN Africa expressed his excitement on the launch of the series in Nigeria, “MTV Base is proud and excited to bring Shuga to Nigeria for the first time. We are delighted that this award-winning series and multimedia campaign will be using its muscle to shine a light on important public health issues affecting youth, and promoting meaningful behaviour change while leveraging Nigerian creativity and talent.”
Other guests at the launch include CEO Beat FM, Deji Awokoya, Olisa Adibua, Chris Attoh, Gbenro Ajibade, IllBliss, Uti Nwachukwu, Alex Ekubo, Beverly Naya, Oreka Goddis, Eku Edewor, Tosyn Bucknor, Toke Makinwa, Jumai Shaba among others.
Executive Director, MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Georgia Arnold also spoke on the initiative behind the launch.
“Bringing Shuga to Nigeria is a very smart move as youths in Nigeria need to take the importance of sexual health seriously and using this medium to push this message as well as using Nigerian acts to create real life situations is a smart move.”Nollywood actor, Beverly Naya said at the event.
Emmanuel Alhassan, Director, NACA commented, ”The Nigerian government is delighted to support this important youth education initiative which complements our on-going education projects at all levels of society. Shuga’ssubtle messaging will not only ensure greater understanding of HIV prevention and treatment measures among young people but communicate important messages about tolerance and acceptance”.
Fusing public health messaging with gripping story lines, Shuga is part of a powerful 360-degree mass media campaign designed to raise awareness about HIV prevention and teen pregnancy in Nigeria, after research highlighted widespread ignorance about or indifference to contraception, poor access to contraceptives, a significantly high incidence of mother-to-child HIV transmission, and gender-based violence in the region.