Cannes Lions

PAA Born to Fly

TANDEM NETWORK, Nairobi / BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION / 2023

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

SKY Girls, the brand behind PAA, is a social marketing initiative that seeks to empower teen girls in Sub-Saharan Africa with the confidence and skills to stay true to choices that positively impact their lives. By using engaging content and creating a community of peers, they can provide girls in vulnerable situations the confidence and skills to safely and effectively negotiate through moments of sexual pressure.

SKY Girls tasked us with breaking the mold from traditional behavior change campaigns, which 'preach down' at teenagers, to create relevant and impactful content. The objective was to reach as many girls as possible with a story that challenged the belief that they had to give in to the demands of their sexual partners to keep them happy.

Idea

A Story Made For Girls by Girls

PAA is a story of girls finding their missing voices. The story of Sam and Ciru finding the confidence to speak up and stay true to what they believed in.For this story to be believable it would have to be the voice of real teen girls that would have to shine through.

Thats why PAA was made by teen girls for teen girls. A core group of teen girls acted as our collaborators:

- They helped us write the script- in a mixture of slang, English and Swahili

- They helped us create and refine the characters, till they saw themselves in them.

- They acted as extras and interns on set, learning new skills

-They reviewed our rushes and edits until they felt we had our story right.

Strategy

The first step in finding the answer was the realization that we did not have the answer. They did. We had to get them comfortable enough to genuinely open up. Our research team identified 20 girls across socio-economic backgrounds and sent an 'older sister' to spend time and bond with each girl.

The study taught us the following

• The voice they trusted was not that of an adult but a peer. They do not trust adults, with more conservative values and morals to empathize.

• They loved soaps and dramas. A lot of the relationship knowledge they have comes from Latin soap operas

• They agreed to their first sexual experience more to please their partner than themselves.

A campaign wouldn’t cut it. We needed a compelling teen drama to make an impact.

Execution

A group of teen girls assisted us in the entire creation process.

-We held focus groups to create the characters, define the challenges they should face, and determine what a realistic resolution would look like

-Girls reviewed our rushes for each episode, helping us refine our story to make it more believable

-We held auditions with hundreds of aspiring actors, and we are proud to say the PAA's main cast consists of young actors getting their first break.

PAA was aired on Kenya's largest 2 National TV stations, Citizen TV and Akili Network, for free and went live on YouTube.

We then packaged the six episodes into a movie and organized over 50 screening sessions in lower-income communities and schools where girls couldn't access TV or the internet. Each screening ended with a discussion forum led by a facilitator, driving meaningful conversations about conscious decision-making and refusal techniques.

Outcome

PAA generated over 22 million on TV, 200,000 views on our YouTube channel, and over 50 screenings in local lower-income areas. Through mobile movie screening sessions, we reached over 42,000 teen girls.

The YouTube series had an impressive 43% view-through rate, with over 30% of our audience completing each episode.

Thousands of girls commented on how PAA inspired them to make the choices that are true to them and stay away from toxic relationships.

Local organizations such as DREAMS (funded by USAID) and I Choose Life (Funded by the Kenyan Ministry of Health) asked SKY to bring PAA to their communities.

The program caught the eye of the Ministry of Education, which is currently evaluating the SKY Girls program and intends to expose it to every primary and secondary school in Kenya.

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