In 2007, In Tune for Life (ITFL) travelled to Bo, a town in southern Sierra Leone, to visit the Methodist Youth Resource Centre (MYRC) and produce an audio CD with 12 songs about HIV and a DVD with two animations on HIV. Using music and animation to sensitize communities about HIV was a creative way of reaching out to a highly illiterate population. In Sierra Leone only 29.6% of adults and 38.2% of youth know how to read and write.
The songs were recorded in familiar Sierra Leonean style of music and youth were directly involved in the creative process, both writing the lyrics and singing the songs in three local languages; Mende, Krio and English. Technical assistance on recording, arrangement and post-production of the songs and animation was provided by ITFL experts. One animation demonstrated the ways in which people living with HIV can be stigmatized while the other illustrated each aspect of the SAVE message.
Since the official launch in March 2008, the songs and animations have been used by peer educators on numerous community outreaches to raise HIV awareness among youth in Bo and Kenema directly reaching a total of 126,607 people. Dissemination of these educational messages extends to both youth and adults nationally via radio and television broadcasts. Although hard to quantify, it is estimated that these radio and TV broadcasts indirectly reached about 1million people. There has also been great demand for the “HIV e dae-o” album by other local and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). As a result other NGOs have begun to use the SAVE message instead of ABC.
An evaluation was done which involved administering questions on attitudes towards HIV positive people. Several remote communities without any previous radio or TV exposure to the album were chosen to take part. They listened to the songs, watched the animations and answered the same questionnaire before and after hearing and seeing the communications materials