Edutainment to increase women’s political participation in rural Tanzania

Multidisciplinary Type I Proposal (exploratory research)

The aim of the current study is to lay the groundwork for a scalable radio drama focused on promoting local political participation, especially by women. The setting for the proposed study is Tanzania, but the policy relevance of political participation extends well beyond its borders. Our priority in the pilot phase is to develop a theoretically-informed audio drama on the subject of local political participation. Our research team will come up with principles for the story and its characters, then collaborate with Tanzanian script writers who can write a compelling soap opera that incorporates these principles. Drawing on Bandura’s (1996) theories about social learning and cue-taking from the behaviors and viewpoints that are modeled in the story, and from theories of narrative persuasion (Green & Brock, 2000), we intend to have the protagonists model the relevance of local government to the day-to-day quality of life. This theme will be revealed in the narrative by way of sub-plots that attempt to convince audiences that participation in local affairs is socially, culturally, and religiously appropriate and benefits participants as well as the entire community. In particular, the drama will include (as is common in similar dramas aired by local radio stations) vignettes that draw on different theoretically-grounded psychological mechanisms that could be at play when encouraging political participation. The pilot will cross-randomize individuals across these (a) different subplots and (b) different messaging strategies to determine which version of the drama is most effective on average and to explore whether certain story elements resonate more with certain demographic groups. This pilot investigation will set the stage for a larger and more rigorous evaluation of the drama’s effects when deployed in group settings and at scale.

RFP Cycle:
Multidisciplinary Fall 2023 (RFP 22)