The TV series C’est la vie! is now in it’s third season of production and is specifically designed to address issues related to adolescents’ and women’s rights. The plot revolves around everyday life in a maternal health clinic in Senegal and characters are based on extensive formative research. Themes presented in the series focus on GBV (IPV, forced and early marriage, sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), illegal abortion), on sexual and reproductive health (family planning, use of contraceptives, HIV and sexually transmitted infections), on maternal and child health (prenatal and postnatal care, quality of health care, traditional medicine), and more generally on gender equality, couple communication, and female autonomy. C’est la Vie! is developed and produced by the Réseau African pour l’Education à la Santé (RAES), a Senegalese non-governmental organization with support from UN partners.
The intervention being evaluated is Season 1 and 2 of the TV series C’est la vie!. Due to interruption of implementation by COVID-19, the intervention has two distinct implementation modalities. From December 2019 to March 2020, the intervention was screened through regular film clubs in each village. Season 1 of C’est la vie! is composed of 26 episodes (25 minutes for each episode). Each village screening showed three episodes in a row and took place every other week. Film versions of C’est la vie! season 1 are translated to Wolof and Pular, the dominate languages in study villages. In addition to the TV series, study arm 2 includes “Pedagogical kits,” which have been developed by the RAES social behavior change communication (SBCC) team, in collaboration with United Nations Agencies. The objective of the pedagogical kits is to strengthen the impacts of the TV series by stimulating personal reflections and collective debates. The kits are composed of post-projection discussion guides that accompany each episode and workshop guides that are composed of seven themes.
Implementation was carried out by MobiCiné, through mobile units that visited each village on a rotating basis. Mobile units are cars carrying projectors and screens. Each mobile unit staff includes a screening technician and a communication specialist for monitoring attendance and leading the SBCC component (Pedagogical kit including the post-screening discussions and workshops). Implementation of the film clubs was tested via a pilot study which was approved by the Senegalese ethics committee, Comité National d’Éthique pour la Recherche en Santé (CNERS), in March 2019, and carried out over a two week period in six villages over the month of April 2019. The pilot study was implemented with the objective of determining implementation feasibility, optimization and test intervention components prior to development of the present impact evaluation.
After the disruption of the intervention due to COVID-19, the implementation will take place remotely, via podcasts transmitted through 10-20 min segments (season 1 and 2 of C’est la vie!). These will be accessed via a free hotline by study women in both treatment arm 1 and 2, and run from June to September 2020. The intervention will continue to be overseen by MobiCiné, and post-discussion groups will be facilitated via one-to-one calls with communication specialists or in groups of up to 10 women via the call platform (treatment arm 2 only). C’est la vie! has already been converted to podcasts for radio dissemination in Wolof. A placebo podcast will also be administered on the control arm with content unrelated to the C’est la vie! themes. The podcast intervention will be rolled out in 60% of each treatment arm in order to disentangle impacts of the film clubs only versus film clubs plus additional podcast extended treatment. For the continued treatment groups, the intervention is expected to end with a last in-person ‘movie night’ in September or October 2020 to thank women for participation (pending the spread and containment of COVID-19). Similar to the original randomization, continued treatment villages will be selected randomly, stratified on region.