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How does your normal, everyday TV look like? Political news? Cartoons? Football? Probably inaccurate weather forecast? And probably same stuff doing the rounds day in day out? Well, are you ready for more purposeful TV? I bet you’re because the new IMARA TV, a strictly online and more purposeful TV platform is here with us. It’s now only three months old and it’s seriously impacting on the lives of the youths and transforming them.

IMARA TV, through its team led by the CIO Steven Maina, an innovative computer science graduate from the University of Nairobi, crowd sources its content to educate the youth on various sexual reproductive health issues through entertainment through drama, plays, comedy, music, movies, poetry, and dance, to indirectly educate the youth on the dangers and negatives of engaging in risky sexual behavior, the kind of foods to eat to boost their sexual reproductive health, the kind of games to play to secure their future reproductive health, the kinds of clothes to wear to enhance their sexuality.

 

Counselling at a VCT - Preparation for the second series
Counselling at a VCT – Preparation for the second series

 

IMARA TV works with the concept of crowd sourcing with revenue sharing; where talented youths in drama, music, acting, poetry, are taken through a short course on the social reproductive health based on a curriculum developed by the UNFPA in partnership with the Ministry of Health of the government of Kenya. Once these youths have internalized the content they dramatize what they have learned to express their creativity.

The first episode was already a huge success

Through the pilot IMARA TV program dubbed ‘’SEX AND THE YOUTH’’ which involved only 6 random youths in total, the trending sexual topics in Kenya e.g. prostitution, masturbation, ‘’sponsorship’’ were covered. A ‘’sponsor’’ in Kenyan urban lingo is an old man dating a young girl in exchange for finances and other material gains on the part of the lady.
These imbalanced, cross-generational relationships often lead to spread of HIV infections because the older partner dating the young one is most likely to engage in sex with other partner(s) of her own generation. This then ends up spreading the disease across the generations involved.

Introduction of the first season cast

The ‘’SEX AND THE YOUTH’’ series got over 48,000 views and reached over 280,000 people online. Only 6 trained youths reached and transformed the lives of over 250,000 thousand people based on Facebook feedbacks of people who actively say how their lives have been transformed after watching the series and realizing that what they’ve been doing is actually wrong and has consequences.

The episodes discuss sexual activities that are wrong and evil and also addresses the hazards involved. For example on socialites (young girls who date old men), the episodes discusses the dangers that socialites face, like dropping out of school, getting HIV, being dropped by the sugar daddy, loss of self-esteem. These tribulations don’t get to be highlighted by other media who chooses only to focus on the blitz and glamourous side of the socialites.

The young people are benefiting the most!

The content creators get 90% of the revenue gotten from corporates, this is to motivate them to come up with more entertaining and higher quality creations and also to afford simple sexual reproductive health accessories because poverty also contributes into increase in HIV spreading. Imagine you want to have sex but you can’t afford to purchase condoms? Imagine a young impoverished lady who asks for school fees assistance from an old man who instead tells her that he must first have sex with her? Poverty is real and it contributes to the spread of HIV. So, financially empowering the youth participating in the production line at IMARA TV through monthly revenues from their talents is very key as it gives them some level of financial freedom and makes them be able to afford basic contraceptives like condoms thereby enabling them to keep HIV/AIDS at bay.

IMARA TV is only 4 months old now, and its first initiative was the ‘’I am Initiative’’ project which the TV carried out through crowd sourcing. The ‘’I am’’ Initiative was a UNFPA concept with the goal of increasing sexual reproductive health information among the youth. IMARA TV applied and won the funding for it from the UNFPA.
IMARA TV targets to educate and entertain 1 million youths and create 100 youth online-celebrities in a year, and so far 3 months into their launching they’ve succeeded to reach out to more than 48,000 youths. Every week they get around 10,000 views on the shows they air online.

CSO Stephen Maina gives us some insights about ImaraTV
CIO Stephen Maina gives us some insights about ImaraTV

The youths who are not as talented in content creation but are otherwise talented in business oriented tasks get to be given tools of work like cameras and laptops then get to be partnered with musicians in order to record their music videos for a token.

IMARA TV connects content creators with content consumers and content sponsors. They’re calling for more the sponsors to partner with them in order to reach out to more youth and promote sexual awareness education.

In the new episode IMARA TV displays a youth couple who visit a VCT to be taught how to use a condom the right way. This is critical and very important because apparently very many youth out there are not sure about the right way of utilizing a condom for maximum protection from STDs.


IMARA TV is also profiling youth businesses that are helping in the area of content creation on their online platform, this helps to publicize the content creators to other potential clients who can also directly contact them for business engagements.
IMARA TV platform has the content page, the empowerment menu; which has information on youth businesses, SRH resources, VCTs, clinics, where the youth can get free condoms. One can also get to know where the nearest VCT clinic is from their locality.
Findings project that by the year 2030 nearly half the youth population might be HIV positive because HIV spreads exponentially, and given that of the yearly 77,000 new HIV infections, 35,000 of them occur among the youth. Part of the causes of the rapid spread of HIV can be attributed to the unavailability of a special curriculum in the Kenya schools’ syllabi on sexual reproductive health.

Next steps

IMARA TV is launching 4 new shows on World Aids Day’s eve, 30th November 2016.
Now this is what is truly purposeful TV oriented to benefiting the youth. This is a revolutionary TV which the youth find very useful in many ways than one because it touches on their lives. Directly. Youths, check out IMARA TV today and transform your lives!

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