The power of edutainment
Edutainment, which La Ferrara describes as a combination of education and entertainment, is the idea that media can be entertaining while conveying an educational message.
Her work on edutainment began with an unsuspecting type of media: soap operas. In the 1960s, telenovelas gradually entered Brazil, one municipality after the other. The families shown on TV were vastly different from the typical Brazilian families at that time. The female characters portrayed on the show usually had one or no children, while there were many children in most Brazilian families. Data showed that fertility rates in cities receiving this type of programme started dropping.
Following up on this Eliana collaborated with a Nigerian production company to develop an edutainment programme centered on the topic of HIV prevention. The results were striking. People who watched the telenovela not only knew more about how to protect themselves against HIV and how to treat the disease, there was also an increase in test rates and in use of contraception.