Nigeria, Kenya


Gender, Multisector

Type of Investment


Project Stage

Test & Transition

Length of Investment


Investment Overview

GIF invested $336,397 in the MTV Staying Alive Foundation to support them in producing a campaign to address gender-based violence and wider gender related issues, as part of the TV series and multimedia campaign MTV Shuga, in Nigeria.


The Development Challenge

In Nigeria, gender inequality is widespread, and regressive gender attitudes and norms are key underlying factors driving this issue. The lack of representation and stereotypical portrayal of women in the media further exacerbate these challenges. 'Edutainment', with its potential to reach an audience of millions at scale, can play a crucial role in shifting gender attitudes and norms. There is growing evidence that well-targeted and locally tailored content can lead to behavioral change, and also that mass media plays a significant role in shifting norms. GIF's own experience with Development Media International (DMI) in Burkina Faso demonstrates the impact that mass media can have in shifting behaviours.

Previously, MTV SAF itself, in collaboration with the World Bank, conducted a randomised controlled trial, which showed that its show, MTV Shuga, doubled numbers of HIV testing, reduced rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and even reduced sexual violence amongst young audiences. However, what was less understood was how to scale such gender-transformative mass media.


The Innovation

The innovation entails a partnership model between local and emerging creative companies and MTV SAF, an established production house, to produce gender-transformative 'edutainment' mass media content targeting attitudes, behaviors, and norms regarding gender issues, particularly VAWG (Violence Against Women and Girls). Under this approach, MTV SAF collaboratively produced a gender transformative campaign, MTV Shuga, while building capacity for a local, emerging, female-led production house in Nigeria to generate similar content independently. This talent building approach aims to enhance the sustainability of local creative companies, fostering continued production of gender transformative content beyond collaboration with MTV SAF. It utilised tools such as MTV SAF oversight, mentorship, workshops, and internships to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and organisational systems of local media partners. In the long run, the vision is that the partnership model will prove out the market for gender transformative content by both increasing the capacity for supply as well as stimulating further demand for such productions.


Our Investment

GIF's investment of $336,397 facilitated the acceleration of progress towards "gender-aware" media and content in Nigeria. This was achieved through the direct production of impactful content addressing GBV and gender issues via an MTV Shuga campaign. Additionally, it paved the way for future production of high quality, gender transformative content by developing and testing an innovative capacity building model with a local creative partner.


MTV Staying Alive Foundation in numbers


GIF grant


Innovating for Gender Equality

MTV Staying Alive Foundation produces campaigns that aim to address gender-based violence and wider gender issues as part of the TV series and multimedia campaign MTV Shuga. The scripted drama follows the lives of young people on the African continent and showcases educational storylines about sexual health, family planning, and living with HIV. With GIF’s grant of $675,000, storylines that focus on violence against
women and girls, and other gender issues, will be expanded on. Under the
grant, MTV Staying Alive Foundation will seek to engage female-led
African production houses to collaboratively produce the content.