Milestones: magnet theater

We’ve been featuring some of the most notable achievements in our history, including developing one of the first feasible approaches to nonreusable syringes for immunizations and building a rapid, affordable test for HIV. Now, here’s the sixth in our series on PATH’s milestones.

2001 to present

The health challenge: Changing attitudes and behaviors to prevent HIV transmission is difficult in developing countries where subjects such as sex and gender relations may not be openly discussed.

Man with arms out stands in front of sitting crowd of men who watch him closely.

A magnet theatre performance in South Africa, 2006. Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.

What we did: PATH pioneered an approach for using interactive community theater performances, called magnet theater, to encourage behavior change. PATH-trained actors stage performances in central gathering places to explore issues such as HIV/AIDS, family planning, tuberculosis prevention, and the consequences of early marriage, and to encourage discussion and problem-solving among audience members. The performances lay the groundwork for new attitudes and social norms to take root.

The result: Magnet theater has been used to reach parents in Benin, sex workers in India, and teens in Kenya, and has produced some of PATH’s most visible examples of behavior change.

Posted in About PATH, Family planning, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis | Permalink

One Response to Milestones: magnet theater

  1. I thought I would hear more about South Africa being mentioned as well in pioneering Magnet Theatre as an aid to challenges faced by the deep rural areas in the Eastern Cape, bridges the gap between the tradional leaders within their respective multi-cultured societies and the Eastern Cape Department of Health. This had a positive results in ensuring health promotion is wide spread and reaches all the communities where young people and elders come together in reaching the common goal and understanding on PMTCT and HIV/AIDS issues.

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