In 2006, we launched our first campaign: eight television drama films under the campaign “8 WEEKS – 8 VALUES – ONE NATIONAL CONVERSATION”.
The campaign was a watershed moment for South Africa. With endorsement from former President Nelson Mandela, and the backing of First National Bank and the SABC, each film was shown in the same week on each of the three SABC television channels. They were accompanied by an unprecedented newspaper, television talk and radio campaign that focussed on one value per week for eight consecutive weeks.
Each film deals with a different value, reflecting ordinary South Africans faced with everyday values choices – the consequences of which could radically change the course of their lives. These universal values were chosen based on the reality of current social issues such as HIV/AIDS, reconciliation, women abuse, father involvement and corruption.
Several of these films went on to win television and film awards.
We developed resources for churches, schools, correctional services, and other faith-based organisations. These resources are still popular over 10 years later, and have ensured that the values conversation has far outlived its initial eight weeks.
The campaign was evaluated using scientifically rigorous evaluation methods. A baseline benchmarking survey was conducted prior to the project. The post-intervention evaluation included interviews with 3500 adults across the country supplemented by 37 in-depth interviews and nine focus groups.
- An estimated 26% of the adult population or 7,3 million adults watched one or more of the films on television;
- The highest viewership (34%) was among the people aged between 18 and 24 years;
- Audience numbers doubled from the first film to the last film;
- Almost two-thirds of those who watched discussed the films with others – resulting in an estimated 4,5 million additional values-related conversations;
- The films had a positive impact on decreasing stigma towards People Living with Aids in South Africa;
Heartlines established support and credibility within FBOs that were visited and stories of far-reaching self-reflection and change attest to the impact of Heartlines on individual-level attitudes when used at FBOs, particularly with respect to forgiveness.
The evaluation concluded: “Noting that models of behaviour change postulate that dialogue is one of the critical ‘intermediate’ outcomes leading towards behaviour change or action, Heartlines’ success is underscored by its achievement of a national dialogue on values.”