Use of Edutainment to Improve Financial Capabilities in South Africa


  • PROJECT TITLE: Evaluation of the Use of Entertainment Education to Improve Financial Capability in South Africa
  • TARGET SEGMENT: Low-income South Africans with and without existing consumer debt
  • DELIVERY CHANNEL: Television Soap Opera
  • EVALUATION TEAM: Thomas Losse-Mueller (World Bank), Gunhild Berg (World Bank), Bilal Zia (World Bank)
  • PARTNERS: National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA)
  • TIMELINE: May 2011 – July 2012


This project aims to pilot entertainment education as an information delivery tool to influence sound financial management in South Africa. It will do so by assessing the usefulness of this instrument to increase financial capabilities of the population with a robust impact evaluation framework.

The goal of the intervention is to impact upon the knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding sound financial decision-making with a particular focus on managing debt. The potential gains of such a program in terms of increased awareness of debt-related problems and behavior change, such as avoiding debt and seeking help once over-indebted, are of particular relevance in South Africa given the high and increasing levels of household debt.

The project entails the content development, production, and impact evaluation of financial capability storylines, which will be included in a popular South African soap opera called ‘Scandal!’. The target individuals are low-income South Africans with and without existing consumer debt. The financial education storyline will stretch over a period of three consecutive months, a time that is deemed necessary for the viewers to emotionally connect with the soap opera characters, for the events to unfold, and for the financial literacy messages to sink-in.

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