Grant is closed

Oct 2016 – Mar 2018

Promoting safe sex among African youth through MTV Shuga

Africa map


Multiple countries – Africa

To encourage adolescents across Africa to take positive action about contraceptives and their sexual health.

$200,000 Grant Value

Other funders

  • PEPFAR -

  • Marie Stopes International -

  • ViiV Healthcare -

  • FHI 360 -

  • Government of South Africa

Leo (MTV Shuga)

Produced by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation (MTV SAF), the MTV Shuga TV series is a powerful platform to communicate about sexual health, HIV and contraception to adolescents across Africa, and encourage them to take positive action. 

Over the the life of this grant, MTV SAF will produce and broadcast a fifth edition of the series, set in South Africa, which will also tackle edgier issues such as safe abortion. 

The TV series will be complemented by awareness and testing campaigns in selected African countries, including Kenya. 

Our investment will fund the reintroduction of Leo, the main Kenyan character of previous Shuga series, making the series relevant and contextual for the Kenyan audience. 

This includes costs related to production and message development, as well as dissemination activities in Kenya (peer education, social media campaigns).


The last series of MTV Shuga was distributed to 176 broadcasters in 73 countries, reaching 720 million viewers. An evaluation conducted by the World Bank on Shuga series three (set in Nigeria) showed that the series led to changes in young people’s attitude and behaviour towards HIV and chlamydia testing and risky sex.  

Through this investment, we are able to reach millions of girls and boys across Africa, including our priority countries, with targeted adolescent sexual health messages. This investment will lead to greater awareness among adolescents of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and a larger number of adolescents getting tested for HIV and STIs in the countries where the series will be streamed. It contributes to our strategic goals of shifting adolescent sexual health norms, transforming youth access and reducing teenage pregnancies and the spread of STIs in our priority countries.  

Over the life of this investment, CIFF will:

  • Obtain important insights into how the MTV Shuga platform is reaching adolescents across Africa, helping us build further evidence on the use and impact of education entertainment for this population group
  • Support dissemination of more “disruptive” messages (such as safe abortion) to less permissive countries, including Kenya
  • Inform CIFF’s adolescent sexual health strategy in Kenya by testing the impact of the series on attitudes and behaviours of the Kenyan Shuga audience