MTV, PEPFAR and UNICEF ignite a flame in new youth campaign to reduce HIV infections


MTV, Staying Alive, PEPFAR, HIV-Free Generation’s  “GPANGE” campaign” and UNICEF are joining forces to launch a campaign aimed at speaking to Kenyan youth about the risks associated with their sex lives in order to change their attitudes and behaviour, and to dramatically reduce the number of young people becoming infected with HIV.

MTV Staying Alive Ignite – is a pioneering multimedia campaign designed to empower and motivate sexually active youth and young adults to modify their sexual behaviour, and to embrace positive prevention strategies.  The campaign worth which will cost USD 600,000 is being funded by The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

 Kenya has been handpicked as one of just three countries to pilot the MTV Staying Alive Ignite campaign, a global initiative which will roll out to other countries around the world in future years.  Key elements of the campaign will include the creation of a three-part TV drama series, shot on location in Nairobi in August 2009, which aims to highlight the lives, nuances and choices within a group of cool Kenyan students. The build-up to the series will include an open casting in Nairobi giving the opportunity for a member of the public to play a character in the series. 

MTV Staying Alive Ignite will engage and interact with young people in multiple ways including a radio campaign, print advertising, mobile content and a dedicated MTV Staying Alive Ignite website offering campaign news and community and chat features.  Another important element of the campaign will be a peer educator pack, called ‘Staying Alive in a Box’, containing materials to help grassroots educators and activists to educate and interact with their peer group members in an entertaining, engaging and impactful way.

The initiative complements PEPFAR’s existing HIV FREE GENERATION’s “GPANGE” campaign, which aims to reduce HIV infections in young people.

MTV Staying Alive Ignite represents a brand new approach to HIV and AIDS education’, commented Georgia Arnold.  ‘Without a fundamental change in understanding and behaviours, the spectre of HIV and AIDS will continue to cast a shadow over generation after generation.   Our goal is to shake young people out of their comfort zones and use TV, digital media, on the ground events and activations to immerse them in messages from many different angles and to shine a light on positive behaviours they can adopt to stop the spread of infection.’

Said Dr. Olivia Yambi, UNICEF Representative to Kenya, ‘Far too many new HIV infections continue to occur among Kenya’s young people. UNICEF is pleased to partner with MTV and PEPFAR in this exciting initiative, MTV Staying Alive Ignite. It offers an innovative approach to reaching young people and helping them to better understand how to reduce risky behaviours and remain HIV-free.’

Added Ian Kirumba, Executive Director – Partnership, HIV-Free Generation, ‘We appreciate the effort of MTV Staying Alive in reaching out to Kenyan youth with HIV prevention messages. Their contribution will complement existing efforts in HIV prevention in our country.  We believe that this drama will help us reach more young people and encourage them to adopt safer sex practices and avoid being infected with HIV.’

The MTV Staying Alive Ignite campaign builds on previous MTV Staying Alive projects in Kenya including 48 Fest, a 48-hour short film competition held in Nairobi in 2007 and Transit, a TV movie starring British actress, Shelly Conn with a cameo by Kenyan star, Nameless.  The Staying Alive Foundation has granted over US $100,000 to youth groups in Kenya, providing funding for grassroots individuals and organisations working to reduce stigma and ignorance about HIV and AIDs.



Founded in 1994, The MTV Staying Alive Foundation is a global public charity operating in affiliation with MTV International.  Its mission is to empower and support young people who are protecting themselves and their communities against HIV and AIDS.  The Foundation donates money and provides grants to youth-led initiatives committed to educating their peers about HIV and AIDS.  It is dedicated to fighting stigma and discrimination and empowering young people to protect themselves against the disease.  For more information log onto


MTV Networks International, a division of Viacom, Inc., includes the premier multimedia entertainment brands MTV: Music Television, VH1, Nickelodeon, TMF (The Music Factory), VIVA, Flux, Paramount Comedy, Comedy Central, Game One, Neopets, GameTrailers, Shockwave, Addicting Games, Atom Films and Xfire. MTV Networks’ brands are seen globally in 578 million households, in 162 countries and 33 languages via 166 locally programmed and operated TV channels and more than 350 digital media properties. The company’s diverse holdings also include interests in television syndication, digital media, publishing, home video, radio, recorded music, licensing & merchandising and two feature film divisions, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. MTV Networks is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).



UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.



The Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation is a new public-private partnership, championed by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and supported by private sector partners. The initiative uses tools of the information age and the core competencies of the private sector to complement and expand youth-focused HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness programs for youth age 10-24. GPANGE is the brand name for the youth programs under this initiative in Kenya. Building on private sector expertise and the technical knowledge of PEPFAR and its prevention partners, this initiative will focus on promoting positive behavior change, linking young people to economic opportunities and skills, and empowering youth to make healthy choices for a HIV-Free future.





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