MTV Staying Alive Foundation - August's Cause of the Month


Posted on August 1st, 2020 by Nina Chinsky

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation is a media movement that believes in young people. We make game-changing content proven to positively impact young people’s health.  We enable them to take control of their health and wellbeing, covering vital topics such as sexual and reproductive health (including HIV prevention), gender-based violence, mental health, LGBT+ issues, and most recently COVID-19.

We deliver life-saving health messages into engaging “edutainment” campaigns, distributed via TV broadcasters, radio, print, and digital platforms ensuring that our resources and support reaches as many young people as possible. Our flagship campaign is known as “MTV Shuga”.

MTV Shuga

An MTV Shuga character undergoes an HIV test, demystifying the process for viewers.

Our model has been independently tested and proven to work – the World Bank estimates that for every $1 invested in MTV Shuga, $150 is returned in health and social welfare to local communities. This illustrates that MTV-SAF’s story-telling model really is saving lives by educating and informing young people about their choices.

Alongside our campaigns, we run our peer education programme on the ground across sub-Saharan Africa, where young community leaders are trained to share our vital campaign information and signpost people to local health services.

Our peer education work allows young people to put the messages of our series to work in their own lives and relationships. MTV Shuga peer education sets young people off on journeys that are about finding and creating better versions of themselves, while creating better and safer worlds for all in their own communities.

MTV Shuga

A peer educator leading a session in the field.

We are also now producing emergency content and guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Infections are increasing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and with under-resourced health and social care systems across the continent, the results could be devastating when they reach their peak.   At times such as these, misinformation can be the deciding factor between life and death, which is why we have responded rapidly with our new campaign, “Alone Together”.

We are an independent charity that doesn’t receive any government funding – by signing up to support us on The Giving Machine, you’ll be helping us get our life-saving health messaging to young people around the world – thank you for your support!


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