Georgia Arnold Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility, MTV Networks International was in the country last week. Arnold in this interview spoke on how her network’s MTV Staying Alive Foundation deploys the power of the media to combat HIV especially among the vast African youth population
Can you let us into a brief background of Viacom?
Viacom is home to the world’s premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across TV, motion picture, online and mobile platforms in over 160 countries and territories.
You are a pioneer member of the Foundation, what is your current role?
My roles as Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility for MTV Networks International, involves developing and implementing social initiatives across MTV’s broad range of channels as well as securing partnerships that further our social initiatives.
I am also the Executive Director and Founder of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, MTV’s anti-HIV initiative; where I have the responsibility of overseeing activities.
What is goal of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation?
The MTV Staying Alive Foundation aims to “create a well-informed crop of young people, equipped with the knowledge to safeguard themselves and those around them from HIV”
Given Viacom’s global presence, how is it able to streamline its CSR activities across several continents?
We are able to implement social initiatives across Viacom’s broad range of channels by strategically integrating pro-social resources into new and existing MTV Shows and programming. The MTV Shuga TV series is one of such initiatives.
Is your foundation 100% independent talking about operation and projects, if not are there opportunities to support similar local initiatives most which are poorly funded?
We give out grants to young people working on HIV prevention within their own communities. We have a request for proposals once a year and ask young people to come to us with their ideas of what will have an impact in their own communities. To date, we’ve funded 19 projects in Nigeria, and each grant includes specially curated training programs in order to enhance their ability to affect positive change within their communities.
In what ways does the MTV Staying Alive Foundation join forces with the Nigerian government in order to further the drive for a healthy world for young people?
We recognize the efficacy of relevant partnership and over the years we have worked with Nigerian MDAs and states in order to amplify our efforts. The core messaging for the new season of MTV Shuga, which is to be produced in Nigeria, will focus on family planning. In the light of this, we are currently working with the Family Health Department of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Health in Lagos State.