ABUJA, Nigeria - For 26 years, ‘Papa Ajasco’ has been one of Nigeria’s most watched sitcoms, with millions tuning in each week to watch Papa Ajasco, Mama Ajasco and their family navigate a variety of social issues.

This season, gender-based violence will become a focus of the drama series, with the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative collaborating with Wale Adenuga Productions and KIN Production to create 13 episodes that shed light on violence against women and girls. These episodes will explore issues such as rape, battery, child abuse, early marriage, female genital mutilation, HIV and the culture of silence around violence with the aim of prompting discussion and bringing about positive change. 

"The Papa Ajasco show was set up to entertain and educate the audience." - Managing Director of Wale Adenuga Productions, Wale Adenuga Jnr. 

The episodes were launched during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence on 7 Dec 2021.

Abiodun Ayoyinka, who plays Papa Ajasco, has been a vocal supporter of women and a public advocate against gender-based violence, starring in various plays on the topic.

Speaking about the partnership, he said, “I have learned specifics [about gender-based violence] through this collaboration. Now, I can better advise others on issues of gender-based violence and where to go in case of any occurrence.”

Wale Adenuga Productions are familiar with gender issues, having collaborated with other agencies to raise awareness on the topic, including the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP), Society for Family Health and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, among others.

 “I have learned specifics [about gender-based violence] through this collaboration. Now, I can better advise others on issues of gender-based violence." - Abiodun Ayoyinka, Actor

“The Papa Ajasco show was set up to tell, entertain and educate the audience and pinpoint right and wrong in spite of cultural and religious beliefs,” said Managing Director of Wale Adenuga Productions, Wale Adenuga Jnr. 

Project Manager of the Spotlight Initiative, UNESCO, Stephen Onyekwelu, reiterated how combining entertainment and education can positively change norms and behaviours. “The intervention feeds into a deliverable of the Spotlight Initiative which seeks to prevent gender-based violence and to change harmful social norms,” he said. “When you see an issue dramatized, you learn about it. It sinks in more and that was why we chose ‘Papa Ajasco’. It’s a household name and [this] drama can instill positive attitudes.”

The series can be watched on NTA Network on Tuesdays, 8:00 pm-8:30 pm (GMT+1), Silverbird TV Saturdays, 9:00 pm (GMT+1) on WAPTV (DSTV 262) and on YouTube.

For more information, please contact:

Judith Owoicho
Spotlight Initiative Communications Officer
judith.owicho@one.un.org

Concilia Ifeanyi
Communication and Community Mobilization Programme, UNESCO
c.ifeanyi@unesco.org