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Participatory Assessment of Gugar Goge, an Entertainment-Education Radio Soap Opera in Nigeria

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Subtitle: 
A Qualitative Assessment Report
Author: 
Arvind Singhal
Sarah Hurlburt
Radha Vij

Publication Date

April 30, 2007

This report documents the results of a participatory assessment exercise conducted in Nigeria to gauge audience reception of Gugar Goge (“Tell It To Me Straight”), an entertainment-education radio soap opera produced by Population Media Center that sought to promote education for girls, the delay of marriage and pregnancies, and the adoption of family planning and maternal health services to both prevent and treat obstetric fistula. The assessment exercise, which used participatory sketching and participatory photography, aimed to assess how frequent listeners engaged with the radio programme, and how they derived personal meanings from its plot, characters, and educational messages.

According to the authors, the results of the qualitative report are not meant to be generalised to the entire population of Gugar Goge audience members. The research, at best, can suggest how certain (self-selected) viewers of the radio programme engaged with, and reflected upon, the content of the programme, providing insights that could not be gained from traditional, quantitative impact evaluations.

Three research questions guided the study. These questions, and their respective answers are provided below.

"Research Question #1: What is the radio drama Gugar Goge about?
Our participants’ sketches and photos suggested that those who were regular listeners (1) comprehended the various intersecting plotlines of Gugar Goge, (2) could describe the attributes of its main characters, and, in so doing, (3) could articulate its various educational messages: that is, overcoming the harmful reproductive health practices of early marriage and multiple pregnancies; the importance of safe motherhood and the seeking of professional care, detection and treatment of obstetric fistula, and how youth can prevent infection with HIV, and stay away from vices such as drugs and alcohol.

Research Question #2: As a female (or male) listener, which scene from Gugar Goge was most meaningful to you and why?
Our participants’ sketches suggest various degrees of emotional and personal resonance with the key plotlines and characters. Our participants freely talked about the debilitating health consequences for a woman (1) if her husband does not get her the professional medical attention she needs at the time of delivering a child, (2) if she is withdrawn from school and married off at an early age. The overwhelming emotional sentiment of our participants toward reproductive health of women was reflected in the pithy phrase: "Education as Protection".

Research Question #3: How has your life changed as a result of listening to Gugar Goge?
The sketches, photos, and narratives of our participants, especially those of regular listeners of Gugar Goge, suggest that listening to the radio program affected their lives in various ways. Listeners emphasized that they learned about, or were reinforced in, the following: The importance of (1) educating girls, (2) delaying marriage until a woman’s body is mature, (3) having a small family, (4) pre and ante-natal care, (5) early treatment of obstetric fistula, and (6) male responsibility in not marrying young girls, and assisting their partner in seeking professional reproductive health services when she becomes pregnant."

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