Association for Progressive Communications (Radloff), University of Guelph (Hambly Odame)
This document discusses the work of the Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society (GenARDIS) small grants fund, which was initiated in 2002 to support work on gender-related issues in information and communications technologies (ICTs) for the African, Caribbean, and Pacific regions. The small grants fund was disbursed to diverse projects in order to counter barriers to women living in rural areas. This document records the process and results, and is intended to contribute to more gender-aware ICT policy advocacy.
Association for Progressive Communications (APC) website, February 16 2011 and March 30 2012.
In early 2009, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) created an initiative to enable tracking of the West Africa polio campaign via Google maps. This ongoing communication initiative is designed to raise awareness about polio by sharing updated information through information and communication technology (ICT).
Visitors to the West and Central Africa Regional Office website can track the progress of the February 2009 8-country synchronised polio campaign. The technology of "Google maps" provides various windows on the polio outbreak response, which sought to reach 53 million children under the age of 5 in 8 West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Togo, in coordination with Nigeria). Click here to view the map with either English or French content.
The map includes details such as polio-related facts and figures about each country, 2008 imported polio cases, and 2009 polio case count. Also, one may locate media reports about polio and the campaign for each country; for example, by clicking on an icon that looks like a transmission tower on the map in Nigeria, one accesses a list of articles published recently on strategies being implemented to fight false rumours about the vaccine, etc. Also, a green icon that looks like a microphone signifies "voices from the field". By clicking there, one may listen - for example - to an interview of Dr. Chitou, Chief of UNICEF Immunization Programme in Niger, discussing preparation efforts in that country.
More than 162,000 trained immunisers will aim to reach every child with a polio vaccine (67,000 for Nigeria only). A total of 66 millions doses of vaccine are made available for each round of the campaign (33 million for Nigeria only). The campaign is scheduled in two rounds: the first from February 27 to March 2 and the second from March 27-30 2009.
This action is being organised as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a partnership spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and UNICEF.
Emails from Gaëlle Bausson to The Communication Initiative on March 2 2009 and March 3 2009. Image credit: UNICEF/2009/wcaro.
Population Services International (PSI), as part of their Operation Haute Protection project, has initiated a billboard campaign in Togo that is designed to discourage multiple concurrent relationship
The campaign involves large billboards that aim to create shame, particularly for older men, around relationships between older men and young girls. The billboards feature a picture of an older man, probably in his 40s, and the message - "what would you do if this man was sleeping with your daughter? So why are you sleeping with his daughter?"
According to PSI, the campaign has created a great deal of controversy, with organisers receiving angry phone calls from men who say that the campaign was spoiling the market, that they did not know what this campaign was meaning to do, but that every time they see it they feel ashamed. On the other hand, they have also received feedback from young people saying that they feel relieved to know that they are not alone.
The campaign, which also involves the military, runs workshops for military wives' clubs. According to the organisers, women are becoming more empowered through the workshops. In the past, women's way of dealing with their husbands' infidelity was to reject it. Now, they accept the infidelity as inevitable, but they are trying to make sure that the family is protected by ensuring that their husbands use condoms.
HIV and AIDS
Organisers say that because polygamy is expected - and, in fact, legal - in Togo, HIV prevention strategies that focus on fidelity and faithfulness can be challenging. In addition, relationships between older men and teenage girls is a real problem, especially when considering the fact that neither party necessarily recognises the risk of HIV transmission. Organisers say that men assume the girls are too young to have sexual experience, and the girls believe the men are respectable and healthy.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Each radio show revolves around a theme linked to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is broadcast on 110 radio stations across the region each week. According to the organisers, a big part of the project is the involvement of children and youth in the production and broadcasting of the programmes.
Each week, producers travel from village to village to train 12 children to produce and host radio shows. The project is designed to allow children to express themselves, gain valuable skills, and entertain their peers and families, while at the same time raising awareness of their rights and responsibilities. The programme's jingles as well as songs promoting child rights are also produced by young musicians.
The 30-minute radio shows are recorded live - a strategy for giving parents, community leaders, and local authorities the opportunity to discuss issues that are relevant and interesting to children. The goal is to thereby foster a greater interest and awareness of the needs, desires, and rights of young people in their communities.
Since Kids Waves has been used, adapted, and localised in different ways in each country, a brief description of each country's version is outlined below:
- Radio Gune Yi (Senegal) - According to the organisers, RGY was the first radio programme in West Africa produced by, for, and with children. On air since March 2005, RGY provided the base from which Kids Waves was developed. A television version, Télé Gune Yi, is currently being developed with national broadcaster RTS (Senegalese Radio Television).
- Deviwo Be Radio (Togo) - DBR was launched in December 2004. It has one main production partner station, and broadcasting is assured by 13 other private partner stations, rural or community, giving the programme airplay across the country. According to the organisers, the programme has had a significant impact on Togo's children and adults.
- Bibir Radio (Burkina Faso) - Launched in April 2005, this programme was broadcast in French and four local languages through February 2009. Child hosts hailed from diverse communities and localities where Plan works. Professional journalists from the national broadcaster supervised production. A total of 127 radio shows were produced in 127 communities for broadcast on 12 partner stations across the country. The children who participated set up 15 Bibir radio clubs in order to continue child rights promotion. One of the radio partners, "Radio La Voix du Lac", now offers his studio space for one hour per week so that the local radio club can broadcast a live radio show called "Les enfants à l'antenne". The show, which also features a contest, is designed to allow children to discuss child rights and their needs and concerns.
- Eto Dodo Deviwo (Benin) - Launched in May 2005, the EDD programme broadcasts in French and four local languages. Recently, Plan Benin partnered with the Office of Radio and Television in Benin (ORTB) to produce TV programmes to complement the radio show. In addition, Plan supports Radio Tokpa in their programme, Dimanche des Enfants, which gives children a half-day radio show on the last Sunday of each month. They discuss child rights and their needs and problems with adults and peers. The children are trained by professional journalists in gathering news and writing content. In this way, these shows complement those made by EDD and ORTB.
- Demisenw Kun Kan (Mali) - Launched in July 2005, the project has also supported the formation of 45 children's clubs to promote child rights. The programme is produced by the Office for Radio and Television Mali, and broadcast on 13 partner radio stations across the country.
- La Voix de Finda et Alpha (Guinea) - Launched in March 2006, this programme is, according to the organisers, possibly one of the most popular shows for young people in Plan's operational zones. It broadcasts in five languages.
- Pikin Dem Voice (Sierra Leone) - This programme was launched in May 2006. Prior to the launch, a recording session of stories of "I am a child but I have my rights too!" was held in the production studios in the Moyamba District Children's Awareness Radio (MODCAR) in August 2005. A two-week jingle and music workshop was also conducted in Freetown in March and April 2006 with the support of WARO radio technicians.
- Yen Adwen (Ghana) - These radio shows, hosted by children themselves, discuss various subjects : parents' separation/divorce, drugs, protecting children's private lives, parents' responsibilities, hygiene, protection of the environment, teenage pregnancy, water and sanitation, etc.
- I am a child but I have my rights too! (Cameroon) - Launched February 27 2007 following the training of radio presenters in May 2006 in Yaoundé, this initiative involves 18 partnering radio stations assuring the broadcast and coordination of short sketches related to various child rights and played by children in French and English.
- I am a child but I have my rights too! (Liberia) - Dozens of children were chosen and trained by professional actors to play short sketches linked to different child rights. These sketches have been recorded on CD and broadcast on various partner radio stations.
The Plan regional child media website provides details on Kids Waves and its activities in each country as well as on all the radio shows produced.
In addition to the radio programmes, Plan has produced two guides to help children and trainers prepare radio shows in the Kids Waves framework. They have also produced an information guide on child rights that can be used for planning and preparing shows.
Click here to view the Children's Guide for Pikin Dem Voice in PDF format.
Click here to view the Trainer's Guide for Pikin Dem Voice in PDF format.
Click here to view the Information Guide for Pikin Dem Voice in PDF format.
According to the organisers, as of 2009:
- More than 25,000 young people have been directly involved since 2004;
- 2,000 radio shows have been produced since 2004 and broadcast on 110 radio stations;
- more than 500,000 people have attended the live shows; and
- millions from the region have listened to the programmes.
110 media partners, with funding by Nokia.
Kids Waves website on July 16 2008; and emails from Stefanie Conrad and Allain Kounsovin to The Communication Initiative on August 20 2009 and August 26 2009, respectively.
This brief explores a peer-education-based programme launched by Population Services International (PSI) in 2007 in an effort to reach men who have sex with men (MSM) in Lomé, Togo, with HIV prevention messages and products, referrals to appropriate HIV counselling and testing (CT) services, psychosocial counselling, and diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
PSI website, December 10 2010.
Population Services International (PSI) launched a peer-education-based programme in 2007 to reach men who have sex with men (MSM) in Lomé, Togo, with HIV prevention messages and products, referrals
PSI recruited and trained 17 young men to serve as peer educators and reach MSM with HIV prevention messages and products. Using their social networks, these men are able to reach other MSM to share HIV prevention messages and provide discreet distribution channels for condoms and sexual lubricants.
Peer education activities are complemented by the sponsorship of social activities, such as monthly movie nights. While these events are intended to provide men with an opportunity to socialise in a safe and accepting environment, PSI uses these gatherings to further promote HIV prevention messages and products.
Over time, the peer education component of the programme has adopted new strategies. To reach MSM who are married to women and have children, the programme recruited 3 MSM who are married to women and trained them to share HIV prevention messages with other married MSM. While integrated into the larger peer education programme, these MSM peer educators work very discretely to provide HIV prevention messages and products to a segment of the population that does not openly associate with other MSM.
Since March 2008, PSI has collaborated with a local organisation, Espoir Vie Togo (EVT), to provide mobile HIV CT services to MSM. PSI trained counsellors from EVT in the particular needs of MSM and how best to counsel and support these men. Mobile CT services are offered during social events, including private parties and PSI-sponsored movie nights. These mobilisation efforts highlight the importance of knowing one's HIV status, addressing stigma toward people living with HIV, and reinforcing HIV prevention messages.
In 2006, with support from the Global Fund, PSI conducted a small qualitative study to explore the HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices of young MSM in Lomé. The study found that consistent condom use was low, and most men did not believe they were at risk of HIV infection. This low perception of personal risk was described as linked to a belief among MSM in Lomé that HIV is contracted by having sex with women. Men in the study also reported that stigma was a significant barrier to accessing HIV prevention products and services, such as condoms, water-based lubricants, and HIV CT, and that MSM do not identify with HIV prevention programmes designed for the general population. These findings motivated the project summarised above.
PSI has expanded the reach of its MSM programme beyond Lomé by establishing peer education teams in Kara, Kpalimé, and Aného.
Support provided by the Togo government, the Global Fund, and the Dutch Strategic Alliances with International NGOs (SALIN) grant programme.
Initiated in May 2010, the Girls Making Media Project is designed to contribute to the elimination of gender discrimination and low quality media reporting on adolescent girls' issues in West Africa. This 3-year project seeks to empower girls to use media to address issues facing adolescents, especially gender discrimination, and to work with adult journalists to improve their coverage of these issues.
The Girls Making Media project works to address gender discrimination using the following strategies: strengthening the capacity of adolescent girls to advocate against gender discrimination by making efficient use of diverse forms of media; increasing girls' opportunities to access media-related jobs; training adult journalists on issues facing adolescent girls; and increasing public awareness of the needs of adolescent girls in West Africa at the community, national, and regional levels.
The project involves the following activities:
To begin with, the project interacts with existing children’s and youth organisations and girls’ clubs to identify interest in the project. Once a selection of clubs has been made, Plan carries out a participatory assessment of their knowledge of gender issues and their organisational capacity to carry out advocacy and make efficient use of media. For this purpose, the regional office designed a simple self-evaluation tool to be administered by the children, which is based on existing auto-evaluation tools. The tool seeks to determine children’s individual and collective assets, achievements, and agency, as a basis to monitor their personal and group empowerment process.
The training activities for the girls' clubs are based on an already existing youth group training guide developed by Plan Togo. The guide comprises five modules on Child Rights, Life Skills, Advocacy, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Group Organisation. The project is expanding the guide to include a sixth and seventh module on Gender and the Use of Social Media for Advocacy. The guides use participatory training methodologies and local facilitators of children's and youth groups engaged in the project will be trained in Training of Trainers’ sessions. To kick off the project in Sierra Leone, Plan Sierra Leone collaborated with IMASS Production to offer a two-day training workshop to 140 beneficiaries (75% girls and 25% boys) covering group organisation, management, networking techniques, and media/communications.
To ensure that adolescent girls have the chance to exchange and learn from their peers’ experiences, Plan supports the girls with opportunities to meet and exchange during training sessions and follow-up meetings. Plan is also reviewing the possibility of using mobile phones and blogging as exchange tools, depending on the location and network/internet access of the identified girls’ groups.
A selection of 40 girls (10 from each country) with a special talent and keen interest to enter the journalistic profession will be identified and supported to receive an internship with media partners and/or courses in local media schools. The internships will not only enable them to affirm their decision to enter the media sector, but also increase their future job opportunities. This activity will commence at the end of year two of the project.
Plan is also working with adult journalists who are engaged in Plan’s national radio project "Kids Waves" and are active in the defence and promotion of child rights and gender. Identified journalists receive training on ethical reporting on gender discrimination and violence against adolescent girls. In the selection of participants, emphasis is put on female journalists who will continue to work with the girls’ clubs, serving as role models as well as mentors and coaches to the girls.
Gender Equity, Youth Empowerment, Rights, Gender-base Violence.
Plan expects that, by the end of the project, 560 girls from youth organisations in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo and 120 journalists from the four countries will have increased capacity and be actively advocating against gender discrimination and gender-based violence. They say the project will result in increased public awareness - about the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to gender discrimination and gender-based violence - amongst young people and decisions makers at the family, community, and district levels.
For more information, contact:
Plan Youth Media West African Regional Office
Plan Ghana, Plan Liberia, Plan Sierra Leone, Plan Togo, Plan West Africa, local and regional media, civil society, and children's and youth organisations.
The International Health Partnership (IHP) and related initiatives (IHP+) has launched a Civil Society Health Policy Action Fund in 2010.
Immunization Basics' Immunization SnapShots, Issue 9 June 2009: "Working with Communities to Strengthen Immunization", page 2.
Radio and ICTs in West Africa: Connectivity and Uses (Radios et NTIC en Afrique de l’Ouest : Connectivité et Usages)
This publication by the Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA) looks at how new information communication technologies (ICTs) and radio can be used in combination with each other.
French and English
TRRAACE Newsletter 90, October 16 2008 and Panos Institute West Africa website on October 23 2008.