Most Recent Knowledge Shared from the Network

March 9, 2017

Institutionalizing Community Health Conference 2017

“Advancing community health is central to achieving sustainable development and universal primary healthcare. The foundations of community health within the context of primary health care are...

March 1, 2017

Critical Choices - Assessing the Effects of Education and Civic Engagement on Somali Youths' Propensity Towards Violence

“As with most violent extremist groups, Al Shabaab feeds on the frustrations and grievances of youth that feel excluded from society and opportunities for upward mobility. With this in mind, it is...

January 18, 2017

The Emergency Helix: A Framework for Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response with Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC)

"In the same way that the structure of DNA ensures stability over long periods of time yet allows for adaptation to the changing environment, The Emergency Helix describes a communication backbone...

January 18, 2017

The Emergency Helix: A Framework for Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response with Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC)

"In the same way that the structure of DNA ensures stability over long periods of time yet allows for adaptation to the changing environment, The Emergency Helix describes a communication backbone...

September 19, 2016

Behavior-Centered Approaches to Improve Health Outcomes: WASHplus Learning Brief

“..promoting improved behaviors without addressing shortcomings in the products and services required to practice the behaviors makes change difficult, if not impossible.”

August 4, 2016

Integrated community case management of childhood illness is happening in Bondo, western Kenya

Author: Herman Jaoko and Dyness Kasungami, August 4 2016 - Victoria Achieng has been a community health volunteer (CHV) for more than seven years in Nyaguda village in Bondo, a sub county of western...

August 3, 2016

Variations in the Uptake of Routine Immunization in Nigeria: Examining Determinants of Inequitable Access

Globally, immunisation prevents an estimated 2–3 million deaths among under-5 children, yet in Nigeria, only 25% of children ages 12–23 months are fully immunised. There are also marked disparities...

August 3, 2016

Community Engagement, Routine Immunization, and the Polio Legacy in Northern Nigeria

"The transition plan for the Polio Eradication Initiative in Nigeria must give a prominent role to community volunteers. They have and will continue to have a major influence on supporting routine...

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Bilateral - ICT4D

An Attempt to Socialize the Telelac Experiment

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Delivering Antiretroviral Therapy in Resource-Constrained Settings

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Robert Ritzenthaler
Publication Date
August 1, 2005

Family Health International (FHI)


"At the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS, held in June [2005], the global community cited ART [antiretroviral therapy] as a key component of effective HIV/AIDS programmes. In their Declaration of Commitment, heads of state from countries affirmed that 'prevention, care, support and treatment for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS are mutually reinforcing elements of an effective response and must be integrated in a comprehensive approach to combat the epidemic.'


Health Communication Materials Network (HCMN) News – April 6 2006 and the Family Health International Website on May 8 2006 and March 4 2009.


Your rating: None (1 vote)
Communication Strategies: 

The station's objective is to provide the populations of Gulu, Kitgum, and Pader districts in Northern Uganda with information to help increase opportunities for the public to engage with peace and development issues. The station carries a wide range of programmes featuring news, drama, cultural events, as well as other specific programmes covering themes in development, human rights, and conflict reduction. The station has its own studios, transmitters, and production equipment. The radio station is now fully self-sustaining from advertising revenue and sponsored programmes. Details about all its programmes are located on the MEGA FM website.

According to DFID, MEGA FM has raised sensitive issues that are likely to be a factor in any future outbreak of conflict. It has broadcast programmes on human rights abuses, justice, corruption, and reconciliation issues. It has exposed local officials and government officials to direct and hostile questioning from listeners on a range of issues, leading to the opening of potential lines of accountability. Further, it has played a role in assisting in averting violence between the Lango and Acholis through broadcasting peace messages and giving air time to the authorities to appeal for calm following killings at Barlonyo, Lira. By playing Acholi music, which traditionally contains commentaries on social issues and conflict, MEGA FM may have also contributed to reflection on the consequences and causes of the conflict.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

The project organisers state that "Evidence also suggests that the station played a major part in encouraging Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) members to come out of the bush." The LRA leadership reportedly listen to the station, and on a number of occasions have joined radio phone-in talk shows and held follow-up discussions with government and civil society representatives. On August 29 2006, the deputy leader of the LRA called MEGA FM and used this platform to declare an end of hostilities following a signing of an agreement between the government of Uganda and the LRA in Juba.

Partner Text: 

DFID, Government of Uganda.


TRRAACE - NEWSLETTER 54 - 01/03/2007; DFID website on May 7 2007 and September 3 2008; and DFID Uganda website on September 3 2008.

Makutano Junction

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Makutano Junction is a television drama series, broadcast in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, which is produced by the Mediae Trust, a Kenya-based British producer of educational and entertainment TV and
Communication Strategies: 

The Makutano Junction drama series (which, as of January 2009, consists of eight 13-part series) aims to use accessible storylines that deal with issues affecting rural and peri-urban communities. It deals with malaria prevention, safe sex, parental involvement in schools, and issues affecting rural livelihoods related to agriculture and livestock. The edutainment series includes many storylines: the story of Nancy and Karris, a warring couple who love one another passionately; Karis, an unreliable ladies' man; a teacher named Rose, who is the mother of four difficult adolescents; Doctor Charles, the new arrival in the neighbourhood; as well as gossiping market women, adulterous businessmen, and more. In the first series, two characters die from malaria; in the second series, a pregnant character discusses the need for preventive measures with a doctor, whilst another character is diagnosed with malaria after selling a mosquito net to pay debts.

One of the objectives of the series was to provide an opportunity to build capacity in Kenya for producing sustainable, high-quality, low-cost TV series. The production company, Mediae, therefore recruited and trained a local team of writers, film crew, and actors to make the soap opera series. The project also aimed to ensure that the local crew got access to leading industry professionals. As a result, the production values, storyline, and acting were developed with input from the director of the award-winning United Kingdom (UK) soap EastEnders. According to the producers, Makutano Junction trained production staff are highly valued within the industry today as more and more local and international funded drama series are being made in Kenya.

Another objective of the television series is to assess the impact that television can have on viewers' livelihoods in rural and peri-urban areas. Mediae aims to conduct a national baseline survey in Kenya, against which they will compare results of a follow-up survey, to be conducted after programme transmission. Mediae will also run a series of focus group discussion to get in-depth responses to the programmes themselves.

The series also has its own website. The site contains profiles of characters, a discussion forum, and updates on what happened in each episode. It also provides information on some of the major issues covered in the series, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, orphans, and leadership. In addition, one may access the comics produced as a complement to the show. Depicting characters in the TV programmes, free printed leaflets are distributed throughout Kenya each week for those who require more information on topics such as sexual abuse, adult education, and corporal punishment in schools.

Programmes are supported by a short messaging service (SMS) facility, where viewers are invited to text in if they need more information on a given topic. As of January 2010, Mediae had received over 70,000 texts in the course of broadcasts. Audience research has been on-going over the last three years and shows that such a medium is highly effective at communicating useful and relevant information to rural and peri-urban audiences, as well as being effective at changing attitude and practice.

An additional component to Makutano Junction is the piloting and development of a children's television programme, which aims to promote numeracy, literacy, and life skills for 9-11 year olds. Transmission of "The KnowZone" begins in Kenya in January 2009. Mediae linked with London's Institute of Education to research the efficacy, popularity, and potential of such a medium in promoting education for children.

Development Issues: 

Health, Natural Resource Management, Education.

Key Points: 

The programme was developed as a result of research conducted for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Research department by partners to investigate different ways to spread messages about issues in rural livelihoods in East Africa.

Organisers indicated in January 2009 that Makutano Junction reaches a regular audience of 7 million viewers in Kenya alone, broadcasting initially through the Kenya Broadcast Corporation (KBC). Makutano Junction then moved to Citizen TV taking it's audience with it. According to the producers, this helped Citizen TV overtake KBC as the channel that has a consistently higher viewership than any other station in Kenya. The first 13-part series was broadcast in Kenya between October and December 2005. Filming for the second series began in early in 2006 in Nairobi and was broadcast later in the year on KBC. It was also broadcast in Tanzania and Uganda.

Mediae has been involved in developing and sustaining communication channels to reach rural and urban audiences for the last 12 years. In Kenya and Tanzania this has been in the form of radio soaps and in Uganda it has focused on the development of two television series. The success of the health television series made in Uganda ("Centre 4") but broadcast in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and in most English-speaking countries in Africa has encouraged Mediae (supported by Ford Foundation) to look more closely at the opportunity to develop a high-quality, but low-cost, TV series aimed at reaching principally rural/peri-urban TV audiences.

Partner Text: 

DFID; Central Research Department UK; UK Aid, Kenya; Danida; OSIEA; the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Kenya; the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA); Marie Stopes; Ford Foundation; and UK Border Agency.

Digital Dividend

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Communication Strategies: 

This initiative used information and communication technology (ICT) to engage individuals around the world in reflection and dialogue about the "digital divide", encouraging them to ask questions such as: "Can ICTs help reduce poverty, create jobs, generate income and add value to livelihoods? Or do they just widen existing disparities in society? Are development donors wasting aid money on ICT projects that are never scaled up?" Citizens worldwide were asked to participate by emailing questions to the Moderator prior to the debate date (September 30 2005, at the International Telecommunication Union Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland). Organisers stressed that "Anyone anywhere on the planet can send in questions to the debate - the best ones will be selected by the producers and posed to the panel that will have representatives from governments, civil society, United Nations and the private sector."

The selected questions were then addressed during a high-level debate that involved 30 participants "representing all sides of the ICT universe" engaging in a 120-minute discussion of strategies for securing a digital dividend for the economically poor. Topics covered included: bridging the knowledge gap; why investment in ICTs are so low on the international agenda; contribution of the private sector vis-à-vis government; ICTs as a tool for education; neglect of the traditional communications technologies (e.g., radio); lack of energy as a main barrier to the spread of ICTs; ICTs for human rights and free expression; and outlook for what WSIS II would achieve.

An edited version of the debate, with video inserts illustrating the themes tackled by the participants, was broadcast initially on BBC World Television on October 22 and 23 2005, and then through Eurovision's world feed on November 14 2005. (Local times were listed on the BBC World website). The debate was then offered to the 300 members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as well as other broadcasters around the world. Click here to view the video of the panel debate.

Development Issues: 

Technology, Poverty.

Key Points: 

According to organisers, some hold that ICTs could provide a "fast track" out of poverty, thereby helping to meet Millennium Development Goal #1. Others take the view that the economically poor need the basics (health facilities, roads, schools, food security, and so on) before computers and mobile phones. In short: How should we allocate development assistance funds? This was one of the core questions broached at the second and final leg of WSIS in Tunis, and addressed through the Digital Dividend initiative.

Partner Text: 

BBC and, with support from UNDP-APDIP, SDC, and GKP.


Posting to the Bytes for All Readers listserv on October 7 2005 (click here to access the archives); and UNDP-APDIP website.

Jasoos Vijay

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Communication Strategies: 

Geared especially toward rural viewers, the weekly, half-hour thriller included storylines designed to provide accurate information about HIV/AIDS-related issues, including: how HIV is transmitted, voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), challenging stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS, and care and support treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS. Although created specifically to communicate information and awareness of HIV/AIDS, Jasoos Vijay addressed other issues of important to rural audiences, such as "quack" doctors, superstition, gender inequality, and crimes against women (domestic violence, rape, the practice of dowry). Whatever the specific topic, the show sought to share information and shape attitudes in an "entertaining and interactive drama format."

Jasoos Vijay, the lead character in the programme, was a heroic detective, and each show aimed to be "fast moving, full of surprises" as the viewer followsed his efforts to solve crimes. Vijay was no slick urban detective; rather, he was portrayed as coming to the aid of the disadvantaged, those living in the places where help is not easily on hand. In the course of the series, a major "twist" revealed that the handsome, sensitive hero was himself a person living with HIV. This allowed the programme to address issues of the care and treatment of those living with the virus, and to tackle stigma and discrimination, as well as awareness and prevention. "Research has shown that the audience readily accepted this revelation and the character would continue to make a major contribution to combating stigma towards HIV positive people." Click here to view a video sample.

The interactive element of the series centred on the regular "host" of the show, Om Puri, who encouraged the audience to discuss the plot and its solution and to send letters or emails to him. Postal responses to the first series numbered over 30,000, and every one received a reply and information leaflet about HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, and drug abuse. A competition element allowed the viewer to compete for simple prizes and the chance to appear in special episodes talking with Om Puri.

Over 2,500 promotional television advertisements and 71 billboard hoardings (20ft x 20ft) were installed in towns and cities across India during the second phase of the campaign.

A Jasoos Vijay website was developed to provide updates on the thriller series and information on HIV and AIDS. The interactive website aimed to educate users on HIV and AIDS and offered an opportunity to feedback on the programme and participate in Jasoos Viiay contests.

Development Issues: 

HIV/AIDS, Rights.

Key Points: 

The series was broadcast on Sunday evenings at 8.30pm on Doordarshan, India's public broadcaster. It was produced in Hindi and dubbed into 7 other Indian languages and broadcast regionally. Over 100 episodes of Jasoos Vijay were broadcast between 2002 and 2004, and 53 episodes were broadcast between 2005 and 2006. During its 53 week broadcast run from September 2005 to September 2006, Jasoos Vijay was one of the top 20 most viewed television programmes in India. According to the Nielson's Television Audience Measure (TAM) Survey, Jasoos Vijay reached a cumulative, unduplicated audience of 70 million people between 2005 and 2006. Between 2004 and 2006:

  • Knowledge that HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sex increased from 16% to 29% for viewers. Among sexually active men, 58% of viewers were aware that unprotected sex could be a route of HIV transmission, compared to only 39% of non-viewers.
  • Knowledge that having multiple partners increases the risk of HIV transmission increased from 18% to 22% for viewers of Jasoos Vijay.
  • The attitude that you should always wear a condom when having sex increased from 51% to 70% of male viewers and 26% to 51% female viewers.
  • Seventeen percent of viewers stated that they ever felt like getting tested for HIV compared to 11% of non-viewers.
  • The attitude that people living with HIV and AIDS have the same rights as those uninfected increased from 67% to 80% of male viewers and 70% to 82% for women viewers.


Jasoos Vijay won the Thriller Programme of the Year at the Indian Telly Awards in November 2003.

Partner Text: 

BBC World Service Trust, the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) Prasar Bharati (National and State TV and radio) with support from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID).


Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI)

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Communication Strategies: 

According to the project website, GeSCI focuses on providing advice to Ministries of Education on what ICT in education can and cannot do; on how to develop a sustainable framework for integrating ICTs into educational systems; on how to conceptualise structures, procedures, and processes for ICT deployment and use in education initiatives; and on how to bring together stakeholder partnerships for implementation and support. GeSCI's 5 work areas are:

  1. Policy Development
  2. Strategic Implementation and Planning
  3. ICTs in Teaching and Learning
  4. Infrastructure and Connectivity
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation

GeSCI's strategies include the following, by country:

  • Bolivia: GeSCI worked with the Ministry of Education (NTICS) as it implemented a telecentre initiative focused on rural areas and indigenous populations, scaling up from 8 pilot centres to 100, while the Ministry’s coordinating committee began outreach to telecom providers and regulatory authorities, as well as bilateral donor agencies. A complementary initiative established a national education portal providing content, training materials curricula, and administrative information to the telecentres.
  • India: Here the GeSCI supported the Ministry as it mobilised "the influence and resource base of the governments at the state and national level, as well as companies and [non-governmental organisations] NGOs working in India, to plan for and implement large scale e-schools initiatives". This involves a partnership with the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD), with which it implemented the Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI) to develop a baseline study of ICT in education initiatives and a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure the impact of the REI as it develops.
  • Ghana: Following research on the education system in 2003 that showed a lack of trained teachers, materials, and tools contributing to high drop-out rates low literacy levels, GeSCI held a 2-day workshop in 2004 for stakeholders to formulate a detailed national Ghanaian e-schools plan with a timeline for a final version of an implementation framework in which all ICT in Education initiatives in Ghana will be planned. Follow-up includes capacitating staff at the ministry level; surveying to determine current practices, capabilities and needs; facilitating global partnerships for infrastructure building; and developing a framework for integrating ICT in curriculum development and teacher education, including a peer collaboration of the Ghanian curriculum design team with the Namibian team.
  • Namibia: GeSCI collaborated with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to implement Namibia's ICT for Education (ICT4E) plan. A partnership agreement of 47 organisations and stakeholders was established to implement the plan, called "Tech/NA!", jointly created for going forward. Among what is already implemented are:
    1. A public/private partnership between the Ministry of Education and various private sector and civil society partners, such as Microsoft and SchoolNet Namibia, to provide the sourcing, refurbishment, installation, and support of ICTs in all educational institutions in Namibia.
    2. A national ICT literacy certification.
    3. A VSAT License for the MOE, affording the education community in Namibia access to cheaper international connectivity bandwidth, rather than relying solely on connectivity provided by the state-owned telecommunications company.
    4. A multi-country Teacher Professional Development (TPD) workshop in September of 2006, bringing together participants from Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia.
    5. A national e-learning centre including all educational institutions in Namibia.
Development Issues: 

Education, Technology.

Key Points: 

In order to implement sustainable and integrated ICT programmes into nation-wide school systems, GeSCI works to support governments and ministries of education to develop implementation plans based on what technology can realistically and reliably do to further education, unite stakeholders who can support the plan in a framework for moving ahead, increase infrastructure and teacher training, and develop solid national curriculum integration planning.

Partner Text: 

[Bolivia] Partners include the Ministry of Education (NTICS), International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Canada, the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD),, the ICA Connectivity Alliance for Latin America, and The Latin American Network for Educative Portal (RELPE).
[India] Partners include the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD), Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI), the World Economic Forum (WEF), Confederation of Indian Industry, Azim Premji Foundation, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and InfoDev of the World Bank (WB).
[Ghana] Partners include the UN ICT Task Force and Ghana‘s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
[Namibia] Partners include the Minister of Education and 47 partner organisations and stakeholders, including the Office of the Prime Minister, a number of national commissions and ministries, and several tertiary educational institutions; the International Foundation for Education & Self-Help (IFESH) and World Teach; SchoolNet Namibia and Computer Education Community Society (CECS) Namibia; and the Embassy of Finland, the United States International Development Agency (USAID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), among others.


GeSCI website on March 30 2006, October 30 2007, and February 12 2009; and email from Niamh Brannigan to The Communication Initiative on October 30 2007.

Story, Story - Voices from the Market

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Launched as part of Voices, a national public education broadcasting project for Nigeria, "Story Story - Voices from the Market" is a radio drama that uses what are intended to be dynamic storylines and true-to-life characters to encourage debate amongst its listeners about local and global issues. Created by the BBC World Service Trust, Story Story hopes to entertain, educate and inform.
Communication Strategies: 

Story Story uses the medium of radio and the strategy of edutainment in an effort to tackle domestic issues, hopefully contributing to a public debate. The drama explores topics such as poverty, governance, rights, and HIV/AIDS; it also focuses on specific development issues that inform the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as the empowerment of women, education, and environmental sustainability. Broadcast on more than 50 stations around Nigeria and on the BBC World Service, the drama is currently being produced in Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo versions.

Set in a busy fictional market in the heart of West Africa, the series features characters - traders, farmers, people with money and power who inhabit the market - that aim to give a voice to real people. Stories - from debt to romance, piles of rubbish to holes in the road, and self-help to community spirit - entwine these characters as they try to earn a living in the ever-bustling world of the market.

In an effort to make the drama as relevant as possible, the series is written, performed and directed by Nigerian talent. Rather than recording in a studio environment, the series is recorded on location - a strategy designed to create "a unique broadcasting sound" through scenes recorded in an open courtyard, corridors, and open fields "with the winds blowing." (Click here to visit the Story Story website, where one may read more about the characters and listen to episodes online.)

Story Story is supplemented by a discussion and debate programme called Talk Talk. A radio programme that has been expanded to television, Talk Talk takes topics from Story Story and looks at the impact they have in real life. Each programme uses an excerpt from the drama and also features a location report from around the country. One of the key strategies is to put ordinary Nigerians in touch with people in power, asking what everyone can do to make their world a better place. The idea is that real stories are the most effective way of exploring a subject and making the programme interesting, while still raising important development issues.

Development Issues: 

Economic Development, Democracy & Governance, Health.

Key Points: 

In November 2006, Talk Talk won the Africast 'Best Producer Radio' award. The programme was also nominated in the 'Best Radio Programme' category. The Hausa-language version of Story Story was also nominated for the Best Producer Radio award. Story Story won the Best Drama award at the Africast awards in 2004.

Voices, the larger project of which Story Story and Talk Talk are a part, is a collaborative project carried out by the United Kingdom (UK)'s Department for International Development (DFID) and the BBC World Service Trust.

May 2007 update: The BBC World Service Trust is looking for sources of funding for new Story Story series, but episodes produced to date are still being rebroadcast through 40-odd partner stations of the BBC. Organisers are also working to develop outreach activities to support the programming, which will include listening clubs, the production of extension materials to be used in schools, and user-generated content to be included in the programme. In addition, they hope that Talk Talk, the discussion element which follows the drama, will become a locally co-produced phone-in show to allow for more involvement by the listeners.

Partner Text: 

BBC World Service, Department for International Development (DFID).

Story Workshop Educational Trust

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Founded in 1996 by American artist and educator Pamela Brooke, Story Workshop Educational Trust is a media organisation bringing social change communication together with creative entertainment in an effort to improve the everyday lives of people in Malawi, Africa. Story Workshop uses media and personal contact to reach Malawians on issues that include food security, health and HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, human rights and democracy, and gender.
Communication Strategies: 

Story Workshop uses the strategy of "edutainment" for social change, drawing on radio shows, village theatre, printed materials, music, training/capacity building, and community dialogue. The organisation uses these communication tools to tell stories that are based on the real lives of people and to facilitate community mobilisation. The strategy involves not simply conveying messages but, rather, facilitating communication among people - based on the belief that listening to people's problems and the obstacles they are confronted with is the most effective strategy for helping Malawians improve their lives.

Specific programmes and strategies are described on the Story Workshop website. However, in short, the organisation designs:

  • Radio programmes - soap operas, radio magazines, debates, and short programmes and jingles - which take a number of formats, depending on audience and message (the goal is to ensure that information fits the social context of a community). The organisation's first project was a radio soap opera about family health, funded by UNICEF, called Zimachitika. To cite only one more recent example of a Story Workshop programme,Mutu Umodzi Susenza Denga: Rural Development Communications Campaign Debates was launched in August 2004 to generate dialogue on controversial issues and air possible solutions through monthly policy and advocacy panel debates.
  • Printed material - comic books, booklets, low-literacy prints, and Journalism Competitions. The latter are designed to increase the incentive for public coverage of the above-described radio debates by awarding prizes to journalists who most effectively put a "human face" on the issues raised in the debates through their investigative reporting and creative feature writing skills. To support this process, Story Workshop organises research field trips for journalists.
  • Theatre - participatory village action theatre drawing on oral tradition. Plays take place in the villages where audiences live, incorporating local residents into the performances themselves. The performances have reportedly resulted in house paintings, fabric banners, local dramas, poems, songs and dances illustrating "do" and "don't" behaviours.
  • Music Story Workshop uses music as a vehicle to motivate people to move (physically and emotionally), as well as to facilitate such local productions as Tingathe!, a celebrity compilation focused on raising awareness of violence against women.
  • Community dialogue - Story Workshop incorporates field research and structured community dialogue in an effort to ensure that Malawians do not simply consume messages - but discuss, debate, and put them into action. Activties include radio listener clubs, action research, and radio research gardens. The latter approach is carried out in conjunction with Mwana Alirenji, Story Workshop's farmer-to-farmer radio magazine. Groups of farmers collectively experiment with innovative approaches to agricultural challenges, then report on their experiences to other farmers through the radio shows. In this way, knowledge is transferred from to farmer through peer-to-peer learning.
  • Training and capacity-building - for example, Story Workshop has offered AIDS-awareness messaging training for the Malawi Network of AIDS Services Organizations (MANASO).
Development Issues: 

Health, Family Planning, Women, Girls' Education, Rights, Economic and Political Development, HIV/AIDS, Gender, Natural Resource Management.

Key Points: 

Visit Story Workshop's Listen-and-Look Interactive Studio to experience their radio and print work, and visit their photo gallery to see Story Workshop in action in Malawi.

Partner Text: 

Various activities have been funded by various organisations including UNICEF, European Commission, UNDP, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Population Communications International (PCI), USAID, UNAIDS and UNFPA.


Letter from Pamela Brooke to The Communication Initiative; email from Janie Hayes to The Communication Initiative on September 19 2006; and Story Workshop Educational Trust website.

Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment (GRACE)

Your rating: None (2 votes)
Communication Strategies: 

The programme uses research as a tool to build capacity and foster exchanges among those exploring how ICTs can enhance African women's development. GRACE's original 14 independent research sites in 12 countries - Kenya, Senegal, Uganda, Cameroon, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt - explored research topics ranging from examining mobile telephone use, to the ways in which women could use e-commerce, to barriers to ICT use and women's strategies to overcome these obstacles.


A key element informing GRACE's knowledge construction process is participation and capacity building: creating the space and skills for the 14 research teams to develop their own methodology for understanding what "empowerment" and "gender" may mean in multiple African contexts. The research questions and methodologies, the research trainings, as well as the ongoing mentoring and support programme accompanying the research, are grounded in the principles of critical emancipatory research, or "action research." Emphasis is placed on the use of qualitative research techniques.


GRACE draws on face-to-face interactions to connect and inform researchers interested in these topics. Capacity building workshops focusing on the interrelationship between ICT and women's empowerment were held in July 2005 and June 2006 (with a third workshop planned for July 2007). At the first workshop the GRACE researchers consolidated their methodological approaches, learned how to use a computer-aided qualitative data analysis software programme called NVivo, were introduced to other advanced ICT and knowledge networking skills, and learned how to use digital cameras and recorders and how to edit sound and images using their computers. The second workshop focused on enhancing research writing skills and provided an opportunity for focused discussion on the research conducted.


In addition, online communications are conducted via a specific research-space list and directly between the research coordination team members and the researchers. The findings emerging from the first research phase have been captured in a book, published by Zed Books, entitled African Women and ICTs: Investigating Technology, Gender and Empowerment.


In March 2008 the GRACE project entered a second phase, continuing to involve the network of the research teams in Africa, and introducing the project to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Thirty researchers from 7 countries met in Yemen in December 2008 to initiate their research processes and the Gender ICT Research in the Arab World network. According to GRACE, over time both networks will expand to include many other individuals and organisations throughout Africa and the Middle East. Their work is building a substantial body of research on how African and Arab women access and use ICTs, which will influence policies and interventions to help reduce the obstacles women currently encounter.



Development Issues: 

Technology, Women, Gender.

Key Points: 

In the context of ICT and gender empowerment, GRACE intends to provide African researchers with opportunities to build confidence and skill in the use of qualitative and participatory research methods and techniques. It also hopes to develop the capacity to use ICT tools for research.

Partner Text: 

Research for the Future with funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

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