After a successful pilot project with UNICEF Somalia, Africa’s Voices has extended its partnership to deliver more interactive radio seasons (8-10 weeks each) to gather and analyse citizens’ opinions on a range of health and child protection topics.
During our pilot project, we delivered eight interactive shows, weekly, on twenty radio stations across Somalia. Produced in collaboration with our Somali media partner, MediaINK, the radio shows engaged listeners on the topics of polio and routine vaccinations, and maternal and neonatal and child health (MNCH).
Over 8,400 people participated by SMS from all provinces of Somalia: 44% were women, 86.4% were 15-29 years old and 54.9% were parents. Our analysis revealed a range of insights on barriers to citizens adopting health behaviours – insights that will help to shape UNICEF’s programmes. Key insights include:
- Perceived risk of polio is the most important factor impacting vaccination uptake.
- Participants tend to associate reduced risk of polio with ideas of cleanliness – hygiene and spiritual.
- The word used for polio (‘dabayl’ which means wind in Somali) contributes to reinforcing the idea that polio is not a virus but a disease spread by the wind and possible to be cured spiritually.
UNICEF Somalia valued our method as a way to gather qualitative data – which normally requires a researcher on the ground.
In a country with insecure and inaccessible regions, our pilot project demonstrated the value of Africa’s Voices approach as a tool for remote monitoring and real-time citizen feedback – helping to amplify the voices of hard-to-reach communities and bring them closer to UNICEF’s teams.
We now have developed a long-term partnership with UNICEF Somalia and are currently working on new seasons of the health-themed interactive radio shows – responding and adapting to UNICEF’s current priorities.
To reach more people, we increased the number of radio stations to 26. These cover 50% of territory across 60 districts in Somaliland, Puntland and South-Central Somalia, and potentially reach 70% of the population. Discussions are exploring a broader range of health topics, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and cholera, as well as child protection and gender-related topics, such as female genital mutilation and cutting, girls access to education and child marriage. So far, these weekly shows are regularly attracting over 6000 participants a week.
From our collaboration, we have developed data management tools, including resources to improve the accuracy and efficiency of identifying Somalia district names in conversational data. This resource has been shared with other UN agencies to deal with self-reporting of location via SMS.
Africa’s Voices dedicated project manager is working in close and active collaboration with the UNICEF teams in Nairobi and Hargeisa to ensure the project is tailored to their priorities and changing needs. The shared longer-term vision is for Africa’s Voices approach to be a huge pillar of UNICEF’s communications for development programmes.
- Beliefs and practices of Somali citizens concerning HIV/AIDS: Research findings from Africa’s Voices Foundation’s interactive radio programme aired on 2nd December 2016 for UNICEF Somalia
- Report on interactive radio project on polio and routine vaccinations, and child and maternal health
- Interactive dashboards of results from pilot project
- View the presentation below
2016/7 Project team: Partha Moman (project manager), Dr. Claudia Abreu Lopes (research lead 2016), Dr. Matti Pohjonen (research lead 2017), Rita Zagoni (data analyst), Mubarak Abdi Mohammed (research assistant), Alex Lewis (data visualisation), Dr. Sharath Srinivasan (director), George Kaburu (operations) and Rainbow Wilcox (communications).
2015 Pilot project: Dr. Claudia Abreu Lopes (research lead and project manager), Kavita Ramakrishnan (researcher), Rainbow Wilcox (communications), Ridwan Osman (research assistant), and Dr. Sharath Srinivasan (director).