UMWA, Kampala, Uganda

Increasing Knowledge and Skills Building for Community Radio Staff/Volunteers in Sexual and Reproductive health Reporting (SHR)

Title
Increasing Knowledge and Skills Building for Community Radio Staff / Volunteers in Sexual and Reproductive Health Reporting (SHR)

Partner Organisation
Uganda Media Women's Association (UMWA), Plot 226, Kisaasi, P.O. Box 7263, Kampala - Uganda, E-mail: umwa@infocom.co.ug or umwa@umwamamafm.co.ug: www.umwamamafm.co.ug

Project Duration
August 2013-July 2015

Partner Organisation
Uganda Media Women's Association (UMWA) was established in July 1983; and its project Mama FM, a women-focused community radio was founded in 2001. UMWA is a registered Non-Governmental Organisation. UMWA has twelve full-time staff members (seven women, five men) on the payroll, thirty-five facilitated volunteers, and three interns.

Project Objective

  • Build knowledge and skills of community broadcasters in sexual and reproductive health issues (SRH) reporting / communication
  • Increase the awareness among communities in the targeted areas on SRH services and the service delivery points
  • Revive the Association of Community Broadcasters in Uganda
  • Strengthen UMWA's capacity in managing similar development programmes.

Activities implemented during the project period:

In the Pre-Implementation Phase of the project, UMWA started, for instance, with a consultative meeting of broadcasters from Radio Mama FM and Radio Apac, health providers and consumers of reproductive health services, to clarify "what is the issue" and "what are the strategies for improvement". A baseline study was prepared to assess the knowledge level of radio staff and their programming, as well as to identify challenges of health service consumers. For identifying information requirements of communities, and improving the news coverage of development issues, UMWA implemented community dialogue meetings. Furthermore, the content of information and educational material, such as messages for T-Shirts, banners or flyers, was developed, pretested and finally produced.

The Implementation Phase basically covered the execution of five activities. First of all, a "media Guide on Sexual and Reproductive Health" was produced. The guide aims to help Ugandan journalists educate the public and policymakers on these issues by bringing together the latest available data on sexual and reproductive health. Secondly, radio staff of Radio Mama FM and Radio Apac were coached and mentored on sexual reproductive health reporting. Thirdly, four network meetings were organised for participants coming from five different community-oriented radio stations in Uganda. Topics focused on during these meetings included matters of financial sustainability, strategic planning and best practices. Besides, two community dialogue meetings (one day each in Apac and in Kawempe) took place for opinion leaders, civil society organisations, radio station staff, etc. Finally, radio programmes on sexual and reproductive health were produced and broadcast. Mama FM produced three specific sexual reproductive health programmes and Radio Apac five, once a week, for one-hour.

In a Post-Implementation Phase an impact assessment survey on the issue of access to SRH information and access/utilisation of SRH services was carried out over a period of twenty-four days. The survey involved sixty key respondents. The findings of the assessment were then shared and disseminated (during two one-day workshops) with community leaders, youth, health managers, religious leaders, etc.

Results of the Project 

  • The radio programming of both stations (Radio Mama FM and Radio Apac) have been reviewed to mainstream SRH messages through radio spot messages. Content on SRH has also been increased from zero hours to two hours on Radio Apac, one hour to two hours on Mama FM.
  • Community broadcasters, especially from the two stations, speak more confidently about SRH and other development issues, particularly when invited to participate in training sessions as part of the mainstream media. They really stand out, thanks to the training sessions in development communication that they were exposed to.
  • Because you cannot train on SRH and communication without orienting participants in gender equality, presenters of both stations have become more gender sensitive. More so, Radio Apac, which was found to be very gender insensitive at the beginning of the project.
  • In local communities, both stations received increased numbers of visitors, especially women, in search of Sexual Reproductive Health Services (SRHS). Others have gained confidence to challenge the negative attitude which several health providers previously showed towards women, especially those living with a disability and pregnant. Before the project, several of the service providers would refuse to touch a "grassroots" woman with a disability, saying she is dirty because she came crawling!
  • There is an increase in the number of partnerships / collaborations between the radio stations, health service providers, and the local communities. This results from community dialogues attended by different stakeholders who called for such linkages. In fact, several health providers like Span Medical Centre, and Komamboga Health Centre have since started appearing on Mama FM, without being reminded of the airtime slot.
  • The local council authorities in Kisaasi have, together with Komamboga and Mama FM, organised a HOLIDAY Programme on SRH for teenagers.
  • Also to note is health providers' less negative attitude towards teenagers.
  • To strengthen women's voices on radio, both stations now deliberately provide space on air through a feedback phone for participation.

  ... and Next Steps?

UMWA is in the process of developing a follow-up project to be submitted to Stem van Afrika considering the lessons learnt from the finalised project phase, such as diversification of media, expansion of the target group (students, teenagers, youth), expansion of the range of stakeholders to be involved in the project, more constant engagement with the radio stations, etc. 

(PS 02.10.2015)