Covid-19 and Radio Broadcasting in the Sahel

Since the global outbreak of Covid-19, reliable information and broadcasting has become more important than ever. As people around the world adjust to social distancing and seek out information remotely, the radio plays a particularly vital role.

The FemmepowermentAfrique project on the impact of radio on women’s empowerment in the Sahel has made adjustments to follow confinement measures and public health advice in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and to ensure that the team and research participants remain socially distanced and safe.

For the 2020 project on the radio’s impact of perceptions and understanding of women’s empowerment across Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, we are relying on WhatsApp surveys for listener feedback and collaboration. We are also gathering data on how radio broadcasts on Covid-19 by Studio Kalangou in Niger, Studio Tamani in Mali, and Studio Yafa in Burkina Faso are taking into account the specific needs of women.

New Project: Internally Displaced Persons and Covid-19 in Burkina Faso

The team FemmepowermentAfrique is also delighted to announce a new research collaboration, which has been generously funded by ELRHA.

Working with Dr Lassané Yaméogo (University OUAGA I, Professor Joseph KI-ZERBO, Burkina Faso) and Professor Marie-Soleil Frère (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium), we are launching a new project to evaluate the information available to IDPs in Burkina Faso regarding the Covid-19 outbreak, with a particular focus on radio broadcasts by Studio Yafa and its partners.

Reporting in Ouaga before Covid-19 © Kalidou Sy - Fondation Hirondelle

There are currently over 800,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) being housed in camps and host communities in Burkina Faso. The situation is now being worsened by COVID-19 and attempts to provide information on this front, as everywhere in the world, are vulnerable to the spread of rumour and/or misinformation regarding the pandemic.

This nine-month urgent response project will work with IDPs in Burkina Faso using online messaging platforms. We will collect data on information, (accurate or inaccurate), circulating in camps and host communities regarding COVID-19. We will then fact check this information and address it in local radio broadcasts over the course of several months so that IDPs receive accurate and up-to-date factual information. Finally, we will carry out an impact assessment to determine the value of the radio broadcasts in relation to combatting misinformation in this current context.

Given the urgent nature of this research, we will regularly update our project website with initial results and findings.

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