Getting the message across: an experiment in radio-based water resources management education in Malawi

2018-11-09T16:34:12Z (GMT) by Muthi Nhlema Robert M. Kalin
Recent studies have recommended leveraging on the potency of media advocacy in attaining the goals of sustainable safe water as key to healthy and prosperous communities. This paper describes the experience of trialling a 6-week radio pilot focussed on water resources management and tracking its effectiveness using SMS technology and field interviews with radio listener groups. Despite a short broadcast period, the radio pilot registered measurable traction with audiences due to a 56% response rate to the SMS tracking system, evidence of behaviour change at village-level and cases of unsolicited queries from the general public demanding for more information. Though effective, any radio-based intervention, at-scale, has to be complemented with field support to receptive communities that could act as model villages. This could be achieved through close collaboration with local government extension networks and the establishment of a community of practise to act as a referral system for queries.