In April 2012, PMC Burkina Faso introduced two 156-episode serial radio dramas, Yam Yankre (“The Choice”) and HƐrƐ S’ra (“The Road to Happiness”). Each program, running for the next 18 months, has a family planning storyline and an adolescent reproductive health storyline, and also discusses themes of gender equality and public health.
Yam Yankre (“The Choice”) is broadcast in the Mooré language, and covers issues such as FGM, maternal and child health, prenatal counseling, handwashing, breastfeeding, and malaria.
HƐrƐ S’ra (“The Road to Happiness”), broadcast in the Dioula language, focuses on education of girls, fistula, domestic violence, and gender equality.
In preparation for the new series, PMC built a state-of-the-art recording studio in Ouagadougou, the nation’s capital. Kriss Barker, Vice President for International Programs, led PMC staff from across central Africa in the training workshops for local scriptwriters, actors and producers.
Childbearing begins early in Burkina Faso: almost half of all women in union less than 20 years of age have already given birth to at least one living child. The actual fertility rate closely follows the desired family size for women: Married women interviewed during the 2003 Demographic and Health Survey in Burkina Faso said they would like to have about six children on average. Married men would like seven children.
In Burkina Faso, the barriers to use of modern methods of contraception are largely informational and cultural. Although knowledge of contraceptive methods in Burkina Faso is high (92% of those interviewed know at least one modern method) only 13% of married women are currently using a modern method of contraception. Among sexually active, fertile women in a union, the top reasons for non-use are the desire for more children (18%); personal, partner, or religious opposition (17%); fear of health effects (10%); and not knowing a method or a source (10%). Cost is cited by only 2.5%, and lack of access is cited by only 0.7%.
The annual population growth rate in Burkina Faso is 3.4 per cent, which means that the population is doubling every 20 years. The total fertility rate is the 8th highest in the world at 6.0 children per woman. The majority of the population is young: 46% of the population is under the age of 15. Population growth and population dynamics are important challenges that must be addressed in order to reduce poverty.
Major funding for this program was provided by UNFPA, with sponsorship by Tree Aid. The U.S. Peace Corps will also serve as a partner on the project.
PMC also produced a radio serial drama titled Cesiri Tono (“All the Rewards of Courage and Hard Work”) in the countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire. The drama was aired from November 2004 to October 2005 and addressed issues such as children’s rights, exploitative child labor, child trafficking, and reproductive health. The drama had a significant personal impact on the lives of many people, both adults and children, throughout the region.
A post-broadcast survey was conducted in the three countries to determine what effect listening to the drama had on the audience’s knowledge, attitudes and behavior with regard to children’s rights, child trafficking and exploitation and related health and social problems. The drama reached a wide audience of approximately 4 million listeners in all three countries. The major finding was that the listeners of Cesiri Tono were substantially more aware of child trafficking than non-listeners. Some highlights of the survey showed the following results:
- 23% of listeners had taken action against exploitative child labor, compared to 9% of non-listeners.
- 96% of listeners could identify at least one place that provides family planning/reproductive health services, compared to 80% of non-listeners.
See results in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
At the conclusion of the program, PMC was privileged to receive the Changemakers Innovation Award. Given to the most creative programs designed to prevent human trafficking, one of only three awarded worldwide by the Ashoka Foundation.
Cesiri Tono was produced in partnership with First Voice International, which distributed the program via WorldSpace satellite to 169 community radio stations throughout the region. PMC received a grant from USAID to support this program.