Rapid population growth and a serious HIV/AIDS epidemic have been obstacles to the national development and quality of life in Rwanda. Poverty reduction, empowerment of the vulnerable, education, and development are closely linked with stopping population growth and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
To address these issues in Rwanda, PMC developed a radio program called, Umurage Urukwiye (“Rwanda’s Brighter Future”). The drama is designed to raise awareness and to motivate discussions about issues such as reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, wildlife habitat and natural resource preservation, land conservation, and the promotion of civil harmony. The program began broadcasting over Contact FM and Radio Salus in April 2007 and concluded in August 2009.
To monitor the effects of the program, PMC hired an independent research firm to conduct interviews at six health clinics in the broadcast area to find out what motivated clients to seek a health service. The interviews were conducted in November and December of 2008. Read more on the key findings from the report.
In conjunction with the Rwanda Ministry of Environment’s current reforestation effort, PMC has included a storyline in Umurage Urukwiye that promotes conservation of gorilla habitats and promotion of tree planting. The storyline features a positive character named Leodia who directs an environmental club in her village Tarama which is located near a forested gorilla habitat. She and members of the club help to promote and educate villagers about the importance of planting tree seedlings to protect the forest. Their message is that planting tree seedlings near village homes will help prevent soil erosion, flooding, and landslides in the village. It will also make firewood available so that villagers will no longer need to cut down trees in the nearby forest and this will help protect the endangered gorillas who attract tourists.
PMC hired an independent research firm to track tree seedling purchases that resulted from listening to the program. Monitoring interviews at tree seedling nurseries in 10 districts in all five provinces of the country were conducted in the first and second quarter of 2009. The results found that 11% of those buying tree seedlings were motivated by the program.
Funding for the program comes from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Flora L. Thornton Foundation, and the Mulago Foundation. PMC was recently awarded grants from the Arcus Foundation Great Apes Program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Division of International Conservation in support of Umurage Urukwiye.