Ngelawu Nawet and Conal Keele : First radio serial dramas in Wolf and Pulaar for health

April 20, 2010 • Senegal, PMC in the News

The following article appeared in the March/April 2010 publication of Santé Tropic’.
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Ngelawu Nawet and Conal Keele : First radio serial dramas in Wolf and Pulaar for health
By: Mohamed Kébir Tijani KANE

A few months ago, RTS and selected community radio stations in Senegal began broadcasting two radio serial dramas in Wolof and Pulaar. The Wolof program, titled Ngelawu Nawet (“Winds of Hope”) and the Pulaar program, titled Conal Keele (“Harvesting the Seeds of Life”), both have a unique characteristic: they are written, produced and acted by Senegalese, using a methodology for behavior change communication developed by Miguel Sabido of Mexico.

These programs are the work of the American non-governmental organization Population Media Center (PMC). PMC formed a partnership in 2006 with a local Senegalese organization (Réseau pour l’Appui de l’Education Sanitaire – RAES) and the University of California at Los Angeles to promote the use of this behavior change communication methodology in Senegal. The US Agency for International Development (USAID), through an agreement with its local social marketing firm, the Agence pour le Développement du Marketing Social (ADEMAS) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) funded the project through the aegis of the Senegalese Ministry for Health and Prevention. This is the first experience in Senegal of the use of entertainment-education, which has already proven extremely successful in other countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States.

The Minister of Health and Prevention at the time, Dr. Safiatou Thiam, presided over the national launch several months ago of these two radio serial drama programs, in the presence of the Director of the USAID Mission to Senegal, Kevin J. Mullaly, the Country Representative for UNFPA, Suzanne Maiga, the Vice President for International Programs from PMC, Kriss Barker, and the Director General from RTS, Babacar Diagne. The two partners, USAID and UNFPA, have taken the initiative to use entertainment-education as an additional means to contribute to improving the health of the Senegalese people through the promotion of healthy behaviors.

The Wolof-language program, comprised of 168 episodes, is being broadcast throughout Senegal on the national RTS channel (95.7), the RSI channel (92.5) and also over the 11 regional RTS stations. The program addresses the priority areas in the USAID health portfolio: namely, improvement of family health, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, nutrition and malaria prevention and treatment.

The Pulaar serial is comprised of 58 episodes, and is broadcast in the Matam region on the regional RTS station (105.5), and on five other stations (Tim Timol, Ranérou FM, Pété FM, Salndu Fouta in Thilogne and Jikke FM in Waoundé in the Department of Kanel). The program addresses the priority themes of UNFPA for the region, which are sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people (15-35 years), female genital mutilation and early marriage.

These two radio serial dramas will contribute to other interventions being implemented by the Ministry of Health, USAID cooperating agencies and UNFPA, with the goal of improving family planning in Senegal, and decreasing rates of maternal death and neo-natal and infant mortality, but also lending to the success of the national population policy. The National Service for Health Information and Education (SNIEPS), regional medical offices, medical districts and USAID health partners (such as Child Fund, Plan International, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, Counterpart International, IntraHealth, Family Health International, GEEP, WHEPS and TOTSAN) have all supported the program.

The first entertainment-education serial drama produced for Senegalese — by Senegalese

The scripts are written by two teams of nine scriptwriters, composed of experienced men and women in the two languages specially selected for these programs. As part of the selection process, the scriptwriters attended an intensive training workshop on the Sabido methodology, under the supervision of two Senegalese experts in the methodology, consultants who have conducted numerous training workshops for PMC throughout Africa (Ibrahima Sané, former director of RTS Radio; and Daour Wade, communication consultant at Africa Communication International).

The production is done by a team led by Mansour Sow, at the RAES studios in Dakar. Two popular Senegalese artists, Baaba Mal and Souleymane Faye, accompanied by musician and arranger Sheik Tidiane Tall, have also provided their support to the programs, by composing and recording the theme tracks for the two programs.

PMC’s experience

Population Media Center (PMC), which is based in the United States, was founded in 1998 with the goal of using the experience of its key personnel to disseminate the use of the Sabido methodology to address issues such as health and reproductive health, in countries that have not yet benefited from the application of this methodology.

PMC is in the process of launching new methods to inform populations about health and reproductive health, and to promote behavior change by engaging mass media to educate people about the advantages of family planning, to encourage the use of effective measure to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, to promote reproductive health, to elevate the status of women, and to encourage gender equity.

PMC has carried out numerous programs that have achieved impressive results in the United States, in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Asia and in Africa.
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This article was translated by to English by Kriss Barker


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