Applying the Sabido Methodology: A Story of Community Heath Work in Burundi

October 2, 2014 • Daily Email Recap

“My name [is] Jeanne d’Arc Butoyi. I live in Muremera, in the Ndava region of Cibitoke Province. I am thirty-five years old, a farmer, and a community organizer. I went to school but eventually left during high school, when I was in eighth grade. I listen to Agashi on our National Radio station four times a week, and it helps me a lot with my community organizing work.”


“In the Agashi episodes, I often listen to stories about women, such as one [named Muhorakeye] who tells her brother and his wife to go to a clinic for prenatal care instead of consulting witchcraft. More importantly, she gives advice about the diets of pregnant women and she’s very insistent-especially when it comes to eating liver. Many women don’t eat it, but it’s very rich in nutrients.”


“Muhorakeye’s character helped me a lot. I think Muhorakeye is a great community organizer. Her advice is really useful. I invite women to listen to Agashi with me, and we all listen to the show very closely. I have seven children. I invite women who don’t yet have seven children and tell them, ‘Come, listen to these messages on Agashi. Listen to the misfortune that this woman [Tengenge] has to go through-giving birth to so many children and not being able to feed them.’ When I used her case as en example, people really began to understand the problem.”


“What I like about the series is that Agashi has plenty of advice. There are plenty of lessons. There’s a community organizer on Agashi, and she teaches us a lot. She helps us with our community education and advocacy work. She teaches people even more about what I already teach, and people that didn’t used to listen to me are now convinced that they should.”


“Agashi helps us a lot with young people. I have kids that are a bit older that listen to Agashi, and they see that the behavior of Trésor and Ange [two negative characters] isn’t good.”


“For example, when I was talking about the latest episode with some young people, we came, we sat down and I asked them, ‘What did you hear in the last episode? Who listened? Some [of the group] said that they listened. Twelve people did in total, eight boys and four girls. And I asked them what the episode covered. They told me what happened to Trésor, how Ange’s father and mother gave her advice, how Ange’s mother reacted to her wearing the necklace [that Trésor gave her], and what that did before they got into a proper debate…I asked them about that storyline in Agashi, if they knew about similar cases in their schools-cases like Ange and Trésor. They said yes. They even gave me several examples. I asked, ‘In general, do you think that behavior is good or bad?’ Some of them told me, ‘You mothers and your questions mess with us! Things are different now than they were when you grew up!’ Gradually, the conversation continued, and there were some people that didn’t want to participate at all. Others opened up to me little by little. Later on, some of them came by to ask me for condoms because I have them. And some even told me what they did. Most of them have become friends of mine, and I give them advice. I forbid them from being like Trésor, who vowed to never use another condom.”


“Many come to share. There’s an orphan girl from Kayanza who lives with a foster mother. When she arrived, people talked about her a lot, saying things like she had been with lots of boys. I approached her just to talk with her. Initially, things were a little closed off. I went back to see her, and she finally realized that I’m a friend. She’s open to me now. I advised her to go get tested. She went to do it and, thank God, she is HIV negative. She came back to tell me that ‘It’s hard to abstain.’ I then advised her to use a condom. Today, she sensitizes the other girls, who still make fun of her condom use. I don’t understand anyone who doesn’t realize the importance of condoms. More and more girls, age 14 and older, are following my advice. And often they come back to tell me thank you.”


“I am of those girls that had their first pregnancy too young, when I was still living at my parents’ house. It happened. The first child was illegitimate, but I was lucky enough to have a husband who immediately helped me raise my daughter. And now, she’s a big girl in seventh grade. I had her at 16 or probably younger; I was in the eighth grade, in high school, and had just finished the second quarter.”


“What’s at stake in the series reflects the reality of the country. It really exists. For example, in schools, these kinds of behaviors exist. You know that education has become a headache [for the public]. You really have to insist on education. What’s described in the show exists. It really does.”


“Another storyline in the soap that helps us a lot is the one about the man [Ndegeya] who leaves his wife for a prostitute. It teaches us a lot, listening to Agashi. This man left his wife and sold their land without her approval. There was no communication between the woman and her husband, and you can see that his wife suffered. That taught us a lesson.”


“I think all of the messages you send are important. These are messages that reflect the reality that we live in the country. For example, people like Ndegeya exist here. We have many ‘Ndegeyas’ here. There are men here that go knocking on the doors of other people’s women, like the character Sofiya who visited Piyo at night. Lots of men behave like Piyo. This [message] should really be emphasized, especially for youth. Young people are now a high-risk category. For example, there are orphan girls living with their aunts who are at risk because of poverty. After their adoptive parents feed them or buy them a book, they forget that they have other needs. You have to pay attention to these kinds of situations. I myself fell into that trap.”


“There’s also, for example, a man [in my village] who lived an adulterous lifestyle. And now he’s gradually giving up that vice. Often, when he has a beer, we hear him say ‘Dear friends, we have to abandon our ‘second office’ because Agashi advises against it.’ People beginning to talk openly is a sign of change.”


“After seeing the difficulties that Tengenge faced in Agashi when she had births too close together, one of my neighbors decided to change her behavior and use contraception. I testify to that 100%. When she heard the passage about Tengenge’s child becoming skinny and malnourished, that affected her.”


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