This month we reached out to Jean Paul, the assistant producer to our team in Burundi, to learn about his history in journalism, and why he loves working on social & behavior change communications.
What is your name, position, and how long have you worked for PMC?
My name is Jean Paul Nicondindiriye. I am a Journalist-Producer, with 20 years of experience in the media field.
In 2000, when I was very young, I started in the journalism profession as a freelance journalist at the National Radio Television of Burundi (RTNB) where, after a brief stint, I was directly recruited as a Journalist-Producer by the famous radio production house in Burundi, Studio Ijambo (a media branch of the American NGO Search For Common Ground [SFCG]) which works in the field of Peacebuilding.
From December 2000 to July 2017, I was a Senior Journalist-Producer, and worked on numerous programs about constructive and inclusive political and social debate at Studio Ijambo. I am proud to have worked for 17 years to promote peace and reconciliation in my country and to stitch up the torn social fabric between Burundians after many years of civil war and ethnic mistrust.
Since January 2018, I have the chance to integrate as the Assistant Producer to PMC in Burundi, where I work to communicate for behavior change in terms of health and the promotion of healthy behaviors within populations, especially rural populations, and those most in need of key and in-depth health information such as sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, family planning, nutrition, and more, in order to contribute to the well-being and inclusive development of Burundians.
What is your favorite thing about working at PMC?
Radio production remains my passion, especially conducting interviews for reports with the rural populations in Burundi. This is where we discover how important the work we do at PMC is: through PMC productions, millions of people are informed about healthy behaviors to adopt in terms of health. I was amazed by poignant testimonies by the population, who after our activities are informed and undertake actions to change their behavior.
What is a normal day for you at PMC?
In 2018, upon my arrival at PMC, we implemented communication activities for the promotion of infant and young child feeding (IYCF), which PMC carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Health with funding from UNICEF in order to contribute to the fight against acute and chronic malnutrition by promoting recommended IYCF practices and by demonstrating the importance of changing the behavior of populations for the prevention of this problem.
Through the game shows and song contests that we performed through this project on nutrition, poignant testimonies of the populations amazed me, and this is where, curiously too, I realized the scope and importance of the work we do at PMC.
At the end of each public broadcast of the games contests or song contests as part of our activities on the promotion of IYCF, I proceeded to collect testimonies of impact of these activities on the public in terms of lessons learned and commitment to behavior change.
Below are a few testimonies that struck me, demonstrating how, through the activities I carried out with PMC, we were helping to influence the public to change their behavior in the fight against child malnutrition.
“Before, my wife used to give my children under 6 months old other foods like imisururu (porridge), ivyamwa (fruit), imikate (bread) n’imihwi (small bananas). Never again at my place! From now on, before 6 months, I will ensure that my wife gives exclusively breast milk to my children because I have just learned that breast milk is the only complete and balanced food meeting the various nutritional needs of the baby from birth to at 6 months,” declares Jean Marie Ndayiragije of Mabanda, after the final of the Songs of the Enlightened Mothers competition organized by Population Media Center at the Mabanda stadium.
“My name is NDAYIKENGURUKIYE Violette, I live on Kivoga hill in Bukemba commune in Rutana province. Before, after changing the baby or after going to the bathroom, I just took a piece of loincloth and wiped it off, I directly breastfed my child. Besides, these pieces of loincloths were often dirty because I did not care much. The lesson I have just learned from this Songs of the Enlightened Mothers competition which has just taken place here in Bukemba is that I will not breastfeed my child without washing my hands with clean water and soap after going to the toilet, after having changed the child, before making the baby’s meal, or handling any food intended for consumption, before giving the baby the meal because I have just learned that there are many consequences relating to it terms of diarrheal diseases, vomiting, infections, typhoid etc. From now on, I really commit to changing my behavior for the well-being of my children and my whole family.”
What is one of the biggest challenges of your job?
Sometimes, the reluctance of some providers from the Ministry of Health to deliver information on certain sensitive issues. With the support of the Resident Representative, we can still convince them.
Why did you decide to work for PMC?
One: I believe in PMC’s mission. Educating people to change health behaviors and adopt healthy behaviors is very important, especially in our countries, because many human lives perish from lack of information and ignorance. In developing countries: “ignorance in health matters kills more than politics, in silence, without making too much noise.”
Two: The approach to empowerment favored by PMC-Burundi management fascinates me. After discussion and clarification of the tasks and expectations of each in our (numerous) technical meetings, the resident representative places confidence in each of his technicians, of whom he demonstrates total confidence in the implementation of his activities through follow-up technical meetings. As a Senior staff member, this approach to empowerment is important to us. Everyone says to themselves: “They have placed their trust in me, I must succeed!”
Three: Human Sense of Management, the serene working environment and the team spirit also constitute a force for PMC-Burundi. The key word is: SUCCESS. I love the work that impacts, and that’s PMC!
Tell us a little about your childhood, family, or favorite things to do outside of PMC.
I was born and raised in the city, in a modest family in Bujumbura, but the hand of God has always kept me! We are a family of six children, all boys! My mother was looking for a daughter since her third child, then her fourth, until the sixth; but in vain. With the sixth child, she gave up, no girl. Now I have them, three girls out of four children. It’s curious!
On the professional side, I like a well finished and careful job. On the life side, I like honesty and modesty. I hate wickedness and contempt for others. I do not understand how someone can plan to harm others, to despise the other as a human being instead of helping them to recover in their weakness!
• family times
• prayer and adoration in the name of Jesus Christ
• and sport!
Is there anything else you would like to share about working for PMC?
In God, We Trust!
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