United States Extends Support for Radio Series on Maternal and Child Health

April 9, 2021 • News

Children huddled together for a picture showing the peace sign, thumbs ups, and other hand signals.Children huddled together for a picture showing the peace sign, thumbs ups, and other hand signals.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Zambia has extended its support for two popular radio shows developed through the USAID Community Radio Program to help educate the public and improve the health of women and children in Zambia.

Population Media Center (PMC), a nonprofit leader in entertainment for social good, announced the extension to the programs developed in partnership with USAID/Zambia. PMC’s development, production, broadcast, monitoring, and evaluation for the four-year program will continue the Kwishilya (“Over the Horizon”) and Siñalamba (“Breaking the Barrier”) radio series.

“The Community Radio Program is a great example of a USAID partnership to improve lives and health outcomes in Zambia,” said USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras. “Radio is such an excellent channel for messaging that does not require in-person communications, which has proven to be especially effective amidst COVID-19.”

The extension provides funding to continue programming in five provinces (Central, Luapula, Muchinga, Northern, and Western) and 50 districts with an additional 156 episodes for each radio show. With an estimated following of over 710,00 regular listeners, each of the individual shows will continue to feature the same storyline with familiar characters and similar social issues addressed in previous broadcasts. The sequels will continue to inform and challenge behaviors and social norms on family planning, nutrition, gender-based violence, and HIV, and other location-specific issues.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue Kwishilya and Siñalamba,” says PMC Program Manager Erica Goldberg. “Our team will build upon the impact made through the first seasons and continue to engage our established audience while also having an opportunity to reach new listeners.”

Data collected from listeners of the initial Kwishilya and Siñalamba broadcasts revealed the weekly programs reached listeners in their key target audience of women and adolescents between the ages of 15 and 49 years old.

“As social and behavior change experts, we understand that information must be tailored to local contexts and audience characteristics such as gender, education, age, social norms, and culture,” says Resident Representative Charles Kalonga.

The two radio shows are scheduled to start development immediately, with broadcasts scheduled to resume beginning May 2021 through October 2022. The USAID Community Radio Program’s radio shows are recorded in the local Bemba and Lozi languages and are designed to integrate cultural and provincial contexts and characteristics. The project’s goal is to share relatable storylines that emotionally resonate with Zambian audiences to promote the practice of healthy behaviors and thereby work to shift social norms, share knowledge, and promote the utilization of existing health services.


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