The USAID-funded Peace through Development (PDEV) project in Chad and Niger works to improve local governance in target communities; empower at-risk youth to become active participants in their communities and the economy; and render superfluous ideologies that promote intolerance and violence. To this end, the carefully planned radio series and complementary media support activities designed and implemented by Equal Access spur dialogue on topics relevant to local communities; play a role in influencing social norms; forge connections between communities; and inspire positive action.
Equal Access’ staff of local media professionals create informative and entertaining radio programs and carry out community outreach activities based on proven methodologies practiced and refined over the past 10 years in Equal Access’ other international projects. The teams hold Stakeholder Workshops to gather important input for the radio programs, and Content Advisory Groups meet monthly to discuss and provide technical expertise for upcoming episodes. These meetings ensure the content of our programming is technically accurate and culturally appropriate as well as entertaining and engaging. In addition, Listening Clubs gather together thousands of listeners to share views on program messages amongst peers, and Community Reporters contribute to the series content and the presence of the program in the community.
Equal Access produces three radio series in Chad. Within these high-quality, national-scale radio programs, a range of issues are examined both to ensure continued variety and audience interest, and to address the full range of drivers that contribute to intolerance and conflict, including humiliation, corruption, perceptions of unfairness and a lack of means to address grievances peacefully. By promoting dialogue amongst the population, including among groups divided by tribal lines, vocational roles, religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, or other boundaries, the programming succeeds in demonstrating a clear avenue for listeners to develop their communities through peace and stability.
All radio programs are produced using Chadian Arabic, spoken by the majority of Chadians in the target regions. Additionally, the Good Governance and Youth series are translated and broadcast in Goran and French.
Good Governance Radio Program
Dabalaye (Positive Tribune) is a good governance radio series with two main components — a serial drama created using the Sabido methodology which focuses on themes of tolerance, transparency and good citizenship; and a presenter‐led magazine style format with interviews, testimonials (one‐person monologues) and vox pops (sound bites from people on the street) addressing topics relevant to Chadian audiences including rural exodus, hygiene, violence against women, the environment and the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Community Reporters across four regions and the capital city of N’djamena also collect content and ‘voices from the field’ that are integrated into the show every week.
Youth Radio Program
Chabab Al Haye (Youth Alive) is a youth-led chat show centered on issues of importance to young people in Chad with a core focus of imparting vital life skills. The show explores addresses peaceful ways of addressing grievances, tolerance, livelihoods information, problem solving via a presenter led chat show format‐ and addresses issues of importance to youth in Chad such as ethnic discrimination, the importance of girls’ education, and early or forced marriage. Hosted by youth for youth, this program includes a combination of songs, vox pops, testimonials, interviews, roundtable discussions, and mini‐dramas. Each mini-drama reflects the theme of the larger episode using different characters and storylines.
Chabab Wal Din (Youth and Islam) is a religious series aimed at youth and co‐produced by two N’Djamena‐based Islamic stations and Equal Access. The show features topics such as corruption and youth responsibilities in the community, Islam and human rights, and respect for diversity and moderation.
Interactive New Media
In addition to our dynamic media and community engagement activities, Equal Access is increasingly incorporating new media, particularly mobile technology, into our work. To reinforce its connection with the audience, our radio shows feature interactive elements such as competitions to win small prizes, as well as letters and SMS messages direct from listeners. The media teams weave this content into the episodes, allowing audiences to hear their input, therefore encouraging feedback loops and providing a platform for the voices of communities across Chad. EA has been working with mobile platforms such as Frontline SMS, an SMS campaign management system developed specifically for use by non‐profits in developing country contexts, to integrate SMS campaigns with our radio programs and project activities. Using this cutting edge open source software our team in Chad is able to incorporate a breakthrough interactivity component that allows audiences to send specific questions, comments, or requests for information via text message (SMS). Information can also be sent out by our producers to listeners via SMS. More on our use of new media is in this feature post on the National Geographic blog.
FM Station Support
Equal Access supports FM partner stations through the delivery of a variety of trainings and equipment, to assist them to produce their own high-quality local programs, including call-in shows, around similar themes of good governance and tolerance. Some of the training includes digital audio editing, producing local call-in programs, integrating life skills into radio production and management skills.
To determine accurate figures of the broadcast reach of the partner radio stations, Equal Access visited 14 stations in the five regions, compiling technical information including the heights of the antennas, the capacities of the transmitters, and the GPS coordinates of the station. With this data, Equal Access was able to calculate the geographical coverage and estimated audience reach for each station and shared the information with the radio stations. For the first time this gave the radio stations a sense of their actual reach and this knowledge allows them to focus their limited resources in more targeted ways.
Through the radio mapping activity, Equal Access discovered that for many partner stations, their reach was smaller than expected. To support the local stations and help them reach as many listeners as possible, Equal Access installed micro‐FM sites in Northern Chad. This assistance included providing equipment, assistance with licenses and training for staff. Training topics included production techniques, journalistic ethics, financial and human resource management, government relations, broadcast planning, program formats, and achieving popularity among listeners in the community. Not only will the micro‐FM stations greatly increase access to credible information and engage the community, but the stations will also be managed by and belong to the community. Several Equal Access Community Reporters are also designated to serve as principal staff for future micro‐FM stations, reinforcing the connection to the host communities as well as advancing their individual professional training in the media field.