In 2012, the OTI/AECOM Cote d’Ivoire Transition Initiative (CITI) began engaging key stakeholders in Duékoué, a town decimated by the 2010-2011 post-election violence and struggling to mend the community ties and inter-ethnic relationships that had been strained since the crisis began in 2002. Two 3-week interventions lead by seasoned media trainers from Equal Access’ Niger office acted to further engage the community’s youth and radio station to provide critical information promoting inter-ethnic understanding and healing at this critical juncture.
The series of complementary interventions comprised of trainings and workshops with staff from the community radio station La Voix de Guémon and community leaders with a view to creating strong relationships and lasting engagement platforms that promote dialogue and discussion in the town of Duékoué. Voix de Guémon radio staff were trained on the installation and use of the Frontline SMS listener interaction platform and participated in a two-stage radio production seminar to improve their mixing, recording, editing, and broadcast capacities. Additionally, leadership trainings designed to cement local engagement with the radio and strengthen the reach and relevance of its programming included a leadership and Community Reporter training for fifteen local youth, a Listening Club Facilitator training for ten men and women, and a women’s leadership and conflict mitigation training for eleven members of the Coalition of Women Leaders. At the conclusion of the project, Equal Access facilitated a day of exchange and relationship-building between local authorities, radio staff, and newly-trained leaders to recap lessons learned and prioritize subjects for future community radio broadcasts.
“Equal Access’ interventions have changed my life as a community leader. The leadership training has helped me to improve my service to my community. Thanks to this training, we were able to apply for and win a grant from the National Independent Electoral Commission that sponsored our campaign to educate youth and women on their roles and civic duties during the elections period. The fact that elections went off without a hitch in Duékoué attests to the success of our initiative. My new status as a Community Reporter has empowered a humble citizen like myself to build confidence and unity within my community.” –Fabrice, Duékoué RC
The project leveraged the power of community dialogue and local media to reduce the negative impact of rumors on Duékoué’s delicate inter-ethnic relations and improve stability, resilience and in inter-ethnic relations within the community. Following EA’s interventions, Radio Voix du Guémon was producing high-quality programming drawing from Community Reporters and SMS listener interaction, strengthened by regular meetings of radio listening and discussion clubs and reinforced relationships between women’s, community and municipal leaders. The Radio now represents an inclusive community dialogue platform that enables key youth, community, and government leaders both to discuss issues of mutual concern and to take collaborative decisions that improve the lives of their constituents.