Equal Access’ work in Chad and Niger was recently highlighted by USAID PDEV II Project Leader IRD. Equal Access is a USAID PDev II Implementing Partner. Visit IRD’s website to learn more about the project and read the full article text below.
Youth and governance radio dramas, produced with the input of local youth, community leaders, and other stakeholders, explore peaceful ways to address community grievances and causes of violence. The USAID Peace through Development II (PDev II) program promotes open dialogue and mutual understanding as a means to more peaceful, stable, and tolerant communities.USAID PDev II uses radio to expand the reach of moderate messages and improve the quality and credibility of information within Niger and Chad.
Youth talk shows such as Chabab al Haye (Youth Alive) in Chad and Gwadaben Matassa (Youth Boulevard) in Niger use roundtable discussions, mini-dramas, testimonials, interviews, and man-on-the-street conversations to engage local young people. The radio shows, broadcast in local languages, explore peaceful ways to address grievances, teach skills needed to constructively interact with authorities and participate in government, and address other issues of concern to youth.
The shows have already demonstrated positive results. In Nokou, Chad, on the day following a Chabab al Haye episode speaking out against carrying knives, local policemen launched a campaign to seize hundreds of personal knives that had long been part of local men’s daily outfits. Police continue to confiscate knives today, and men who formerly enjoyed brandishing knives in acts of bravado have stopped displaying them in their interactions.
In Niger, an April broadcast of Gwadaben Matassa focused on the dangerous use of cell phones by drivers. Cell phone use has contributed to increased car accidents and fatalities in Niger and is a matter of great public concern. During the program, a Member of Parliament was interviewed about the lack of any law prohibiting cell phone use by drivers. The MP responded that he would propose such a law, and as a result of the interview, he sponsored a bill to ban the use of phones while driving. The bill was sent to the National Assembly by the Council of Ministers in July 2012.
USAID PDev II is funded by USAID and implemented by a consortium of international nonprofit organizations, led by International Relief and Development (IRD) in collaboration with the national governments of Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso. In each country, the partners, including Equal Access International, IRD, Search for Common Ground, and the Salam Institute, align their activities with national strategies and priorities. The program is scheduled to run from November 2011 through October 2016.