Sarah Bomkapre Kamara, a Sierra Leonian currently earning her PhD in journalism in Germany, completed a comprehensive evaluation of Media Matters for Women’s work in Sierra Leone in June 2017.
Sarah’s task was to determine how our pilot projects had performed in effectively communicating with “last mile” populations and to understand whether our programs had positively impacted people’s lives. Sarah worked with all of our local staff and traveled to all 15 of our Listening Centres to study our innovative media network and distribution approach.
Concerning audience appreciation — a top performance metric for our organisation — Sarah wrote in her final report that “the programmes produced are relevant and informative.” One testimonial Sarah cites is from Fatmata Tejan from Waterloo community: “I used to self-inject myself with family planning drugs which led to complications, but since I listened to Media Matters for Women’s Family Planning programme I learnt I should only go to a health centre to get correct services and that is what I do now.”
Concerning broadcast reach — another key performance metric — Sarah noted that “in all of Media Matters for Women’s 15 listening centres at least 40 women were reached directly with weekly programmes, although several had significantly more regular listeners. For example, the Masantigie listening centre outside Waterloo (Western Area Rural District) draws 100 to 200 citizens to hear the weekly broadcasts. Another example of our success in establishing a notable broadcast reach is from Antonette Jeneba Koroma, the Focal Point Person at the OIC Vocational Training Centre in Makeni, who reported that she has received over 500 women and girls to hear the latest programme from our journalist Alinah Kallon in her school each week.”
Sarah concluded her evaluation report with the following: “The impact of Media Matters for Women’s communication network on the lives of rural women in Sierra Leone is really phenomenal. The many testimonies from the listeners we met – both female and male of all ages – about issues affecting their lives covered in the programmes were incredibly moving.”