2019-2020 – Increasing Awareness and Advocacy of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights
With support from Amplify Change
- Increase the capacity of youth and women’s community associations in understanding and promoting sexual and reproductive health rights.
- Reach at least 6,000 girls/young women with weekly youth-friendly podcasts that increases their knowledge of sexual and reproductive health rights and how to access local services.
- Increase awareness of local leaders, media, parents, and male peers of the sexual and reproductive health rights of young women/girls.
- Develop and roll-out a monitoring and evalution strategy.
- Enhance organizational capacities and sustainability.
The impact among our targeted beneficiaries included gaining a greater understanding of SRHR, an increased capacity to promote their rights, and they became peer leaders on SRHR issues in their communities. A robust Monitoring & Evaluation strategy was implemented across MMW. Our organization scaled to 15 Listening Centres, 5 in each of the areas we work in. We produced and distributed weekly podcasts on SRHR to Listening Centres, which were then broadcasted through our team of 75 field staff: Focal Points and Youth Advocates. Training of all field staff was conducted at our Project launch event.
2019 – ‘Complete Women’ Documentary Film
In collaboration with Hanashi Films
Produce a short video in partnership with Hanashi Films about the production of MMW’s widely covered and influential podcast series Mamie & Omo’s Daughters with a focus on issues facing young women in Sierra Leone, including female genital mutilation (FGM).
We produced a high-quality video telling the story of two young women from Sierra Leone: Fatmata and Ajaie. We hope the podcast these young women have made and shared among their community, will show women and girls that FGM is not necessary and allow them to stand up for their right to choose.
2019 – Mamie & Omo’s Daughters
- Revive MMW’s popular “Mamie & Omo” drama series that first aired in 2010 with the original cast and produce 10 episodes per month for five months.
- Plan the development of a spin-off drama series “Mamie & Omo’s Daughters” to provide younger generations of girls with a platform for their opinions to be heard and debated.
The original writers selected topics that were relevant to the current situation in Sierra Leone, including teenage pregnancy, child marriage and FGM among others. Multiple radio stations across Sierra Leone agreed to air the revival series, including AfroRadio who airs the program called “NEWS ROUND SALON” at key listener times (7h30, 12h30, 18h30). AfroRadio received 570 text messages (365 from women and 205 from men, with 190 from outside Freetown) in the first month about the show.
2018 – Reporting on National Election Issues Relating to Women in Sierra Leone
With support from Oak Foundation
- MMW journalists report on election issues relating to women throughout the election period in the form of educational podcasts on issues such as voter registration, collection of voter IDs, and what to expect on election day.
- Expand coverage to ordinary citizen viewpoints, community post-election expectations, implications of womens’ participation in the electoral process, and other election-related topics
- Create a platform to help women understand issues of governance and elections and attract growing numbers of women and girls to use it, especially in rural areas.
Over the course of 8 months, MMW journalists produced two podcasts each month and created photographs and videos for MMW-SL website, increasing their coverage across Sierra Leone. We reached an estimated 7,000 listeners with election-focused podcasts. Focal Points reported a high level of listener appreciation at Listening Centres through the data they collected.
2017 – Wamama Tujenge
With support from the Oak Foundation
- Our concept of using informational podcasts produced by local journalists to inform rural women and girls about their rights has been so successful in Sierra Leone, we aimed to expand this blueprint to the DRC. We collaborated with SOFEPADI, a local organisation run by Julienne Lusenge, to realize our concept to the DRC.
- Similar to our goals in Sierra Leone, we aimed to empower and utilize existing female journalists in the DRC, training them in our concept using MMW-SL journalists.
We successfully proved that our concept is scalable in other African countries. The MMW-SL approach of using Bluetooth transfers on mobile phones at Listening Centers for distributing “Wamama Tujenge” was partially successful. Most women do not own phones so Bluetooth transfers were less common. However, listener appreciation was very high. SOFEPADI was highly satisfied with learning experience at MMW-SL and three pilot projects were undertaken by SOFEPADI between 2017 and 2019. SOFEPADI is currently testing whether its journalists can produce weekly episodes of “Wamama Tujenge” using Mobile Production Units (MPUs) in the same format and to the same quality as the original studio episodes. This pilot project is on-going.
2016-2017 – All the Children Reading
With support from USAID & Care International
- The “All Children Reading Program” tested the effectiveness of educational podcasts as a learning tool in both the urban and rural districts of Sierra Leone during crisis periods such as the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which hampered learning activities in the country for about two years.
- Determine whether either Bluetooth exchanges or IVR is the most effective means for delivering educational content via mobile phones.
We conducted a 6 week project involving 150 pupils: each week a new 13 minute podcast was distributed using either a Bluetooth transfer or via IVR covering the science lesson for that week. From this project, Bluetooth transfer of podcasts was selected as the more appropriate method of transfer, we still use this method to broadcast our podcasts to last-mile areas of Sierra Leone.
2017 – Testing VOTO’s ‘Missed Call’ Approach for Podcast Distribution
With support from Amplify Change, Women’s Development Fund & Manion Daniels
- Pilot a “Missed Call” approach to podcast programs wherein the listener calls an advertised number, connection is made but immediately cut after first ring and returned (free) call from VOTO Mobile is made back to the caller, playing the podcast.
- Assess effectiveness of podcasts covering topics such as GBV, access to comprehensive reproductive health services, sexual health of young women and girls among other issues.
- Conduct surveys at end of podcasts to gather listener feedback.
MMW provided the ability to track listener engagement through VOTO Mobile system, gathering data from rural women and girls in Sierra Leone, a previously untouched population. Journalists enhanced their technical skills through training in the IVR platform, new recording devices, new social media platforms, new reporting and data collection mechanisms, and new interaction methods with their sources and audience. We discovered the draw-backs of this method: only one podcast topic can be available to listeners at a time, many listeners could not complete surveys: the directions were difficult to understand or they found it too time-consuming.
2014-2015 – Testing the ‘Listener – Distributor’ Approach for Podcast Distribution during the Ebola Crisis
With support from the Indigo Trust, Oak Foundation, and African Women’s Development Fund
- Produce and deliver information about the Ebola crisis to women and girls, especially those living in remote villages.
- Adapt MMW-SL’s concept successfully tested of Pilot Project 1 to take into account constraints posed by the Ebola crisis (limited public gatherings and journalist movement).
- Create networks of listeners to pass our weekly programs one-on-one via Bluetooth, starting with an MMW-SL journalist and ending with an “Ambassador” designated in a target rural village.
MMW reached over 9,000 direct listeners per month in three regions of Sierra Leone: Makeni, Kenema and Waterloo, with a small paid staff consisting of only three part-time professional journalists, a project coordinator, and 45 ‘Listener Distributors’. Our total broadcast reach is likely much higher because of onward sharing beyond our networks but difficult to quantify. Through our podcasts, there was an improved understanding of Ebola, human rights, GBV, teen pregnancy, importance of girls attending school, health, participatory democracy, and income generation across last-mile areas of Sierra Leone. We demonstrated that MMW-SL’s innovative approach is possible at a cost significantly lower than traditional public service radio.