Weekly Awesome Tanzania: Radio

In a country where radio reaches a majority of the population, airwaves carry music, news and announcements to Tanzanians from cities to remote villages.  Radio is a new way for Volunteers in Tanzania to become involved in raising awareness about malaria and education.  All volunteers are trained in facilitating PataPata listening groups and some volunteers receive additional training in creating their own radio shows and public service announcements.

[heading style=”1″]PataPata[/heading]

 PataPata is a children’s radio program which was developed by Communication and Malaria Initiative in Tanzania (COMMIT), a USAID and PMI-funded project that is led by Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (JHUCCP).  JHUCCP Behavior Change Communication Program Officer Pamela Kweka trains Community Change Agents (CCAs) and Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) on how to host a listening group. Pamela says radio is the best means of communication because: [list style=”star”]

  • Most Tanzanians own radios
  • There is a wide coverage – you can communicate/reach many people at the same time
  • It is affordable – it does not cost much to air a radio spot compared to a TV spot
  • You can reach literate and non-literate audiences


On why PataPata was designed: “Experience shows that children can be effective agents of change within their families. However, most malaria messaging in Tanzania has focused on parents. That is why we decided to develop a children’s radio program that inspire children to actively participate in the fight against malaria through talking to their parents.”

Evaristus Mrope, Fatuma Ally and Juma Patakula with PCV Sativa Ertola, Mikey Rubey, Ben Diamond, and Cameron Bradley read a PataPata children’s radio show script.

In 44 ten-minute episodes, the show follows the adventures of children Kinara, Maua and a sneaky malaria mosquito named Annie Anopheles.  Throughout the series, which is broadcast on 4 national and 6 regional radio stations, children get key messages net use, malaria diagnosis and treatment as well as other issues of interest to children.  Discussion guides for both children and facilitators provide the audiences with questions and activities to accompany each episode.

Volunteer Nicole Sherman finds PataPata engaging and easy to use.  “The show is targeted for a group and comes with lesson plans, it’s done for you”, she claims.  PCV Eric Sandhurst agrees and adds “it’s good for PCVs because it helps us develop our language skills while helping the community learn about malaria.”  PCVs and CCAs alike are using PataPata to inspire a new generation of malaria-conscious youth.

[heading style=”1″]Spot On and Audacity[/heading]

PCV Kathryn Alexander, Toni Skidmore, Nicole Sherman, Tyler Jump, with Chacha Rafael (from Tanzania National Malaria Movement) and CCAs Ismail Nanyawike, and Prisca Manguya record a radio announcement.

At Regional Malaria Trainings, 47 volunteers are briefly trained using the Spot On Malaria: A Guide to Adapting, Developing and Producing Effective Radio Spots.   In a hands-on session they also learn to use Audacity, an open-source recording and editing software.  Both are effective tools that volunteers can share with counterparts to produce malaria messages and to build capacity in areas of technology and communication.

The radio-specific trainings also included discussions about how PCVs could use radio to do a Nightwatch campaign with well-known community members (village officials, teachers, shop owners, successful farmers), advertise events, for a malaria radio soap opera or mystery, public service announcements, interviews, weekly health talk shows and more.  CCAs and Volunteers without electricity, radios or radio signals were also creative with alternative ideas: putting their audio on CDs or flash drives to share with shop owners, taxi drivers, churches and mosques and playing recorded media on sound systems run by generators at weddings, parties and when the mobile video unit comes to town.  We look forward to hearing PCVs and their counterparts, students, and neighbors talking about malaria on local radio stations and alternatives.

The following are samples created during training sessions in April and May this year in Mtwara and Dodoma:

Listen to a Swahili Radio public service announcement here.

Writers: CCAs and PCVs from Masasi and Mtwara Rural districts
Voices: CCA Saidi Namonde and PCV Mikey Rubey
Topic: The common problem of not finishing the dose of ACTs

Listen to a sample of an English Radio Show here.

Writers and Voices: PCVs Alana Meek, Norique Robles, George Schilling, Mike Tracey, and Justin Quintana
Topic/uses: Announcing a malaria awareness event, shoutouts to/from villagers, LLIN reminder


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