iMedia Director Nicola Harford recently travelled deep into the Oromia region of Ethiopia whilst reviewing the work of BBC Media Action, funded by DFID. Here women are gathered at the local health facility to listen to the radio show Biftuu Jireenya (meaning Dawn of Life in the local language Afan Oromo). Led by a female and male presenter team it features a lively mix of interviews, spots, poems and music relating to maternal and child health. The listening group members discuss the programme together and then relay the information to their own family and neighbouring households. Of course for iMedia as external evaluators the big question is ‘Is Biftuu Jireenya having any impact on the audience’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour?’ One listener says that previously mothers in the area would give birth at home and accept any complications such as bleeding: now they know to go to the health centre for delivery. Local health worker Amina reports that the radio programme and the listening groups are helping to mobilise the community: “More people from the area are registering pregnant women at the centre”. Nicola also witnessed large scale survey research being carried out to answer these questions and iMedia will be reviewing the results later this year.
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