Pascal Sawadogo is a farmer who lives in the village of Tanlili in Burkina Faso’s northern Yatenga province. He is married with eight children.
In the past, he was regularly frustrated with his wife, Payaolba Béatrice Sawadogo, if he returned home and found out that she had not completed all her chores.
Globally, women spend two to ten times more time on unpaid care work — like household chores — than men. This household labour imbalance is a social norm that is harmful to women, and one that radio programs that project positive versions of masculinity can challenge.
The Veneem soré (the way of light) radio series was broadcast as part of Farm Radio’s contribution to the ViMPlus project, led by ACDI/VOCA and funded by USAID. Veneem soré addresses gender equality and the division of labour within the home. The broadcasts featured interactive radio and drama episodes addressing health, nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene); livelihoods; inclusive governance; gender equality and social inclusion. The show shared practical tips, like regularly evaluating the quantity of work done by each member of the household, appreciating others’ efforts and avoiding imposing one’s own way of doing a task.
Pascal applied what he learned.
“These days, I no longer accept that my wife does all the chores like before. We’ve divided up the tasks so that they support each other,” he says.
In the radio drama on sharing household tasks, Yânde leaves his wife Touissida overloaded with chores while he goes out to drink. However, when Yânde visits a friend on the way, he sees his friend helping his wife in the kitchen. Their ensuing discussion changes Yânde’s perspective on sharing household tasks.
Veneem soré was broadcast as part of Farm Radio’s contribution to the ViMPlus project, led by ACDI-VOCA and funded by USAID, which featured interactive radio and drama episodes addressing health, nutrition and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene); livelihoods; inclusive governance; gender equality and social inclusion.
When addressing sensitive issues, Farm Radio often use radio dramas featuring fictional characters to avoid putting community members at risk and broach topics that people might be afraid to discuss. The dramas were part of our “Drama+” approach, which combines radio dramas with interactive discussions.
It was Pascal who initiated the conversation with his wife after listening to the radio show. He said to her, “I’ve listened to a radio drama. I’m letting go of what I did before. One person does not make a family.”
The radio series aimed to help offer different ways for communities to solve problems. Through dialogue in listening groups, community members were able to come together, evaluate their options and decide how they might change. Combined with other work within the VimPlus project, these radio dramas contributed to changes in behaviour with far reaching effects.
And for Pascal, those conversations have made a difference. Pascal says he and his wife are happier together and at peace.
Their children are following in their father’s footsteps. Now, Pascal says, they help clean their own clothes — and Pascal lends them a helping hand instead of leaving everything to his wife.
About the author
Benjamin Nama is a Radio Craft Officer with Farm Radio International, based in Burkina Faso.
About the project
ViMPlus, or the Victory Against Malnutrition Plus Activity, is part of USAID’s RISE II program (Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced II) program, which helps vulnerable communities in Burkina Faso and Niger to prepare for and manage risks, and to find sustainable ways out of poverty. ViMPlus is managed and implemented by ACDI/VOCA.
Farm Radio International acted as part of a consortium led by ACDI/VOCA and focused on the communication aspect of the ViMPlus project. Farm Radio implemented the project in the Centre-Nord administrative region of Burkina Faso.
In the context of this partnership with ACDI/VOCA, Farm Radio used a strategy of mass communication for social and behaviour change based on interactive radio, in collaboration with five radio stations in the Centre-Nord region in Burkina Faso. A sustainable approach was used to reinforce partner radio stations’ capacity to design, produce and broadcast an interactive radio campaign composed of two series of 12 gender-sensitive, interactive episodes (one series of interactive radio and another series of Drama+), each on Health-Nutrition-WASH, livelihoods, inclusive governance, gender equality and social inclusion.