Help bring vital maternal health information to thousands of rural Ethiopians!

Help raise $10,000.

Tragically, in Ethiopia, more than 1 in every 250 pregnancies results in the death of the mother, and 1 in 30 the death of a newborn baby. The Ethiopian government is working hard to ensure access to skilled care during childbirth by increasing the number of hospitals and health centers across the country. Health facilities provide staff with the technical capacities, supplies, medicines, and equipment needed to manage complications and prevent deaths.  

But due to lack of knowledge in their communities, many expectant mothers don't make use of these facilities. With greater community awareness, most of these senseless deaths can be prevented.

In response, the University of Alberta and Unicef Ethiopia produced a song in support of maternal, neonatal and child health in Ethiopia. “If You Have Heart” (Lib Yaleh) featuring two of Ethiopia’s biggest stars, Zeritu Kebede and Tadele Gemechu, singing in the country’s two most widely understood languages (Amharic and Oromo), along with a superb band in an arrangement by bassist-producer Thomas Gobena, and a music video directed by Daniel Tamirat.

The video quickly went viral, accruing over a million views on YouTube. But an accompanying survey indicated that most of its viewers resided in urban areas, where internet and TV are widely accessible.

How to deliver Lib Yaleh’s crucial messages to rural areas of the country, where they are most urgently needed, despite limited internet and television access? 

The answer is radio.

We (Dr. Michael Frishkopf, Meseret Haileyesus, and Sanga Achakzai) have therefore sought out the support of Farm Radio International (FRI), a Canadian charity uniquely focussed on improving the lives of rural Africans through the world’s most accessible communications tool, radio. They produce radio resources that help thousands of broadcasters across the continent improve their programs for farmers; run radio projects that help millions of people achieve better livelihoods and health outcomes; and pioneer radio innovations that feature the latest technologies to make rural radio even more powerful.

Our initial goal is to raise $10,000 for FRI to broadcast this powerful video but also to go beyond just airing the song.  FRI will arrange for the production of four programs aired on three broadcast stations in two regions of Ethiopia — one that speaks Amharic and the other that speaks Oromo. Thanks to Uliza, FRI’s suite of digital interactivity tools, listeners can call in and  interact with the radio programs, express their own opinions, ask questions, and give feedback, using an ordinary mobile phone, without the need for the internet and at no additional cost to them. 

Having listeners participate, allows them to hear their own voices, ask questions and provide their feedback.  They feel an active part of the radio program which in turn makes the programs more effective.

We hope you can help make this project a reality! 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Michael Frishkopf, Professor and Associate Chair (Graduate Studies), Department of Music; Director, Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology (CCE) (cce.ualberta.ca).  

Meseret Haileyesus, CEO of Maternity Today

Sanga Achakzai, Executive Director of Maternity Today

P.S.  Our goal is $10,000 but should less be raised FRI will reduce the scale and scope of the project in Ethiopia or allocate the funding toward another maternal health project with my consultation.

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