Hamsatou Kano, president of the Kokomani women’s radio listening group, being interviewed for a radio broadcast.
A single radio broadcast can change lives. This is certainly true for the people of Kokomani, Niger.
Located on the banks of the Niger River, Kokomani is about 20 kilometres from the nearest city of Tillabery. Until recently, health services were almost non-existent for its more than 500 residents, resulting in high rates of infant mortality and childhood illnesses. Recognizing this, the women of the community formed a listening group, with help from FRI, to share input on the content of a brand new radio program designed to help them.
Because we train broadcasters that the voice of the audience is vital to the content of programs, the Kokomani women’s listening group was also a speaking group. Women were encouraged to share their opinions by calling into their radio station and by participating in live broadcasts from their village.
Voice of the River, FRI’s broadcasting partner in nearby Tillabery, aired the concerns of the women’s group as part of the first in a series of interactive, participatory radio programs on women’s and children’s health and nutrition.
The program, How a woman in pregnancy should take care, was done on location in Kokomani. During the show, the group made its case for a village nurse. Hamsatou Kano, president of the group, had this to say about the community’s needs:
“Many women have lost their children. Others have lost their lives. That’s why we need a nurse in our village.”
The broadcast was heard in the corridors of power and now a nurse has been assigned to the village for the first time. Women and men alike are pleased. Moussa Seybou shared that the men of Kokomani “are happy because our women are organized today with this group.” Radio helped amplify the voices of women in Kokomani and the village is better for it.
This radio program is FRI’s contribution to Scaling up resilience for more than one million (SUR1M), a project funded by UKAID and led by Catholic Relief Services that aims to build resilience by increasing preparedness in the face of climate extremes, deepening gender-responsive mitigation practices, and building critical assets by reinforcing the disaster risk management capacity of 19 communities in Niger and Mali.