The focus of FRI’s work with broadcasters in Africa is usually food security and farming. However, there are many factors to rural life in Africa that contribute to healthy, productive and food secure households: farming is just one of them. Other issues, like child and maternal health, are also critically important. In Burkina Faso, for example, infant mortality is 81 per 1000 live births and the maternal mortality rate is 307 per 100,000. Major reasons for this are malnutrition, weak maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services, malaria and nutritional deficiencies (mainly iron, iodine and vitamin A). Radio can play an effective role by sharing knowledge and giving voice to rural mothers and their families.
The Project d’Amélioration de la Santé des Mères et des Enfants (PASME) project in Burkina Faso is a great example. PASME is a three-year project being implemented with funding from Canada’s Muskoka Initiative by our strategic partner – World University Service of Canada (WUSC). We are offering our expertise in participatory radio to bolster communication at the community level in one health district in Burkina Faso. We will work with one community radio station to engage local communities in active discussions on air related to maternal, newborn and child health, and give women and their support networks the information and tools necessary to ensure a healthy pregnancy, birth and childhood for their children.
This project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.