“Alors on dit quoi ?” [So, what do you think?]: programmes that speak to African youths about the health crisis

June 17, 2020

How are Africa's youths adapting to the pandemic? What difficulties and struggles do they face in their day-to-day lives? How do they envision the post-COVID-19 era? These are all questions that the "Alors On Dit Quoi ?" programmes broadcast in the French language, and their Mandinka ("Kan Jumɛ Bɛ Yɛn?") and Fulani ("Ko mbiidon ?") counterparts, are attempting to address.

Alors On Dit Quoi ? which has been broadcast in French since January 2019 on RFI's airwaves, is a programme created by young people, for young people. This magazine programme aims to provide youths from various African countries with spaces in which they can freely express themselves in order to launch debates, highlight initiatives and share practical advice on working life and much more.

The principle behind the programme is simple: the topics addressed are chosen based on current events in the countries and the interests of young people. An appeal for callers is put out and then published on the programme's various social media pages ( Facebook and Twitter). Those who are interested provide their contact details using the numbers indicated in the appeal and are called back during the recording of the programme so that they can join in with the various speakers.

This has made it possible to discuss topics such as “Tips and tricks for finding a job", “My language, my identity" and even “My country is in crisis" in recent months.

An atmosphere of trust between listeners

As a result of COVID-19, the subjects addressed have been reoriented to deal with the impact of the pandemic on young people and to discuss ways of adapting to the changes. Topics such as “Young people and information on coronavirus", “Focus initiatives: when young people come together to tackle COVID-19" and “Coronavirus: your feelings" have been debated, still adhering to the same principle of appealing for callers, but with guest speakers joining remotely.

The programme's host has succeeded in establishing an atmosphere of trust, as is made clear by the comments posted on social media by listeners: " At the time of reading, i.e. one day after your post, the day is about to end, it has been tiring; work from 10am to 8pm, but listening to RFI is giving me energy for tomorrow" / "topics that relate to the daily life of ordinary citizens. Thank you for the ingenuity and professionalism of the whole group".

The " So, what do you think?" magazine programme, which was born of a collaboration between CFI and RFI as part of the MediaSahel project, has been interpreted into Mandinka and Fulfulde since April 2019. These versions, called "Kan Jumɛ Bɛ Yɛn?" and "Ko mbiidon ?" are broadcast weekly and have adapted their schedules to meet the information needs of the people of the Sahel region with regard to developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.[SS1]
The programme is broadcast in French on RFI every Saturday at 09:10 UT (11:10 Paris time). You can listen back to the programme as a podcast at: http://www.rfi.fr/fr/podcasts/alors-on-dit-quoi/ or join the Facebook and Twitter communities.
The programmes broadcast in mandenkan and fulfuldé are also available as podcasts.

The MediaSahel project is supported by the French Development Agency (AFD).
This new content is also funded by AFD as part of the French COVID-19 - Health in Common initiative.