“Le vrai du confinement et du déconfinement”: a project creating radio programmes looking at the psychosocial effects of the pandemic in Niger
In Niger, the “Bien Être pour Tous” (Well-being for all) association has put together a series of radio programmes entitled “Le vrai du confinement et du déconfinement” (The truth about lockdown and coming out of lockdown) in order to address the psychosocial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These programmes, which were produced in French and in the country’s two main languages (Hausa and Zarma), were broadcast live on Radio Challenge and ten other MédiaSahel partner radio stations.
At the end of June 2020, the Bien être pour tous association began producing radio shows to provide psychosocial assistance to households affected by the partial lockdown measures imposed in parts of Niger. Created in partnership with CFI for MédiaSahel and eleven other partner radio stations in the various regions of the country, the aim of these programmes was to help families in Niger to manage their stress during this time by offering them the opportunity to talk directly with healthcare professionals, such as doctors, psychologists and family counsellors.
This series of programmes entitled “Le vrai du confinement et du déconfinement” was broadcast live on a Tuesday, over a period of four weeks and in 3 languages, on Challenge FM, before being re-broadcast on 10 other MédiaSahel partner radio stations in the Zinder, Diffa and Maradi regions in particular. Four 60-minute programmes were produced by Challenge FM and then translated into Zarma and Hausa, taking the total number of programmes broadcast to twelve.
A new topic was addressed during each show. These included “The coronavirus health crisis: when young people come together to fight COVID-19” and “The coronavirus health crisis: challenges for and perception of local stakeholders”. The first section, “Your lockdown”, introduced the topic of the day via a discussion with the programme’s guests, which allowed listeners to digest the topic and prepare their involvement.
The next section, “Lockdown heart-to-heart”, gave listeners the opportunity to get involved in the live show by telephone in order to ask questions or discuss topics with the guests. And finally, during the last section, “The coach’s opinion”, awareness-raising messages and advice for populations in lockdown were given by a person known for their expertise on the subject of healthcare.
In addition to issuing advice to people living in areas of the country in lockdown, the programme focused on addressing concerns relating to the post-lockdown period. The programmes therefore also helped to alleviate the psychosocial concerns that many listeners felt about the implementation of such measures.
Franck Akoto, who hosted the shows, believes that they highlighted “the true perception of the people of Niger of the coronavirus disease in particular and the health crisis in general. During these broadcasts, we saw a great deal of interest from the listeners, as evidenced by the live involvement by the callers. We received between nine and nineteen calls per programme, which is a fantastic average given the situation in Niger, particularly when it comes to COVID-19. There was a great deal of interest and we even received questions, opinions and concerns after the programmes had finished from listeners who had been following the programmes and from journalists from CFI’s partner radio stations across the whole of Niger”. The host was very positive about this initiative. “Being able to offer a project involving awareness-raising programmes of this kind for the people of Niger is a very welcome initiative that should be sustained until this pandemic has been effectively eradicated. Although Niger is lucky in that it is one of the African countries that has seen less catastrophic statistics in relation to this pandemic, it is essential that we are able to continue raising awareness, particularly now that it is glaringly obvious that people are becoming a lot less stringent in observing the health measures”.
The programme saw the involvement of many political and scientific figures who went on the airwaves to provide information to the populations and to hold discussions with them, including a representative from the Ministry of Health and a psychologist from the COVID-19 Response Committee in Niger.
MediaSahel COVID-19 supports the production and broadcasting of reliable, quality content on the coronavirus, by adapting media content already produced through the MediaSahel project and by offering new information and content to increase awareness.