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Using the power of radio to fight COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa

© David Bondo

In 2020-2021, Canada increased funding for Farm Radio International’s Scaling Her Voice on Air project. This enabled 140 radio stations in sub-Saharan African communities to raise public awareness about COVID-19 and dispel myths about the virus.

David Bondo, the director of Ratego Radio, a community station based in Kenya’s Siaya county, says that the programming focused on “the importance of using government and World Health Organization messaging...and of not spreading rumours.” For example, one radio program talked about the stigmatization and discrimination faced by those who test positive for COVID-19.

“Like rumours, stigmatization is dangerous. It prevents other people from getting tested and seeking care,” explains Bondo.

Without Canada’s support of Farm Radio International’s programming, he says his station would have had to rely on government information, which focused less on prevention strategies and more on statistics about new and recovered cases.

“Those are important,” Bondo says. “But they are not as helpful to listeners as advice.”

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