Radio stations using SABI data to cover key issues

SABI Radio Banka Soka FM97 show being recorded

Radio Bankasoka FM is one of SABI’s radio station partners

Journalists from radio stations across Sierra Leone have been using citizen perception data gathered by SABI to inform the content of their programmes and get to the heart of key issues affecting communities.

The news follows training for 47 journalists from radio stations across Sierra Leone provided by SABI’s partner, BBC Media Action. Week-long workshops were held in Bo, Makeni, Kenema and Freetown.

BBC Media Action followed up after the workshops, asking journalists to assess how far they had put the training into practice by integrating data into their existing local programmes.

Bringing data to life

In its Kokorioko breakfast programme, Radio Kolenten in Kambia had examined the rollout of community health work supporting pregnant women to access services and basic drugs. The show featured Kambia’s district medical officer and the district logistics officer, who spoke about drug distribution and availability at primary healthcare units.

On Radio Gbafth’s Waetin Dae Happen show in Tonkolili they interviewed the district medical officer about support services available for Ebola survivors, particularly healthcare. Culture Radio used data in a show about the accessibility of free healthcare drugs in Freetown. Guests included a representative from the Health for All Coalition.

Voice of the Peninsula in Tombo looked at the availability of essential drugs at health facilities in their daily magazine show Waetin Dae Bi, interviewing a community health officer and other health facility staff. They also looked at the impact of school feeding, asking parents and teachers about the effectiveness of the initiative.

Eastern Radio, Kenema, looked at classroom upgrades as a strategy to manage school overcrowding, focusing on the Municipal Primary School in Dauda that recently had a classroom constructed under the Presidential Recovery Priorities (PRPs). Guests included a Ministry of Education, Science and Technology representative and the school headteacher.

‘It is our aspiration that some of the journalists trained may continue to use the data and skills they learnt from the workshops in future shows produced by their station. Christian Aid or other SABI partners may wish to regularly engage these journalists in the future.’
Rebecca Wood, BBC Media Action, Sierra Leone.

In their breakfast programme Contry Bly, SLBC Makeni looked at whether building extra classrooms had effectively reduced overcrowding in schools. They hosted the district’s deputy director of schools for the discussion.

Radio Bintumani, Koinadugu, hosted the district’s deputy director of education on their breakfast programme Insaid Koinadugu, and explored data from the district about the number of pupils who said portions of food received under the school feeding programme were never enough

Tumac Radio, Freetown, in their flagship show Report Card looked at the effectiveness of school feeding in eastern Freetown, with guests including the headteacher of SLPMB Primary School in Kissy, a member of the school’s education committee and a community chief

Sherbro Island station Radio Bontico’s education show Book Learning examined initiatives to train teachers on the core syllabus, looking at progress of 130 trainee teachers in Bonthe.

Girls listening to Radio Banka Soka FM97 in Port Loko District, Sierra Leone

Girls listening to Radio Banka Soka FM97 in Port Loko District, Sierra Leone


BBC Media Action’s training also included sessions on:

  • The Government’s recovery priorities for education, health and social protection.
  • In depth discussion of data around education and health, and brainstorming how this could be incorporated into existing local radio shows.
  • The role of the media in facilitating local solutions to service delivery problems.
  • Understanding how and why citizen perception data was collected, its key themes and how it will be used by SABI consortium members and partners with local and national audiences.
  • Brainstorming ideas around data on Ebola survivors and NaCSA (National Commission for Social Action) cash transfers.
  • Good and bad ways of using data in a show and post-workshop plans.

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