Impact of Wi di Pipul – according to listeners

Woman talks on the radio

A community member speaking about a BBC Media Action radio drama in Marbella, Freetown.

Wi Di Pipul, a BBC Media Action show produced as part of the SABI project, was broadcast for the last time this month.

Broadcast every Sunday at 7pm on STAR Radio, and syndicated to 20 local radio stations around Sierra Leone, Wi di Pipul is a weekly Krio-language, one-hour magazine show. It has reached a national audience, specifically targeting women, marginalised young people, Ebola survivors, people with disabilities and other excluded groups.

Wi Di Pipul set out to increase awareness of rights and entitlements to services and the post-Ebola Presidential Recovery Priorities plan in Sierra Leone. The show has focused on real stories about people trying to access quality services and the relationships between people, service providers and other leaders at community level.

Here, through the views of listeners given at focus group discussions around the country, we look at the Wi di Pipul’s impact since its launch in October 2016.

‘My aunty is entitled to free healthcare’

My aunty, who is an Ebola survivor, fell sick and went to a government hospital for a check-up and treatment. To my disappointment, she was asked for money before attending to her. Because she had no money on her, they only gave her 10 doxycycline and told her to go home.

She was complaining of pains in her body, itching and stomach upset; she was even vomiting too. So I went to the hospital to a doctor [and told him] that I am not pleased the way my aunty was treated at the hospital. I told him that I have listened to the Wi Di Pipul programme on Radio VoPAD several times, and that Ebola survivors should receive free medical treatment at all government hospitals on a no-cost basis.

So I demanded him to look into the case of my aunty and he promised to do so. The next day, my aunty was admitted at the hospital for three nights and she was given the best treatment and we did not pay any money, except that we took food for her every day at hospital.

Male listener, focus group discussion, Waterloo, Western Area Rural District


‘It’s my right to take my kids to hospital for free care’

I am a blind woman with two kids. I have learned through the programme that it is my right to take my under-five kids to hospital for free medical [care]. But most of the time I struggle a lot to access this service because of my blindness.

Female listener, focus group discussion, Bo


‘Pregnant women should receive free treatment’

I have learned from the programme that as pregnant women we should receive free treatment at the hospital, but our own case here is totally different.

They are not really taking care of us, the pregnant women, and they will extort huge sums of money from us when we go to the hospital for treatment or for clinical services.

Female listener, mixed youth focus group discussion, Freetown


‘My kids benefit from a school feeding programme’

I did not know before that it is only some government schools and government-assisted schools that benefit from the school feeding programme, but after listening to Wi Di Pipul I was able to know that.

Now I changed my kids from a private school, where they were attending, to a government school where they benefit from a school feeding programme.

This has helped me [to] save over 200,000 Leones [about £22] a month since they started. Preparing lunch for five kids has never been easy.

Female listener, focus group discussion, Bo


‘We never knew about the cash transfer programme – then I listened to the programme’

People have been crying that there’s so much hardship and the country is not really going forward.

We never knew that this cash transfer programme is really taking place in the country. But then I listened to the programme.

That has helped me a lot to change my mind, because I have also been going on with the idea that government has long since forgotten about the Ebola survivors, not knowing that there has been support for them, which we never knew, except through this programme. 

Young listener, focus group discussion, Bo


Clear now where school supplies come from

I was with the opinion that [schools] are only receiving supplies [books and learning materials] because they might have given some money in the form of bribe.

But when this programme [Wi Di Pipul] came, it made clear to me that all those schools that are receiving those supplies have been government-assisted schools.

Young listener, mixed youth focus group discussion, Freetown