International (EA) works to include communities in matters of
national dialogue with the help of FrontlineSMS’ groundbreaking
technology. EA specializes in educating and empowering people in some
of the world’s most remote regions through media and community
mobilization. With millions of regular listeners, our media programs
leverage radio dramas and chat shows, mobile theatre, television
shows, listening discussion groups, leadership training and community
actions to foster positive change.
EA has been using
FrontlineSMS in Chad and Niger since late 2009. They produce six
radio programs in these two countries and, for each show, listeners
can send text messages to a dedicated telephone number, which is
toll-free in Niger. The radio stations receive messages from
thousands of listeners, some in response to questions posed on the
radio program and others sharing their views and commentary on the
programs. During an 18-month period 1,119 messages were received in
Chad and 2,330 messages were received in Niger.
In Chad, Equal
Access produces a youth radio show titled “Chabab Al Haye” (Youth
Alive) which uses a presenter-led chat show format to discuss
peaceful ways of addressing grievances, tolerance, livelihoods
information and problem solving. Listeners can send in feedback
through our FrontlineSMS system asking questions, such as this young
listener who texted:
“I lived for a
little while in the North, and I noticed that tribalism still exists
there. The young people from the North and South avoid relating to
one another. How do we get past this behavior?”
comments like this one can be featured on this radio programs and
discussed, helping youth from all reaches of the country feel
included in the conversation.
importantly, they use FrontlineSMS to create interaction with the
radio programs and include listener feedback in the programs, to show
listeners that they are being heard. In closed communities, or those
struggling with violence or intolerance, the act of engaging in an
interactive dialogue via a mass communications platform such as a
radio can help people feel engaged and included.
In Niger during the
pre-election period running up to the peaceful and democratic
transition from a military junta to an elected civilian
administration, radio listeners around the country were able to
express their views about positions and candidates through SMS
messages in response to the radio programs.
The messages contributed to a more open and inclusive debate because
audiences were able to connect to program producers directly through
a toll-free SMS message line.
Geographic – Daily News)