The Promise of Participatory Media
Throughout its global programming, SPRING is harnessing the power of innovative community media to improve maternal, infant, and young child nutrition (MIYCN) and hygiene practices. In addition to traditional communication channels and platforms, new low-cost technologies can be utilized to vastly reduce gaps in information for both rural and urban families trying to improve their health and livelihoods. In previously isolated villages, the introduction of mobile phones, low-cost video cameras, computers, editing software, and mobile pico projectors is opening the doors to an influx of information. When community members see and hear about people just like them who have tried and adopted new and improved behaviors to enhance their family’s health and wellbeing, the results can be powerful. We are using this novel social and behavior change communication approach to change lives by developing and promoting locally produced participatory media, including radio spots and videos.
Our community media programming combines nutrition messaging with creative, community-based technology platforms. The community-based interpretation and rollout of the work ensures the appropriateness and acceptability of the local adaptation of messaging while the ongoing creative process ensures adaptability to evolving seasonal variation and potential environmental and other shocks. Promoting uptake of key MIYCN and hygiene practices while building local capacity to develop and disseminate contextually-appropriate, locally-relevant, and life-saving information, our media platforms help build resilience and healthy families in highly vulnerable settings. SPRING currently engaged in community media programming in India, Niger, and Burkina Faso and is looking to expand this approach in additional countries.
Promoting Better Nutrition and Hygiene through Participatory Video in India and Niger
SPRING is committed to identifying and testing proven or highly promising social and behavior change communication tools and models with a focus on community media for improving nutrition and hygiene behaviors. Beginning in 2012, we collaborated with Digital Green (DG) in testing the feasibility of their innovative “human mediated digital learning approach” for the promotion of high impact maternal, infant and young child nutrition (MIYCN) and hygiene behaviors. We adapted this approach—previously focused on the promotion of improved agricultural behaviors—to encourage better nutrition and hygiene practices in Keonjhar District of Odisha, India. In 2014, we then refined the approach for the resilience context of Niger in partnership with three projects: the Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Enhanced Resilience Program (REGIS-ER), Livelihoods, Agriculture and Health Interventions in Action (LAHIA), and Sawki.
Radio and Theatre for Health in Burkina Faso
In the most underserved areas of Burkina Faso, SPRING and its partner, Development Media International (DMI), are training community radio and theatre groups to promote better maternal, infant and young child feeding and hygiene practices. A third partner in this effort is Resilience and Economic Growth in the Sahel – Enhanced Resilience Program (REGIS-ER), which works across both Niger and Burkina Faso in the Sahel. The work in Burkina Faso uses radio spots, complementary live dramas with local actors, and existing radio listening groups while also developing the capacity of the radio stations.