Since 2010, we have been operating an Interactive Radio Drama project which combines radio drama and mobile phones for large-scale behaviour change and advocacy related to the health and rights of marginalised women and girls.
Each week, our Radio Team devises and records drama based on the stories and experiences of the women and girls with whom we work. These dramas then air as part of our weekly live radio programmes on Malawi’s largest and most popular radio station.
After the drama airs, listeners are invited to call in and replace the main character in the story, to show what they could do differently to change the situation for the better. This unique interaction promotes deeper empathy and understanding between the main character and the audience, and allows the audience to experiment with practical forms of behaviour change and life skills development. This serves as a rehearsal for real life.
Our live broadcasts reach an estimated 550,000 people in Malawi each week. The broadcasts use a magazine-style format, which means that there are several different segments that air over the course of one hour.
We receive hundreds of SMS and Facebook messages from listeners after each programme we air – responding to poll questions, reacting to characters’ decisions in the dramas, or telling us how the programmes are impacting their lives and relationships, and making it easier for them to change behaviour and assert their sexual and reproductive health rights.
We produced 64 live broadcasts, 53 segment features and over 900 promotional messages promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights.
We gave 239 listeners the chance to play the main character and change their behaviour live on air.
We received 115,256 messages from listeners via SMS and Facebook.
We interviewed 32 in-studio guests – all local authorities who pledged to take policy action to uphold the rights of vulnerable women and girls.
We are proud to be the only organisation in the world running interactive dramas on radio. We offer training in how we do it. For more information, please contact our UK office.
Photos copyright Adam Dickens for Taking Pictures, Changing Lives
The Interactive Radio Drama experience was one of the most connected I have ever felt when listening to radio – not only because I connected to the story, but I was able to put myself in the story, and listen to others who have similar ideas and feelings as me.
Bria, Radio Listener and Participant in Interactive Touch Tag