Weekly Bulletins Assist Stations with COVID-19 Story Ideas
Every week, Developing Radio Partners puts together a tip sheet for radio reporters in Malawi. We call it The Weekly Bulletin. It focuses on a different topic each week. In recent issues our bulletin writer and researcher in Malawi, Edna Bvalani, focused on concerns that stay-at-home orders could lead to an increase in sexual assaults against children and students falling behind in their studies.
Using material from the Weekly Bulletins, partner station, Chirundu Radio, in Nkhata Bay, contacted local police and found that reported assaults against children had increased in early April mainly because parents were sending their kids alone to the markets to sell items.
Chirundu Radio invited a police officer onto the radio program that DRP-trained reporters produce each week.
The officer warned parents about the attacks and by the first week of May, reported sexual assaults against children in the community had dropped a whopping 84%.
The bulletins also gave Chirundu Radio’s station manager Innocent Manda another idea aimed at keeping students busy while schools are closed. Mr. Manda decided to hold classes on the radio each day. He invited teachers from various schools into the studio where they taught their math, English, geography, art and other classes each day beginning at 10 a.m.
District Health officer, Youngson Ngwira, says “this is exactly what the district needs so that pupils don’t forget their studies.”
Since early March, DRP has been producing weekly bulletins on COVID-19-related topics – including messaging aimed at stopping the spread of the virus in the nine rural communities where DRP works. The efforts are helping our partner stations produce programs and jingles that lead to healthy behaviors by giving their listeners accurate and timely information from the most-trusted source in their community – their local radio station.