The role of community radio in anti-female genital mutilation awareness: a study of togotane fm, Migori county, Kenya
Zattu, Isabel Ziz
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Community radio is acknowledged as an effective tool for awareness creation and social action and has been employed worldwide to change behavior. It is however insightful that in the case of female genital mutilation (FGM), there appears to be no evidence on the effectiveness of community radio, considering that the practice continues unabated even in communities with community radios, such as the Kuria, in which Togotane FM, a popular community radio operates. This study, therefore, sought to establish the role of community radio in anti-FGM awareness, with a specific focus on Togotane FM. The specific objectives were to: examine the role of program content, assess the role of audience segmentation; and to evaluate the role of audience participation with respect to anti-FGM awareness on Togotane FM. The literature review took a thematic approach, guided by the study objectives. The study was anchored on the democratic participant theory of communication. The study adopted a mixed research approach, whereby both qualitative and quantitative data were collected using the survey design and content analysis of Togotane FM’s programs. The target population were 305,385 listeners of Togotane FM in the Kuria region, with a sample of 399 respondents that was arrived at using Yamane’s formula. Main respondents were selected through multi-stage clustering and then random sampling, while key informants who included Togotane FM staff and community resource persons were selected purposively. Data was collected from main respondents using a semi-structured questionnaire and focus group discussions, and from key informants using interviews. Quantitative data were analyzed via descriptive statistics and presented, charts while qualitative data were analyzed thematically and presented in narrative form. All ethical principles were observed. The study found that although three programs - Ikihita, Tabataba and Omogeka - occasionally carry anti-FGM content, there are no programs dedicated specifically to anti-FGM on Togotane FM. Furthermore, the station does not have a clear segmentation strategy, which could be contributing to the exclusion younger listeners from anti-FGM discussions. Finally, the study reveals that the audience participates in feedback only, but not in the production process. Based on the aforementioned, the study recommends that community radio should dedicate specific programs to anti-FGM content and conduct audience surveys to establish the best options for timing and content delivery strategy. It is also important to develop a scheduling policy to guide market segmentation, based on the results of audience surveys. Finally, community radio should involve audiences in all aspects, programming, including, content creation, hosting of radio shows, and providing feedback while programs are being aired.