USING RADIO COMMUNICATION TO EMPOWER COMMUNITIES TO DEAL WITH EARLY MARRIAGES, TEENAGE PREGNANCIES, AND ALCOHOL ABUSE
Price: 2000 Naira (BSC, MSC)
Communication at whatever level of development is crucial in bringing about awareness of issues among people and creating a platform for finding interactivity whose end purpose is to forge consolidated solutions to the commonly experienced problems. Some of the common problems that many communities face are alcoholism, teenage pregnancies and early marriages.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how communication tools can be used in dealing with issues of alcoholism, teenage pregnancies, and early marriages. This research was a case study of Yatsani Community Radio in relation to Chanyanya fish camps in Kafue district of Zambia. The study focused on how Yatsani‟s programming is helping Chanyanya community to deal with the issues of alcoholism, early marriages and teenage pregnancies.
In this study, a questionnaire was distributed to 100 respondents in Chanyanya fish camps of Kafue district. Three focus group discussions were conducted, and an in-depth interview was done. The Statistical Package of the Social Sciences (SPSS) software was used to analyze data.
The objectives of the study were; (1) To conduct an audience survey on listenership to Yatsani radio in Chanyanya fish camp and surrounding communities (2) To assess the impact of programmes aired on Yatsani radio on issues of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and alcohol abuse (3) To evaluate the audience‟s listening frequency to issues pertaining to alcohol abuse, early marriages and teenage pregnancies aired on Yatsani radio (4) To propose ways that could help deliver programs to deal with issues of alcohol abuse, early marriages and teenage pregnancies.
The findings of this study were that radio is one of the most accessed media, and that people appreciated the programs dealing with issues of alcohol abuse, early marriages and teenage pregnancies. However it was pointed out that Yatsani radio has to promote participation of the community in programming so as to enhance program ownership by the community, and this is something which could be a catalyst for positive change towards development. It was seriously recommended that community radio stations need financial assistance from the government in order for them to carry out their work effectively.
The results of this study were intended to help Yatsani community radio, and other community radio stations in helping communities to use communication tools to deal with issues such as alcohol abuse, early marriages and teenage pregnancies.
1.0.0 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Communication is critical to the development of Communities, Continents and the whole global village.
Through Communication people are able to understand issues and forge relationships that help to develop their standards of living.
Many Countries in the world have different issues of development that they grapple with every day, and Zambia is no exception.
One of the many issues contributing to underdevelopment is ignorance. And so, information sharing & dissemination becomes crucial in bringing about integral development. An informed population makes informed decisions. The media is seen as a source of information provision, and a tool to provoke both inter and intrapersonal dialogue with the potential to create positive action among community members.
Among different media, radio has been widely used in the fight against early marriages, alcohol abuse, illiteracy and teenage pregnancies in the quest to bring about human development. Radio has been widely used because of its obvious advantages over other media due to its wide availability and accessibility both to the illiterate and literate.
The introduction of Community Radio has greatly benefited different Communities in addressing various social problems. Alcoholism, early marriages and teenage pregnancies are some of the world social problems that the community Radio has fought to address.
Teenage pregnancies, alcoholism and early marriages are some of the problems that affect the Zambian Society. Community radio, in its content and programming focuses on the needs of the community in which it is located and to which it is broadcasting. It uses the language that is understood by the people in its catchment area. In the words of Patrick Tor Alumuku (2007), community radio is “the oil which helps the community development machine to keep running without breaking down. It provides new ideas and it facilitates relationships and promotes collaboration which are necessary for the process of change and development.”
This study looks at the usage of communication tools to empower communities like Chanyanya to deal with issues of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and alcohol abuse. It is a case study of Chanyanya fishing community of Kafue district of Zambia in relation to Yatsani community radio station.
1.2.0 Profile of Zambia
Zambia derives its name from the Zambezi River that rises in the northwest corner of the country and makes its southern boundary with Zimbabwe. Geographically, the country is landlocked, situated between latitude 10 degrees and 18 degrees south and longitude 22 degrees and 33 degrees east.
It has an area covering about 752,614 square kilometres. It is surrounded by eight neighbours namely: Democratic Republic of Congo to the north and northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, Malawi to the east, Mozambique to the southeast, Zimbabwe to the south, Botswana and Namibia to the southwest and Angola to the west.
1.2.2 The Climate
Although within the tropical latitudes of 10 to 18 degrees south of the equator its altitude, averaging 1,300m above sea level, Zambia has a moderate temperate climate with humidity normally below 40%.
Zambia has three seasons namely:
Cool and dry – May to August
Hot and dry – September to November Warm and wet – December to April
The website on Zambia tourism mentions that only in the valleys of the Zambezi and Luangwa is there excessive heat, particularly in October and, in the wet season, a high humidity.
In the warm wet season, heavy showers and thunderstorms occur, followed by spells of bright sunshine. It is understandable that during this season plants grow profusely and rivers and streams get filled within a short time.
According to Fisher (1984), during the cool dry season, night frosts may occur in places sheltered from the wind. The countryside dries up gradually and bush fires usually follow this. Temperatures rise during the hot, dry season but new leaves appear on the trees before the rains begin.
The Wikipedia encyclopedia mentions that the average rainfall, between November and April, is about 950mm. The summer temperatures range from 20 degrees to 32 degrees Celsius. Winter temperatures range from 10 degrees to about 26 degrees. Due to this kind of weather and climate, the country is prone to droughts from time to time.
Zambia has a population of about 13 million half of which lives in urban areas while the other half lives in rural areas. The population is characterized by rapid growth of 3 percent per annum. The country has a very youthful population below 15 years estimated at 45.5 percent of the total population according to Central Statistical Office (CSO) data for the year 2010. However, life expectancy is very low and has been declining from 46.9 percent in 1990 to 39 percent in 1999 and 36 in 2003. The HIV and AIDS prevalence is very high, standing at 16 percent of the total population aged between 15 and 59 as at 2002.
1.3.0 Profile of Yatsani radio station
In 1995, following the holding of the Synod of Africa, the Zambia Episcopal Conference (Z.E.C) resolved to establish a national Catholic radio station. As a way of implementing this idea, the Archdiocese of Lusaka, in 1997, decided to have a radio station of its own. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services granted the Archdiocese a Broadcasting license in 1998. Yatsani Radio began its test transmission on 1st July 1999 on 99.1 F.M for four hours each day. The hours of transmission have since been increased and the station now broadcasts from 04:30 hrs to midnight daily.
1.3.1 Vision Statement
Yatsani Radio has but one overall aim towards which each and every one of its activities is directed. The aim is to be an effective instrument of unity and evangelization within the Archdiocese of Lusaka.
1.3.2 Mission Statement
Yatsani Radio is a Catholic Community Radio Station that is committed to spreading God‟s love to all people regardless of creed, color, race, gender, political affiliation and nationality through broadcasting programmes and news. Its mission is to bring about integral development to all people through evangelization.
1.3.3 Objectives of Yatsani Radio The following are the objectives of the radio: The Radio station achieves its aim of unity and evangelization by pursuing several intermediate objectives:
All broadcasts are in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel and of the Catholic Church.
There is maximum participation of the local Church in all aspects of the life of Yatsani Radio.
All transmissions of Yatsani Radio are directed towards increasing community harmony, unity and peace.
All sectors of the local Church community have a voice on Yatsani Radio, regardless of age, gender, nationality or economic status, provided their contribution is directed towards the uplifting of the Church.
Special emphasis in programming is given to themes that help and support the poor, marginalized and voiceless members of the local community to promote social justice.
Unity is fostered by the use of local languages and English in programming. Those traditional practices and beliefs conducive to good Christian living are upheld by Yatsani Radio at all times.
Whilst programmes transmitted by Yatsani Radio are not exclusively religious, priority will be given to themes which will build up faith, give hope and foster charity among the listeners.
Whilst recognizing that some areas of some programmes are, by their very nature, political as well as religious, the Radio station shall not be involved in partisan politics.
Yatsani Radio is easily identified by its programmes and music which promote Catholic values. The station also has a bias towards talk programs which are broadcast on a daily basis. These programmes feature in-studio guests and allow listeners to participate through phone calls thus representing the varying degrees of expertise. The station‟s programmes are broadcast in English, Nyanja, Bemba and Soli as already alluded to. It broadcasts from 04:30 hrs to midnight.
1.3.5 Programme Content
Yatsani Radio‟s programmes are centered on the integral development of a human being. The programmes are aimed at promoting Catholic (universal) Christian values in different fields. Being a community radio station, Yatsani produces programmes which are aimed at informing and educating people in the community. The radio station broadcasts religious, current affairs, health, agricultural, cultural, economic, political, and social and governance programs. The station also allows the listeners to speak out on pertinent issues affecting them. This is done so as to encourage listeners to become actively interested and involved in the wide social and political issues as a means of training them for true citizenship and acceptance of responsibility.
1.3.6 Editorial Policy and Programme Guidelines
Programs broadcast on Yatsani Radio are impartial, objective, truthful and factual. The programmes are aimed at promoting Catholic values in different areas based on the Gospel and teachings of the Catholic Church. The Radio station, through its programs, exercises diligent scrutiny on public affairs and encourages community participation.
1.3.7 Community Involvement
Being a community radio station, Yatsani Radio endeavors to involve the listener in the production of programs to ensure that the programmes tackle issues affecting the people and are appreciated by the listeners. This is done by:
Formation of Communication Teams in different parishes of the Archdiocese of Lusaka. The teams are oriented in basic radio production and produce their own programmes to articulate issues affecting them in the community
Different pastoral agents: Priests, Religious Sisters and the laity, like Catechists are also involved in the production of programs on different issues concerning pastoral and doctrine
Community members are featured as panelists on different programs
As indicated above, broadcasting of live programs is encouraged to allow listeners to air their views through phone calls
Production of documentaries to accord listeners who might not have access to a phone to still air their views through random street recordings Production of programmes in local languages (Nyanja, Bemba and Soli) to ensure that more people in the communities grasp the information and are able to participate
The station also partners with organizations which serve people in the community to produce advocacy and awareness programs. It has partnered with organizations such as Women and Law in Southern Africa for programs on women abuse; Japanese Tuberculosis Association for programmes on Tuberculosis; Churches Health Association of Zambia for programmes on malaria and tuberculosis; Bethlehem Missionary Immense for programs on HIV and AIDS; Media Institute of Southern Africa for programs on good governance; Sports in Action for programmes on sport and physical health; Kasisi Agricultural Centre for programs on agriculture; and PANOS for youth empowerment programmes; National Water Supply and Sanitation Council for programs on water supply and sanitation.
1.3.9 Impact of Yatsani’s Programs
Yatsani Radio has well established ties with the local community through involvement of community members in its programming. This has enabled Yatsani to reach out to the ordinary people in the compounds and rural areas where literacy levels are low. In other words the programs produced in local language „speak‟ to the people directly, in their mother tongue, without requiring any level of literacy.
Furthermore, through the involvement of ordinary people, Yatsani Radio has provided a platform to the ordinary citizens to speak out on matters affecting them. For instance, programs like Community Forum, Listeners‟ Forum, Youth Empowerment and Good Governance have generated a lot of feedback from the public. For example, on 29th October 2010, while debating the role and integrity of the Electoral Commission of Zambia in the electoral process, Hon. Faustina Sinyangwe, Member of Parliament for Matero Constituency in Lusaka made reference to a good governance documentary which was broadcast on Yatsani Radio which focused on the importance of voting. She noted that efforts were being made to educate the people on the importance of voting but that there was still need to educate people to vote for leaders of their choice.
In 2005, Southern African Media Action Plan carried out an HIV and AIDS, and gender baseline study. The study focused on how media houses were disseminating HIV and AIDS information in relation to gender. Seven media houses were surveyed in Zambia. Yatsani Radio was rated first.
Yatsani Radio covers a radius of 120 kilometer (KM) using a 120 meter mast and 500 watts transmitter. It covers Lusaka, Kafue, Chongwe, Mumbwa, Chisamba, Rufunsa, Mpanshya, parts of Mazabuka and Kabwe. It thus has a potential audience of between 3 to 5 million people both in rural and urban communities. Yatsani Radio‟s primary audience is people in communities commonly referred to as the „people at the grassroots.‟ Such people often do not have access to the national or privately owned commercial media. Yatsani provides them with a platform to speak out on pertinent issues affecting them while promoting Christian values.
1.4.0 Statement of the problem
This study looks at how Yatsani radio uses communication to bring about integral development in the fishing community of Chanyanya and its surrounding communities in particular by empowering the communities with communication tools to deal with issues of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and alcohol abuse. Berelson (1964), understands communication as a process of transmitting information, opinions, ideas from one person to another through the use of symbols such as words, gestures, art and that it is pertinent to any social human being.
The manifestations of poverty in Zambia are very visible. The current statistics on poverty stood at 85 percent in the rural areas and 34 percent in urban areas. This is so due to lack of government funding to key sectors of the country (m.lusakatimes.com/2011/08/10/ Zambia…).
Despite many radio programs on early marriages, alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancies, it appeared to the researcher/student who had worked in Chanyanya as a priest that the local people of Chanyanya fishing community did not generally receive the information. Lack of sensitization in the communities could be deduced by indicators such as drunkenness, illegal abortions, rampant divorces, gender based violence and illiteracy. The situation called for a research to determine the gap between the levels and nature of communications on the problems, and the ideals required.
Yatsani Community radio being a Catholic Institution whose mission is to bring about integral development in the world has coverage to this area and it is with regard to this background that this research has been undertaken in order to ascertain the role that Yatsani Community Radio has played in helping people to deal with problems of teenage pregnancies, early marriages and alcoholism.
The study was expected to ascertain the gap between current levels of communication on the problems of alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancies and early marriages, and what needs to be done to ameliorate the situation in Chanyanya. It was also hoped that the study would contribute to research in this subject which has been understudied, and also to bring out pertinent and significant issues that would contribute positively to the strengthening of the communication strategies used by the radio station and ways of communicating with the rural masses that are in the periphery in order to tackle issues of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and alcohol abuse.
1.5.0 Objectives of the study
By and large the research has delved into investigating the effectiveness of Yatsani radio‟s programming in addressing problems of alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancies, and early marriages.
After this study, the researcher has been able to:
1) Evaluate the communication strategies used by Yatsani radio in helping Chanyanya fishing community address issues of early marriages, alcohol abuse, and teenage pregnancies.
2) Find out the communication relationship between Yatsani radio and the members of the fishing community and the communities near it.
3) Assess strategies in order to enhance and increase participation of the Chanyanya fishing community members and other communities.
4) Determine how far Radio Yatsani has achieved its objectives.
1.5.1 Specific objectives of the study
1) To conduct an audience survey on listenership to Yatsani radio in Chanyanya fish camp and surrounding communities.
2) To assess the impact of programmes aired on Yatsani radio on issues of early marriages, teenage pregnancies and alcohol abuse.
3) To find out the interest levels of Chanyanya community on issues of poverty, education, food security, health, environment and spiritual, and take note of other sources of media the audience get their information from on the above mentioned issues of development.
4) To evaluate the audience‟s listening frequency to development related issues aired on Yatsani radio.
1.5.2 Research questions
The following questions have been used for research:
1) What is the demographic, social, cultural, and economic profile the Radio Yatsani‟s audience in Chanyanya?
2) How is the community radio helping the community tackle issues of alcoholism, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, food security, education, and health?
3) What is the perceived impact of Yatsani radio‟s programs on issues of teenage pregnancies, alcoholism, and early marriages to the audiences in Zambia and in particular the members of Chanyanya fishing community and the surrounding communities?
4) How do listeners feel about these programmes on radio?
5) How much does Yatsani radio‟s programming cover issues of environment, gender, spiritual and sports?
1.5.3 Limitations of the study
The researcher had a number of challenges in the process of carrying out this work.
The time factor was one of the challenges that the researcher grappled with because a research of this kind would need a slightly longer period than the six months given for the MCD research.
A research of this magnitude presupposes some sound financial muscle to completely deal with all intricacies surrounding the topic but since it is a self-sponsored investigation, money was a limiting factor. This very well dovetailed with the limitation in the sample size in the sense that the researcher was not able to make every member of this fishing community to be part of this study for financial reasons.