Our goal is to run media campaigns to educate community and generate public demand, place health and other development issues high on public agenda, and effectively reach the influential group of policy-makers, elected representatives, professionals, political and religious leaders, power brokers and interest groups to act in support of health and sustainable development issues in Liberia and the Mano River Basin.
In Liberia and the entire Mano River Union, more national and international development and aid money are often been spent on improving the ‘supply side’ (building infrastructures, training teachers, establishing farms, hospitals, etc). All of this is necessary, but in many communities, these investments are often carried out at the expense of something equally important: creating demand for those services, so that people use and benefit from them. The problem is lack of awareness and knowledge amongst decision makers and local communities about the value of L natural capital, the environment, health, wellbeing, nutrition, etc.
Media campaigns that facilitate information exchange and cultural awareness. Television and particularly radio has been proven to be useful in reaching large numbers of people in West Africa, raising awareness about how to identify potential development challenges such as dangerous illnesses, environmental degradation, human trafficking, and what to do to prevent these threat before they occur. At the same time, broadcasts can help break down cultural barriers that prevent people from seeking treatment, persuading vulnerable populations to make use of available local resources and mobilize decision makers to recognize the value of natural recourse and prevent lost and degradation.
Currently, we are piloting several media campaigns in Liberia at the same time generating evidence of impact using evaluations. We are working to scale up the most effective campaigns to reach local communities across the region. Our focus areas include environment, climate change, forest, nutrition, human trafficking and child slavery, family farming and road safety.
What VOSIEDA from others?
Most poverty eradication programs in West Africa often focus surely on the “supply side” of interventions: e.g. conducting training, building infrastructures or supply food and equipment in local communities. Unlike traditional NGO programs, VOSIEDA use combination of approaches and works on the critical but much-neglected “demand side,” disseminating basic yet crucial information and encouraging communities take advantage of services and local resources already available to them.
For example, the value of critical ecosystems is still not fully recognized by decision makers, and they continue to be lost and degraded in Liberia and the MRU. On the hand, more than 15,000 children die each day in the particularly in Africa, due to conditions associated with extreme poverty. Effective media outreach campaigns have been proven to save one in five of these lives–that’s roughly 3,000 children saved each day through effective media interventions. In like manner, effective media campaigns would make stakeholder aware of the indirect services that ecosystems provide and that these indirect services can now be quantified, thereby reversing these degradation.
We broadcast spots several times per day, broadcast in local languages and work with community radio stations with large audiences. Feed formative research into creatives, use drama and other innovations to tackle barriers to change, test all materials before and afterwards.