Using radio programmes to increase community awareness about HIV and AIDS

From left to right: Sakariye Ahmed Muhumed (Radio Hargeisa) Keith Ricketts (BBC Media Action trainer), Mohamed Dek (Radio SBC – Bossaso) and Fadumo Abdirizak (Radio Garowe) February 2012.

Sakariye recently had the opportunity to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS-related issues through his radio show after participating in a HIV media project where he helped develop 15 radio messages on HIV and AIDS.

‘‘My experience in this training has been rewarding. The most interesting part was to interact with people living with HIV and hearing their stories and the challenges they face due to stigma and discrimination by their families and the community.  Now I know that I have to treat them the same way I would like to be treated”, says Sakariye.

Sakariye was one of ten radio producers selected from Puntland and Somaliland to take part in the project facilitated by BBC Media Action and funded by UNDP Somalia. BBC Media Action  has  experience working on similar HIV radio campaigns in other African countries and based on this were selected  to lead the training.

During the training participants developed 15 radio messages on HIV prevention, care and treatment to broadcast on their own radio stations. The overall objective of this HIV project is to promote supportive attitudes towards people living with HIV and highlight human rights and gender issues linked to HIV in Somalia. The project also addresses stigma and discrimination all too often associated with HIV in Somalia.

Through the radio spots that were produced, the media project is helping to raise awareness of existing HIV services such as Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and the availability of Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) medication.

Representatives from both Puntland and Somaliland AIDS Commissions participated in this project, alongside representatives from both Somaliland and Puntland Ministries of Health and Information, People Living with HIV (PLHIV), radio station managers, producers, religious leaders and representatives from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

Sakariye’s involvement in the training has helped him to have a better understanding of HIV and AIDS-related issues and he is grateful that he is in a position to share the knowledge with others through his radio station – Radio Hargeisa.  Sakariye believes that the use of radio as a communication medium is one of the most effective ways of spreading messages on HIV to a large group of people. In future, he intends to use the knowledge he gained from the training to make more programmes that will impact on his listeners’ lives as well as the community.

Note: We would like to dedicate this HIV Media project to Farhan Jeemis Abdulle who participated in producing these messages, and was a leading radio producer for Radio Daljir who was sadly killed in Galkayo on 2 May 2012.  

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