Baseline study for (multi-) media development in Rwanda, Burundi

Baseline study for (multi-) media development in Burundi, Eastern DRC and Rwanda

In 2015 we undertook a baseline study for an envisaged multi-media project In Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC. The organization we worked with has a track record of working with and through the media to raise awareness on hate speech and to work on changing the attitude of the audience by way of training producers and programme makers in alerting the audience to hate speech and its consequences . A long-running radio drama was in place in the three countries, each with their own specificities and though connected in a common objective, there was no contribution from one team to another on content. Being a regional programme with an impressive and ambitious Theory of Change there was a need for integration of content. Also the flagship product was not sufficiently being measured on its effect and impact the same way and with the same intensity in the three countries.
The radio dramas in the three counties are all constructed in the same way. A theoretical set of assumptions (called messages) are the basis for the content design of the radio dramas. Mechanisms for feedback from the audience were in place albeit quite different from country to country. It left the organization without convincing proof of effect or impact and risking to produce content on the basis of outdated realities and to become off-message. Media projects are notoriously complicated in the efforts of measuring effect and impact and adding behavioural change objectives with measurable results even more. The start of a new regional programme kicked-off with a Baseline study offering an opportunity to revise existing assumptions (messages in the radio dramas) and to improve PMEL systems. The organization has experience in organizing Baseline studies based on Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices – KAP that were adapted from their originally health orientated setup towards Practice and Attitudes changes with respect to intra- and intercommunal violence. Two research methods, i.e. KAP based interviews and Sensemapping were thus combined and tasked with the discovery of patterns in relations between behaviour and the socio-psychological-economic environment of the audience.
No single intervention on the level of media can bring about change or stabilise a situation, media do not operate in a vacuum, so one of the first things that had to be done was to make a mapping of organizations that were working on peace-related issues such as livelihoods, Microcredit and Youth employment. Together with the results of the baseline a factual programme was designed addressing real time and real life issues affecting the envisaged audience.

Research flow:

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The Baseline set out to research high level programme questions such as assessing the relevance of the assumptions (messages) worked out in the radio dramas. Then a subset of questions was developed covering the radio drama, factual radio programmes, questions that would provide input for the roadshows and the building blocks for the monitoring questions.
We mapped the envisaged audience and more than ten interviewers interviewed over 200 respondents, at the same time conducting a (small) survey with them, which gave quite direct and sometimes eye-opening insights in the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (in re: discrimination and scapegoating) of the envisaged public.

Coverage map of interviews:

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Attitudes and Practices
The baseline gives a good insight into perceptions of the envisaged public and at the same time created a possibility to establish a control group for further monitoring and research. A set of questions relating to change was integrated. Having planned for outreach activities to accompany the media content, the organization obtained the capacity to measure the perceptions and their changes over time making use of the interviews and built a fixed monitoring group. The latter were provided with Smartphones and internet access and were asked to fill out a monthly questionnaire that provides insight into changes of perception towards peaceful coexistence and marking incidents of violence and hate-speech.
Knowledge and Attitudes were addressed now, a more difficult task was to assess the capacity to change Practices. The baseline did not set out to try to identify singular and linear processes and interactions between the three. That would be too deterministic and most probably not work. To built-in a set of questions relating to Practice, the baseline contained questions devised around the Fogg-scheme which gives insights in levels of willingness to change and blockages that people encounter to realise that change. The setup was that a fixed group of correspondents would participate in the baseline, send their monthly data from the Smartphone app, and participate in outreach activities and be interviewed again specifically on questions related to Practice and based on the Fogg scheme. This would provide time-lapsed data that can be used for feedback into the factual programme and the radio drama.
Fogg scheme:

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One of the questions was “to improve our mutual relations I would start with changing the following behaviour….” The answer was given in free text and shown here in a word cloud:

All of the respondents chose to take the Green Path (Do new behaviour from now one):

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Another question was: To improve our relations I would start with a new behaviour. The answers were also in free text and shown here in a word cloud.

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The collected data on the Fogg part of the questionnaire gets followed up through the outreach activities where the same respondents are asked if the change they were looking for did materialise, how, where and with whom. If the respondents were not able to achieve this desired change the question would focus on why not and what blockages the respondents encountered.
The most significant operands (Collaboration, Dialogue, and Cohabitation) are fed back into the creation of media content, notably the radio drama.