The role of local radios in community-led responses to COVID-19 in Sahel

During June and July 2020, IMS Sahel Programme carried out qualitative research among its hyperlocal partners in the Liptako-Gourma cross-border and conflict-ridden areas between Northern Mali, Eastern Burkina and Western Niger. The aim of the research was to examinate examples of experiences in community-led responses to Covid-19. In Liptako-Gourma, IMS works with community radios and women’s listening clubs and these local IMS partners were key respondents in the research. 

Overall findings in the research demonstrate that women-led civil society groups and individuals around/in community radio stations have played an important role in: 

  1. Raising basic awareness about the virus and how to mitigate spread (hygiene and lock down measures) along with essential myth busting, 
  2. Supporting/amplifying relevant messaging from authorities but in a manner and language more accessible to folks at village level
  3. Organising mutual aid in their communities including utilising small savings and loans schemes in mitigating effect of Covid-19, and lastly 
  4. Sharing also reflections etc. on the psychological/psycho-social impact of the Covid-19 crisis. 

The IMS research was carried out in collaboration with Local2Global hosted by DanChurchAid. Local2Global embeds a network of researchers, journalists and civil society workers collaborating to capture and share real-time actions undertaken by community and self-help groups in order to meet and mitigate risks, challenges and crises in general.