"Radio is hugely popular"

In Port Harcourt, Nigeria, three radio stations are helping to promote the availability of sexual violence care, and deliver a set of key messages that Médecins Sans Frontières’ team has devised. Sexual violence remains confronting subject matter, but Mental Health Activity Manager Clare Brennan helped break the ice when she went live on air. 

“The radio interviews were interactive and really fun to participate in. I have a pretty distinct New Zealand accent, so there was usually some friendly banter with the radio hosts and a chance for my ‘pidgin English’ to be scrutinised as a way to engage listeners. The radio is hugely popular in Nigeria. It is a way to disseminate information to millions of people ‘sharp, sharp’ (quickly). 

The radio hosts were eager to understand sexual violence, and with a different topic each week we did a pretty good job of covering the various aspects. There was opportunities for the listeners to call or text in and ask questions pertaining to the topic, or to share their own experiences.  These live testimonies evoked pretty raw reactions from the hosts. There is a shock factor with the stories to say the least. They evoke a plethora of emotions.  The thing about the radio is that you are ‘live’ and once you have said something, you can’t take it back!

Our nurses and doctors managed the interviews confidently and tactfully answered questions from the hosts and the public. We are confident that the radio is a significant contributor to community sensitisation regarding sexual violence.”