Child to Child had been working in partnership with the Sierra Leonean NGO, the Pikin-To-Pikin Movement, to implement a 5 year community-based Early Childhood Development project in the remote Eastern district of Sierra Leone, when the Ebola outbreak halted all activities in March 2014.
We couldn’t continue our project as it was originally designed because it required children to come together in groups – a major public health hazard. So we turned to radio. Radio minimises the risk of Ebola transmission as no public gathering is required and allows larger numbers of beneficiaries to be reached.
In December 2014, we commissioned an award-winning radio production team to produce the radio educational series Pikin to Pikin Tok (which means Child to Child Talk in the local language Krio). In line with the objectives of our original project, the Pikin to Pikin Tok radio series is intended to enhance children’s social, numeracy, literacy and life skills. It is made up of three different programmes – Story Time, Under the Mango Tree and Messages Through Music – each of which target different age ranges. Many of the programmes address health and hygiene, critical issues in the wake of the Ebola outbreak.
In line with our ethos to work in partnership with children, we recruited and trained groups of children as ‘young journalists’. They have helped to identify stories, interview key stakeholders and record audio content. Our radio team mixes this audio content into high quality programmes which are then broadcast by local radio station Radio Moa across Kailahun District.
To make sure children are able to listen to Pikin to Pikin Tok, we have distributed hundreds of solar powered wind up radios. We have also created listener groups, where children come together supported by trained adult facilitators to listen to the programmes and engage in discussions about the issues being addressed. Children are encouraged to phone in after the radio broadcasts to express their views and opinions.
The project ended in 2016 and we can now share the final evaluation, written by the Institute for Development (IfD).