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Principal Investigators: Dr Emma Heywood (University of Sheffield) & Dr Lassané Yaméogo (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique)

Research Snapshot

This study looked at the use of radio as a public health messaging tool for vulnerable crisis-affected communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, producing findings that were used by partner radio stations to adapt public health-related programming for IDPs in Burkina Faso.

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The study aims to determine how radio broadcasters in Burkina Faso can adapt to address and respond to the information needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and combat (mis)information regarding COVID-19.

To do this, we will work with IDPs in refugee camps and host communities to find out what COVID-19 (mis)information they are exposed to, and the sources of that information. Over a period of time, we will feed this information to Studio Yafa – a Burkinabe radio studio and partner in the project which broadcasts nationally through local partner radios and via social media – who will address the reported misinformation expressed by IDPS and their information needs, where appropriate, in their broadcasts.


Photo: Outside broadcast of «Let’s talk Coronavirus» recorded by Studio Yafa at an IDP camp in Kaya, Burkina Faso, 18/12/20. © Olympia de Maismont / Fondation Hirondelle

Lassané Yaméogo

Co-Investigator, CNRST

In IDP communities in Kaya, Pissila and Kongoussi, radio has given rise to the emergence of a spontaneous public sphere by becoming both a social and sociable medium. It is the focus of collective listening and informal information sharing between direct listeners (those who listen to radio programmes) and indirect listeners (those who do not). This informal extension of the audience strengthens both social ties and community resilience to COVID-19.

Dr Emma Heywood

Principal Investigator, University of Sheffield

Providing accurate, regular and timely information on life-changing issues such as COVID-19 is essential to all and particularly vulnerable groups such as IDPs. Radio is often their main source of information. Working with a trusted Burkinabe radio source, and through a participatory collaboration, we hope to not only raise awareness amongst this population regarding COVID-related best practices but also raise the voice of these communities.

Expected Outcomes

  • improve awareness, understanding and confidence among affected populations regarding best practice in relation to the prevention of COVID-19 spread;
  • increase the capacity of IDPs and host communities to express their concerns and information needs;
  • create a closer collaboration between humanitarian and local media actors to address the needs of IDPs in a more accurate and targeted manner;
  • increase capacity to identify and rebut misinformation in a more targeted and quicker manner;
  • implement IDP-centred response and participation encouraging understanding and trust between affected population and humanitarian/public health actors;
  • encourage greater accountability of those actors with regard to the affected population;
  • strengthen inter-community understanding that will help prevent tensions caused by misinformation, stereotyping and rumours.
Outside broadcast of «Let’s talk Coronavirus» recorded by Studio Yafa at an IDP camp in Kaya, Burkina Faso, 18/12/20. © Olympia de Maismont / Fondation Hirondelle
A doctor answers questions from a Studio Yafa journalist during recording of a programme in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso,
Reporting in Ouaga © Kalidou Sy - Fondation Hirondelle
A group of IDPs in Burkina Faso. Photo credit: Fondation Hirondelle.
A group of IDPs in Burkina Faso. Photo credit: Fondation Hirondelle.

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