We've developed a radio programme to change the mindsets and practices of rural parents empowering them to provide learning and care.
Tell us about your idea
As governments in the global south seek to provide distance learning, they will have to find creative ways to ensure that children in off-grid resource-poor rural communities have equitable access to education.
Governments are generally recognising that radio is going to be the most appropriate medium for rural communities. But efforts are mainly focused on English language content delivered directly to children. We believe more attention needs to be given to parents.
Parents are the gatekeepers to distance learning technologies/media. If parents are non-supportive or block children from accessing the household radio then students will not be able to access these fully (or at all). For younger children, parents will likely need to play an active role in facilitating or supervising the distance learning. It is therefore important that radio is transmitted in a local language spoken by parents - not just English/French.
But there is a further opportunity here too, that is at risk of being missed...
Parents - not just teachers- have a critical role to play in providing learning opportunities for their children, particularly younger children. If parents are targeted through focused distance learning efforts now, they can help children to learn during this crisis, can support WASH and psycho-social objectives, and importantly this engagement will provide a solid foundation for supporting children's return to school & subsequent learning and development.
Our "normal" programme involves training illiterate and marginalised parents to provide better early childhood care and development, using local materials. We have adapted our content for local language radio. Our radio programme uses behaviour change techniques to overcome mindset barriers that are prevalent in rural communities, so that parents realise that despite poverty and limited education, they can take simple cost-free actions to support their children's learning and development.
We are currently 5 episodes in to our programme. We are broadcasting in both Ghana and Uganda in 7 languages. We are using a train the trainers model - and are training local government officials to host the radio shows.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.
I am the founder/CEO of Lively Minds. We have worked in Ghana and Uganda for 12 years to get rural pre-schoolers school-ready. We do this by training marginalised parents to run educational Play Groups and to provide better care and education at home. Once Covid-19 hit, we realised that we needed to find a remote way to keep supporting parents to provide education and care for their children during the crisis. We adapted our regular content in to radio scripts. We also developed a train the trainers model - training local government officials to host the shows in a variety of local languages (currently 7). Each episode transfers important parenting ideas and concepts, and simple educational games that can be put in to practice using only locally available cost-free materials. As such, the programme can be easily scaled to reach the hardest-to-reach communities anywhere in the world. We are keen to share our content and our concept widely to maximise impact.