In the first weeks and months of the pandemic, as the Skoll Foundation aimed to support COVID-19 response across sub-Saharan Africa, we made an early grant to Development Media International (DMI) for its work in Burkina Faso. With our funding support, DMI produced 13 different spots for radio—the principal means of mass communication in Burkina Faso—focused on tackling stigmatization, wearing face masks, and combating misinformation surrounding this global disease outbreak. These aired on 39 stations across the country, 10 times every day for several months, reaching the ears of an estimated 11 million people.

“By reaching this many people—particularly those in rural areas—with context-specific, practical messaging, DMI is significantly and cost-effectively contributing to the mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cecily Cocks, Program Manager at DMI.

To gather perspectives on the ground to inform these public awareness campaigns, the DMI team conducted 30 interviews in five areas of the country: Djibo, Banfora, Ouahigouya, Sapouy and Fada. In that process, the DMI team uncovered several common misconceptions around COVID-19 transmission, testing, and treatments. In close consultation with the Burkinabé Ministry of Health and following WHO guidance, the radio spots were designed for effective behavior change and to counteract rapidly spreading misinformation.

Read the full article about using radio to spread COVID information at Skoll Foundation.