A.24.The Malawi BRIDGE Project:PLWHA radio diaries
Benson Nkhoma Somba
Brief background and description of diaries
Stigma and discrimination directed towards people infected with, or affected by HIV/AIDS is a persistent barrier to efforts promoting improved HIV prevention, care, and support in Malawi. While some programs appear to have successfully promoted more favorable attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS, most of these programs have occurred on a limited scale among specific population subgroups. Radio provides the opportunity to influence attitudes on a national scale, although few programs have used this channel to address HIV/AIDS-related stigma. This is why the Malawi BRIDGE Project (the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and Save the Children (US)) with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with MANET Plus and NAPHAM, decided to implement the PLWHA Radio Diaries.
This project, the first of its kind in Malawi is being carried out in collaboration with a consortium of 6 radio stations namely: Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Radio 1, Radio Maria, Capital F.M, Power 101, Radio Islam and Trans World Radio.
The project is supporting 12 people living with HIV and AIDS representing all the three regions of Malawi to create their own personal weekly radio diaries, which are then broadcast on the six radio stations, mentioned above.
WHY A DIARY PROGRAM: Diaries are very personal, powerful documentaries which engage the audiences in their ongoing lives and which provoke a broader, and a more open discussion about all the issues revolving around people living in a society affected by AIDS. Diaries also affect social norms, to reduce stigma and create a more tolerant environment in which problems and solutions can be discussed in a more positive, constructive fashion, both at local community level and hopefully at the level of advocacy and policy.