By Tokunbo Dada (Yoruba)
In Nigeria, many farmers didn't trust vaccines for COVID-19, making it hard to fight the virus. With financial support from Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Community Media Fund, Paramount 94.5 FM Abeokuta in Nigeria, undertook Project New Hope, which used radio broadcasts to teach about vaccines in a way that was culturally relevant in the Yoruba language. The station built a bridge between doctors and farmers, showing them how vaccines could save lives.
The project succeeded because the team decided to listen. They met with farmers and traders, learning about their concerns and confusion about COVID-19 and the vaccines. Then, they used this understanding to make radio ads that spoke directly to their audience. These ads cleared up myths, explained things clearly, and showed why getting vaccinated was a good idea. It was a simple idea that made a big difference.
Project New Hope wasn't just about passively giving information; they wanted people to learn actively. So, the team produced two interactive shows: “Soolaya,” a fun quiz show about culture embedded with facts about COVID-19, and “Agbedola,” which shared farming tips and information about the vaccines, ending with a quiz on both. The best quiztakers won phone recharge cards, making learning fun and rewarding.
A survey showed that nine out of 10 people who were unsure about something changed their minds after hearing radio ads and answering quizzes about it. This proves that making information clear and easy to understand, especially in places where it's hard to find, can be a powerful tool against false information.
Project New Hope is doing more than just helping farmers live healthier lives—it's also bringing two important government agencies, the Ogun-State Agricultural Extension Agency and the Cassava Revolution Programme, closer together to better support farmers. The head of agriculture has taken notice and is backing the project, recognizing its positive impact on both farmers' health and their ability to grow food.
Project New Hope Radio is like a friend in remote Nigerian villages. It listens to what people care about and then responds with helpful advice. This makes farmers and their families healthier and wiser, building a better future for everyone.
-Tokunbo Dada (Yoruba) is Coordinator at Paramount FM, Nigeria.
In 2022, Paramount FM received a grant from Cultural Survival’s Indigenous Community Media Fund, which provides opportunities for international Indigenous radio stations to strengthen their infrastructure and broadcast systems and creates training opportunities for journalism, broadcasting, audio editing, technical skills, and more for radio journalists from Indigenous communities around the world. In 2023, the Indigenous Community Media Fund distributed $420,000 in grants supporting 60 Indigenous communication projects that will benefit 87 Indigenous Peoples in 20 countries.