development communications

November, 2004

Soap opera to heal communities and build understanding of the roots of genocide

I was Head of Mission of the Rwandan Reconciliation Communications project for La Benevolenija from 2003 – 2004. During that year I brought the radio drama “Musekeweya” ( which means “new dawn” in Kinyarwanda) from a concept to getting it broadcast on air. I managed a detailed research process to understand how people talked about and understood trauma and the roots of the genocide, and developed a message design and feedback approach based on audience participation through the creation of local listener groups. I developed the key educational message document (based on the work of two psychologists Irvine Staub and Laurie Pearlman) that were communicated in the radio drama series and worked with script writers and an acting troupe to develop the storyline and the first scripts of the radio drama series. I also managed the development of the programme jingle and logo.

The project was later evaluated by Betsy Levy Paluck, then at Harvard University, and found to have influenced group listeners’ perception of social norms and behaviours in relation to issues such as ethnic intermarriage, open dissent, trust, empathy and cooperation.

Watch a video on Musekeweya

Tuning into different wavelengths and power point presentation presented at the Fourth International Conference on Entertainment-Education and Social Change, Cape Town, South Africa, September 26 – 30, 2004 in South Africa.

I presented an abstract on the project and was a discussant on “Interpreting Crisis in the media and the arts” at the “Culture of Reconstruction: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the aftermath of crisis,” University of Cambridge

Read the full conference programme

November, 2002

Viim Kuunga: Radio Salankoloto

I developed a drama series for Radio Salankoloto, a community radio station in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Tasks included initiating and securing funding for the project, writing the storyline and producing an educational and entertaining radio drama series on HIV and AIDS in Moore, a local language, in collaboration with an international donor and a local theatre group. I also developed a system to better involve the radio’s listener club in the evaluation of radio programmes. Living costs were covered by International Service.



Read the case study on the project

Read an article on ‘Viim Kuunga’ published in the Drum Beat