Our mass media programmes help people make better-informed choices and decisions for themselves. They also give marginalised individuals and communities a voice.
Our training initiatives help strengthen the media and improve journalism standards in developing countries.
For our work to be effective, we need to understand the kinds of information and interaction that people require. We also need to decide which media channels to use, and when to broadcast our programmes.
'Formative research' helps provide insights into audience(s), including their information needs, and media use habits and preferences.
Formative research can also provide useful information on trainees and their media organisation, which helps inform the development of customised training programmes.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices
We usually start by asking our target audiences about their knowledge, attitudes and practices to issues ranging from sexual health to elections.
We asked men about condoms: Did they use them? Did they feel comfortable buying them? Did they talk about them with their male friends? The results of the survey helped us identify key messages and develop the creative approach to the campaign.
In Sierra Leone
, where we are supporting national efforts to ensure free and fair elections
, we carried out a survey of 2,500 18- to 59-year-olds across eight districts in collaboration with Search for Common Ground.
The survey aimed to explore knowledge and attitudes to elections and governments in Sierra Leone. The results were used to inform the development of journalism training programmes designed to improve radio coverage of the electoral process. More
While gaining audience insights, we also try to learn more about the media landscape in the country or region.
We conduct research to find out how many people listen to the radio, watch television, subscribe to mobile phones and use the internet.
We also try to identify why people use different media channels, what they use them for (news, entertainment, education, communication), and when (time of day/days of the week) they like to use them.
For example in Nigeria
, our Stop HIV campaign
aims to raise awareness and change behaviour among young people. Before designing and producing the campaign, a nationwide survey was also carried out to assess the target audience's media consumption habits across radio, television and video (film).
Questions asked included: What time of day do you like to listen to/watch programmes? What kind of programmes do you like? What channels do you watch and which stations do you listen to?
The results of the survey enabled us to select the most effective media channel for reaching as many people as possible with maximum impact. More