The project “Enhancing Access to Health Education via Audiopedia” was awarded to our partner Red Aid Nigeria as part of the EU/BMZ #SmartDevopmentHack at bridging the health and development information gap among illiterate women and girls in Nigeria through the use of smartphones to access audio messages. Its implementation comprised a pilot phase and a 2nd phase.

Pilot Stage

The pilot project which started in April 2021 and ended in December 2021 targeted 400 Women and girls living in Ngenevu community and other slums, who are categorized into illiterate and semi-literate groups.

Twenty Community Volunteers from these communities were engaged and trained on basic Audiopedia skills, as well as, skills in data collection and participant engagement. The CVs were assigned to the different groups.

The 400 women and girls, were purposively selected based on the following criteria; participants must be illiterate or semi-illiterate residents in Ngenevu community and the other slums and must own a smartphone or feature phone (WhatsApp enable or memory card enable). They were divided into two intervention groups of 200 women and girls each through a simple random technique. However, there was a control group of 100 women and girls who were selected from another community (Iva-Valley) with similar characteristics. The groups comprise the following:

  • 200 women and girls with smartphones who received Audiopedia messages through WhatsApp (GROUP_1, Ngenevu).
  • 200 women and girls whose phones were loaded with Audiopedia messages through external memory cards (GROUP_2, Aguowa).
  • 100 illiterate girls and women enrolled to serve as a control group (GROUP_0, Iva-valley).

A baseline study was carried out on their knowledge, attitude, and practices towards health and development (e.g. GBV, Maternal health, WASH, Covid-19, social-economic, and women empowerment schemes) issues.

Intervention

Audio messages on health and development (e.g. GBV, Maternal health, WASH, Covid-19, social-economic and women empowerment schemes) issues were uploaded into the selected mediums (WhatsApp and Memory card). Furthermore, these messages were shared via WhatsApp and external memory cards to the participants’ devices. During the bi-monthly engagement of the participants, the CVs update the mobile phones of the women and girls in group 2 with audio messages via the memory card while group 1 was via WhatsApp. For the purpose of the pilot project, these audio files were stored on RedAid Nigeria’s backend and on the Audiopedia web and shared with the participants in groups 1 and 2. These audio messages that were originally in English were translated and voiced into the local dialect by student volunteers from the University of Nigeria Nsukka. The role of the CVs for group 1 was to teach and guide them on how to access and use WhatsApp. For the control group (Group_0) there was zero-intervention.

The indirect beneficiaries that were targeted for the pilot in Ngenevu were over 2,300 households with an average of 5 persons in each household, estimated to be over 11,500 persons. Advocacy and sensitization visit for men was also carried out in the 3 communities, and radio jingles on Gender-based violence and maternal health was also part of the intervention.

By the end of the intervention which lasted for eight weeks, a post-intervention assessment was carried out and after statistical analysis, it was evident that both media were effective for audio message dissemination as both groups had a reasonable percentage increase in knowledge.

Phase II

Phase II titled Mainstreaming Audiopedia as a tool to improve knowledge and access to health and development information in Nigeria aims at Contributing to the attainment of SDGs 3, 4, and 5 by promoting access to health information and information on other development services among women and girls in Nigeria through the use of various audio enabling devices to access audio messages. These health messages were translated and voiced to other major Nigerian languages which are Hausa, Yoruba, and Pidgin to reach the vast majority of the population who are excluded by the traditional means of information dissemination (print media).

The project focuses on 10 NTDs endemic States in Nigeria (Anambra, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Cross-rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Ogun, Ondo, Plateau, and Rivers). Selected health facilities were engaged in the dissemination of these audio messages.

From these 10 selected states which were selected from Northcentral, Southwest, Southeast, and South-South, the project focuses on 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) per State. These LGAs were selected based on the following criteria:

  • The LGA is among the most endemic for the State with NTDs
  • The LGA has a vibrant and willing LGA Supervisor, i.e. a TB Leprosy BU Supervisor (TBLS) or a district surveillance/notification officer (DSNO),
  • The supervisor of the LGA will onboard 20 healthcare facilities (health workers) per LGA that have a public address system (speakers, radios, amplifiers, etc.) to be used to disseminate these audio messages to their communities and also train these 20 healthcare workers on how their community can access these health messages through WhatsApp (or Audiopedia app).

At the LGAs level, each LGA Supervisor (primary Audiopedia Ambassadors) is entitled to oversee 20 Healthcare facility Staff. After their training, they stepped down the training to their various healthcare facilities for implementation.

In other words, the resulting 120 primary Audiopedia Ambassadors, therefore, produce 2,400 secondary Audiopedia Ambassadors in their respective LGAs.

Hence, the project is targeting 2400 healthcare facilities at the LGA level for adoption and intervention. An output-based reward system has been put in place for secondary ambassadors to encourage them to reach as many illiterate women and girls as possible. a massive radio and social media campaign will also be adopted in achieving the project aims. The project ended November 2022.

Marcel Heyne

About

Executive Director Audiopedia Foundation