Long Read

Wottazela: a radio campaign for social inclusion in Uganda

A two-month-long interactive radio-campaign was launched by Simavi in Uganda (July 2019) in order to enhance social inclusion and strengthen an evidence-based approach within the Watershed programme.  With the radio-campaign, listeners were able to reply to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) poll questions via SMS. The answers were used as the voice of the people. To use as an evidence-based lobby and advocacy approach in order to put pressure on the local Ugandan government and other duty bearers for water and sanitation services. 

Watershed Wottazela radio

Effective dialogue on water and sanitation services and principles 

The multiple-choice poll questions and prime time radio shows discussed various WASH and IWRM topics. Listeners in the Kabarole District could engage with and provide their feedback on: 

  • Access to sanitation
    “What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have latrines?” 
  • Access to safe and clean (drinking) water
    “What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have access to safe and clean water?” 
  • Participation and social inclusion in WASH decision making and planning
    “Why are some people not involved in water and sanitation planning activities in your community?” 
  • Water resource management
    “What are you doing to protect the environment?” 

More than 4,5 thousand SMS text messages were received. This was gathered on an innovative dashboard of Trac.FM. The dashboard could split the answers into smaller regions. The evidence-based feedback is needed and used for further effective dialogue with local decision-makers within the Watershed programme. 

Results of Wottazela  

Access to sanitation

“What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have latrines?”

The results showed that the majority of the listeners are of opinion that the latrine laws are not enforced by the Ugandan government. This gathered data will be used as an entry point for a dialogue with the Ugandan government and policymakers.

Access to safe and clean (drinking) water

“What is the major reason why some people in your area do not have access to safe and clean water?”

The poll showed that the majority of the people feel that the Ugandan government is lacking in providing access to safe and clear water. 36% of the people felt that local leaders are region biased. Almost 1 in 4 people feel that the Ugandan government is misusing the funds on water facilities constructions.

Participation and social inclusion in the community

“Why are some people not involved in water and sanitation planning activities in your community?”

Almost 1 out of 2 people feels discouraged by local leaders to participate in planning activities and almost 2 out of 5 people feel discriminated. In Uganda, women are more and more invited to (community) meetings, but decisions are made by the men. While women are often responsible for collecting water.

Water resource management

“What are you doing to protect the environment”

Radio as a medium for inclusion and dialogue

In Uganda, radio is still by far out the main communication source. Therefore, the medium radio was used to reach and engage with people on WASH-related topics who otherwise might not be reached, enhancing social inclusion. Furthermore, it was used as a medium to inform on WASH, enhancing awareness, and gather opinions to effectively discuss WASH topics with the listeners.

The campaign consisted of 4 WASH poll questions, aired as radio commercial spots and via DJ mentions on Radio Jubilee in Fort Portal. After a radio show kick-off, every two weeks a new question was aired for one week, followed by a week of analysis and closed with another radio show during prime time to have a dialogue on the gathered answers.

Watershed and partners

Wottazela 3.0 ran under the Watershed programme in collaboration with HEWASA, Simavi, IRC and Radio Jubilee in Fort Portal, Uganda. The Watershed empowering citizens programme is a strategic partnership between the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in particular the IGG department, DSO and relevant embassies) and IRC, Simavi, Wetlands International and Akvo. The Watershed programme started in 2016 and until 2020 it will deliver improvements in the governance and management of water, sanitation and hygiene services as well as of the water resources on which they draw.

Wottazela 4.0

Wottazela 4.0 is a follow-up campaign to build our success in empowering citizens and deepen our learning. This campaign will focus on the key outcomes from the opinion polls radio listeners responded to in Wottazela 3.0.

Start the conversation

Share this article

Related stories