Chenicheni Nchiti? Reality Radio Program Production Process

The production of Chenicheni Nchiti? (CCN) is a collaborative process involving several partners. Technical experts from CCP work with the Story Workshop Educational Trust (SWET) to develop the program thematic areas and issues that will be addressed each quarter. SWET then produces the program, and Galaxy Media facilitates the airing of CCN with commercial and community radio stations. These organizations work together during quarterly editorial meetings to produce tools that guide content collection and studio production of the program according to the thematic areas agreed upon.

BRIDGE II provided technical assistance to SWET and Galaxy Media to create CCN and guide production and distribution of the program. Further technical input was provided by staff from CCP’s other USAID-funded communication program in Malawi, SSDI-Communication, beginning in 2012. SSDI-Communication will continue to fund the production and distribution of CCN in Malawi after the end of   BRIDGE II.

Message Development

Since CCN is based on reality and real life stories, it was not possible to dictate the exact content of each program. In order to ensure that the appropriate topics were covered, BRIDGE II developed the Message Matrix. This tool is used collaboratively by CCP technical experts and its partners to guide the creation of each CCN program.  

Message Matrix Example:


Negative behaviors, beliefs, misconceptions, practices


Positive behaviors, beliefs, misconceptions, practices


Men not coming forth to support their pregnant HIV positive spouses

The belief that safe motherhood issues are women’s issues

-Low uptake of HTC and PMTCT services

-Mother to Child transmission of HIV

-Increase in infant and maternal mortality

-Lack of status disclosure between spouses

-Men to accompany their partners for ANC

-Men to test for HIV with their partners

-Men should regard mother and child health issues as their own


-Increased uptake of HTC and PMTCT services

-Reduced number of children contracting HIV from their mothers

-Reduction in infant and maternal mortality


The matrix allows each topic to be broken down into five categories. First, the targeted issue is presented, which may also be broken down into sub-issues. Second, negative behaviors (including practices, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions) that represent impediments or contribute negatively to the issue at hand are listed. Next, the possible consequences of the negative behaviors, including the problems and challenges associated with the prevailing negative environment, are laid out, representing the issues that the program will seek to transform. Fourth, specific positive behaviors (practices, perceptions, etc.) that the program aims to promote are presented. These are particular practices or attitudes that the target audience needs to learn, adopt and practice in order to bring about desired changes — for example, couples going for HIV testing together, which will enhance their communication on HIV-preventive behaviors. Finally, the matrix includes the benefits of learning, adopting and practicing the positive behaviors.

Episode Development Using the Message Matrix

Using the Message Matrix, SWET and Galaxy Media develop a Program Matrix to outline each episode. Program producers decide which issues should go into which episodes as well as the sequencing of issues and episodes.   An example Program Matrix can be found below.

Hiring and Training of Field Producers

Another innovation in the production of CCN was the introduction of field producers into the team.  The field producers are identified by CCP senior staff and the SWET team. To identify field producers, BRIDGE II district officers work with District AIDS Coordinators to identify candidates who have been educated at least through high school/secondary school, are active, self-driven, and have a passion for development. They also put out local advertisements within each district to solicit more candidates. SWET and CCP staff then interview the shortlisted individuals in each district and select field producers from that group. 

The field producers are then trained during an initial four-day workshop, focusing on interview skills, investigative techniques and using digital recorders. After the training they are each given a digital recorder and return to their respective districts to collect stories. Each field producer is paid for every story he/she provides in its raw form to the SWET production team. 

Quarterly Field Producers Orientation Workshop

CCN has 12 field producers from all Southern Region districts except for Mangochi and Balaka.  The field producers gather program content from their various districts and send it to SWET for studio production. During quarterly field producers’ workshops, producers are oriented on selected program messages as well as the Program Matrix so that they understand what the key messages are for that particular quarter and what stories they need  to collect for each program.  As CCN uses experience-based interviews, producers are guided on the particular stories they should seek out.

Monitoring and Mentoring

Every quarter, a SWET Senior Producer goes to the field to collect the interviews that the field producers have gathered. The Senior Producer also further builds the capacity of the field producers by providing constructive feedback on the interviews and tips for sharpening their skills and assisting them to record additional interviews.

Studio Production of CCN

Interviews collected by the Senior Producer are taken to SWET studios where the Senior Producer listens to them alongside the Program Presenter. Interviews that are relevant to the selected episode topic are edited and arranged into programs. They then write a script, record the program, mix it and the program is ready for airing.

Program Distribution

CCN was originally only aired on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) radio 1, which has nationwide coverage in Malawi, but was eventually extended to air on MBC radio 2 and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS), which also have nationwide coverage. Galaxy Media subsequently engaged 13 additional private community radio stations to broadcast CCN at no cost, bringing the total number of radio stations airing CCN every week to 16. The 13 private community radio stations that air CCN are Joy Radio, Radio Islam, MIJ FM, Star Radio, Trans World Radio, Living Waters Radio, Dzimwe Community Radio, Nkhotakota Community Radio, Mudziwathu Community Radio, Power 101 Radio, Chanco Community Radio, Radio Maria and Voice of Livingstonia.

SWET distributes CCN episodes to MBC radio 1 and radio 2. It also shares the main programs with Galaxy Media Consultants and Corporate Graphics (Corporate Graphics is an advertising agent for BRIDGE II working on the Tasankha campaign) for further distribution. Corporate Graphics distributes the program to ZBS and pays for the airtime for the show. Galaxy Media distributes the program to the other 13 private community radio stations, which receive institutional support (e.g.. laptops, recorders, and capacity building on HIV and AIDS programming) from Galaxy Media in exchange for free airtime.

Frontline SMS and the Chenicheni Nchiti? Feedback Program

On MBC Radio 1, a public broadcaster with national coverage, each episode is aired twice during the week, and then is followed at the end of the week by a pre-recorded feedback program where listeners’ questions are answered and clarified by experts. To gather questions and feedback from listeners, CCN actively engages audience members, asking them to send SMS messages, call in to the show and/or respond on Facebook to questions and share their views on the personal stories and topics covered during a particular program. The SMS messages received are managed by a computer program called Frontline SMS. SWET uses the questions and comments received to produce the feedback program.

Jingle, Promo, and Additional Story Production and Airing

SWET producers/presenters write lyrics and scripts and produce jingles that reinforce specific messages from the show’s thematic areas. SWET also produces radio promotions of CCN programs to increase the program’s visibility as well as advertise the program’s broadcast times. These are disseminated to all the radio stations for their own use.

Galaxy Media also produces additional individual stories from materials gathered by field producers that SWET has not used in the main CCN program. These additional stories are provided free to the radio stations to use in any context they see fit—e.g.. in news programs, feature stories, talk shows, etc. The radio stations see these additional stories as a valuable resource, as many of them lack the funds to send their own field producers out to record original stories.

Program Matrix Example








Possible Outcomes

Men not coming forth to support their pregnant HIV positive spouses


To explain what PMTCT B+ is all about


To encourage men to:

-Accompany their partners for ANC

-Test for HIV with their partners

-Regard mother and Child health issues as their own




Couples expecting a child


Couples intending to have children

Role model: A COUPLE  explaining benefits/support


A man who has had consequences because he never supported his partner



Pregnant women: go for HIV testing, and if positive start taking ARVs and will continue for life.


Men: support and provide for your wives (family) especially when they are pregnant and living with HIV.

Why do most men not support their women in PMTCT?


Why is it important for men to support their wives in PMTCT?


Why is it important for a couple to test while expectant?


When, why did you support your wife?


 What kind of support did you give to your wife?

Why ARVs for life?


What are the benefits of supporting your partner

What are the consequences of not supporting your partner

All PMTCT programs include the following: pregnant women sleep in treated mosquito nets every night, eat nutritious food, malaria treatment

Increased uptake of HTC and PMTCT services

-Reduced number of children contracting HIV from their mothers

-Reduction in infant and maternal mortality