National Radio Dialogues

SSDI-Communication’s National Dialogues aimed to promote dialogue and discussion among individuals, families and communities on issues that affect people’s health and wellbeing. SSDI-Communication worked with both national and community radio stations to hold two National Dialogues in 2014 and 2016. The National Dialogues were initiated under the BRIDGE II program and originally focused exclusively on issues related to HIV & AIDS before SSDI-Communication expanded their focus in 2014. 

Collaboration with Malawi Radio Stations

SSDI-Communication worked with and trained 13 radio stations (both national and community stations) to incorporate dialogue topics into one of their most popular programs each week during a five-week period. The effect of this was that every radio station in the country discussed the same issue every week during the period of the dialogues. Radio stations invited their listeners to call in, send SMS, and write letters to respond to the topics discussed on the programs. The topics chosen for discussion during the National Dialogues were broad, but the questions developed to stimulate the discussions were crafted in such a way that people were able to link social and behavioral issues with health outcomes.

Getting People Talking

SSDI-Communication held two rounds of National Dialogues under the broad theme of “Life Choices and Wellness.” The choice of this theme was strategic, as it highlighted the significance of daily choices, decisions, and actions on health and wellness, aligning with SSDI-Communication’s umbrella Moyo ndi Mpamba campaign.

The first round of dialogues had a number of sub-themes, including:

  • Cultural practices and beliefs: what is more important to uphold, our culture or our lives?
  • Living our lives: what matters more, is it our life or money and material things?
  • The family and people's wellbeing: does the family do enough to give its members the best life?
  • The community working together: communities as perpetrators of good life values.
  • Disease treatment versus healthy living: taking responsibility for our own wellbeing and health. 

The second dialogue focused on “the role of the family and community in promoting the health and wellness of its members.” This dialogue specifically aimed to provoke debate and discussion on the role of the community in dealing with the theft of hospital commodities, and whether it was “moral” for someone to steal hospital commodities that are meant to save peoples’ lives.