The Voices of Change campaign will bring 60 interactive radio debates to all corners of Uganda. Citizens are asked to participate in an objective assessment of their role as democratic actors and the functioning of democracy in the run-up to the 2021 general elections in Uganda. Furthermore, this Voices of Change program re-evaluates TRAC FM’s approach from a micro-level and deepens understanding of the impact of radio talk-shows at an individual and community level.
The VOC Radio Campaign
The nine selected radio stations are Hits FM in Tooro, Hunter FM in Ankole, Radio Simba in Buganda, Baba FM in Busoga, Delta FM in Teso, Radio WA in Lango, Radio Pacis in West Nile, Mega FM in Acholi and Voice of Karamoja in Karamoja.
These radio stations will each be responsible for hosting six radio talk shows and the promotion of the responses to the polls relating to each specific talk show. Radio stations are expected to obtain an average of 1000 responses per poll question per radio station. This number may vary per radio station depending on the size of their audience. This leads to a total of 9000 responses per poll across all nine stations and 54.000 total responses across the project.
The research component of the VOC project will take place in the Lango (Radio WA), Tooro (Hits FM), and Buganda (Radio Simba) regions. In addition to hosting and advertising the talk shows, these radio stations will serve as a partner to aid TRAC FM in finding or providing emergent potential needs such as workshop spaces, contact information of local stakeholders, etc.
On the VOC MEL approach:
‘Public Debate’ does not easily quantify itself in clear indicators. Social change often is gradual and complex. It is hard to tell if and how public debate within a community is affected by interactive radio debates or how individuals reconstruct their democratic self-awareness when they participate in TRAC FM and other interactive media programs. The VOC program aims uncover the hidden impact of the TRAC FM methodology by zooming in on the effect on grassroots communities and individual citizens.
A rigorous complexity aware Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) approach will be applied to TRAC FM’s work as the core of the project. Complexity aware approaches are appropriate in projects where cause-and-effect relationships are uncertain and contextual factors are likely to influence programming. Various qualitative and quantitative data collection measures will be layered to gain insight in TRAC FM’s contribution to change such as the Most Significant Change Technique and Outcome Harvesting, participant journaling, focus group discussions, and questionnaires in addition to the results of the poll questions. Where previous campaigns were focussed on the uptake of data by CSO partners and consequent advocacy, the Stories of Change program zooms in on the the experience of grassroots users (radio listeners, poll participants, non-users)
The products that result from the methods provide detailed accounts of change that TRAC FM contributes to, providing valuable insight to its true impact on public debate in communities across Uganda. These insights also allow for making adjustments to future programs of TRAC FM to best achieve its goals and objectives.
Six poll questions and talk shows will be organized on nine radio stations throughout Uganda with topics relating to the 2021 general elections. Four of these polls will take place prior to the elections and four in the months following the elections. Polls will be developed with input from relevant CSOs, government institutions or other stakeholders.