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Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects that radio-based social and behavioural change campaigns can have on empowering women and men to realize their contraceptive intentions. 

Family Empowerment Media (FEM) aims to bridge the gap between intentions and the adoption of healthy behaviors; in the first instance, eliminating maternal deaths and other health burdens arising from unintended pregnancies. We harness the demonstrated power of social and behavior change (SBC). We do this by airing high-intensity, evidence-based, and culturally sensitive radio dramas. They address knowledge gaps and help millions of couples realise their family planning intentions. Our intervention is based on an RCT conducted in Burkina Faso


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The above is a high-level theory of change of our intervention. We expect the following mechanisms to be important in moving our listeners from hearing our campaign to changing their behavior. Our programs:

  • Informs: listeners who have never heard of family planning know the options available to them and can make an informed decision.

  • Inspires: listeners become aware of the many benefits of family planning, from improving maternal and child health to bettering the prospects for education.

  • Prompts consideration: listeners who have not yet thought about using family planning now consider it an option to limit or space their children.

  • Reduces stigma: listeners who previously have been afraid of using family planning services due to social stigma now feel that it is socially acceptable to use them.

  • Promotes self-efficacy: listeners who previously felt it was too hard to start using contraception now understand the steps needed and feel empowered to do them.

  • Prompts spousal communication: listeners who have previously felt afraid to discuss the topic with their husband or wife are no longer blocked by this.

  • Reduces fear of side effects: listeners who have previously not used family planning because they are afraid of side effects no longer fear them.

  • Provides role models: listeners want to be like a person presented in our shows and adopt family planning for that reason.

  • Reminds: listeners who have been meaning to start adopting finally do it because our program is nudging them.

  • Increases trusts: listeners who have previously not trusted the service now do because of the perceived authority of the people on our programs.

  • Integrates: listeners now believe that they are the type of person who does this type of behavior.

    Many of these mechanisms can come into play for each individual depending on where they are on the behavior change journey. We conduct research before producing content to understand which of these mechanisms are of the greatest importance for a given target population.

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