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For the longest time in Uganda,  drama has been used by organisations, governments and schools and groups  for civic education. Drama depicts characters in life experiences that are meant to foster discussion, change attitudes,and educate the public. Drama is interesting to create for the actors, directors and team and It is a medium that is engaging for watchers and listeners if well produced.

Radio is the most  widely used medium to transfer communication and information as  Uganda  as it is more affordable and accessed in several district. At least every house in the village owns a radio.

There are currently  more than  200 radio stations in different districts in Uganda. It is for that  reason that radio dramas are mostly used for civic education. Over the years different radio dramas tackling various civic issues have been created and produced. 

According to Pamela of CDFU, the NGO that created Rock point 256th longest running drama production with more than 400 episodes produced that began in 2005 and last broadcast was in 2020. 

“The drama reached over an estimated 7.2 million Ugandans with key messages addressing a range of issues including HIV&AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, child health, Gender Based Violence (GBV), malaria and civic education.”

Radio drama is considered an effective way of promoting debate on sensitive social and political issues in a compelling way, while also reaching populations with low literacy rates and who have limited access to information because they live in remote areas.

Drama is very effective in engaging the listener to participate like in the case of Ekikomera Drama series. During the formative research of the NUDIPU-TRAC FM partnership, a key challenge was identified: the low level of public interest in the topic of disability. NUDIPU indicated that in their experience, the general public showed little interest in radio debates on disability. In previous attempts at interactive radio talk shows, they received little or no feedback from listeners. To tackle this challenge, TRAC FM suggested adding a radio drama to the regular talk shows to make the radio programs on disability entertaining and educational. TRAC FM developed eight episodes of the Ekikomera Radio Drama series and translated them into eight local languages to complement the talk shows. The eight-episode drama series followed the lives of persons with disabilities living in the same community. 

Radio dramas were also used in the response to  Covid-19 in the country in addition to sensitising the population on other various societal social issues like marriage challenges, politics and development issues. Evaluation of Radio drama is important to track outreach and impact. Radio dramas are more effective if done with a  multifaceted approach. Working with already established community groups, to do outreach.

The NGO producing the drama needs to work together with service providers, social workers, in the communities  to set up community barazas, listening groups where musicians can be held on what they heard and learned from the audio drama and also the issues tackled in the drama  that are affecting them. to further impact the community. 

Taking action and going into the community.  To get feedback, messages, action etc. Identify groups that are already existing e.g. drama groups, listening groups, listen and then have discussions regarding the issues affecting them in their community. 

It is not enough for a radio drama to simply be aired, grass root community discussion should be held, so leaders are held accountable, action is taken and changes in the community are made. 

Drama enables listeners to put themselves in the shoes of the characters, creating empathy and discussion. The radio dramas influence the actions of the  listeners by modelling behaviour change through. They empower listeners in all regions of Uganda with skills to manage the different situations they are faced with. 

Radio dramas that have aired in Uganda over the years;

 Kooti Lutikko in 1999 revolutionised radio dramas in Uganda. It was a one hour drama that aired on Radio Simba  and it presented political, social and economic issues of the day through a court setting it was a people’s court that dramatised even serious cases before courts of law.The one-hour drama would set the background to the conflict, get to hear from both the accuser and the accused before opening it to the listeners, who would assume the role of lawyers. The last caller would pass the judgement and fine the loser. Kooti Lutikko became so popular that it was emulated by other radio stations. It stopped airing in 2006.

Sotakai (“Footsteps”) is a 156 episode radio show aired October 2019 in English.Airing in numerous districts ranging from Northeastern to Central-western Uganda, and seeks to address numerous topics including family planning, sexual and gender-based violence, and maternal and child health and nutrition.

Wizarts foundation’s radio drama  LISTEN TO UGANDA; Usalama   began in 2020 and  aims  to fight corruption. So far 48 episodes have been produced in  English, Luganda, Runyakitara, Luo, Ateso, and Lumasaba. Anti-Corruption Agencies in partnership with Wizarts Foundation produce and broadcast the radio drama series aimed at reinforcing the fight against corruption in the country.

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) designed and produced a 13-episode television and radio drama series – Yat Madit – based on real life experiences in the region. Yat Madit aimed to raise awareness about the plight of post war communities, influence public perceptions towards cultural diversity, and alleviate problems within communities. Sixty intercultural dialogue sessions which involved screening of the drama series were also held to diffuse social barriers and create fertile ground for collaborative problem solving using non-violent methods.

The “Ekikomera Drama” whose title is derived from a Luganda word “Kikomera” meaning a small enclosed community, follows the day to day lives of Persons With Disabilities is produced by Trac fm.

The Open Cage is a Radio Drama Series highlighting the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 as an instrument to address sexual and gender-based  violence . The Open Cage is the Uganda portion of the Women Talk Peace series and is produced in Uganda.

Akakunizo is a 156 episode radio show that began airing in October 2019. The  Luganda radio serial drama explores realities which happen in the lives of four different people (four diverse but closely related geographic areas). They have to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life while tackling issues of Family Planning (FP), Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Youth Reproductive Health (YRH) and Maternal Health and Nutrition (MHN). 

FOOTNOTES http://KEwiako3risXKAhVEMhoKHeoBB3UQpwIIIjAF&usg=AFQjCNHLWR1Mhy_1nq7WF2nuM3lE7dVUZg

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