Betengna Radio Diaries
"Betengna," (which refers to a welcomed guest who often visits one's home) presents a unique insight into what it really means to be HIV positive in Ethiopia. This radio program features radio diaries of people living with HIV and AIDS. The diaries aim to address social and health issues faced by individuals and communities in their day-to-day lives as well as to increase public awareness and use of VCT, PMTCT, ART services. Betengna is a captivating and practical way of addressing the issues of stigmatization and marginalization that many PLHA face, and in dealing with the generally low perception of the severity and individual and communal susceptibility to HIV and AIDS in Ethiopia. Currently, programs from five diarists are aired weekly on seven different stations (Radio Ethiopia, Debub, FM 100.9 (SNNPR), Sheger FM 102.1, Amhara Mass Media Agency, Dimtsi Woyane Tigray, Mekelle Fm 104.4 and Bahirdar FM 96.9).
The primary target audience for Betengna is PLHA, although early informal assessments and feedback calls indicate that the program has gained popularity outside of its intended target. Betengna listenership is highest among those 24 years old and younger.
- Develop regular weekly radio diaries for national broadcast highlighting the everyday experiences of PLHA, and discussing the personal implications of living in a community affected by AIDS;
- Develop and guide the skills of a small group of HIV+ diarists to talk clearly, powerfully and analytically about their situation; and of radio producers and their broadcasters to produce effective programming that responds to the priority health issues in their communities;
- Decrease the stigma and discrimination that PLHA face in Ethiopia by exposing the human face of living with the disease and providing a platform for creating discussion on these issues among the general public;
- Influence the social norms towards a greater tolerance of and support for people's access to information, services and care relating to HIV/AIDS; and,
- Increase public awareness and utilization of VCT, PMTCT and ART services.
- Establish listening discussion groups in different regions which facilitate in-depth discussions program topics.
- Train radio producers
- Train diarists that are living with HIV/AIDS to create radio diaries of their experiences living with HIV/AIDS
- Develop and disseminate promotional materials
- Produce and broadcast radio diaries weekly
- Document the process and impact of the diaries on listeners, diarists and the radio producers.
- Set up and conduct listening groups with existing community groups such as Idirs, associations for PLHA, youth involved in HIV/AIDS work, health professionals, workers
An impact evaluation conducted by NARC in 2007 found that around 80% of listeners strongly agreed that Betengna has a positive effect on them, either by helping them view PLHA in a positive way, making them realize that PLHW are 'just like everybody else', that PLHA deserve to be treated with respect or that they found it easier to openly talk about HIV.
Betengna’s reach extends worldwide and has gained listenership from Canada to Cameroon from Norway to Namibia. Through phone calls, e-mails and SMS, Betengna gets feedback that reflects on the relevance of its content and its impact on listeners. The diarists also express the positive changes they have made in their lives since sharing their diaries on the program.
“My usual sadness and anxiety is now replaced by happiness because I shared my diaries” – Diarist Soretti Borena
“What makes me happier than telling my story on Aantee is when people call me and tell me about the changes they have undergone because of my story.” – Diarist Uma Shoa
“I am HIV+ and I have learned how others like me can be strong through Betengna” – Listener from from Addis Ababa
“I had no one by my side when I started taking ART. People say too many negative things about it. I wish I could have heard this program then.” – Listener from Nazret
“We were surfing the internet and we landed on your website by accident, but since then we have been dedicated listeners online. … Even though we are away from home (Ethiopia) we get to learn about the way society deals with HIV and that is a big lesson for us since we plan to come back home for good.” – Listener from Kansas City, USA
“I live in South Africa, Cape Town. I always listen to Hiwot Mamo’s program and it really amazes me; she really is a wonderful woman. I just want to tell her be strong and to always look after herself. Stay blessed.” – Listener from Cape Town, SA
Materials and Resources
Episodes of Betengna Radio Diaries
- Sheger FM 102.1
- Debub Radio (Awassa)
- Dimtsi Woyane Tigray
- Oromia Radio Broadcasts
- Amhara Mass Media Agency
The Betengna initiative is run by the National AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs (CCP) in collaboration with the National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) and funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Betengna is a project that builds on similar PLHA radio diaries projects run by CCP in Nigeria and Malawi.
AIDS Resource Center
Telephone: 251-115 503584(Ext.1139)
Fax: 251-115 503749