Population Services International (PSI): Creating public awareness on IYCF and pneumonia through radio

Optimal infant and young child feeding (IYCF) ensures young children the best possible way to start life. Breast‐feeding is undoubtedly nature’s way of nurturing the child and creates bond between the mother and the child.

Child malnutrition, however, is a huge public health problem in Somalia, negatively affecting the growth, development and survival of young children. Many Somali children under the age of five have been affected by long term chronic and acute malnutrition and micro-nutrients deficiency.

Malnutrition has also put many young Somali children at a great risk of death from pneumonia.

To address the situation, Star Media Development Centre (SMDC) worked with Population Services International (PSI) to use media to promote and support IYCF activities.  SMDC carried out a media campaign, using radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs), to promote IYCF messages in Somalia.

In addition to breastfeeding, the campaign also focused on complementary feeding, feeding during illnesses, water, hygiene, sanitation and maternal nutrition.

The objective of this media campaign was to increase caregivers’ exposure to the necessary information and thus increase their knowledge of optimum infant and young child feeding practices.


Mercy-USA: WASH and nutrition support for vulnerable Somalis

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a priority area under the Social and Human Capital Development pillar of the Government’s National Development Plan (NDP) – 2017-2019. The social and human development pillar aims to accelerate universal access to basic social services, build human capabilities and uphold the dignity of all people of Somalia. As such, it will contribute to the overall vision of the NDP, which is to “Enhance peace and stability, economic prosperity and national cohesion”.

In order to promote hygiene and raise awareness about good hygiene habits such as washing hands, using a toilet for defecation and adopting safe drinking water practices, SMDC, with the financial and technical support of Mercy-USA, worked on a campaign that led to development and broasdcasting of air radio programs and advocacy messages in the Somali language.

SMDC did this through putting on air interactive health messages on radio, which included telephone calls from listeners for questions or clarifications.

The shows also featured guests who are health experts with prior preparation on the topic of concern for each week.

The campaign’s aim was to change the age old habits and practices and raise awareness about the necessary behaviour changes to be made through communication, reaching millions of Somalis with simple health messages.

It resulted in educating the Somali public and communicated to them key messages.

It also influenced the Somali people by encouraging them to adopt simple healthy habits that can prevent illnesses.


Care International: Intervention in hygiene promotion campaign through mass media

The lack of adequate sanitation facilities in Somalia usually affects school attendance especially for the girl-child and also results in school dropout. This leads to poor performance in schools.

In a bid to address the situation, SMDC worked with international humanitarian agency CARE to turn key messages to visuals through production of dramas related to hygiene best practices.

To execute the project, SMDC produced TV spots, ensured airing time on appropriate channels, introduced new ideas on the best way to promote the HBA agreed messages (e.g. theatre production, songs, music concerts, etc.) and ensured donor visibility.

We also worked on integrating the objectives of the hygiene promotion and other WASH projects

Through this project, SMDC played a significant role in spreading information and raising awareness on water and sanitation in Somalia.

For this project, came up with the visual designs for hygiene promotion messages through TV stations.

Main Stories

The Somalia Stabilization Initiative: Interactive theater for community & government interaction

The Somalia Stabilization Initiative (SSI) is working in Jubbaland State and South West State to help extend the presence of effective state authority in the regions and strengthen reconciliation initiatives.

Working with SSI,  Star Media Development Centre (SMDC) conducted an interactive theater in Warmahan, Wanlaweyn and Tixsiile in Somalia’s southern Lower Shabelle region  to help community members meet and share ideas irrespective of one’s economic, social, and political status in the society.

The theater was part of SSI’s efforts to support the office of the Lower Shabelle governor and the three communities to discuss common concerns in a creative way, and to also provide a platform for community and government interaction.

SMDC conducted a comprehensive interactive theater for the three communities through the use of radio drama, community interactive theater, PSAs, and radio Vox Pops.

SMDC conducted a two-day interactive theater in each of the three towns; Warmahan, Tixsiile, and Wanlaweyn (a total of 6 days) so as to create an interactive space to discuss common issues and concerns. The interactive theater included; public performances in a concert style format inclusive of plays, dramas, songs, poems, music etc.

SMDC also produced and disseminated five radio dramas from the interactive theater, five radio Vox Pops and five Public Service Announcements (PSAs) with participants drawn from youth, women, and regional and local administration officials.

We involved key local influential people to carry our message during the interactive theater and when producing the VOX POP and PSA to increase the number of people coming to the theater as well as the listener-ship.

Photo by Mustafa Ali


Somalia Stability Fund: Providing strategic communications support for the government

To build trust between the Somali government and citizens, the Somalia Stability Fund (SSF) worked with SMDC to increase communications between government and Somali citizens. Under the contract, SMDC’s role is to help improve Somali government communications efforts, increase its visibility and find creative ways to communicate with and listen to Somali citizens.

This strategic communications support was also aimed at increasing collaboration and trust between different levels of government, particularly between the federal government, Federal Member States (FMS) and district administrations e.g. by supporting and encouraging different levels of government to engage on common platforms, whether through a radio interview or a launch event.

SMDC produced and disseminated a radio and TV show called Qaran (Nation in Somali) which went out live on Star FM Somalia and Star Television Network (STN TV) where listeners and viewers call in and contribute via the telephone numbers 0616000555 (calls) and 411 (SMS).

In the final segment of every episode, the presenter read SMS feedback from audience members.

Both the radio and TV talk-shows were repeated on Star FM and STN TV respectively for maximum impact.

SMDC, among other things, also provided hands-on training, communications support and advice to the government institutions on the ground in Somalia.

Prior to undertaking the strategic communications support effort, SMDC carried out a thorough comprehensive map of current communications capacity-building work being implemented at the federal, FMS and district levels.


GIZ: Fish for nutrition media campaign project in Kismayo, Somalia

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH or GIZ is implementing a Fish for Nutrition Project (FNP) to improve Food and Nutrition Security of Vulnerable Population in Kismayo, Somalia through Access to Fishery Products.

In 2018, SMDC was GIZ’s media partner and conducted an awareness campaign in the southern Somalia coastal city of Kismayo to raise the level of awareness on the nutritional benefits and value of fish consumption among vulnerable people and the application of such knowledge in their lives.

The campaign, dubbed ‘Dish on Fish’, was aimed at encouraging families living in and around the coastal city to start including fish in their daily diets. The campaign was also aimed at raising awareness about the nutritional benefits of eating fish and appropriate methods for preparing and preserving fish among returning refugees, internally displaced persons & vulnerable residents of Kismayo.

Initial measures to promote fish consumption, including road and radio shows as well as road-shows, have caught the attention of the population and even encouraged residents to change their eating habits.

SMDC produced and broadcast radio dramas, Public Service Announcements (PSAs), radio/TV panel discussions, vox pops, roadshows and organized a cooking competition for the residents as part of the ‘Dish on Fish’ awareness campaign and conducted stakeholder consultations in Kismayo.

During the FNP media campaign in Kismayo, Star Media Development Centre (SMDC) conducted the following media activities:

  • Radio Dramas
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs
  • Radio and TV Panel Discussions
  • Promos/Trailers/Reminders
  • Vox Pops
  • Roadshows
  • Cooking competition
  • Social Media campaign


UNHCR Somalia: TRS media campaign on irregular migration (Tahriib)

Every year, hundreds if not thousands of Somali refugees and migrants die while trying to seek asylum and migrate in an irregular manner (Tahriib) to Europe and elsewhere.

To raise awareness on the dangers of these Tahriib journeys, UN refugee agency UNHCR has launched a campaign dubbed Telling the Real Story (TRS). The campaign is part of a UNHCR global initiative, which targets a diverse group of people, mainly the youth who may consider embarking on such a journey.

In partnership with UNHCR, Star Media Development Centre (SMDC) produced and aired Vox Pops and an hour-long Televised Talk Show in Somalia as part of the UN agency’s Telling the Real Story information campaign in a bid to respond to the rising number of Somali refugees and migrants perishing in the Central Mediterranean each year.

SMDC’s objective in undertaking the campaign was help the UNHCR inform Somali refugees and asylum seekers in countries of transit and first asylum of the full scope of the perils and difficulties of irregular movement and ultimately enable them to take an informed decision about their movements and plans for the future.

The campaign also aimed to expand the reach of messages and drive an intra-community dialogue on Tahriib through cooperation between UNHCR and SMDC to reach out to Somali communities in the Horn of Africa.



UNHCR Kenya: Estabilishing Radio Gargaar for refugees at Dadaab

With funding from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), SMDC established Radio Gargaar in Dadaab and continues to broadcast programming from the refugee complex.  The aim of setting up Radio Gargaar’s studio in Dadaab was to help refugee refugees develop radio programs for an estimated Somali audience of 300,000 people.

The establishment of Radio Gargaar studio in Dadaab was aimed at enforcing information sharing and enhancing development activities at the camp.

The station also provides jobs to refugee community journalists and mobilisers who will take the lead in running daily activities and empowering young refugees.

Radio Gargaar was established after realising the need for refugees to access accurate information and raising awareness about world events and important commemorations.

Gargaar, which means “Assistance” is a name derived from the Somali language, common among nationalities at the camp.

In 2014, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency  established a “Ask UNHCR” weekly live radio talk-show on Radio Gargaar, which is run by Star Media Development Centre, to interact with the refugee community in Dadaab camps.

The talk-show complemented UNHCR’s daily field visits and monitoring work. The show was aimed at providing general public information that will complement UNHCR’s service delivery activities in camps. Each UNHCR sector unit including Protection, Health & Nutrition, Community Services, Education, Environment, External Relations, Technical and Field participated in the live discussion.

The talk show was an important community outreach initiative handy for situations where security conditions for humanitarian workers are precarious. It was generally a question-and-answer live thematic group discussion which was aired on a weekday for two hours on Radio Gargaar.



IOM Somalia: Building radio studios in southern Somalia

In 2018, Star Media Development Centre (SMDC) supplied, delivered and installed radio equipment and studios in different locations in Somalia; including a power supply and antenna mast for Radio Baidoa, Barawe remote transmitter and production facility and Hudur remote transmitter and production facility, Mogadishu remote transmitter and Afmadow remote transmitter and production facility.

The supply, delivery and installation of this radio equipment were supported by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to help Somali government-owned Radio Mogadishu, Radio Baidoa and Radio Kismayo work well.

During this project, SMDC supplied and installed Baidoa power supply and antenna mast, Baraawe remote transmitter and production facility, Hudur remote transmitter and production facility, Mogadishu remote transmitter, Afmadow remote transmitter and production facility and Bardeere (remote transmitter).

SMDC has also worked with IOM to sharpen the knowledge and skills of journalists with state media outlets with intensive training that empowered them to report compellingly on local, regional and national issue.

The training brought together journalists working in state TVs, radio, online and news agencies across the country.