Ethiopian Talk Radio: A Tool in the Fight Against AIDS

dagu_team“There’s nothing that won’t be talked about” boasts DAGU (Let’s Talk in Afar) Youth Media, a popular Ethiopian radio show that targets 15-20 year old listeners.  In order to meet the goal of reducing the spread of HIV among its listening population, DAGU has bravely lived up to this assertion and has examined a wide range of sensitive issues, to the broad acclaim of its followers.

Launched in December 2008 by the National AIDS Resource Center (ARC), DAGU Youth Media is managed by the Center for Communication Programs and funded by PEPFAR and CDC. DAGU broadcasts school-based radio programs and a program on the Addis-wide 102.1 FM station, and streams episodes on its website, thereby reaching a broad segment of youth in Ethiopia. Its radio programs use an entertainment education approach to explore the themes of relationships, sexuality, gender and lifestyle as they relate to HIV risk and model positive health behaviours.

Each 30-minute segment features young people talking openly about the challenges they face in their lives. By encouraging listeners to take preventative measures against the spread of HIV and delay sexual debut, DAGU is contributing to ongoing efforts across Ethiopia to change young people’s attitudes about beliefs about HIV/AIDS.

DAGU supplements its well-received radio shows to further underline its message. It runs media training in schools to develop the capacity of young people to deliver compelling HIV prevention messages; it offers instruction to school counsellors who are responsible for guiding students about HIV prevention; and, it has recently launched Listener Discussion Groups (LDGs) using student facilitators in schools to reinforce the lessons covered in the radio show episodes.

DAGU is living up to its name and tagline. The show proclaims that is all about talking; DAGU has been praised by listeners for creating a safe space for open discussion. Fans have implored DAGU to “Never stop talking about STDs, pregnancy and sexual relationships,” and have bemoaned that while they love the program, they “wish all parents in Ethiopia could listen to it.” DAGU is making it easier for young people in Ethiopia to explore the challenging and, often, sensitive issues in their lives, one listener at a time.

Learn more about the National AIDS Resource Center (ARC).

Visit DAGU Youth Media’s website.

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