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Communities in Burkina Faso use Mobile Journalism as an advocacy tool

In Burkina Faso, the Right2Grow program introduced CSOs and members of advocacy groups in its regions of operation to the use of Mobile Journalism (MOJO). For the Right2Grow program, the MOJO represents a powerful advocacy tool in the hands of CSOs. It rekindles their ability to effectively present the realities of their localities, raise awareness, denounce or challenge good nutritional practices, WASH and food security.

The MOJO was introduced through a series of theory and practical training and coaching on different skills including but not limited to shooting and sound techniques as well as video editing using smartphones.

After one of the trainings on the use of the MOJO, our Right2Grow team caught up with one of the participants, Laurent Kinda. Laurent is a member of the advocacy group in the Province of Bam. He used the knowledge and skills gained from this training to produce a video of arrest. In the following lines, he tells us about his day of filming and the impact of his video…

It is almost 12:00PM. on this day in October 2022 in the Nakombgo district of Kongoussi, a city located in the Center-North region of Burkina Faso. At this time of the day, the sun is already at its zenith and the heat is gradually suffocating when Laurent Kinda, a member of the Bam Province Advocacy Group, arrives at the reserved space in his neighborhood, which has forcefully turned into an open-air garbage dump. The strong smell of rotting garbage can be felt a hundred meters away. This is where he has an appointment with a notable of the city for an interview to be used to produce a MOJO capsule. Carefully, Laurent checks his work equipment one last time. The smartphone is well charged, and the technical report card carefully filled in. He takes a few shots to make sure everything is in order, then walks a few steps to locate the place. After 5 minutes of rounding, he finally chooses the place of the interview. For the journalist of the day, this choice is important for the subject he wants to deal with. Indeed, Laurent wants to ensure that he avoids interference while having a slight ambient sound in the background. At around noon, his guest arrives, Laurent quickly briefs him, then sets up for the interview to start.

The interview is about the management of household waste in the city of Kongoussi. It is a question of making an inventory to identify the problem, whose responsibility it is, what are the possible solutions and what advocacy actions are required to have the city cleaned up.

“I have noticed that there are several piles of garbage dumped in front of the concessions and the reserved spaces within the districts in the city. Children relieve themselves in the middle of the road or near the concessions. The smell that emanates is annoying. This is a situation that is really not normal, especially when the town hall has already contracted service providers to collect household waste. I knew that we had to act to help the Municipality. There was no better tool to use other than producing a MOJO capsule to challenge the actors, especially the town hall,” Laurent narrates.

To prepare for the production of his MOJO capsule, Laurent explains that he gathered a few prerequisites.

“Using my technical report sheet, I identified the problem. I asked myself the right questions to properly address the problem without frustrating anyone; this allowed me to clearly define my angle of treatment. I made contacts and identified people who could accept to testify, assume or index the responsibility to those who do not fully play their role. It is in this context that I met the Customary Chief of Kongoussi who gave his agreement and a notable was appointed to answer my interview,” he explains.

Give the floor to authority...

To balance the treatment of his report, Laurent went to meet the Municipal Authority. He says he was directed to the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Department where he explained the vision of the advocacy groups and the purpose of the video.

“We were able to interview the Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Focal Point and the Sanitation Officer in Kongoussi. It was a real pleasure because we were able to read about the latter's situation and collect his proposals. He was delighted with our approach, which he described as a civic activity and recognized the responsibility of his department on the issue. He is used to meeting projects and NGOs but had never received a citizen in his offices to discuss issues of insalubrity in the city. These words comforted me and let me know that my initiative was good,” says Laurent.

Impact your community...

The final video was shared with the Municipal Authority, Civil Society Organizations in Kongoussi and service providers responsible for collecting urban waste. They were able to know the experience and opinion of the community on poor hygiene and the solutions proposed by the actors to better clean up the city. The important aspect for Laurent is the awareness of his community. He explains that the advocacy group was able to challenge and raise awareness through the MOJO video and felt bitterness on the faces of those who watched his video, because everyone could see their responsibility.

“Seeing the notable talk about the lack of hygiene, many people felt challenged. Then, the collection service could see that despite their actions, there was not enough change in the city,” says Laurent with a touch of satisfaction.

According to him, one of the immediate results of his video is the general commitment of the inhabitants of his neighborhood to have a garbage bin in every household, despite their modest financial means. A good will has also offered to contribute to improving the state of sanitation of the city.

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