Radio PLA: A New Innovation

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) is one of the approach which enables and empowers communities to identify, analyze, share and enhance their knowledge on life conditions including health related issues, and then capacitates them to plan to act upon, monitor, evaluate and reflect on the issues and solutions. In Malawi, MaiKhanda Trust and Women Child First (WCF) are well known of implementing PLA approach with a purpose of empowering communities in order to improve  health related issues such as maternal health, new born health, HIV, family planning and many others.


The PLA has been implemented by using a novel model of Women’s Groups. There are several districts across Malawi that used the Women’s Groups to implement the PLA, such as Salima. Ntchisi, Nkhotakota etc. there are gains demonstrated in these districts yielded through PLA implemented by women’s groups such as improve on nutrition, reduction in neonatal deaths, reduction in home deliveries and etc

Following the successful execution of PLA approach through women’s groups, MaiKhanda Trust in collaboration with Women Child First for the first time have introduced a new Radio innovation to implement the PLA approach. The Radio PLA approach will be applied in a project called iHEARD which is funded by Global Canada Affairs (GAC). The Radio PLA approach will focus on empowering the youths especially Adolescent Girl Young Woman (AGYW) in Ntchisi district to dismantle barriers to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights(SRHR) for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW), who are particularly vulnerable to SRHR violations.
Through this iHEARD project which is implemented by a consortium of partners, from both international and local, MaiKhanda Trust is collaboratively working with Farm Radio Trust (FRT) who are known experts in radio programming to deliver Radio-PLA methodology. FRT will support the Radio PLA approach with thematic story lines, provision of Radio sets to Radio PLA groups, interactive radio PLA programme production and running an induction session with radio producers.
This being a new innovation, the planning phase is of paramount importance, it all begun by conducting interface consultative meetings with various stakeholders such as local chiefs, parents, religious leaders, youths/adolescents; adolescent girl young woman (AGYW) and adolescent boy young man (ABYM). The next step was to plan carefully for the Radio PLA design content. MaiKhanda Trust together with WCF organized a Radio PLA design content workshop which was held from 8th to 11th November 2022 at Chikho Hotel, Mponela. The aim of the design workshop was to develop the content and structure that would guide and influence smooth delivering of the Radio PLA methodology.

This Radio PLA design workshop attracted the attendance of key stakeholders who will be indirectly or directly involved in the Radio PLA, these included representative from Ntchisi district hospital, Health Education Services Department, Farm Radio International, Girl Effect, FRT and beneficiaries themselves AGYWs. The sequential order of key questions falling under Radio PLA approach were addressed by soliciting ideas/inputs together, The list of SRHR barriers AGYWs are facing from societies in day to day life were isolated and influence the Radio PLA thematic matrix which will be used as guide for selecting themes to be aired on the radio whilst engaging AGYWs to achieve an interactive radio programme.

Design worship in progress 

Having done the successful Radio PLA content design workshop, MaiKhanda Trust and WCF are ready to go onto the ground and execute the methodology through the Radio PLA groups comprise of AGYWs who are out of school aged between 15 and 24.

Participants who attended the Radio PLA design worksop

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