Community engagement in WASH development is a key to ensuring the program is sustained. In March 2020, USAID IUWASH PLUS worked with the Deli Serdang district government and community groups to establish mechanisms through which the citizens could participate in WASH development.
One of the mechanisms established is radio talk shows in Deli Serdang Berseri radio, a radio station managed by the district’s communication and informatics office.
Despite this important role, the crew of Deli Serdang Berseri radio remained in doubt regarding airing the talk shows.
“We were afraid that we would not be able to make appealing talk shows, and people got bored easily,” said the Broadcasting Head of Deli Serdang Berseri radio, Mr. Arfandi.
The situation has completely changed when the social behavior restriction was applied to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The health office did not have many media options to promote WASH issues to communities to keep them safe during the pandemic. Thus, the office with support from USAID IUWASH PLUS opted to work with Deli Serdang Berseri radio to run a talk show on community-based total sanitation program. In early June 2020, Deli Serdang Berseri aired the talk show on WASH issues for the first time.
“To our surprise, our talk show received warm responses from the audience. This achievement has boosted our confidence, it proves that we have the skills and potential to run appealing radio talk shows,” said sanitation staff of the district health office, Mr. Daniel Sembiring.
This success has also motivated Deli Serdang Berseri to run a regular talk-show on health every Tuesday and on WASH on Mondays every other week.
Seeing that the radio talk shows receive warm responses from the community, PDAM Tirta Deli also uses the program to promote piped water to community members.
Upon the request of the Head of Communication and Informatics Office of Deli Serdang district, Deli Serdang Berseri radio also covers other WASH issues promoted by USAID IUWASH PLUS in the talk shows.
Those issues include WASH micro credit, sanitation business opportunity, and a training on septic tank construction for masons.
“Radio talk show is a good opportunity to raise community’s awareness on the safely managed water and sanitation and encourage them to monitor the progress of WASH development in Deli Serdang,” said the Head of Communication and Informatics Office of Deli Serdang district Mr. Haris Binar Ginting.
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