Location COVID-19

Linda Afya


As COVID-19  challenged the resilience of health systems worldwide, there was an increased risk of the disease unravelling progress on major health issues such as malnutrition, malaria, pneumonia, and HIV. The World Health Organisation urged countries to continue access to critical health services, as inability to do so could cause a reversal in ‘the progress achieved in basic health indicators such as maternal and child mortality during the past 20 years in many LMICs’.

For Linda Afya, meaning ‘Protect Yourself’ in Kiswahili, we received funding from UNICEF to mobilise our network of local scriptwriters and radio stations to encourage continued treatment-seeking for essential services and improve health during the COVID-19 pandemic.




COVID-19 – health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging continuity of health essential services


24 x 1-minute radio spots. 6 x long-format interactive radio shows


This radio campaign ran from May 2021 until March 2022. We broadcast 24 radio spots and six long-format interactive shows on 33 regional radio stations and one national radio station in mainland Tanzania, and 10 radio spots on four regional radio stations in Zanzibar

Project at a glance

radio spots
radio partners

Our Approach


Rigorously defined messaging strategy

We worked with UNICEF, the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, and other NGOs to define the highest priority messages for intensive campaigning to a national audience. Given our relationships with a vast network of radio broadcasters across Tanzania, there was potential to influence behaviours at national scale and reach roughly 32 million people with our messaging.

We ensured our outputs considered equity across all segments of the population, especially when attempting to reach the most vulnerable. Our targeting and production process was informed by in-depth formative research, which accounted for the role of gender and power relations at the household and community level. For instance, many of our spots on nutrition and maternal health featured positive male representation, as men have a crucial and decisive role in health and household consumption decisions.

Our team also conducted four regional feedback visits to Kigoma, Kagera, Iringa and Mbeya to assess community penetration, and reactions to our radio spots.


Locally-created, innovative storytelling

Our talented scriptwriting team in Tanzania produced 12 new radio spots focusing on delivery at a health centre, blood donations, child vaccination, positive discipline, childhood check-ups, antenatal care, and maternal nutrition. We also produced an additional eight radio spots on COVID-19 related messages, including handwashing, physical distancing, mask wearing and vaccinations. Our six long-format shows, where listeners could dial in, were able to engage audiences deeply and with a more nuanced understanding of healthy living, delivery at a health centre, early childhood development and violence against children (VAC).


11 months, 38 radio stations

Radio stations were carefully selected following a comprehensive assessment of transmitter strength, position, programme management and listenership. Spanning 25 regions, they ensured our campaign reached a national audience at high intensity. Each radio spot was aired 10 times per day, for seven days a week, across DMI’s network of radio stations. Our interactive radio shows were aired twice a week for three weeks on Tanzania’s national radio station, Radio Free Africa.

Project impact

We conducted four feedback visits to Kigoma, Kagera, Iringa, and Mbeya. We conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) with representatives of the audience to assess whether the radio spots had been heard, and to gauge opinion on whether the creative content had changed their behaviours. We found:

  • In all FGDs, participants said they had heard the radio spots and could recite key messages, mainly on antenatal care, maternal nutrition, early childhood development (ECD) and COVID-19.
  • Most participants said the spots had influenced them to adopt new behaviours, on father engagement in ECD, VAC, and vaccination.
  • Participants suggested that further information on COVID-19 vaccinations should be shared through media, and in community groups to encourage discussion and alleviate doubts.

“Today you can find a father bringing his child to the clinic, something which was not happening in the past, where people thought that all issues related to the clinic are women’s duties. Today you can find a father helping women to carry children, helping with household activities like fetching water and firewood, this has helped to change the norms that there are men’s and women’s activities.”

– Father, Tanzania on early childhood development messaging

Partners & Funders

We are grateful to UNICEF for supporting this project.