SWEDD family planning gender equality animation still

Location Family planning

Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD)


The Sahel region has some of the highest levels of gender inequality in the world. We worked with UNFPA and the governments of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Chad to reduce these inequalities and promote family planning, through a radio, TV and social media campaign across the region.


Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania and Niger


Family planning – encouraging birth spacing and the uptake of modern contraceptives.

Gender inequality – discouraging child marriage and promoting the importance of girls’ education.


Five x 1-minute radio spots, two films, and six x 1-minute animations distributed on international TV channel, TV5 Monde.


The SWEDD project ran from August 2017 to December 2018. We broadcast our campaign on radio, television and on social media in all six SWEDD countries.


11 million

Project at a glance

277 million
Views on television and Facebook
Facebook comments

Our Approach

United Nations Population Fund logo


Investigating barriers to behaviour change

We worked with UNFPA to research and analyse knowledge, attitudes and behavioural barriers relating to family planning and gender inequality in Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger and Chad. Barriers to the use of family planning included a fear of using modern contraceptives coming from concerns about side effects such as infertility, as well as social stigma for those using modern contraception (particularly young people). We also identified that very few women and girls were seeking adequate antenatal care or giving birth in health facilities. On the basis of this research, we developed messages to promote birth spacing and giving birth in a health facility. We shared information about family planning and encouraged men to actively participate in discussions about family planning and health.

The level of child and adolescent marriage is high in all six of these countries. To address this, we produced content to discourage these practices and promote girls’ education and its benefits.


Welcome to Banoni City

For this campaign, we produced six animations, two short (“Bamako Brief”) films zooming in on family planning issues in Bamako, and five radio spots.

The animations follow the story of a girl called Nya, as she grows up and navigates the challenges of being a woman in the Sahel region. We used innovative methods to ensure the series was relevant to a diverse audience spanning multiple countries. They were set in an imaginary city called Banoni (representing Bamako, Abidjan, Nouakchott, Ouagadougou, Niamey, N’Djamena), which had a diverse population of ethnic groups and religions so that all six countries were represented. They were produced in collaboration with award-winning Ivoirian scriptwriter Marguerite Abouet and animator Angelin Paul.


Broadcasting across the Sahel region

Our radio spots were broadcast daily on Radio France Internationale (RFI) for 3 months, covering all six countries in which SWEDD was delivered.

The “Bamako Briefs” and Banoni City animations were distributed on TV5 Monde, Canal+ and other regional TV stations.

We distributed the animations on Facebook and monitored the number of views for 6 months.


Project impact

Our Impact

A deeper understanding of barriers to family planning in the Sahel

Each animation reached 1.2 – 2 million Facebook users during the 6-month period. We worked with our partner TV broadcasters to estimate that TV broadcasts of our animations reached approximately 277 million television viewers.

We conducted a thematic analysis of over 3000 Facebook comments on the Banoni city animations to gain a deeper understanding of barriers to family planning in the Sahel. The emergent themes identified six key barriers to family planning and sexual and reproductive health:

  1. the perception that early marriage prevents promiscuity,
  2. girls should be abstinent if pursuing an education,
  3. contraception leads to sterility and disease,
  4. an anti-western sentiment and mistrust,
  5. population and family size is in God’s hands,
  6. a perception that over-population is not an economic problem as there are other countries with large populations perceived as economically sound.

Partners & Funders

This project was funded by the World Bank via UNPFA as part of Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) initiative.