Itetero: Rwanda’s First Radio Programme For Children by Gauri Khanduja (F’19)

by tuftsigl
Jul 31

It has been over a month since I arrived in Kigali and began working with Search for Common Ground’s Institutional Learning team for East Africa. As a part of my role here, I’m supporting the team in the monitoring and evaluation of different programs in the region. However, most of my time is dedicated to the evaluation of UNICEF’s and Rwanda’s Broadcasting Agency’s Early Childhood Development radio program, “Itetero”, which means “children's nurturing space” in Kinyarwanda.

The project entails measuring whether there has been any change in knowledge, attitudes or behavior among children and their families as a result of listening to this radio program. At the end of it, the feedback we receive will be synthesized in the form of recommendations to UNICEF on ways the radio program can be improved and how to mobilize more listeners.

So far, it has been a great learning experience to work with an organization that is pioneering innovative conflict-resolution and development work in over 36 countries around the world. My project offers a steep learning curve; both personally and for the organization as it is the first time we are working with children in the age group of 3-6. With this in mind, we are piloting the use of games as a tool for evaluation.

We spent a week in the rural district of Ruhango, near Kigali, where we tested our pilot games. We also validated our data collection tools and conducted focus groups with parents.

Though the interactions were in Kinyarwanda, my colleagues translated what was said during our debrief sessions so I could help them navigate some of the unanticipated challenges. While the fieldwork continues in other rural districts of Rwanda, I am developing an analysis plan to help the team consolidate all the data for our final report with findings and recommendations for UNICEF.

In the time I’ve been in Kigali, I have visited the Murambi Genocide memorial with three other Fletcher students, one of whom is a Rwandan and kindly agreed to be our guide to understand the history of Rwanda and how it has paved its current path toward development.

I also had the chance to treat myself to some local experiences such as sampling the local cuisine and visiting the local farmers and handicrafts markets.

It’s serendipitous that the Indian Prime Minister visited Rwanda for the first time recently, which has burgeoned some interesting India-Rwanda collaborations, one of which is the Indian-Rwandan youth initiative that I recently came across. The overarching goal of this initiative is to increase cooperation among the youth of the two countries by building capacities, skills and knowledge sharing. I hope to be able to contribute to the activities of this initiative during my stay in Rwanda.