Community Radio Reaches Millions in Liberia

MONROVIA, 29 March 2016 --- New research conducted by Mercy Corps and IREX finds that community radio provides a critical source of information for the people of Liberia, including in some of the country’s most remote rural areas.

86% of Liberia’s population listen to radio and most prefer community to national radio for news and information. This is because it features local stories, local voices and dialects, the study finds.

“Our research shows that community radio is not only the most prevalent but also the most trusted source of information in Liberia, and is therefore a vital tool for broadening awareness and education on social issues,” says Laura Keenan, Communications Specialist at Mercy Corps Liberia. 

The research was conducted as part of the Ebola Community Action Platform 2 (ECAP 2) which is funded by USAID. As part of a broader community engagement program, ECAP 2 has trained and mentored 27 community radio stations to do approved health campaigns.

“In parts of the country where reliable information is scarce, community radio provides a lifeline to citizens. Stations know the concerns in their communities and are best placed to adapt and relay crucial messages in ways that will be most relevant,” says Colby Pacheco, Project Director for ECAP 2 at IREX Liberia.

The study is the first radio reach survey to have been conducted across all of Liberia’s 15 counties, assessing radio listenership and access for the country overall as well as the ECAP 2 program. 

It finds that Grand Kru has the lowest radio listenership (44% of the county’s population), followed by Bomi and River Gee (64%). Conversely, listenership in Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu and Bong reaches close to 100% in all three counties.  

970,000 people have been reached by ECAP 2 radio messages since November 2015 and 9 in 10 people said that their health knowledge has improved as a result of these campaigns.