Maji Safi Group has used Information Communication Technology to spread our life-saving disease prevention education since we started in 2013.
Using social media, radio broadcasting, and a health hotline to teach millions of people about water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), behavioral change, and Menstrual Hygiene Health (MHH). Our unique approach to teaching proper hygienic behaviors through fun and interactive education has earned us respect, strong community buy-in, and a large following in the Mara Region and throughout Tanzania.
Despite the large number of social media users in Tanzania, very few take advantage of social media platforms as a learning tool. Most information available online is predominantly in English or only accessible in select countries. Very few educational online resources and materials exist in Swahili, and they often lack engaging messages and visuals. This is especially true for resources about health, so for many Tanzanians, remote and busy HCFs are regarded as the main source of health information. Rather than depending on having an overburdened health worker teach you, social media offers users access to information on their own time and from anywhere.
The aim of using social media to disseminate health information is first and foremost to improve the health of Tanzanian and other East Africans in a resource-efficient and economical way, so millions can receive quality and factual health information. In addition, we aim to partner with for-profit and non-profit institutions to do joint marketing and generate funds through brand placement and partnerships.
In the Mara Region, MSG hosts regular radio shows about WASH and disease prevention at local radio stations, such as Bunda FM and Sachita FM. Several times a month, our CHEs teach listeners about proper WASH behavioral practices, menstrual hygiene, and the importance of disease prevention and answer WASH-related questions. The shows also serve as entertainment as they use songs and stories created by MSG program participants to educate the community. This interactive, educational, and fun outreach program reaches thousands to tens of thousands of people per show depending on the station. Each show is recorded, and the radio station replays it once within the same week.
Maji Safi Group’s Hotline provides disease prevention lessons four days a week for 4-7 hours a day. The Hotline is an innovative, versatile outreach program that provides mobile-based education to large areas, including hard-to-reach communities. Individuals call or text questions to the Hotline, and a trained Community Health Educator (CHE) responds during office hours. In addition, MSG has partnered with doctors at the Shirati KMT District Hospital who are available to provide medical advice. The Hotline also sends out educational SMS text messages to hundreds of subscribers each week as a way of complimenting education provided in our other programs. The mobile platform enables MSG participants, as well as community members, to receive health alerts and WASH lessons to continue learning and ensure long-lasting effects of our programs.
When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit we were ready to act and help prevent disease in the community.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, MSG’s used its many years of experience to help partners, such as the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, share factual health information with millions on social media in Tanzania and other parts of East Africa. During a few months, we became one of the top 10 public health influencers on social media within East Africa. We also reached hundreds of thousands of people through our radio shows in partnership with Bunda and Sachita FM and our staffs personally spoke with thousands more through our hotline.
The COVID-19 pandemic thus revealed how well-positioned we are to expand our message and influence through Information Communication Technology. We are now ready to build on our nearly ten years of experience with teaching healthy habits at many levels and through a variety of programs and media channels.