The African Radio Drama Association (ARDA) is an old hand in development communication and behavioural change communication. Since 1994, we have used various forms of mass media and communication theories to reach disparate audiences from farmers from rural Northern Nigeria, to fashionable young ladies in urban centres.
We have been involved on many social and developmental issues that affect all of us directly or indirectly like Maternal and adolescent reproductive health; family planning and child spacing; education of the girl child; climate change and agriculture; human rights and responsibilities; peace and reconciliation programmes and much more.
Communication for Development
This is our bread and butter. ARDA was formed in 1994 at a symposium that assessed the development communication needs of the continent. Back then in 1994, it was decided that the best means to reach the low-income and low-literacy populations that most needed to hear the messages was radio and drama. Radios were relatively cheaper than most other forms of communication technology and the fact that it uses oral communication instead of the written word meant that messages could be effectively communicated to people no matter their level of literacy.
However advances in technology and the rise of new media means that we have expanded our horizons beyond just radio and dramas. The mobile technology boom in Nigeria has made it possible for us to have live call-in radio programmes as well as interactive programmes for mobile phones. As we enter a third decade, we pride ourselves on staying on the zeitgeist of social and technological trends for better communication to our target audiences.
The efficacy of any development project lives and dies on the quality of the research. After all, how can you successfully tailor a program if you don’t know the existing parameters? Research is the wind that blows away the fog. At ARDA, we conduct different kinds of research- quantitative and qualitative- into development issues and trends. Either for our own future projects or for others.
Program Development and Management
At ARDA, we have almost twenty years’ experience in creating and developing program concepts, design documents, radio scripts, and project proposals. In addition we have the know-how to implement and manage these concepts and proposals.
Radio Programming and Production
Our programmes and productions have entertained and educated people in Nigeria and the world for almost twenty years. We are capable and experienced in producing a variety of formats.
Our standard or basic production. We conceptualize, script, cast and produce dramas that carry a development message in them. Our dramas are well produced and often have the cream of Nigerian creative talent providing their aural talents. Live Interactive Programs The proliferation of mobile phones in Nigeria has given the common man more of a voice. Call-in shows are extremely popular. ARDA is able to produce these programs, casting the on-air personalities and knowledgeable experts for listeners to call in and interact with. Not only that, we are able to seamlessly mix live and recorded segments to create a variety or magazine type of show.
Features and Documentaries
These are non-fiction audio documentary-style pieces that touch on a certain topic. We obtain audio interviews and neatly interweave them with the narrative.
Organization and Facilitation of Community Listening Platforms
We are very experienced in the organisation and management of listener’s clubs and groups in our target communities. Listener’s clubs are a valuable resource for any mass media development communication project. Not only do they help publicize your programmes and pass on the messages in the community but they also are great sources of feedback for us. We organise these groups and liaise with them to get feedback on programmes, how better to push messages to the community, even minutiae like the theme song.
In our early years, radio was our main media channel but in recent years we have also started to produce for the screen as well. We maintain the same quality and attention to detail that we do in our radio programmes. We are involved in all stages of the production process from conceptualization to auditions to post-production. Documentaries Non-fiction stories about relevant and hot-button issues and topics.
Films and Serials Full length films and television serials
New Media Programming One of our most exciting areas is new media. We love how it interacts with old media, e.g. social media integration to allow listeners of our programmes to interact. Not only that, we recently produced some mobile phone based interactive videos and are excited about doing more work on that channel.
Theatre for Development
Scripting and production of dramas to be performed on stage. Also includes community theatre productions and staging dramas in our target communities, ideally with local actors and actresses. IEC/BCC Materials Designing and printing of branded materials that help publicise the projects in target communities and beyond. PSAs and Jingles We script and produce public service announcements and jingles in various languages and formats.
We have a top of the range sound studio where we can produce professional music tracks. Scripting We script all our own productions, as well as offer scriptwriting training and refresher sessions. We have a large team of scriptwriters who have loads of experience in turning ideas and treatments into witty and vibrant scripts and screenplays. We also organise and host writer’s workshops both residential and non-residential.
Training and Capacity Building
Because we are dealing in development communication, it is extremely important for the correct messages to be disseminated by agents of communication. Likewise, writing a development communication script requires a bit more forethought than a regular script. We train people and stakeholders to be more development-aware in their communication. We also build capacity and develop skills in people towards useful skills that we can then later utilise like scriptwriting or production. Curriculum Development We develop curriculums, programmes and methodologies for training for development. Training of Radio Station Broadcasters We have held workshops and symposiums aimed at radio station broadcasters to educate and enlighten them about social issues like HIV/AIDS. These symposia allow us to change the way of thinking at a station-head level with the hope that they will pass down the knowledge they have learned to the On-Air Personalities as well as have stations that spread the right message. Scriptwriting These sessions teach scriptwriting, proper script formatting and most importantly weaving the project message into the drama narrative. Production These practical sessions take place in our sound studio. Attendees are introduced to the production process with topics like sound-editing being taught. Distance Learning Tools Development We have recently started developing distance-learning tools for mobile phones although we have the capability to develop for various platforms. We walk closely with the project curriculum to develop some exciting and interactive distance learning modules. Project Support ARDA will support your project from nascent discussions about what form it will take and how to go about it to the execution and implementation of the project to the final reports. Community Mobilization and Participation We can organise community advocacy and educational sessions, and create a framework whereupon community members can be trained to pass on messages and effect changes in their own communities. Consultancies ARDA is capable of lending its skills and knowhow to your projects and programmes to help you reach your goals Organization, Planning and Management of Workshops, Conferences and Trainings At ARDA, we believe a happy workshop is a productive workshop. And what makes a happy workshop is one where the facilities are decent and the programme is engaging and informative. We have been doing this for twenty years, it isn’t easy, but we feel we can do it in our sleep. Participants always leave our workshops in good humour but more importantly having learned something.