Radio Télévision du Burkina (RTB), received support from Fondation Hirondelle for 18 months, from August 2015 to December 2016, bringing it editorial expertise, training, equipment, and helping bring it closer to the concerns of the population, as the country was making a historic democratic transition after the popular uprising of late 2014. More than 160 journalists and technicians were trained, 23 in-depth reports produced, 4 public seminars organized on the future of public service broadcasting, and 4 qualitative and quantitative surveys carried out.
Foundation Hirondelle carried out its first mission in Burkina Faso in September 2015, following a request from the RTB for equipment and editorial support after the popular uprising of late 2014 which led to the departure of former President Blaise Compaoré. The partnership between Fondation Hirondelle and the RTB, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), was primarily intended to provide support for the coverage of the historic elections at the end of 2015 and to improve programming of the public service media in relation to the needs and expectations of the population.
With two experts on the ground in Ouagadougou, Fondation Hirondelle had to quickly prepare for the elections by drafting an electoral charter to guide the work of radio and television journalists. Our experts delivered training for 30 TV and radio correspondents across the country, thus enabling professional and national coverage on Election Day. In collaboration with the National Press Center Norbert Zongo and the RTB, Fondation Hirondelle also helped to organize a seminar on the statutes of the RTB and its reform towards a genuine public service. The main political parties participated and presented their positions on the future of the RTB, enabling a clarification for the public before the elections.
Election coverage by RTB was a success. Citizens saw concrete differences from previous elections. "The RTB worked well, what they did before and what they did this time is not the same. They have raised people’s awareness so that they know how to vote" explains a writer in Manga.
Following the elections, Fondation Hirondelle worked with teams of journalists on radio, television, and the Internet to provide information on everyday problems in the lives of Burkina’s people. 13 in-depth reports were produced for the radio on subjects such as malnutrition, insecurity in the north of the country, management of conflicts between livestock and crop farmers, unwanted pregnancies in schools, as well as the COP21 in Paris and COP22 in Marrakesh.
For TV Fondation Hirondelle organized training on reporting with visuals. Journalists produced 10 programs of 26 minutes each on subjects such as drinking water issues, prison life in Bobo-Dioulasso, food security and migration. RTB viewers appreciated these productions. In focus groups carried out by a polling institute that these in-depth reports allowed better coverage of problems important to the population.
Fondation Hirondelle’s collaboration with Radio Télévision du Burkina was planned for an 18-month period as part of the project financed by the SDC. Therefore, it ended in December 2016, but future avenues of collaboration remain open.