THE KOROGOCHO PROJECT: Community Radio Catalyzing Healthcare

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THE KOROGOCHO PROJECT: Community Radio Catalyzing Healthcare

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Internews will catalyze healthcare delivery by connecting patients and community health workers to a community radio station via mobiles and crowdsourcing software. The project enables patients, health workers and clinics to access accurate and timely information about local health issues and informs radio programming by collecting data from slum residents.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Deficiencies in public health infrastructure contribute to a lag in vital information flow. The Korogocho slum, located 11 kilometers from Nairobi, is home to an estimated 250,000 illegal squatters. Korogocho lacks access to minimum services, proper sanitation or waste management. The poor hygiene conditions have led to the rapid spread of cholera, malaria, typhoid, dysentery, and other diseases. Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV are also critical health problems. Violence, substance abuse, rape, and crime are rampant. Like many poverty-stricken areas in the developing world, Korogochos’ lack of infrastructure prevents health workers from delivering efficient healthcare to the slum settlements. Korogocho residents and the health workers are disconnected from central city clinics and hospitals, making it impossible to respond effectively to constantly fluctuating health situations in this community. A disease outbreak in this impoverished community is likely to go undetected and unreported. Maternity services are virtually non-existent in the area.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The synergy of new media tools plus community radio addresses the critical information access problem. Mapping and crowdsourcing software plus SMS messaging have proven to be vital tools for organizing humanitarian response and enhancing communication with affected populations in disasters. We have adapted a model we used in Haiti and Pakistan emergency response towards healthcare delivery for slum residents. By connecting mobiles and crowdsourcing /visualization software to the community radio station, the slum residents, health workers and clinics gain access to more accurate information about local health issues and create an ongoing health dialogue on community radio. Community health workers will be trained to text messages via low-cost mobiles to the local radio station. Radio journalists will be trained to use the FrontlineSMS platform, filter and investigate information, and create health programming content to report back to their community. Through the use of dynamic mapping technology, the project will help identify trends (HealthMap) and inform action to improve health care delivery as well as create an interactive space for community dialogue on health (KOCH FM). Like many poverty-stricken areas in the developing world, Korogochos’ lack of infrastructure prevents health workers from delivering efficient healthcare to the slum settlements. Internews and KOCH FM, the “first community owned ghetto radio in Kenya,” address this infrastructure problem; working with Korogocho Community Health Workers (CHW’s), HealthMap and FrontlineSMS:Medic , Internews and KOCH FM will provide timely and strategic health information to and from the community which addresses current health issues and improves public healthcare.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Information can save lives. The United Nations has elevated the level of information needs in disasters to that of the same category as food, shelter and water. Korogocho, third largest slum in Kenya, is a community very much on the edge of survival. We are looking adapt what we've learned in emergency response to work on improving healthcare delivery in poorly infrastructured areas where health issues - many which are preventable - are rampant. In addition to short term impacts, improving healthcare by strengthening communications systems, studies have shown that the media strongly contribute to shaping public opinion and setting agendas for policymaking. Evidence demonstrates that the topics that the news media cover are likely to become the issues or views that media consumers and audiences (including policy makers and politicians) identify as pressing issues of the day. The complex and often culturally sensitive constellation of issues related to sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention and testing and gender make it particularly important for journalists to report on such subject matter in a way that is accurate, non-stigmatizing, and supports local efforts. Localizing media advocacy ensures that issues include a public health perspective, embracing the social, cultural, economic and political dimensions of health problems. It also stresses the importance of participation and empowerment in health promotion, equipping the community to become engaged in the process of making change. A vibrant local media is a powerful tool for mobilizing people at both the community and political level for social change.
About You
Internews Network
Section 1: You
First Name


Last Name



Internews Network


, DC

Section 2: Your Organization
Organization Name

Internews Network

Organization Phone


Organization Address

1640 Rhode Island Ave NW

Organization Country

, NA

Your idea
Country and state your work focuses on
Do you have a patent for this idea?


Internews has an established health journalism program based in Nairobi which improves the frequency and quality of media reporting and programming on HIV/AIDS, malaria, avian flu, family planning, reproductive health and other critical health issues. Internews will train and mentor the journalists at Koch FM on how to properly use, filter, investigate and report that health information back to the community in various radio formats. Internews has previously trained several journalists from Koch FM to improve the quality of their health reporting, and HealthMap has a model for curating information, used previously in emergency response settings.

The Korogocho project builds upon the success of Internews’ Kenya including the establishment of several weekly radio programs with an HIV/AIDS focus, and the creation of two regular health slots on primetime national television.


Korogocho Community Health Workers will use text messaging to recognize trends in the population they serve, to help connect them upstream to clinics and downstream w/patients. Regular reports regarding health trends as well as geographical distribution of disease will be shared with the neighboring health clinics, building stronger relationships between the community radio station, clinics and and the CHW’s. Improving the information flow infrastructure will help boost the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Koch FM journalists, using new media toolkits will filter and report critical health information back to the community in various radio formats (news features, talk shows, call- ins, etc).

Increasing audience participation leads to increased commercial value for the community radio station. Additionally, the stable internet connection point is an asset that can help diversify the funding base by potentially selling or collecting a small tariff for its use by slum residents.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

Success is measured by our increased ability to: provide timely health information to and from the Nairobi slum community of Korogocho and its radio station, Koch FM; provide community members and health workers with information on typically under reported health issues, and to create meaningful, ongoing dialogues about health within the community and allow for the timely application of targeted interventions. Once we have our project underway, we will be able to demonstrate fairly quickly moving the needle in terms of improving healthcare for Korogocho residents.

To achieve these goals, Internews seeks funding to launch the following activities over an 18-month timeline:

• Mobilize and train the Community Health Workers on text messaging, using FrontlineSMS (Months 1 and 2)
• Train and mentor presenters from Koch FM, the community radio station, on using the FrontlineSMS platform, filtering information, and communicating relevant health information in a news/radio friendly manner (Months 1 – 3)
• 3. Operate and monitor the new media tool applications (Months 3 – 12)
• 4. Provide ongoing reports of health trends and geographic disease distribution to clinics and Community Health Workers
• Assess and customize HealthMap for the health workers and Koch FM according to the needs of the radio station and of the Community Health Workers (Month 3)
• Work with Community Health Workers and radio presenters to develop a new weekly health program (Months 4 – 6)
• Train health workers and the radio station on the use of HealthMap (Months 4-5)
• Encourage listener feedback on health issues on station’s Facebook page (Months 5 – 18)
• Evaluate and assess the possibility of conducting a broader crowd-sourcing project in Korogocho, using FrontlineSMS and Health Map (Months 8 and 9)
• Test and start a crowd-sourcing project managed by Koch FM through the use of FrontlineSMS and Health Map. (Months 9 – 18)
• Produce a final project report on combining crowd-sourcing, community radio and health in one slum community, with lessons learned. (Month 18)

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Shortchanging the funding and adequate upfront time to launch properly. Each partner brings a critical component to meeting the projects’ goals, and are very excited about the project. In order to meet our goals, we will need to make sure we have adequate funding to support the intensive upfront training and staff time required to launch the project. After 18 months, once the project is running, training will be completed considerably, and managing the project with mentoring support will roll into the work plans of the Internews Kenya office.

Internews has an extensive successful track record for initiating, completing, and sustaining media development projects that fit within our mission and focus. This project is an adaption of a proven model used in our emergency response efforts, and we are adapting it to improve our health programming, with current proven partners. The affected population we are aiming to serve is close to our Nairobi office so that we can keep an eye on the project and tap into the Nairobi media center - which can offer support and mentoring - from rollout through completion.

All partners are very committed to the project provided we secure funding to support the 18-month launch. Our existing funding model is 90% government grants, 10% private funding. Often,we need a private funder to seed fund a launch of a project, then we can roll this into a larger government grant to maintain its support. This project has incredilbe leverage opportuinty given the resources we have in place in Nairobi already.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, NA

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Internews Kenya

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Internews Network has a regional office located in Nairobi, Kenya and is recognized within the area by other NGOs, the local community and the local media as a leader in media development.

KOCH FM : Founded in 2006, the ghetto-based community radio is an extraordinary innovation for and by the community. The radio amplifies the voices of the people and ensures that they are given a voice. Its editorial focus includes an existing training partnership with Internews to produce programming on gender, health, child welfare topics.

Frontline SMS: advances healthcare networks in underserved communities by using innovative, appropriate mobile technologies that enables large-scale, two-way text messaging using only a laptop, a GSM modem, and inexpensive cell phones.

Ushahidi was built for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. The Ushahidi Platform was developed in Kenya, innovating the simplest way of aggregating information from the public for use in crisis response.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

Initial private funding to secure staff time, equipment and support for launching the 18-month pilot. Funding staff time would include intensive training from Internews and two key partner: Frontline SMS, and Ushahidi , for KOCH FM journalists, station staff and Korogocho Community Health Workers.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The Haiti Earthquake. By positioning community radio as a communications link between humanitarian aid providers and civilians, Internews served a vital role for earthquake victims - Internews and its network of Haitian reporters received and distributed vital aid information – using mobile short code launched by Ushahidi - which helped gather reports of local needs in real time. Post – earthquake, Internews interviewed survivors, to determine how people continue to get news, so that information can be best targeted to continue serving the local population.
In the past couple years, mapping and crowdsourcing software plus mobile messaging via SMS have proven to be vital tools for organizing humanitarian response and enhancing communication with affected populations during a crises. Internews, HealthMap and FrontlineSMS have all been used with great success in recent humanitarian efforts including the current flooding in Pakistan and the recent earthquake in Haiti. Seeing the dramatic results that community radio achieves when working with new media tools– to catalyze and accelerate strategic communications interventions – has led us to adapt the model for similar poor infrastructure settings to improve healthcare delivery.

The Korogocho pilot links new media tools, including mapping and crowdsourcing software, mobiles and SMS, to community radio, which provides the space for localizing the dialogue and allows the information to be shared with Korogocho slum residents who are most affected and to the health workers who serve them. At the same time, the community radio journalists trained by Internews can adjust and iterate targeted health programming to their listenership. The leveraging of resources between old and new media results in empowering communities like Korogocho to take charge of their own health.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Internews is an international media development organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide, to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard. Information is the power that can change the world. We are in the midst of a revolution in human communication that is profoundly reshaping our future. Yet, for nearly half the planet, the promise of this revolution has not been fulfilled.
Working in some of the most difficult environments around the world, Internews pioneers applications of new technologies for development and designs and implements innovative solutions to programmatic and operational challenges. Independent, local media can enable people in the midst of crisis or suffering from oppressive poverty can begin to take an active role in their own survival and recovery. In the past 10 years, the mobile revolution has dramatically improved the way relief and healthcare are provided to people caught up in disasters and crises. However, much more could be done to keep vulnerable populations informed of assistance efforts and healthcare support and be able to engage them in their own recovery process. Strong, effective, local media are uniquely positioned to play a catalytic role in engaging communities to take charge of their own health.

Internews recognizes that social progress involves a commitment to long-term engagement, flexibility in approach, and persistent encouragement of partners and programs. Through its programs, Internews improves the reach, quality, and sustainability of local media, enabling them to better serve the information needs of their communities.
Internews has worked in over 70 countries and trained over 80,000 people in media skills1. Together with local partners, our activities include establishing and supporting media outlets, journalist associations, and broadcast networks. We also have special programs to improve reporting on the environment, humanitarian crises, public health and women’s issues.
Formed in 1982, Internews Network is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in California. The organization currently works in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America (see map). Internews Network has projected revenues of $35 million for 2010.

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