Tok Bot Salone: encouraging debate in Sierra Leone
Tok Bot Salone (Talk About Sierra Leone) was a national radio debate programme - running between 2011 and 2016 - which enabled people in Sierra Leone to ask questions of their leaders and discuss issues of national and local importance.
Tok Bot Salone is about empowering people to have a voice, to talk about what’s burning inside their chests.
"We bring together people in power with ordinary people in communities," said Hassan Arouni, senior production manager for BBC Media Action and former presenter and producer of BBC World Service's flagship programme Focus On Africa.
"Tok Bot Salone is about empowering people to have a voice, to speak out, to talk about what’s burning inside their chests."
The first show took election violence as its theme and was recorded in a constituency in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown. "It’s an area where the two political parties have huge support and it is violence-prone during elections," Arouni explains. It featured the two leading political parties and national police, while the audience members who posed questions ranged from religious leaders to local businesswomen.
During the Ebola crisis of 2014-16 the programme helped people ask the authorities about their response to the outbreak.
Tok Bot Salone was both a radio programme and a community event. The recordings in each location lasted approximately two hours and sparked dialogue between different members of society. An edited hour-long version of the debate was then broadcast across the country through a network of partner radio stations.
The programme also supported and reinforced its sister show, Fo Rod (Crossroads). The BBC Media Action-produced programme was a weekly discussion show exploring governance and rights issues. As well as reporting on many other pressing issues, Fo Rod has uncovered corruption in the distribution of mosquito nets and reported on why sexual assaults were not being reported. BBC Media Action research has found 96% of regular listeners thought Fo Rod was a useful tool for citizens to air their concerns about how the country is run.
|Project name||Global Grant: Governance|
|Funder||UK Department for International Development|
|Outputs||Tok Bot Salone (Talk About Sierra Leone)|
Our projects in Sierra Leone
- Empowering adolescent girls in Sierra LeoneThere are 32,500 girls in Sierra Leone aged 13-17 who are not in school. Our project called Every Adolescent Girl Empowered and Resilient (EAGER) aims to aid in their transition to education, training or employment and inspire hope for their future.
- Protecting pregnant women and children from malaria in Sierra LeoneUsing insight from our response to the Ebola outbreak we're building awareness about malaria for those most at risk, using radio, TV, social media and community outreach.
- Using radio and television to inspire young people in Sierra LeoneMi Stori (My Story) aims to inspire young people in Sierra Leone to be active, positive participants in their community through an interactive radio show and mini-documentaries championing positive role models.
- Wi Di Pipul: Improving access to education, health and social services through radioA radio show focusing on the country’s health, education and social care sector – reporting problems, as well as discussing and sharing solutions.
- Tok Bot Salone: Encouraging debate in Sierra LeoneA radio debate programme enabling Sierra Leoneans to ask questions of their leaders and discuss issues of national and local importance.
- Kicking out EbolaBBC Media Action responded swiftly to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone with life-saving information, relevant radio programming and comprehensive training for broadcasters.
- Improving maternal and child health through mobile technologyHow mobile technology can improve maternal health in Sierra Leone by training community health workers.
- Getting leaders to listen in Sierra LeoneRadio discussion programme Fo Rod (At the Crossroads) provides a platform for debate and a chance for people to hold their leaders to account.