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Using mobile to change attitudes to gender in Nigeria

Voices for Change (V4C), is a DFID funded programme, is targeting 15 million people over 4 years, using innovative digital content alongside radio broadcasts and on the ground interventions to challenge gender stereotypes.

Given the immense growth of mobile devices and connectivity in Nigeria over the last 3-5 years, a digital strategy is fundamental in scaling up the reach of such programmes and also offering 2two-way communications and measurement unrivalled to traditional media channels.

V4C’s online and mobile strategy is not just supporting but leading on delivering key outputs for the programme.

Algy Williams, CEO of E1M, said: “Mobile is becoming an increasingly essential, if not fundamental tool in Africa to accelerate reach, impact knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. It offers the potential to establish an ongoing two-way relationship between development programmes and the people they are targeting.”

Using a mobile-first approach to building digital spaces online and through social media, E1M is helping young women and men to learn, share, get inspired, challenge negative norms and “stand up & speak out”.

Through our platform technology, E1M has designed, built and now runs an online community (a mobile-optimised website): the “digital home” for the programme where users are engaging with vibrant content and joining online conversations on gender with peers across the country.

Reaching millions is our goal, and we’re achieving this by using our platform which is designed to offer an excellent online experience across all mobile devices from feature phones through to smartphones and tablets too.

E1M is combining the online community with a social media campaign across other channels including Facebook and tapping into the digital lives of Nigerians by ensuring that the programme’s brand and messaging has a presence in every digital dwelling place of the men and women we’re targeting.

Central to the online community and V4C’s targets, is an exciting flagship learning tool called the Academy. The Academy invites users to undertake a self-paced online course on gender stereotypes, which involves completing a set of digital activities such as quizzes, surveys, forums and assessments with the option to self-report learning.

This sits alongside online peer to peer forums where they can share opinions  and entertaining content such as radio soap opera podcasts to life tips.

And the  data is starting to show not only that learning is taking place, but that positive change is most certainly happening.

Mobile4Development initiatives have historically been criticised for one of two things: the project is not scaleable or there is little or no evidence of impact.

V4C is addresses both of these, achieving significant scale and also building the tools and collecting the data to begin to answer the questions: “Are people learning through these digital activities?”, “Are attitudes being changed?” and “Is there any indication that this might lead to a change in behaviour?”

So far, 65 million people have been reached, driving 2.7 million users to the site over the last year. 143,000 have now joined the movement and committed to a future where women are equal.