The role of Radio in empowering Domestic workers: a case study of Nairobi
Oirere, Deborah B
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This study assessed the domestic workers' gams after accessmg an FHI (Family Health International) sponsored programme aired on radio. Since the programme was interactive, the study investigated its efficiency and challenges programme producers encounter in reaching domestic workers through radio. A case study design was used in this research where sampled domestic workers from four training centres in Nairobi formed a case for the study. A simple random sampling method was used to select a representative sample of 21 respondents from the four training centres. Questionnaires and a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) were the main tools for data collection. Analysis of data collected employed the use of frequency tables, percentages, pie charts, bar graphs as well as a detailed description (qualitative representation) of the answers given by the respondents. The study was guided by Uses and gratification theory, Schramm's interactive model of communication and a Conceptual Framework. The three emphasize on active participation based on feedback, which allows the sharing of information, perceptions and opinions among the various stakeholders thereby facilitating empowerment of domestic workers. In fact, this was an attempt aimed at contributing to research in Development Communication. It has emerged that domestic workers gained from each of the four topics/issues (physical, social, economic and psychological) discussed on radio because more than 50% of the respondents agreed to have improved on these four areas. Respondents realized that maintaining good employer employee relationship enabled them to be respected and keep their job for a relatively longer period. Economically, respondents had started saving on the little earnings so as to enable them invest on a more sustainable economic venture. Self-esteem too for the respondents had considerably improved since they now could talk openly about even 'embarrassing' issues like assaults and sexual abuse by their employers. Participatory communication had led to exploration and generation of new knowledge aimed at addressing situations that needed to be improved. It is recommended that apart from radio, other means like the use of opinion leaders and worker Unions should be engaged proactively in reaching out to domestic workers to empower them. Again, it is recommended that organizations that empower domestic workers should use print, photographic and new media to assess how such media empower domestic workers.