About Us Urunana Development Communication (Urunana DC)

Mission Statement : To contribute to the development and the wellbeing of communities in Rwanda through innovative, creative and interactive communication and social services”

Vision of the organization : “We are committed to being a leading development communication organization in health and social welfare”

Our Core Values : Professionalism, Transparency and Accountability, Respect for local culture and values, Participatory and Interactive Communication, Gender equity, Social and Economic equity and, Financial sustainability

Brief background

Urunana Development Communication is a fully registered National Non Government Organization (Not-for-Profit NGO) specialized in development communication strategies mainly focusing at improving health and social welfare of the Rwandan population. The NGO was started in 2004 and obtained its legal status as a National Non Government Organization in 2006. It is registered with legal entity No. 138/11 of 27th December 2006. Urunana DC was started by Rwandans with the support of Health Unlimited, a UK based organization whose aim is to help create a world in which the most vulnerable communities can enjoy their right to health and well-being.

Urunana DC implements a national Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) program focusing mainly on: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health, HIV and AIDS, MALARIA, Child survival, protection and rights, Early Childhood Development (ECD), Nutrition, Gender Based Violence, Family planning, hygiene and sanitation, Education, and other issues which negatively affect health and welfare of the population in Rwanda. Other social issues which have been addressed in the recent past include: Early primary grade literacy, financial literacy, Agro-forestry, and Land tenure and regularization.

The Organization is best known for its radio soap opera “Urunana” which is broadcast in the local language “I Kinyarwanda” nationally on Radio Rwanda and Radio Ten over six (6) times every week. The soap opera is followed by over 70% of the population in Rwanda. The program has been running for about 20 years since 1999. Over 2100 episodes of Urunana Radio Soap opera have been produced and broadcast to-date.

The SBCC program of Urunana DC largely uses edutainment communication approaches to disseminate key messages to target populations. The program is audience driven and uses real-to-life stories which help to address existing gaps in knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and negative practices among target populations.

Governance

The General Assembly, with about sixty members, is the overall governing body of the organization. The Board of Directors (elected by the General Assembly) oversees and guides policy development and implementation. The board is composed of seven members including the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasure and three (3) directors (for Communication, Health and Resource Mobilization). The board members are mostly high profile officials who have high academic qualification in relevant fields (in line with Urunana DC mission) with wide experience. Other organs of the organization are: the Supervision committee and the Conflict Resolution Committee who are also elected by the General Assembly.

The Managing Director, who is answerable to the board of directors, oversees the day-to-day activities of the organization and is the overall supervisor of all projects and interventions implemented by the organization. The Management Team is composed of 5-6 members (senior staff with supervisory roles) and is headed by the Managing Director.

Geographical Coverage

Urunana DC implements her SBCC program nationally with some of her communication products, notably; the famous Urunana Radio Soap Opera and the Umuhoza radio Magazine program. Other communication products of the program include; the famous community outreach theater stage performances by Urunana actors, independent radio serial drama, radio sketches and radio spots. These are produced and implemented in selected districts based on specific need and objective of particular communication projects.

It is worth noting that while Urunana radio soap opera targets largely the population in Rwanda, it is also accessed in the sub-region through the BBC great lakes services – the Kinyarwanda – Kirundi program, and on Urunana DC website at this link http://www.urunanadc.org.rw/pages/urunana-soap-opera

There are Kinyarwanda and Kirundi speaking populations in most of the countries in the sub-regions such as; Burundi, Tanzania, DRC, Uganda and Kenya. The program is accessed on Radio Rwanda every Saturday and Sunday at 19h45’; on Radio ten every Wednesday and Friday at 19h45 and every Sunday at 7h30’; on youtube by entering the words ‘ikinamico Urunana official’ and at Urunana Facebook page.

Target Population

The SBCC program of Urunana DC primarily targets rural populations particularly women in the reproductive age bracket, youth and men. However, program projects which are implemented by Urunana DC tend to identify specific target populations based on set project objectives.

Program Experience

Currently, Urunana DC is implementing the following projects within her mission framework:

1. The USAID Ingobyi Activity which focuses on Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health and, Malaria. This is a five year project implemented in 20 out of 30 districts in Rwanda, in partnership with IntraHealth International (lead organization) and other consortium members. Urunana DC implements nationally, part of the communication component of the project.

2. Theatre for Improved Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices around ECD, School Readiness and Inclusive Education (Unicef). From October 2017, Urunana DC has been implementing the project “Leading the Community to Act for ECD and Reduction of Stunting through Community Theatre” .This project focused on the use of edutainment approach through the radio soap opera (Urunana) and live community theatre performances for social mobilization to contribute to improved behaviour and social change regarding early childhood development (ECD) with a focus on promotion of good nutrition, best hygiene practices and promotion of maternal and child  health care in selected districts. The project was implemented in 10 districts mainly through theatre performances done by trained local theatre groups and Urunana celebrities. The project directly reached 142,000 people with key messages towards social behaviour change.

The local leaders’ involvement in phased out project yielded impressive results and therefore requested to mainstream the project activities in the rest of the sectors in the intervention districts. In that regard, this project has been extended under the title “Theatre for Improved Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices around ECD, School Readiness and Inclusive Education” to continue the activities including new components:

  • Interpersonal Communication.  This will help to generate evidence that will be used to measure direct and indirect results of the activities.
  • Production and broadcast of radio sketches/mini drama (5 minutes for each radio sketch) on private and community radios covering the target districts to make sure that the program continues to reach the target population even during the current restriction on community for prevention of COVID-19 transmission.The radio sketches will aim at creating demand for health care services at community level, prepare target population for re-opening schools, sensitize on child protection and fight violence against children, leverage the prevention messages on public health outbreak in the region (COVID-19, Ebola Virus diseases,..).

Technical expertise/Know How Available

Urunana DC has expertise in the following technical areas, particularly in SBCC:

 Capacity development in drama writing and acting;

 Production of stand-alone SBCC products such as: independent serial radio drama, Radio spots, Radio sketches, TV drama and TV spots; radio magazine programs and preparation, production and performance of community outreach skits in collaboration with project partners;

 Studio productions

 Recording, mixing and editing of audio content for SBCC;

Partner Organizations

 The Ministry of Health

 Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion

 The Rwanda Biomedical Center

 Save the Children International Rwanda

 UNICEF

 Imbuto Foundation

 SNV

 World Vision International Rwanda

 IntraHealth International

 Health Poverty Action

 Rwanda Broadcasting agency (RBA)

 Radio Ten

 The BBC

Awards won

Urunana DC has won the following awards:

2017 Journalist Award of Best Radio Drama for Development in Rwanda;

2012 Appreciation Award for successfully implementing the BCSM Project;

2011 Annual Health Media Award by MOH, Rwanda;

2008 Winner of the One World Special Achievement Award for Development media;

2008 Winner of Annual Award for Excellence in HIV and AIDS Strategic Communication;

2008 Winner of the Community Development Initiative Award;

2008 RITA Infotainment Award;