Offering a new space for the youth in the Sahel region to express themselves

In recent years, the Sahel region has experienced a series of multifaceted, overlapping and worsening crises. This instability cannot be resolved without making young people feel more included in social and political circles. The media have a role to play in this area.


January 2019 – December 2022

Total budget


Democratic governance Gender equality Social cohesion The French-speaking world Young people

Since 2019, the MediaSahel project, funded by the French Development Agency (AFD), has been focusing its efforts on the inclusion of young people, in particular young women, and on the stabilisation and the development of democracy in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Using a system that provides support for producing programmes, the project aims to offer people in the Sahel region reliable information and opportunities to participate in public life in their countries.

Specific content to tackle the pandemic

In April 2020, the MediaSahel team rallied to ensure that people in the region could access reliable verified information about COVID-19, thanks to additional support provided by the AFD. These funds were used to support the production of content in French and national languages in six countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal). The “CoronaVérif” [Corona Fact-checker] podcasts produced by the Priorité Santé programme (RFI) have debunked the most widespread misleading stories about the virus that are doing the rounds in the Sahel.

“CoroVideos” created by the Burkinabe press cartoonist Damien Glez to raise awareness among young people of the importance of complying with preventative measures have been widely shared on social media by influencers in the region, and nearly 200 radio stations have broadcast the programmes produced by the project’s local partners to pass on health advice. The MediaSahel project also supported the production of “Covid-19, c’est quoi même?”, a series of programmes presented by famous host Soro Solo, and it gave young people a platform to help tackle the pandemic by supporting some thirty local initiatives that raise awareness about good habits.

The radio stations we worked with did not offer news bulletins on COVID-19, but we have noticed an increase in awareness and now good information is being broadcast to the public, thanks to the shows hosted by young people ».
Oumar Barry, leader of a project for a programme on the coronavirus in Mali

Getting young people to engage with citizenship

In the meantime, even when faced with the coronavirus, the MediaSahel project and its local partners did not fall behind the schedule of activities planned in 2020. Close to 1,300 pieces of new content, including 356 interactive programmes created by young people, for young people, were produced and broadcast in French and in a dozen national languages by a network of 158 community radio stations.

The project team also continued its work to encourage young people to engage with citizenship with the broadcast of 48 new episodes of RFI’s magazine programme “Alors on dit quoi ?” [So, what do you think?], the launch of the “Jeunes Wakat” show by Burkina Faso’s national union of free audiovisual media outlets (UNALFA), and the production of “Dianké” – a radio show that was successfully adapted from a television series. MediaSahel also supported the production of ten videos created by Damien Glez to raise awareness among young people of the civic implications of the elections held in Niger and Burkina Faso at the end of 2020 and supported their broadcast on social media and various television channels in both countries.

Lastly, 146 journalists from 73 partner radio stations enhanced their basic knowledge of their craft and 20 trainers from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger gained the skills they needed to run workshops on conflict- and gender-sensitive journalism. 

More projects carried out in 2020