Offering young people in the Sahel region a new arena for expression

For several years, the Sahel region has been experiencing a series of multiform crises, which overlay and abet each other. This instability will not be resolved unless we achieve better socio-political inclusion for young people. The media have a role to play in this.



January 2019 – December 2022

Total budget

€8.3 million

Democratic governance Gender equality Misinformation The French-speaking world Young people

For the past three years, the MediaSahel project – funded by the French development agency (AFD) – has made the inclusion of young people, especially young women, a core focus, alongside stabilisation and democratic development in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. It aims to offer people in the Sahel region reliable news and opportunities to participate in public life in their country, by way of a support package for programme production.

Training for journalists and support for young people to produce content continued in 2021, despite the pandemic and unstable safety conditions.

Letting young people have their say

From February to May 2021, 18 training courses on interactivity in radio programmes were organised in the three countries involved in the project: 216 journalists and technicians were able to upskill, to produce high-calibre programmes in which young people are invited to participate and react.

“I didn’t know how to organise my introduction and the information to be included in it. Now, I can draw up a table of contents and prepare my programmes better, which I couldn’t do before. I used to simply let the listeners say what they thought of the theme, without contradicting them as necessary. My new skills will help to give my programmes a better structure.”
Salif S., from the radio station La Voix du Paysan

The sessions on gender- and conflict-sensitive journalism, organised in the second half of the year, helped 146 journalists and media managers gain a better grasp of these concepts in order to better factor them into programme schedules and cover the subjects. These training courses were rounded off with on-site follow-ups, conducted at the 73 radio stations partnering the project, in October and November 2021.

“We had a tendency to reproduce stereotypes in our radio programmes. It was practically propaganda, but we hadn’t realised that stereotyping could actually trigger certain types of conflict. This training taught us to look out for that and endeavour to deconstruct it. Understanding that many of these prejudices are socio-cultural constructions is a huge step forward.”
Zouera O, journalist at the radio station Scout in Niamey

In addition to raising journalist ability, 30 media managers (ten per country) were provided with support in radio management, to work on the viability of their structure, and economic and organisational management.

Rallying and involving young “relays”

Since early 2021, three editorial projects have also received support regarding the production of innovative video formats. Inspired by the programme Pas2Quartier and with the support of a journalist from France 24, these videos have been broadcast since the summer on the social media of three web-based media outlets: DoniBlog, Etrane TV and Toute Info.

Parallel to this, MediaSahel has involved 75 young people as “relays” within their communities. In partnership with the Senegalese NGO RAES (African Network for Health Education, which also promotes civic engagement), these young people were trained to lead debate among citizens. In over 20 places in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, tea-time debates and cultural events were held in July and August, focussing on the key themes of the radio series Dianké: civic engagement of young people, the role of women, corruption etc.

These young “relays” also took part in listening committees for these programmes’ review processes, to help better tailor the programmes to the subjects and type of format they find interesting.

Review of the activities of MédiaSahel to combat Covid-19 (in French)

Photo Gallery

More projects carried out in 2021