Health Education for Nomadic Populations in the Rainforests of Central Africa

Recording health Education for the nomadic Aka population

Using the Audiopedia approach we are able to provide health education even to remote and marginalized populations.

Take for example the Aka. They are a nomadic Mbenga pygmy people living as hunter-gatherers in the dense rainforests of the Western Congo Basin in Central Africa. The Aka people are vulnerable individually and as a community. They are geographically isolated, illiterate, have no written language and no access to social services. So how can we make sure that they can acquire vital health knowledge?

The answer is: with songs and our solar-powered Audiopedia player. Music is a key element of the social and spiritual life of the community. It forms an integral part of Aka rituals including ceremonies related to the inauguration of new encampments, hunting and funerals. That's why French anthropologist Romain Duda came up with the idea of inspiring songs that could be used for health sensitization.

One good example of his approach is "Musele - The Diarrhea Song". The song starts with the following line: "We are Bambenzele (Aka) from Minganga and Komo. My name is Lokombe Michel and now we're going to play our music to talk about diarrheal disease problems, because it's something that you need to avoid at all costs." It goes on with advice on how to prevent diarrhea ("You have to wash your hands. Drink clean, clear water.") and recommends local medicinal plants like stool wood (alstonia congensis) for treatment. The songs are performed and recorded in the field and later distributed together with additional information on our solar-powered Audiopedia players.

The "Radio Aka" project is lead by the Order of Malta France. The goal is not only to provide health education, but also to make the Aka aware of their indigenous rights. In order to inspire other organization to follow this idea, we have shared the complete contents of this project in our Audiopedia Cloud. We recommend to read through the project report first in order to get a better idea if the contents. You can access the project report directly by clicking here. 

The Aka have lost hundreds of their children every year due to diarrhea. For the first time ever we are able to change that. With the power of music and simple, yet innovative technology. 

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