desert-soul-namibia.jpgNamibian Health Communication Environment

  • Population:
  • Population below the poverty line:
    The UN's 2005 Human Development Report indicated that 34.9% of the population live on $1 per day and 55.8% live on $2 per day
  • Age structure:
    0-14 years: 38.2% (male 393,878 / female 387,147)
    15-64 years: 58.1% (male 596,557 / female 591,350)
    65 years and over: 3.7% (male 34,245 / female 40,970) (2006 est.)
  • Literacy rate:
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 84%
    male: 84.4%
    female: 83.7% (2003 est.)
  • Infant mortality rate:
    total: 48.1 deaths / 1,000 live births
    male: 51.99 deaths / 1,000 live births
    female: 44.09 deaths / 1,000 live births (2006 est.)
  • Life expectancy rate:
    total population: 43.39 years
    male: 44.46 years
    female: 42.29 years (2006 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:   
    21.3% (2003 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:   
    210,000 (2001 est.)
  • HIV/AIDS - deaths:   
    16,000 (2003 est.)
  • Languages:  
    English, Afrikaans, German Oshivambo, Herero, Nama

Our History

Namibia Red Cross and Soul City entered into a five-year partnership in 2001 to implement health and development communication programmes. In 2002, Choose Life, a colourful magazine which targeted schoolchildren to educate them on HIV/AIDS issues, was launched and 400,000 copies were distributed. This partnership was part of a broader regional initiative with 8 SADC countries funded by RNE, EU, DFID, Irish Aid and BP.

Our Mission and objectives

The purpose of this programme in Namibia is to impact on priority health and development issues, in particular HIV/AIDS, by:

  • Building local capacity in Namibia for effective health communication;
  • Adapting South African Soul City media for local Namibian use (print, radio, TV); and
  • Creating a regional network across SADC to share best practice in the region.

Our philosophy

Desert Soul works in line with the Namibian Red Cross Society principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.

What we’ve done

Namibia developed and distributed its first booklet under the Desert Soul logo in 2004. Of this booklet, called ‘HIV and AIDS … Action Now’, 1.1 million booklets were distributed throughout the country in five languages.

The Desert Soul brand was then taken forward and a television programme was produced and aired in 2004. The Desert Soul 1 TV series, targeting young people contained 26–episodes, which focused on HIV/AIDS, Bullying, Children’s rights, disability and road safety. This was aired on NBC-TV.

The Desert Soul team, in collaboration with the NBC, has produced and aired a radio drama in English, which will be translated into two more languages, with Oshiwambo set to air at the beginning of December 2006.

The Desert Soul team is working on a booklet titled “Stop the abuse against women”. The book is to be printed in 5 local languages and will be distributed throughout the country in December 2006. Targeting adults and young adults, the book talks about violence that women experience on a daily basis.

A second TV series is also under production and will be aired early in 2007.

Our Evaluation Outcomes

A baseline survey has indicated that even before the implementation of the programme in 2001, Soul City had considerable reach in Namibia. Approximately 1 in 3 adults had heard of Soul and approximately half of those had watched or listened to Soul City “often” or “always” while it was on air. Preliminary indications of the reach of Desert Soul productions are very positive. Quantitative measures of Desert Soul’s reach will be available towards the end of 2007.

Qualitative research

Extensive qualitative formative audience research of Desert Soul material has been done through the course of the materials development process in Namibia. The Desert Soul productions have been received very well by local audiences, and various spontaneous accounts of self-reported impact have been documented:

“I would like to support my colleague that this is a good book and this is what happens normally in the society and it is true what is in the book.” (Help Stop women Abuse booklet, Rural, male Namibia)

“I think the episodes are really educating people how to treat our patients at home when they are vomiting by giving them small meals and clean boiled water. This is very important to us especially those who have relatives who are infected by the virus.” (Urban female, in response to pre-testing Desert Soul Radio series 1)

“It also tells us about HIV and AIDS. When your friend has AIDS or HIV, you don’t have to stay away from that person because you will not get the virus.” (Urban Female, in response to Desert Soul, TV series 1)

Impact evaluation

An independently contracted Qualitative Audience Reception and Impact evaluation, confirms the positive audience reception and self-reported impact observed in the in-house research:

“In terms of behaviour change there is at least one significant change reported: as a result of the booklet, a participant disclosed HIV status to his family. There are also reports of increased discussion in families and the community about HIV and AIDS, increased knowledge of how to care safely for people who are positive, increased action with regard to safer sex (such as through condom use), and successful use of home remedies (such as garlic for Candida). There is a feeling of empowerment through access to resources and use of the material to strengthen existing initiatives. This indicates some impact on the fatalism and sense of helplessness that often accompany widespread epidemics.”
(Independent Evaluator, Namibia)

Contact us

Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS)
National Manager: Desert Soul
Ms Felicita Hikuam

+264 61 235 226 (w)
+264 61 22 8949 (f)

2821 Independent Katutura
Namibia Red Cross Society, Windhoek

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