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Introducing the Radio Content Analysis Tool for Sustainable Development

Pulse Lab Kampala
Apr 15, 2016

Pulse Lab Kampala today launched the prototype of an innovative tool that analyzes public radio content to help decision-makers align their strategies with the priorities of Ugandan communities. For the first time, the content of public radio broadcasts in Ugandan English, Luganda and Acholi (three of the country’s languages) can be analyzed using state-of-the-art speech-to-text technology.

Why radio?

In Uganda, where some 90% of the population lives in rural areas, radio serves as a vital platform for public discussion, information sharing and news. Radio broadcasts have the advantage of easily conveying information in local languages, strengthening community values and the sense of belonging. There are currently over 250 FM radio stations across Uganda which are often open to contributions from listeners and used for a variety of purposes such as information sharing, discussion, advocacy, and capacity building.

Pulse Lab Kampala’s new radio content analysis tool is designed to leverage radio as a new data source to help measure progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Agenda, and inform emergency response in case of natural disasters.

“This tool provides us all with the ability to contribute to the national dialogue on topics of interest to improve lives. It transforms us into active participants in achieving the Global Goals. This tool transforms observations and suggestions from Ugandan citizens into potential inputs for decision making on development ,” said UN Resident Coordinator Rosa Malango.

How does the tool work?

The tool works by converting public discussions that take place on radio into text. Once converted, the text can be searched for topics of interest related to Sustainable Development such as health, education or employment. The topics can be further broken down by location and timeframe. The technology has been localized to analyse the content of more than one language.

The new capability afforded by this tool can support policymakers in understanding, in real-time, Ugandan citizens’ priorities, as voiced publicly on the radio. Ugandans will benefit from more effective evaluation of development programmes, which in turn can help accelerate development gains and maximize use of public resources.

Potential applications of the radio content analysis tool include:

  • Real-time reporting of the impact of local natural disasters (such as floods) can support more coordinated emergency response in local communities;

  • Real-time monitoring of programmes designed to improve public service delivery by analysing the feedback of people who voice their opinions over radio;

  • Early warning of emerging public health challenges (such as disease outbreaks) or agricultural anomalies (such as crop failure or drought);

The radio content analysis tool was developed thanks to the support of the Government of Sweden and in collaboration with the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.

To learn more about the tool and its functionalities visit: http://radio.unglobalpulse.net/uganda/

 

What’s next?

On Friday 15 April, Pulse Lab Kampala will host a workshop to present, explore and discuss the functionalities of the radio content analysis tool with national development partners, and private and public sector guests. The workshop will stimulate discussion on next steps by identifying potential test cases where the radio content analysis tool can be used.

Tune into a live broadcast of the workshop: https://youtu.be/tlhhfHe0sdo

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