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The Child Alive Radiothon/Telethon was an award-winning communication and fund raising campaign. Most telethons engage celebrity singers, and sports stars to help draw public attention and contribution to campaigns - but Child Alive drew on the support of the most influential religious leaders in Kenya. From the outset, the primary goal of the campaign was to promote household-level action that can save children’s lives. Fund raising was a secondary yet important element with competition prizes including a car awarded in a child survival quiz.
A two-day workshop on child survival was held with 60 religious leaders and radio presenters from across the country. For five weeks, the radio stations ran talk-shows and phone-ins with religious leaders and health experts on breastfeeding, hand-washing, nutrition, immunization, malaria prevention and other simple methods of protection child health. Each programme included appeals for the public to send an SMS text to 606 at a cost of about 30 cents each. The SMS cost was kept low to encourage mass participation.
Short films on child survival issues were broadcast on TV featuring the Catholic and Anglican Archbishops, the Head of the Hindu Council and Supreme Council of Muslims and leading Pentecostal preachers.
Private sector support included donations of prizes with a pick-up truck contributed by Toyota, home movie system by Sanyo and other prizes by Nakumatt Supermarkets. Safaricom (Vodafone) waived their premium charges for the SMS operation. Barclays Bank Kenya opened their first ever call-in centre for credit card donations during telethon. The bank and Nakumatt also appealed for contributions from their clients.
Many leading performers appeared in the Child Alive Telethon, including the Child Alive song by Achieng Abura, Wyre and UNICEF’s Child Ambassadors the Moipei Sister. During the telethon, phone numbers were drawn at random from SMS pool, but to win they had to answer a child survival questions, including.
The answers to these questions were widely publicized on radio, TV, press in the weeks before the telethon.
The 5 week Radiothon ran on nine Royal Media radio stations including 7 vernacular station and was followed by the 90-minute live Telethon broadcast on prime time Citizen TV and simultaneously on all 9 Royal Media radio channels. The telethon reached 3 million viewers in 2007, and increased to 4.4 million in 2008. Many millions more were reached through the radiothon. Over USD 200,000 raised from almost one million SMS messages
Child Alive funds used to train and mobilize religious networks (women’s groups, youth groups, congregations) to support the twice yearly child health campaign weeks – known as Malezi Bora – by promoting child survival practices and the use free health services for children under 5 and pregnant women.
In 2008, Child Alive was awarded a UNICEF prize for implementing the most innovative fund raising campaign.
Top: The basic dancing Child Alive logo.
Middle: Adverts with the appeal from the religious leaders and the pick-up truck prize. The religious leaders advert raised more funds than the chance to win a pick-up truck.
Bottom: Live broadcast of Child Alive
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