Oral media as an alternative communication strategy in campaigns against female circumcision among Abagusii community of Kisii county
NKANGI, Felister Nyaera
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The prevalence rate of female circumcision among the Abagusii community is over 96% whereby the rural areas of Kisii County are largely affected. These statistics are recorded after the use of mainstream media in campaigns against female circumcision in the region spearheaded by both government and non-governmental organizations. Contrary, Oral media, which represent the culture and tradition of people in a community, is perceived as the most effective form of media in the rural areas whereby it sustains information needs of over 70% of the rural population. This presented the need to assess the application of Oral Media as an Alternative Communication Strategy in the Campaigns against Female Circumcision among Abagusii Community of Kisii County. The specific objectives of these study were to establish the various oral media used in addressing female circumcision among the Abagusii community; to examine the extent to which oral media as a form of alternative media can be effectively utilised in campaigns against female circumcision among the Abagusii community as compared to the mass media and to assess the reception and perception formation through dissemination of messages against female circumcision via oral media among the Abagusii community.The tenets of Rogers’s diffusion of innovation theory (2003) which states that communication is effective when the social networks comprising of members sharing understanding, language and meaning are used in message dissemination was applied. Descriptive survey design was used and the study was conducted in three rural based administrative sub-locations of three constituencies of the county namely: Gionseri, Nyakorere and Suguta. The target population from the three identified sub-location was: 3,307 female adults, 299 church elders and 93 clan elders. Using the Morgan table for female adults and Gay(1983)’s formula for clan and church elders, a representative sample of 341female adults and 30 church elders and 9 clan elders was obtained respectively . The female adults were randomly selected while the church and clan elders were purposively selected. Questionnaire and interview schedules were used to obtain data from female adults and key informants respectively. The researcher relied on the two supervisors from the School of Arts and Social Sciences of Maseno University in validation of the instruments. The experts gave their views on the relevance, clarity and applicability particularly of both research instruments. The reliability was tested by use of Cronbach’s alpha in which all the subscales reached a threshold and were within the range of α = .9 maximum and α= .7minimum for all the constructs for which they were intended to measure.Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected and analysed by use of narrative analysis and descriptive statistics through computer software SPSSTM version 21.0 respectively. The study found out that oral media has been sparingly used in campaigns against female circumcision with less than 15% of the respondents having received dissuading messages from oral media channels studied. However increased dissemination of dissuading messages through forms of oral media can result to increased message implementation hence abandonment of female circumcision and adoption of alternative rites of passage.