Urunana DC was created by the former Well Women Media Project staff in 2004 and has been operating as a not for profit organization that secured legal entity on December 27, 2006. The NGO has a dedicated, Rwandan team of communication experts who are implementing Well Women Media Project III (WWMP) in partnership with Health Unlimited.
In 1998 after assessing the health situation in Rwanda, Health Unlimited decided to launch the WWMP I to address sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues affecting the Rwandan population. The goal of the project was to target rural women and youth of reproductive age, which was accomplished through an edutaining radio soap opera called Urunana followed by an interactive radio magazine called Umuhoza.
The radio soap opera is broadcast on the BBC Great Lakes Service and rebroadcast on Radio Rwanda while the Umuhoza magazine programme is exclusively broadcast on Radio Rwanda. The two radio programmes are amongst pioneers in addressing SRH issues that had always been considered taboos in Rwandan culture.
In 2000, Health Unlimited received a significant grant from the Big Lottery Fund and DFID for the implementation of the Well Women Media Project II. The edutainment approach used by the project proved to be an effective communication tool for behavior change. A Knowledge Attitude and Practice (KAP) analysis (completed by an external consultant) of data collected between September 2002 and July 2005 revealed that around 74% of the Rwandan population regularly listen to Urunana soap opera at least once a week. In addition, 91% of listeners found the messages relevant while 76% believed the messages were practical.The KAP data further revealed that between 55% and 81% of listeners report they engage in discussions on SRH messages. A similar proportion of listeners also observed that they often offer advice on SRH to others. When asked to cite the specific topics they discuss with others 64% cited family planning, 81% say they discuss HIV/AIDS/STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) related matters, while 55% reported discussing adolescent sexual behavior with their children. The same data source revealed that females are more likely than males to seek advice from health workers regarding family planning (25% vs 20%).
Today Urunana is also supported by the European Commission and continues to provide affordable and accessible information to the most vulnerable communities in Rwanda.
“ Before I did not value family planning but according to how Bushombe and Kankwanzi face problems of hunger and they get concerned to an extent that they have to send their child to neighbours to beg food, that made me take decision of going for family planning”