March – June 2013 Update

Elections Foucs Group with ALT Mg in Antsirabe

Mada Mission March 2013

In March the ALT UK Director was independently contracted to visit Madagascar to provide Technical Advice for the adaptation of the citizen engagement component of the EU funded national elections communications campaign,  delivered by ALT Mg in partnership with Search for Common Ground (SFCG). This aspect of the campaign is an adaptation of ALT’s Village Voices for Development (VVD) radio for good governance model and affords live debate through phone in programmes and interactive question and answer dialogue between citizens and local representatives of the National Independent Committee for the Elections in Madagascar (CENIT) and other relevant parties.

The mission  afforded an opportunity to see the project in action on the ground, specifically focus groups, partner meetings and a phone in programme with CENIT regional representatives and local Authorities in a local FM radio station in Antsirabe.

Reps for the CENIT and District answer questions from citizens about the elections, phoned in to the local radio station in Antsirabe

The project was proving very popular with local people, especially the phone in programmes. This media work is very new to many officials and in particular  the challenge of spontaneously responding to questions from any member of the public live on radio. Nevertheless, the local journalists did an excellent job of facilitating the process and the radio phone in programme in Antsirabe took 15 questions from the local community. Both listeners and regional elections representatives in the regions where the phone ins have been taking place welcomed the initiative and found it very helpful for communicating about the electoral process.

Since June  the project has been redesigned again due to the changing landscape of the electoral process. ALT Mg has been recording ‘vox pops’ – short comments and ideas – from local populations about what they hope to see from the elections and their visions and hopes about what the elections might bring for the future of Madagascar. These have also been the subject of phone in programmes.  The launch of these new programmes took place in Tana with SFCG on the 22nd July 2013 and a short film about the work has been aired on national television (MTV) – see at

The Director was working in her freelance capacity for the March mission but benefitted from time with the ALT Management team to address internal challenges and strategic questions for the future of ALT Mg. This included working closely with Mme Hanitra Raharimanana, Director of ALT Mg, to develop a presentation for a meeting with donors and decision makers in Antananarivo about Project VVD and its findings. The presentation was well attended by approximately 20 people including representatives from the EU, World Bank, and UN agencies.

After her return , the UK Director worked extensively in her voluntary capacity to  finalise the VVD evaluation (see also below)

 VVD Evaluation Following the March visit in country, the ALT UK Director worked over a number of weeks to complete the VVD evaluation report. Support was identified and provided by an MA student from Bath University, Andrew Johnstone, and ongoing technical oversight was provided by Nicola Harford, Monitoring and Evaluation specialist with Media Support Partnership (one of the strategic partners in VVD) who co-authored the final report published in June 2013.  The evaluation report was disseminated to funders, decision makers in Tana and via international networks such as Comminit ( The Communications Initiative) as well as with local stakeholders. Funding is being sought to translate the document into French.

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