Role of media in disseminating Luyia indigenous knowledge for socio-economic development: the case of West Fm Radio, Western Kenya
Wekalao, Namaande Ben
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The study focused on the role of media in disseminating Indigenous Knowledge (IK) for socio-economic development. The media station narrowed on is the West FM Radio in Bungoma whose broadcast covers Western Kenya and some parts of the North Rift. The purpose of the study was to assess the role of media in disseminating Indigenous Knowledge and where possible develop a pragmatic framework for the process. The study objectives comprised determining listenership levels of West FM indigenous knowledge programmes, evaluating indigenous knowledge domains and practices in Western Kenya and assessing the programmes and tools used by West FM radio for disseminating indigenous knowledge, among others. The study is important to IK policy makers both at the national and West FM levels because it gives theoretical information relevant to policy formulation and incorporation into national policy instruments. The media especially FM radios have become an alternative means through which indigenous knowledge is disseminated. The study systematically described the different facets of IK in the Western and North Rift topographies of West FM listenership. Purposive sampling was used in identifying staff to be interviewed from the West FM Radio. Stratified sampling was used to categorize the strata of respondents (the staff, IK custodians and audience) of West FM. Since the target population was not homogeneous, systematic random sampling was applied in the study to determine the respondents from the listenership stratum. Multiple data collection comprising both primary and secondary data collection methods such as documentary review, face to face interview, telephone interview, observations and content analysis were applied. A pilot study on respondents from Nyota FM (based in Bungoma town) was undertaken to give baseline information for improvement on different aspects of methodology. Research instruments were pre- tested in the pilot centre to determine validity. Cronbach’s alpha reliability estimate was used to measure the internal consistency of data collected. Finally, thematic and explanatory data analysis approach was used to analyze qualitative data. SPSS was applied for quantitative data analysis. Among the findings of the study are that IK programmes have had a positive impact on the listenership in terms of agriculture, morality and family stability. However, though well intentioned, the programmes were yet to be evaluated on their appropriateness in terms of content transmitted, language used and other aspects pertinent to dissemination of IK. The study recommends the need for a national policy on IK and that the station’s IK policy be scaled up to factor other communities in its coverage area in terms of content and language used for dissemination. It also recommends gender parity in IK programmes and further research on harvesting and acquisition and documentation of IK.