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Does information lead to citizen action?

Say you are a woman living in the Mukuru neighborhood of Nairobi. Some people call it a slum, you call it home. There are many things about life in Mukuru that are very difficult, and you, like most of your neighbors, try to make ends meet. Some of the things that would make your life in Mukuru better are clear: better sanitation, improved schooling, access to jobs. At the same time, these seem like complicated problems. There are numerous groups and associations in Mukuru working on their improvement, but you are not too sure what, if anything, you personally can do about them.

Now say that just recently, you were invited to attend screenings of popular TV shows twice a week, for six weeks. These screenings will not be held in the video halls, as you feel unsafe going there; instead, they will be in churches, mosques, or community halls. They are in the afternoon, well before night-time. At each screening, you will have a chance to win a small door-entry prize; if you attend most of the screenings, you will have a chance to win a bigger prize at the end. You are curious enough to attend…

Twaweza and Guide at Georgetown University have set up the scenario described above. Besides giving the women of Mukuru a chance to enjoy free screenings of popular TV shows, we are also keenly interested in the following question: do women who are exposed to motivational materials both report and engage in more citizen action than women who are exposed to placebo materials? In other words, can mass media serve as that motivational nudge, so that people will more actively partake in opportunities provided to them (or, even create their own opportunities)?

If you’d like to learn more about this study, read the full study design.   
 

Read more: Citizen Agency evaluation information Kenya

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