(January 2010) In the West African country of Mali, one of the key obstacles to meeting development goals is the continued low percentage of women using family planning. Only about 8 percent of women use contraceptives in Mali, although more than twice that figure do in some neighboring countries. Contraceptive use remains low in Mali partly because products are sometimes in short supply, especially the long-term methods that many women prefer such as Norplant, and there are not enough trained personnel to carry out the simple procedures these methods require.

To provide more information on reproductive health to the Malian public and policymakers, PRB invited local journalists to participate in a study tour on family planning. By visiting clinics and NGOs working in this field, the journalists could see first-hand what is required for women in urban and rural settings to obtain the family planning product of their choice.

The 10 journalists who took part in the study tour are all based in the country's capital, Bamako; for most of them, the study tour was their first opportunity to travel into rural areas to learn about reproductive health. In Mali, as in many African countries, print and broadcast media organizations are concentrated in capital cities and lack the resources to send reporters to the countryside where most people live. With new information and insights gained during the study tour, the reporters are now equipped to write compelling, evidence-based stories that raise people's awareness about family planning.

In this video report, PRB senior media specialist Victoria Ebin shares highlights from the trip.

Study tour journalists:

Marietou Kone: L'Announceur
Fanta Diallo: Radio Bamakan
Martin Vogl: BBC
Idrissa Sako: Les Echos
Brehima Doumbia: L'Essor
Khassoun Thera: L'Independent
Fanta Diakite: Radio Kledu
Hawa Semega: Nouvelle du Mali
Rokia Doumbia: ORTM
Kadiatou Sanogo: Le Republicain