Sep 9, 2020
The authors present the results of a randomized controlled trial with an encouragement design to assess the impact of a countering violent extremism (CVE)–themed radio program broadcast in northern Nigeria in 2018–2019. RAND researchers studied this program by recruiting more than 2,000 northern Nigerians via text message. This report details the research design and findings and offers recommendations for improving such evaluations in the future.
The number of programs dedicated to countering violent extremism (CVE) has grown in recent years, but a fundamental gap remains in the understanding of the effectiveness of such programs. A 2017 RAND Corporation report documented that only a handful of such programs have been subject to rigorous evaluations of effect. Such evaluations are critical because they help ensure that programming funds are dedicated to the most-effective efforts. Evaluations also play a critical role in helping individual programs improve the quality of service provision.
This report presents the results of an evaluation designed to assess the impact of a CVE-themed radio talk show, Ina Mafita, broadcast in northern Nigeria in 2018–2019. RAND researchers studied this program by recruiting more than 2,000 northern Nigerians via text message from a research panel administered by a mobile phone–based market research company. The participants were randomly assigned to listen to either the treatment program of interest, which is intended to address underlying factors promoting instability and support for Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, or to a nontreatment control program. Specifically, RAND researchers examined the effects of the program on listeners' beliefs about the importance of being a role model and the value of local committees in reintegrating at-risk youth, as well as their views of kidnap victims. The report details the research design and findings and offers recommendations for improving such evaluations in the future.